Sunlight filtered through the trees, casting a warm glow in the car’s interior. Madelyn couldn’t believe that Zach would resort to using their child as leverage to get her to comply. Zach’s words echoed in her mind, “If you don’t come, he’ll go hungry.”
The message had been relayed to her by the servant. Zach knew her well, knowing that kindness was often more effective with her than intimidation. But now, he was manipulating her by involving their child.
Sighing, Madelyn retrieved a bag filled with baby essentials from the closet. She understood that Zach might forget the milk, but intentionally leaving out Dalton’s diapers was perplexing. If he needed a change and there were no diapers, it would be inconvenient. Madelyn began to suspect that Zach might have omitted them on purpose.
About an hour later, Madelyn arrived at the Jardin Corporation building, with Jordan waiting for her. The tall building felt familiar. She had not wanted to be here; she had hoped Zach would take Dalton to Floral Loft, which was nearby. But he refused. As she entered the lobby, a familiar employee, who once worked for Azure Corporation, spotted her immediately.
“Ms. Jent? Wow, it’s you!”
Madelyn smiled in response. “Hey there.” “Here to see Mr. Jardin?” the receptionist asked. “He told me to take you right up if you came.”
Madelyn offered her gratitude, albeit politely declining the offer. “I can find my way. He’s on the ninety-ninth floor, correct?”
The receptionist confirmed, “Yes, that’s correct.” She reached for a button on her desk, summoning a special elevator. “This one will take you directly there.”
“Thanks,” Madelyn replied. As the receptionist resumed her duties, a curious coworker leaned over and whispered, “Who’s that? I’ve never seen her before.”
The receptionist replied in hushed tones, “That’s Madelyn Jent, Mr. Jardin’s younger sister. Remember the big scandal a few years ago? That’s her. She was also engaged to the heir of the Arnold family.”
The coworker’s eyes widened. “Oh, that Madelyn Jent? She’s stunning! But I heard she can’t have children. Is that why the engagement was called off?”
The receptionist quickly silenced her, saying, “Lower your voice! If Mr. Jardin overhears us, we’re in trouble.”
Rumors often contain a grain of truth.
There was another rumor circulating that the child Zach brought to the company was hers. However, this speculation was largely dismissed by most people because, despite being around 25 years old, she still looked like a college student and didn’t appear to have given birth to a child. Plus, only a few old-timers at Azure Corporation recalled Madelyn’s once deep feelings for Zach.
The Jardin Corporation’s lobby was so quiet that Madelyn could catch every word the receptionists uttered. She soon stepped into the elevator, and as its doors closed, she was swept up in a torrent of feelings: anxiety, unease, a desire to escape, and unexpectedly, a touch of relief. She pondered this mix of emotions.
‘Is it a relief that no one knows about Zach and me?’ She was so engrossed in her thoughts that she didn’t realize the elevator had reached her floor. Just as the doors began to close, a hand stopped them. There stood Zach, dapper in a sharp black suit, exuding authority.
“You seemed lost in thought. Come on, he said. Kevin, standing right behind Zach, shared his intent gaze on her. Snapping back to the moment, Madelyn exited the elevator and followed Zach to his office.
Zach told Kevin, “Delay my afternoon meeting by ninety minutes.”
Kevin replied, “Of course, Mr. Jardin.”
Surveying the lavish office, Madelyn asked, “Where’s Dal?”
Before Zach could respond, Kevin interjected, “He’s in the lounge. I’ll bring him here.” Madelyn turned to Zach, her eyebrows knitting with concern. “You’re okay leaving him on his own?”
Zach gently took her hand, guiding her to a seat. “There are cameras throughout the building. He’s safe,” he said. “I’ve also ordered some food from The Deli. Hope you’ve got an appetite.”
“I’m not hungry. I already had something to eat,” Madelyn said as she tried to get up. Zach gently stopped her.
“Please, stay with me a little longer,” he said, handing her a fork. She looked concerned. “I need to feed Dal soon. Plus, he’s still getting over his cold.”
Zach comforted her, saying, “Inside the Jardin Tower, the air is clean and controlled. Just avoid the first floor and he’ll be okay.”
They were both trying to share a single chair, which meant Zach was sitting very close to Madelyn. Whenever she attempted to move to give herself some space, he would gently pull her back. ” Why don’t you sit next to me instead of squishing here?” she asked.
He gave a cheeky smile. “I like it this way.”