Several years later
Adkins was now twenty-two years old. He cut his beloved girl loose for his career, now a thorn in his heart.
He knew Mollie Ren in junior high. They'd only been classmates for that year. Adkins skipped a grade because of his brains, and they had never again been in class together.
At age seventeen, the quadruplets all graduated from university the same year.
And the girl who Adkins fell for in his youth was still in college, working on her graduate degree. He went to a larger, four-year institution for further study.
The night before he left, Adkins took her to the suburbs to look at the starry sky.
Mollie Ren was from an ordinary family. Her parents were divorced. She lived with her father, who was addicted to gambling and drinking and was always behind on his bills thanks to his vices. She knew her and Adkins came from very different families. She didn't want to drag him down with her, so she forced him to make a choice that night.
Either he could stay in Y City so the two of them could hang out together from time to time, or he could go off to study abroad, and never call or text her again.
That night, Mollie Ren wore a black slip dress, which was uncharacteristically sexy. She was usually pragmatic, and not really interested in seducing anyone. "You need to know something about me. I'm not the kind of girl to stay lonely. If you're not here with me, I don't know what I'll do. I've got guys lining up to date me," she said casually.
Adkins was no fool. He knew she said this for a reason.
Or you could say Adkins was actually a fool because he thought Mollie Ren said that because she didn't like him. He thought she was trying to let him down easily, because she wanted someone else.
Anyone could predict what happened next.
Adkins hugged the girl and kissed her deeply. And then he walked off, giving her freedom, and effectively ending their relationship.
It was her first kiss, and his as well.
And that was how Adkins' first relationship ended. But he wasn't entirely sure how he felt about it. It wasn't hard to leave her.
Adkins' future was so bright he had to wear shades. He wasn't just a rising star, he was a rocket. In less than five years, he'd gotten all his degrees and was now sitting pretty in his dream job.
By the time he was thirty-two, what Matthew said proved prophetic. Adkins was the youngest ruler of H Country. What more could he dream of?
But Adkins wasn't the only one who had it all together. In the same month of the same year, Mollie Ren stepped into her new job—a business lawyer. She was quite good at it, too. She had a silver tongue, and was more capable than many of her male colleagues. And she'd gotten engaged, too.
Adkins was still friends with her on WeChat, even after all this time. So he saw when she posted a few photos of her and her fiance in her WeChat Moments.
Her fiance was two years younger than her. According to her introduction in her WeChat Moments, they met each other litigating a lawsuit. After a few drinks and a few business dinners, they fell in love. Her fiance was also famous in M Country. She wanted to move for him, and get a job in the same city. That way she wouldn't have to miss him so much when he flew there.
Another month later, Mollie Ren happened to catch a news report. She glued her eyes to the screen when she figured out who it was about. Adkins! And he was set to marry a lady from H Country. The lady was from a rich and powerful family, and she herself was rich, beautiful, gentle and kind.
A good man and a beautiful woman; a match made in heaven.
It was late winter and he'd just finished up work around four in the morning. Driving home and ignoring the frost, he passed by the housing division where Mollie Ren lived
Perhaps it was fate that Mollie Ren was also burning the midnight oil. She was putting together a case against another company, and decided to give it up for the night. She found a nearby convenience store and grabbed a bucket of instant noodles. When she hit the gate to her subdivision, it was already half past four in the morning.
A very non-descript black car rolled up slowly to that same gate. She dragged her tired body out of the taxi. The lawyer hardly spared the car a passing glance, intending to fall into a coma once she was safely inside her home. But then, she looked again.
'That's no ordinary car. It must cost millions, ' she thought to herself.
'So let me guess. It belongs to some CEO who thinks he's better than he actually is?'
She tidied up her long, messy hair and walked through the gate in her seven centimeter high heels.
Then she heard the buzz of a car window being rolled down.
She had no intention of talking with the driver. She was too worn out. She had seen a lot of luxury cars before. After all, there was no one else on the street at half past four in the morning. So when the car window suddenly rolled down, she couldn't help but cast a glance at the man sitting in the back seat.
And the sight that met her eyes made her forget herself for a moment, and the purse she was holding landed smack on the pavement.
There was not only someone in the back seat, but that same guy was also the person engraved in her heart.
Their eyes met and she stopped in her tracks.
If she had known that she would see Adkins today, she would never have gotten out of the taxi wearing nothing but a black suit with messy hair and no makeup.
If she had known she'd ever see Adkins again, she would never have gotten engaged to another guy.
