This Time, I Will Get My Divorce, Mr Chapter 249
It was at that precise moment that Toby became sure of the truth: Tina was not Maple.
After all, if she indeed was Maple, then why would she burn the letters which had brought them together instead of keeping them and reminiscing over them? Because she was afraid that keeping those letters would one day bring her lies crumbling down.
Jean saw that Toby was trembling slightly, like he was suppressing insurmountable rage. A chill ran down her spine as she swallowed and asked hesitantly, “T-Toby, what’s the matter with you?”
Toby ignored her and took out his phone to make a call.
Before long, Tom’s groggy voice sounded from the other line as he yawned and asked, “President Fuller, is there something wrong?”
“Come by the Fuller Residence now. I need to ask you something.” Having said that brusquely, Toby hung up the call without another word.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the phone, Tom sat up in bed with a spaced-out look on his face. Did he just ask me to drop by the Fuller Residence?
As his mind cleared up, he detached the phone from his ear and stared at the screen. When he saw that it was close to midnight, he let out a frustrated groan. For heaven’s sake, it’s late at night, and it’s nearly midnight! He must be insane to have asked me to go by the Fullers’ Residence! Whatever this is about, why couldn’t he have told me over the phone and insisted that I go over to his place?
Despite Tom’s resentment, he got out of bed anyway and begrudgingly began to get ready, then headed over to the Fuller Residence as ordered.
At around 1.00AM, he found himself standing in Toby’s study. “What is it that you needed to ask me, President Fuller?” he asked with a polite smile, though he was cursing Toby over and over in his heart.
As though sensing the man’s annoyance, Toby shot him a pointed look and tapped his fingers against his ice-cold desk. “Do you think Tina is Maple?”
“Huh?” Tom was taken aback by this, but he quickly regained his composure. “President Fuller, are you suspecting that Miss Gray is not your pen pal from all those years ago?”
Toby nodded in affirmation.
Tom stared at him intently for a while, and after making sure that the man was not joking, he said after a long pause, “To tell you the truth, President Fuller, I don’t think Tina and Maple are the same person at all. I’ve been by your side for all these years, and I’ve seen you exchange letters with Maple. From what I’ve gathered about her, she’s warm and kind, not to mention outgoing and witty, but Miss Gray boasts none of these qualities.”
When he was done speaking, he peered up at Toby apprehensively, worried that he might have angered the latter.
Much to his surprise, Toby did not appear furious at all but looked as if he was immersed in thought.
Tom let out a quiet breath of relief. Thank goodness President Fuller isn’t mad at me for making those disparaging comments about Miss Gray, but I wonder why he doubts her identity as Maple. He scratched his head, unable to figure out what Toby was thinking.
Minutes ticked by, and Toby finally said in a cold voice, “You’re right. She has none of these qualities, and she has no right to assume Maple’s identity.”
Upon hearing this, Tom felt something click in his mind. He pushed his glasses up his nose bridge and asked, “Have you discovered something that made you doubt Miss Gray’s identity as Maple, President Fuller?”
It’s no wonder then that President Fuller’s been cold and distant to Miss Gray for the past two days. That makes sense, seeing how he was only kind and loving to her because he believed she was Maple. If the opposite were true, then he would naturally grow indifferent toward her. After all, Miss Reed is the one he’s truly in love with.
Toby narrowed his eyes pensively without answering Tom’s question and asked instead, “You were the one who collected Maple’s letters on my behalf when I was too tied up with work before, so you would know her postal address, right?”
Tom nodded hastily. “I remember her address. Do you want me to drop by the place and find out if Maple truly isn’t Miss Gray?”
“Yes,” Toby replied.
“I’ll get right on it, sir,” Tom said dutifully. “I’ll head over to Marina City right away and—wait!”
He broke off, and his eyes widened as the sudden realization that something was off dawned upon him.
Toby frowned at this. “What is it?”
