“Of course! we'll go anywhere you go, Mommy!” little Drea beamed, her large eyes looking like glistening onyxes as they curved into crescent moons.
Nicole Chapman couldn’t help musing over how beautiful her children were. Every time she looked at their little faces, she felt a surge of comfort and gratitude, as though constantly in awe of how she had managed to birth such an adorable little ones.
“Well, then, we best pack our things now. We’re leaving for the airport tomorrow afternoon.”
“Okay!” The ponytail Elis one gave one firm nod, then dashed into her room to pack her things for the trip accompanied by Pete and Drea.
Nicole heaved a sigh. She had been living abroad since her father threw her out of the house five years ago. It wasn’t so much that she didn’t want to go home as it was that she had no place in it.
She didn’t even tell her father after she had delivered her triplets while abroad, and now that she was going back to her homeland for her work and career, she had made up her mind to see the old man. He was still her father, after all.
Three days later, it was evening time at the La Beauté airport when Nicole wheeled the baggage cart forward.
Her triplets were seated on top of the large suitcase on the cart, and they gazed around in wonder.
Everything about Nicole's homeland seemed to pique their interest, and there was a curious gleam in their sparkly eyes.
Presently, Nicole had only just stepped out of the arrival hall when two men in suits walked up to her, thereafter greeting politely, “Miss Chapman, we have been sent here by Old Madam Butler, who has prepared a ride for you just outside the entrance. If you please—”
She blinked at them and said very courteously, “I appreciate the Butler’ kind gesture, but I have no need for a ride, thank you.”
“Miss Butler, the old madam truly wishes to see you,” the middle-aged man said respectfully.
Nicole knew that Old Madam Butler bore no ill will, but she really had no plans on accepting the old madam’s kind favor.
“Please tell Old Madam Butler that it was my mother’s duty to save others, and that there is no need to repay the deed, at least not to me.” With that, she made to brush past the two men, pushing the cart toward the exit.
One of the men took out his phone and informed dutifully, “Young Master Drake, Miss Chapman has refused our offer to pick her up.”
Presently, three gleaming black Rolls-Royce with heavily tinted windows that deterred anyone’s efforts of peeking inside were parked by the airport entrance. There was a man seated in the backseat of the Rolls-Royce in the middle of the fleet who kept his gaze on the airport doors, and he saw a young woman pushing her cart through them just as he set his phone aside.
The woman wore a white blouse and plain jeans. Her hair had been gathered at her nape, revealing a delicate and pretty face. Her skin was alabaster, and her demeanor somewhat leisurely as she maneuvered the cart. Without a doubt, her presence among the crowd was a dazzling one.
Just then, Drake's gaze was caught by something, or rather, someone—the little triplet kids who leaped off the woman’s cart. They looked to be around four or five years of age, and they wore a gray sweater with joggers, their thick and soft hair flopping over their forehead. They might be young, but their features were finely chiseled, making them all the more adorable.
At that moment, Nicole crouched down and helped the little ones straighten their clothes; there was no mistaking the gentle and indulgent look in her eyes.
Who’s the kids? Is Nicole married? If so, then I won’t have to marry her just to fulfill Grandma’s wishes. With that in mind, Drake watched as the taxi Nicole and her supposed children got into pulled away. Not long after that, his fleet left as well.
They had barely covered any distance when his phone rang. He glanced at the caller ID and greeted, “Hey, Amelia.”
“Drake, when are you coming to see me? I’ve missed you.” Amelia's coy voice whined on the other line.
“I’ve been a little busy recently, but I’ll see you as soon as I’m free,” he answered, the bass in his voice prominent.
“Promise?” Amelia askedcoquettishly.
“Yes,” he replied with forced patience.
Meanwhile, over at Butler's Residence, a silver-haired old lady was sitting on the couch sipping her tea when she heard her subordinates’ latest findings. She looked up in shock as she demanded, “What? Nicole Chapman has triplets? Is she married?”
