Chapter 858 Decided To Go Abroad
When Oscar woke up and saw Isabella staring at him intently, mirth bubbled within him. “What’s wrong? You’re looking at me as though I’m going to leave.”
Leaning against his shoulder, Isabella whined aggrievedly, “I’m scared Amelia will steal you from me as she’s always hounding you. After all, she’s beautiful and gave birth to Tony for you. The two of you have a child linking you together while I merely love you silently without any title.”
Oscar hugged her close to him, murmuring apologetically, “I’m sorry I made you feel insecure. Don’t worry, for I’ll take care of everything.”
A flash of something dark flittered across Isabella’s eyes. Taking things further, she ventured, “Will you marry me, Oscar?”
Oscar instinctively wanted to answer in the affirmative, but Amelia’s voice and smile inexplicably flashed across his mind. He shook his head, feeling that he shouldn’t be reacting in such a manner.
Isabella’s heart clenched. She lifted her head and looked at him before hanging her head. “Do you not want to marry me, Oscar?”
Patting her face, Oscar coaxed, “Don’t think so much. Let’s go upstairs.”
After saying that, he swung open the car door and alighted from the car.
Isabella followed suit. As she gazed at his back ahead of her, the look in her eyes was exceedingly complex. She bit her lip hard.
“What’s wrong, Isabella?” Oscar turned and queried, halting in his tracks.
Putting a smile on her face, Isabella quickened her pace and caught up with him. Taking his arm, she fibbed, “I was just studying your back, only to find you exceptionally handsome all of a sudden, so I wondered how I got such a good-looking boyfriend.”
In response, Oscar merely chuckled.
When they arrived back at the condominium, he glanced around at the familiar interior design before pinning his eyes on Isabella beside him. He couldn’t help asking, “Did you really live here in the past, Isabella?”
In a flash, Isabella’s heart lodged in her throat. Jerking her head up, she questioned, “What do you mean by that, Oscar? Does this not look like our love nest?”
Oscar shook his head, explaining, “Don’t think too much. I merely feel that you won’t like such a cozy design, considering your style. Besides, I can’t shake off the feeling that the mistress of this place is someone else.”
Isabella’s hands balled into fists. But in the next instant, she slowly unclenched them.
“That was really hurtful, Oscar. Could it be that you brought some other woman back here without my knowledge that you’re saying the mistress of this place is someone else? Spit it out, quick. Otherwise, I’ll be teaching you a lesson.”
Trying to scare him, she pretended to bare her teeth and curve her fingers into claws.
Oscar scrutinized her hard, his brows creasing imperceptibly. Verily, he found her all too different from his impression of her in his memories.
“How did you joke around with me in the past, Isabella?” he inquired in a seemingly nonchalant manner.
Again, Isabella’s heart lodged in her throat. She was initially feeling guilty in the first place, afraid that the man would realize something amiss, so she was all panicked following that question.
“Why are you asking, Oscar?” she ventured guiltily.
Reaching out, Oscar pulled her into his arms and tapped the tip of her nose. “I was merely asking casually, but you’re acting all guilty. Did you do something bad behind my back?”
Isabella felt even guiltier then, but she tried acting coquettish by countering, “I’ll really be heartbroken if you doubt me when I love you so much, Oscar.”
Oscar stroked her hair gently with a smile curving his lips, putting on a front of being in a great mood. However, the sense of dissonance within him intensified. A voice kept telling him that someone else was the mistress of the house. Yet, the woman in his memories was undeniably Isabella.
In his memories, Isabella was sweet, independent, strong, and kind. She would hug him from behind in the red glow of the setting sun and rub her cheek against his back like a lazy kitten, very much adorable.
The Isabella in his arms, though perfectly fine, created a sense of dissonance within him. No matter what, he couldn’t open his heart to her.
He felt a sense of discordance, but he couldn’t exactly put his finger on it.
When Isabella lifted her eyes and met his probing gaze, her heart jolted, fearful that he would notice something off.
An idea occurred to her, upon which she suggested, “Let’s tidy the house together, Oscar.”
Just when they were about to get to their feet, the sound of a key turning in the lock sounded from outside the door. They both swung their gazes over in concert, only to see Molly opening the door and entering the house.
Molly carried a bunch of groceries. Puzzlement swamped her the instant she spotted the woman who shouldn’t be in the house. But still, she commented politely, “Where’s Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Anthony, Mr. Clinton? And why is Ms. Walker here? I remember you didn’t quite welcome her here in the past.”
