The Substitute Bride: Making Memories Of Us-n

Chapter 36: Making Decisions About Lala


Ayla stared at him unhappily. "If you don't want me to go out, then stop me! You make all the rules, don't you? It's up to you whether I can leave or not!". "Good," said Brian coldly. "You understand what your situation is. He was sure that Ayla and Toby's meeting at the school this afternoon had been the first time. After today, Toby probably wouldn't be so blatant anymore, even if he wanted to see her again. Meanwhile, Toby went to see Molly. She met him at the door of the villa. "You're back! Where have you been? I called the company and they said that you left work early today. "I just had something to deal with,” he replied evasively. "Why? Is anything wrong?". Molly did not want to mention Toby and Ayla’s relationship. She preferred to pretend as though nothing had ever happened between them. "No, I just missed you,” she said brightly. "I thought you might be coming home early when I heard you left the office. She slid her arm around his waist and led him to the living room. They sat down together on the sofa. Hayden was also in the living room. He put down the newspaper he was reading and looked at the two of them. “Molly, don’t nag Toby. You know how busy he is with work. He's already canceled so many social engagements recently. "Dad, don't call me a nag," Molly pouted. She added, "You know I don't mind him working. I just want him home instead of socializing outside after work!". After all, Molly was not blind, nor was she stupid. How could she fail to notice that most of Toby's so-called social engagements required him to go out with other businessmen to. flirt with women in bars and pay women in brothels? She did not like it at all. Toby belonged to her. If any other woman dared to touch him, Molly vowed she would make that woman pay for her mistake. Hayden sighed. "Toby has no choice, Molly. It's inevitable. If he refuses to participate, it will have a negative impact on his career. Turning to look at Toby, he said, "By the way, I know you're in charge of most of the company's affairs now, and I don't want to. interfere. But don't you think we've made too many concessions to Mr. Clark, just to get him to cooperate with us?”. Toby wasn't surprised to hear the question. He had allowed the company's annual revenue to decrease for Ayla's sake. Hayden was still the leader of the company, and when it came to business matters, he would prioritize his own interests ahead of. any other concerns. “Hyde Group in general is not easy to deal with, and Mr. Clark in particular is known to be difficult," Toby replied. "We must pay a steep price if we want this project, but if we do well, we stand to reap great benefits from this deal. Although Toby spoke calmly, he was not as confident as he seemed. But he needed to find an excuse that Hayden would accept. He was willing to make such a decision for Lala. He was worried that Brian would bully her again because of their meeting earlier this afternoon. He decided he needed to find time to talk to Brian. "I understand. Very well , I will leave it up to you," Hayden answered

He hoped Toby was handling things well. He'd once been seriously ill before, an d since then, he hadn't been able to go to the company as much as he wanted to. He only went when there was an ur gent meeting, or some matter that required his personal attention. "Dad, you just need to trust Toby. Y ou and Mom should just focus on prep aring for our wedding," chided Molly. She and Toby had decided to get married before the new year, and she was sure tha t grand preparations were ongoing for the . ev en t. The wedding of the only daught er of the Smith family would n eed to be a magnificent affair. "We are already preparing," Hayd en said, smiling. "I suppose we will have to watch our only daugh ter leave our family. Molly immediately pu t a comforting hand on her father's knee. "You've always wanted me to be happy, and now I am! I've grown up. I have someone I love. Our marriage will be a success, just . like yours. Anyway, we will still liv e here after we get married, so I'm d efinitely still part of this family. Only after they got marrie d could Molly rest assured that Toby belonged to her. Since she was a child, her parents had do ted on her and given her everything she wa nted. She didn't like the feeling of losing . any thi ng. Miley joined them in the living room. "Dear, take a look at some of these brochu res for dressmakers and studios, for your wedding dress and photo shoots. You should . take your pre-weddin g photos as soon as possible,” she said. "Thanks, Mo m!" said Mol ly brightly. "Toby, let's go up to my r oom and look at these mater ials privately, all right?" . She took Toby's ha nd, and the two of them went upstairs. When Miley was alone with Hayden in the l iving room, she turned to him and said pen sively, "Honey, don't you worry that Molly . seems to be a little too att ached to Toby?” . She appreciated the work her prospective s on in-law did for the company, but as a mo ther, she couldn't help but notice that it . was Molly who clung to him ; Toby himself was more luk ewarm towards her daughter. Hayden, howev er, dismissed her concerns. "There's nothing to worry a bout,” he said reassuringly, returning to his newspaper. "As long as Molly is happy, everyth ing will be fine. Over the next few days, Ayla worried that Brian would curtail her freedom, but he di dn't set any additional limitations on her . mov eme nts. She was still able to go to school. She a rrived on time every day, and stayed as long as possible without rousing Brian's . suspicions, for she was eage r to spend as much time as p ossible away from the villa. One evening, Maria walked into Ayla 's bedroom and saw her poring over a large stack of books on her desk. "Mrs. Clark, I just wanted to i nform you that Mr. Clark won't b e coming home today," she said. "Would you l ike to have dinner now?" . "Sure, I' ll be rig ht down," . Ayla replied abs ently, still focu sed on her books. She had already missed a lot o f courses, and the date for exa minations was approaching fast. She was determined to pass, or e lse all her efforts over the past several months would be in vain. While Ayla was busy studying, Brian was i n the entertainment club, seated in the p rivate upstairs room of the establishment. Jaime s at acro ss him. He asked, "Mr. Clark, do you really think you're going to see her here?"

