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   Chapter 3 Six Years Later

Miss CEO: Lost In Love And Trickery By Li Zi Hai Shi Xing Characters: 14325

Updated: 2020-08-12 00:03

Della stared helplessly at the house beyond the gates. She knew the dignified thing to do would be to collect her things and leave without a second glance, but she couldn't do it. She had to see Evan again. She had to explain to him what had happened last night, even if she didn't truly understand it herself.

She waited for what seemed like forever. Finally, the sound of an incoming car caught Della's attention, and she turned to look.

The gates swung open to receive the red convertible as it sped past Della like a gust of wind. The tight, sexy skirt and the red, wavy hair caught Della's eye, and she knew at once that it was Lana.

As she drove past, Lana turned to look at Della with a mocking, self-satisfied smirk.

That was all it took. Della had been valiantly holding on to the last shred of her dignity, but now the final piece of her armor crumbled away. She burst into tears.

She closed her eyes, and suddenly found herself reliving her first day at the Xiao family residence.

Both her parents had died in a car accident when she was only eight years old. Evan's grandpa had generously offered to take care of her, and before she knew it, she had been whisked away to the Xiao family.

As soon as they had arrived, Evan's grandpa had said to her, "My dear Della, listen. Your grandpa and I made a pact a long time ago. We agreed that our grandchildren would marry each other and join the two families together. You, my dear, are going to marry my grandson Evan."

Immediately after this surprising speech, Evan's grandpa had introduced her to Evan, who was six years older than her.

The young man, so handsome and aloof, had stolen her heart away from the first moment she saw him.

From then on, she had lived only for him and no one else. She had worked hard to catch his eye, to fit into the mold of the type of women he liked. She had learned all of his likes and dislikes in her quest to be worthy of him.

But despite all her efforts, Evan had never taken her seriously.

They had tied the knot as soon as Della turned 18, but only because Evan's grandpa forced him to marry her. The marriage was a complete sham. Evan had never entered her bedroom, or even looked at her with an expression that wasn't a stony frown. They had been married three months now, but Evan was still practically a stranger to her.

The sweet intimacy from last night had been a hard-won victory for her, but perhaps that had just been one last cruel joke from Evan.

Now that Evan's grandpa was no longer around, Evan had every right to boot her from the Xiao family and cut her out from his life. Try as she might, Della found herself unable to resent him for his decision. She had been the cause of his grandpa's death, after all.

She removed the pen clipped to the divorce papers, and signed her name next to Evan's with a trembling hand. When she was done, she fastened the check to the divorce agreement with a paperclip, and left them before the gates. She took a deep breath, collected her things, and for the first time in her life, walked away without looking back.

Five minutes later, a black car rolled slowly into view and stopped beside the gates to the Xiao family residence.

Mark stepped out of the car and leaned against it with a look of determination in his eyes.

His eyes flickered to the divorce agreement.

"Sir, it's time to change the dressing for your wounds," Suzan Gu said respectfully.

Mark turned abruptly and glared at her, who had followed him out of the car and was now standing next to him. She was both beautiful and sexy; her black leather jacket and pants clung to her curvy figure, and there was a playful, come-hither look in her pretty eyes that most men found difficult to resist.

Mark frowned. He had known about her feelings for him for some time now, but had never given it a second thought. He considered it none of his business, so long as she was able to perform her duties without letting her feelings get in the way. Today, however, he found the undisguised look of adoration in her eyes repulsive, and he couldn't explain why.

"Last night was a complete fiasco. See that it doesn't happen again." The expression on Mark's face, still slightly pale from blood loss, grew cold and distant.

Suzan Gu bit her lip. She nodded her head, but as soon as Mark looked away, a malicious glint flickered in her beautiful eyes.

'He's mine. I won't let anyone steal him from me, ' she inwardly swore to herself.

Six years later, at a land auction

"Two hundred million." A woman's voice, crisp and cool, cut through the babble like a knife through butter.

