The irritating sound of her phone ringing made Lily Qin grumble. She rubbed her eyes in an attempt to rid herself of drowsiness. She looked at the wall clock to her left and grumpily picked up her phone.
Who would dare to call her in the dead of night? It was two in the morning, for crying out loud!
"Miss Qin Jinghua?"
"Speaking. Who is this?" Lily Qin furrowed her brows when the caller used her birth name. She had already changed her name a long time ago.
"I am Yan Xiao. I am a lawyer representing the Qin family. I am calling to inform you that your paternal grandmother, Madam Ye Xiaoxuan, died at seven thirty-six this morning. That was two hours ago. In compliance with her last Will…"
The lawyer's words seemed to echo in Lily's mind. She felt her body tremble, she was thunderstruck. Her Nana was dead.
Her mind seemed to blank as tears streamed down her cheeks. She remembered the old woman's smile as her beautiful phoenix eyes would turn into crescents.
["Lily, this is my mother's necklace. Wear it. It will look good on you."]
["Lily... I do not like that man. However, since you are happy, I will allow this marriage. I only hope that you will live a happy life."]
["Lily, why don't you accompany me to your grandfather's tomb today? I miss him dearly."]
["Lily, I know you have suffered enough. After your marriage, leave this place and don't come back. Live a happy life away from the Qin Family."]
["Ai, this child. Why are you crying? I am old. I will die sooner or later. The important thing is for you to leave this despicable place. I only hope that your husband will treat you well."]
["Look at you. This is your wedding day, yet you are crying. That man of yours might think that I bullied you. Go… Go… he must be waiting for you. Remember, I am always here."]
The lawyer's words woke her up from her stupor. "Yes?"
"I was asking if you could make it for the reading of the late Old Madam's Will taking place a week from now. It is important for you to be present as the testament says that without you... " the lawyer hesitated before speaking again, "Without you, all of the late Old Madam's assets will be sold and donated to various charities."
"I'm sorry. Where did you get my number?" Lily asked, ignoring the lawyer's question. She had already changed her name and her identity, how was the Qin family still able to find her?
"Miss Qin, this number was attached to your late grandmother's last Will. It had taken her years to locate your contacts. I would suggest that you honor her efforts and attend the reading."
"Mr. Yan," she answered after a long period of silence. "I am no longer part of the Qin family. Why do I have to be present during this reading?"
"You don't understand. The late Old Madam's Will strictly stated that you need to be present during this reading, or else everything written on it becomes null and void," the lawyer calmly explained. He was expecting her to agree to this arrangement immediately. After all, they were talking about money here.
To Yan Xiao's knowledge, Qin Jinghua was just a daughter of a foreigner that the housemaster played with before. Since this foreigner came from a questionable background, the late Old Master refused to let her into the Qin family. Because of this, Qin Jinghua became akin to an outsider in the Qin family. However, she had acquired the late Old Madam's favor. So, why would she act as if she was not interested in late Old Madam's inheritance?
"Mr. Yan… I don't understand why I should care about this issue at all. I have been living on my own, away from the Qin family for years. Whatever happens to them is not my problem anymore," she said before ending the call. She then wiped away her tears and dragged herself out of her room.
She went into her study and poured herself a glass of whiskey. Before her conscience could caution her, she wrapped her hands around the glass and downed the alcohol in one gulp.
The taste of whiskey brought back the melancholic memories she had kept repressed for the past seven years.
As the eldest daughter of the Qin family, Lily Qin or Qin Jinghua should be considered lucky. Her father was the owner of a big media conglomerate in the Far East. To the outside world, Qin Jinghua was treated like a princess, with much love. However, only Qin Jinghua knew how vicious this family could be at home, behind closed doors.
This was because Jinghua was not born of the legal wife of Qin Mo, her father. She was the daughter of a foreigner — an outsider.
Yet, her stepmother had treated her with love and dignity. Or that was what everyone thought.
Lily downed another glass of whiskey as her face turned into a scowl. Those people already trampled on her seven years ago. They took away her dignity and…
A single tear made its way down her cheeks as she remembered what happened on her wedding day. Clad in a white dress, Lily was supposed to become the happiest person on earth but it ended with her losing a lot more than herself.
Lily let out a mocking laugh as she cursed inwardly. Those memories would not bring her any good. Seven years have already passed.
Seven long years.
She had recovered. She was now someone who would dare fight a wolf with her bare hands.
That's right… she, Lily Facci Qin, was no longer the gullible girl that everyone bullied. She was now the CEO of the reputable Facci Holdings, a multinational conglomerate headquartered in London.
Lily Qin's gaze darkened as an inconceivable emotion slowly enveloped her.
She was no longer the prey. Now, she was the predator.