Cameron looked at me with her eyes widened in intense fear. “My dear, you can’t be seriously considering it! These organs, they are all harvested with illegal means!”
“Mom, that’s not what I meant. I’m just trying to figure out where Dad could be heading that’s all. Whatever leads he has right now, we have to discuss this matter together before deciding what to do.”
She nodded, but her body did not stop trembling.
When Cameron was calmer and more collected, she started to analyze the situation, “Your father had washed his hands off this business many years ago. But starting a few days ago, he’s been secretly contacting a few of his old buddies regarding this matter. I overheard from his conversations that the black market, as well as the operations, are only carried out in A City. So, your dad must be on his way to the airport to fly over there and meet with the dealer.”
Upon hearing which, I made another phone call to Ashton for him to intercept Zachary at the airport. I turned to Cameron and asked, “Who else knows about this?”
She shook her head. “Just the two of us. I didn’t want him to take the risk. If found out, our whole family will be done for.”
Sensing that my silence might mean otherwise, Cameron tried to probe, “Scarlett, tell me, if your father found both compatible bone marrow and kidney for Summer, would you have agreed to it?”
Her question was loaded with massive moral conundrums; my head was filled with many questions to which I didn’t have immediate answers. I lowered my head to look at my phone, at a loss for words.
Cameron grew more anxious as she grabbed onto my arm and said grievously, “My dear, listen to me, you can’t do this. Summer is such an adorable kid and we all love her dearly. But you can’t gamble your future with this matter. It would have been okay if this only involves me and your father, since we’ve had our share of lives at this age. But things are different for you and Ashton. You’re finally expecting another child and you still have a long way to go. As for Summer, we may just have to accept that this is her destiny. Please promise me you won’t make a rash decision on this.”
Cameron’s concerns were valid, and anyone with a sound logic should arrive at the same conclusion. However, I had long regarded Summer as my own daughter, so the only logical sense as a mother was to save my daughter by whatever means necessary.
I looked at her and sighed. “Mom, Summer is my daughter. There’s no way I’ll give up on her. If the dealer manages to find a donor from a clean source, why can’t we give Summer a chance to live?”
Cameron’s eyes widened in disbelief. “Are you out of your mind? There’s no way that kind of things will be clean!”
I knew there was no way that I could sway her mind right now, but I couldn’t help but imagine a scenario where someone passed on from an accident and we could offer a sum of money to her family. It would not have brought her life back, but in a way, parts of her spirit got to live on. The concept of organ donation at death might sound cruel to some people, but if the alternative for the body was to be cremated, leaving nothing but ashes behind, why not let them save another life?
“Mom, let’s not talk about this right now. Can you please keep Summer company while I try to locate Dad and talk to him?” It’s too early to dismiss any remote chance Summer may have.
Cameron did not sound fully convinced. “My dear, whatever you do, please be mindful of the potential consequences they may have on both our families. Do you understand what I mean?”
I left the hospital and tried to reach Ashton by phone, but it was engaged. I then attempted to call Zachary’s number, also to no avail. I was feeling rather helpless when my phone rang.
Seeing Armond’s name on my caller ID only made me feel more frustrated. My tone was more than agitated when I answered his call, “What do you want?”
Instead of being offended, an audible laugh rang from the other end of the line as the man spoke, “Sensing from your impatient tone, I suppose you ran into some trouble. Why don’t you come and have a chat with me? I may be able to cheer you up.”
“If you have nothing more to say, I’ll hang up now.” My patience was running thin for this pervert.
He sighed and said, “Hold on a second, I was told that Zachary is on his way to A City. I’m wondering whether that’s because Jared’s bone marrow is not compatible with Summer’s. If that’s the case, then I suppose he’s heading toward A City to search for…”
The man had now successfully riled me up. “Armond Murphy, what kind of a sicko are you? And what do you want from me?”
“I just told you, I may have some information that’s useful to you so that your daughter will stop suffering from chemotherapy.” His tone suddenly took on a serious note, “There’s no need to dismiss me just yet. I know exactly what you’re looking for and I may even have means to secure some for you. So, what do you say about meeting up?”
I paused for a brief moment to ponder on his words. Maybe what he said wasn’t all bullsh*t.
“Fine. I can meet you up.”