If she had only known...
Adkins appeared out of nowhere. They hadn't seen each other in ten years. He looked exactly like he did in the news report. Handsome as ever.
His short hair was meticulously combed to the back of his head, and a pair of gold rimmed glasses sat on his high nose. His thin lips were tightly pursed, and his expression was serious and determined.
'This can't be real! I must be seeing things.'
She rubbed her eyes. 'I worked too late, that's it. I can't see or think straight. The man I miss so much is not sitting in that car. No way.'
She must be dreaming. That was it. Because she'd dreamed a lot about him for the past ten years.
Mollie Ren ran off in a hurry and entered the community, forgetting to pick up the purse she dropped.
Adkins opened the back door and swung his legs out, his brand-new black leather shoes glinting in the light of the streetlamp. Then the man got out of the car. He bent down to pick up the delicate purse on the ground and swiped the dirt away with a flick of his wrist.
"Sir, it's getting late. Your flight leaves in an hour." The driver noted his unusual behavior. He was also the man's secretary, so he thought it prudent to remind him of his duties.
Adkins gave one last look through the gate and got back into the car.
He had never rummaged through anyone's purse before. This was a first for him.
Adkins was so curious about her life, so he opened her purse. To his surprise, there was a picture in the pink wallet. It was his picture.
The photo was a two-inch photo of him when he was still a student. It was well preserved with a layer of plastic.
Before getting out of the car, he ordered his secretary, "Look into her background. I want to know everything."
The secretary nodded, "Yes, Mr. Huo."
She was indeed engaged, but the two of them had their own separate lives. She had no interest in dating anyone, and got engaged to the guy so other men would leave her alone. Her fiance's family wanted him to get married soon, so he made a deal with her.
Three months later
A woman walked into the law firm where Mollie Ren worked, and asked to see her. She was obviously rich—designer threads, elegant demeanor, great teeth, fit but not overly muscular, and a face that said she was used to being able to afford anything she wanted.
"Miss Ren, a lady by the last name of Li is looking for you," Mollie Ren's assistant told her on the phone.
Mollie was so busy that she told her assistant directly, "I'm too busy. Ask her to make an appointment. Thank you!"
However, less than two minutes after they ended their conversation, someone opened the door to her office and let herself in.
She was of regal bearing, maybe 40 years old, with a smile on her lips and a familiar purse hanging on her arm.
Mollie Ren had been in the financial industry for a long time and knew the woman in front of her. There was another reason she recognized the woman—she was the mom of the one who got away.
She stood up in a hurry and tipped over her water glass, staring dumbly as the water spread across the desk, ruining several important-looking documents.
Mollie Ren didn't have the time to deal with that just now. She righted her water glass and walked around the desk. She took a deep breath and tried to calm herself down. "Hello, Mrs. Huo," she said, trying to sound as graceful as her guest appeared to be.
Erica looked Mollie Ren up and down. Her long black hair was tied up on the top of her head, and she wore just enough make-up to accentuate her features, but not look too made up. Wearing a black suit, she looked elegant and capable.
"Mollie Ren?" Suppressing the excitement in her heart, Erica tried to maintain the image she had created today. She couldn't frighten her future daughter-in-law.
Realizing her gaffe, Mollie Ren quickly adjusted her mood and said, "Mrs. Huo, please have a seat. Would you like something to drink?"
Erica sat down on the sofa and observed her future daughter-in-law carefully as Mollie Ren summoned an assistant in and gave her orders.
So this was the girl her eldest son had carried a torch for. A ten-year crush. Mollie Ren had managed to open a law firm on her own. Erica was impressed.
A cup of hot tea was placed in front of Erica, and Mollie Ren sat down stiffly. "Excuse me. Is there a reason you came to see me?"
Erica decided to crack a joke with her to ease her nervousness. "What are your rates, Miss Ren? Do you charge by the hour, or...?"
Mollie took a deep breath and forced a smile. "Don't worry, Mrs. Huo. I had the honor to team up with ZL Group once, and Mr. Huo helped me a lot. Today, you came here in person. It's my honor, really. No charge."
Besides, she was Adkins' mother! How could she charge her?
With one hand supporting her chin, Erica looked at her with a smile. "I did come here today to consult a lawyer, but it's not a commercial dispute." She knew that business disputes were Mollie's forte.
"Okay. If you have any questions, ask away. I'll tell you everything I know. If you're not happy with my services, I have a lot of friends I could recommend," Mollie Ren said.