Just thinking about it made Gabrielle deeply uncomfortable. Her stomach churned. She was anxious, scared, and sad.
“Bain doesn’t trust me enough to tell me about it, so he sent me away and spoke with you alone. Isn’t that right, Lance?” Gabrielle raised her brow, but she was clenching her fists. She wasn’t as clueless as people thought.
Lance was surprised at how fast Gabrielle had caught on. He was rendered speechless for a while. What else could he say? She already figured it out even before he finished explaining.
“So you understand how important your answer is, Gabrielle. You have to be as honest as you can. Are you familiar with the people of the Campbell Family? Gabrielle, listen to me. I don’t want Bain to become suspicious of you. I know his temper. He can easily harm you whenever he wants, and nobody will bat an eye.” Lance was staring intently at Gabrielle and placed his hand on top of hers. He was desperate to make her understand how serious this situation was.
Bain was a loyal man, especially to people he trusted. But he was also ruthless and vengeful. He didn’t let things slide easily. If anyone offended him or crossed the line, he would take revenge. And he wouldn’t stop until he accomplished his goal.
Lance was well aware of that. And as someone who did not scare easily, he was frightened to his core right now.
He didn’t care so much about himself, but Gabrielle was another story. He couldn’t let Bain hurt or harm her—absolutely no way.
“Lance, I…” Gabrielle broke off, for she had no idea how to say it to him. She stood up, looking embarrassed and unsure.
“Gabrielle, tell me the truth now. Do you know someone from the Campbell Family? I’m not your enemy, remember?” Lance knew something was off, that Gabrielle was hiding something from him.
He had a vague idea of what Gabrielle was trying to tell him. But it was difficult for him to believe that Gabrielle, who grew up in Antawood and was raised to be dutiful and obedient, could have anything to do with the powerful Campbell Family in Italy.
He sighed and ran a finger across his forehead. With all that was happening, he shouldn’t be surprised about anything anymore, especially after she married Westley—one of the movers and shakers of Antawood.
‘Wait a minute. Westley?
Yes! That’s it!’ The eldest son of the Morris family, Wilson, was supposed to take over the Morris Group’s business. Everyone expected him to, but instead, he went abroad and never came back. Someone said that he had been living there ever since.
Instead of being the CEO of Morris Group, he chose to settle abroad. For a while, it was the only thing Antawood citizens talked about.
What if Wilson had married Miss Campbell and then lived in the house of the Campbell Family in Italy? It wasn’t far-fetched. That all made sense. The Campbell Family’s business was more profitable than that of Morris Group’s, and they had wider reach. The Morris family was rich and powerful, but they paled in comparison to the Campbell Family.
“Gabrielle, is Miss Campbell’s husband the eldest son of Morris family?” Lance wasted no time in asking Gabrielle. He needed to know the truth.
Gabrielle stiffened. A muscle in her jaw twitched, and she bit her lip to stop it from trembling. She could feel her heart beating wildly.
Lance was so good at guessing. He hit the bull’s-eye just like that.
“Gabrielle. It’s true, isn’t it? All you need to say is yes or no.” Gabrielle’s reaction didn’t escape his notice, and Lance knew he was right. It didn’t take long for him to piece it together.
And the look on Gabrielle’s face was enough confirmation for him.
“Uhm, yes.” Gabrielle nodded slowly. She hung her head low before slumping back down on the chair.
Lance already knew he was correct, but hearing that one word from Gabrielle still shocked him. He held onto his seat to steady himself. Their problems were only escalating.
“So basically, Gabrielle, Miss Campbell is your sister-in-law.” Lance tried to process everything he knew. It was astonishing. Before they came here, he never thought they would be facing one problem after another. And now, Gabrielle was apparently related to a member of the Campbell Family. It was no wonder why they came here to take her away.
“I think I understand why people from the Campbell Family have gathered outside the forest. Westley most likely told his brother about it. He knows we’re stuck here.” Lance had to acknowledge that their circumstances just went from bad to worse. Things were getting out of his control. What was he supposed to do? He couldn’t solve everything!
Lance had to get a grip on himself. He shouldn’t lose his focus; people depended on him—including Gabrielle and Bryce. First things first, he couldn’t let Bain know about t
he relationship between Gabrielle and the Campbell Family. Bain should never learn the truth.
