Alexander moved so quickly that Sophia didn’t have time to react. He kissed her roughly and with a strange urgency, almost as if he couldn’t wait to swallow her whole.
Sophia was taken by surprise but quickly came to her senses and shoved him away harshly. She then snapped, “What’s wrong with you?”
“You always hated it when I did this, but this is the last time I’m doing it. I won’t do that again, Sophia,” he replied.
The corners of his eyes reddened as he spoke.
Sophia’s heart tightened, and she felt a lump in her throat the moment she heard those words.
What’s wrong with him? He has a new girlfriend, so why is he acting as if he loves me deeply? Does he take me as a fool?
Alexander swallowed the sadness before he forced the words out unwillingly. “I wish you happiness too.”
In actual fact, he did not mean anything he said at all. However, he was a man of his word, and she had wanted to have a clean break with him.
Perhaps it wouldn’t be long before he would hear news about her marriage with Lukas.
He had done his own investigations into Lukas. Although he felt that the man was nothing compared to himself, Alexander still had to admit that Lukas was indeed a decent man.
After all these years, there were no rumors or scandals about the man. He came from a good family, and every single soul in the Dawson family was decent. None of them was as inhumane as Kristen and himself.
Over the past several days, he had asked several others about the three years that concerned Sophia. His hope dwindled with each piece of information he heard of.
Alexander was finally able to understand why Sophia was determined to leave him. For those three full years, not only had he thoroughly eroded whatever love she had for him, but he had also belittled her character and self-esteem.
There was no way he could just utter a simple apology to her and hope she would return to him as he wished. Things just didn’t work that smoothly in the real world.
If I were Sophia, I would only hate the man more.
Whatever remaining sliver of affection and love she had had for him had now evolved into mere tolerance. With that, there was no longer any chance of her getting back together with him.
Even if he now understood where he had gone wrong and all the mistakes he had made, it all meant nothing in the here and now.
Sophia froze, but she recovered in the next second and replied, “Thank you.”
After more than a year, they had finally achieved true reconciliation. Sophia guessed that perhaps it wouldn’t be long from now before he would marry Clara. She thought that Clara was not bad. At the very least, Clara came across as a decent woman who could still greet Alexander’s ex-wife with a genuine smile.
No matter how much hatred and resentment Sophia had for Alexander, she still wished for nothing but the best for him. After all, Alexander was the man whom she had loved for almost ten years.
She bit her lower lip before she retracted her gaze and stepped away. With her bag and thermos in hand, she declared, “I’m heading off.”
Alexander didn’t respond. Instead, he continued to stand stiffly on the stage as he watched her walk away from him. The scene reminded him of the day she had come over to hand him their divorce papers.
As those thoughts crossed his mind, Alexander suddenly felt a sharp throbbing pain spread across his chest. He couldn’t help but clutch desperately at his chest in the hopes that it would help alleviate some of the pain he felt.
Sophia pulled the door open and saw Samuel sprawled suspiciously on the door.
She eyed him impassively as she asked, “What did you manage to overhear, Mr. Schild?”
Samuel’s face flushed red, and his heart started beating exponentially faster in response to Sophia’s mockery. He asked, “You’re done so soon? It’s only been just over ten minutes.”
Sophia scoffed and remarked, “Please feel free to head in to have a longer bout with Alexander, Mr. Schild.”
Samuel knew he could never beat Alexander even in his wildest dreams, but he didn’t know how to respond. After an awkward pause, he asked, “Shall we get dinner together?”
“No, thanks,” she replied.
With that, she turned away and strode off without so much as a glance back.
Behind her, Samuel still hadn’t given up. He yelled out after her, “Hey! Silk Stream is about to start filming. Aren’t you coming for the opening?”
“I’ll think about it when the day comes,” she replied.
Even as he took in Sophia’s retreating figure, Samuel knew there was nothing he could do and had no choice but to head back helplessly.
No sooner had he entered the boxing room did he feel the intense and overwhelming atmosphere that permeated the place.
Samuel shot a glance at Alexander, who was still located by the stage. However, he was now seated on its edge, and his head was lowered as he stayed silent and forlorn.
“What happened here? Why do I have this feeling that you seem more depressed and sullen than before?” asked Samuel.
Alexander didn’t even bother to raise his head. At this point, he simply didn’t have the mood or energy to deal with Samuel.
However, Samuel was even more intrigued and curious after noticing the way Alexander responded. He probed further and asked, “Hang on… Sophia was the one who took the initiative to meet you for a match. Didn’t anything happen between the two of you?”
Alexander couldn’t resist the urge any longer. He raised his head and stared at Samuel as he asked, “Ten minutes. That’s all we had. What did you think could have happened?”
“Anything is possible as long as you put your mind to it!” exclaimed Samuel.
