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Season 8

Episode 59

(An eye for an eye (3)

"Now that I have nothing to do with this, why did Dad ask?" Alice snapped sharply as she stole a glance at her father. She then started eating her breakfast.

"You must know something about the news. Otherwise, you wouldn't have gotten up early this morning. Tell me, who is behind this?" Derek urged. He had been observing his daughter. 'Alice acts weird today. She never got up early before. She must be in the loop on who published the news, ' he assumed.

"You'll know it soon, Dad," Alice answered, not intending to reveal too much at once. After a pause, she continued,"Violet is a kind girl and she has many friends. Perhaps one of them did this to bail her out."

"But this is pretty damning expose. Why would Violet's friend do this?" Derek asked, fixing his eyes on Alice.

Much as Jackson loved and doted on his daughter- Violet, Derek thought this for revenge was a little on the extreme. In fact, Jackson would object to such retaliation, if he got wind of it before it hit the press, ' Derek thought.

"I don't know. You need to ask that guy," Alice replied. Afraid that she might spill the beans, she had no intention of continuing on the topic with her shrewd father.

Amy speculated,"Wilson and Mond wouldn't do this. And although Selina is really upset, she is not capable of digging so deep into all the dirty private details that are now emerging about Cassie. Especially, Selina couldn't pull that kind of a surprise in such a short time. Who would do this?"

Amy's speculation helped Derek narrow down the targets. With a look at Alice, he asked,"Did Lawrence do this?"

Seeing how close her father was sniffing, Alice choked on her milk as a knot of apprehension shook her up. She coughed and wiped her mouth with tissue hurriedly.

"Do you think Lawrence would do that, Dad?" Alice countered, keeping her parents guessing.

Amy cut in,"It looks like no one would do this except Lawrence."

Noting his daughter remained silent, Derek made his own conclusion. He didn't blame Lawrence for acting in a rush. But it did shock him to find Lawrence behind all these. 'Even though he's out of the country, he still keeps tabs on the goings-on in the city. Perhaps he has been watching Violet in private. A sense of guilt still eats at his heart for his sister's hand in Violet's accident.

Although he has never come back since he left here, his love and concern for Violet still run deep, ' Derek appraised.

After Alice finished her breakfast, she quickly rose from her seat intending not to stay near her father's sharp cross-examination. She walked out of the dining room, excusing herself to be full.

"I have to go out. Goodbye, Dad, Mom," she said sweetly, touching the palm of her hand slightly to her lips, and blowing across for kiss.

"Come home early, sweetheart," Amy urged.

"I will. Remember to make me some of your delicacies for dinner, Mom," Alice returned.

Driving to Greg's house, Alice kept her hands steadily on the steering wheel, her joy often breaking into blissful humming. 'I'm going to visit Violet, ' she thought happily.

After some time, a thought crossed her mind to dial Tim's number.

"Hello, Miss Alice, have you read today's papers? Or seen the news?" Tim asked the minute he answered the phone.

"Yes, I have," Alice replied flatly. "I heard you have many girlfriends. Do they make that face that Cassie's wearing on the newspaper? Is that how they look when they've been pushed up to the climax? Who looks more attractive, your little lovers or Cassie?"

"Are you not in your senses?" Tim asked, his hand involuntarily sliding the phone from ear jaw in surprise at Alice's grungy jokes. "Are you trying to pull my leg, Alice? It's insane. How could anyone splash such raunchy headlines, complete with nude photos on the front-page?

When did such cheesy reporting become acceptable in China?" Tim replied, flitting between curious and worried. 'Alice seems to be in a good mood. What happened to her?' he wondered.

"China is becoming more and more open, and the media houses are beginning to experiment. They're testing how far they can stretch that freedom. It's not a big deal," Alice replied, laughing. Alice finally knew the way Lawrence treated his enemies. 'He leaked that nude picture of Cassie, accompanied by all the juicy details of her escapades abroad. Now, Lawrence has thrown Cassie to the dogs, handing her notoriety that most folk in the city will sneer at for years to come, ' Alice giggled inside.

"Where are you, Alice? I need to talk to you," Tim requested.

"I'm on my way to Greg's house. Perhaps you can join us. We four will probably throw a party and have a good time together," Alice replied merrily.

"Okay, I'll meet you there," Tim said as he ended the call.

In his office on the top floor of the building, Francis sat staring at the pictures and the increasing comments below. Those reports almost drove Francis mad. 'What the hell is going on?

Why would Cassie's scandals abroad appear in the newspapers of this city? Her private life abroad has been exposed to the public, ' he wondered, clenching his fists.

Francis's assistant stood before his desk, not knowing what to say to his boss.

"Have you found out any information?" Francis asked.

"Nothing," the assistant replied as he shook his head. "The scandals were published by all the media houses at the same time, including their online editions. I can't find out who was the first."

"If my assumption is right, yesterday's headlines must have been be Cassie's doing. Today, someone published these news to take revenge on her," Francis inferred. As a shrewd businessman, he was not new to such dirty tactics and mudslinging.

"Mr. Francis, you have a point. Someone must have done this to get even with Miss Cassie. So what should we do?" the assistant asked, waiting for Francis' instruction.

"Don't do anything now," Francis commanded,"I have a feeling that this is a very powerful rival. Now that he could publish such a sensational content in this conservative city, he must have influential connections high up. Besides, he must have thought of a backup plan. It would be best for us to wait and see."

"Okay," the assistant nodded. "But Miss Cassie perhaps has some problems recently. Together with this explosive dossier, she could be in a very difficult place," he added, looking worried.

He speculated that Cassie might fear going out after the news came out.

"Is Cassie in the hotel now?" Francis asked with a frown.

"No, she isn't. I called up the hotel and they told me that Miss Cassie went to work half an hour ago," the assistant replied.

"She is an idiot. Why did she go to work today? The hospital probably has been surrounded by reporters," Francis said apprehensively. He got up, grabbed his coat and rushed out of the office.

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