Carson slowed his car and narrowed his eyes at the man. He remembered seeing him before, it was just taking him a little while to remember his name. “Isn’t he one of the children from the Jimenez family? What is his name again?” he murmured to himself. The man in question was Roger. He came to stand in front of Rachel with a warm smile, and said in a gentle voice, “Long time no see, Rachel.” Rachel looked up at him in confusion. She had a feeling she knew who he was; she just couldn’t remember. “You’re…” she trailed off as a gust of strong wind blew, splashing raindrops against her face and clothes. She blinked away the water and in that instance, she remembered. “Roger, right?” she said with a small frown.
There had always been a saying in the business world of Apliaria, “When a Sullivan met a Jimenez, there was bound to be a tug-of-war.” Both families were powerful, with years of deep history and solid foundations. Roger was the perfect idea of what a successor of the Jimenez family should be. Even though Roger and Victor had very little dealings with each other, people often compared the two families. It wasn’t because they were rivals; it was because of the different paths in life that each had taken.
Victor had been an illegitimate child, born out of wedlock. His mother had passed away when he was very young, leaving him in the care of his grandmother. When he’d been growing up, he was very rarely seen at social occasions held by the upper-class families. At the age of 14, he’d been sent to study abroad. In direct contrast, Roger was seen as a golden child. Growing up, he’d had the best of the best in everything. He’d had the best education, the best care, and a good family life. He’d been a valued, respected member of society, and by the time he’d become a man, people always referred to him as a perfect gentleman. Roger and Rachel knew each other because they’d attended the same high school. They’d taken the Senior High School Entrance Examination in the same year, around about the same time, and Rachel had scored 0.5 points higher than Roger. She was the highest ranked student in Apliaria that year. She could have attended any school she liked; including the first-rank senior high school. And she probably would have, if it hadn’t been for Alice. Alice had applied too late and was put on the waiting list, behind the last applicant to the school. Caroline and Alice tried just about everything to get her into the school. They even went so far as to play on Rachel’s emotions and persuade her to give up her place to Alice. In the end, Rachel had agreed. She gave up her spot and chose to attend the second best high school in Apliaria. When Roger had heard that someone had scored higher on the test than he had, he was naturally curious as to who this person was. He wanted to get to know the girl who had beaten him. That was why he ended up following Rachel to the second best school. He could also have gone to the best school, but his curiosity about her got the better of him. His decision to attend the second best school caused quite a lot of scandal at the time. There was much talk that the best school in Apliaria was, perhaps, not as good as it was made out to be. That was how the two of them became schoolmates. While they weren’t in the same class, they knew enough about each other to end up in a friendly, ongoing competition for first place. It became a regular thing for them to take turns in sharing the top spot at the school; this was also when they started talking to each other more. “Have I changed so much that you don’t recognize me?” Roger asked, chuckling lightly. Rachel smiled at him, but it was more out of courtesy than anything else. Roger was Rachel’s friend, not Shelia’s. “I thought you’d gone abroad. Seeing you here is quite unexpected,” she said. “I got back a few days ago,” Roger said. He glanced at the bags she was carrying and tipped his chin towards them. “Why did you buy so much food? Are you heading home now? Would you like me to give you a ride?” Rachel raised her eyebrows at Roger, looking a little confused at his proposition. She couldn’t understand his enthusiasm. From as much as she could recall from Rachel’s memories, they hadn’t seen each other for so many years; in fact they barely knew each other that well, but here he was offering her a ride with great concern. It made no sense to her. To top it off, the original Rachel knew Roger; not her. “No, thank you. I’ll be alright on my own,” she politely declined his offer. “Surely you can’t carry all these things on your own, right? And it’s quite inconvenient for you now, isn’t it?” Inconvenient? Rachel immediately narrowed her eyes at him. He didn’t have to say what he meant; she already knew. “And what do you mean by that?” she said sharply. She watched as Roger’s eyes widened in realization and horror. He’d spoken without thinking, and now it was too late for him to fix