Chapter 14: New Love, Old Flame
The following day, Candice was preparing some documents in the office when Monica passed by her desk and knocked on her table.
“There’s a man looking for you,” Monica said.
Half of Patrick’s face was still swollen, and Candice immediately thought it was Rufus.
“Of course I’d recognize him. This guy’s much better looking and he looks rather refined in activewear,” Monica said.
Candice had no recollection of such a person in her social circle. Thus, she put aside the task at hand and went straight to the front desk, only to be stunned right on the spot.
Holding a bouquet of lilies in one hand and some boxes of food in the other, he greeted with a gentle and elegant smile, “Candice.”
It was a bouquet of lilies, not roses.
That made his visit less presumptuous and prevented things from becoming too awkward for the two of them.
“What brings you here?”
“I saw your text last night. Is there something about me that you are not satisfied with?” Marion asked, feeling a little dejected.
Right after complimenting him for knowing how to act appropriately, he asked a question that made her feel uncomfortable.
“It’s not that I’m upset with you but you’re just too outstanding…”
Marion said earnestly, “Candice, I don’t want you to just think of me as a nice guy. I want you to give me a chance to continue spending more time with you.”
Monica, who came out to see what was going on, came to a sudden realization.
“Is he the guy you went on a blind date with?” she blurted.
Being the gentleman he was, Marion greeted her.
Monica patted him on the shoulder and said, “Candice and I
are the best friends in the office. So, if you treat me well enough, I’ll put in a good word for you.”
Marion handed her the boxes of food and said, “You can share this with your colleagues.”
Monica looked through the boxes and remarked, “What did you get? Wow, you must have spent a bomb on these. The food from this restaurant is really expensive.”
She turned around to look at Candice and said, “You don’t like him? He’s such a great guy! I’d be laughing in my sleep if my husband was half as good as him.”
Candice asked softly, “Where’s Patrick?”
“He’s out on a field trip and will probably be back soon.”
When the doors of the elevator opened, Patrick frowned and looked around before asking, “Why are all of you gathered here?”
Speak of the devil.
Pointing at the boxes of food that Monica had taken away, Candice winked at Marion hintingly and said, “Hey delivery guy, you may leave now.”
With a look of puzzlement, Marion stared at Candice.
Patrick was an experienced corporate worker who knew how to handle such situations. He could sense that there was something amiss.
“What did you order?”
He walked up to Marion and stared at the bouquet of pink lilies in his hand.
Marion pursed his lips without making a single sound.
Patrick stared at Candice again and asked, “Is that for you?”
It seemed that there was no way she could continue with the lie.
“He’s my friend,” Candice admitted.
Patrick had obviously guessed who Marion was. He sulked immediately and chided, “You’re having a date at work? You must be sick of your job.”
Marion couldn’t take it anymore and interjected, “She’s not taking time off work. Is it wrong to meet your friends during
lunch at work?”
Patrick was even more furious than he was.
“An outsider like you is in no place to make any comments!” he retorted.
Before the matter could be resolved, Rufus barged through the door and grabbed Candice’s arm.
“Are you getting remarried?” he questioned.
Candice didn’t even notice when he entered.
“The nerve of you to be stirring trouble here,” she gibed.
Rufus‘ eyes were red with hatred as he hollered, “I asked you if you were getting remarried!”
Seeing this, Marion pulled Candice back from him and said, “Who are you to her?”
“I’m her husband!”
“Ex–husband! Rufus, go see a doctor if you’re sick! Now that Rita has dumped you for a rich man and ruined your life, you’re trying to ruin mine too, huh?” Candice barked, shivering with exasperation.
Rufus was like a wild beast that had been unleashed from its cage, biting anyone he could catch.
“Candice, I don’t care if you live or die after the divorce. But the thing is, you’ve been cheating on me with your boss before we even got divorced! Why should I take that lying down!?!”
Stunned to hear that, Marion looked at Patrick before looking at Candice again hesitantly.
Rufus took the opportunity to break free and grab Candice but to no avail. She scurried to the reception room and locked the door. Just as she was about to call the cops, Nancy called her to tell her that Rufus had gone to her office to look for her.
Candice knew that she was the one who informed Rufus after hearing her words.
“You told him I was getting married?”
Nancy stammered, “I just wanted to upset him. I wanted him to know that you still have plenty of suitors even after you’ve left him.”
Candice finally understood what it was like to be dragged down by an uncooperative friend.
“Don’t you know what kind of a person Rufus is? He’s just a scoundrel!”
Nancy said, “I asked Jervis. Rita tried to get back together with him. Rufus couldn’t afford to get her the car she wanted so he promised to give her his Audi. I ran into Rital this morning and she was driving an Audi.”
In terms of the division of assets, the Audi was awarded to Candice, but she hadn’t been bothered to drive it. Now, she finally figured out why Rufus had repeatedly confronted her. Rita was just like a bottomless pit that could never be satiated. Since he could no longer afford her lifestyle, he decided to try and extort his ex–wife, Candice.
He was as clingy as a leech that she couldn’t get rid of.