In love, never say never chapter 967
He seemed to be smiling approvingly when he replied, “I thought you were going to reject me again. Great, I’ll send you the address after this. Don’t be late, or I’ll be sad.”
After hanging up the call, I tried Ashton’s number again. Finally, he answered the phone and there were some traffic noises from his end.
“Ashton, is everything okay over there?”
“I’m stuck in traffic.” Ashton sounded a little flustered. “But don’t you worry; I’ve managed to make contact with Mr. Moore. He promised that he won’t be making the trip to A City for now.”
I heaved a sigh of relief. “That’s great. Can you please take him to the hospital later? I’ll call Mom right now to let her know.”
I gave Cameron a quick update on the phone before receiving a text message with the address where I was supposed to meet Armond.
The address was not far from where I was so I decided to take a cab there.
I arrived at the address to find a cafe bistro that actually resembled more of a private residence. I almost missed the entrance until a waiter greeted me and led me inside.
Armond was already waiting for me in a private room. Dressed in a casual blue sweater, his jacket was draped over a chair next to him as the heater was turned on in the room. Upon my arrival, his lips curled up in a faint smile as he spoke, “Have a seat. Try some of the Earl Grey tea here.”
Biting my lips, I took a seat across from him as he slowly poured hot water into his tea pot. After which, he slid a tea cup in front of me and said gracefully, “Smell the aroma from the tea leaves.”
I took the cup and placed it under my nose to take a whiff. It did smell fresh and earthy. I put down the cup and said, “It’s aromatic.”
He kept smiling. “Very tasteful.”
His relaxed manner in tea making was in direct contrast to the anxiousness I was feeling all day. Sensing he was in no hurry at all to disclose his real intention, I finally broke the silence, “Armond, I don’t have all the time in the world to enjoy tea with you.”
His brows frowned slightly, as though I was the biggest buzzkill to his mood. He scorned me and said, “I live life in pursuit of enjoying the quality of the finer things. If you think that I’m wasting your time, the exit is that way,” the man said while pointing his slender finger at the door.
He knew clearly that I would not leave just yet, not before I got what I came for.
Pursing my lips, I once again picked up the tea cup and downed the drink in one big gulp. His condescending voice rang in front of me as I did so, “You ought to savour good tea in small sips, not downing it like some cheap wine!”
I put down the cup and stared at him. “It still ends up in the same place. I don’t understand what’s all the fuss about.”
Furrowing his brows, the man poured another cup of tea from his pot and grunted, “Drink and taste it slowly!”
I was increasingly irritated. I wasn’t even a tea person to begin with; not to mention differentiating the taste of the tea between big gulps and small sips. However, to get him off my back, I had no choice but to taste the tea his way.
Armond was finally satisfied with the show I put on. “Not bad.”
I heaved a sigh of relief and fixed my gaze at him.
Unfazed by my glare, the man drank the last of his tea elegantly before he commented, “This is indeed exceptional tea.”
Finally, his vision fell on me while his lips curled up in a smirk. “Am I to understand that you’re willing to be with me?”
My brows furrowed into a knot as I tried to contain the mounting rage in my chest. “You already know that I’m a married woman. I can offer you money if that’s what you’re after. In addition, if you manage to save Summer, I’ll make sure you get to keep my grandma’s sandalwood box.”
The man let out an unsettling chortle as he replied, “This bargaining chip is quite attractive indeed. However, that box is not the most urgent matter to my family. Right now, you’re what I want the most.”
I stood up, thinking that I had come all the way here for nothing.
“Don’t be in such a hurry. I’m not done explaining myself. How are we going to be together when you’re so impatient?” The content of his words could pass for something a boyfriend would say to his girlfriend. But the fact that they came from Armond just made me feel chilly all over.
I pursed my lips and remained silent.
This time he finally got straight to the point. “Okay, fine. There’s no point going down that road again. Now, why don’t you do me a favor, and I’ll let you know how to replace your daughter’s faulty organ with one that’s functioning?”
“What’s your condition?”
If one decides to broker a deal with the devil, one has to be prepared to go to hell.
For a few moments, he just stared at me until I was losing patience before he suddenly blurted, “Stay here to have dinner with us and be on your best behavior.”
“You have company?” I asked while lifting my eyebrow.
