Chapter 7 - Secret Scion

Dove's refined features were twisted with shock. She had never thought that a person who was regarded as trash by everyone would be quite this unfathomable.

Before her shock could subside, the butler's voice rang out from the front yard. "Sir, Miss, Noelle of the Stewards is here to see Ms. Dove."

"Noelle?" Dove was taken aback.

Castor gave her a wry smile. "The Stewards are in danger. I suppose she's here to ask for a favor if she's seeking you out."

"Are you saying she's here to seek my help for the Stewards?" Dove scrunched her brows. "How should I answer?"  

Castor frowned as he thought it through. "You should see her, Dove. I'll come by later and let you know."  

Dove nodded and left. Castor shut the door and dialed Asher's number.  

Asher's number was something Castor had acquired last night, but it was not something he had expected to use quite so soon.  

If he was right and Noelle was truly here to ask for help, the Yaegers would do nothing to lend a hand if their relationship with Asher was not factored in because it would not be in their best interest to do so.  

With Asher's identity as an in-law to the Stewards, he had to know what his thoughts were on the matter.  

"I'm no longer a Steward. It has nothing to do with me."

That was all Asher said with complete nonchalance before he hung up. Castor, likewise, had made a decision.  

The first thing Dove noticed when she walked into the living area was Noelle standing in the room with an uneasy expression. Dove coughed lightly to catch her attention and gave her a smile. "Why are you here, Noelle? You rarely come by for me."

Dove walked in to seat herself as she spoke.  

Noelle and Dove may have been schoolmates back in high school but the former was never one for flattering others and was not out to bend over backward for anyone, which resulted in her rarely taking the initiative to speak with Dove. She would not have sought Dove out if she were not desperate. 

Noelle stealthily pinched her thigh in an effort to temper her emotions. She returned the smile with one of her own. "Ms. Yaeger is a busy woman. It wouldn't be a good look if I bothered you."

"Sit, Noelle. We were classmates. There's no need for you to be so polite." Dove continued once Noelle was seated, "I heard Erick caused some trouble a few days ago. Is everything alright?"  

"Truth be told, Ms. Yaeger, I took the liberty to meet with you precisely because of the matter with the Leonards." Noelle had to speak up now that matters had escalated. "The Stewards are, of course, at fault in the matter but it doesn't mean that we should all accompany Jackson Leonard to the grave. The Leonards have threatened to eradicate the Stewards. Of course, it's no difficult matter at all considering the Leonard's might. What we, the Stewards, mean is that as long as the Leonards would let us off the hook, we would agree to whatever conditions they deign to impose on us. The problem is that the Leonards don't agree. I've thought about it, and it seems like the Yaegers are the only ones in Rollinsford that can subdue them. I implore you to help save the Stewards, Ms. Dove."

"This isn't a simple matter, Noelle." To think her brother had guessed it right. Dove frowned, and right then, Castor ambled in.  

Noelle hurried to her feet when she noticed Castor. "When did you return, Mr. Yaeger?"  

"Yesterday." Castor grinned. "Sit, Noelle. There's no need to be so polite."  

"Castor, Noelle is here to ask for our help…"  

"I heard it all." Castor raised a hand to interrupt Dove.  

Noelle blushed. "If I weren't desperate, I wouldn't dare take the liberty of bothering the two of you, but I hope that you'll lend us a hand so we can tide through this crisis. I'll be eternally grateful if you do." 

"Ah." Castor sighed heavily. "It's not that we don't want to help, Noelle. We truly have no means to do so. I'll be honest. The root of the problems plaguing the Stewards isn't the Leonards, but a man that none of us can afford to mess with. Whether the Stewards can turn their luck around or not depends solely on how they deal with the situation. That's all I can say. If there isn't anything else you need, I'll have to ask you to leave."

Noelle's heart skipped a beat. Who was this person that even the Yaegers could not provoke?

She racked her brains but still could not figure out who this mysterious powerhouse was. The Stewards had not provoked anyone besides the Leonards.  

It did not matter what angle she attempted to tackle the problem from, her conclusions would never lead her back to Asher. There was no way she would believe that the man that had been by her side for two years was the most influential person of the Capital City.