Candice hung up the phone and proceeded to question Rufus, “What exactly do you want?”
He pulled out the agreement without saying a word, and Candice grabbed it, only to see the large heading: Voluntary Waiver of Asset Division. <segment 2082 11>
She almost lost her temper and ripped it apart.
“Did I get a share of your assets?”
“You got the Audi.”
Sure enough, Nancy’s information was correct.
Candice sneered, “What else?”
Rufus said blatantly, “Hush money.‘
“I have a clear conscience. I don’t need to keep your mouth shut.”
“A clear conscience? Which of these men aren’t your adulterous lover?”
Rufus pulled a 27–second video from his email account on his cell phone, which was of Candice and Byron walking out of the room. Byron’s side profile was blurry, but Candice’s was filmed clearly.
“Which one is he? Candice, you called me shameless but you’re the shameless one!”
Candice pulled off her left stiletto and swung it at him.
Dumbfounded, Rufus took a few seconds to react before dodging to the side.
“You’re out of your mind!” he exclaimed.
Having been forced to a dead end, there was no way he could avoid it anymore. In a moment of desperation, he slapped Candice, which angered Marion.
Marion charged over and held Rufus down as he hollered, “You cheated on her first and yet, you’re still hitting her? I’m going to teach you a lesson on Candice’s behalf.”
“Who do you think you are!?!” Rufus barked as he swung his fist at Marion.
However, Marion cocked his head to the side and the punch landed on Patrick’s face instead.
Still fuming with anger, Patrick was further enraged by Rufus’s punch. He pounced onto Rufus and the two rolled from the lobby to the door before breaking out into a heated brawl.
Patrick had gone to Enos’s company for the field visit this morning.
Enos had met him briefly at a grocery store some time ago. At that time, Candice was still married and was shopping for some catfish at the frozen food section, with Patrick following behind with his shopping cart.
After seeing how nice Patrick was to Candice, Enos, from a man’s point of view, felt that he definitely didn’t have any
In fact, Patrick did play a trick on that occasion. He caught Candice wiping her tears secretly in the pantry and thought that it was a good opportunity to take advantage of the fact that she was feeling lonely and sad.
Hence, after work, he made up an excuse to hitch a ride in Candice’s car and deliberately left his black–framed glasses in the passenger seat, a clear trace of a man.
He wanted to take. the opportunity to add fuel to the fire and accelerate the breakdown of their marriage.
Unfortunately, Rufus didn’t check Candice’s car so Patrick’s plan didn’t work out.
When Enos made a turn at the corner of the street, he suddenly switched off the engine and raised his chin towards the window.
Candice stood rather wretchedly on the steps with one foot bare while the three men fought it out on the ground.
Byron recognized that one of them was her new boyfriend whose photo she had posted on Whatsapp Moments.
It seemed that her old flame and current lover had gotten into a fight.
“She’s really unlucky to be surrounded by scumbags.”
Byron had some alcohol during lunch so he was now seated in the backseat, slightly tipsy and his eyes filled with tears.
“You included,” Enos remarked.
At one point, he suspected that Harry had been revealing his whereabouts to Candice, such that he’d run into her all the time.
However, there were several large office buildings nearby, and the most densely trafficked subway line 5 was just across the street, so it made sense that Candice, being a commuter, would show up here.
He took another casual glance, which happened to be right at Candice’s face. The helpless desperation in her eyes, and the way they lit up instantly when she noticed him, gently poked him.
She picked up her stiletto heels and yelled at Rufus while slapping the car door, “He’s my new boyfriend. Go ahead and fight, I’ll see how tough you are!”
Enos was amused and he said, “What a wild thing. She’s so
different from the way she looks.” He took out his cigarettes, kept one for himself and tossed one to Byron as he continued, “If you had a good time with her the other day at the hotel, go defend her. Don’t be too ruthless.”
Byron caught the cigarette and said, “Didn’t I tell you? It didn’t feel that good.”
“I don’t even feel like toying with her. She’s too stiff.”
“You have feelings for Vicky, and she’s not stiff in bed. But can you hold her down?” Enos said as he lowered the window.
Byron pressed down the lighter, and the flame glowed hot and red against his brow, but he was cold and indifferent.
He didn’t hesitate to expose and embarrass Candice by saying, “Who’s your boyfriend?”
She couldn’t help but feel her face heating up.
Enos squinted, curious as to how Candice managed to conquer the great Byron.
If Byron was really annoyed with her, he wouldn’t have
bothered to talk to her. Since he had something to say to her, it showed that she meant something to him even if she might not matter that much.
Candice’s eyes were red as she said, “Professor Wilson, I’m begging you, please help me get rid of him on account of our past. Otherwise, I can’t continue working in this company.”
She was innocent yet subconsciously scheming, a woman. with different shades of gray.
Byron didn’t react, and simply said with his hand on the window, “Do I have a past with you?”
Candice bit the bullet and got into the car.
“You have a black mole on your belly, and the letters a ‘NY‘ tattooed on your left breast under your armpit. You don’t have a lot of leg hair, that you’re pretty hairy… down there,‘ she described.