Isabella shot daggers at her. Argh! I considered everything, but I forgot that there’s still Molly, who comes over to help with the chores!
Frowning, Oscar clarified, “Who’s Mrs. Clinton, Molly? And didn’t Isabella live here in the past?”
As though having heard something utterly incredulous, Molly asked worriedly, “Are you okay, Mr. Clinton? This is your house with Mrs. Clinton, and the renovation was all handled by Mrs. Clinton alone. What has it got to do with Ms. Walker here?”
“How could you twist the truth in front of Oscar when I’ve been so nice to you, Molly?” Isabella barked.
Molly threw a look at her as though she was a lunatic. Then, she shifted her gaze to Oscar and pressed, “Mr. Clinton, where’s Mrs. Clinton? I only went home to visit my grandchild for three days. Why does it seem as though the mistress here has changed? It was your mother who sent me here to serve you both, so I won’t do anything to betray Mrs. Clinton.”
The furrow of Oscar’s brows deepened.
“Molly, Amelia is a scheming woman who’s cruel beyond words. Conversely, Isabella treats you incredibly well. Shouldn’t you like her more?” he mused in perplexity.
Verily, he couldn’t shake off the feeling that the reality was too different from his memories.
“What are you saying, Mr. Clinton? Have you been bewitched?” Molly fretted with her eyes trained on him.
Stepping in front of Oscar, Isabella urged anxiously, “Kick her out, Oscar. Amelia sent her here to drive a wedge in our relationship. Let’s not have her serve us. It was because of her that our relationship fractured.”
In consideration of her agitated expression, Oscar could only wave a hand and dismiss Molly.
Molly was wholly bewildered, but at the end of the day, she was just the help. Thus, she left after placing the groceries in the refrigerator.
When she had gone downstairs, she gave Amelia a call.
Amelia explained the situation to her before advising her to go back to the Clinton residence to help out first and avoid going to the condominium for the time being.
“Does Mr. Clinton really not remember anything at all, Mrs. Clinton? What are you and Mr. Anthony going to do, then?” Molly queried urgently.
With a bitter smile, Amelia replied, “Don’t worry, Molly. I’m planning to go abroad with Tony. Help me take care of Oscar in the future.”
“Mrs. Clinton, it’s evident that Mr. Clinton got duped by that woman. Are you not planning to bother about him anymore that you’re going abroad at this time?”
“As you saw, Molly, he doesn’t remember me anymore. Staying here will only make me loathsome.” Sighing softly, Amelia entreated, “Please take good care of Oscar while I’m away, Molly. All right, I’ll be hanging up.”
Similarly, Molly soundlessly heaved a sigh after hanging up the phone.
I only went home for a few days, yet everything has changed.
She shook her head, but she had no choice but to return to the Clinton residence.
“What’s wrong, Babe? Who called?” Tiffany inquired as she came over with a cup of milkshake.
“It was Molly. She saw Oscar and Isabella in the house when she returned. That aside, she was even kicked out by the latter. She was at a loss, so she phoned me. I explained the situation to her to save her from being in the dark,” Amelia answered casually. She acted indifferently as though she didn’t care, but a flash of sorrow flashed across her eyes.
Tiffany gritted her teeth. “That woman is really shameless! It’s your house, but she’s openly claiming it for herself. Never had I seen such a brazen-faced woman!”
“Don’t seek justice for me anymore, Tiff. It’s all set in stone now, so no matter how much you kick up a fuss, things can never go back to how it was in the past. Take it easy. Do you want to notify Derrick since we’re going abroad in a few days?” Amelia cajoled.
Tiffany was downright baffled. “Not only does he have another woman in his arms now, but he’s also going to be a father soon. Why should I tell him about me going abroad?”
“All right, never mind, then. Indeed, there’s nothing much to be said,” Amelia relented.
Masking the emotions in her eyes, Tiffany remarked, “I’ve already packed my luggage. I also stacked the new clothes you and Tony bought into the luggage. Which date do you prefer? I want to buy the flight tickets online.”
Amelia gave her a date.
Tiffany ran off to book the flight tickets. Then, she came back to inform her that she had settled everything. It was a flight five days later. In her words, it was best to leave as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary complications.
They initially wanted to leave without alerting anyone, but Derrick suddenly appeared at Tiffany’s house two days before their departure and asked directly, “You’re going abroad, Tiff?”
Sticking her hands onto her hips, Tiffany reverted to her past bluntness and feistiness. “How did you know that? I didn’t tell anyone about it.”
