The warmth of Nathaniel’s palm enveloped Christina’s small hand, instilling an inexplicable sense of security in her heart.
The two walked along the mountain road.
Not long after, Christina started to feel exhausted, and cold sweat drenched her back.
“Are you tired?”
Nathaniel noticed her pace was slowing, and she wasn’t able to keep up.
Christina shook her head slightly.
She didn’t want to say it out loud, even if she was tired.
Nathaniel had taken care of her the whole night, providing her with all the food and water.
Regardless of how fit he was, he couldn’t endure the harsh environment and conditions for so long.
Nathaniel let go of her hand, bent over, and commanded, “Get up.”
“No. You must be tired too.”
Christina was reluctant to let him carry her.
She had drunk a few mouthfuls of water earlier, but Nathaniel hadn’t taken even a single sip.
“Hurry up. We don’t have time to waste.”
Nathaniel grabbed her hands and pulled her close to his back.
She leaned against his broad back and crossed her arms around his neck.
Their bodies were tightly pressed together.
On his way in, Nathaniel had made markings on the road, so they quickly found their way out following the signs.
When they were a few kilometers from the main road, they finally met with the rescue team.
Sebastian had wanted to search for them last night, but a storm had made it impossible.
The rescue team was unfamiliar with the mountain roads, so rushing in unprepared would only increase the risk.
At dawn, they immediately went into the mountain as soon as the rain had stopped.
Unexpectedly, they encountered the couple so soon.
“Are you all right, Mr. Hadley? Are you hurt?”
Sebastian asked while offering him a bottle of water.
The first thing Nathaniel did after receiving the water was offer it to Christina, letting her gulp half the bottle of water before he finished the rest.
“I’m fine. Have you arranged the transport?”
Nathaniel wasn’t injured, but his energy was depleted, so he needed to return to the hotel to rest first.
“I’ve made all the necessary arrangements.”
Subsequently, the party swiftly exited the mountain.
Once outside, the doctor examined their conditions and treated Christina’s wounded leg.
Only then did the two return to the hotel.
After disappearing the whole night, Christina immediately called her kids upon returning to the hotel room, even before she bathed.
Lucas and Camila had stayed home and were overwrought when they couldn’t contact either of their parents.
“Mommy, where were you? Why didn’t you come home for the entire night?”
Two childish voices rang out once the call connected.
All the fatigue in Christina dissipated at that instant.
She apologized to the kids sincerely, “Mommy had too much work to attend to last night and fell asleep in the office.
Don’t be mad.
How about I treat you to some delicious pudding as compensation when I’m home?”
“That’s a promise! You better keep your word.” The two adorable children mimicked the pinky swear gesture at the camera.
“Of course. Be good and go to school. I’ll pick you up in person later. Then, we’ll go and enjoy some dessert.”
Christina lifted her little finger at the camera too, sealing the pinky promise.
“Where’s Daddy? Is he with you?”
Camila asked concernedly.
Nathaniel, standing at one side, felt contented.
Daughters care more about their fathers, after all.
At least Camila still remembers to ask about me.
Christina pointed the camera at Nathaniel.
“Your daddy’s here. He’s also tired and needs to rest, so you two be good and wait for us to come home.”
“Okay, Mommy. We’ll be good. See you in the afternoon.”
With that, the two kids sent a series of blowing kisses toward the camera.
Sweetness brimmed in Christina’s heart as she saw that.
Only after ending the call did Christina heave a sigh of relief.
She had focused the camera on her face earlier, not daring to let the children see her dirt-stained clothes so as not to worry them.
Placing down the phone, she stood up.
“I’m going to take a shower now.”
Nathaniel blocked her path and rested his hand on her slim waist, uttering gently, “You injured your leg, so it’s inconvenient for you to walk. Let me help you.”
Looking at her bandaged leg, which was indeed causing her inconvenience when moving around, she allowed him to support her to walk toward the bathroom.
Christina let go of his hand upon reaching the side of the bathtub.
When she noticed he showed no inclination to leave, she reminded him in an undertone, “You can go out now.”
Staring at her blushing face and demure appearance, he couldn’t help but tease her, “Your leg is wounded, so it’ll be inconvenient for you to undress. Shall I help you with that too?”
She frowned and smacked him on the back of his hand.
“That’s not needed, Mr. Hadley. I injured my foot, not my hand, so I can still take care of myself.
Following your logic, are you going to volunteer to help me take a shower too?”
“If that’s what you need, I won’t mind.”
“Well, I do!”
Christina’s ears turned red in self-consciousness.
Discomfort churned within her as he fixated his passionate gaze on her, prompting her to stretch out her hand to cover his eyes.
“Stop looking! Don’t you feel embarrassed!”
He’s staring at me so brazenly! Nathaniel clasped her waist before pulling her close, resting his forehead on hers and enchanting her with the dark abyss that was his eyes.
“Why should I be embarrassed for looking at my possession?”
“I’m a person, not an item. When will you change your arrogant attitude, Nathaniel?”
He raised his head and slightly lifted hers so his lips could touch hers.
“Will you stay by my side and stop running away?”
His voice was filled with the utmost tenderness.
Sensing her silence, he leaned closer to her.
“Even if you escape to the ends of the earth, I will still pursue you. Therefore, instead of wasting your energy, why don’t you just stay by my side compliantly?”
“Nathaniel, why do your pleas of asking someone to stay sound more like a threat?”
Christina was both amused and exasperated.
He’s obviously the one doing all he can to keep me by his side, yet it sounds like I’m the ungrateful one.
Nathaniel murmured, “Stop being mad. I promise you I’ll listen to all you say.”
“Will you really do that?” Christina snorted.
J know him too well.
He’s a straightforward man.
He’ll go along with my wishes when he’s in a good mood, but he won’t be so agreeable when he’s in a foul mood.
At this moment, he’s like a fierce beast while I’m a defenseless little lamb.
No matter how you see it, I’m the one at a disadvantage.
Still, after all the ups and downs they’d faced, it was always Nathaniel who risked his life to save her when she was caught up in the most perilous situations.
Christina reckoned no one else in the world would love her in that manner—willing to protect her at the cost of his own life.
Perhaps a wild beast can also be tamed.
Why don’t I give it a try? With great effort, Nathaniel finally managed to kiss Christina.
“You could even abandon our children, so how would I dare to make you angry?” Christina sighed inwardly.
This method is indeed effective.
How could one achieve one’s goal without going all out? “At least you’re wise enough to consider the greater good.
In that case, we’ve reached a consensus, then.
You’re not allowed to throw a tantrum whenever you please from now on.
We need to communicate properly.”
“Yes, I promise.”
He kissed her as he spoke.
“Can we bathe now? I’m covered in sweat.”
“Be careful. My foot can’t get wet—”
Before she could finish her sentence, he savagely ripped her clothes off.