“Because you’re sticking your nose into where it doesn’t belong.” Zachary shot an icy glare at Hector.
“I…” Hector stood transfixed for a moment before he blurted out an explanation, “I’m giving this necklace back because of my wife’s mistake. It has nothing to do with anyone else.”
“Do you mean you’re not doing this for her?” Zachary pointed at Charlotte.
“No.” Hector dropped his head, not daring to look at Charlotte.
Hearing his response, Charlotte knitted her brows, an uneasy feeling crept within her.
She knew Hector was saying those words to protect himself, but to look at how meek he had become sent indescribable feelings to her heart.
“Tell me then, what does the bankruptcy of Windt Corporation have to do with me?” Zachary questioned.
Hector shuddered as his face paled further.
“He’s not the one who told me about it,” Charlotte explained. “This has nothing to do with him.”
“Speak!” Zachary roared.
Shuddering again, Hector stuttered, “I-I-I don’t know.”
Instead of shouting again, Zachary kept his glacial gaze fixed on the other man.
“What are you doing?” Charlotte quickly jumped to Hector’s defense. “Why are you dragging others into our problem?”
“Hmm, you’re right.” Zachary suddenly changed his tone as he smiled. “Mr. Sterling, don’t be afraid. I was just asking.”
Like Charlotte, Hector frowned in confusion.
“It’s just a necklace worth a hundred million. There’s no need for you to deliver this to me personally.”
Zachary then threw the ruby necklace to Hector as though he was rewarding money to a beggar. “Here. Think of it as my investment and use it to start the project.”
“Do you mean…” Hector trailed off, bewildered. “I can restart my project?”
The necklace was a symbolism of the opportunity Zachary was giving to him.
“Of course.” Zachary leaned back on the sofa as he swayed his glass gracefully. “However, that item can only have one value. Whether you use the ruby necklace to start your project or to buy her freedom is up to you.”
Hearing Zachary’s words, the hair behind Charlotte’s neck stood up.
So that’s the bet he was talking about. The bet is about Hector’s choice.
Will he choose the company, or will he choose me?
He can only choose one…
Charlotte knew how crucial the project was to the Sterlings for Hector to plead meekly with Zachary.
Now that the Browns and Divine Corporation were pressuring them, if the Sterlings could not carry out this project successfully, bankruptcy would be waiting for them.
It was impossible for Hector to give up on his last chance in a situation like this.
However, if he chose family, he would be giving up on her once again.
It would be a reenactment of what happened four years ago.
That being said, a lot of things had changed since four years ago. As such, even if Hector chose to abandon her for his family again, Charlotte would no longer feel the same disappointment and grievance she once felt.
She had long since let go of those feelings of hers.
He was the only one who still held onto those feelings.
What Zachary was doing now was to drive a wedge between them, forcing Hector to let go of his feelings. From then on, he would then be too ashamed to continue clinging to Charlotte.
At the same time, Charlotte would finally give up the last shred of hope she had for him.
After all, human nature had always been cruel.
They could forgive and understand, but that did not mean there would not be any hard feelings left.
“Women have nothing to do with business. Why do you have to involve her in this?” Hector panicked. “Mr. Nacht, if you aren’t satisfied with the terms I’ve mentioned earlier, we can-”
“There is nothing to discuss,” Zachary cut him off. He then stated, “You have a minute to make your decision. Her, or your company.”
With that, he stood up and headed to the bathroom.
He was giving space for Hector and Charlotte to talk things out.
The entire time, Hector’s fists were clenched tight, and his eyes were reddened. His emotions were threatening to spill over.
Charlotte looked at him with pity in her eyes. Countless words bubbled in her heart, but none came out of her mouth.
She knew she could never escape Zachary. At the end of the day, she was destined to be his plaything.