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   Chapter 18 Things Changed

Crisis Of Lust By Berenice Characters: 11616

Updated: 2020-05-09 00:34

That place and everything in it were familiar—it was only that the man standing before her had become a stranger.

"Claire, I knew you would come." When Lucas saw her, his eyes flashed with a complex mix of emotions.

A bitter smile crossed Claire's face. 'What am I doing?' she berated herself. 'Why am I here?'

It was ridiculous. The last time they met, she saw him off at the airport for his flight. Back then, he promised that they would get married as soon as he got back.

Now, it was too late; she was about to marry a man she had known for only a month and whose baby she was carrying in her womb, while Lucas was no longer the man she knew. With a slightly self-conscious cough, she told him, "If you have nothing else to do, you can go back. I'm leaving now."

"Wait!" he exclaimed, stopping her in her tracks. "Claire, is it true... about you and Chason Jiang?" He was almost looking into her eyes when he asked his question.

Hearing this, Claire almost retorted with her first thought—'What about you and Fiona?'

However, she remained silent while Lucas looked at her searchingly.

"Claire, tell me the truth, okay? Did he force you? Are you hiding something from me? Tell me so I can help you," he pleaded with her as he grabbed her hand with an anxious expression on his face.

The familiar warmth of her ex's hand unnerved her. For a split second, she was tempted to tell him everything. All of it—the grievances and anger she had faced in the past month alone.

In the next second, she remembered the life nestling within her womb. The baby was a cruel reminder of her present reality. A hand wandered subconsciously down over her belly, and Lucas did not miss the movement.

"Don't contact me anymore. I'm leaving," she spat out between gritted teeth.

In this lifetime, they could no longer be together.

With those parting words, she whirled around and hastily left. She did not come to her senses until she had walked quite a distance away from where she started. Her phone kept vibrating. When she clicked on the screen she found dozens of missed calls from Chason.

Her hand trembling, Claire timidly lifted the phone to her ear, and an angry voice suddenly boomed from the other end. "Claire, how dare you not pick up my calls?"

"I— I muted it earlier, so I didn't hear it," she replied, making up an alibi right then and there.

The sneer in his voice was apparent. "Where are you?"

"I... I didn't go anywhere. I..." Claire had never been good at lying. Now, in the face of the man's unreasonable ire, she stammered like a pupil being castigated by her teacher over a simple mistake.

'Well, Claire Lin, you just ran out on your own, and I thought that something had happened to you.' He had to drop everything that he was doing so that he could go to the wedding planning company—meanwhile, she had the gall to run to her old lover. "I asked, where you are now!" The words thundered out of him.

"Just a friend... One of my friends wanted to see me..." Her dismissal of his questions made her feel a little guilty, but then she wondered why she was so afraid of him. "I don't think it's necessary for me to tell you everything, right?"

"You!" Chason was so angry that he could have hurled his phone away at that moment. 'That's true—why do I care about her anyway?' If it weren't for the baby in her belly, she would have had nothing to do with him. "I'm giving you half an hour to go home."

'Half an hour? Does he think that I can fly?' Incensed, Claire stomped her feet and was about to say something when she heard the unmistakable beep of a call being ended.

'That ass!' Claire thought to herself irritably.

"Larry!" Chason roared out.

With a sheepish expression on his face, Larry came over and asked, "Mr. Jiang, what do you need?"

"I asked you to do one thing, but you couldn't even do it." Chason's face darkened.

Having worked for the CEO for many years, Larry immediately understood what he meant. Last time, it was due to a previous mistake on his part that Claire had ended up being in a relationship with Mr. Jiang. 'I can't say whether that's a good thing or a bad thing, but at least the CEO was showing anger, among other things.'

Therefore, when Chason was forced to accept Claire, the CEO naturally gave him, Larry, strict orders to tail Claire and investigate her. That was how he found out the existence of Claire's ex-boyfriend, Lucas Xu.

Without a doubt, Claire's marriage into the Jiang family would arouse public opinion, and Lucas Xu was hardly a commoner. His family might be nothing in Chason Jiang's eyes, but they had a say in their social circles. But then, even though he wasn't afraid, Lucas thought it too troublesome to kick up a fuss. After all, Lucas Xu might be stupid enough to try and use his previous relationship with Claire to benefit from the Jiang family.

According to Chason's principle, such vermin-like actions should be nipped in the bud.

After all, he was Chason Jiang, who single-handedly wrestled to get the Jiang family's inheritance in his early twenties. In just a few years, the J Group's influence had increased several times. He was right—Lucas was not smart enough.

"Sir, I swear that I have given him profits, and he then reassured me that he would never try to contact Mrs. Jiang ever again." These days, Larry had become even more cautious than before. After all, it was his neck on the chopping block if he managed to irritate his boss once more.

A sneer curled up Chason's lip. This woman really had poor taste. The man had already pocketed his end of the bargain, but he still tried to act like nothing had happened. "Keep an eye on him. Report to me if anything happens."

