Chapter 2 I’ll Break off the Engagement
Susan stood frozen, staring at Hannah in disbelief, unable to comprehend what had just transpired.
Suddenly, Hannah's phone began to ring, the sound persisting for an unusually long time.
Unable to bear it any longer, Susan snapped, "Hannah, for God's sake, answer the damn phone!"
She was curious to know how Hannah planned to explain this to Charles.
Hannah made an effort to compose herself and answered the call in a hushed voice, "Hello, Charles."
"Hannah, my love, I apologize for being too busy to pick you up from the hospital today," Charles's warm and gentle voice came through from the other end of the line.
Hannah smiled ironically.
Charles was about to participate in the Influential Outstanding Youth election in a couple of days. She had gone to the church to pray for his success, hoping that God would bless him and ensure his victory.
Unfortunately, she had ended up in the accident because of him, and he hadn't even bothered to pick her up from the hospital. He simply didn't care.
Charles had once been the center of her world. She had willingly sacrificed everything for him, believing he was worth it.
"Hannah, are you okay?" Charles's voice softened when he received no response.
"Yes, I'm fine," Hannah replied nonchalantly. "I've prayed to God."
"Didn't you pray for a happy marriage and a dozen kids?" he teased.
Of course she had! Hannah had been a firm believer in love and romance before the accident. But now, the thought of it made her feel sick.
In her previous life, she had discovered the truth that Charles had been secretly giving her birth control pills for years, ensuring she couldn't get pregnant for a decade.
It was utterly humiliating, and she had endured it silently under the Sawyers' tyranny.
She had gone through numerous hospital visits and even considered having a test-tube baby just to carry his child.
"What's going on? Are you too tired?" Charles seemed to notice her change in behavior and asked with concern.
"I've been hiking with Susan since early morning. I'm tired. I'm driving home now."
"I'm sorry, I had something to attend to. Otherwise, I would have come to pick you up from the hospital," Charles expressed his guilt.
At that moment, Hannah felt no meaning in displaying any emotion.
She had once believed his busy schedule excuse. But the truth was that he had been busy engaging in sexual affairs with another woman.
"Drive safely, sweetie," Charles urged.
Without hesitation, Hannah hung up the phone.
Susan glanced at Hannah's indifferent face, restraining herself from commenting, thinking that Hannah had become an entirely different person. However, she hoped that Hannah would return to her normal self after a good night's sleep.
The car drove back to downtown, with Hannah dropping Susan off at Phillips Manor first.
"Susan," Hannah suddenly called her friend's name.
Susan looked at her and offered reassurance, "Hannah, go home and get some rest. Don't overthink things."
Susan still had her innocence and humor intact. She hadn't experienced the horrors that awaited her.
Hannah forced a smile. It was her first genuine smile since returning to her 22-year-old self.
"Thank God you're still alive," she said.
"Hell, you're out of your mind!" Susan was speechless. "My dad used to say that someone like me would live a long life. That minor car accident couldn't kill me!"
Hannah also believed that someone as innocent, romantic, and carefree as Susan wouldn't easily meet with death. However, in her memory, she had ended up jumping off the 28th floor, taking her own life.
Hannah's heart ached, unable to shake off the pain she carried with her.
She was grateful to have returned to her 22-year-old self, where everything was still intact, and nothing had happened yet. She had been given a chance to change it all.
She composed herself and said, "Don't tell anyone about what happened today."
"What are you referring to?"
"My deal with Oscar."
Susan rolled her eyes and said, "I won't say a word. Tomorrow, everything will be back to normal."
But Hannah knew that the following day, she would be more determined than ever.
"I have to go."
"Drive safely," Susan said with concern.
Hannah nodded and drove steadily back home, returning to the Cooper Manor as it was ten years ago, a place both familiar and strange to her.
Overwhelmed by emotions, Hannah felt herself succumbing to the depths of her heart.
If she hadn't been deceived in her previous life, her parents would not have perished in that car accident. It had been a deliberate scheme, but she had survived because her parents had shielded her from harm.
She loathed recalling that gruesome image and the immense tragedy, never wanting to experience it again.
"Hannah, didn't Susan come to pick you up from the hospital? Where is she?" Hannah's mother, Michelle West, asked softly.
Hannah held back tears, put on a smile, and approached them.
From this moment on, everything would change. She vowed to take revenge on Charles and bring down the entire Sawyer Group, so that the Cooper family would never be exploited again.
"Why are your eyes so red?" Michelle noticed her approach and asked with concern.
"I dropped Susan off first. My eyes are dry, and I rubbed them a bit too hard."
"The Sawyers just called me. They wanted to discuss the wedding details..." Michelle said.
Hannah took a deep breath and declared, "Mom, I'm breaking off the engagement. I'm not marrying Charles."
"What?" Michelle was stunned.
Hannah's father, Miguel Cooper, who had been reading the newspaper, shifted his gaze and asked, "Did you have a fight with Charles?"
"Charles isn't a good man. He only wants to marry me for our family's wealth, to use us as a stepping stone for his own ambitions," Hannah sensed her parents' skepticism and added, "I can't prove it right now, but please give me some time. You'll believe me eventually."
Miguel and Michelle were at a loss for words, seeing how determined Hannah was.
Hannah had never been a troublesome child, and they had rarely worried about her.
Hannah's grandfather had arranged the marriage since her childhood, and she had accepted it. She had never been involved with any other man besides Charles, firmly believing that he was her destined partner.
Moreover, they had once been a loving couple. So why was she suddenly saying such things?
Seeing their confusion, Hannah said, "Dad, I've never done anything to embarrass you and Mom. I also understand that our family stands to benefit from this marriage. But even so, I'm sticking to my decision."
"You're my daughter, and I believe in you," Miguel humored her, unable to do anything else. "But if we break off the engagement now, both families will suffer. It will have severe negative consequences. How will the Cooper Group maintain its position in Kensbury in the future?" He couldn't comprehend her reasoning.
"No, it won't," Hannah asserted. "I will break off the engagement, but the Sawyer family will face the consequences."
Miguel was shocked by Hannah's powerful presence. Somehow, he felt that she was different from her usual soft and tender self.
"The Sawyers will undoubtedly be embarrassed at next month's wedding," Hanrrion declared firmly and decisively.