"You want me to be a good luck charm for a dying man? Fine, I accept!" Victoria Marcus' words echoed through the room, her tone as cold as ice.
"Really?" Her father, David, broke into a smile of relief. "I'm glad you see sense, Victoria. Marrying into the Bowen family is a privilege. They'll take good care of you."
Her mother, Melissa, mirrored David's relieved smile, while her sister, Ida, barely concealed her satisfaction.
Victoria looked at them all with indifference.
This was her so-called family.
Everyone in Skilltown knew the Bowen family's second son was on his deathbed.
They were merely hoping she'd bring him luck.
She would soon be a young widow.
"I agree, but on one condition." Victoria cut through their various reactions, her voice frosty.
David's smile quickly faded, replaced by a stern reproach.
"Victoria, marrying into the Bowen family is a blessing. Don't overreach."
He looked at her with a hint of contempt. Country girls, always so greedy!
Not at all like the refined Ida, his carefully groomed favorite.
Victoria sneered in her heart.
She locked eyes with her father, a trace of mockery dancing in her gaze.
She had gone missing when she was only one-year-old, lost for nineteen years. It wasn't until one month ago that she was found by her birth parents.
For the nineteen years, she had always fantasized about her parents, wondering whether they loved her like the parents in the news who cherished their children.
But when she returned, she discovered that shortly after her disappearance, her parents had adopted a girl from the orphanage. This girl was now her sister, Ida Marcus.
Over the nineteen years, Ida had completely taken her place.
And now, they had brought her back only to have her replace Ida in a strategic marriage.
Ultimately, they considered Ida their real daughter.
As for her, she was merely a pawn being used to salvage the family's failing business through marriage.
"After I marry Mr. Bowen and secure financing from the Bowen family, we'll sever ties. From then on, I have no connection with the Marcus family!" Victoria spoke, dismissing her father's anger.
A crisp slap echoed through the spacious hall.
David slapped her across the face, glaring at her. "Dare you say it one more time! You ungrateful beast, I should have strangled you at birth!"
Melissa's face bore the same anger. "Victoria, what are you saying? Apologize to your father."
Ida stood on the sidelines, relishing the situation.
Victoria was petite and delicate, so the slap completely sent Victoria tumbling to the ground.
Her cheek burned like fire, and blood welled up in her mouth, spilling from her lips.
She casually wiped away the blood and gazed coldly at them, scoffing, "I'll marry into the Bowen family to repay the favor of giving birth to me."
"But from now on, I have nothing to do with the Marcus family!"
David's eyes blazed with fury as he glared at her. "Victoria! How can you say something like that? Everything you possess—your clothing, your necessities, your expenses—all is provided by the Marcus family!"
"You are a part of the Marcus family. Now, when our family faces trouble and requests your help, you want to sever ties? You ungrateful b*tch!"
Victoria rose from the ground, locking eyes with David. "Provided by the Marcus family?"
Then, with a cold laugh, she continued, "My master bought my clothes, all the necessities were brought down from the mountain, and I lived in a storage room... Yes, you may have brought me into this world, but you never raised me!"
"I owe you nothing!"
Victoria's gaze swept cross the opulent crystal chandelier and various antiques in the room...
This splendid space ought to have been her home, but it held no warmth for her.
Seeing Victoria's attitude, David, consumed by anger, declared, "Very well! Since that's what you want, I'll grant your wish."
With that, David called a lawyer right in front of her.
Soon, the lawyer arrived with the letter severing their relationship.
Victoria took it, quickly scanning its contents, and noted that since she was actively requesting to sever ties, it meant that she was willingly giving up any inheritance from the family estate.
A faint smile curled on Victoria's lips, and she signed her name without hesitation.
In that instant, an unprecedented relief washed over her.
She had no need for this kind of family!
Without delay, she headed back to her room, pulled out her suitcase, and left this place without a backward glance.
Behind her, she blocked out all the curses from her parents.
Ida watched all this with delight.
So what if Victoria was a beauty?
Rumor had it that Noel was a difficult and stern man. Those who crossed him rarely met a pleasant end.
Now that Victoria had severed ties with the Marcus family to marry into the Bowen family, who could predict what her future held?
Victoria, dragging her suitcase, wandered aimlessly into the deep night.
The soft yellow glow from a distant light cast a long shadow behind her. A faint halo encircled her, like a golden cloak draped around her shoulders.
Yet, the stark red handprint marring her fair complexion served as a stark and painful reminder of her reality.
Just then, a sleek, black Rolls-Royce pulled up in front of Victoria, breaking the silence of the night.