“Hey!” began Samuel.
He wanted to warn Megan, but she ran off into the distance before he even had the chance to finish what he was saying. He gazed at her receding figure and paused in thought for a moment before he finally pulled out his phone and gave Alexander a call. He had no choice but to do so since they were good friends after all. That said, it seemed like the feeling wasn’t reciprocated as his “good friend” hung up on him time and time again.
Finally resigned to the fact that Alexander would not pick up his calls, Samuel had no other choice but to send him a private message via WhatsApp. Once done, he headed back to the table.
At the moment, all could still be considered peaceful over at the dining table. Samuel naively believed that things would stay that peaceful and uneventful but inadvertently found himself to be the fuse that ignited the coming conflict at the table. Just as he took his seat, Jessica purposefully introduced him to Sophia and said, “Sophia, this is Samuel. He’s my nephew.”
No sooner had she finished speaking did Megan suddenly speak up as well. “Why are you going to all this trouble, Mom? Aren’t we all aware of just what kind of relationship Samuel has with Alexander?”
Megan’s words had come out rather oddly, and she seemed to imply something with the subtext. Seated at the table with them, Sophia remained expressionless as she stated, “Ms. Queen is right, Mrs. Queen. I am acquainted with Samuel.”
Even though Jessica shot Megan a warning glance, the latter clearly didn’t want to stop fanning the flames of impending conflict. She added, “Why are you looking at me that way, Mom? I didn’t say anything wrong! Not to mention, everyone knows full well about Ms. Yarrow’s divorce from Alexander!”
Jessica was ultimately still a prideful woman. While her godson Stephen’s affection or lack thereof for Sophia was one thing, the very fact that he had brought someone else over for dinner changed things completely. Megan’s arrival clearly left Sophia in a difficult and possibly embarrassing situation. This was something that Jessica could not condone, and she exclaimed, “Well? Are you staying to eat? If you aren’t, then just return to your room immediately. Since you’re so keen on blabbering, why haven’t you been able to secure a job from all your job interviews yet?”
Megan was riled up by this but ultimately decided not to pursue matters further. Stephen came to something of a realization as well, and he whispered to Sophia in a low voice, “Shall I take you away?”
Sophia tilted her head toward him and shot him a quick glance before she replied, “It’s all right. This is nothing.”
In comparison to the hell she had suffered previously, what had just transpired simply paled in comparison, and Sophia was naturally not too bothered by all this. Even if Megan were to leap to her feet and jab her finger toward her accusingly while launching into a tirade, Sophia was sure she would be able to find a calm way of infuriating the former even further.
With that, she turned to look at Jessica and said, “Ms. Queen is right. I’m sure everyone knows all about my divorce from Alexander. However, I’m guessing Stephen’s family doesn’t have any rule that forbids him from marrying a recent divorcee, correct?”
Indeed, it didn’t matter how much of a fuss Megan kicked up or how much Jessica didn’t like her. Stephen was ultimately a member of the Goodstone family, and his affairs were none of their business.
Jessica froze for a moment but quickly recovered and smiled as she replied, “Let’s not quibble with her over all this, Sophia. She’s probably gotten irate and short-tempered from being cooped up at home for such a long period of time since she hasn’t been able to find a job. It’s not targeted at you. She’s like this all the time. Come on, let’s dig in. These are the lobsters that I specially arranged to have flown over. Try it out, and let me know if you like it.”
For her part, Megan wasn’t an idiot either. Naturally, she was able to pick up on what Sophia was getting at with her words. As such, Megan simply snorted in response before she kept her silence.
Samuel felt nothing but surprise at how things had developed. He had always assumed that Sophia was a scheming gold-digger that only pretended to be innocent. However, he truly had an eye-opening experience that day when he witnessed how Sophia had fiercely fired a salvo back at them. In hindsight, he realized that he should have made an audio recording of the incident to immortalize the moment.
“Thank you, Mrs. Queen,” Sophia stated as she thanked Jessica politely. However, she didn’t move to touch so much as a shred of the lobster meat on her plate.
What Jessica felt toward Sophia at this moment could no longer be reduced to something as simple as mere dislike. As Stephen’s godmother, she was ultimately still someone that commanded respect from Stephen and his acquaintances. However, Sophia refused to acknowledge this from the very second she stepped through the door. Time and time again, she had stubbornly addressed Jessica as “Mrs. Queen.”
What now? Does she think Stephen’s not good enough for her now?
At that thought, Jessica sank further into her displeasure and unhappiness. Unfortunately, her behavior only reflected the realities of human nature. If others expressed interest in you, the instinctive reaction was to wonder what they were scheming or hoping to gain from the relationship. Conversely, if they didn’t think much of you or treated you with disdain, then it meant they did not know how to appreciate something valuable that was right before their eyes.
This was precisely what was happening to Jessica right now. Regardless of how Sophia viewed Stephen, Jessica would never be happy or find peace with it.
As their sumptuous feast progressed, it was clear that Jessica viewed and treated Stephen like her biological son. However, Sophia wasn’t affected by the little disturbance that had darkened the start of their dinner.
