Sonia froze when she first heard what he said. It took her a while to process it, then felt the urge to laugh right after that. He didn’t do it willingly, huh? Was someone controlling his actions? She didn’t take his words seriously, and she simply assumed that he was trying to claim innocence. She pointed at her watch as she changed the topic. “It’s about time to start the meeting, President Fuller.”
Once Toby heard what she said, he knew that she didn’t believe him. “Let’s go,” he uttered with a sigh. Both of them walked toward the meeting room without speaking to each other anymore. Tom tagged along behind them and shook his head as he glanced at their backs. Tina’s the real reason the two of them are in this state right now!
The meeting officially began as Toby took the floor and explained the use and abuse of the alternative energy technology. He fully captured everyone’s attention. All along, Sonia had been proactive in learning about energy technology—she even sneaked into university classes every now and then. Because of her efforts, she no longer found herself lost and confused as she had been during the first meeting.
Two hours later, the meeting came to an end. Toby got to his feet. “I need Sonia to stay for a while. The rest of you can leave.” Sonia had been packing her stuff when she heard his words, and her actions came to a halt as she looked up at Toby. She didn’t understand why he wanted her to stay back. Everyone was just as curious, but no one had the guts to question him. They merely gazed at the duo thoughtfully before they walked out of the meeting room.
The corner of Sonia’s lips twitched a little. Adultery? These guys must have holes in their brains. I can’t believe they can come up with such ideas! She massaged her temples as she watched Toby walking toward her. “Why did you get me to stay back, President Fuller?”
“It’s nothing much.” Toby stopped in front of her before he glanced down at her notebook on the table. “Did you understand everything I said?”
Sonia followed his gaze and quickly understood what he meant. She pulled her hand away from her notebook. “I understood some parts of it, I guess. I still need to do my research on the other parts.” Otherwise, I wouldn’t even be able to understand the operations of the alternative energy technology when we have actual field trips to the factories! All the other presidents would laugh at me then.
“Which parts did you not understand? I’ll explain it to you now,” Toby offered.
“What?” Sonia blinked puzzledly.
A hint of amusement surfaced in Toby’s gaze. “What? Take a seat.”
Sonia finally understood the reason Toby got her to stay behind. He wants to teach me the parts that I didn’t understand. She bit her lip. “You don’t have to do that. I can go home and—”
“The field trip to the factory is tomorrow. Do you think you’ll have enough time if you go home to do your research today? Furthermore, a lot of the data that you have isn’t updated, and it wouldn’t match with the research done in my lab. There’s no point for you to read those reports!” Toby uttered as he looked at her.
Sonia parted her lips to say something, but no words came out of her mouth. He’s right. The field of alternative energy technology is still in its infancy stage, and new information appears every day. The past data can’t keep up with the development of this field, so I’m sure the data I have is different from the recent advancements. I don’t think it’d work if I went home to do research on my own. I guess I’ll have to ask him for a favor.
“I understand now. Thank you so much, President Fuller!” Sonia bowed. Toby was about to get her to stand up when he saw her bosom under her low-cut collar. His gaze darkened as he gulped and shifted his focus away. “It’s fine. It’s for the sake of our partnership, so you don’t have to thank me. Also, you shouldn’t bow when you’re dressed in this type of shirt—men, especially. You shouldn’t bow to men,” he uttered in a hoarse voice.
“What?” Sonia straightened herself puzzledly before she lowered her head to look at her own shirt. She understood what Toby meant immediately.
She had worn a rather loose-fitting, V-necked knitted sweater to match her trench coat. The knitted sweater was pretty, but its collar would hang loosely whenever she leaned forward. Furthermore, anyone who was taller than her would be able to see the view under her shirt if they lowered their heads. Sonia hastily pressed her hand against her neckline when she realized that Toby had seen what was under it. Her face turned so red—even the tips of her ears were the color of tomatoes. She felt rather angry at that moment, but she knew that she was in no position to criticize Toby for anything.
She was the one who had chosen to wear this sweater, and she was the one who had decided to bow. He hadn’t meant to peep on her. Furthermore, he had reminded her not to bow to others if she wore this sweater in the future, which was kind of him. Her body might have been exposed to other, more perverted people otherwise.
The air around them turned cold and awkward as the both of them were silent for a while. Eventually, Toby cleared his throat and began to speak. “Let’s start now so that we can get this done. You need to go to court, don’t you?”
He was clearly trying to ease the tense atmosphere, and Sonia naturally played along with him. “Yes, of course,” she uttered with a nod. She buttoned the top of her trench coat as she sat down and opened her notebook once more. Toby pulled a chair over and rested an arm on the back of her chair. They were seated close to each other, and it looked almost as if Toby had his arm around her shoulder.
Sonia didn’t have the time or the mental capacity to realize the man’s subtle intentions—she was too focused on the contents of her notebook. Toby was glad that she hadn’t noticed anything. Otherwise, I might never get the chance to be so close to her. He lowered his gaze to conceal the faint sadness that had formed in his eyes upon that thought.
All of a sudden, Sonia’s phone began to ring, interrupting Toby’s explanation. He frowned as he was a little displeased. Who’s the idiot that chose to call at such a time? He looked toward Sonia’s phone to see the word ‘Charles’ on her screen.
She swiped the green button across the screen to pick the call up. “Hi, Charles.”
“Are you going to Norfolk this weekend, baby?” Charles asked once she picked the call up.
“Yeah,” Sonia uttered with a nod. Toby, who was sitting right beside her, naturally heard the contents of her phone call. He knitted his brows. Why is she going to Norfolk? Right then, Charles asked the same question.
Sonia didn’t bother to hide anything. “It’s for Carl’s fashion show. He invited me to watch it. But how did you know that I’m going to Norfolk? I’m sure I haven’t told you anything about it.”
“Daphne was the one who told me. I went to Paradigm Co. to collect some documents, and I bumped into Daphne while she was making reservations for your hotel in Norfolk,” Charles explained.
Sonia raised her chin a little as she gained clarity over the situation. “I see.”
“When will you be heading over, baby?” Charles asked again.
“This Friday,” she replied.
Friday… Toby’s gaze flickered as he seemed to recall something. On the other end of the line, Charles narrowed his eyes for a moment. “Okay, I’ll free up some time to go there with you, then! I need to keep an eye on Carl. What if he secretly kidnaps you?!” He wasn’t kidding when he said those words. In fact, he was certain that Carl was capable of doing such a thing.
Sonia shook her head and chuckled as she had no idea what was going on in Charles’s mind. “What are you talking about? I’m not a kid. How could he kidnap me? Alright, I’ll talk to you later. I’m in a meeting now. Bye.”
“Wait!” Charles called anxiously.
Sonia put the phone against her ear once more. “What is it?”
“Let’s have dinner tonight. Tina’s going to court today, and I think this is worth celebrating!” Charles uttered in a cheerful tone. Sonia nodded in agreement. “Okay. You can decide where to eat. We can ask Carl to come along.”
“It’s a plan!” Charles cheered.
After her call ended, Sonia lowered her phone and turned to the man beside her before giving him a bashful smile. “I’m sorry for wasting your time.”