With her gaze fixed on Alexander, who stood a short distance away, Sophia took a sip of her orange juice and tilted her head toward Katherine with a faint smile. “How about I ask him for you?”
“But the surprise factor will be gone in that case.”
Sophia chuckled. “Then, why did you ask me?”
Isn’t she intentionally stripping me of the element of surprise?
Katherine smiled sheepishly. “I didn’t think of that.”
Sophia shot her a knowing glance and said, “There are many things you didn’t think about.”
Noticing Joshua’s approach, Sophia gave him a nod, got up from her seat, and left.
Alexander returned to Sophia’s side when he finished his call. The two were the main characters that night. Sophia’s and Alexander’s circles were almost entirely exclusive of each other, but the atmosphere that night was amicable.
The year before, Katherine had urged Sophia to sing on stage. That day, however, she dragged Mason up to the stage and sang a song for Sophia.
Putting aside their singing technique, at least, the entertainment side of it was fun.
Sophia watched Katherine from her seat with a smile.
The party lasted until eleven at night. When it ended, Katherine had sneaked a few peeks at Alexander. Before she left, she hissed softly by Sophia’s ear, “Is he really not going to propose? That jerk!”
Getting to hear Katherine calling Alexander a jerk again sent Sophia laughing. Sophia shot a glance at Alexander, who was speaking to Samuel. “I’m not in a hurry to be Mrs. Xenos.”
“That’s true, but his marriage proposal will reveal his feelings toward you.”
Sophia shifted her gaze back to Katherine. “Are you trying to sow discord between him and me?”
Having her intentions seen through, Katherine hurriedly reached for Joshua’s hand. “Oh, wow! I’m tired, and we’re leaving! Happy birthday, Soph!”
Sophia laughed. “Go on.”
Alexander came to her side. “Should we head back?”
“Yeah,” Sophia agreed. There was only less than a handful left in the room.
Alexander walked to the couch and gathered all her birthday presents before taking her hand and leaving the hall.
Jadeborough in July was hot and stuffy. The car windows were rolled down to let the breeze in. The humid air cast a layer of sticky sweat along their skin.
Sliding a side glance at Alexander, Sophia snorted. “Are you not giving me a present?”
The car slowed to a stop at a red light, and Alexander turned his head to look at her.
Sophia stretched her arm out with her palm up to him. He pressed the back of her head toward him and planted a gentle kiss on her forehead. “I’ll give it to you when we reach home.”
The duration of the red light was much shorter at night. Before long, the red light turned amber, then green a second later.
The car began moving again. Sophia raised her hand to the spot he kissed on her forehead. She could still feel the warmth there.
Her head lowered, and the corners of her lips pulled into a smile. However, he got her curiosity piqued. She wondered what kind of present he had prepared for her.
As for the marriage proposal, Sophia knew he wouldn’t propose that day. After all, he hadn’t gotten approval from Perrin, and asking for her hand then would mean he didn’t care about Perrin’s opinions.
Moreover, she had only gotten divorced a year ago. She didn’t want to enter into another marriage so fast.
If she could, she didn’t want to get married.
It would save them both a divorce paper when their feelings faded away.
They were at another red light again. Alexander suddenly said, “A penny for your thought.”
His voice snapped Sophia out of her train of thought. Looking at him, she answered, “It’s nothing. I’m just a bit tired.”
She let out a yawn with accurate timing.
Alexander studied her face. “We’ll get home in another ten minutes.”
Sophia merely nodded. Guilt surged within her under his scrutiny, so she turned to look out the window.
Ten minutes later, the car pulled into the mansion.
It was already five minutes past twelve. Sophia let out another yawn when she got out of the car. Looking at the two bags filled to the brim with birthday presents; however, she didn’t have the energy to guess the contents.
Looking over her shoulder, she saw Alexander holding out a present toward her. “Happy birthday, Precious.”
“What is this?”
With an arched brow, she reached for the present and walked to the side before slowly opening the box.
She thought it was expensive jewelry but realized it was an album of paintings. The cover was a painting of her in a red dress, waiting for Alexander in front of City Hall.
Sophia was surprised. Flipping through the pages, she noticed the whole album was about her.
“I haven’t picked up the paint brush in a while.”
Thoughts of whether Alexander drew them ran through her mind when he answered her silent questions.
She flipped through the album slowly before letting out a giggle. “I didn’t even know Mr. Xenos knew how to draw.”
It looks like he won’t have any worries about dying from hunger if he’s ever fired from Odyssey.
There were twenty-seven pieces of drawings in the album, signifying her age.
“This one. You were there too?”
Sophia’s hand paused at the third drawing. It illustrated her getting exhorted up the stage by Katherine and the others the year before. The picture’s angle was from the left side of the stage. However, she didn’t have any recollection of Alexander being there that night.
Noticing her confusion, he explained, “I was by the door.”
“Your voice was lovely.”
The corners of Sophia’s lips curled into a smile before she turned to the next page. It was New Year’s Eve. She had come out of Katherine’s residential area and tried to hail a taxi by the curb.
She knew about Alexander following her then.
Every scene Alexander drew of her had a backstory. All of them told the story of how he got to know her after their divorce.
The present was beyond Sophia’s expectations. “When did you start drawing them?”
They had been together every day for the past month.
Alexander wrapped his arms around her front from the back. “I started three months ago.”
Initially, he simply wanted to record every side of her. However, after getting back together, he figured it would be a special present.
Five years ago, they entered a marriage, and he knew nothing about her. After getting back together, he knew every side of her. He knew all her likes and temperaments. He witnessed her happy moments and sad times.
That was why he was serious and sure about being with her and continuing to be with her.
Sophia shut the album. “You’re so confident that we’ll get back together?”
I remember, three months ago, we weren’t back together yet.
Alexander dropped his head to look into her eyes. “I wanted to record them and give them to you as a present when you marry Lukas.”
He just wanted her to know that he fell for her not because he was jealous of Lukas. Instead, he was truly in love with her.
Sophia couldn’t help but laugh. “Well, aren’t you sly, Alexander Xenos?”
If she and Lukas weren’t siblings and ended up marrying, wouldn’t receiving that picture album from him cause emotional turmoil within her?
People always longed for things they couldn’t get. In fact, an inexplicable obsession over the ones they couldn’t have would overwhelm them.
Just imagined how someone decided to let go of a relationship after much difficulty, then someone came and told that person that he could reconcile with the person he held dear if he just reached out his hand. I think the person might do just that.
Alexander caught the amusement in her eyes. His throat bobbled at the sight before he admitted, “Yes, I am.”
He lowered to kiss her lips. “Sophia, you’re right. I will do anything to be with you by fair means or foul.”
He pressed his lips harder against her after he got all the words out of his mouth.
However, that kiss wasn’t an ordinary one.