Caroline’s heart thumped in her chest. It felt like a lifebuoy had been thrown to her in the open sea.
She looked up and met Kirk’s gaze. The amusement in his eyes had vanished, replaced by deep emotion. For a second, even Caroline believed it.
She quickly looked at Dan and Sarah White, her mother.
They were so shocked that they both collapsed onto the couch. After a beat, Dan reacted first. He looked at Caroline and asked, “Carrie, what is this?”
Before she could speak, Kirk shielded her behind him. Her mind went blank at the feeling of protection he gave her.
He said in that husky voice of his, “We just registered our marriage today. It was so rushed that we didn’t get the chance to inform you.”
Dan was furious, but he kept his composure. “Carrie!”
Caroline gritted her teeth and said, “What he’s saying is true. I married him because I didn’t want to marry—”
Before she could finish her sentence, Sarah rushed toward her and squeezed her shoulders. “What happened, Carrie? Didn’t you always like Eddy? Now that he’s finally agreeing to marry you, why are you—” Then, she looked at Kirk warily and said in a low voice, “Tell me, have you been threatened?”
Sensing that her mother had misunderstood Kirk, Caroline hurriedly said, “No one forced me to do anything. I just don’t want to marry a man who doesn’t love me!”
She was exhausted. She did not want to carry on anymore.
Sarah’s fingernails dug into Caroline’s flesh. “Do you know what you’re saying, Carrie? From the moment you got engaged to Eddy, we raised you to be his wife. You are going to marry him to elevate our family, not for love!”
Caroline’s shoulders hurt so badly that she sucked in a breath of air. “Mom …” She looked at Dan.
Dan looked at her in disappointment. “Carrie, divorce him immediately before Eddy finds out! You are Eddy’s wife. How could you be so foolish?” He frowned as he said that last sentence. Whatever warmth he had toward Kirk was now all gone.
Caroline saw red. She didn’t care if there was an outsider present. “Do you know why Eddy agreed to marry me?”
Dan turned away. “I don’t want to hear it. Divorce this man immediately.”
Caroline was stunned. Heartache welled up her chest. Looking at her father’s back, she said pitifully, “He said that he would marry me if I donated my kidney to Layla.”
The room fell into silence.
Dan and Sarah met each other’s conflicted gaze.
Kirk lifted his gaze lazily, looking at Caroline’s parents. He frowned slightly. A part of him felt uncomfortable. He couldn’t describe why.
Caroline sniffed and continued, “You know how I’ve cared for him these eight years. But he never loved me and got together with Layla when he was still engaged to me. Now, he wants to use my kidney to save Layla. I can’t imagine what would happen if we married. If Layla wanted my life, he—”
Caroline couldn’t go on anymore. Layla was her uncle’s daughter. Caroline had spent all of her effort on Eddy and hadn’t spent much time with her cousin. Although their bond was not very strong, Caroline tirelessly helped in the search for a compatible donor when Layla’s kidneys began deteriorating half a year ago.
But in the end, they weren’t just ungrateful. They both stabbed her in the back, demanding a kidney from her without prior discussion.
They wouldn’t do this to a stranger, much less family.
Sarah looked at her husband wordlessly, both of them reaching a mutual agreement. Then, she tugged Caroline’s hand gently. “Carrie, I know you’re upset, but think about it. Donating a kidney wouldn’t affect you in any way, and you’d be able to save Layla and become Eddy’s wife. It’s killing two birds with one stone. What a wonderful thing that is!”
Caroline turned cold. “What are you talking about, Mom?”
Eddy had betrayed her. Why did she have to make him and his mistress happy?
She looked at Dan beseechingly, but he looked at the ceiling. “You’re not a child anymore, Caroline. It’s a fair trade. Don’t be stubborn.”
“Fair trade.” Caroline trembled. She nearly fell, but Kirk pulled her up by her wrist. She stood squarely on her feet and looked bitterly at her parents, who had doted on her since she was small.
If Eddy’s betrayal had hit her like a truck, her parents’ words were hitting her like an army tank.
“So, in your eyes, my happiness is not as important as marrying Eddy and taking the Evanses to greater heights.” Fat tears fell from her eyes. She could no longer hold back the frustration that she had been accumulating within her.
She turned and ran out of the house.
She couldn’t take it anymore. How could her loving parents not understand her either?
Dan and Sarah were about to run after her, but Kirk blocked them off coldly. His face was devoid of warmth.
“The damage has been done. There’s no use pretending anymore.”
His words hit the nail right on the head. Dan yelled guiltily, “What right do you have to stop us? Caroline is our daughter.”
“So you know that.” Kirk scoffed sarcastically. “I thought she was your maid considering how you talked to her.” Then, he stepped back and looked down at both of them. “She is my wife. I will not let anyone hurt her. Not even her parents.”
His domineering aura stunned Dan for a couple of seconds before he snapped out of his trance. He yelled at Kirk, “Who the fuck are you to lecture us? You must divorce her at once, or I’ll make your life in Osbury a living hell!”
But Kirk had already left the house. He ignored Dan’s anger completely.
Once he was out of the house, Kirk looked at the woman slumped against the steering wheel, her shoulders heaving as she sobbed.
He stopped in his footsteps.
He needed a wife to stave off unwanted troubles. He had already attained his goal. He did not have to care about things like this.
He turned, but the determination that was in Caroline’s eyes despite her bitter desperation flashed through his mind.
He frowned in annoyance and strode forward. But then, he stopped and looked back at that meek figure again. He turned around and strode toward the car, pulling the door open. He nudged her and said crossly, “Move over.”
Still wallowing in her sorrow, Caroline looked up numbly. Before she could react, a pair of hands circled her waist. In an instant, she was cradled in Kirk’s arms.
She was so stunned that she forgot to cry. Her beautiful eyes looked at Kirk in shock.
“What … what are you doing?”
They had agreed that this would be a fake marriage.