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   Chapter 23 Truth

Trial Of The Senses By Jiu Meier Characters: 10616

Updated: 2020-02-22 00:32

The night breeze began to blow across the river behind the Banquet Night Building, taking away the summer heat.

Ashley realized that her father was right. Life was too short to make bad decisions. She didn't want to live her life in regret. This was her life, and she wanted to turn it into a happy one. Ashley was tired of living a boring life; she had already wasted a lot of time and couldn't wait to make her dreams come true.

She walked into the quiet villa and realized that everyone was fast asleep.

Ashley went to the kitchen, filled a glass with water, and went upstairs. She suffered from a sore throat, and usually kept a glass of water on her bedside table to ease her throat in the morning.

Just when Ashley pushed the door open and walked into her room, she realized that someone was inside.

Something heavy collided on her cheek, making her drop the glass of water. Ashley's vision grew blurry as she realized that someone had slapped her.

Anger coursed through her veins. Although the room was pitch black, she could guess that it was Sheila. No one else would even think of getting close to her.

"Bitch! How dare you think of seducing your future brother-in-law?" She lifted her arm to slap her again. However, Ashley grabbed her hand slapped her in return.

"I should ask you this question. Francis used to be your brother-in-law. Didn't you have that sense when you stole him from me?" Ashley snapped.

"You are a fucking slut, Ashley. Francis chose me because he hates you. We are in love; don't you dare think of breaking us up." Ashley had practiced combat training for three years when she was abroad. Sheila grew dizzy; the loud slap was still ringing in her ears.

"You stole my husband, yet I'm the bitch?" Ashley bellowed. "Who told you this? Francis? Did he see me sleep with another man on our wedding night? He is a fucking liar, and you are a cheat. You two have conspired to accuse me of having an affair. Let me tell you something, Francis is the only guy I have ever been with."

Sheila gritted her teeth and stared at her. "Since you are refusing to believe Francis' words, let me tell you the truth." Sheila stood up and blew out a loud breath. "Listen, Ashley. It was I who arranged for the man to sleep with you on your wedding night."

Ashley's heart leaped to her throat. Sheila's every word was like a thunderbolt that had fallen on her head. She opened and closed her mouth, but couldn't utter a word.

"I have already told you this before, and I'm telling you again. I hate you and your mother; neither of you is a match for me," Sheila spat venomously. "Francis didn't see the man that night, but he saw the hickeys on your body and your blood on the sheet. He understood that you had slept with someone else."

Ashley couldn't wake up from the shock. She was utterly devastated.

"Stop bothering Francis. He hates you. If you try to seduce him again, I won't hesitate to find a group of men and ask them to rape you. You better stay the fuck away from us," Sheila threatened.

She stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind her.

Ashley froze on the spot. Anger, hatred, and disgust surged in her heart.

Although she had been skeptical about winning Francis back, the unexpected revelation cleared the doubts in her mind. Ashley was determined to ruin Sheila's life.

When Francis stirred on the bed, he saw his cellphone flash with a message. Thinking it was an urgent message from his company, he unlocked the phone and read the message with sleepy eyes.

"I'm sorry I ran away. Are you free tomorrow? Can we meet?"

Francis grew frustrated. He threw his phone aside and slumped on the bed.

Just when he believed that his life was going on the right track, Ashley entered his life, once again, changing the course of his plans. Francis closed his eyes to sleep, but Ashley's beautiful face flashed in his mind. He couldn't stop thinking about how beautiful she looked when she was waiting at the rockery for him. The vulnerability in her eyes haunted him. However, a wave of hatred engulfed him when he remembered that the woman was pregnant with someone else's baby. A pang of jealousy resided in Francis' heart as painful memories of the past flooded his brain.

All traces of sleep vanished in an instant, and he ended up tossing and turning all night.

The next morning, Francis got up from his bed and went downstairs. His mother was still furious and refused to talk to him. However, he didn't seem to care. His mind was in a mess; he was in no mood to please his mother. Francis hurriedly gulped down his breakfast and left for work. He sat in his office and stared aimlessly at the computer; his brain refused to work. Francis finally pulled the phone from his pocket and read Ashley's message.

He typed his message and edited it a couple of times before sending.

Meanwhile, Ashley was in Leona's office, talking about her resignation.

"You have done a good job, Ashley. I can see a drastic improvement in your career; we are impressed with the quality of your work." Leona rubbed her temples and sighed.

"You just got a bonus, and we agreed to offer you a pay raise. Why do you want to resign? Is it because of Kate?"