Lance was a man who didn’t crumble under pressure, but even the prospect of Bain finding out Gabrielle’s connection to the Campbell Family frightened Lance.
If Bain got wind of it, he would definitely kill Gabrielle. Lance had reason to believe it. Bain would not show her any mercy.
“I thought it was Westley, too. He knew that I followed you to Bangkok and then the forest. But I’m not sure if he’s here.” Gabrielle had no idea whether Westley was waiting for her outside the forest or not. She wanted to contact him so badly.
“Gabrielle, what’re you going to do if Westley is indeed waiting for you outside of this village? We have no idea what’s happening out there. All the signals are cut off, except the satellite phone. I can get access to it, but if I use it, Bain may get suspicious.” Lance crossed his legs and drummed his fingers on his knee. They had so many problems and not one solution.
Lance only planned to take Gabrielle to see Bryce and together, they would bring him home. However, Lance didn’t expect the series of events that greeted them here. What was supposed to be a simple rescue turned into a life-threatening situation. He couldn’t help but regret bringing Gabrielle in the first place.
If he could turn back time, he wouldn’t even think of taking Gabrielle. The forest was hell for her, and it was him who sent her there. Lance was racked with guilt. What had he done?
“Don’t worry, Lance. If Westley did come, he would find a way to get us out of here.” Gabrielle was afraid too, but she tried to console Lance.
Those weren’t empty words. She fully believed in Westley, and she trusted him. If he was out there, he wouldn’t leave without her.
She was confident that Westley would use all his resources to help them. He wouldn’t walk away without saving them.
“Gabrielle, you should know that if… I mean, what if it’s Westley who’s the reason why Bryce is in a coma? How will you feel then?” Lance had to remind Gabrielle. It was a difficult question, but they had to get it out of the way.
Lance trusted what Bryce said because there was no point for Bryce to lie and frame Westley.
It was quite an accusation, but it was not unwarranted. Lance was certain Westley had the power to do so. He had the Campbell Family’s support; he could count on them to help him, and nothing seemed impossible for Westley.
He would move heaven and earth to do whatever he wanted. That particular thought sent shivers down Lance’s spine. It was dangerous and reckless to mess with someone like Westley.
“Lance, do you believe what Bryce said?” Gabrielle had to ask. She had to know what Lance thought.
“I do. There’s no reason for Bryce to set up Westley. He never lies, and you know that.” Lance wanted Gabrielle to know what kind of person Westley truly was. He was a fearsome opponent.
“I think I’ll wait for Bryce to tell me in person. It’s getting late. I’ll head to my room now, Lance.” Gabrielle didn’t feel like talking about it anymore. She chose to avoid it and delay discussing the topic. She didn’t appreciate the way Lance was painting Westley as the bad guy.
She refused to listen to anyone who said anything awful about Westley. She had been living with him, and she saw him at his worst. But this was beyond him, and she didn’t think Westley was capable of such sinister deeds.
“Why can’t you just face it, Gabrielle?”
“What do you mean? Haven’t I done enough? I’m here, aren’t I? I’m facing the problem; that’s why I have to hear it from Bryce!” Gabrielle couldn’t help but lose her temper. What did Lance want? That she would immediately turn against Westley without any proof?
“Fine, go to sleep. Don’t overthink it. Take a good rest because tomorrow’s another day. And don’t talk to anyone about the Campbell Family because it’s kind of forbidden around here.” Lance reminded Gabrielle. They were in a perilous situation, and they had to be careful with their words and actions.
“I know that, Lance. You too, have a nice sleep.” Gabrielle stood up and headed upstairs, her head already pounding because of stress.
Lying on the bed, Gabrielle wasn’t drowsy at all. She knew sleep would elude her again, and she was going to spend the next few hours staring at the ceiling. She thought about what Lance told her over and over again.
Bain thoroughly despised the Campbell Family. So if he figured out that she had a connection to them, would he really harm her? Would he kill her?
The more Gabrielle thought about it, the more scared she became. She spent the entire night thinking about it, making it impossible for her to doze off. She eventually decided to go downstairs and take a walk—to clear her mind, at least.