If he wanted to use Claire to sway public opinion, it real

ly would be too easy. If he told the public that she went into a contractual marriage with the successor of the J Group and embellish the story a little, the consequences would be unimaginable.

By then, his uncles would definitely take advantage of the media play, and then his position as the heir would definitely be jeopardized!

'The plan had merit, ' Chason reluctantly admitted to himself, but he couldn't keep a curl of distaste from forming on his lips. After all, he was the one Lucas considered as his opponent, but he was nothing to him.

'I'm afraid that your efforts would be in vain, Lucas Xu.'

However, Claire was unaware of what happened. She took a taxi back and ran into a darkly scowling Chason as soon as she walked into the house.

She did not live in fearful awe of the man, nor did she hold him in a high regard, but for now, she was living under his roof. She had almost a year before she could give birth to the baby and leave. If they stayed mad at each other for the most part of that year, she would grow wrinkles prematurely.

Claire had always said that she had rotten luck, but all her life, she never allowed herself to be manipulated by fate. She didn't want to stay here for about a year and leave as an emaciated hag.

"Chason." She tried a sweet, calm approach. "I'm back."

He ignored her, even as his face contorted in a dark scowl.

She pointed at her watch and declared, "Half an hour—no more, no less." Then, she started to head upstairs. "If there's nothing else, I'll just go ahead..."

"Stop!" It was the first time that someone had turned a blind eye to his anger.

She turned around and forced a smile. "Anything else?"

'Good job, Claire, ' she lauded herself, 'keep going!' She went to meet her ex-boyfriend without saying a word, and then refused to answer Chason's calls. Then, she didn't even mention it when she got back. In Chason's eyes, this woman was undoubtedly challenging him!

"Claire, for the last time. Don't forget who you are. Running around with a baby in you..." He paused before continuing, "I don't care what happens to you, but you better make sure that the baby will be born safely."

At the moment she saw the sheer number of missed calls—was it twenty or more?—on her screen, she somewhat felt oddly cared for. However, the illusion was shattered soon enough. She and Chason were in a relationship based solely on protecting their own interests. She promised to give birth to his baby when he bought her for an entire year using a contract.

The best way to live that year was to try to get along with each other.

She took a deep breath and said, "I know."

He gaped at her departing back, stunned. He had expected this unruly woman to thwart him at every turn, so this easy capitulation took him by surprise.

After that, no one mentioned that matter again. After dinner, Chason mentioned the wedding. "I heard from the wedding company that the way you select things was rather unusual."

She understood what he meant. "It's not really that strange, is it? You might say that I'm going with the voice of the market and making choices that the masses would, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I'm learning it from the predecessors, okay?"

Her words left him speechless for a while, unable to respond. After a while, he glared at her and asked, "Don't you have any preferences?"

What preferences? It was not the wedding she wanted. Maybe she should put it in another way—he was not the one she wanted to marry. It didn't matter what kind of wedding she would have.

Forget it. He didn't want to get entangled in such useless trifles with this woman. She could just do as she liked. The wedding was only for show, anyway, so he didn't care about the format. However, no matter what kind of wedding it was going to be, it had to be the best. After all, it would represent the Jiang family and their dignity.

"Go and try on the wedding dress with me tomorrow. The designer will come to see us in person."

Today was the appointment regarding the wedding ceremony, and tomorrow was for the wedding dress. She wouldn't have any moment of peace. Moreover, he meant to come with her tomorrow. She shook her head and asked tentatively, "Don't you need to work tomorrow?"

"Tomorrow's appointment is also related to work. Did you think I would willingly accompany you to try on wedding dresses?" Seeing the puzzled look on her face, he continued, "The designer I found for you is Sara Dou. She is the designer of my company's brand Shopaholic for the next season."

"What did you say? Sara Dou?" Claire screamed excitedly.

Chason looked at her reaction quizzically. "Claire, what's wrong with you?"

"Do you mean that the designer who designed the wedding dress for me is Sara Dou? That's great!" She was so happy that she didn't even spare a thought for her image and enthused about the prospect like a crazy fangirl who wanted to see her idol.

She directly ignored his disgusted expression. "You know what? I've liked Sara Dou for ten years. I've watched her grow from an unknown Chinese designer's assistant to a world-renown designer."

As he looked at the exaggerated but sincere expression in Claire's eyes, Chason's disdain faded slightly. "You have liked her for ten years?"

Ten years ago, even he, a man who cared about design, was unaware of Sara Dou's existence. She was only thirteen or fourteen years old back then—how could she have known of her?

"Yes. I was still in junior high school at the time. The first time I saw her paintings on a magazine, I fell in love with her art." Claire recalled those days seriously, and her eyes were far away and shining.

By accident, her sparkling gaze met Chason's eyes, and seemed to light up his dark face.

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