"I suppose there is a reason why you barged in without an appointment." Lily Qin smiled. She stared intently at the man in front of her.
"I heard you backed out from the engagement," the man gritted his teeth in annoyance. He hated Lily Qin's smile. It wasn't the way her beautiful thin lips lifted upwards, nor was it the crinkling of her left dimple. Her smile didn't quite reach her amber eyes and sometimes you could catch a flash of cunningness that would cross her face.
In those few moments as he stared at her, memories of his parents urging him to marry her started to fill his mind. It was a constant reminder of how he needed this marriage to save their family business.
"Why?" he asked.
Lily Qin instantly raised a brow at the question. "Why not?" she challenged.
"I deserve an explanation! Our families have been planning this engagement for months! You cannot back out now! This will ruin the reputation—"
"And that is my problem… because?"
"You-you tell me the reason for your preposterous actions or else—"
The man's words were interrupted when Lily Qin tossed an envelope in front of him. "See for yourself."
Liam instantly tore open the envelope. His eyes widened at the various documents and photographs he saw inside. "You… You sent someone to spy on me?"
Lily Qin instantly scoffed at his words. "Don't flatter yourself, Liam Arison. It was a business decision," she said as she pulled out another envelope and gave it to him.
"What do you mean? How could you ask someone to investigate me like this?" he asked before slowly opening the second envelope, assuming he would find more pictures of him being intimate with his childhood sweetheart. His face darkened as he recognized the contents.
"Acquisition. I want to acquire your properties in the Far East. To be specific, I want the retail companies you have in China, Hong Kong, and Singapore," she said, ignoring the dark look the man was giving her.
"Is this the reason why you initially agreed to the engagement?" Liam Arison's voice was venomous. He wanted to gobble up the beautiful woman in front of him. The smile on Lily Qin's perfect face made fury rise from the depths of his heart.
He remembered how his father had wanted this engagement to save their subsidiaries abroad. His father thought that by marrying his son into the prominent Facci family, he could save their business.
"Didn't you also want the same thing from me?" Lily Qin smirked at him, making his temper flare.
"How dare you! Do you think our Arison family is one you can bully like this? You just wait…"
"Tsk... Tsk… Liam. Have you forgotten about the photos that I gave you just now?" she asked, propping her head on her palm with the same smile plastered on her face. "Think about how your board of directors would react once they find out that the great Liam Ariston cheated on his fiancée with a mere starlet. With your halfbrother's impeccable performance lately, do you think the board will even hesitate before replacing their current CEO?"
"You—" Liam exploded; his eyes red, the veins in his head started to bulge. "You agreed to be my fiancée because of this? Didn't you?" Liam clenched his jaw as the realization hit him. He fell into the great Lily Qin's scheme!
"Alright… you are making it sound like I am a bad person." Lily waved her hand. "Liam, this is nothing but business. Your family wanted to take advantage of my dying grandmother and proposed a marriage to save your business. Think about it..."
Liam turned speechless at Lily Qin's words. She was telling the truth; his mother did take advantage of the two family's closeness and offered marriage to the dying Madam of the Facci family. At first, he thought that she had simply agreed to fulfil her dying grandmother's wishes.
Who would have thought that she would back out of the engagement a mere month after the death of Old Madam Facci?
He narrowed his eyes at the smiling woman in front of him before looking at the photos on the table. If the paparazzi were to get hold of these photos, it would cause a scandal and his career as the CEO would be over. His father might even kick him out of the family.
He, then, started to read the documents that Lily gave him. The amount that she was offering to buy those companies was not that bad. In fact, this was better than what most companies offered them in the past. However, the fact that a woman outsmarted him was something that Liam couldn't accept.
With a dark face, Liam got up from his seat and glared at her. "Lily, I never thought that you would be this shrewd. I always thought that you were kind like your mother and grandmother! Who would have thought that you had inherited your attitude from your bastard father?" Seeing the smug smile disappear from Lily's face instantly made him happy. "You think you are so high sitting here in your lavish office? Did you think I did not know about what happened seven years ago? Huh? You are a slut. You deserved everything that happened to you!" seeing Lily shifting uncomfortably made him smile.
"I will confer with my father and lawyers about the offer and send the documents back to you when the board decides to accept it," he said, storming out of her office, leaving a pale-faced Lily staring blankly at the now closed door.
"Yang Mi, cancel all my meetings today." Lily did not wait for her secretary to respond as she dropped the call and pressed the 'Do Not Disturb' button on her office phone.
She then stared at the floor to ceiling windows that gave her access to the magnificent skyscraper view in the busy streets of London.
It was summer-time, yet the sky was sprawled with dark clouds. The winds started to howl like a hungry wolf looking for its prey. The first crack of lightning, followed by the booming sound of the angry thunder made her jolt in her seat.
She hated the rain. She hated how it always made her feel vulnerable and weak, like a child waiting for someone else's protection. She clenched her teeth as she reached for the remote to close the blinds in her office, hiding from the bullets of raindrops that splattered against her windows.
She then reclined in her seat and closed her eyes. She remembered Liam's poisonous words from earlier.
Did she really deserve everything that happened seven years ago?