Sir, should I call the London clients? Claire had heard the whole conversation between me, Mr. Takahashi, and THAT girl. We were right now back at our office.

I glared at her. Keep them on standby for now.

Im afraid that would be difficult since theyve made it clear there are other fishes they
e interested in buying. She plastered her face with a smile that I disliked. It was as if she was reminding me that I wasn the big shot I thought I was.

Mr. Takahashi will invest in our project. He has to. Grandpa can do this to me. Hes well aware Ive worked on this project for years and this is what I had aimed for since the beginning.

From the looks of it, he will not. My sharp eyes found hers and she sighed. Sir, hes put a condition that you
e not willing to fulfill. Do you think he would give you a single penny after this? She had a point but I was adamant. I was not going to give up so easily, especially after building the JC group to such an extent. I was a successful businessman but to reach where I had to this one the last project needed to work the way it was planned. A lot of investment capital was required and that could come from one source, Grandpa Takahashi.

Ill talk to him.

Fine. Ill try to hold the London Clients by then but hurry up, we don have much time. The Star-Dream project cannot be delayed. I nodded at Claire and she left me to be at peace only my thoughts were running wild.

I placed both my hands on the table and asked myself, Why did Grandpa say that? What is his motive behind proposing my marriage to that girl? This was so frustrating.

In the evening I drove alone to Grandpas house. I needed some answers to my questions or Ill go crazy. His secretary recognized me and bowed, I returned the gesture with a courteous nod.

I want to meet Grandpa.

Hes currently with someone. Please wait. I don want to but as if theres a choice.


The next two hours told me I was more patient than I thought I was. Who was he with that he didn have ten minutes for me? If someone found out CEO Jackson Carter waited for someone for even two minutes everything would turn upside down and here I was at the mercy of an old man to who I was forever indebted. Our past was the only reason that held me from acting impulsively.

Sirs ready to meet you. Finally!

I got up from the extravagant couch that didn deserve to be called a couch in the living room of Mr. Takahashis huge mansion. Lead the way, please.

Come in. Grandpa said when he heard me knock on the door to his study. I entered with his secretary.

Please give us a moment. He told the secretary who bowed and followed the order. Claire would never give me such over and above respect. I wonder if it had to do with us being the same age or me being too lenient with her.

Grandpa…. I began but he interrupted me immediately.

Jackson, I understand it might have come as a shock but whatever I said was because I was concerned for you and Delia, both. He was calling her by her nickname but hed never given me one. Somehow it felt all these years I was the only one thinking of him and me as family. There was never anything from his side. I sighed.

He chuckled. If there is something in the heart say it out loud or your heart will feel heavy.

Why her?

Why do I want you to marry her? I nodded. Because shes my only granddaughter.

I still don get it. You want me to take her responsibility when she doesn need anyone. Shes an independent woman, who can think of her well-being herself and survive in this big bad world all alone. Even after all this if she needs to be with someone, Im sure there are far better options than me. Then why do you want her to be with me?

He smiled. Here I thought this would be difficult because you dislike her. But clearly, you think very highly of her.

I hate her. I said right away. He can feel bad if he wants to but I never shied away from the truth.

He laughed. Hate is a very strong word, son. If you
e using it for Delia, then sure there wouldve been some strong love before that.

Fortunately, there was none. It felt weird to say it for some reason. Cordelia and I were a complicated case of rivals. Push and pull weren enough, we worked on applying and ripping off the Band-Aid. Thats what we were. Now, we weren even that, at least not after I made sure she was cut off from my life completely.

See, I have made up my mind and I will not change it either for you or for Cordelia. You have a week, tell me if you agree.

My eyes widened. A week?

I am here for a week more. Then I have to return to Japan to look after some matters at the company. That is why I want you to get married before I leave.

Grandpa, I still don get it. Why the need for us to get married?

Fine, if you want me to be blunt about it then here it goes. You want me to invest in your Star-Dream Project. I am willing to help you as I did at the beginning of your business journey. Only this time I want you to pay a price.

I will do anything you want me to….

Then marry Cordelia.

Except for that! I uttered in irritation.

Then I will go back a week later and never see you again. Also, forget about the investment. I moved towards him.

Grandpa, please… He didn say anything. I closed my eyes and opened them after a brief period. What is she getting in return for this? I had to know.

That is not for you to know.

Baffled by his reply I shot back, aren married couples to know everything about each other?!

You said you didn want to marry her.

