Hector was caught in a dilemma. It was as if two hands were tugging his heart in two different directions, threatening to shred him into pieces.
He wanted to protect Charlotte, but he could not endanger his company.
Even if he knew this was Zachary’s trap, he could not do anything about it.
“Hector…” Charlotte finally spoke, breaking the silence of the tense atmosphere. “Don’t think too much about it, just go with your heart.”
“Charlotte, I don’t want to let you down like I did four years ago,” Hector croaked. “But I can’t just let my company die. Sterling Group is founded upon the blood, sweat, and tears of three generations of the Sterlings.”
“I understand.” Charlotte plastered on a stiff smile. “This isn’t like the past. Your company is the only thing you should be responsible for now.”
“But what about you?” Hector breathed.
“He won’t do much to me,” Charlotte replied with feigned casualness. “You don’t need to worry about me.”
“He won’t do much to you?” Hector looked at the bathrobe on her as several emotions flitted across his eyes. “You had always been a proud person who held firmly to your morals and principle, but now…”
Hector could not continue speaking. His knuckles had long since turned white from how hard he was clenching his fists, and she could see the helplessness and a hint of stubbornness in his eyes.
Charlotte knew he must have misunderstood the situation, but she could not be bothered to explain to him. All she did was put on a bitter smile. “You’re right. But do you know what made me turn into this?”
Her words caused the atmosphere to turned tense again.
If the Sterlings had not trimmed their sails back then and broke off the engagement with the Windt family the moment they found out about the bankruptcy, she would not have stepped into Luna’s trap. All those things would not have happened, and she would not have ended up in this way.
Therefore, Hector was mainly responsible for what she had become.
“I’m sorry.” Hector lowered his head in guilt.
“So? Have you made up your mind?”
Just then, Zachary’s arrogant voice traveled to their ears.
“Mr. Nacht, I think we should have a private talk.”
Hector was not about to give in just yet. He still wanted to protect both his company and her.
“I don’t have time to talk to you.” Zachary sat down on the couch and crossed his legs. “I’ll give you ten more seconds. Either take her, or take it.” He pointed at the ruby necklace with his toe. “Pick one.”
“I-” Hector had more to say when his phone rang. He quickly walked to the side of the room and picked it up. “Hello? What?”
“Dad, don’t panic. I’m thinking of a way. I know, I know. I’ll call you back later.”
Ending the call, Hector hurriedly begged Zachary, “Mr. Nacht, can’t you spare us? Why did you stop the entire project? This is too great of a loss for us to bear.”
“So?” Zachary lifted a brow and sneered.
Hector was at loss for words. Now, Zachary was the man who was pulling all the strings. Whoever he wanted dead would be dead in the next second.
There was no room for discussion.
“You have three seconds left.” Zachary lifted his fingers and started counting down. “Three…”
“Mr. Nacht, please-”
“If you keep this up, you won’t even get to choose.”
By now, Zachary was frowning in impatience.
Hector glanced at the ruby necklace before turning to look at Charlotte as he struggled with his choice.
Just then, his phone rang again.
Sweat rolled down his temples, and his eyes were bloodshot.
Unable to watch him any further, Charlotte was about to take the ruby necklace for him.
Almost at the same time, Hector reached out to take the ruby necklace.
The pendant glided across the back of Charlotte’s hand, and she subconsciously raised her head to look at him.
The two locked eyes in silence.
Although she could understand the reason for his choice, and she supported his decision, she was still stunned by how eager he was to take the necklace in the end.
His decision to pick the necklace was like a dagger that stabbed deep in her heart, sending her waves of agony.
Hector was panicking. He realized Charlotte had wanted to make the choice for him, but he was quicker than her by one second.
Just like that, everything he said to her earlier meant nothing now…