Once they were done with their meal, the group headed over to the living room where they lounged about on the couch. While this was going on, Stephen approached Sophia again and asked her if she wanted to take this opportunity to leave. However, Sophia rejected his proposal. Although she didn’t care about getting on the good side of the Queen family, she didn’t want Stephen to have a falling out with the Schild family either.
For his part, he saw that she didn’t seem too uncomfortable with the current set of circumstances, so he had no choice but to stifle his desire to leave. He was well aware that Sophia didn’t have a good relationship with both Jessica and Megan. However, he wasn’t privy to the exact details of their conflict. Even though Sophia and he were both guests today, he could still be considered to be a partial host of sorts and thus didn’t want to let Sophia suffer through too many grievances.
Not long after the group settled down on the couch, Harold returned and was overjoyed the second he caught sight of Stephen. He rushed over and immediately dragged the latter off to the study with him as they began an animated discussion.
Once Stephen left the room, Megan finally stopped holding herself back. Jessica followed suit and exhaled deeply before she lent Megan her implicit support.
“Ms. Yarrow, you didn’t get the chance to get a good tour of our house the last time you were here, did you? Shall I show you around?” Megan offered.
Faced with Megan’s suspiciously kind overture that reeked of a ploy, Sophia merely glanced at her impassively and replied, “Since Ms. Queen has offered so enthusiastically, I’ll gladly take you up on your offer.”
As she spoke, she raised her eyes and shot Megan an ambiguous smile.
Megan was a little taken aback by the intensity of Sophia’s gaze and couldn’t help but feel a tinge of guilt. However, her mind flew back to what had transpired over dinner, and she steeled herself once more as she asked, “Shall we?”
Sophia grunted in agreement before she rose to her feet and followed after her.
As he watched the scene unfold before his eyes, Samuel deliberated for a moment before he called out, “Hang on. I’m feeling kind of bloated from dinner. I’ll join you on the tour.”
Megan raised her eyebrows as she looked at him and asked, “Didn’t you say you had something urgent to work on back in the office? That’s why you had to head back, correct?”
“They’ve resolved the issue. I don’t have to go back now,” replied Samuel.
Megan was rendered speechless by his reply.
As she watched on from the side, Sophia shot Samuel another one of her vague smiles. He felt her gaze and lowered his head to look at her. It didn’t take long before they locked eyes, and Samuel’s heart felt a tinge of guilt. With what he was doing, he thought that he was deserving of being the best friend anyone could ask for.
As Samuel followed behind them, Megan momentarily lost sight of how she wanted to deal with Sophia. Instead, she had no choice but to bring the both of them on a tour of her house and all her branded furnishings. When she introduced them to each and every painting that decorated her walls, it was more than obvious from her speech and mannerisms how much pride she took in them. However, Sophia’s face didn’t reveal so much as a shred of self-pity or shame even as she stood there and soaked in her affluent surroundings.
Megan was infuriated and remarked, “Oh! I’m sorry, I forgot. Ms. Yarrow, you did spend three years as Mrs. Xenos. I’m sure you’ve seen your fair share of all these famous pieces of artwork.”
Sophia raised her eyebrows and replied, “I don’t have much of an eye for these things. I can’t even tell if what I’m looking at is the real deal or a fake.”
With just that one casual statement, she had mercilessly fired a shot at Megan once more.
“These paintings each cost several hundred thousand. We don’t stoop so low as to display forgeries in this house!” exclaimed Megan in response.
“That wasn’t what I meant,” replied Sophia.
In her urge to explain and defend her position, Megan couldn’t help but feel as if she had received a slap in the face. She was so furious that her face had swelled a deep red. Her anger only intensified further when her gaze fell on Samuel.
All of a sudden, a thought struck her mind, and she stated, “Oh, yes. We have a rather expensive antique vase down below. Would you like to take a look? It’s worth more than three million!”
No sooner had she spoken did she direct an expectant gaze at Sophia in her firm belief that the mention of the several million would be sufficient to move her.
Sophia chuckled and replied, “Sure.”
She wanted to see just what Megan was up to.
With that, the group headed down one level in search of the vase. Sophia had chanced upon it when she walked through the door. It was almost a certainty that no one else at the time could have priced that unassuming vase on the cabinet with a net worth of over three million. However, Sophia’s eyes were immediately drawn to them. After she spent some time appreciating the view, she pulled out her phone and prepared to take some photos.
At this, Megan coughed and asked, “Ms. Yarrow, are you going to post it on your Instagram? Our family likes to adopt a low profile whenever possible. If you do go ahead to post this online, remember not to include any mention of our family at all.”
Sophia snapped a few quick photographs before she kept her phone carefully away and turned to look at Megan. “All right.”
The frustration Megan felt was mounting as the next shot she fired at Sophia had missed yet again. She gritted her teeth before asking, “The angle isn’t great at this position, is it? Why don’t you stand over here and take your photos?”
Sophia gave it a moment’s thought before she really headed over to position herself where Megan had indicated. Once in position, she pulled out her phone and snapped more photos of the vase. Just as she finished keeping her phone away, someone suddenly shoved heavily into her from behind. Sophia couldn’t react in time and didn’t put up any form of resistance either. As such, she fell forward, straight into the path of the vase from earlier.