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The One & the Only

The One & the Only

Update: 2021-05-07

Chapter 1 Ares Of The North

  • The entire city of Channing was on high alert.
  • A military aircraft was making its landing at the Channing International Airport.
  • Hundreds of soldiers from the special forces aligned themselves into neat rows at the airport. Each soldier was dressed in full battle gear.
  • None of them could tear their adulatory eyes away from the aircraft that had just landed. There was a sense of eager anticipation in the air.
  • Nathan Cross made his way down the aircraft's stairs after he had exited. His black combat boots creaked with every step he took.
  • “Attention!”
  • “Salute!”
  • The strident voice of the officer pierced through the air with a note of authority and discipline.
  • The troops raised their right hand uniformly to give their salutes while greeting him concertedly, “Welcome to Channing, Sir!”
  • He was their general, whose actual name was Nathan Cross, although they liked to refer him as the Ares of the North.
  • That was because he had never lost a battle in his distinguished military career, since the day he had joined the army as a young chap.
  • His track record for the past five years had been jaw-dropping when he had led the troops to several significant victories in the north.
  • He had repeatedly defended the borders from invading enemies. The country owed it to his tactical genius and strategic astuteness for the peace and prosperity that it was enjoying today.
  • With a tall and muscular physique, Nathan Cross was an attractive man. His luminous eyes sparkled like diamonds in the dazzling sunlight.
  • Nonetheless, he seemed a little displeased. Knitting his brows together, he muttered to Colin Dunne, captain of the National Guards, “Didn't I tell you to keep a low profile?”
  • “That's what I've been telling the Channing's authorities, Sir. I'd never expected that they would make such a fuss about it,” Colin Dunne replied abashedly.
  • “Send the troops back and inform them to lift the red alert status, reverting everything to its usual course. The same goes for you - I don't need you to follow me around. I have my own arrangements.”
  • “Yes, Sir!” Colin Dunne clapped his heels together and saluted.
  • Nathan Cross strode out of the airport alone, accompanied by a sudden myriad of strange emotions that tugged at his heart, which was a huge departure from his usual calm demeanor.
  • Five years ago, the grief from his mother's passing had forced him into a drunken stupor and left him sleeping on the streets.
  • A kind-hearted lady took pity on him and tried to give him a hand. But his desires, aroused by drunkenness, got the better of him as he forced her to have sex with him.
  • By the time he had woken up, the lady had left.
  • It had been five grueling years for Nathan as he exhausted all the possibilities to find the lady. Unfortunately, all his efforts had come to naught. It was only until recently that he finally got a hold of the information he had been looking for.
  • His sources had informed him that her name was Penny Smith, and that she was still unmarried.
  • She had given birth to a daughter, Queenie Smith, a corollary of their one-night stand.
  • It pained him to think about the dreadful life that the two had to face over the past few years. Penny, Queenie, I know it must have been hard for both of you.
  • Now that I've found you, I assure you that there will only be joy and happiness in your lives from now on, he solemnly vowed. I shall give you the wonderful lives that you both deserve.
  • ...
  • In the meeting room of Diva Limited, Penny Smith was amidst a discussion with her client, Derek Harvey. Dressed in a smart suit, Penny appeared business-like, yet stunningly attractive.
  • However, her face was full of rage as she glared at the fat, pudgy man in front of her. “I'm sorry, Mr. Harvey, but I'm unable to oblige your request. I'm not one of those who would give myself away merely for the sake of a contract,” she rejected him indignantly.
  • With that being said, she stood up and turned to leave the meeting room.
  • Derek Harvey stretched out his flabby arms to block her from leaving. “Don't be mad, Ms. Smith.” His lips widened into a nauseous grin, like a hungry wolf baring its fangs. “All I'm asking is for you to put on your company's latest lingerie design for couples so that I can get a better sense of how they look on one's body.” Leering, he tried to persuade her, “Just a small feast for my eyes, that's all I ask!”
  • “Why don't you just model them for me? I'll place an order for fifty million immediately if I like what I see. That's my stance, take it or leave it.”
  • “And to top it off, I'll give you a big fat tip of one million as well. How does that sound to you?”
  • “Please stop harassing me and show me some respect, Mr. Harvey!”
  • “Respect for you?” Derek Harvey shrilled at the top of his voice.
  • “Who would respect someone like you after they've found out about your dirty past, our beloved daughter of the Smith Family? Every member of Channing's upper class would cover their mouths and giggled at this open secret. Stop pretending like you're like some pure and innocent virgin in front of me!”
  • A shiver ran down Penny Smith's spine. Her face immediately paled when he brought up that ugly incident - it was the ghost that would haunt her for the rest of her life, a perpetual shame that would forever plague the reputation of the Smith Family.
  • Just the mention of it was torture to her. She had never expected Derek Harvey to use it, trampling all over her dignity.
  • “I don't see the need to explain my personal life to you,” her beautiful face turned frigid, “And I've decided to call off our business cooperation with you. There's nothing left to discuss, goodbye!”
