The moment Rachel stepped into the store, she was immediately overwhelmed by the sheer amount of baby products. There were so many different varieties, colors and shapes… But there was one brand in particular that caught her eye. It was enough to make her forget about her whining from earlier and focus on the shopping experience. As she studied the different products, the ultrasound image of her baby at the prenatal check-up appeared in her mind. The other shop manager inside had noticed Rachel the moment she’d walked in the door. Of course, this was partly due to Victor being there. She saw how Rachel was staring moon eyed at everything and came up to her with a smile. “Miss Bennet, I can give you an introduction to all the different products, if you’d like?” The baby products had been designed to be eye-catching to mothers. It was them that had to make the choice between the different brands, after all. While the manager had no idea why Victor would need baby products, she was a smart enough businesswoman to know that, with Victor in her store, today was going to profitable. Rachel looked up into the shop manager’s enthusiastic eyes and just couldn’t say no. The manager seemed only too delighted to help her. With never-ending optimism and energy, she introduced the different products to Rachel. “This baby stroller in particular is one of our best sellers. Both the sales and the feedback on it have been phenomenal. You can detach the front armrest of this stroller. And just in case your little one likes to chew on things, the armrest is made from the latest anti-biting smooth foam material.” Rachel nodded along as she listened. She could feel Victor’s eyes on her as he watched from the back. He wasn’t interested in what the shop manager was saying, he was busy studying her coat. Usually, he found black and green designs lame, but on her it was somehow spectacular. The color and cut perfectly matched her elegant demeanor in a way that seemed to create her own unique style. The shop manager kept showing Rachel product after product. While it looked like she was listening and paying careful attention, Victor knew she wasn’t. But then again, he hadn’t been paying attention from the beginning. Now, he kept thinking back to what Carson had said to him a few days ago. “I think there is a part of you that doesn’t really believe that Rachel pushed Alicia into the lake that day,” he had said. “I think you just have a deep-seated prejudice against her. That’s why you chose to ignore the truth that was right in front of you.” Victor’s eyes narrowed as he stared at Rachel.
Ever since the divorce and leading to Rachel’s pregnancy, Victor had felt like his life was spiraling out of control. He didn’t even seem to have a grasp on his own self-control; something he had always been so proud of. He had no idea why he felt this way, or why he couldn’t pull himself together, but he had a feeling it wasn’t a good thing. He wanted to take his life back. He wanted to regain control over what was his. But the more he tried to suppress his growing feelings, the worse it became, the harder it became to control. When he and Elian had eaten together earlier that day, he had thought of nothing else but Rachel lying in the ultrasound room. He couldn’t stop hearing her asking the doctor about the baby’s health, and how the baby’s heartbeat sounded. It had nearly been enough to make him want to put his own prejudices aside. “Mr. Sullivan, what do you think?” The manager’s question broke him out of his thoughts. Victor looked down at Rachel, only to find she was looking up at him expectantly, waiting for him to answer. She looked different today. The expression on her face was different. It wasn’t that harsh, hostile look he had come to expect from her. She looked quiet, and obedient now. By the way she kept glancing towards the toy area, Victor could tell she was much more interested in the dolls than she was in the stroller. As he swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbed almost nervously in his throat. “We’ll take it,” he said coolly. “Wonderful!” the shop manager said with an excited clap of her hands. She turned to one of her assistants and asked them to package it. Rachel was quite surprised by his statement. She looked up at him questioningly, trying to catch his gaze, but he ignored her. 1 The shop manager, on the other hand, was absolutely delighted. This was a great start to what she had no doubt was going to be a spending spree. She kept showing products to them, and kept looking up at Victor to ask his opinion. With her natural charm and smart business strategy, she knew how to sell just about anything. If Rachel said nothing, Victor would buy whatever it was. The shopping experience lasted around three hours. The shop manager was energetic and enthusiastic the entire time, never once giving any indication that she was getting tired or thirsty from all the talking. She still walked with a spring in her step as if she hadn’t been standing for quite some time already. Rachel listened as attentively as she could. To her, the joy of the shopping experience had disappeared long ago, and it was all starting to feel like a school lecture again. By the time they finally finished their shopping and left the store, it was almost dusk. Then the managers personally saw them out the shop and out the mall. The female manager looked up at the sky when she realized how time had gotten away from them. At first, she marveled at the way the setting sun painted the clouds in hues of orange and red, and then she sighed. “Ah… Look at the evening glow!” ‘The evening glow?‘ Rachel looked up at the sky. She saw how the fading red light dyed the clouds to look like flames, and the spacious square outside the mall where they were standing provided a stunning view. “It’s beautiful,” Rachel said. The male manager also nodded vigorously. “I still remember this spectacular view I saw once. The entire sky looked like it was on fire… After all this time, I can still picture it so clearly…” The whole sky had looked like it was burning? Rachel tilted her head to the side as she studied the clouds. She remembered she had also seen something just like that once. It had been three years ago, on the day she’d been thrown into prison. The memory of her being shoved out the back door of the court and squeezed into a police car was still so clear. As was the memory of just how fiercely red the sky had been on that day. It was like it was sending her away with one last hurrah. Victor glanced at Rachel and caught sight of her expression. There was something about her silence, and the small smile on her face, that made him want to stand and watch the sunset with her forever. As soon as the thought crossed his mind, he was shocked. Luckily for him, Rachel was so focused on the sunset that she didn’t notice his sudden change in expression. Their driver had already arrived and pulled the car to a stop in front of them. He came around the side and opened the back door for them. He cleared his throat and said, “Miss Bennet, Mr. Sullivan.” Victor ignored the open door, went around to the other side of the car and got in. Rachel quietly got into the car on the side the driver was waiting. Under the managers’ gaze, the Bentley slowly drove away. Victor’s silence eventually started to make Rachel feel uncomfortable. She glanced at him out the corner of her eye and noticed his vacant look. She frowned. Now that she’d taken notice of his strange attitude, it was all the more noticeable. She couldn’t understand what she had done wrong now. He had been fine while they waited for the car, but now this? “He really does change his mood quickly,” Rachel murmured. She realized too late that she’d said this a little louder than she’d intended to. She didn’t know why she had chosen to speak instead of just keeping her thoughts to herself.
It was a mistake on her behalf. It was so quiet in here that they would have been able to hear a pin drop. What had made her think she wouldn’t be heard? Now what had she done?
The words had barely left her mouth before she realized she had made a mistake. The driver was just about to brake at a crossing. Her words startled him so much that he slammed his foot down on the peddle, braking hard. The car’s tires squealed on the road. Rachel’s body jolted forwards toward the passenger seat in front of her. The last thought that crossed her mind in that split second was, ‘Not the head, again.’ There was no time for her to react. The best she could do was close her eyes and wait for the impending pain to come.
Captivation: Want Nothing But You, Chapter 128 Out Of Control