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(Colins target Isla)

Nancy masked her guilt by quickly assuring Charles. "Don't worry about me, Mr. Lu." She paused, inhaled quietly and then said, "I am fine. And I appreciate your concern."

As this went on, Autumn kept silent and focused on eating.

As planned, Autumn left with Chris to shop after dinner. They first went to the supermarket to get nuts and snacks for the Spring Festival. Then they headed to the shopping mall to buy clothes for Gary as a New Year's gift. Autumn regretted not having enough time to get her grandparents in the Zhao family any presents because it was already late.

She made up her mind to go out and shop again another day.

Chris could not contain her excitement about the coming celebration. "I am so looking forward to the family reunion on New Year's Eve. We must celebrate with a party! My brother used to buy a lot of fireworks to light up the New Year and it was spectacular watching them rise and bloom in the sky!" she remarked. Autumn shared in Chris' enthusiasm.

"Yes, we absolutely must have a party for the Spring Festival this year. We need to cherish this time together with the family because next year, you're going to spend New Year with Sam's family," she told Chris. Autumn was teasing Chris as they loaded the stuff in the car trunk.

Chris blushed in shyness but smiled a bit. On their way home, they drove by the supermarket and saw Isla who was being harassed by a man they were unfamiliar with. Autumn quickly stopped the car and went over to Isla, in an attempt to protect her friend.

Up close, Autumn saw a man dressed in an expensive suit, who was actually good-looking. But he had ill manners.

True to form, the man's eyes glimmered when Autumn came into his sight. "Wow, what a beauty! Tonight must be my lucky night," he said brashly.

"Autumn! What are you doing here?" Isla cried out. Startled at seeing Autumn, Isla uttered, "This has nothing to do with you, Autumn. Just go, please."

From annoyance, Autumn's mood turned suspicious. "No! I can't leave you here alone," she declared. Autumn now stood in front of Isla and warned the man, "You stay where you are." She faced him boldly and added, "Stay away or you will regret it."

With a smirk, the man hissed, "Little beauty, you better not meddle in business that is none of your concern."

He assumed a cockier stance before adding, "I just want to talk to Miss Zhao. There's no need for you to be worried."

Autumn raised her voice, "I said stay away from her!" She continued to glare at the man who kept advancing towards them. Then loudly she said, "How dare you speak to her that way!"

Isla was now pulling Autumn's arm. "Go, Autumn. I can handle this," she pleaded. She was now worried about Autumn being involved in an unpleasant situation. "You can go now. I can take care of myself," she urged.

Chris soon appeared and also stood beside Autumn to shield Isla. She declared, "Don't be afraid, Isla. We'll protect you and will not leave you alone. No one is going to bully you."

To the man she threatened, "Get away from here. I've already called the police. If you insist on causing trouble here, you won't like where you're going to end up in."

He suddenly looked worried and turned to Isla. "Are they serious? Tell them I'm a cousin, your elder brother. Are you going to let them do that to me?" Colin was actually Aron's cousin. He now seemed a bit anxious after hearing Chris say she had called the police. He was heading to a bar when he ran into Isla, who was leaving the supermarket. Colin hated Aron and saw an opportunity to get back at him by playing a prank on Isla.

Unfortunately, he didn't expect Autumn and Chris to suddenly appear.

"Cousin?" Autumn said. Confused, she looked at Isla waiting for a confirmation. Isla nodded helplessly and explained, "He is Aron's cousin."

Autumn suddenly remembered Isla mentioning Aron's uncle and his son and had a pretty good idea about Colin's character. Isla described him as cynical and good for nothing. The memory annoyed her more and she threw Colin a look of disdain.

He flashed a look of triumph and taunted Autumn, "Did you hear what she said? We know each other. I am her brother."

"So what?" Autumn shot back. Still standing in front of Isla, Autumn pointed out, "You are Aron's cousin, and Isla is his girlfriend. So why are you badgering her in public?"

Irritated, Colin retorted, "She is just Aron's girlfriend, not his wife." Smirking, he added, "Even if they were married, there is always divorce. Since she is only Aron's girlfriend at the moment, it is within my rights to woo her."

Aghast, Autumn cried, "Shame on you!"

Hearing the exchange, Isla turned pale but inside, she was raging. It was obvious that Colin was just out to make Aron angry, and this was his real purpose behind his non-stop harassment of her.

Isla often came across Colin and when they met, he would badger her to no end until she was terribly annoyed. But Isla had no idea how to stop him.

Their encounters were becoming more frequent so Isla started wondering if Colin inquired about her whereabouts so they would run into each other over and over again. But she remained clueless why Colin wanted to antagonize Aron.

She was just Aron's girlfriend. 'What does Colin want from me?' Isla wondered.

Colin was unstoppable. "Now, why would you think me shameless?" he jeered. With a malicious smile, he declared, "Isla, I fell in love with you at first sight. I am aware you are Aron's girlfriend, but I can't control my deep affection to you. I want to see you everyday. And if you are willing to be with me, I will take good care of you. I am certain you will be happier with me. Trust me."

More arrogant this time, he added, "Lighten House Company belongs to my grandparents and they will leave it to me in the future. Aron will get nothing. So how can you have a happy life with him?

Why don't you break up with Aron and be with me instead. I can definitely give you a better life." Colin watched for Isla's reaction to his lengthy speech.

But Isla was unimpressed. "Colin, for the last time let me say this." Her eyes hardened, while her cheeks were flushed.

"I love Aron and I don't care if he is rich or poor. He is a man of great integrity. He is also kindhearted and those qualities make him a charming man." She paused a bit, looked Colin in the eye, and then continued, "Aron is the complete opposite of you. You're selfish, a hypocrite and loafer! And I love him very much. As for you…"

Isla pointed at Colin before throwing him a look of contempt, "A person like you would never understand the true meaning of love. And I cannot be bothered to try explaining it to you, because you disgust me! Now, please stay away and stop harassing me!"

Colin refused to be defeated. Sarcastically, he remarked, "Such sweet words from the woman. I am certain my cousin will be moved by what you said."

He now looked grim but forced a smile, "When Aron becomes a poor wretch someday, I am almost sure you will abandon him without hesitation. So my suggestion is for you to think of your future now while my eyes are still set on you. Otherwise, you might regret it once I lose interest in you."

He waited for a beat and then added, "Then you will lose any chance to be with me. "Consider your options," he smirked.
Colin's words only angered Isla more and she showed it. "There is no need to worry about me or my future. And that day you expect will never happen!" she spat at him. Giving Colin one last furious look, she turned to Autumn.

"Let's go!" she snapped. Autumn and Chris looked at Colin with scorn, and then left with Isla.

Isla immediately got in the car and slammed the door shut. She was breathing heavily. Concerned, Autumn said, "I'm sure this isn't the first time Colin has caused you trouble, right?"

Isla nodded sadly. "You're right." But then she assured Autumn, "Don't worry. He won't dare do anything to me now."

Even as she heard the conviction in Isla's tone, Autumn still worried about her. Then she asked, "Does Aron know this? Have you told him?"


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