"Dad, Mom, Ashley, thank you for attending our engagement ceremony. Raymond and I are so happy that you're here with us. May I propose a toast everyone? For the start of our new life, for love, and for the family! Cheers!" the endearing girl proposed as she raised her glass with a beaming smile.
Wearing a flowing white off-the-shoulder, knee-length satin dress, the angel-faced woman was basking in infinite happiness. With a calm and contented expression, she was holding a man's arm intimately.
On the contrary, the man in white, tailored business suit, appeared to be uneasy. Looking at him, one would know that he was not happy. Instead of fixing his eyes on his radiant fiancee, he laid his eyes on a girl. With a simple shove of his hand, he tried to withdraw his hand from his wife-to-be, but the latter tightened her grip.
"Raymond!" The elegant middle-aged woman beside him called out his name casually, warning him to behave properly. Her voice was filled with mirth and a tinge of displeasure.
The woman's voice pulled Raymond Luo back from his thoughts. Holding on to his glass, he shifted his gaze from that girl to his fiancee reluctantly.
Forcing a faint smile on his face, he greeted his fiancee's parents respectfully, "Dad, Mom."
Despite his mother's thugs and warns, he couldn't stop himself from stealing glances at that girl occasionally.
Taking the absent look on Raymond's face, Lena Mu pinched his hand forcefully. Gnashing her teeth, she sneered at Ashley Mu who kept her head down with resentment in her eyes.
"What are you doing, Ashley? Lena and her fiancé are making a toast. Lift your glass, for goodness sake!" Peggy Su nudged Ashley who kept a low profile trying to be invisible. She handed a glass of wine to the shy girl.
"Ashley, thanking you for coming here," Lena Mu said to Ashley Mu in a soft tone as she raised her glass.
Timidly, Ashley Mu was forced to take the glass. Looking up at Lena Mu and Raymond Luo, she scoffed in her heart, 'One is handsome, and the other is pretty. A cheater and a bitch. They are perfect for each other.'
A faint smile climbed up the corners of her lips. Her smile was so dazzling that no one could look away from her whenever she flashed her perfect teeth. She said, "Congratulations! May you live happily forever!" With one swift swig, she emptied the glass of wine down her throat.
"Thank you, Ashley! For sure I and Raymond will live a happy life," Lena Mu replied sweetly, leaning her head on Raymond Luo's shoulder like a timid kitten. With that, she shifted her gaze from her fiance towards Ashley Mu. She gave her a provocative stare and looked at her from head to foot.
Feeling insulted by her criticizing stare, Ashley Mu gave a wider and merrier smile in response to her challenging behavior.
With an arrogant air, Lena Mu gave her sister a resentful stare and pulled her fiancé to another table to greet other guests.
Taken aback for a moment, Ashley Mu took a deep breath and joined her parents as they returned to their seats. When she faced her parents, her lips curved into a scoff. 'I know what they are up to. Today is Lena and Raymond's engagement party. They insisted on asking me to be here because they wanted me to give up on Raymond.
They are into talking to their friends, but now they stay with me. Are they afraid that I might ruin this betrothal ceremony?'
Sitting idly, Ashley Mu started to get bored. Turning to her parents, she said, "Dad, Mom, I am a little tired. I'd like to go home."
"No, you can't," Peggy Su declined sternly the moment she finished her statement.
"But, why?" Ashley Mu asked with a scowl. The response was unexpected, making her mulled in confusion, 'If she is worried that I might ruin this party, there is no need. Lena and Raymond are now engaged and I can do nothing about it. They are supposed to rest assured.
are they up to something behind my back?'
Out of the blue, her head was throbbing. She held her head with her hands, and a surge of heat ran through her body. 'What's going on? I am feeling dizzy. And my headache is killing me. Did I catch a fever?
I only drank one glass of wine. There is no way that I would be tipsy, ' she wondered, trying to keep sober.
Seeing her struggle, Peggy Su walked over to Ashley Mu and said, "What's the matter with, Ashley? You don't look good. I will take you to a room so you can have some rest." Without asking for her daughter's opinion, she helped her up and pulled her upstairs.