Enos couldn’t hold back his laughter as he looked away and dusted his cigarette ash on the other side.
“Don’t you always turn off the lights when you’re with women other than Vicky? How did she see that?” he asked.
Rufus got up from the ground at this point and sized up the car before asking, “So you’re that doctor?”
Byron ignored him, exuding a nonchalant vibe.
Enos glanced at Rufus with contempt and warned, “Punk, he’s not just a doctor, but he’s also a protective boyfriend, so you’d better remember not to mess with his woman.”
Rufus still wasn’t convinced.
Candice gritted her teeth and took Byron’s hand while muttering, “My shoes…”
He didn’t refuse for the first time and held Candice’s ankle, his thin and calloused fingers skimming over the raised veins on the surface of her foot. Although he was gentle, she was tickled and curled up on her toes. “Professor Wilson…”
Rufus caught the loophole and immediately pointed it out, “Candice, isn’t it too formal for you to address your boyfriend that way?”
Since the day she met Byron, she had only called him by his full name once. The thought of it still made her feel slightly daunted whenever it came to mind afterwards.
He had an invisible aura that was intimidating and oppressive.
It seemed that the only person qualified to call Byron by his
name was Vicky. Everyone else, especially women, were not qualified to behave so intimately with him.
At this point, Candice had no choice but to go all out. “Byron.
Her voice was gentle and soft, causing the man in front of her to pause momentarily.
She put down her left foot and kicked off her right stiletto before lifting her right foot to his knee.
“I want you to put it back on for me,” she said.
Byron scrutinized her for a moment with an ambiguous smile before remarking, “You can be quite the flirt.”
Rufus grimaced with some disgruntlement upon sight of their exchange.
“Candice, drop the act. How can a man who owns such an expensive car take a liking to you?”
Enos pushed the door open and got out of the car, grabbed Rufus by the collar and moved to the side.
Byron then went around to the driver’s seat while Candice hesitated for a moment before sitting in the passenger seat.
“Who told you to come here?” he said with annoyance.
Candice looked down and tugged at the seatbelt for a long time before saying, “Professor Wilson, my hands are shaking so much I can’t fasten it.”
With his cigarette in his mouth, Byron crossed his arm over her chest and fastened her seatbelt while saying, “Weren’t you really bold when you seduced me?”
He leaned forward, his shirt stretched so tightly that it was wrapped around his bulging chest. One of the buttons broke off and popped into Candice’s slightly open neckline.
Following the button, Byron’s gaze landed on her chest.
After just one second, he looked away and sat up straight.
He raised his hand and tugged at his shirt, causing all the buttons to come undone. He leaned backwards languidly while the smoke swirled upwards like a sea of pervasive clouds.
At this moment, Byron gave off a different vibe from before. He was no longer the civilized and uptight man he usually was. Instead, he was sensual and filled with frenzied desire..
After staring at him for a long time, Candice asked, “Which time?”
“Every single time.”
He was once again cold and indifferent.
Candice said sobbingly, “I just wanted to win your heart. I didn’t even hurt you or blackmail you. Yet, you keep
avoiding me like an enemy. professor Wilson, do I look that obnoxious?”
It was raining outside, so Byron turned on the rain wipers with his eyes fixed in front.
“Why do you want to win my heart?”
Of course, the main reason was that she needed his help but it would be pointless to lay her cards open.
Hence, Candice didn’t mention it and simply answered, “Because you’re handsome.”
He put out his cigarette and said, “That’s why you like me? Just because I’m handsome?”
Candice leaned in close, propped herself up with her hands against the side of his legs, and tilted her head to kiss him.
The kiss was light but bold and filled with fervor. No man would be able to remain untouched by it.
Byron opened his eyes and suddenly stuck out his tongue.
He was a rather indifferent man who rarely reacts intensely. Yet, his kiss was unusually strong, mixed with a heavy touch of nicotine and the crisp taste of menthol.
She could smell his unique scent that was stronger than the smell of smoke.
Byron’s eyes were bleary as he was tipsy.
Candice didn’t like the smell of smoke. Like most women, she liked fresh–smelling scents but this racy and mellow kiss was incredibly memorable.
While gasping slightly, Candice said, “Professor Wilson, this is my first kiss.”
The night they slept with each other, Byron kissed other parts of her body without touching her lips. Candice had tried to kiss Rufus in the past but he had always patronized her and didn’t let her get what she wanted.
The way she said it was her first kiss made her seem incredibly innocent and provocatively alluring.
Byron didn’t say a word, and only looked at her face.
She was panicked and at a loss at first because she couldn’t fight Lucas. Thus, she had no choice but to turn to Byron but as she continued with the act, she started getting more and more into it while Byron remained indifferent no matter what she did. The ruckus Rufus kicked up today was a blessing in disguise for her. At the very least, she managed to get into Byron’s car because of it.
It was thrilling yet exciting.
However, what happened next was even more of a thrill. Byron started the engine and drove off without asking her to get out or telling her where they were headed to.