Joe stopped smiling and turned to Rebecca. “Stay out of this, Rebecca.”
“Why should I? Everyone agreed to this rule when Parker was here. I was there too. Why should I stay out of this?”
“But the rule didn’t say anything about sticking your nose into this. Don’t you know that, Rebecca?” Jared finally spoke. His gaze was cold and also impatient. Rebecca was stunned before tears started to stream down her face.
I was starting to get impatient. “I don’t know how you guys agreed to the rule, but I accept your apology. Thanks for the treat, and there’s no need for the wine. You’ve apologized, and that’s good enough.” I paused for a moment. “Everyone settles their matter differently. You have your way, and I have mine. Do away with the wine.”
Joe was flabbergasted, and he cast a confused look at Ashton.
Ashton, who had kept quiet all the while, finally stood up and looked at Joe. “We’ll go with Scarlett’s way. It’s getting late, and she’s exhausted. We’ll be leaving now.”
He was going to take me away when Rebecca stopped us and glared at us with tear-filled eyes. To be precise, she was looking at Ashton. “You can’t just break the rule Parker made whenever you want. Do you think this woman is more important than our decades of friendship?”
An angry frown creased Ashton’s forehead. “This woman is my wife.”
Rebecca sneered. “So what? That doesn’t give her a free pass to break every rule.”
Hearing that, I felt the urge to laugh. “Ms. Larson, I’ve heard of how you used your own brother for your own gains. Frankly, if you were to write it all down, you could probably start an online novel filled with drama. I don’t care what the reasons were behind this inhumane rule, but Ms. Larson, let’s stop for a moment and think. You guys were just twenty-year-old kids back then. I can understand why this rule was made in a fit of impulse, but for Pete’s sake, do you think it’s still relevant now?”
I took a deep breath. “Everyone’s in their thirties now, for god’s sake. Doesn’t matter how healthy they are, ten glasses of alcohol is going to hurt. Not to mention they’ve been pulling all-nighters lately for the company. Their bodies are at their limits. If you’re going to force them into drinking all ten glasses, Joe might just end up dead like your brother. Is that how much you value your friendship?”
Rebecca paled, then her face turned red with anger. Her chest heaved, and she glowered. “That’s sophism! You’re leaving because you’re too arrogant to accept his apology!”
There were times when I thought Rebecca might be a five-year-old. Every word she uttered and the way her thought worked was like a child’s.
I looked at her for a moment before turning to Joe. “Honestly, you’re a good guy, Joe. You know right from wrong. Ashton’s my husband, and since he sees you as his brother, then by extension, you’re my brother too. I won’t argue with you just because of some childish insults. Naturally, I won’t get between you and Ashton. I accept your apology, and you don’t have to drink the wine. It’s precisely because you’re family that I don’t want you to kill yourself over some stupid rule.”
Then, I took Ashton’s hand and left the room. The moment I got into the car, I flung his hand away and glared at him. “Did you bring me here just to annoy me?” I wouldn’t have come if I had known Rebecca was present.
He pursed his lips in resignation. “I was with you the whole time. I couldn’t have known about this.”
Even so, I was still irked. “Go back on your own.” With that, I went into the car and left without him. I looked at the rear-view mirror and saw him slapping his forehead lightly.
The moment I stopped my car at the villa, I saw Sally standing at the doorstep. She was wearing a jacket. When she looked behind me and didn’t see Ashton, Sally looked at me. “Got some time? Let’s talk.”
I shrugged. “About what?”
I laughed. “Haven’t you had enough fun bringing Rebecca in?”
She frowned. “I just want to do something that can benefit both of us. If we can live in harmony, I won’t do anything to your marriage and family.”
“Ah, so in other words, if I refuse to work with you, you’d ruin my marriage and family, is that it?” I went past her and entered the living room. Molly and Mrs. Eriksen weren’t there. She must have made sure they aren’t in.
She flicked her hair and drawled, “Let’s get back to the matter at hand. I don’t really like Rebecca, to tell you the truth. Honestly, I’d like to be your friend, not your enemy.”
I smiled. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, Ms. Fuller. You’re a visionary, so to speak. I don’t think someone like me can be your friend.” One of the most terrifying things in the world was to be friends with someone who only cared about profit.
She arched her eyebrow. “That’s just how human nature works. You’ll get it once you’re my age.”