“Never mind that. Just tell me whether it’s true. Why are you going abroad out of the blue? Will you be coming back in the future? And did you ever consider me before deciding to go abroad?” Derrick demanded, panting heavily.
At that, Tiffany sneered. Jabbing at his chest with a finger, she swiftly fired back, “Don’t forget that we’re already divorced, Derrick. I’ve got nothing to do with you. You’ve already got another woman and will also be having a child soon. Why do you care about where I’m going? I’m planning to go abroad and get myself a foreigner for a boyfriend. If he’s good enough, sufficiently thoughtful, and most importantly, promises me fidelity, I’ll marry him immediately. Of course, it’s even better if he has a child who’s old enough in his family. After all, it’ll still be great for me to be a stepmother when I can’t have kids.”
Her words had Derrick stumbling back time and again, pathetic beyond words.
When he was about to hit the wall, he shot his hand out and grabbed hers. Placing her hand over his heart, he pleaded, “I beg you, Tiff. Don’t go abroad. I’ve really missed you a lot. I don’t want a child or another woman. I want you alone. As long as you return to my side, I can give up anything.”
Finally, Tiffany took a good look at the man. Her only feeling was that he had lost a lot of weight. His cheeks were deeply sunken, and he was unshaven. His past handsome self was all but gone, and he resembled a nobleman who was down on his luck.
Her heart clenched painfully. It would be a lie if she were to claim that she was apathetic toward his sorry state. Although she was still traumatized from her failed marriage, she could still lead a pretty good life on the surface. Derrick, however, was torturing himself. If it were to persist, she really felt that a stiff gust of wind would be able to knock him over.
In the end, her love for him still superseded her reason.
“Have a seat first. You look as though you haven’t eaten in days,” she huffed, withdrawing her hand.
At once, Derrick’s eyes lit up.
“You still care about me, don’t you, Tiff?” he queried urgently.
Tiffany shot him a look, upon which he immediately sat down on the couch obediently.
When Amelia came back with Tony, she was greeted by the sight of Derrick eating heartily on the couch.
Seeing that they had returned, Tiffany picked her ear and explained awkwardly, “I saw that he was so thin that he resembled the refugees from Alendor, so I kindly cooked him something. Don’t overthink.”
In response, Amelia threw her a look that seemingly said Tiffany was the one overthinking.
Pouting, Tiffany beckoned at Tony. The little boy trotted over to her docilely.
“You’re here, Amelia?” Derrick ate another bite of food before snagging a tissue and wiping his mouth, reverting to his usual elegance in front of others. If one were to ignore the stubble on his face, he would look like a refined nobleman.
Sitting on the couch on the other side, Amelia pointed at the remaining food and urged, “Go on and eat first. We’ll talk after you’ve finished eating.”
Without standing on ceremony, Derrick picked up his fork and started stuffing his face again. Only when he was full did he place his fork down.
“You’re full?” Tiffany inquired disdainfully.
Following that, Tiffany got up to put the dishes away, saying, “You guys talk first.” Then, she went into the kitchen.
Sitting there ramrod straight, Derrick pinned his eyes on Amelia. After a moment’s silence, he asked, “You’re divorced from Mr. Clinton?”
Amelia arched a brow and commented with a chuckle, “You’re quite well-informed.”
“What to do? Tiff is the woman I love, so I pay more attention to things related to her and her friends. Please don’t take offense at me. I’m just afraid that she’ll get hurt,” Derrick admitted.
“Don’t forget that you and Tiff are already divorced. There’s nothing more between the two of you. Even if she gets hurt, I don’t think you’ve got the right to comfort her.” A smile remained on Amelia’s face, but the words out of her mouth cut deep.
Derrick’s expression darkened a shade.
“Don’t blame me for being harsh with my words, Derrick. You’re going to be a father soon, so a relationship is no longer possible between you two. I hope you won’t appear before her anymore. That’s best for both of you. I don’t want her to get hurt for the second time. I trust that you understand that better than anyone else.” Amelia leaned forward a fraction, assuming the stance of a negotiation.
A frown marred Derrick’s countenance, and a flash of pain flittered across his eyes.
“I love her,” he murmured softly. Because he loved her too deeply, he acted like a madman and sent someone to stalk Tiffany in addition to investigating her and her friends. He himself felt that he had already gotten so obsessed that he couldn’t extricate himself anymore.