The auction room immediately fell silent. Some of the guests squirmed in their seats as they tried to catch a glimpse of the bidder.

"Who is she? How does she have all that money? Two hundred million, wow!"

"I think she's representing Tang Group."

"That explains everything. They're loaded with money."

"But I've never seen her before. She's so young. Who is she, really? An illegitimate daughter of the Tang family's head?"

The guests whispered among themselves, unable to contain their curiosity.

"Two hundred and fifty million," Evan said nonchalantly.

The room, which had been quiet a moment ago, erupted into confused chatter.

Everyone present knew that the land up for auction was only worth two hundred million at most. Tang Group's bid of two hundred million meant they would never turn a profit, and yet Evan had one-upped them by adding another fifty million to the bidding price. Was he out of his mind?

"Has Mr. Xiao lost his marbles?" an onlooker exclaimed.

"But Mr. Xiao's a savvy businessman. We've all seen Xiao Group transform into a first-rate corporation under his leadership in the last several years. He knows what he's doing. That land must be a lot more valuable than we thought!" a voice chimed in.

"I agree with you. He knows something we don't. Xiao Group has been expanding rapidly in recent years. Evan Xiao is a force to be reckoned with," another voice added.

Evan sneered disdainfully as he listened to the excited voices around him.

The land was only worth two million dollars to everyone else, but it was priceless to Xiao Group. It was the missing piece in their jigsaw puzzle; once they had it, they would be able to consolidate all the land they already owned, and turn the area into a one-stop residential and commercial neighborhood, complete with entertainment outlets.

With a little marketing and hype, they would be able to flip the property for twice the amount paid today.

"Two hundred and fifty million, going once."

"Two hundred and fifty million, going twice."

The auctioneer raised his gavel. He was about to say, "Going thrice!" and seal the deal when the mystery woman lifted her bid paddle again.

"Three hundred million." Her cold, matter-of-fact voice was entirely devoid of emotion.

Evan frowned. He lifted his bid paddle. "Three hundred and fifty million."

"Five hundred million." It was the same disinterested voice.

Evan stood up abruptly and turned to scan the room for the myster

ious woman he had been bidding against. Who was this woman with the audacity and the money to outbid him, and at such a ridiculous price?

Evan narrowed his eyes. The land up for auction was only worth about four hundred million to him, and not a single cent more. Bidding five hundred million for it made no sense whatsoever. Someone was clearly out to sabotage him.

He spotted the woman with the bid paddle, and his jaw dropped. He took in the long hair, tied neatly in a bun, and the flawless complexion that shone without the help of makeup. Her eyes, staring coolly back at him beneath her delicate eyebrows, were both familiar and strange to him.

He knew those eyes—they were the eyes of the woman who had worshiped him for ten years. But the affectionate warmth in them had been replaced with a confidence and steadfast determination he had never seen before. As their eyes met, he thought he could see a flicker of triumph and contempt in her eyes.

It was Della.

"Mr. Hua?" In a secluded corner of the room, Peter Liu looked at Mark with some confusion. Mark had been about to raise his bid paddle, but had suddenly changed his mind and lowered it.

They had received inside information that the new high-speed railway would pass through the piece of land currently up for auction. The government would pay the owners of the land five hundred million dollars as part of the railway subsidy, and that was on top of the other economic benefits brought about by having the train stop there. Peter stared at Mark as his confusion grew. They were prepared to fork over a billion dollars for the land, so why had Mark given up on it?

There was a small smile on Mark's handsome face. "If she wants it, I'll make sure she gets it."

Over the last six years, he had tried his best to find her, to no avail. He had convinced himself that he had forgotten her, but he knew now that he had only been deceiving himself. The moment he saw her again, his icy heart melted and began to hammer in his chest with an intensity that surprised him.

He wasn't about to let her slip away a second time.

Peter Liu watched helplessly as the auctioneer rapped his gavel upon the sounding board.

"Five hundred million, going thrice. And we have a deal! My heartiest congratulations to Tang Group."