“There’s something odd going on here. President Fuller, Maple lives all the way in Marina City, but the Gray Residence is in Eastbourne. Both these cities are practically sixty kilometers away, and the Gray Family has been in Eastbourne for the last twenty years; they never once moved. It’s as clear as day now that Tina really isn’t Maple!”
Toby stiffened when he heard Tom’s deduction, and his eyes widened by a fraction as he pondered on this new revelation. That’s right. If Tina really was Maple, then the postal address would have been Eastbourne and not Marina City.
While Toby was deep in thought, Tom spoke up again from across the desk, “I remember you mentioned that Maple used to have a pet dog, President Fuller.”
Toby’s chin jerked slightly. “Bucky.”
“That’s the one. However, the Gray Family has never had any pet dogs. You also mentioned that Maple has a stepmother and a sister, but Mrs. Gray has always been the first wife. All these aside, I caught a glimpse of Tina’s handwriting last month when she got bored in your office and scribbled a couple of things. While she didn’t often write after she was discharged from the hospital, I noticed that her penmanship is completely different to Maple’s,” Tom informed solemnly.
Tom had never read any of the letters Maple wrote to Toby, but she did pen the address on the envelopes, which was enough to make him come to the conclusion that she had understated and refined handwriting. It was distinct and easy on the eyes, unlike Tina’s, which was as plain as it was common.
Granted, a person who had been comatose for six years would not necessarily have the best handwriting, having not touched pen and paper for so long. However, muscle memory would kick in as the body recovered, and the person’s handwriting would eventually start to look the way it had before. As such, it made no sense that Tina’s handwriting could have changed so drastically even after she had been hospitalized for six years.
Tom felt goosebumps raised along his skin at the thought of this. “It gets stranger and stranger the more I think about it, President Fuller. How could we not have realized that there was something off when these doubts have been present all along? Besides, there were cracks in Tina’s behavior and stories that should have made us suspicious, so why did it take us this long to look back and discover this despicable charade?”
Toby lowered his gaze and fell silent. When Tom was speaking earlier, it was as though a veil that had been obscuring Toby’s sight was finally lifted. It was like the lights had shifted at that moment, and he could finally see the world with sharp clarity.
Indeed, how could I have missed all the cracks and inconsistencies in Tina’s stories and behavior? More to the point, how did Tom manage to overlook all these, too? All these questions flooded Toby’s mind, and he grew unsettled at how wrong everything was.
Even as he thought this, he knew well the reason why he never saw through Tina’s pretenses—it was all because of that strange and mysterious force. That being said, he didn’t think Tom would be influenced by it as well.
“Why are you looking at me like that, President Fuller?” Tom asked uneasily.
Toby pursed his lips and said hoarsely, “No reason. Anyway, drop by Marina City tomorrow and find the real Maple.” She’s the person I’m truly in love with!
“Yes, sir!” Tom nodded. Then, seemingly remembering something, he paused and added, “So, about Tina…”
A dangerous gleam flashed in Toby’s eyes as he replied ominously, “I’ll take care of it. I’ll let her know that Maple isn’t just some mask she can put on at her own whim and fancy!”
There was an insidious undertone to his voice that made Tom shudder. He knew at that moment that Tina was done for.
But she’s definitely getting what’s coming for her. She should have thought better than to pretend to be Maple and deceive President Fuller for the past six years.
Dark glee rose within Tom as he adjusted his glasses and turned to leave the study.
When the door closed, Toby rose from his seat and crossed over to where the French windows to the side of the room, whereupon he stared out at the night scene with his brows drawn together as all the doubts plagued him. What is that mysterious force? How did it manipulate me into loving Tina? And what other secrets is Tina hiding?
All these questions seemed to crack the strange rose-colored glass that had shielded Toby from reality. He had believed that he was fine, but what he had not expected was that he would be unknowingly pulled into the drowsy depths of the mysterious force.
As soon as he thought of this, a sharp headache attacked him. For a moment, he thought he might have seen the light at the end of the tunnel, but that was before the dizzying halos came into his vision. Submitting to the inexplicable pain that overcame him, he couldn’t help but lower his head in hopes of finding quick relief.