At the sight of his emaciated self, pity welled within Amelia. But at the thought that he already had a child, she had no choice but to harden her heart when continued interaction between him and Tiffany would only end up hurting the latter.
“Derrick, you were the one who cheated on her and got the other woman pregnant. I hope you can take the responsibility a man ought to bear. Love isn’t the only thing in a person’s life. I don’t care whether there are any feelings between you and Ms. Halliwell. Ultimately, the child is innocent. Tiff will never insert herself in that relationship and be a stepmother to the child. When she has really put her feelings for you down, I’ll encourage her to date again, then get married. As for you, you’re already in the past,” she stated bluntly.
Clenching his hands emotionally, Derrick stared at her sharply and snarled through gritted teeth, “She’s mine. I’ll never allow her to be with another man. Amelia, I admire you greatly but don’t blame me for not showing you any mercy if you insist on destroying her relationship with me.”
Amelia was taken aback at his terrifying gaze. Nonetheless, her expression turned even more calm and unruffled.
As Tiffany came out with some fruits, she perceptively sensed that the atmosphere between them was off.
Frowning, she placed the fruits on the coffee table and queried, “What’s wrong? Both of you are looking grim.”
To that, Amelia chortled. “I just advised Derrick not to come here so often and told him about how you are going abroad, and he got mad.”
Glaring at Derrick, Tiffany snapped, “What’s there for you to be mad about? The two of us divorced ages ago, and you’re even going to be a father soon. Why, do you want others to say that I’m a homewrecker who comes in between your relationship with Ms. Halliwell?”
Derrick’s expression stretched tautly, and he replied solemnly, “That’s not what I meant, Tiff.”
Tiffany waved a dismissive hand. “All right, I don’t care whatever it is you meant. You’ve already eaten, so you should leave now.”
However, Derrick continued staring at her intently. In the next second, he backed down and begged, “Don’t go abroad, Tiff. Please?”
“I’ve bought the flight ticket and even contacted the school where I’m going to study. What do you think?”
Derrick’s face paled a shade. His hands balled into fists, the veins on his arms popping.
In a hoarse voice, he questioned, “Tiff, can you really give up on our relationship when we’ve loved each other for so many years?”
Tiffany snorted a bark of laughter.
“Derrick, you were the one who first betrayed me. Oh well, forget it. It’s meaningless to pursue the past now.” She waved a hand, a trace of weariness showing on her face. “I’m tired, and I no longer don’t want to think about whoever was right or wrong back then. Anyway, it’s no longer possible between us. You can now be a good father while I go abroad and continue to learn how to be a good screenwriter, both going our separate ways. As for whomever you love and marry, that has nothing to do with me.”
Derrick chuckled bitterly several times, finding his throat horribly dry.
“It looks like I’m the only one struggling to restore our relationship, Tiff. I thought you loved me as deeply as I love you, but it turned out that I got ahead of myself. Never mind, I’ll only make you hate me if I were to continue pestering you. I’ll be leaving.” He stood up and left, his back appearing awfully desolate.
Unbidden, Tiffany’s heart clenched at the sight of his bleak back. Her eyes grew red-rimmed with tears swimming in them.
She couldn’t help wondering whether she had acted too heartless earlier.
“I seem to have been too callous, Babe,” she muttered, looking at Amelia.
Getting to her feet, Amelia patted Tiffany on the shoulder. “You did great, Tiff. A relationship is no longer possible between the two of you, so being cruel might be helpful for you both to extricate yourselves from this failed marriage. Give each other some time, and the excruciating pain of the past will fade.”
Tiffany tugged at her hair, her emotions a jumbled mess. Ugh! I’m going abroad, but there just had to be such a fuss to get me all worked up!
Amelia was aware that matters of the heart were complicated, so she didn’t bother talking reason to her but urged her to think about it herself.
When they had eaten dinner at night, Amelia started, “Tiff, I’ve got an appointment with my mother-in-law tomorrow. I’m counting on your company.”
By then, Tiffany had already shaken off the effect Derrick had on her. “Sure. I’m going to type the script for the ending tonight and send it to the director, then accompany you tomorrow. This is probably my last script in the country. I don’t even know whether I’ll have the chance to collaborate with domestic directors anymore in the future.”
Amelia eyed her curiously. “Are you not planning to continue being a screenwriter in the future?”
Stretching, Tiffany answered, “I don’t know. All of a sudden, I don’t have the enthusiasm to write scripts anymore. Maybe I’ll write novels full-time. I’ve already entrusted the copyrights of my novels to a publishing company in Beshya. If they’re adapted into movies in the future, I’ll have someone else rewrite the script. I don’t plan on writing anymore.”
