One Night Surprise Chapter 416

Chapter 416 How Do You Make Someone Stay When They Are Intent on Leaving?

Everyone knew who Scott was actually admonishing.

Alexander rarely returned to the Duncan Residence during the past few years. Even when he did, he would only be there for dinner before he once again rushed off, his aloofness only becoming worse. At this point, even Jordan spoke more than him.

Five years ago, Alexander had gotten into a huge fight with Scott because he handed custody of Jordan to Courtney, greatly angering Scott. It was also then that Scott’s illness took hold of him. His health had been worsening by the year.

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Seeing how tightly Alexander’s forehead was screwed up, Fiona couldn’t take it anymore. “Dad, the children are all grown up now. Let them be the master of their own decisions,” she said, attempting to sway Scott.

Scott’s expression was as frigid as ever. “A family’s descendants should not ignore their elders’ wishes. If they always live their life the way they want, then doesn’t that mean that we as parents—as their elders—have raised them for nothing?”

Fiona’s expression stiffened. Judging from the look of fury on Scott’s face, she wouldn’t be able to convince him otherwise.

The sound of cutlery being dropped rang out across the table. Everyone looked in the direction of the sound and saw Alexander slowly look up. “Please, calm down. All these years, I’ve never declined to meet the women that you arranged for me,” he said calmly.

At the mention of that, Scott’s eyes widened into a bug-eyed glare. He slammed the table. “How dare you bring that up in front of me? Did any of the women you’ve met with ever keep their mouths shut about me? Are you not ashamed of what you said to them?”

“Sir.” Harry’s expression fell as he lowered his voice to remind Scott, “Miss Reid is still here. Let’s discuss Young Master Alexander’s matter another time.”

The fury already burning within Scott was forcefully extinguished by those words. He glanced at Oliver and Tessa to his right before he sat down with a stony face.

“Let’s eat.” Fiona attempted to smooth things over. “Try this: these are the dumplings I made. Tess, have some and see if they are to your liking.”

Tessa had grown even more solemn and reliable due to her years in the army. She knew about the Duncan Family’s issues very well, so she knew what she should say or do now. Picking up on Fiona’s intentions, Tessa picked up a dumpling and ate it. “Mm, this is so good. These can go toe-to-toe with my mother’s dumplings. She likes making dumplings too. Maybe you can have a competition with her one day,” she said, smiling.

“Sure, I was bored out of my mind at home anyway.”

“The same goes for my mother too, haha.”

The women’s banter managed to ease the atmosphere a little.

Since Tessa was here, Scott reined in his anger for now. However, he barely ate any of his food, and throughout the entire dinner, he sat there with a stormy expression. After a while, he excused himself to his room, saying that he felt unwell.

After Scott left, Alexander and Oliver chatted for a while, asking about their lives recently. Having exercised his duties as a responsible older brother, Alexander took Jordan and left as well.

But there’s still plenty of food left on the table. Fiona sighed.

Tessa blinked and gulped down the dumpling that she had been chewing. “Don’t beat yourself up over this, Mrs. Duncan. We’ll eat whatever they didn’t. Oliver and I love your cooking,” she comforted Fiona.

Upon hearing that, Fiona relaxed, and her lips curved up into a smile. “What a kind girl you are. You’ve seen what my father’s temper is like. He’s always antagonizing the children, except for Jordan—he treats him a lot better. Don’t mind him; he’s just anxious.”

“What’s he anxious about?” Tessa didn’t understand. “Alexander’s son is already beginning to grow into a young man; why does it matter if Alexander remains single? To me, he looks like he already has everything.”

“You don’t understand, actually.” Oliver glanced at her from the side. “Grandpa isn’t really forcing Alex to marry; he just doesn’t want Alex to lose himself in the past and never move on.”

Fiona was quiet, as though she had silently accepted this explanation.

Tessa was taken aback. “You’re talking about what happened between Alexander and Courtney?” she asked hesitantly.

Oliver nodded. “Back when Courtney left, Alex got into an argument with Grandpa because of Jordan’s custody rights. He had insisted on handing custody of Jordan to Courtney, to let her take Jordan to the US, but Grandpa didn’t agree. In order to successfully pass the rights to her, Alex even said that he would let Grandpa decide his marriage details as long as he allowed Jordan’s custody rights to be handed over.”

“No wonder Alexander mentioned something about arranged meetings with women.”

“But in the end, Jordan didn’t go with Courtney. Despite that, Grandpa held fast to the promise that Alex made. He kept setting up blind dates for Alex. I heard that every date always ended up ugly.”

“But how?” Tessa was surprised. “Alexander looks pretty decent and reliable to me.”

“How? You think my brother is as law-abiding as he looks? He’s done plenty of things by bending the rules. How else did you think Jordan came to be?” At the mention of that, Oliver looked at Fiona. “Mom, I’ve only been home a few times over the years. Just what did Alex do?”

Fiona knitted her brows. After a few seconds of silence, she explained, “When Alexander met with the women, he would straight-up admit to them that he has an eleven-year-old son. That’s not too bad, but he would also insist on a prenuptial agreement, and that they would both live separately after getting married, living their own lives. They would just be married in name. Do you think any of those women—all from families with status and power—will agree to those terms? When they went back home, they made a racket over that. Your grandfather thinks that the Duncan Family’s name is close to being tarnished completely. That’s why he exploded.”

Oliver burst into an awkward laughter. “Alex isn’t afraid of stepping on some toes.”

“He’s made several enemies, all right.” Fiona looked exasperated. “Fortunately, we Duncans are an established family. The women’s families didn’t dare to say anything even after Alexander humiliated them. But if this keeps up, people will whisper about us.”

“Let them talk. No one’s going to be happy about being forced into a decision they don’t want. I’m sure everyone can see who my brother is yearning for.”

“Who said otherwise?” Fiona’s tone had a hint of a sob in it. “It’s been more than five years since Courtney left Melrose. He hasn’t mentioned it, but everyone knows that he still isn’t willing to move on.”

“Why didn’t Alexander try to get her to stay back then?” Tessa couldn’t help but voice her question after listening to Oliver and Fiona.

So many things had happened during that short period of time that year. There was Courtney’s kidnapping by a drug dealing organization, followed by Alexander’s unrelenting efforts to save her. Later, he even got hospitalized for a month due to pneumonia. That was a good opportunity for him then. He could have easily gotten her to stay. They didn’t have to break up and go their separate ways then.

“How do you make someone stay when they’re intent on leaving?” Fiona sighed.

“You’ll never know if you don’t try. If you fail, at most, you’ll just continue to live life as it is now. But what if you succeed? Life will definitely be different then.”

“He did try.” Oliver’s voice was dull.

Tessa’s gaze stiffened as she turned to look at him.

“The reason why Alex was so insistent on handing over Jordan’s custody rights to Courtney was because he was sure he would get her to stay. Jordan is the strongest connection he has to her, and since he had raised Jordan for several years, Courtney wouldn’t have taken Jordan and vanished into thin air. She would’ve let Alex see Jordan…”

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