The outburst momentarily caught Samuel by surprise, but he quickly recovered and replied, “Don’t be mistaken! I’m not saying that you couldn’t do it. I swear on everything I hold dear that my thoughts didn’t go there at all. I’m a real gentleman, you know? All I was alluding to was merely some hugs and kisses or maybe some skinship…”
It would certainly have been better if Samuel had kept his silence. The second he finished speaking, Alexander kicked him away and bellowed, “Can you be a good man and get lost?”
Samuel prepared himself to throw in a retort, but his gaze happened to fall on Alexander’s face. Surprised by what he saw, he paused and stated, “All right! I’ll leave!”
Why’s he crying over such a small matter like this?
Before he stepped out of the space, in his infinite consideration, Samuel gently helped Alexander close the door behind him.
Now that the noisy and loud-mouthed Samuel had left the boxing room, the entire place instantly became deathly silent. Alexander fell backward and collapsed on the training mat as he closed his eyes and thought about all the times he had seen Sophia in the past several years.
The first time they met, he was twenty-one, and she had come over to Jadeborough to take part in a competition. Back then, he had been feeling utterly horrible when he suddenly chanced upon the scene of a young, gullible fool being conned by an elderly woman. Although he wasn’t the most kind-hearted of people, he had felt a strong urge to hit someone at the time and thus decided to tail the pair. Just as Sophia had been about to be dragged into a vehicle, he jumped in and pulled her out before he proceeded to vent his frustrations on the two men involved.
Before he left, Sophia had asked him what his name was, but he had walked off for a moment before he finally revealed it. However, this particular incident was one that he had long forgotten, and so he had not recalled who she was when he met her again after that. As such, he had always thought that the first time they formally met had been when she was discussing terms with him in the hospital.
On that fateful day, he had asked her what she wanted as a reward or recompense for her efforts. He had been willing to spare any amount of money. Even though his relationship with Kristen wasn’t that great at the time, it still hadn’t gotten so bad to the point that they had fallen out. The terms and conditions Sophia had raised quickly escalated. Initially, she had asked for money, but a million rapidly inflated to a hundred million until she finally asked to marry him.
All he saw at that moment when he looked into her big eyes was the greed that resided within. However, now that he looked back on that encounter, he realized that Sophia’s eyes had sparkled with affection when she looked at him.
He had never considered marriage in the first place. However, Kristen had been annoying him without end, and so he had reckoned he might as well marry Sophia instead of putting up with the ladies Kristen had prepared for him. After all, he had rationalized that marrying Sophia would allow him to kill two birds with a single stone. Not only would he have a Mrs. Xenos to prevent other ladies from targeting him, but he could also upset Kristen by marrying Sophia.
He remembered that Sophia had come over to find him countless times during their three years of marriage. She had insisted that they were a married couple. However, in response, he had only told her to learn her place. Perhaps that was the moment when her love for him had started fading away. Gradually, she had stopped looking him up and eventually proposed to have a divorce. Alexander vividly remembered how he had assumed that she was merely trying to pull tricks on him and that it was just another trick of hers. As such, he hadn’t thought too much about that.
However, they really did get a divorce after that. To Alexander’s surprise, Sophia hadn’t asked for anything from the divorce. In a matter of seconds, she had transformed into a person he couldn’t recognize. There was no calculation or scheming involved, nor was there any greed or narrow-mindedness. Instead, as he watched her commence her pole-dancing up on stage the other day, she seemed like a completely different person. The Sophia he saw that day was generous and elegant, and she was captivating and alluring.
Following that particular event, they had crossed paths again multiple times thereafter. It seemed to Alexander that she had grown into her own skin and truly become herself after she had left him. Alternatively, it was also possible that he was only willing to look at her as a normal human being after they had separated.
She was akin to a treasured gemstone that had been hidden in the palm of his hand the entire time. However, he had been blind and unable to appreciate her for the beautiful person she was. Instead, he had foolishly assumed she was a useless rock, and he had casually discarded her. However, much like how a torrent of rain would have washed away the mud and dirt that encased the gemstone, Sophia shone brightly after they were separated, revealing her inner beauty and becoming valuable in her own right. From that moment on, she had irrevocably become a treasure that he knew he could never obtain for the rest of his life. At that, Alexander wryly considered that she might soon enough become someone else’s treasure to behold and appreciate.
Alexander’s heart couldn’t help but continue to throb as he drowned in his thoughts and memories. He sorely regretted everything that had happened and could not accept it. In all his pain, he also recognized that he could no longer continue to be so selfish as to force her to suffer along with him. As such, he had decisively let go of her that day. He didn’t dare hope that she would remember him. He only hoped that she would look back on her time as a fifteen-year-old teenager and remember him as the heroic youth that had come to her rescue. That would be infinitely better than remembering him as the Alexander that had been nothing but a disappointment to her for the three years they had been married.