"According to our investigation, the children's father never showed up, so we're assuming that she had the child out of wedlock.".
“Oh, that poor dear. To become a single mother at such a young age…” Jodie Butler, otherwise more widely known as Old Madam Butler, sighed.
Guilt surged through her as she thought about the brave female police officer who had died after sustaining eighteen fatal stabs from the ruffian who had threatened to hurt Drake all those years ago.
She was only just lamenting on this when an elegant and towering figure sauntered into the living room. It was Drake, and he had returned from the airport.
“Come here, Drake,” Jodie said as she beckoned her grandson over.
Drake promptly took the seat next to hers and began to say, "Grandma, Nicole kept refusing our offer, so maybe I-".
“I just found out that Miss Chapman is a single mother who had triplets out of wedlock. You must take care of the poor mother and son, Drake. It’s your duty.”
Drake gaped at the old woman speechlessly, stunned by her suggestion. He had thought that she would have given up on the matter, but as it turned out, she grew even more determined to see it through instead.
“Grandma, I don’t have to marry her. We could always use some other way to repay her mother’s kind deeds and make it up to her,” he countered calmly, hoping that his grandmother would see sense.
However, the moment Jodie Butler heard this, she shot him a frigid look and said, "No, that won't do. You must mary Nicole Chapman and protect her and take care of her for the rest of her life.".
Drake frowned. He didn’t think any good could come from a loveless marriage, but he couldn’t even reject his grandmother’s suggestion because she was set on repaying the sacrifice Nicole's mother had made all those years ago.
“You can’t even imagine how many stabs Officer Freya Dort had sustained just to protect you. The amount of blood… The gruesome nature of the crime…” Jodie's eyes were sad as she said this. Then, she looked up and cast her grandson a hard look, pointing out, “Taking care of her daughter is the least you could do. You won’t ever be able to repay the officer’s selfless deed, even if you were to take care of Nicole for eternity.”
Drake nodded quietly. “Fine, then I’ll take her for a wife.”
But there was another woman whom he could not let go of, whom he needed to compensate as well. That said, he had no plans to tell Jodie about this just yet, and he knew that even if he did tell her, it wouldn’t dissuade her from forcing him to marry Nicole Chapman.
“Nicole Chapman has triplets,” he said.
That backfired on him because Jodie Butler seemed delighted by the news. “That’s right! It’s a little boy and two girls, probably around three or four years old. I can’t believe some scoundrel just left them like that. Listen to me, Drake—don’t you dare snub that children, is that understood?”
Drake could hardly believe this. He stared at his grandmother, stumped as he thought, Is this some kind of a buy-one-free-one deal?.
The Bourgeois Jewelry Atelier was an old and well-known establishment that had been acquired by Nicole's superior. In order to grow the brand, Nicole Chapman —being the chief designer for the Queen’s Rose QR Diamond Global—had been transferred back to her homeland to work on diversifying Bourgeois.
Through the arrangements made by Bourgeois, Nicole was put up in an apartment. She went about decorating and straightening up her new abode while her triplets slept, and within two hours, the apartment was transformed into the perfect cozy nest for the mother-and-kids duo.
She was exhausted, but she did not feel like turning in for the day as she watched her Kid's adorable sleeping profile.
Whatever had happened in this city five years ago still haunted her and made her stomach churn. Her step sister 's betrayal, her step mother's wickedness, and her father’s ultimatum that resulted in her being exiled were like cuts that ran too deep to heal over.
It was a miracle at all that she had survived the past five years. She had had to balance raising her triplets as a single mother and picking up design courses, and during the later part of the five years, she slowly worked her way up the ladder and became chief designer. She had toiled harder than anyone else, and the heavens must have granted her the stroke of luck she needed to get to where she was today.
As of now, she had her savings, her triplets, and a job that allowed her freedom.
She picked up her phone and stared at her father’s number. There were several times when she thought about calling him, but something made her hesitate. It’s been five years. I wonder if he’s still angry with me.