his mistake. She knew that he knew she was pregnant. Rachel took a step back, staring suspiciously at him the entire time. The only people who knew she was pregnant were Caroline, Alice, Abby, Andy and the servants at the Sue Garden. Roger had just returned from abroad; how did he know she was pregnant? “Rachel…” Roger said, but couldn’t find any other words to express himself. Not with the way she was staring at him, not when she was looking at him like he’d reveled one of her biggest secrets. He couldn’t help but feel irritated with himself. As Rachel was staring him down, she suddenly remembered his surname, Jimenez. It was the same as Clara’s. Rachel remained silent. She just looked him up and down, her lips pouted in thought. Back at the Sullivan Group, up in the CEO Office, tensions were starting to rise. While the overall impression of the office was that it was tranquil, the oppressive feel of fury hung heavy in the air. Ivan slowly looked from the paused video on the computer screen to Victor. “Mr. Sullivan, would you like to watch it again?” he asked. They’d already watched the video three times. Victor’s face was impassive. It was impossible to tell what he was thinking, or to gauge his next reaction. His eyes remained fixed on the screen, just as they’d been since the first playthrough of the video. Currently, the video was paused on the scene of the dismissed maid shouting at Rachel, while Olivia stood by and did nothing. Lukas had collected the footage and left the video for Victor to watch. It was evidence that the two maids had slandered Rachel behind her back, and had then provoked her until she’d lashed out. The only reason Rachel had announced that she was the mother of the Sullivan Group’s future successor was to defend herself, and the reputation of her baby. If she had merely stood idly and let the maids degrade her further, both of them would have surely suffered from whatever gossip would have sprung up. She’d used this as her last resort. Victor had severely misunderstood her, and the entire situation that day. Suddenly, he was finding it hard to breathe. It felt like the broken pieces of his heart were piercing his lungs, tearing him open from the inside. 1 A violent crack of thunder boomed outside. A moment later, a bright streak of lightning snaked over the dark sky, momentarily bathing everything in cold white light. The rain was relentlessly pelting down from the heavy clouds. It was so intense that it looked like it was about to drown the entire city. It truly was one of the worst, and most terrifying storms they’d had. Victor recalled what Carson had told him earlier on the phone. The image of Rachel huddled under the eaves of some building flashed through his mind, followed shortly by the scene from the previous night where she’d been cowering behind the sofa with bread and milk. His heart felt like it broke even further. He tried to speak, but his first attempt failed. He couldn’t squeeze the words out past the lump in his throat. He swallowed hard, and finally managed to say, “Call the people in the Sue Garden. Ask them where Rachel is.” “Yes, sir,” Ivan said and dialed the number. The phone was picked up on the second ring by Olivia. “Ivan, what can I do for you?” Ivan turned on speaker phone and looked up at Victor as he said, “Olivia, is Miss Bennet there? I wanted to ask her something, but she isn’t answering her phone.”
Olivia’s heart stuttered fearfully. This was not what she needed right now. Why did Ivan suddenly want to talk to Rachel? “Yes, she’s here. She’s in her room at the moment. I think she may be asleep. Don’t worry, I didn’t let her go out in this downpour. I asked her to help tidy up the living room, but that was all,” Olivia said calmly, managing to keep her initial spike of fear under control. “You said she wasn’t answering her phone?” “No, she wasn’t. Would you mind please fetching Miss Bennet so I can talk to her?” Ivan asked dully. Another boom of thunder rolled across the sky. Olivia looked out at the murderous weather. It was so dark outside it could have been night. She flexed her fingers against her palm as a nervous sweat broke out over her body. Guilt plagued her so intensely that she barely managed to keep it out of her voice. “As I said, I think she’s asleep. Maybe she didn’t hear the phone ring. Is there something important you wish to discuss with her, Ivan? Can I maybe take a message?” “No, it’s alright. I’ll speak to her later. Let her rest,” Ivan said after glancing at Victor for guidance. Olivia breathed a silent sigh of relief. She was nearly weak at the knees as the tension left her body. “When she wakes up, I’ll tell her to call you back as soon as possible,” she said. Ivan said nothing more and hung up the phone. He and Victor stayed silent. The oppressive feel from earlier was nearly suffocating now
Captivation: Want Nothing But You, Chapter 97 The Jimenez Family Siblings