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The Enticing CEO's Chosen Bride novel Chapter 2134

The conversation they had tried to forget inevitably surged back to the forefront. However, regardless of what they said, Noah never seemed to mind.

And Ella? She paid them no mind either.

In the days that followed, Ella no longer stayed cooped up at home. She began joining Noah for lunch at his office, sometimes spending the entire afternoon there. They would leave together in the evenings, occasionally dining out at some cozy restaurant or catching a movie, or simply heading straight home.

It was all out in the open, no attempt to hide it, until the day Rebecca's call came in.

Paul had been trying to meet up with Ella almost every day, and after hanging up with Rebecca, Ella agreed to see him.

That morning, Ella had strolled through the mall, picking up a tie for Noah, and on a whim, a matching tie clip.d2

Ella and Paul had agreed to meet at the rooftop restaurant of the mall. When Paul saw her, Ella noticed an immediate release of tension in his demeanor. She knew Paul was still worried about her, and a wave of guilt washed over her. Her heart, which she had thought was hardened enough, showed its cracks.

They ordered their meals, but neither ate much.

"So, is this how things are going to be?" Paul finally broached the subject when Ella put down her fork.

Ella's face was calm, "Regardless of what happens, I'm sorry. Paul, I can’t be with you. You're a wonderful guy, and I seriously considered our future once. But now, I don’t deserve you, and you deserve someone better."

"So what do you mean by 'regardless of what happens'?"

Ella paused.

"Aren't you and Noah decided on being together? Isn't it just going to be the two of you in the end? Why speak like that? Ella, what are you thinking?"

Ella stared at Paul, taken aback by his approach. His cold expression wasn't because she had chosen another man over him, nor did he seem to hold onto the humiliation he'd felt because of her. "There's no need for apologies. I'm not the type to cling to what I can't have. I liked you, tried for you, and I gave it my all. Even if you never felt the same, I've no regrets. It's just an unrequited love that I'll get over eventually. If you don't love me, but you're with me out of guilt or to escape him, I doubt I'd truly be happy. I might not mind now, but who's to say I won't mind in the future?"

"But what about you, Ella? What's going on in your mind?"

Ella listened to him, gratitude filling her, but she still shook her head in response to his question, "No..."

"I expected to see a confident and happy you today, someone who's thrown caution to the wind. But clearly, that's not the case."

"I can't just be indifferent, Paul. I can't be ungrateful. I had nothing, and the Tretton family gave me everything. I want to live happily with what I love too, but I can't be so ungrateful. We can't escape society's judgments, and for the Tretton family, their reputation is defined by others.

“How many people are watching over the Tretton family for society? If the Tretton family suffers the slightest because of me, I couldn't live with myself.

“And it's not just the Tretton family, but you, the Reeves family, and Rebecca. Paul, this notion of true love above all has its conditions. Rebecca has been engaged to my uncle for four years, so how can I accept this relationship with a clear conscience?"

Overwhelmed by her own considerations, Ella felt suffocated. Once Ella started speaking, the words poured out uncontrollably. Her voice trembling, Ella was soon in tears.

Clutching her chest, the pain almost choking her, she asked, "Paul, what should we do?" In her mind, the path between her and Noah led only to a dead end.

Her anguish was palpable, and as Paul witnessed her present state, his own heart clenched. "Ella, why overthink it? Life is full of choices. If Noah is willing to do this, then he's not concerned about what he'll lose. It’s just a temporary impact. As for the Minton family, I doubt they'd let Noah drag out an engagement for four years without good reason. Maybe there's more between him and the Minton family, or him and Rebecca."

Ella shook her head, "Paul, you don't have to comfort me. What if I hadn't come back?"

Paul pressed his lips together, frowning, and stayed silent.

"They would get married anyway."

His brows furrowed, Paul handed her a tissue and said, "It doesn't necessarily mean they will. What I said wasn't just to comfort you. You may not believe it, but you can't completely dismiss it either. It's best to clarify things. Even if all the issues are as you suspect, why not be selfish just once? The world has plenty of villains; one more won't make a difference."

Ella bit her lip and said nothing. How could she take seriously the words of someone who cared for her when she knew she was in the wrong?

The distinction between right and wrong was clear to her. It was precisely because she saw things so clearly...

Shortly afterward, Ella's phone rang. She glanced at it but didn't answer, choosing to send a text instead. After putting her phone away, she took a deep breath to compose herself and said to Paul, "I'm sorry, I have other things to attend to. Let's meet another time."

She stood up to leave, but Paul caught her wrist. He stared at something besides them, then released her, standing in front of her with a rare look of icy resolve. "So Ella, what exactly do you want to do? If you think it's wrong, why parade around with Noah like this?"

"To make a wrong turn is human. This pleasure is sinful, and I'm prepared to face the consequences."

Paul still didn't understand her intentions, but Ella had already walked past him. He turned and watched her retreating figure, but he didn't follow.

When she was out of sight, Paul closed his eyes for a moment, took a deep breath, and then walked over to a nearby seat. He looked at the girl sitting there, her gaze drifting, and asked, "Did you just record something?"

The girl's face turned a shade of crimson as she handed Paul her phone, whispering: "I... I didn't think it was a big deal."


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