“I don’t understand.” Alexander’s expression was frozen on his face.
Austin thought for a while, then tried dropping hints. “Matthew is one of the Griffiths, and there’s this thing between him and Elise… Well, anyway, with that sort of relationship, she mustn’t be married to any of you. As her father, I have to ensure that she stays unharmed.”
Alexander went silent for a while, after which he blocked the receiver of his phone as he told everyone in the office, “We’ll take a break for 15 minutes. Everyone out.”
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Within a minute, everyone else had already left the room. It was only after that when Alexander returned to his call with Austin. “You mean that photo with Matthew and Elise?”
Austin was stunned, for he didn’t expect Alexander to know about this.
“Since you already know, there’s no reason for me to hide. If anyone learns of the history between your brother and Elise, the only one to be hurt will be Elise, and you know it. If you’re a gentleman, you would call off the wedding,” Austin said.
“Impossible.” Alexander then repeated his vow, claiming, “I have to marry Elise!”
“So you’re saying that you want to go against me?” Austin’s voice turned cold. “Do you think you’re qualified enough to fight me just because you have Frazier Pharmaceuticals and that measly amount of money you got from the stock market?”
“You are Elise’s father, so I won’t hurt you. However, anyone who dares stand in the way of my union with Elise will be my enemy!” Alexander said gravely, every syllable laced with warning.
“All right, then. We’ll see how you spout nonsense when you get in trouble!”
With that, Austin hung up. In the office, the look in Alexander’s eyes grew cold. He was lost in his own thoughts as he tried to guess where Matthew was at the moment.
Just as expected, I should’ve gotten to the root of the problem while I had the chance. New problems will keep popping up if this does not end well.
Alexander had to think of a way to lure Matthew out. As he was thinking, his phone vibrated again. It was a message from Brendan telling him that Adam was hospitalized. He gave it a quick glance, then took his phone with him as he left the meeting room.
Elise had received the news at the same time, so the two of them were headed for the hospital simultaneously. However, Alexander got there before Elise did.
In the ward, Adam lay on the bed, and Madeline was accompanying him. Alexander hadn’t seen them in a few days, but Madeline seemed to have aged considerably. A few strands of her hair were turning white, and there were wrinkles at the corners of her eyes.
Even though Adam was the one on the hospital bed, he appeared to be in better health than Madeline.
When Alexander walked in, he called lightly, “Dad.”
Hearing his voice, Madeline got up in excitement as she waited for him to greet her. In the end, however, Alexander didn’t seem like he would open his mouth again, and Madeline was terribly heartbroken by that.
Does this mean that he was serious when he said he wanted to cut off ties with me?
“You’re here.” Adam acknowledged his presence before he turned to look at a chair beside him. “Sit down.”
“It’s fine.” Alexander’s face was cool, without much emotion. “How did you end up in the hospital?”
Adam let out a long sigh, as if unwilling to recount the events.
Madeline did Adam’s job instead. “It’s all because of those relatives! My goodness, all of them gathered at our house and claimed that if the Griffiths went bankrupt, they would die right in front of us! Some of those in power even pointed at your dad and told him that his own son abandoned him, then your dad got so worked up that he fainted.”
Madeline adjusted the blanket for her husband, then turned to Alexander and complained, “And you. If you knew that Frazier’s stocks would rise, why didn’t you tell the Griffiths? I don’t mind if you don’t care about those distant relatives, but how are you willing to watch your own family die?”
Alexander was indifferent as he looked coldly at her and retorted calmly, “You’re the one who asked me to choose.”
“But I never thought you’d choose that woman! What spell did she put on you? What sort of son would abandon his family for a woman?” Madeline accused. “You are my son, and you have my blood running in your veins. Blood is thicker than water, is it not? Please come to your senses, Alexander. We’re the people closest to you! Don’t you see the suffering we’re going through?”
Just then, Elise had already arrived and was standing outside the door. However, when she heard Madeline’s voice, she stopped dead in her tracks.
“One has to pay the price for one’s decisions.” Alexander’s voice rang calmly in the ward, and no one could hear any emotion in it.
“Elise is my woman and fiancée. If you keep badmouthing her, I’ll have to take my leave,” Alexander said coldly.
Adam sighed hastily. “What did I tell you? You shouldn’t have forced him!”
“You know nothing. This is all Elise’s fault! She brought misfortune to all of us. Grandpa Griffith is dead because of her, and we’re next on the list! She also brought ruin to our family, but she’s still clinging on to Alexander like no one’s business! I can’t rest in peace as long as they’re still together!”
Alexander’s expression was frightfully dark. In the end, he inhaled and turned around to leave.
“Alexander,” Adam called to him in a frail voice.
Alexander could abandon his mother, but he couldn’t cut ties with his father.
“Dad, if there’s anything you want to tell me, just go ahead and talk,” Alexander said.
“I… Well, I don’t know how!” Adam’s face was guilt-ridden as he hesitated, unable to humble himself.
Alexandar, however, could guess what he wanted to say. He spoke calmly, saying, “You want me to fork out some money to help the Griffiths through these trying times, is that right?”
Adam didn’t respond, silently admitting.
“It’s only proper for you to give us money. Alexander, when you took over the company, you were also in charge of the whole family. You are responsible for the survival of the Griffiths, so you can’t just stand by and watch. If you aren’t willing to give us even one cent, how would you be able to face your family in the future? We’re asking you to do this for your own good,” Madeline cut in.
Alexander ignored her and continued to ask, “Dad, is this what you want?”
“Alexander, oh, Alexander! Just let me live for a few more days, please. Our home has turned into hell, so if you don’t do anything about it, your mom and I would have no place to call home.” At this point, Adam seemed to be out of choices.
“All right.” Alexander agreed almost immediately because it was his duty as a son, after all.
“Then you agree to come back and cut ties with that woman?” Madeline asked in delight.
“No,” Alexander replied coldly. “I will be marrying Elise very soon. I can give you my money and my life, but as long as I am breathing, I want to stay by Elise’s side. I want to be someone she can depend on all her life.”
“W-What sort of son are you?! You’ll be the death of me one day!” Madeline shouted in anger and disappointment.
Alexander remained silent, for he didn’t want to worsen the conflict. Even if the whole world disapproved of his relationship with Elise, he would still stay with her.
He lowered his gaze as he contemplated, but then quickly caught sight of a small figure entering his field of vision.
“Why are you here?” Alexander was shocked by her presence.
“If I weren’t here, how much longer do you plan on being bullied?” Elise said, then walked right past him to look Madeline in the eyes.