At that moment, I heard a quick knock on our door and turned around to find a middle-aged woman walking toward us. Her otherwise elegant and beautiful features were shrouded by an overall shadow of long-term sickness, not unlike the pasty look on Hailey’s face.
“Armond, I was told by the counter staff that you brought a friend here. Is this she?” the woman asked merrily.
The usual gloom and sinister looks on the man’s face instantly replaced with that of warmth and tenderness. He stood up and spoke in the most respectful manner I had ever heard, “News travels fast, Mom. She just got here minutes ago.”
In love, never say never chapter 968
The woman let out a friendly chuckle and turned to Armond. “You should have informed me earlier that we’re expecting a guest so I can be more prepared. After all, this is the first time you brought a female friend over here.”
The woman then walked toward me and asked kindly, “You must be hungry now. What would you like for dinner?”
I hesitated for a brief moment and shot Armond a quick glance. He was now looking at me with his darkened expression, causing me to respond accordingly, “Thanks, Mrs. Murphy. I’m easy.”
The woman continued to exchange more pleasantries with me before she headed out to get dinner ready.
The second the woman left our sights, a glint of malevolent reappeared in Armond’s eyes. “Cooperate with me, and I’ll tell you what you need to know.”
I pursed my lips and asked, “She’s your mother?”
“Hmm.” He nodded. “For years, she has been hoping that I’ll get married and settle down with a family. When she comes back, just go with whatever she says and don’t you try to get at her.”
I replied flatly, “Don’t worry. It’s you that I despise. Unlike you, I won’t lay a finger on a sick person. I’m not a monster.”
“How did you know she’s not well?” he asked with his brow lifted.
“I’m not blind. Her complexion is too pale for a normal, healthy person.”
“Well then, make sure you’re on your best behavior,” he snarked.
I looked at the certifiably treacherous man before me and lost in thoughts for a brief moment. I remember having read somewhere that stipulates that the more wickedly evil the person is, the easier it is to search for his soft spot. No one can be categorically judged as good or bad, as they are merely driven by their respective motives. People can be motivated by money, their loved ones, or even the people of their country. Whatever actions that follow are only means to an end.
“So how am I supposed to address her?”
The man raised an eyebrow and curled his lips while watching me. “Well, you can call her…Mom, just like I do.”
Furrowing my brows, I decided to ignore him.
Not long after, Armond’s mother came knocking on our door again. With an apron still wrapped around her waist, she happily announced, “Dinner is ready!”
Armond smiled and nodded. “We’ll be there in just a second.”
After his mother left, he once again turned to me and narrowed his eyes slightly as he reminded, “Again, know your place, and keep your lips tight on things that shouldn’t be said.”
Rolling my eyes, I stood up and left the room.
Walking into the main dining area of the bistro, I was amazed by the sophisticated and tasteful internal design. Even though this was not the most spacious cafe bistro in town, every little corner of this place gave off the sense of more money being spent on the furnishings here than in a bigger restaurant.
I saw a bouquet of sunflowers on our table from afar and thought it to be a plastic flower bouquet. But as I came closer to it I was surprised to see that they were real flowers. Sunflowers are definitely not in season right now. How on earth is he able to secure some fresh sunflowers around this time of the year?
Armond’s mother continued beaming at me while she sat down beside me. “Armond should have told me earlier that you’re visiting today. Please forgive me for the simple dishes tonight. I’ll prepare something more to your liking next time you come over.”
I shook my head and smiled in return. “You’re too kind, Mrs. Murphy. The dishes all look delicious.”
The man was rather quiet throughout dinner, save for when his mother asked him some questions, to which he provided very short answers. As such, his mother had kept busy by talking to me.
I wanted to stop her from stacking more food on my plate, but refrained from doing so, thinking that she only meant well. Since I was pregnant, I figured I should probably increase my intake of food anyway.
Nevertheless, my stomach seemed to disagree with me when it started to churn uncomfortably just after a few bites. I darted into the washroom feeling extremely nauseated but didn’t retch up anything.
Armond’s mother came into the washroom to check up on me. “Is everything okay? Are you feeling sick? Should I get Armond to send you to the hospital?”
Realizing this was my first morning sickness since the pregnancy, I shook my head and smiled faintly, “I’m alright, just feeling a little nauseated that’s all. I’ll be okay.”
