A light smile touched upon Rachel’s lips. If she could get back half the shares that were rightfully hers, then she wouldn’t have dropped by the house for nothing. As for the remaining half, she was sure it would only be a matter of time before she got them back as well. Laughing, she said, “Well, Shirl and I are sisters, so there’s no need for her to thank me.”
Vivian was in a delicate state as it was, and for her to sit through the banquet was no easy feat. Now that she had seen her oldest granddaughter, who had gone missing for over four years, the old woman could feel the knot in her stomach loosen. For a moment, it was as if the tension and unease that had seized her over the years went out of her at once, and she felt the urge to collapse in her seat.
She coughed, then said in clear tones, “Butler, have them execute the agreement for the transfer of shares right now.” These days, she could barely hold herself together, and she could go into the light at any given moment. As such, Vivian vowed to clean up the mess and straighten things out in the Yates Family before she left this world for good.
“Grandma, surely there’s no need to rush through this,” Shirley exclaimed, displeased with how things were turning out. “It wouldn’t make a difference if we were to sign the agreement tomorrow.”
Miranda agreed anxiously, “That’s right, Mom. The formalities can wait until some other day. It’s your birthday today, and we can talk about the shares tomorrow.”
Vivian frowned, and she was about to say something in objection when a cold and crisp voice sounded from the dining room entryway. “What are we talking about here? Something interesting happened?”
The tall and straight silhouette of a man brushed into the dining room. He wore a black tailored suit, and when he approached the table, he carried himself the same – way a king would-imperious and intimidating. He also had a face that looked like it had been carved by the heavens, and there was no flaw in his features, no matter the angle,
Shirley’s eyes lit up when she saw him walk in, and disbelief colored her face. Jordan actually came..
It was Vivian’s birthday today, and Shirley had invited him over the phone out of courtesy. He never showed up to any of the Yates’ events in the last four years, even if she invited him, so she didn’t have high hopes that this birthday banquet would be any different. But much to her surprise, he showed up. Jordan actually showed up!
She could barely hide her excitement as she skittered over in her stilettos to greet him. “Jordan, you should have called before you dropped by! We would have waited
Jordan was unfazed as he said sardonically, “I was just passing by the area, and I decided to drop by to wish Old Madam Yates a happy birthday. I brought a selection of fine tea leaves for you, Old Madam Yates; I hope you like them.” With that, he placed the delicately wrapped gift box he was holding in front of Vivian.
Vivian knew that the Fords were of a different elite class, so she didn’t mind his standoffish demeanor at all. She turned to the maids and asked that they set a place for Jordan at the table.
Jordan sat down without further prompting, much to Francis and Miranda’s elation. In the four years since he became affiliated with the Yates, he had never stepped foot into the Yates Residence, much less had a meal here.
Now that he was here at the dining table, everyone wondered if it meant he was ready to pop the question and make an honest woman out of Shirley. The Yates were naturally ecstatic by the prospect of their marriage. If Shirley were to successfully marry into Jordan’s family, then the rest of the Yates would benefit from their alliance as well.
“Jordan, try this dish. It’s authentic, and the flavors are amazing,” Shirley said eagerly as she scooped some of the vegetables onto Jordan’s plate.
The man was indifferent as he eyed her and asked, “Clearly, you missed out on the memo that said I was a germaphobe.”
She froze, then blood rushed to her face as she stammered, “I… I’m sorry, Jordan. I was so happy that I forgot you would not share utensils.” She quickly scooped out the vegetables she had heaped onto his plate.
The strange conversation between the two made the air grow still and heavy, and everyone couldn’t help noticing their awkward behavior around one another.
As though realizing this, Jordan turned to look at Rachel and asked, “So, what were you two talking about earlier? Don’t stop on my account.”
“N-Nothing,” Shirley stammered in her denial, then shot Rachel a warning look as though to say, “Leave if you know what’s good for you.”
Alas, Shirley had been hoping for too much, for Rachel merely responded with a breezy laugh.
Rachel could tell that the Yates had, as expected, somehow managed to associate themselves with the Ford Family, though Jordan did not seem to like Shirley much. His outward rejection of Shirley only made his presence here among the Yates all the more confusing.
But none of this mattered to Rachel. All she needed to know was that the Yates could Tot risk losing face in front of Jordan, so she said cheerily, “We were just talking about the shares in the Yates Corporation. You made it just in time to be our witness.”
Jordan secmed interested. “Oh, and what will I be witnessing?”
“Rae!” Miranda interrupted before Rachel could say anything, sounding belligerent. “This is a private family matter, and there is no need for you to make us the laughingstock by telling others the details of it.”
Just then, Vivian spoke up. “Jordan is technically part of our family, so it won’t matter if he finds out about this.”
Rachel was visibly taken aback by this statement. Part of our family? What does that mean? She looked up and saw how Shirley’s eyes were practically glued to Jordan, and she wondered if there was an engagement between the two that would lead to an alliance between the Yates and the Fords.
That would explain why the Ford Family had so graciously helped the Yates when their stocks crashed on the market the other day. As it turned out, there was a much deeper relationship that ran between the two families than Rachel had expected.
Quietly, Rachel lowered her gaze and pointed out placidly, “Well, seeing as Mr. Ford is part of the family, he would make a poor witness.” If he truly was engaged to Shirley, then it went without saying that he would be on her side, and Rachel certainly didn’t want to gain an enemy by the end of the banquet.
And yet, Jordan still seemed really interested in this matter. He tapped his long and slender fingers against the table and corrected, “Actually, Old Madam Yates, that’s an inaccurate statement. I have never been part of the family, and I believe Miss Shirley would know better than to assume otherwise.”
Shirley faltered. In all the time she had been with Jordan, he always referred to her as Miss Yates. Now that he was addressing her by name, she realized with a start that Rachel had indeed returned for good and that it was Rachel who actually had that one–night stand with him.
There would come a day when Jordan would call Shirley’s bluff and reject her in a fit of repulsion. No! I can‘t let that happen! Pursing her lips, she forced a smile and said, “Grandma, I think you have the wrong idea about Jordan and I. You don’t have to say such things from now on.”
Vivian pursed her withered lips. As far as she was concerned, if her granddaughter had given birth to a man’s children, then that man ought to take her for a wife. However, the Fords were incredibly powerful, and Vivian had no way of forcing Jordan to be responsible for Shirley,
More importantly, Vivian had tried to dissuade Shirley from clinging onto Jordan
and any hopes of marrying him, but to no avail. In the end, the old woman decided to wash her hands off the matter.
Right now, Jordan was leaning into his seat as he said courteously, “Well, then, Miss Rachel, you may proceed to regale me with the details.”
Rachel had no idea what this man was implying, nor could she figure out what he was doing here. His possible friendly relations with the Yates were the only reasonable explanation for his presence here at the family’s private banquet, but if that were the case, then it wouldn’t make sense for him to humiliate Shirley several times in a row.
Maybe this is their way of getting along with each other, Rachel allowed. But whatever. It‘s not as if dwelling on this would do me any good, seeing as their love life is none of my concern.
With that in mind, she pursed her lips and began, “Mr. Ford, I believe that you’ve heard my story. You see, I supposedly died four years ago…”