Chapter 495 Gifts
In an attempt to alleviate the awkwardness, Christina chimed in, “Ah, I wasn’t aware that you preferred to be addressed as ‘Mrs. Lazuli. Should I start calling you that as well?”
Azure grinned, playfully and gently tapping her granddaughter’s nose. “Don’t be such a tease.”
Worried that her grandmother would continue giving Nathaniel a hard time, she released Nathaniel’s hand and instead linked arms with Azure, guiding her inside the house. “Let’s go inside and have dinner. I’m famished.”
Nathaniel retrieved several bags of gifts from the trunk of the car before joining them and making his way inside.
Upon entering the residence, Christina couldn’t help but notice a few unfamiliar faces. They were dressed to the nines, and their gazes were filled with scrutiny when they saw her.
She whispered into Azure’s ear, “Grandma, did you invite them here?”
Grandma didn’t mention that there would be this many guests when we were on the phone earlier.
Azure replied softly, “Yes, I did. These are your relatives. They heard that I found my biological granddaughter and expressed their interest in meeting you.”
Many of them knew of Christina’s existence and had long since wanted to meet her.
Christina forced an awkward smile onto her lips. At that moment, she looked like a helpless child who was meeting her relatives for the first time.
A housekeeper approached Nathaniel and offered to take the bags from him. With a smile, she remarked, “Mr. Hadley, how courteous of you. The gifts you brought seem to be quite heavy.”
Azure settled herself on the couch, expressing her disapproval with a scoff. “Hmph. We don’t have space to store such gifts here. Leave them here for now, and he can take them back when they leave.”
Despite the presence of numerous relatives in the hall, Azure did not bother to hold back with her words. It was apparent that she wasn’t planning on showing Nathaniel any respect.
Naturally, Azure was well aware that her words would provoke Nathaniel and fuel his anger. She could not be happier than to watch him lose his temper, as it would provide her with a valid reason to urge Christina to leave him.
Hence, she waited patiently for his reaction.
On the other hand, Christina’s face flushed with a mix of embarrassment and discomfort. She found herself caught in the middle, torn between her loyalty to Nathaniel and her family ties with Azure.
I have no idea what to do if a confrontation breaks out between Nathaniel and Grandma. Given his temper, he wouldn’t sit back and allow these remarks to slide.
At that thought, Christina cast a worried glance at the man.
Fortunately, Nathaniel remained composed as he stood beside Christina. It was as if Azure’s words had no
power to affect or hurt him.
Without a change in his expression, he uttered flatly, “I apologize if my gifts are not to your liking, Mrs. Lazuli. However, since I have already brought them here and you find them displeasing, perhaps you can distribute them among the relatives who are present today.”
He was not the type of person who would take back his gifts once they had been given.
Everyone present instantly recognized Nathaniel when he entered and was well aware of his status as the CEO of Hadley Corporation. Thus, they held the belief that any gifts presented by him would undoubtedly be of the highest quality.
Christina shared the same sentiments as he did. Since they had already brought the gifts, it wouldn’t be right to retract them.
She turned toward the butler and said, “Please unpack the gifts and arrange them on a table for everyone to see. If any of our guests are interested, they are welcome to take them. Is that all right with you, Grandma?”
Azure scoffed, her gaze and tone filled with disdain. “Very well. Though I’m afraid that the housekeepers would be burdened with the tedious task of repacking them later. It would be such a waste of time and energy.”
Christina merely smiled at her grandmother’s words before shooting a look at the butler, silently conveying her instructions.
The butler called over a few housekeepers to help. They then took out the gifts and placed them on the table one by one, per Christina’s orders.
As the housekeepers unveiled the gifts, revealing the exquisite contents within, a sense of astonishment filled the grand hall. The room fell silent as eyes widened in awe. The assortment of presents included luxurious emerald bracelets, dazzling diamond brooches, elegant pearl necklaces, high–quality supplements, delicacies like abalones and sea cucumbers, as well as branded stationery.
Nathaniel had prepared everything.
