She was pregnant with a stranger’s child after selling herself to him, yet was forced to marry another stranger for their mothers had agreed on the marriage when they were young. She originally thought this was just a convenient marriage; nevertheless, she gradually developed deep feelings for him in their married life. When she was about to give birth, he handed her a divorce agreement. Only then did she realize that she loved him deeply. Later, he came back to her and told her, “Please come back to me, my wife. I've fallen for you long time ago.”
Chapter 1: Nothing to Regret
The warmth of his body pressed against her, and his breath caressed her ear, sending a shiver down Dolores Flores' spine.
"Are you scared?" he whispered, his voice thick with desire, as if he was holding himself back.
She clenched her fists and nervously shook her head. "No, I want this."
In the prime of her life, Dolores was faced with a difficult choice.
The man leaned forward, his lips brushing against the side of her neck. "Good."
The night seemed endless and agonizing.
When the man finally got up and went to the bathroom in the middle of the night, Dolores mustered the last of her energy. She dressed quickly, paying no attention to the pain in her lower body. Without a second glance, she left the room.
In the hotel lobby, the middle-aged woman who had introduced Dolores to this business sat on a sofa. As Dolores exited the elevator, the woman stood up and handed her a black plastic bag.
"Here's your payment."
Dolores snatched the bag without hesitation, offering a curt nod of thanks, and hurried out of the hotel. All she wanted was to reach the hospital as quickly as possible, forgetting her own pain.
The sky was just beginning to reveal the first rays of light as Dolores walked into the quiet hospital hallway. Two stretchers sat outside the operating room, holding bodies waiting for a miracle. Unable to bear it, Dolores approached them.
Her heart ached as she choked on the lump in her throat. "I have the money. Please save my mom and brother," she pleaded, handing the bag of money to the doctor.
The doctor glanced at the bag and called a nurse to count the sum. Only after confirming that all the money was there, he instructed the nurses to wheel her mother into the operating room.
Seeing her brother left in the hallway, Dolores grabbed the doctor's arm and begged him. "What about my brother? Please save him..."
The doctor sighed. "I'm sorry; it's already too late to save him."
"Too late?" The news caused Dolores to cry out. The pain in her chest felt unbearable, as if a searing hot blade had been thrust into her heart and mercilessly twisted. Her knees buckled, and she collapsed on the ground, the world fading to black around her.
Eight years ago, when Dolores was just ten years old, her father cheated on and abandoned his wife and daughter. He sent them to a foreign country, not even caring that his wife was pregnant with their second child.
Dolores' younger brother was born shortly after, and at the age of three, he was diagnosed with autism. Life became even more challenging as they lived paycheck to paycheck, but Dolores loved her brother too much to mind. She and her mother took odd jobs to make ends meet, until a car accident took everything away from Dolores in an instant, leaving her alone in an unfamiliar country with nothing. She was forced to make a desperate choice, going against everything she was taught. And yet, she couldn't save her brother.
Not everyone who experienced such immense pain would become hysterical. For some, the pain would only create discomfort, perhaps making it difficult to breathe. For others, it might cast a gloomy shadow over the sky, but they would smile and accept reality, grateful that they still had a living mother who needed them.
During the month-long hospital stay, Dolores' mother, Jessica, often stared into space from her hospital bed. Dolores knew she was grieving for her lost son. It was Dolores who embraced her mother and cried.
"Mom, I'm still here. Please live for me."
Expelled from school to care for her mother, Dolores found solace in her slow recovery.
Carrying a bag of food, Dolores entered the hospital. As she approached the ward and reached for the door, she heard a familiar voice from inside. It had been eight years, but she remembered watching her father force her mother to sign the divorce papers. He had never visited them since sending them away. So why was he suddenly here, visiting his ex-wife in the hospital?
"Jessica, you and the mistress of the Nelson family were like sisters back then. You even promised to let your child marry hers when they grew up. Logically, it should be your daughter who marries her son..."
