This Time, I Will Get My Divorce, Mr Chapter 253
Suddenly, the door to the office flew open, and Tom came barging in without even knocking. “President Fuller!”
Toby frowned and demanded irritably, “What is it?”
Tom did not answer him immediately but looked around the office like he was searching for something. At the sight of this, Toby pursed his lips into a grim line and asked coldly, “Just what are you looking at?”
“President Fuller, where is Miss Reed?” Tom asked hastily.
Toby recalled what he had done earlier with Sonia’s cup of leftover tea and subconsciously grazed his thumb over his lips, then said plainly, “She left.”
Taken aback by this, Tom raised his voice by an octave as he repeated, “Left?”
Massaging his temples tiredly, Toby sauntered over to his desk. “Why are you looking for her?”
“Have you forgotten, President Fuller? I just got back from Marina City,” Tom replied urgently as he followed the other man from behind.
Upon hearing this, Toby stopped in his tracks and turned to shoot his assistant a dark look. “What are you implying? Are you trying to say that whatever you found out about Maple has something to do with Sonia?”
He felt his heartbeat speed up at the possibility of this.
Tom nodded solemnly. “That’s right. I went to Marina City and tracked down Maple’s old postal address, and it turned out to be the Reeds’ residence! That means—”
“Sonia and Maple are the same person!” Toby finished Tom’s sentence. His eyes widened at the revelation, and he quivered slightly as his fists clenched at his sides.
Tom continued quickly, “Yes. Miss Reed is definitely Maple; there’s no doubt about it. Maple said that she had a stepmother and a sister, not to mention a pet dog named Bucky. Now that her address has turned out to be the Reeds’ residence, Miss Reed is the only one who could possibly be Maple.”
The words came rushing out in a flurry, and at the end of his elaboration, Tom found himself slightly out of breath. He inhaled deeply and calmed himself, then went on to say, “More importantly, Maple and Miss Reed have similar handwriting. While the former’s lacks the refinement of the latter’s, one could still tell that the penmanship is the same. And yet, neither of us have ever recognized this, even when Miss Reed shares the same backstory as Maple. A single thought is all it would have taken for us to connect the dots, but we never did! How could we not have figured out that Miss Reed is Maple all along?”
He paused and lowered his head in shame. “I’m starting to wonder if I’m an idiot.”
Toby slammed his fist against the desk, and the veins on the back of his hand were throbbing as he seethed, “No, you aren’t an idiot. Someone’s been playing dirty tricks to stop us from ever connecting the dots.”
Along with Tom, the rest of the Fuller Family knew about Toby’s history with Maple, so it was strange that no one had ever noticed how similar Sonia was to Maple.
This could only mean that everyone had been under the influence of that strange mysterious force as well.
Clueless as to what Toby was thinking, Tom widened his eyes in shock as he asked hesitantly, “President Fuller, are you saying that somebody doesn’t want us to know about Miss Reed’s identity as Maple? Could it be Tina? But that doesn’t make any sense…”
He trailed off pensively, then shook his head as he reconsidered. “It’s only natural for Tina to keep that a secret from us, but there’s no way she could stop us from putting the pieces together. So how could we have overlooked all the clues that pointed to the fact that Miss Reed and Maple are the same person? It’s all so confusing, isn’t it?”
Just then, Toby looked at Tom intently and asked, “Do you believe that there might be some mysterious force in this world that could control one’s thoughts and emotions?”
Tom froze at first, but he chuckled dismissively as he quipped, “Well, of course, though I’m quite sure the force is called hypnotism.”
As soon as he was done speaking, a sudden realization dawned upon him, and he slightly opened his mouth as he pressed, “Is this the reason why you asked to see a therapist the last time, President Fuller? I thought you were trying to find an emotional outlet or something but were you suspecting that you have been hypnotized?”
And from what President Fuller said earlier, he was implying that I have been hypnotized as well!
Toby’s eyes were dark with thought, and when he remained silent, Tom took it as a confirmation.
While Dr. Anderson had reassured Toby that he was not hypnotized, he was still certain that the opposite was true, only that the doctor had not been able to diagnose him as such. Perhaps the person who had carried out the hypnotism was far more skilled at it than Dr. Anderson and the other therapists.
Dazed, Tom patted his cheek and muttered, “How did this even happen?”