"Well, ha sn't she come yet?" . Brian asked, lookin g downstairs throug h the French window. "She will come. She often comes recent ly," Jaime replied. That bit of information frightened Jaime, who couldn't believe that Arlene the same girl who had been dancing in the club and . hooking up with different men e very night was the real beloved daughter of the Woodsen family. Ayla, as it tur ned out, was on ly a substitute. She had been ado pted long ago by Clayton's wife. Unfortunately, the wife had passed away s oon after the adoption was finalized, but before her death she made Clayton promise . to kee p the child. Ayla had been raised as a second daughter of the Woodsen family. Brian had suspected for a while now that the woman i n his villa was not Arlene. By all accounts, Arlene was a wanto n and experienced woman who loved p artying and knew how to please men. Ayla, on the other han d, clearly had no idea how to make men happy. He'd learned that Ayla was a substitute as s oon as he started investigating, but it took him a little longer to discover where to find . the real Arlene. Now that he knew the truth, of course he wanted to meet th e real daughter of the Woodsen family. "Mr. Clark, once you confirm th e truth about Arlene, will you let Ayla leave?” Jaime asked. He thought that if Ayla was just an inn ocent substitute, then she should not b e punished for what her family had done. "Do you think I should let her go?" Brian said , raising his eyebrows. But it actually di dn't matter to him what Jaime thought. He had alrea dy decided t o keep Ayla. She was so stubborn tha t he wanted to show her she couldn't escape him. "Mr. Clark, she is only a substi tute. Or have you developed an interest in her?" Jaime asked. To himself he thought, "If that woman is not Arlene, shouldn't he just let h er go? Unless he has feelings for her!” . Brian scowled, then forced his face to return to its usual c old and indifferent expression. "No," he sn apped. “But if she wants to pretend to be the r eal daughter of the Woodsen family, then she can keep being Miss Woodsen forever. Jaime's brows furrowed with conf usion, but before he could respon d, there was a knock on the door. Brian s aid, "C ome in. "Mr. Clark, Miss Lene has co me," said the manager of the club in a deferential tone. "Jaime, go to her and convince her to come u p here," Brian ordered. He put down his glass and went to stand i n front of the French window, gesturing f or the manager to point out Arlene in the . cr ow d. He looked down at the enchanting woman in th e beautiful red dress. Jaime watched him , feeling more co nfused than ever. Was Brian interested in Arlene, after all? In fact, if they had seen the real Arlene w ho would become Brian's bride back then, all . of them would h ave disagreed t o the marriage. Jaime went down and spoke to Arlene , and she quickly agreed to come wi th him to the private room upstairs. "Who wants to see me?" she asked, sm iling coquettishly. "But you should k now, I don't meet anyone casually. She looked sidew ays at the gentl eman beside her. His expensive, tailored suit had convinced her it might be worth her time to see what he wanted. "You'll understand as soon as you see h im," Jaime answered. He hid his frown, thinking, "She's j ust after money. Who does she think sh e is? She's greedy and self-centered"