Leona knew that Kate had been causing a lot of problems

for Ashley. The woman was having an affair with the boss; therefore, no one could utter a word against her. Everyone at the office endured her torture in silence.

"No, I don't care about Kate. I have been ignoring her. It's just that I don't see any development in my career. I want to achieve something big," answered Ashley.

"Is it about your salary? I can talk to the HR department for you." Leona enjoyed working with Ashley; she was a reliable junior who could handle even controversial news at ease.

"No. It's not about the money." Ashley was grateful for having enough money to meet her expenses. Otherwise, she wouldn't have had the courage to quit.

"Well, it's your choice, Ashley." Leona shook her head and sighed. "I can't stop you from leaving. But according to the rules of our company, you have to serve one month's notice before quitting. I hope you haven't forgotten that."

"I understand." Ashley nodded.

"All right, I accept your resignation. You better inform the HR department."

Ashley walked out of Leona's office and felt her phone vibrate in her pocket. She returned to her desk and read the message from Francis.

Dylan was right. Francis hadn't moved on from her. After a moment's thought, she replied, "Shall we meet at the Crystal Palace? You pick a convenient time."

Francis' phone chimed. He was nervous to read the message; sweat beaded on his forehead. He hadn't been this nervous before.

"How about seven this evening?"

"Okay," replied Ashley.

She held her phone and planned her next move. Their relationship had worsened with time; Sheila's plans had turned Francis against her. Ashley had to somehow make him trust her again.

"Ashley, we aren't paying you to daydream at the office. Get back with your work."

Kate's loud voice brought Ashley back to her senses. She didn't want to waste her energy by arguing with her.

Kate was pleased with Ashley's silence. She walked away to inspect the other employees.

Carol slid on her chair towards Ashley's table with a document in hand. "Ashley, I don't understand this. Can you help me with this?"

Ashley skimmed through the papers and frowned; it didn't look complicated in any way. She looked at Carol and saw her winking.

"Did you hear about Kate?"

Ashley let out a weary sigh; she wasn't interested in listening to baseless gossips. She propped her chin in the palm of her hand and muttered, "What's the matter with her?"

Carol looked around to check if anyone was listening to them and leaned closer. "Kate is having an affair with one of the superiors."

Ashley's eyes widened. She knew that Kate had always been jealous of people's success, but didn't think that she would be cheap enough to be a mistress.

"Wait! Was that how she got away with the blunder she had done with Dylan's news?" Ashley shook her head in disbelief. "But why does she have to sacrifice her self-respect to retain her job?"

"I think retaining the job is just one of the reasons. I presume there are other temptations that she could not resist."

Ashley couldn't understand Kate's motive. She had a respectable job and enough money to pay her bills. What else would she need? "Who told you all this?"

"I don't know. Someone in our company has started the rumor, and it has gradually spread across the office. Don't you know that our colleagues enjoy discussing people's personal lives? I don't know who started it, but Kate's affair is the talk of our office." Carol shrugged.

Ashley glanced at Kate, who was happily talking with one of the colleagues. She didn't know if the woman was oblivious to the rumor, or if she was enjoying the attention.

Ashley couldn't help but feel sorry for Kate.

"Kate will be in trouble if she continues her relationship. His wife would find out about their affair soon and ruin her life," said Carol.

Ashley went to the HR office and submitted her resignation letter. She spent the rest of her day finishing her work.

It was a sunny day. However, the air grew chilly in the evening, and the wind grew stronger with every passing minute. The trees began to dance violently.

Ashley glanced out of the window and thought that it would rain at night Wearing a grand dress in the rain would ruin her look. However, sticking to her usual denim shorts and shirt wouldn't do her any good either. She had to impress Francis and look good in front of him.

After thinking, Ashley went to the nearest apparel store and bought a knee-length dress and paired it with a chiffon shirt. She quickly applied a subtle coat of makeup and tied hair long her into a high ponytail.

The Crystal Palace was Ashley and Francis' favorite hangout spot when they were together. Both of them loved their crab dumplings. The waitress recognized Ashley as soon as she walked in. She smiled in return and walked to the table beside the lotus pond where they usually sat. Ashley believed that Francis would easily find her.

She ordered a pot of tea and watched the lotus floating on the water.

An hour later, Ashley saw Francis' reflection on the glass window. He was wearing a blue suit; she couldn't help but wonder if he had dressed up to impress her.

Ashley took a deep breath, smoothed her hair, and turned to look at him.

"You came!"

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