“I’m busy right now. You should attend the boy’s parent-teacher meeting at his school.”
At the entrance of Four Seas Corporation.
Alex Jefferson had been standing on duty as usual, when his wife had suddenly rung him up.
Before he could utter a word, the line went dead. It was almost as abrupt as his wife’s tone.
Staring at the phone in his hands, a bitter smile spread across Alex’s face.
His wife’s recent attitude towards him had taken a toll for the worse. Whenever she looked at him, her gaze was always laced with coldness and disappointment.
For others, a relationship usually turned sour, at the age of thirty. Unfortunately, the perils of a failing relationship had arrived at his doorstep, four years early.
Raising his head to glance at the dark clouds that swept across the sky, he realized that there was going to be torrential rain very soon.
Regardless of whether or not he was going to attend the parent-teacher meeting, he still needed to pick his son up from school.
Thus, he put aside his phone and walked toward the manager’s office.
Meanwhile, the manager of the security department, James Langdon, was flirting with the pretty receptionist. He was visibly infuriated, at the sight of Alex barging in without warning, interrupting his romantic advances.
“I didn’t see anything. Do carry on.” Startled, Alex turned to leave.
However, the pretty receptionist was increasingly flustered, as she soon rushed out, before he could even take a step forward.
“Get back here!”
Leaning back on his chair, James pulled out a cigarette and lit it, with much annoyance. Then, he asked impatiently, “What are you doing here? Why aren’t you on duty?”
Alex turned around and replied awkwardly, “Um, Sir, I would like to take a half-day off.”
“Why?” James lazily puffed out a cloud of smoke.
“It’s going to rain any time now. I need to attend my son’s parent-teacher meeting…”
“All you do is laze around, all day at work. Do you think that this is your family-owned company?”
Slamming a fist on the table, James stood up in fury and pointed a finger at Alex, “Look at yourself! A live-in son-in-law of the Jenningses! You bring shame to us men, do you know that? All you do is laze around at work, without doing much. Do you think that this company is the Jennings family, where you can leech off from?”
Alex’s expression darkened, as annoyance crept up in his heart.
Nonetheless, when he thought of the scandal that he had witnessed earlier between James and the receptionist, he realized that the man was simply trying to intimidate him. Hence, he controlled his temper and muttered, “This is the first time I’ve asked for a leave, to attend my son’s parent-teacher meeting…”
“Attend your son’s parent-teacher meeting? Look at how useless you are. How do you have the audacity to attend your son’s parent-teacher meeting?”
James continued to hurl insults, “Adam Bane is a security guard, whom you’d personally mentored. He has simply been here for a year, yet he’s already been promoted to team leader. Look at you! You’ve been here for four years, yet you’re still a lowly security guard. Don’t you feel an ounce of shame, facing your wife and son back home? You’re not even worth a bucket of warm spit!”
Taking a deep breath to calm himself, Alex curled his fists into balls, suppressing the urge to punch James and break his nose. “I just happened to witness your scandal, that’s all! What do you need to intimidate me for? You’ll approve this leave for me, even if you don’t want to!”
He angrily spun around to leave.
“Alex Jefferson, if you dare to step even half a foot out of the company today, you’re fired!” James was beside himself with rage. He’s a piece of trash living off of his woman! How dare he talk back to me?
Startled at his words, Alex clenched his fists tighter. Nonetheless, he still pushed open the door and walked out.
Outside the room, a few security guards were watching the fun. When they saw Alex coming out in a fit of rage, surprise flitted across each of their faces.
They were astonished that this loser from the security department would dare to talk back to the manager today.
Under everyone’s flabbergasted gazes, Alex strode out of the lobby. Even the pretty receptionist from earlier was too ashamed to look up at him.
Getting on his electric scooter, Alex drove to his son’s kindergarten without looking back.
Before he reached, the dark sky opened up. Plump droplets of rain started to fall. In a flash, the light pitter-patter turned into a heavy torrent, hammering on Alex’s body and dinging off his scooter.
However, he did not find a place to take shelter. Rushing through the unforgiving storm, he headed to the kindergarten as fast as he could.
“Miss, I’m sorry. The storm’s rather bad outside, so I’m slightly late.”
At this moment, a crowd of parents was attending the parent-teacher meeting with their children. Heads turned, as all eyes fell on Alex, who was standing outside the door, completely drenched from head-to-toe.
“Hey, who is this? He’s even late for his child’s parent-teacher meeting. How irresponsible is he?”
“He’s the live-in son-in-law of the Jennings family, and the famous parasite of Nebula City.”
“Oh, so he’s the one who’d made the tabloid headlines ly. He really brings shame to all men.”
“If my husband were like him, I would’ve kicked him out, without any hesitation!”
The group of parents gossiped amongst themselves as they insulted and mocked Alex.
“Everyone, please settle down. Let me make the introductions. This is Alex Jefferson, Stanley Jennings’ father. Alex, do come in,” urged Ms. Haden.