"What are you talking about? Randolph, you can't be referring to Matthew Nelson, can you?" Jessica interrupted, disbelief evident in her voice.
Struggling to get up, weakened from her time in the hospital, Jessica paid no mind to her wound. She wanted nothing more than to confront the man. Had he lost his mind? First, he abandoned her and their daughter in a terrible place, and now he was insisting on marrying off their daughter to the son of a woman they hadn't seen in years?
"The eldest son of the Nelson family is your best friend's son. He was raised well, and you know their social status. Marrying the two would lead to a prosperous life..." Randolph's voice lowered as he spoke.
Dolores pushed the door open, the bag of food still in her hand, forgotten. "I'll do it," she said, startling the two inside. "I'm willing to marry him, on one condition."
Randolph turned to the door, his gaze fixated on his daughter, whom he hadn't seen in eight years. He stared at her for several seconds.
When he had sent her away, she was just a ten-year-old child. Now, she had grown into a young woman. Her pale skin clung to her underweight frame, and her face seemed smaller, as if she had withdrawn into herself. Her body had not fully developed, lacking the grace of her younger sister. His sympathy waned. After all, she wasn't exceptionally attractive, and marrying a disabled man who couldn't engage in physical intimacy wouldn't be too bad. With that thought, his guilt faded away, convincing him that he had done nothing wrong.
"Very well, then. Out with it."
"I want to go back home with Mom and reclaim everything that belongs to us. If you give us back what is rightfully ours, I'll agree to marry Matthew."
Dolores tightened her fists and focused on her breathing to regain her composure. Even though she had been away from her home country for many years, the Nelson family of City B had always been a prominent topic of discussion. Their immense wealth, worth billions, made their son highly sought after.
Dolores never imagined such a stroke of luck would come her way. Despite Matthew's paralysis and inability to fulfill the role of a husband, it was still the best opportunity for her family. Not only could she return home, but she could also help her mother regain the fortune that was part of Jessica's dowry.
"Lola..." Jessica began, using her daughter's nickname.
Jessica wanted to advise her to consider the seriousness of marriage and reconsider. Dolores had endured so much by her side, and Jessica couldn't bear to see her daughter suffer through a ruined marriage.
Sensing Jessica's intentions, Randolph grew worried that Dolores would be swayed and refuse to marry Matthew. He quickly interjected, "Of course, if you agree, I'll let you go back home."
"And what about Mom's dowry?" Dolores asked in a cold voice, fixing her gaze on the man who was technically her father.
There were indeed significant dowries provided by Jessica when they first got married. It was no small amount, and Randolph was reluctant to return them.
"Dad," Dolores began, "I suppose my younger sister is stunning. She deserves a better man than Matthew. If she marries someone with flaws, her life will be ruined. Not to mention that you've divorced Mom. You should return the money she gave to the Flores family."
Randolph felt guilty and couldn't meet her eyes. Dolores had been abroad for years. How did she know about Matthew's disability? He failed to realize that Dolores was merely speculating and was unaware of the snake bite incident.
Realizing that the man she was about to marry was unconventional, Randolph gritted his teeth and said, "I'll give it to you once you marry him."
His younger daughter was as precious and gentle as a flower. He couldn't allow her to marry a man who couldn't provide her with a normal life. No matter how noble Matthew might be, if he couldn't fulfill his duties as a husband, he was no different from a failure. As thoughts of his younger daughter crossed his mind, Randolph's discomfort lessened, but his disdain for Dolores grew as she insisted on taking money from him.
Randolph shot her a sharp glance and stated, "Your mother clearly didn't teach you manners! You have no sense of propriety!"
Dolores wanted to confront him about what it was like to be completely free from any responsibility as a father. He had abandoned her and showed no care for her well-being. However, her position was too weak, and provoking him would risk everything she had negotiated.
"Get ready. We'll head back tomorrow," Randolph declared, leaving the ward with a dismissive wave of his hand.