Della stood up graciously to acknowledge the applause and shouts of congratulations from the other guests. She smiled.

She was wearing a fashionable light yellow suit, tailor-made to hug her ample curves. Her appearance was so striking every man in the room immediately turned to stare at her.

Blinded with rage, Evan strode over to Della and grabbed her wrist. His voice was angry and accusing as he yelled, "Della! What is the meaning of this?!"

He was convinced that she had returned to get her revenge.

"Mr. Xiao, I understand that you're embarrassed, but it is highly improper for you to take it out on me." Della pulled her wrist out of his grasp. "My sincerest apologies for depriving you of the land you seem so very desperate to buy."

With that, she turned and swept gracefully out the door.

Evan's face darkened. He was about to follow after Della and make her pay for her insolence when Lana grabbed his sleeve and shot him a warning look. Evan glanced around and saw that the other guests were now staring at him after his angry outburst.

He straightened his tie and cleared his throat. A few of the guests approached him to ask what had happened, but he ignored them and stalked out of the room with Lana in tow. His expression was one of perfect nonchalance, but an unpleasant storm brewed in his eyes.

Behind him, Lana's pretty eyes were aflame with jealousy and resentment.

Six years ago, the male escort she had called for Della had arrived at Room 1001 only to find it empty. Lana had been left with no choice but to disguise herself as Della by changing her clothes and putting on a wig. She had found someone to take incriminating photos of "Della" from the back while she made out with the male escort, but her plan had backfired on her. The photographer was in cahoots with the male escort, and had secretly snapped photos of Lana sleeping with the male escort after removing her disguise.

The male escort and photographer had been blackmailing her with the photos for the last six years; the greedy pair were like a pair of insatiable lions, pestering her for money day and night. But she had gritted her teeth and endured it. As Evan's underground mistress, it had taken her considerable time, money, and energy to finally earn the right to appear beside Evan at public events as his girlfriend. Della's sudden return to the scene was a wrench in her plans.

Della strode out of the auction house. Several of the wealthy, successful businessmen who had seen her at the auction accosted her and tried to invite her out to dinner, but she turned all of them down politely with a smile and a small shake of her head. She slid gracefully into the back seat of a car and turned to look at the man beside her: Dugan Tang.

Dugan Tang was over sixty years old, but he didn't look a day over fifty. He sat with perfect posture in his dark blue Chinese tunic suit; his eyes bright under his gray hair and his cheeks rosy with good health. He was Dugan Tang, the chairman of Tang Group.

"I hear that Evan Xiao was also at the auction. Is it true?" Dugan Tang asked with a grin.

Della smiled. "Yes, he was there. You should have seen the look on his face when I stole the land he wanted from right under his nose."

"Do you want me to explain our relationship to him?" Dugan Tang asked with a twinkle in his eye.

"What difference would it make?" Della replied with a self-deprecating smile.

After leaving the Xiao family six years ago, she had packed her things and traveled to another country alone. While abroad, she had stumbled upon Dugan Tang while he was having a heart attack, and had acted quickly to save his life. After his recovery, he had taken her under his wing to repay her for her kindness.

There had been the usual sort of gossip that naturally began whenever a young woman was seen with a rich elderly man, but Della didn't mind. She made no attempt to explain the relationship, and had even allowed the rumors to spread; she wasn't interested in romance, and the gossip served to keep other men from trying to approach her and waste her time.

Dugan Tang's smile widened as he regarded Della thoughtfully. "But he's your ex-husband. Surely you..."

"That's all in the past now. I don't see the point in crying over spilled milk," Della cut him off abruptly.

She was almost convinced the gods were toying with her. She had given up on Evan. She had been ready to move on, and yet their paths had crossed for the second time.

She let out a soft sigh as a gloomy look crept into her eyes. She was afraid her secret would be discovered, afraid that the embers in her heart, which she had tried to stamp out over the last six years, would kindle again.

Dugan Tang merely smiled in response. It was her choice to make, and he knew better than to interfere.

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