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Isla put her arm around Autumn and assured her friend. "I will be right outside. If he dares to hurt you, just shout and I'll come in," she said before stepping out.

Autumn watched as her friend left, grateful for the support.

She then turned to Roger and said, "Have a seat."

Taken aback by her calmness, Roger sat opposite Autumn and thought to himself, 'This is weird. Why isn't she driving me away?'

Eyebrows raised, Autumn started, "So what brings you here? Have you come to apologize again?"

Roger tried not to squirm in his seat as the woman stared at him.

She already caught him off-guard with her calm exterior.

"Yes… yes," he stammered.

Roger was surprised that Autumn got straight to the point, not even expecting her to ask about his reason for coming.

Composing himself, he continued, "I am truly sorry for what happened between us before. Miss Ye, I really wish you would accept my deepest apology."

Eyes flat, Autumn remarked, "I remember you attended my birthday party. So that means you're aware I am no longer Miss Ye. Please address me as Miss Zhao."

She paused, making Roger even more uncomfortable. "I already told you the last time we met that I've already put all of that behind me. Yet you're still here, persistent on following me to apologize for that, twice or thrice already? It's totally unnecessary," she said, indifferent.

Leaning forward a little, she then added, "I'm beginning to think you're just looking for excuses to get close to me. But let me tell you now, I know exactly what you're up to, Roger. And I hate your scheme." The truth was he was harassing Autumn on orders of Rachel.

Since she was close to a few directors, Roger thought doing her bidding would increase his chances of getting more movie roles.

With Rachel repeatedly telling him to seduce Autumn, he had no choice but to create opportunities for them to meet in order for him to carry out his plan. He had already told Rachel that Autumn had romantic feelings for him. But today's confrontation with her was likely going to spoil his plan.

Roger needed to think fast. In his rush to see Autumn, he hadn't carefully thought of what to say to her. Apologizing several times wasn't going to work.

"Well?" Autumn prompted. "You've run out of excuses?" she asked him while he said nothing in return.

Heaving a deep sigh, she told Roger, "If you have nothing to say, please leave.

There's a lot of work to do with the New Year coming and I just don't have the time to listen to such nonsense."

Her words spurred Roger to action. "No! I have something to say."

He kept thinking about Rachel's promise to introduce him to her director friends so he had to do something before Autumn drove him away. Besides, he knew Rachel was watching from across the street. If Roger ended the meeting quickly, it meant he did not accomplish his mission.

"Okay, let's hear it," Autumn said as she leaned back on her seat. She tapped her fingers on the table, showing her impatience.

Uncertain whether Autumn truly knew what he was planning, he decided to throw her off with his statement.

With perfect composure, he declared, "Miss Zhao… I'm in love with you."

Roger realized apologizing would get him nowhere with Autumn. So he changed his tactics and pretended to be obsessed with her. Roger knew it sounded silly, but he had already run out of ideas. Autumn, however, did not even blink at the declaration. Her face remained impassive. And she did not utter a word.

Roger scrambled for something to say. "You probably don't believe in what I'm going to say. But I really mean it. I fell in love with you at first sight. Remember I asked for your phone number, the first time we met? And it really was a shock for me to learn that you were married. I was humiliated and that was why I behaved badly. Forgive me, please?" he pleaded. Mustering all he could to convince her of his sincerity, he drew on his acting skills to appear earnest and apologetic while explaining himself to Autumn. Roger would do everything to win her trust.

"I had no plans to ruin your marriage. So I repeatedly told myself to stop pursuing you. And believe me, I've been trying my best to stay away from you. But I just couldn't get you out of my mind! So I thought seeing you on the pretext of apologizing would be a good idea," he told Autumn.

"It was the only excuse I could think of to meet you," Roger confessed.

He held her gaze, hoping to convince Autumn of his sincerity.

Finally, Autumn lifted her left hand and showed him the ring on her fourth finger. Then she said, "I am married so you know what you're saying is totally inappropriate."

Roger paused, thinking of a response. "I know you're married," he said. "But I still can't get you out of my mind. I don't know how!"

Roger tried to hold Autumn's hand but was brushed off impatiently. Still leaning comfortably in her chair, Autumn continued to watch Roger's acting.

"Really?" Autumn laughed with undisguised contempt.

"And what do you want me to do?" she challenged. "Divorce my husband, then marry you?"

Roger froze at Autumn's words, sweat beading in his forehead.

He would never dare to instigate a divorce between Autumn and her husband. After all, Charles had already taught him a hard lesson. That's why he planned on meeting her while Charles wasn't around. Roger was certain that once Charles learned of him being entangled with his wife again, he could kiss his acting career goodbye.

Roger thought, 'I have to be discreet so he never finds out about us.' He admitted though that Autumn's proposition came as a complete surprise, and was at a loss for words. Autumn's voice broke into his thoughts. "Perhaps you don't want me to get divorced, but rather to keep seeing you while I'm still married. Let me see... we can go out to eat or have tea when we're free. Or if there's an opportunity to travel together, that would be great! Is that your plan?" Autumn jeered.

Roger ran everything she said in his mind, then asked, "Isn't that a good plan?"

Actually thinking that the plan was brilliant, he continued. "That way, your marriage won't be compromised. And our relationship wouldn't be embarrassing. That should solve the problem, and there isn't a better way, right?"

"There isn't a better way?" Autumn said incredulously.

"You were actually thinking that everything I said was going to work out?" She wanted to laugh at the absurdity of the conversation.

But Roger kept at it. "I think it's a perfect idea. Why don't you think so?"

"Your husband Charles is a rich and handsome man that every woman in the Y City dreams of marrying. And you're already married to the man, so giving him up is definitely out of the question," he pointed out eagerly.

Autumn couldn't believe what she was hearing as Roger tried to convince her further. "If you divorce him, I am the only person he will blame. And his outrage will certainly destroy both your company and my acting career. Is that what you want to happen?"

She retorted, "Of course not!"

Autumn was enraged that some part of Roger's argument, however silly, did make sense.

"So, why not go ahead with the plan?" he said.

Grinning, Roger remarked, "So you see, we save both of our careers by maintaining a friendship without getting into a serious relationship. Wouldn't it be great to go out on dates occasionally?"

Fed up, Autumn blurted out, "I cannot believe you! What kind of a person are you to think of such things!"

Roger's ideas were so absurd that she looked him in the eye to make sure he would listen carefully to what she was going to say.

"Hear this… a woman usually cheats on her husband for three reasons. First, because the man treats her badly. Second, because the husband has a mistress. And the third?" she paused, looking him straight in the eye.

"Because her husband cannot satisfy her sexual needs. Other than these, she will never commit infidelity!" Hoping to get a rise out of Roger, Autumn mocked, "And just suppose I am stupid enough to choose you as my lover, which reason do you think applies to me?"

Roger's face finally turned dark with embarrassment. He didn't know what to say. The man had gloated when Autumn outlined the idea. He was so confident she would be impressed if he agreed with everything she said.

Then it dawned on him that Autumn would never choose him as a lover, even if she entertained such thoughts. Compared to Charles, there was nothing he could brag about.

Yet defeat was not in Roger's vocabulary. It suddenly hit him what his edge was over Charles. "At least I'm younger than your husband, right? And because I am, I bet my sexual prowess will surely give you more satisfaction," Roger said smugly.



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