Chapter 1 Blood Cancer and Divorce
Martha's hands shook as she read the health check report.
She had thought the symptoms were a sign of pregnancy with Stefan Harrison's baby, but unfortunately, she was diagnosed with blood cancer.
Standing in the hospital corridor, Martha felt a great sense of helplessness and her mind was blank.
She pulled out her phone with trembling hands and dialed Stefan's number.
Soon, the call got through. Tears streamed down her cheeks. "Stefan--" she sobbed, her voice full of sorrow.
"I'm busy," Stefan's icy voice rang out. The next second, the call ended.
With a chill down her spine, she leaned weakly against the wall. What should she do now?
But the next second, her beloved man gave her a hard blow—
Not far away, Stefan was walking while holding a woman intimately in his arms, his eyes full of unconcealed love and care.
Martha watched him getting closer and her mind stopped thinking.
The phone slipped from her hand and hit the ground with a loud sound as panic filled her eyes.
The woman in Stefan's arms was Hollie Doyle, her half-sister from a different mother.
'Hollie has been missing for three years. Why did she suddenly appear here?'
Leaning in Stefan's arms, Hollie looked fragile and pitiful, as if she were a withered flower that evoked pity.
At that moment, Martha felt a sharp pang in her heart.
Her husband, whom she had not seen for half a month, was hugging another woman and it was caught by her. How ironic it was!
"Is this what you're busy with?"
Martha clenched her hands into fists so tightly that her fingernails dug into her flesh.
As soon as Stefan saw her, his eyes darkened, his face stern.
"You're in no position to mind my business."
Stefan hated his wife. Martha, in his opinion, wouldn't have become his wife had she not forced Hollie away by despicable means.
Hollie couldn't help trembling when she saw Martha.
"Martha... Ahem. Ahem..." Before Hollie could finish her words, she began coughing uncontrollably.
As she coughed, her eyes were filled with fear.
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have come back. It's all my fault."
Seeing the fear in Hollie's eyes, Stefan narrowed his eyes and turned to Martha.
"Hollie is severely sick. It's all your fault, you wicked woman! If Hollie died, I'd make your life hell."
'Died... Make my life hell...' Martha was confused, her eyelashes fluttering.
'What had happened to Hollie? She disappeared for three years and suddenly showed up, but Stefan blamed me for her illness. Why? What the hell is going on? I did nothing to hurt her!' thought Martha.
"Martha, I have cancer. I won't live long. Please... Please don't drive me away again... I've suffered a lot in the past three years. I don't want to be homeless and wandering around anymore. Please..."
'Cancer?' Martha took a step back and couldn't believe Hollie also had cancer.
She could tell Stefan felt sorry for Hollie. He could only see how pitiful Hollie was, but ignored her pain.
Without sparing a glance at Martha, Stefan said icily, "The doctor said Hollie could still survive. She needs a bone marrow transplant. Martha, your bone marrow matches hers."
'Match? Does that mean I have to donate my bone marrow to Hollie?'
Martha parted her lips, painfully looking at the heartless man in front of her. "Stefan, do you know..."
'I have blood cancer and will die!'
Unfortunately, he didn't give her a chance to say that.
When her hand just reached Stefan's arm, he shook it off.
Martha staggered backward and fell to the floor. Her face hit the bench in the corridor. Instantly, she felt severe pain in her nose. Drops of dark red blood fell down, and the smell of blood wafted through the air.
Hollie watched Martha suffer in embarrassment, a sneer flickering across her face.
Pretending to be fragile, she murmured, "Martha is bleeding, Stefan..."
Stefan looked down at Martha, without any compassion in his eyes.
'Martha, you're better at acting now. You've even learned playing the victim,' thought Stefan.
"You deserved it," he remarked. Then he turned to Hollie.
"Ignore her. Let's go."
Such hurtful words really broke Martha's heart. Watching Stefan and Hollie leaving, she blacked out and slumped to the ground, with the blood spilling out of her nose.
When Martha woke up, she was lying in a hospital bed, staring at the white ceiling in silence.
The person at her side was Rupert Turner.
He was her senior in college, a young surgeon with a promising future at this hospital.
"Does he know about your illness?"
Rupert pinched her health check report, feeling terribly sorry for her.
His inner voice asked, 'Why does Martha have to suffer this way? She's so young. She shouldn't be put through this pain.'
Lowering her eyes, Martha didn't answer.
She didn't think Stefan would care even if he knew it.
His only concern was Hollie, who he thought to be pitiful.
