“Oh, I see. By the way, this is my boyfriend, Joan. Larry is very amiable, so there’s no need to be shy with him.” Gabriella took Larry’s hand with a warm smile on her face.
She’s his girlfriend? Ah well, that makes sense. Only a beautiful and kind woman with a good family background like Gabriella is worthy of an outstanding man like him, Joan mused. At that thought, a bitter smile tugged at her lips.
“Thank you, Gabriella. But I’m about done discussing business with Mr. Norton, so I won’t disturb the two of you. We’ll talk another day. Please excuse me.” Instead of feeling thrilled to bump into her best friend during college, she was driven by guilt to leave as soon as possible.
“Mr. Norton, this document contains the specifics of our collaboration this time, so I’ll leave it here for your perusal. If you have any opinions or suggestions, feel free to voice them out. Someone from our company will contact you further.” Her sense of responsibility to the company overshadowed her conflicted emotions at present, so Joan steeled herself and extended the contract in her hand to Larry.
However, Larry didn’t move to take the contract. He merely stared at her coldly. As he looked at the woman who had once left him ruthlessly despite his fervent pleas, the emotions brewing within him were no less complicated than hers.
I should hate her, so why do I feel inexplicably distressed at the sight of her vulnerable expression? No! Why should I help her when she was the one who abandoned me? As that thought occurred to him, a white-hot rush of fury abruptly surged within him.
Snatching the contract from her, he threw it onto the table without even sparing it a single glance.
“I never expected you to be the person in charge of the project this time. It seems that your company’s credibility and integrity are questionable, so I still need to look into it further.” Sneering, he declared, “You may leave now.”
His rejection was clear as day, making it known in uncertain terms that he didn’t want to discuss business with her. Joan wanted to leave posthaste, so she nodded and replied, “Sure. Someone else will contact you soon, so please excuse me.”
Then, she glanced at Gabriella at the side before spinning on her heels and left.
Gabriella was just about to say something when she glimpsed Larry’s forbidding expression. All at once, she tactfully zipped her mouth.
Meanwhile, Larry’s hands clenched and loosened intermittently as he stared at Joan’s forlorn back. As a wave of irritation assailed him, he slammed his fist against the table hard before he stalked out of the office.
Gabriella, on the other hand, took note of it all.
“Joan Watts, I wonder what’s your story with Larry Norton,” she muttered with a contemplative gleam in her eyes.
After leaving Norton Corporation, desolation engulfed Joan. She had never expected to meet Larry again and had buried her abiding love for him in the deepest depths of her memories. Nevertheless, fate was a fickle b*tch. They met each other once again in an unexpected manner, and he already had a girlfriend of his own.
Her mind brought her back to the past, and she recalled the days when they got acquainted, fell in love, and dated. However much we loved each other, the depth of their love determined the severity of their hurt.
Back when they were both madly in love to the point of no return, she was informed during a medical checkup that she had a tumor in her brain, and it was already at the advanced stage.
That news was undoubtedly a severe blow to Joan who was in the prime of her life. The doctor told her that she needed to go abroad for treatment immediately, and the possibility of recovery was less than ten percent. Worse still, she might go blind anytime because the tumor was putting pressure on her central nervous system.
That very same day, her parents helped her to defer her studies. But the most agonizing aspect for her was having to face Larry who loved her deeply.
To save him the anguish if anything happened to her, she chose to break up with him. And for that, she made up an excuse that she no longer loved him and had fallen in love with someone else instead. Larry begged her fervently, hoping that she would change her mind. Despite that, Joan didn’t tell him the truth although she was grief-stricken herself. On the contrary, she further provoked him with words in hopes that he would forget about her sooner.