Being a mother herself, the woman was suddenly delighted as a broad grin flashed across her face. “Are you expecting? How far are you along? Have you done a check-up at the hospital?”
I was momentarily stunned by the questions she just rattled off and finally decided to tell her the truth, “It’s been two months now. I haven’t experienced much morning sickness, but otherwise I’m doing okay.
“Oh, that’s great!” Her eyes almost narrowed into two thin lines from smiling. She led me out of the washroom and helped me to the table while rambling, “These dishes are not suitable for someone who’s pregnant. You wait here and I’ll whip up something else for you.”
The woman was about to head back to the kitchen when I tried to grab firmly onto her arm. “Mrs. Murphy, there really is no need to trouble you. I’m completely fine with these dishes.”
She gently pried open my hand while still smiling merrily. “It’s ok, darling. I’m just so happy I want to cook something else for you and baby. You just wait here.”
In love, never say never chapter 969
Armond wasn’t dumb. He heard his mother’s grumbling, so he waited till she went into the kitchen then turned to stare at me.
I lowered my head to look at my phone, ignoring his cold stare. Ashton was asking about my whereabouts. Worried that he would overanalyze, I merely replied that I was outside.
Armond snatched my phone right after I replied, then stared at me with a scowl. “Play your role well while you’re here. Are you pregnant?”
My mouth was set in a hard line, and I glared at him as if he was a maniac. “Don’t you have a girlfriend? Why didn’t you bring Nora? Right! I almost forgot people like you don’t deserve her. Good thing you didn’t bring her here and give her some useless hope.”
He was unperturbed by my sarcasm. “Does Ashton know you’re pregnant?”
I truly thought this man was mad. If it weren’t for his mother, I would’ve torn him up into pieces. “Of course, the baby is his. If he doesn’t, who else should?
He smiled creepily and was giving me a spine-chilling stare. I couldn’t sit there any further, just as I was about to stand up and leave.
His mother came in with a lovely smile carrying a bowl of soup. “Scarlett, please have more of this soup. It’s good for you. I loved it so much when I was pregnant with Armond. Try it!”
I stared at the bowl of soup placed in front of me. The fight I had with Armond had made me lost my appetite, but I could feel her attentive gaze boring into me. I couldn’t think of an excuse to reject her, so I took a small sip.
After a few more sips, I thanked her, “Thank you so much, Mrs. Murphy! It’s delicious.”
She smiled. “It’s no big deal. I can make it for you every day and ask Armond to send it to you. Please come and visit me often. Armond was busy all year round, so I didn’t have anyone to talk to. When you have your baby, my place would be all the merrier.
“Oh! Have you started planning for your wedding? Don’t forget about it.”
She then said to Armond solemnly, “You need to pay more attention to the wedding. Every parent raises their girls preciously, so you have to treat them right. Ask her directly if you’re unsure about any of the details. We have to treat her as best as we could.”
Armond nodded with a smile. “Mom, I’m not a child anymore. You don’t have to exhort me on every little thing. I’m an adult and I know these things.”
Their exchange was heartwarming. Armond’s usual dark character was nowhere to be seen. It could be their chat was taking too long, so Mrs. Murphy started to feel tired. Noticing her fatigue, Armond dragged me and said a few words to her before we left.
Not long after we got in the car, I said, “Stop here. I can get my own taxi back.”
The car showed no intention to stop. His dark eyes were focused on the road ahead, and so I repeated, “Mr. Murphy, please stop the car. I can get back myself!”
He narrowed his cold eyes at me. “It looked like you forgot the reason you’re here today.”
Anger poured through me. “Armond, do you know how disgusting you’re acting right now? You called me here and threatened me to follow your instruction if I wanted to know the way to save my daughter. I did exactly as you asked, and now you’re not stopping the car when I’m asking you nicely. You don’t know how every moment I spent with you was torture to me. If you didn’t intend to tell me about the information from the start, just say so! You don’t have to act in such a roundabout way.”
He just stared at me. I knew my words were cruel and hurtful, but I really couldn’t deal with him for a day longer.
Silence lingered in the air. The cool air had turned chilly. I thought he would get angry and chased me out of his car or punch me in the face.