Staring at her, Rupert failed to suppress the anger that he had held back for many years.
He turned away and wanted to ask Stefan for an explanation.
However, Martha reached out her hand weakly and grabbed Rupert's wrist. "Don't let him know," she requested.
"Why not? You've done so many things for him over the years, but he..."
Rupert broke off after seeing the tears in her eyes.
Martha shook her head with a bitter smile. She had loved Stefan to bits for so many years, but only accepted the reality at this moment.
Wiping her tears off the corners of her eyes, she held her breath and said in a deep voice, "I will divorce him."
At night, Martha returned to the Harrison Villa.
The last ray of hope vanished from her eyes as she looked around the empty house.
Stefan didn't come back.
Over the three years, he hardly returned to this house.
The news kept coming that Stefan flirted with different women. Sometimes, as Stefan's assistant, she even had to prepare his clean clothes and send them to a hotel, seeing with her own eyes how gently he treated those women.
Martha had tolerated this and wished he could realize how kind and loving she was to him.
However, things happening today had shattered her hopes.
Hollie's return made Martha realize that her pipe dream would never come true. She had been silly for many years, and it was time to end her ridiculous marriage.
Martha wearily packed up her things, and when she was done, she headed downstairs with her suitcase.
Much to her surprise, when she reached the stairway, she saw the familiar figure in the living room.
When their eyes met, different expressions appeared on their faces.
Martha didn't expect Stefan to come home. As his eyes ranged over the suitcase, a trace of disdain flashed through his eyes.
Stefan thought Martha was trying to threaten him with leaving.
Before Stefan made an ironic remark, Martha said, "I'll have my lawyer send you the divorce papers tomorrow. I gotta go."
Her words surprised him.
Stefan wondered what trick she was playing again.
After a second of being startled, he snorted.
Then he strode upstairs, seized Martha's wrist, and dragged her into the room.
"Stop it! What do you want?"
Martha was exasperated and confused.
She was going to give up, but why did Stefan drag her back?
"You can't go," he answered coldly. The next second, Martha was pushed to bed.
She gaped at him, hope rising in her heart, even though she knew he loved Hollie.
Stefan said she couldn't go, so she wondered if he meant to let her stay.
But what Stefan said next threw her into despair.
"You used all kinds of means to drive Hollie away and marry me, but now, it's up to me to decide when to end the marriage!"
Martha lowered her eyes and muttered, "After we divorce, you can marry her."
"Humph, that's what I'll do after our divorce, but now you are still useful to me."
Martha was confused.
Martha suddenly recalled the bone marrow transplant he mentioned in the hospital.
In anger, she tried to push him away.
"I'd rather die than donate my bone marrow to Hollie."
A sarcastic smile touched Stefan's lips. "If you reject, I'll make Rupert Turner lose everything."
Martha stared at him in confusion, wondering why Rupert was involved.
"Didn't you go to the hospital to see your old lover?"
Stefan's eyes darkened. He knew Rupert had liked Martha for many years and they must have slept.
Martha shuddered visibly, feeling a sharp pang in her heart.
Her reaction angered Stefan even more, as he could tell she felt very bad after hearing him mention Rupert.
He ripped off her collar. In fear, Martha flinched.
"What do you want?"
"What do you think?" he answered, his voice reminding her of the demon from Hell.
The next second, he forced himself on top of her. Although Martha tried hard to struggle, she couldn't break free.
After they got married, they had only slept twice.
The first time happened on their wedding night. The second was a month ago when he got drunk. He took her while calling Hollie's name.
Why did the marriage she was expecting, the love she was waiting for, turn out to be like this?
Despair wrenched her heart. She could no longer restrain from shedding tears. She bit her lower lip tightly to keep herself from crying out.
Her crystal tears reflected under the light, making Stefan's eyes more steely.
"It's not Rupert sleeping with you, so you are disappointed, huh?"
Stefan snorted and continued in mockery, "It is said that a woman will never forget the man who sleeps with her for the first time, and that's true."
Martha almost stopped breathing. She bit her lip in agony.
Her first-time, obviously, was with him five years ago. But on their wedding night, he cursed, mocked, and humiliated her for being a slut.
Martha wanted to explain, but the pain in her body made her unable to make a sound.
The pain was caused by her sickness as well as Stefan's cruelty.
Martha thought she was going to die that night. She struggled at first, had to endure it gradually, and eventually became exhausted.
When the torture was finally over, Stefan clasped her neck and said coldly, "Martha, you have no right to make a choice."
He had millions of ways to make her compromise.