“Sure.” Alex shook off the water from his body and started to walk towards his son, who was sitting in the back row.
“Ms. Haden, you must be mistaken. Shouldn’t Stanley Jennings’ father carry the last name, Jennings? Why is his last name Jefferson instead?” A woman spoke up.
Everyone understood the implied meaning behind her words, as the crowd soon erupted into laughter.
“Even a parasite has to do something in return for its host, okay? The fact remains that he’s a dog of the Jennings family, used for breeding purposes only.”
Alex’s body stiffened when he heard that. With his eyes filled with flames of fury, his fists curled into tight balls out of anger.
Did I get up on the wrong side of the bed today? Why am I encountering such s***ty luck?
Although he had faced many insults before, he felt especially infuriated today.
“Daddy!” At this moment, Stanley called out, from his seat in the back row.
Seeing his son being boycotted and isolated at the very back of the classroom, a sense of guilt rose in Alex’s heart as he strode over to the little boy sitting all alone.
“Stanley, I’m sorry. I didn’t come late on purpose.” Alex sat beside Stanley, wanting to hug him. However, upon realizing that he was completely drenched, he had no choice but to pat the boy on the head instead.
“Daddy has to go to work. I’m aware of that,” Stanley obediently answered.
A tear formed at the corners of Alex’s eyes. Stanley was only four years old, yet he was already more thoughtful and obedient than most peers his age. However, Alex had not given him a better life or much attention at all. He suddenly felt a pang of remorse at his bad parenting.
Stanley, just wait for me, alright? Trust me! After some time, I’ll definitely groom you to become the most enviable rich kid in the entire world!
Alex clenched his fists together as if he had made a big decision.
During the parent-teacher meeting, the teacher criticized Stanley for not paying attention in class, but Alex remained unconcerned by her words.
He knew his son’s learning potential better than anyone else.
When the father and son duo returned home, Alex’s wife, Heather Jennings, admonished him upon seeing her son drenched by the rain, “It’s raining so heavily outside. Why didn’t you send Stanley home by cab instead?”
“What a useless man! It doesn’t cost all that much to call a cab anyway,” Alex’s mother-in-law, Carmen Jennings, née Garnet, spoke up as well.
Truthfully, the rain had subsided some time ago. The reason why Stanley was wet, was that he had leaned on Alex on the scooter, causing the rainwater on the latter’s body to seep into his clothes.
Nonetheless, Alex did not bother to explain; he took Stanley into the house to change his clothes immediately.
“Heather, Mr. Wallace has said that he’s willing to lend us thirty million, but he wants you to accompany him for three days…”
The color drained from Heather’s face. Glancing at the tightly shut door, she demanded, “Mom, what are you talking about? I’m not going to agree to it.”
The Jennings family had been tricked by others and suddenly found themselves on the verge of bankruptcy. The eldest son of the Wallace family, Walt Wallace, had agreed to lend thirty million without interest to them, but he requested for Heather to accompany him for three days.
Thus, the entire Jennings family had placed their hopes upon Heather.
Even her grandmother had begged her to go.
Although Heather herself had yet to agree, she felt her heart soften, at the thought of her family in danger.
Unfortunately, Carmen saying this in the house would only make Alex look bad.
“Heather, the entire Jennings family’s future is on you. How could you refuse?” questioned Carmen.
“We’ll talk later. I’m going to the company.”
Heather made her leave.
Then, she turned back and added, “Alex, I’ll be heading to the company first.”
Carmen hurriedly followed her.
At this moment, Alex’s hands which were busy helping Stanley change out of his wet clothes hung in mid-air.
His sensitive hearing had picked up the entire conversation between Heather and Carmen.
At this moment, his bloodshot eyes were filled with hostility.
The conversation had caused his emotions to rise and fall, as though they were restless waves that could not be calmed.
Opening his mouth silently, he really wanted to tell Heather that he was not good-for-nothing and that he was capable of solving the family’s problems.
He was a member of the rich and powerful Jefferson family from Lumenopolis, and his identity was immeasurably honorable!
Thirty million was nothing to him.
Unfortunately, he could not tell Heather the truth.
After all, he had his reasons.
Eight years ago, the Jefferson family had undergone drastic changes. His father’s fate was unknown, while his mother was strangled to death by his stepmother. Alex himself was hunted down, by his stepmother’s minions.
Ultimately, although he had escaped to Nebula City, he had suffered severe internal damages.
To evade the Jefferson family, he hid away here and attended college in Nebula City. After graduating from college, he married into the Jennings family and became their live-in son-in-law.
His main aim was to wait for his internal energy to recover itself before returning to take revenge.
“Heather, trust me! I won’t let you do something crazy like that!”
After putting his son to bed for a nap, Alex rushed out, leaped onto his electric scooter, and hurriedly drove to the Jennings family company.