Not long after Noelle had returned home, the doorbell suddenly rang.  

She hurried to answer the door but a hint of disappointment flashed in her alluring eyes when the person before her was none other than Livia.  

"Hey Elle, Ash had me come over to pack his things. Does he have a lot of things? Will this container be enough for everything?" Livia made a beeline for the rooms as she spoke.

Asher would rather have Livia collect his personal effects than come home to see her. Were they truly going their separate ways from now on?

Noelle was pale. She smiled bitterly when she noticed that Livia was heading for her own bedroom. "He sleeps next door."

Livia was taken aback. "Do you not sleep together, Elle?"  

It was bluntly stated when they got married that Noelle simply wanted Asher as a shield, and Asher wanted nothing more than to repay her for aiding him. Neither of them brought up the matter of sharing a room, and with that, two years had passed by in a flash.  


"Huh? You've been married for two years and you sleep apart?" Livia was stupefied.

Noelle immediately felt discomfort when she recalled Livia's interest in Asher. "What does that have to do with you?"  

Livia stuck out her tongue and said nothing more.  

The door to Asher's room was pushed open. The furniture within was spotless and looked brand new. The bed had also been neatly tidied up. It gave off a completely different vibe from what Livia had expected.  

"Does Ash only have these few sets of clothes?" When she opened his closet, it turned out to be empty, with no more than ten pieces of clothing.

Noelle rarely came to Asher's bedroom, let alone noticed his closet. The sight of the empty closet made her realize that she had never given a damn about his life for the two years he was here. She felt as if her heart was being stabbed by needles.  

"Did Ash not get himself new clothes?"  

"I… I don't know."  

"Even a common farmer would own more in a year. Ash was still a Steward. He's living way too frugally. You should've bought him some even if he was reluctant to do it for himself." 

Noelle was speechless in the face of Livia's questioning. She owed far too much to Asher.

If there existed such a thing as a remedy for regret, she would buy herself a pound.  

"I'm not qualified to be his wife. Maybe Asher was right to leave me." Noelle's vision grew blurry. She quickly turned away so Livia would not catch sight of her regret.  

Livia inadvertently caught Noelle dabbing at her eyes and felt overwhelmed with emotion. She tried to comfort her. "Elle, I know you're having a hard time. There's Ash on one side, and Grandpa on the other. You were right to obey Grandpa's arrangement from the family's point of view. But I've always thought that this was unfair to Ash."

"Lily, you love Ash, don't you?" Noelle could not help but ask.  

Livia was left stunned by the question. A mental image of a handsome man appeared in her mind. She had to admit that Ash was quite the looker. He was even the scion of the Crawfords.  

Her face bloomed red before she knew it. She avoided Noelle's gaze. "What are you saying, Elle? I just admire him."  


Was love not borne of admiration?  

Noelle knew from one glance that Livia liked Asher. Her red face gave it all away.

Noelle felt deeply uncomfortable. She knew very well that Asher had nothing to do with her now that they were divorced, but it made her upset to see Livia falling for Asher and was so close to him.  

Noelle wanted Asher back for herself in that instant.  

"Shouldn't you give Asher a call, Elle? I hear that Radley has been searching through Rollinsford for his whereabouts. He is in his current position largely because of you," Livia said with caution.  

Call him?  

She should call him to apologize for everything that had happened in the past.  

Noelle went to the living room and decided to call him up, but the other party hung up as soon as it rang.  

Noelle suddenly felt as if her whole body had been drained of its strength. She felt listless, and her heart was empty.  

"Ash might be busy with something, Elle. Why don't you wait a while and call back later?" Livia comforted her cousin.  

"Give me your phone."

Livia hesitated but still handed her phone over to Noelle. She hit the call button the moment she found Asher's number. It did not take long for a magnetic voice to come through the receiver. "Thanks for your help, Lily. Just keep my stuff in your car. I'll come by to pick it up later."  

Noelle tossed the phone onto her couch when she heard his words. She rushed into her bedroom, locked the door and lay motionless on her bed as tears ran down her cheeks…