I did not know that someone as happy-go-lucky and playful as Julius Keaton would be upset when he discovered, on our wedding night, no less, that I was not a virgin.
To be honest, I was struck by a moment of guilt then. Had I known that this would be a big deal to him, I would have gotten a discreet procedure at the hospital. It might have preserved the harmony of our marriage.
That night, Julius seemed moody as he asked me about “the guy.” He tried to mask his emotions but failed miserably. Who would blame him? After all, I was not who he perceived to be. Looking at the devastation written on his face, I could not bring myself to utter the name buried deep in my heart. Thus, I apologized meekly instead.
Maybe it was this incident that had caused irrevocable cracks in our arranged marriage. Yet, little did I know that a more dangerous crisis would befall our already rocky marriage.
I was a comic writer. In cruder terms, I had been freelancing in the industry for many years. Though I had never gotten a significant breakthrough, I earned enough to pay the bills.
However, a call from my editor, Shannon Harper, changed my life forever.
She told me that my first work, I Only Want to Be With You, had caught the eye of Galaxy Entertainment’s CEO. They were interested in buying the rights to my comic to make a movie.
Then, she requested me to drop everything immediately and dragged myself to the VIP room on the fifth floor of the Feuilles Restaurant for a discussion.
Needless to say, any writer who received praise for their work would naturally be ecstatic… Except I wasn’t.
Not only was I not the least bit ecstatic, but I was also perplexed at their interest. Why does it have to be that particular work?
Hesitantly, I plodded toward the designated room, trying to come up with ways to reject the offer that would not end with Shannon strangling me. After years of working together, she was more like a friend to me than my editor.
I allowed myself to ponder the issue a moment longer before I pushed open the door.
The first thing that entered my sight was a set of massive floor-to-ceiling windows. Sitting before the windows was a man in a wheelchair. With his back to me, he seemed to be looking at the scenery beyond the window in intense concentration. However, he was so focused that he did not notice my arrival.
I could not explain why, but his silhouette seemed oddly familiar to me. In fact, it was a bit too familiar.
That’s weird… Have I met him before?
Cautiously, I approached him from behind and stopped when I was a respectable distance away. “Hello. Are you the one interested in obtaining the rights to my comic?”
He froze at the sound of my voice. Gradually, he turned around to face me.
The careful smile on my face froze when I saw who he was. I could feel the blood rushing to my brain through my veins, giving me a numbing sensation.
And why wouldn’t I, when my whole world was about to be turned upside down?
“What’s with your expression? Have you forgotten an old friend? Let me introduce myself again, then. Hi, I’m Dominic Hartnell, and I’m back.”
Dominic Hartnell. The name that lurked in the depths of my heart, and the very same one that I could not tell Julius on our wedding night.
It was impossible to imagine that he would reappear before me like this after five years.
I stared at him, frozen like a statue, seeming to have lost all ability of speech. My gaze then traveled on its own accord to his lower body. It took a Herculean effort, but I managed to eke out, “Your l-legs…”
An indifferent smile appeared on his face as he patted his legs. “It’s fine. Nothing more than sitting in a wheelchair.”
His nonchalance was a jarring contrast to his unambitious demeanor five years back.
Still, I could not control the sadness that seeped into my being. I approached him before asking tearfully, “What happened?”
He stared back at me in a daze. Before I could react, his arms had reached out to pull me into a hug. His rich and magnetic baritone reached my ears, drawing me into a trance.
“T-this… You don’t need to know about this. All you need to know is that your life is about to change now that I’m back.”
I realized with a jolt that I was here because of Galaxy Entertainment’s interest in acquiring the rights to my work. If that’s the case… Is he back to seek revenge on me?