But I want to know what she is getting out of this too.

Marry her and she might tell you herself.

Ridiculous! Does she know about the project?

He shook his head. As she has her end of the bargain that you can only know when you sign the marriage papers, she will know about the project after that too.

Its not like Im interested in knowing about her.

The way you asked it looked like you did. I looked away. Jackson, theres nothing to be embarrassed about. Cordelia is a beautiful soul. Its very easy to fall for her. Huh! He had no idea the dark soul she possessed. Only I had the opportunity or I should say bad luck seeing it.

I don like her at all.

Good. From hate, youve come on dislike. We
e making progress already. Unbelievable!

There was no point in talking to him anymore. He would only twist my words to make them look like something that it is not! Ill be taking your leave then. I bowed and moved to go out when he said something strange.

You know Jackson, at times we try to dismiss destiny for it is not something we want but regret it the moment we lose our chance.

What do you mean? I asked.

He smiled and said, Youll know when clouds will disperse and there will be a clear sky.

As in?

Ill see you out. And he did. I never got any clear answer from him but it was clear he wasn going to invest in the project until I marry that little Satan.

Back home I was on a video call with Claire when she mentioned our rivals were in talks with the London clients. Star-Dream Project was looking like a far-fetch dream now. They
e new but the rivals seemed like tough competition to us.

Since when do newbies are a match for us? Work on it, Claire. Find out who they are.

The Company is registered under some Rosette. My mind stopped working for a second. This can be a coincidence, right?

Weren they in the perfume industry? I asked. For sure they were. Ive known the Rosettes since my childhood. They had the family business and involved perfume and nothing else. Someone even mentioned they were against the idea of expanding to other industries and kept being limited to the area chosen by their ancestors.

Claire replied, They still are number one in that. Theres been a development and a recent news article shared that Rosettes were looking for expansion.

Strange. Do you know why they
e chasing the London Clients?

Ah, now that is something concerning. Claire made a face and then bit her lip. This was not good.

From what I could find out was that Rosette Co. is also establishing a chain of hotels. I exhaled loudly. This was not happening to me again.

Claire, check if theres been a security breach in our office recently. I ordered quickly.

She shook her head. No, there hasn been. I already checked it. Turns out they
e getting into the same industry as us but their project is designed differently a significant difference. They
e a no match for Star-Dream.

I slumped back on the couch. Then why did you look worried?

Because the London clients seemed to be more interested in them than us.

There has to be a reason.

There is. I raised a brow. Cordelia Rosette.

Shes the one headlining the project?



A weird smile appeared on Claires face. Well, the London client is her ex. It felt as if someone opened the window on a rainy day and my office flooded because of it.

e broken up. There mustve been a reason. Why would he invest in her familys business?

Probably he still has feelings for her.

I scoffed. The hell he does.

Are you jealous?

Why would I be jealous?

Claire pouted and said, Well, you used to date her back in college…

I never dated her.

There are pictures of you in your….

Did you snoop into my house?

She protested. You gave me the keys to get it cleaned.

I sighed. I hope you threw the photos in the trash then. I eyed her for a reaction.

She smirked. Of course, I did, boss!

I blinked. I gotta go. I said in a hurry and shut the laptop without signing out. Quickly grabbing the car keys I drove to my house. I punched in the code with forceful fingers and entered the house. Running towards the store room I turned the lights on and fiddled through boxes and papers. They were not there. She did throw them in the garbage! I couldn breathe all of a sudden.

I looked around some more almost on the verge of breaking down. This was when my phone rang. I picked it up. I stacked them nicely and kept them in the second drawer of the table in your study. They were too beautiful to be kept in a dusty storeroom. Claire said and ended the call when she heard me sigh in relief.

Going to the study I opened the drawer and picked up the stack of photos tied with a silk thread. I pulled at it and the pictures fell to the floor. I sat down and picked them up one by one. A tear fell reminiscing the time when I had thought the ice had thawed when in reality, it was preparing to freeze me to death.

As I picked up the last picture a tear rolled down my cheek for looking at the last happy moment of my life was painful. The morning of Graduation day was perfect but noon made sure to melt the façade and reveal the true faces of people, especially her, Cordelia Rosette.

I called Claire again. Did you find them? She asked soon after picking up.

Prepare a contract and put it on my table in the office by tomorrow morning.

What kind of contract?

A marriage contract. I said staring fiercely at the photo still in my hand.

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