However, I didn’t think that he would just look at me calmly and said, “The person who could save your daughter is in A City. Take this and go find the person according to the address on it.”
On his outstretched palm laid a business card. I took the card without much thought. “Stop the car. I want to get off here!”
He stopped the car by the roadside. I tried to open the door but realized he didn’t unlock it. He said when I glared at him, “Initially, I wanted you to have a miscarriage because the baby came at such a bad time, but it seemed that my mother really loves the baby. She had started knitting clothes for the baby, so now you can have the baby. My mother would take good care of it.”
In love, never say never chapter 970
“You are crazy!” I shouted. I didn’t want to listen to anything he said because he was too loathsome. Every word out of his mouth was like a thorn pricking me. “I want to get off right now, and this baby has nothing to do with you!”
He smiled faintly with warmth in his gaze. “Tell Ashton that I will take care of both you and the baby for him.”
“You are a psycho!” This man was really out of his mind.
He finally unlocked the door. I swiftly got off the car, not wanting to stay there for even a second longer.
I walked in the opposite direction and called Ashton. Ashton had picked up the call immediately after it was connected. “Ashton!”
He said, “I’m behind you.”
I reflexively turned my head and saw a black Bentley following me. I then realized that it was Ashton’s car.
He continued coldly, “It’s cold outside. Let’s talk after you get in.”
Based on my years of experience with Ashton, I knew he was in a bad mood. I hung up the phone and got in the car. The interior of the car was warm, but the atmosphere was chilly.
After I buckled in, I let out a breath and said to Ashton, “When did you get here?”
He glanced at me with rage burning in his eyes. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
I was taken aback by his question. “What?” I didn’t understand what he meant. As soon as the word was out of my mouth, his anger spiked.
He interrogated with a dark look, “Are you going to keep pretending? Don’t you know the kind of person Armond is? How could you not know the reason he’s looking for you? Scarlett, I thought we are completely honest with each other. Why didn’t you tell me about Armond?”
It seemed that he saw me got off Armond’s car, but wasn’t it too coincidental for him to appear right as I was getting off Armond’s car in a city so big? Unless…
I frowned. “When did you get here?”
His eyes glinted with disappointment as he stared at me. “And all you’re concerned about is when I got here?”
I shook my head. “No. Ashton, I know we’re husband and wife, and there shouldn’t be any secrets between us, but we’re also individuals. In short, I have my plans and thought that may be different from yours. Even though I know Armond is not a good person and is unreliable, this doesn’t mean anything now. I have my reason for meeting him, so please believe me.”
His brows knitted into a frown at my explanation.
Shortly after, he kept his frustration in check and replied, “Alright, I respect you. Tell me when you’re ready.”
He started the car and focused on driving. He didn’t glance at me even once. He was acting like a child.
His expression remained dark even after we arrived at the company. He entered the company in silence and didn’t spare a glance in my direction.
I followed him, slightly embarrassed. There were many people around, and they looked surprised when they saw me walking behind Ashton.
Arriving at the VIP elevator, the door closed right after he went in. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to enter, but I couldn’t catch up to him.
I was bewildered as the elevator doors closed right in front of me. I was thoroughly embarrassed as I felt the stares and heard the whispers from those around me.
“Did Mr. Fuller fought with Mrs. Fuller? He just left her there. I have second-hand embarrassment from watching her.”
“I thought Mr. Fuller was only cold towards the employees, but he was even cold towards his wife. It looks like it wasn’t easy being a rich man’s wife.”
“What did you expect then? Those rich men could pick any girls they want. If they wanted to marry, wouldn’t they want to marry a beautiful maid willing to coax, flatter, and take care of them? There’s no love among the rich. All they want is a comfortable life and someone to please them.”
“You’re right. It was just like those series that occurred in the Georgian era in which the queen didn’t have any say in front of the king. We have finally reached an era of gender equality, but it doesn’t mean anything in the eyes of the rich.”
I stood there waiting for them to finish. We shouldn’t underestimate gossip between women. They could even refer to soap operas that took place in the Georgian era. Even I felt miserable for myself, listening to their comparison. It looked like I was merely Ashton’s trophy wife in their eyes.
The VIP elevator was operated by facial recognition technology, without Ashton, I could only take the normal elevator. As the women reached my side, they finally stopped gossiping.