“Why the sudden decision when everything had been perfectly fine?”
“I’m not sure either. I just suddenly lost my passion for it. Perhaps it’s because I’ve gotten up in years.”
Amelia went silent. In truth, she felt that it was probably related to Tiffany’s failed marriage. At the end of the day, she still can’t forget Derrick. While she claims not to care anymore, she actually cares more than anyone else.
“Babe, regarding our trip abroad this time, I’m thinking of migrating over if possible. I’ll only be facing a mess if I return to the country, so it’s better for me to settle down abroad. There’ll be far fewer problems.”
“That’s my plan, but when you return to the country, I might go back with you if I find it boring abroad. After all, I’m not familiar with the things and people there.”
“Whatever you like. No matter your decision, I’ll support you,” Amelia promised.
“Do you think I’m too willful, Babe?”
“Not at all. Anything goes as long as you’re happy.”
Tiffany laughed exaggeratedly, but still, she couldn’t mask the loneliness in her eyes.
Clocking that, Amelia sighed inwardly. No wonder we’re best friends. Our experiences are surprisingly similar, both embarking on the path of divorce, one after another. As such, neither of us has the right to advise the other.
“Don’t stay up too late to write your manuscript later. Just continue tomorrow if you can’t finish today.”
“Yes, madam! Hurry up and go out. I’ve got to start typing now. I’ll try my best to finish today.”
Amelia was pushed out the door by Tiffany while giggling away.
The next day, Amelia went to meet Olivia with Tony and Tiffany.
The instant they arrived at the private dining room, Olivia quickly took Tony from her and kissed him on the face several times, doting on him endlessly.
“Did you miss me, Tony?”
“Yes. I also miss your baked ribs, Grandma. When I come back from abroad, you must cook it for me,” Tony declared in a juvenile voice.
Olivia’s eyes darkened, and her hands tightened around him.
He’s my only beloved grandson, but he’s going abroad now. Verily, I hate Isabella to the core! If it weren’t for her creating all this trouble, my grandson wouldn’t need to go abroad. I don’t even know when I’ll be able to see him again.
Suppressing the unease within her, she inquired, “When are you leaving?”
“We’re taking a flight at ten o’clock tomorrow morning,” Amelia replied.
Olivia’s brows knitted together, and she murmured reluctantly, “So quickly? Amelia, must you take Tony abroad? If he stays, his grandfather and I can take care of him. I’m afraid he won’t recognize me anymore by the time he returns when he’s going abroad at such a tender age.”
“I’ll have him phone you every day, Mom. Oscar is under Isabella’s control right now. If Tony were to stay within the country, none of us could be sure whether she’d incite Oscar to do something to him. For that reason, I find it safer to bring him abroad. Mom, I know you don’t want to part with Tony, but Oscar is the one managing Clinton Corporations at present. Although Dad is still the chairman, Oscar’s authority is greater. Even you and Dad can’t do anything about him, no?”
At that, Olivia sighed dejectedly. “You’re right. His father nor I can do anything about him now. We’re both old. A single misstep might cause Tony to plunge into irrevocable danger. It’s good that you’re taking him abroad, but you must protect him well. We’ll do our best to have someone keep an eye on Oscar. We’re his parents, so he’ll still listen to us to a certain extent. Unfortunately, we can’t do anything about Isabella for the time being. However, we’ll make a move against her one day. Since she dared to dupe Oscar, she should be ready to pay the price.”
“Don’t be angry, Mom. Take things slowly. Most importantly, you and Dad must take good care of yourselves. I promise I’ll bring Tony back in a year or two. This is my vow. But while I’m away, please take care of Oscar on my behalf,” Amelia remarked.
“Don’t worry. Isabella won’t dare do anything under my watchful eyes,” Olivia hissed.
She turned her gaze to Tony with reluctance written clear in her eyes. “Actually, Amelia, you don’t need to go abroad. There’s still the Clinton family backing you up if you stay.”
“Mom, I can’t change anything even if I stay. Instead, it’ll only intensify Isabella’s vigilance. None of us knows what she might do to Oscar in a panic. My temporary departure will have her relaxing her guard. At the very least, Oscar will be safe. In a year or two, I believe the two of you will be able to more or less pinpoint the problem. At that time, you’ll also have found a way to cure him.”
Olivia mulled it over for a moment. Ultimately, she relented.