Toby looked down, the wheels in his mind turning. “From now onward, go and contact the world’s most renowned hypnotists—the more, the better!”
“Yes, sir!” Tom promised immediately, his expression stiffening.
It was only sensible that only the most renowned hypnotists could break them out of this state of mind-control that they were in. Just as Tom was about to leave to carry out his new orders, he thought of something and asked, “By the way, President Fuller, would you like to reconcile with Miss Reed?”
Reconcile… Toby made no reply as he dipped his head and pondered on the idea of it.
He had always wanted to meet up with Maple before he found out that she was Sonia.
But now that he knew the person behind Maple’s pen name, the idea of reconciling with Sonia terrified him, for there was far too much that had happened between them.
As though sensing how conflicted Toby was, Tom sighed and pointed out bluntly, “Look, President Fuller, I know you said you loved Tina, but that was because you thought she was Maple. However, all this while, everyone can tell that you never loved her at all.”
When Toby heard this, his lips twitched. “When did you realize I was never in love with Tina?”
“From the very beginning,” Tom answered easily. “I believe it was six years ago when you first met Tina. You might have said you loved her, but I could tell from your eyes that you did not. You were only kind to her because you thought she was Maple, and it was only when Maple was brought up that love would gleam in your eyes. In other words, you have always treated Tina and Maple as two separate entities.”
Toby fell silent at this.
Having heard what Tom said, he concluded that he indeed had never loved Tina. Tom had gathered as much six years ago, while he only became aware of this after the car accident.
Could all this really have happened because of that mysterious force?
“There’s something else I’d like to tell you, President Fuller—the person you love is actually Miss Reed,” Tom added as a matter-of-fact while adjusting his glasses.
A look of surprise flashed in Toby’s eyes. “I’m sorry. Did you just say that I’m in love with Sonia?”
“Yes, and you’ve been in love with her for quite some time now, though you never realized it. I—along with Old Mrs. Fuller, Mr. Coleman—could tell all along, but we didn’t tell you. I wanted you to realize it on your own because there’s a chance that you might not believe me if I were to tell you outright.” Tom lifted his hands with the palm facing upward, sounding as if he didn’t have much of a choice in the matter.
Meanwhile, Toby’s throat felt dry, and he could not utter a single sound, but at the same time, he felt as though there was a tempest within him.
How could I possibly be in love with Sonia?
And yet, try as he might rebuke such a notion, he ultimately could not.
Toby loved Maple, and now that she turned out to be Sonia, it would naturally mean he was in love with the latter. The equation was logical, but that was clearly not what Tom had meant; he was trying to tell Toby that at some point, he had begun to fall for Sonia, even before the whole truth was revealed.
“So why are you telling me this now?” Toby demanded hoarsely.
Tom rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly. “Well, it’s only because we’re sure Miss Reed is Maple now, but from the moment I realized you were in love with Miss Reed, I knew you no longer had any affection for Maple.” He paused in thought. “You were only attached to the idea of her, and that made you think you were in love with her, but now that both these women are one and the same, I figured I’d have nothing to hide anymore.”
There was a steely glint in Toby’s eyes, and he grew reticent as Tom’s words sunk in.
I get it now. I thought I was in love with Maple all this time, but that hasn’t been true for a while now, and I’m actually in love with Sonia instead!
Even if Maple was Sonia, the love he had for the latter was entirely different, because it was one that happened before he even knew the truth.
Perhaps that was the reason why he felt he had lost something precious when he first divorced Sonia. In fact, this explained why he was always so jealous and angry whenever he saw her getting close to other men.
At that moment, everything fell into place. He could finally understand why he was always so affected by Sonia and why he had sipped her leftover tea and became lost in thought at the sight of her lipstick stain. It was because he loved her, and there was no mysterious force at play; he was truly in love with her.
Tom saw the expression on Toby’s face and knew instantly that the man was processing all this. He beamed and prompted encouragingly, “Go and reconcile with Miss Reed, President Fuller. I’m sure she would forgive you once you tell her that the both of you were pen pals.”
Would she honestly forgive me? Toby’s lips pressed into a thin line.
He wasn’t sure if Sonia would forgive him, but he really did want to know why Tina had turned up in her place after they had agreed to meet up all those years ago.
More importantly, he wanted to find out how Tina even knew they were pen pals in the first place!