  • With his eyes pinned on Penny's alluring body, Derek Harvey refused to relent. He darted his eyes over to the lingerie samples on the table and threatened, “No woman can escape from me once I have my eyes on her, Ms. Smith. Don't blame me for getting rough if you insist on defying me.”
  • His words still resounding in her ears, Penny was instantly cornered by two bodyguards with crooked smiles on their faces.
  • “What are you trying to do?” Penny immediately grew alert. Her voice was thick with rage and fear.
  • “I'm just trying to have some fun with you, Ms. Smith. Don't you know how much I adore you?” Derek Harvey smiled his obnoxious, lewd smile, “But since you are such a pig-headed fool, I'm afraid that I'll have to resort to physical means to make you submit to my demands.”
  • A pang of horror shot through Penny when he uttered those words, making her cheek twitch with fear. Abruptly, she dashed for the door in a bid to escape.
  • The two bodyguards grasped her wrists and held her back.
  • “Help! Someone help me, please!” Penny screamed at the top of her lungs.
  • “Hehehe, save your breath, my dear. I've picked this hour for our meeting as all of your staff have already left for home.” Derek Harvey flashed a grotesque grin, “You can shout all you want, nobody will come to save you.”
  • Tears welled up in Penny's eyes as she plunged into despair, feeling like a trapped animal. She had never expected Derek Harvey to be such a vicious monster.
  • “Oh baby, why are you crying? Daddy is here...” Derek Harvey pressed closer to her with a sneer on his repugnant face, spinning his nasty web around Penny, who had been pinned down by his bodyguards.
  • Bang! A thunderous thud reverberated around the room.
  • The meeting room's door was booted open with such force that it flew off its hinge and landed with a thud right under the nose of Derek Harvey and his men, leaving them in shock, mouths agape.
  • A man walked into the room. His strong, lean body looked as fit as a professional athlete, while his exquisite looks appeared good enough to grace the cover of magazines. He was Nathan Cross.
  • Penny gave a start the moment she saw Nathan - it's him!
  • She had fought back her tears even when Derek Harvey had almost molested her, yet the sight of Nathan made her tears run like rivulets down her cheeks.
  • A sharp pain stung Nathan's heart upon seeing Penny cry like a baby, melting the layers of ice within him.
  • Five years ago, she had saved him in a chance encounter.
  • Yet, in his inebriated state, he had taken her by force and had non-consensual sex with her.
  • Over the past five years, Nathan had never stopped looking for her.
  • Her face filled his dreams every night; she was incontestably the most unforgettable woman he had met.
  • Now that they found each other again, the inexplicable look in their eyes spoke a thousand words.
  • Derek Harvey's voice snapped both of them back to their senses. “Who the hell are you?” His eyes were narrowed and full of menace as he assessed Nathan, who was dressed in civilian clothes.
  • “Come with me!” Nathan beckoned to Penny with his gaze fixed on her. He did not answer Derek Harvey's question, nor did he spare him a glance.
  • Penny shook her head fervently. Her tears were streaming down like waterfalls.
  • This was the man who had raped her five years ago, bringing shame to her family as he turned her into the laughingstock of the entire Channing. Her own resilience amazed her - she survived the scathing tirade of mockery and insults that the others had launched at her.
  • Yet the same man who was now standing in front of her had not shown the slightest bit of compassion to her plight. The first sentence he had uttered was a condescending order to leave with him. What do you take me for, a slave?
  • Derek Harvey had been so close to laying his hands on Penny, but Nathan's sudden appearance thwarted his grand scheme. His eyes bulged angrily while his flabby chin quivered with rage when he heard that Nathan was going to take Penny away with him.
  • “How dare you meddle in my affairs, you punk!” He snarled, “Quin, Luke, I want you to smash his legs and make sure that he'll never be able to walk again!”
  • “Yes, boss!”
  • The two towering bodyguards spread their claws and lunged at Nathan Cross.
  • Boom! Bang! With two firm kicks, Nathan sent them flying backward, and they landed heavily on the floor. The force had broken their ribs, leaving two huge indentations in their chests. Both the men fell unconscious.
  • With the two bodyguards taken care of, Nathan sauntered towards Derek Harvey with his cold killer stare.
  • “How dare you? What do you think you're doing?” Derek Harvey tried to put up a brave front, even though he knew he had been completely overpowered by Nathan.
  • “Don't you know who I am? I'm Derek Harvey, the boss of Mingda Corporation!”
  • “No one dares to touch me in the whole of Channing, knowing that I'll beat the shit out of them should they even harm a hair of mine.”
  • Nathan stood directly in front of him with a disinterested look. “Are you done with your nonsense?”
  • His reply astounded Derek Harvey, who was under the impression that everyone would shun away with fear when they heard his name. But this guy seemed impervious to his threat.
  • Unwarily, Nathan raised his leg and stomped on Derek Harvey's left leg with brutal force.
  • Crack, came the sound of his fractured bone.
  • Nathan had broken Derek's left fibula, which sent Derek Harvey rolling and writhing in pain on the floor, wailing like a banshee.
  • With an unconcerned look, Nathan turned and walked towards Penny, who was watching with eyes as big as saucers. “Come with me?” His tone had softened.
  • “No way!”
  • She bit her lip resolutely; it was impossible to forgive a monster like him who had utterly ruined her life.
  • “I've been looking for you everywhere since I first met you five years ago. I shall never let you leave my sight again.”
  • With that being said, he scooped her up and strode out of the room.