Victoria had long disliked Melanie, and when she heard Melanic yelling at Christina, the anger she had barely suppressed flared up again.
“Watch your tone, Melanie.” Victoria swung her fist at the other woman as a warning. “Or do you want another beating?”
Having experienced Victoria’s wrath, Melanie shivered involuntarily as she huddled in the corner of the couch with a blanket around her.
Christina broke the tense atmosphere. Compared to Victoria’s rough methods, Christina preferred to use non-confrontational methods.
“T have given you a few days to think. You should have figured out why I had someone lock you up.”
Christina smiled lightly, but her gaze was ice-cold. “I want to know why you suddenly changed your mind and decided to cause trouble for Sebastian.”
Melanie sniffled arrogantly. “If 1 tell you, will you act as if nothing happened and let me go?”
Victoria sneered. “Have you ever seen a mistress with a happy ending?”
“I told you, my relationship with Mr. Taggart is consensual. Since I’m not forcing him to take any responsibility for me, I’m technically not his mistress,” Melanie retorted fearfully.
Hearing this, Victoria exploded in anger. “Nonsense!
Sebastian clearly doesn’t know you. You used despicable means to manipulate him. Consensual relationship? Bullsh*t! Are you not ashamed of what you said?”
Besides being Victoria’s rival, Melanie was nothing more than a shameless woman trying to get into bed with Sebastian. In the face of such a vixen, Victoria’s years of good upbringing collapsed at this moment.
If it weren’t for Christina watching by the side, Melanie wouldn’t have been so lucky. She wouldn’t be able to taunt Victoria while wrapped in a blanket and enjoying the warmth.
Although Melanie was a prisoner, she still held her head high and stubbornly declared, “Although you’re dating Mr. Taggart, you’re not even willing to acknowledge him officially. How are you fit to compete with me? It’s evident enough that the Lesleys look down on Mr. Taggart’s background. Just look at the recent scandals exposing your relationship. The Lesleys clearly consider your relationship a disgrace!”
The air seemed to freeze.
Christina’s hand connected with Melanie’s cheek in a resounding slap, her face remaining impassive.
Victoria stood frozen, her eyes wide with shock, taking a moment to process what had just happened.
Meanwhile, Melanie covered her burning cheek and glared at Christina angrily. Biting her lower lip tightly, she didn’t say a word.
“This is my house; Victoria is my guest and my friend. You need to be mindful of your boundaries.”
Christina gathered all the photos scattered on the coffee table and tossed them directly at Melanie, a display of her defiance and support for Victoria. “I had them verified. All these photos were digitally manipulated. Melanie, I’ll give you one last chance.
Who instructed you to do this?”
As Melanie touched her swollen face, she scanned the photos on the ground one by one. She replied calmly, “I want to become famous, so I found a rich person to back me up. It’s too difficult to win over Nathaniel, and I don’t want to waste this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. That’s why I approached Sebastian. He is a popular figure around Nathaniel and has been managing the entertainment company for him. If I get involved with him, I can at least have leverage over him even if I don’t succeed. I will have secured my future in this lifetime.”
With those words, Melanie cast a mocking gaze at Victoria and persisted in provoking her. “Ms. Lesley certainly has excellent taste and luck. Simply by acting like a pampered young lady, she manages to capture Mr. Taggart’s heart.” Tilting her head to the side, she directly confronted Victoria, asking, “Why don’t you enlighten me on your secrets? How about teaching me how to achieve the same?”
It was evident that Melanie was trying to humiliate Victoria.
The latter glared at Melanie with murderous intent.
“Don’t be so arrogant, Melanie Steele!”
However, Melanie simply sneered and turned to address Christina, saying, “Mrs. Hadley, I have told you everything you want to know. Considering that we both share the same surname, why don’t you let me go? Perhaps we might cross paths again with each other in the future. What do you say?”
“All right. I’ll let you go.” Christina’s response came as an utter surprise for both Victoria and Melanie.
Melanie was momentarily stunned by Christina’s unexpected reaction. Her thoughts became muddled, and she struggled to regain her composure, almost forgetting what she had intended to say.
“Christina, you can’t let her go!” Victoria gritted her teeth. “She’s just a somewhat famous internet celebrity. If she doesn’t have someone backing her up behind the scenes, she won’t have the guts to scheme against Nathaniel. This woman is definitely up to something.”
Melanie smirked. “Docs ambition count? Let’s not talk about rich, powerful, and handsome men like Nathaniel, who are rare enough. Take Mr. Taggart for example, he’s a good man who’s rather desirable.”
Victoria’s patience wore thin as Melanie continued to cross her boundaries. With a fiery glare, Victoria issued a stern warning, “Shut your mouth! If I ever hear you mention ‘Mr. Taggart’ again, I’ll make sure you never speak another word!”
Daman it! Sebastian is mine and mine only! All these problematic girls can stay away!
“Don’t be too overbearing, Ms. Lesley. Men like gentle and understanding women.” Melanie stood up as she said, “If you won’t let me pursue him, I shall still admire him. You have no right to interfere.”
She nonchalantly tossed the blanket aside and, as she walked past Christina, shot her a mocking glance, scanning her from head to toe. Her gaze lingered on Christina’s lower abdomen, and she couldn’t resist making a snide remark. “Mrs. Hadley, you’re truly a beautiful and kind-hearted woman. I have no doubt that your child will grow up to be exceptional.”
“Thank you for your kind words, Emilia Steele.”
Christina deliberately enunciated her name.
However, Melanie blinked in confusion at Christina’s remark. “Mrs. Hadley, you seem to have mistaken my name. I’m Melanic, not Emilia,” she said, tapping her temple with a smug smile. “Unlike Emilia, I’m not foolish and self-righteous.”
After that, Melanie strode off.
“Christina, why did you let her go?” Victoria wanted to chase after Melanie and drag the latter back, but Christina grabbed her wrist, preventing her from chasing after the woman.
“Don’t chase after her. Just let her go,” Christina advised, her frown deepening. “I purposely allowed her to leave. If we keep her here, I doubt we’ll be able to get any useful information from her. It’s better to strategize and find a more effective way to deal with the situation.”
Victoria sat on the couch, rubbing her temples in frustration. “But Christina, why did you suddenly call Melanie by the name ‘Emilia’? Do you suspect that she’s Emilia who’s currently missing?”
Christina nodded affirmatively. “Indeed, Melanie gives me an inexplicable sense of familiarity. Despite her physical appearance being completely different from Emilia’s, and the absence of any apparent signs of plastic surgery, there are moments where I sense traces of Emilia in her words and actions.”
During the days when Christina kept Melanie confined, she didn’t stand by idly. Instead, she invited the most renowned plastic surgeons domestically and internationally to evaluate Melanie.
The assessment from the plastic surgeons left no room for doubt—Melanie’s facial features were entirely natural, with no evidence of surgical alterations. The speculation about her wearing a hyper-realistic mask was deemed highly unlikely and improbable.
Victoria asked hesitantly, “Could it be that Melanie is Emilia’s long-lost sister?”