“Charlotte, calm down,” coaxed Michael. “The children are in his hands. Have you thought about the consequences of acting so rashly?”
“What should we do, then? What the heck should we do?” Charlotte’s shoulders trembled as she sobbed. “I can’t do anything about him. He’s a nutcase!”
“Take a deep breath and calm down…” Michael consoled as he grabbed her shoulders reassuringly. “Call him and ask him what he wants. As long as he doesn’t harm the children, we are open for negotiation.”
Like what he told her to, Charlotte took a deep breath and called Zachary.
However, the ringing tone ensued for a long time without anyone picking up.
Charlotte’s heart raced as she waited anxiously.
After a long while, the call finally got through. However, Zachary stayed silent.
“I’m begging you. Please release my child…”
Charlotte’s voice quivered as she choked up. For the sake of her children, she had already tossed all pride away to beg him.
“That’s the right attitude,” Zachary smirked.
“What do you want?” demanded Charlotte through her sobs. “As long as you release my children, I’ll agree to any requests.”
“Very good.” Zachary smiled in satisfaction. “Michael’s beside you, right? Turn your phone to speaker mode.”
She obediently did as instructed.
“Tell him that he must stop being so nosy in the future,” commanded Zachary. “Also, he mustn’t intervene between you and me anymore.”
Charlotte raised her head and gazed at Michael, tears brimming in her eyes. “Did you hear that, Michael? I’m begging you, stop poking your nose into my business in the future…”
“Charlotte…” He was so furious that he gritted his teeth. However, for the child’s safety, he had no choice but to nod. “Understood.”
“Now, swear on your children’s life…” Zachary instructed yet again, “You’ll obey the rules of our debt repayment contract. Also, you’re not allowed to defy, betray or resist me!”
“Zachary, you’re crossing the line!” Michael yelled furiously, seething with anger. “Karma will get you soon!”
“Tsk…” He mocked coldly, “You agreed to stop nosing in others’ business, but you’re going against your word within barely a minute, huh? Looks like you don’t care about the children’s safety at all.”
As he spoke, he shot Ben a look, signaling him to play the recording he had secretly taken at the hospital. Ellie’s wails rang out. “Mommy, Mommy! I want my Mommy…”
“Ellie!” Charlotte was in so much anguish that it felt like her heart was shattering into pieces. She yelled agitatedly, “I promise you, I promise you! I promise you anything!”
As she spoke, she raised her hand to swear.
“I swear that I’ll obey the conditions stated in the debt repayment contract and never defy, betray or resist Zachary. If I go against my word, I’ll be struck by lightning and suffer a horrible death!”
“I want you to swear on your children’s life,” emphasized Zachary.
“I’m begging you, Zachary. Please… I…”
Charlotte was so agitated that she could hardly breathe, with the world around her spinning so fast that she almost fainted.
“Fine!” In a “magnanimous” display, he finally relented. “Go back and wait for my updates.”
With that, he ended the call.
“Zachary…” shrieked Charlotte agitatedly, but the only response she got was the busy tone of the phone.
Gripping the phone tightly, she broke down into tears.
“Don’t be agitated, Charlotte. Your children will be fine,” Michael quickly consoled her. “I’ll help you. I’ll look for old Mr. Nacht now.”
“It’s useless.” Charlotte quickly tugged him back and shook her head, tears streaming down her face. “The more I resist, the more danger the children will be in. Zachary’s a devil. We can’t defeat him.”
She finally understood that the only way to protect her family was to obey him.
From the start, she should not have resisted or doubted him, nor should she have escaped from the hospital and get involved with Michael…
If she remained obedient, at least Mrs. Berry and her children would be safe.
She had finally arrived at the grim conclusion that she couldn’t escape from Zachary’s grasp. All she could do was accept her fate.