Even Christina was taken aback by the sheer extravagance of the gifts. She was not expecting such a grand gesture, considering the limited preparation time, but Nathaniel’s thoughtfulness and attention to detail surpassed her expectations.
A few individuals eagerly rose from their seats, their eyes gleaming with excitement as they hastened toward the display of gifts. One of them couldn’t help but comment with admiration, “Mr. Hadley, your generosity knows no bounds. Your dedication to your wife and her family is truly remarkable.”
“These pearl earrings are so pretty! I want them!”
“I want that diamond necklace!”
“Give that to me!”
“Hey! I took it first!”
In the beginning, a sense of mutual respect permeated the air as the guests gracefully passed the gifts amongst themselves. However, as time wore on, the guests were filled with apprehension and anxiety,
fearing that the items they coveted would be taken away. The atmosphere became increasingly fraught with tension, transforming the once cordial gathering into a scene of fervent disputes and heated arguments, as everyone vied to secure their desired gifts.
Before long, all of the lavish gifts on the table were dispersed among the guests, leaving behind only a set of art paper and a set of stationery.
Anya had anticipated witnessing Nathaniel’s embarrassment, but to her surprise, the relatives did not comply with her expectations. Instead, they eagerly seized every gift Nathaniel had presented.
Anya’s face turned gloomy, contrasting sharply with the gleeful and satisfied expressions of the other
Azure noticed the remaining things on the table and went to take a look. After thorough observation, she exclaimed in surprise, “Are these from Yarley Bookstore?”
“Yes,” came Nathaniel’s indifferent response.
Anya’s laughter echoed through the room, her tone filled with mockery. She seemed to have found an opportunity to undermine Nathaniel as she fired back, “Are you trying to deceive us with knockoffs? Yarley Bookstore only produces its items four times a year, and pre–orders must be placed a month in advance. Did you really have enough time to arrange these gifts?”
The art papers produced by Yarley Bookstore were renowned for their exceptional quality. Manufactured using traditional methods, each paper went through numerous meticulous steps, resulting in a product of great value.
If one were not a seasoned artist, one would purchase such costly materials. Even if one did purchase the art papers, the thought of parting with them would be inconceivable.
Thus, fueled by her skepticism, Anya remained confident in her belief that the art papers on the table were nothing more than cheap imitations.
Hearing this, the relatives who had eagerly claimed the gifts from the table began inspecting their newfound possessions with a mix of panic and worry, doubt creeping into their minds as they questioned the authenticity of the gifts.
Christina, too, was panic–stricken. Her mind raced as she sought a way to defend Nathaniel and salvage the situation.
On the other hand, Nathaniel remained as calm as a millpond, his expression unchanging as he turned a deaf ear to Anya’s accusations.
Azure’s finger glided across the art paper as she took note of the familiar texture. Indeed, the papers resembled the ones she usually used.
Immediately after, she took hold of the remaining items on the table and handed them over to the butler, instructing him to put them away. “These are indeed genuine,” she remarked. “I must say, I’m quite surprised you were able to acquire such rare items.”
Anya’s earlier suspicion echoed in Azure’s mind. The art papers do need to be pre–ordered in advance. Did he begin preparing the gifts a month ago?
At that realization, Azure’s gaze fixated on Nathaniel with a mixture of surprise and disbelief.
The man could not be bothered to explain himself, and his commanding presence silenced any doubts or objections regarding the authenticity of his gifts.
After the ordeal, the family members engaged in a brief conversation before eventually taking their leave. It was close to eight at night when the remaining people relocated to the dining room.
Everyone settled into their seats at the dining table, with Lucas and Camila sitting on either side of Azure. The housekeepers then served steaming plates of freshly cooked pasta to each person at the table.
Nathaniel dined with elegance, but his composure faltered after he took a few bites of the pasta. A sudden spiciness and lingering pain assaulted his taste buds, leaving him puzzled.
Upon closer inspection, he realized that there were finely–chopped ghost peppers mixed into his plate of pasta.
The ghost peppers shared the same hue as tomatoes, effectively camouflaging the unexpected heat. It was only after a few bites that Nathaniel’s throat began to burn.