As they reached the second floor, Ashley Mu tried to free herself from her mother's grasp. She had a feeling that something was not right. "Let go of me!" she shouted as she braced herself. She was desperate to be left alone and fought her way out with all her might.
However, her attempt was in vain. She could barely stand, let alone get rid of Peggy's tight grip.
As her daughter kept on trying to withdraw her hand from her, Peggy dragged her to a quiet corner and slapped her in the face furiously.
"You wicked girl. You are lucky that Mr. Du is interested in you. As long as you can make him happy, you can live a comfortable life and our family can get several big deals from him. So keep quiet and follow me," she cursed with a vicious look.
The slap brought Ashley Mu back to her senses. Upon hearing Peggy's harsh statement, she couldn't help but give her a disdainful sneer.
'What's wrong with them? They are using me to butter up that Michael Du who is in the real estate business. That man is old enough to be my father.
Besides, he is fat and loves abusing young girls sexually. His victims ended up being miserable.
They are putting me in big trouble, but she made it sound like she's doing it for my sake.
Although I am not their biological daughter, I have lived with them for more than ten years. Do I mean nothing to them? How could they treat me like this?' she pondered bitterly.
Feeling sorry for herself, Ashley Mu gathered all her strength, pushed her mother away and ran towards the direction opposite to the place she was led to.
Her reaction left Peggy dazed and stunned. The old lady was snapped out of her bewilderment, she watched as Ashley ran and dashed forward. There was a malicious look in her eyes.
Furious at her careless action, Peggy's blood curdled as she ran after her daughter.
When Ashley heard footsteps drawing closer from behind without looking back, she bit her lower lip hard. She pushed her feet harder and ran as fast as she could, not intending to be caught by her mother.
I can't be caught by her.
Otherwise, I will be as good as dead. I can't let them ruin my life!' she thought, determined to escape her ill fate.
Glancing back, she caught sight of Peggy Su who was coming her way. Her mind raced as to what she would do. Then her attention was caught by a door opened ajar. Without any hesitation, she sneaked into the room, locked the door and leaned against the door frame.
Out of strength, she collapsed to the ground and sat against the door.
The hotel room might be soundproof so she couldn't hear any noise from outside. Heaving a breath of relief, she lifted her head and examined the place. The blackout curtains were closed, but she could see the layout as rays of moonlight came in through the curtain gap.
Running her eyes across the room, she noticed that there was a king-sized bed in the middle of the room. An oversized TV was placed right opposite the bed, and a desk was on the left side. Clothes were scattered on the floor, a pair of socks, and a coat, a belt strangled with a tie, a lump of black trousers and a shirt. Obviously, they belonged to a man.
Her head was throbbing and her temples were in searing pain. With her situation, she anticipated that any moment from now she would definitely pass out. Numbness crept all over her body and she could only hear the sound of water dripping on the floor from the bathroom.
As she grew more feverish, she was dying to take off all her clothes and go under in a cold bath.
Feeling a little drowsy, she bit her lower lip harder to addle herself from her own rising body temperature. Certainly, it would take an idiot not to know what was happening to her. She couldn't believe how foolish she was and she had to shake her head in disbelief.
She was certain that she had been drugged by her foster mother.
Pushing her hands against the wall and managing to get up, she thought it necessary to make an apology, considering the fact that she barged in, unwelcomed. Besides, she also planned to get the owner's permission to use the bathroom since she badly needed to take a cold shower.
Before she could even reach the bathroom, its door was opened.
Blinded by the sudden bright light from the bathroom, Ashley Mu squinted her eyes and caught sight of a tall, hefty man. He only wore a bath towel wrapped around his body as he stepped out of the bathroom. Since she was losing her consciousness, she couldn't get a picture of his face clearly.
Despite that, she speculated that the man was over 188 cm tall and had a well-shaped face. Besides, he exuded a powerful vibe.
If she was on her right mind and not under the circumstance of her mother pushing her like a harlot, Ashley Mu would turn around and run away. But since her mother was outside, she didn't have any other choice but to stay.
She saw the half-naked man, with water still dripping down his pale skin, and the scent of the body wash diffusing from within him wafted through her nose. With all these teasing her senses, she felt a burning desire within her and was overwhelmed by the sensation.