Chapter 686 Whoever Arrived First.
Anya maintained a confident expression, her gaze teasing as she locked eyes with Yerek. Her voice carried a hint of ambiguity as she spoke. “Now, it all depends on your performance. Your skillful seduction of Xylie with just a handkerchief was impressive. She was once Winston’s mistress, but due to her past conflicts with Christina, she was discarded by him. If we can fully exploit her resentment toward Christina, Xylie could become a valuable weapon in our hands.”
Yerek’s expression turned into one of anger as he confronted her sternly, “You were following me?”
Yerek had actually stumbled upon the scene where Winston abandoned Xylic. However, it was purely coincidental and not a result of any intentional actions on his part.
He happened to be hiding nearby and overheard their conversation, so he instantly formed a plan to use Xylie to seek revenge against Christina.
Much to his surprise, Anya had actually seen through his plan.
The woman toyed with her ring and flashed him an innocent smile. “Yerek, I didn’t intentionally eavesdrop. I just happened to be passing by and coincidentally had the same idea as you. We’re siblings, so it’s not strange to be on the same wavelength.”
On the same wavelength? Bullsh*t!
Yerek seethed with anger, but considering the bigger picture and maintaining his facade as the older brother, he chose to forgive Anya for her plot against him.
“It’s not appropriate for you to be seen by Nathaniel and Christina. Find a place to hide before the cruise ship docks. Once it does, you must disembark as soon as possible to avoid getting caught by Nathaniel’s men,” he instructed firmly.
“Well, for the remaining matters, it’s up to you, Yerek,” Anya calmly stated, acknowledging their respective roles. Acting obediently, she turned around to search for a hiding place, while Yerek prepared to manipulate Xylie for his own benefit.
Christina, accompanying Nathaniel, had been successful in securing several major projects at the international business conference. As the conference neared its end, she unexpectedly stumbled upon Bailey and Julian engaged in an argument in the lobby of the conference hall.
The two individuals found themselves embroiled in a heated dispute, cornered in a secluded area of the lobby. Bailey, determined to break free, struggled against Julian’s tight grip, their conflict intensifying. As her face flushed a scarlet hue, Bailey delivered a resounding slap across Julian’s face. Julian, his eyes filled with an intensity that could cut through steel, stared back at her, the air heavy with tension.
Seeing this, Christina quickly walked over and shielded Bailey behind her. “Julian, haven’t you caused enough harm to Bailey? You’re incessantly creating trouble for her in public. With numerous media outlets present, once this news spreads, how do you expect her to face the public?”
Despite the successful suppression of previous negative rumors surrounding Bailey and Julian, public opinion had turned against Bailey. The general consensus was that she had deliberately seduced Julian, and the majority held a negative view of her actions.
The relentless scrutiny eventually drove Bailey to seek solace overseas as she could no longer live a normal life in her old environment.
Julian spoke in a deep voice. “Mrs. Hadley, this is a private matter between Gabrielle and me. I hope you won’t interfere.”
His polite demeanor toward Christina was solely due to Nathaniel’s influence.
Gabrielle had been avoiding him for a long time, and no matter what he did, he couldn’t find her whereabouts.
Julian managed to gather information from the Cook family that Gabrielle would be representing their overseas company at the international business conference, so he made every effort to track her down.
He had finally cornered her, and he insisted on bringing her back into his life regardless of the methods he had to employ.
“Julian, Christina is a dear friend of mine. Please be mindful of your words.” Gabrielle, rising to Christina’s defense, cautioned Julian about his choice of words. “You and I have nothing left to discuss. Things between us are completely over, and it’s time for us to move on separately. I no longer wish to have any ties with you. Consider how your fiancée would feel if she were to discover that you haven’t fully let go of your past love.”
The corner of her lips curled into a mocking smile as she continued, “If I were in her position, unable to accept/someone else interfering in my relationship, I wouldn’t tolerate such a situation. That’s why I despise being involved as a third party in a relationship.”
Julian’s eyes flickered with pain. “Gabrielle, you’re not a third party in the relationship. Just give me some time, and I’ll handle everything. I won’t put you in a difficult position.”
Nevertheless, the woman’s response was cold and devoid of emotions. “I gave you a chance, but you didn’t seize it, Julian. I detest being deceived, and yet you have the audacity to ask for my forgiveness while crossing all the boundaries I had established. The future stretches out before us, and I have no idea how to face you anymore.
Finally, she said, “Julian, let’s just call it quits. Spare yourself, and spare me too.”
Suppressing her trembling voice, Gabrielle spun on her heels and left the lobby.
Worried about Gabrielle’s safety in her current emotional state, Christina told Nathaniel, “I’ll go check on Bailey. Help me keep Julian here.”
Nathaniel nodded, cautioning, “Be careful.”
“I’ll be back soon,” Christina assured him, giving him a sweet smile before hurrying after Gabrielle in the direction she had gone.
Julian felt the urge to pursue them, but Nathaniel intervened, preventing him from doing so. “Mr. Forrester, it seems that Ms. Cook has unresolved feelings toward you. Pursuing her at this moment will only make things worse. It’s wiser to wait for the opportune moment to address this matter.”
Hearing this, Julian closed his eyes in anguish as he tightened his grip around his wine glass. He raised it to his lips and took a big gulp. In a bitter voice filled with self–mockery, he said, “Nathaniel, our situations are different. You can’t fully understand how I feel…”
Meanwhile, Christina scoured the deck area until she discovered Gabrielle, who was weeping in a cluttered storage room. She approached her and knelt down, extending a clean handkerchief. “Hey, don’t cry. If someone catches us like this, they might get the wrong idea and think I’ve been mistreating you.”
Gabrielle took the handkerchief, forcefully wiped her face, and sniffled. “I thought I was finally moving on. Why does he have to show up now, Christina? What am I supposed to do?”
Despite Gabrielle’s apparent efforts to push Julian out of her life, she couldn’t deceive her heart. Deep down, she still held strong feelings for him.
Gabrielle’s supposed “letting go” was merely a cowardly way of running away from her true feelings.
Christina spoke earnestly. “Bailey, maybe you won’t like what I’m about to say, but as an outsider, I believe Julian’s feelings for you are genuine. The Forrester family’s influence is deep–rooted, and his engagement with Zeila wasn’t his choice. Perhaps you should calm down and have a serious talk with him.” D
She continued, “I understand that what I’m saying may not be what you want to hear, but when your scandal with Julian was spreading like wildfire, the public opinion was exerting far too much pressure on everyone involved. Nobody had a chance to calm down and properly address the situation.”
Gabrielle, taken aback by Christina’s defense of Julian, looked at her in astonishment. “Do you believe I should still be with Julian?”
Christina smiled faintly. “The way the Langford family and the Forrester family arranged the engagement is not based on honor. Love doesn’t always conform to a predetermined order. If Zeila can take such actions, why can’t you? Right now, Zeila is merely holding the title of Julian’s fiancée in the eyes of the public. Their marriage has no legal standing; it’s just wishful thinking of the Langford family.” D
Christina believed in these simple yet profound truths, and Gabrielle understood them as well, but the latter lacked the conviction and determination to fight for what she truly wanted.
Christina didn’t mind being the persuasive voice.
Gabrielle’s dull and lifeless world suddenly became vibrant as understanding dawned upon her.
With a sudden surge of energy, she rose to her feet. “Christina, I’m going to find Julian and have a sincere conversation with him… By the way, do you smell something peculiar in the air?”