Cold Heart

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No Other Way

“Mr. Waller as I said before... I would be happy to let go of the 40% share that my father secretly gave to me,”

Claire emphasized in a very sarcastic way but also cute in Hunter’s eyes. He was actually intrigued every time she challenged him.

“I would really appreciate it if you and my father’s attorney could help me through the process,” Claire proceeded.

“Um, that’s, I--” Waller started to stammer as he took a few paper faxes he was looking at before.

“That’s what I’m trying to tell you… Claire, your father’s will is a little bit...complicated…” Waller started to explain more after he wore his glasses.

“It’s written here that your 40% share could only be yours when you are married or, uh, God forbid, when your father pass away… so I guess you both can proceed the process after Claire gets married,”

Waller read the paper in silence for a second while Claire glanced to realize that Hunter was glancing at her too.

Not happy with the fact that a single glance from him continually made her heart pounding, Claire quickly looked away, focusing her eyes back on Waller.

“I, I don’t think that would be a problem, right…? Because I-I’m getting married in a few months…” Claire said in order to share the optimistic idea about the timeline. In case somebody is rushing. She thought.

But then Waller was too quiet and lost in his reading, making Claire and Hunter know there’s something else, something that was not right.

“W-wait, here’s written that the inheritor, which means Claire, can’t sell this share and can only pass down-- and I quote pass down as in to give, not sell-- it’s written in bold letter… --to her husband,--” Waller emphasized.

“—And if she wishes to give her share to her husband she shall do it after one year of the marriage.” Waller continued before putting the letter down. “Uhm, I guess your father knew you don’t have any other family, that’s why he only put your--future husband as another inheritor,”

Claire was shocked as she slowly stepped back and took a seat. Hunter was shocked too inside, but he looked just steady and emotionless on the outside.

“I...I, uh,” Claire was speechless between her empty eyes. She was thinking hard before clearing her throat. “I, uh, I supposed we can arrange something... right? Mr. Waller? I-I mean what if I personally make a legal statement that says I will give my share to Mr. Hunter after the one year deadline? I’m-I’m sure my husband will understand.”

Hunter clenched his jaw as he looked to the floor before pinching his nasal bone. He looked annoyed and upset all of a sudden.

Waller was looking nervous, he felt bad for Claire. “I’m sorry, Claire... I don’t think that is possible here… Your father made it clear that you cannot sell to anyone else but your husband--”

“I won’t wait that long anyway,” Hunter cut in in a cold voice. “The last piece of CGX is barely holding up. I’d be the dumbest businessman in the world if I’m just waiting for another year to see it goes down to a worthless company, --or to trust you to make such promise,”

Claire was looking at Waller just to find that he’s on Hunter's side by slightly nodded, agreeing with Hunter’s point of view about the CGX worth. Everybody in the room was right, the CGX worth kept falling and she couldn’t expect the company would get a higher bid than they have now.

Claire was holding her breath as she was panicking inside, her mind went into chaos at the moment she didn’t even respond to Hunter’s rude words.

Why did her father even write that kind of will? She thought inside.

“I’m afraid there’s nothing we can do except to sell the possible share that’s not mentioned in the will, it’s either that or… maybe,-- if it’s still possible asking your father to change his will…?” Waller slowly said, he sounded unsure.

The room was in intense silence for a while until Waller gave them some time alone again.

Claire took a deep breath before she braced herself to speak with Hunter.

“Mr. Hunter, the way I see this I could only come up with this solution... that...requires your help,” Claire said carefully. “You have my word, and I’m a woman of my word, Mr. Hunter... I will give you my 40% of CGX but I need you to...do whatever it takes to save CGX, I mean since it’s going to be yours anyway—We can make this agreement legal, here and now…”

Claire could see a muscle on Hunter’s jaw as he clenched it.

“My mother trusted a Neverner, once. I’m not that naive to make the same mistake as my mother did.” No matter how innocent you are. “Besides, your solution is flawed.” He coldly replied.

Claire was both speechless and upset inside. This man really makes me crazy!

“Do you have any other ideas then…?! Other than accusing me of something that I even haven’t done? You said it yourself, I’m not my father! And in case you didn’t notice,-- I’m trying to let you get what you want!” Claire was trying to raise her voice but she couldn’t really do it. Maybe it’s her professional habit that kept her firm but never rude.

Hunter heading toward Claire who’s heart was pounding inside in every step that he took.

“Really? You’re saying that you aren’t even tempted to own what your father has prepared for you?” He said coldly, gazing deep into Claire’s eyes which made Claire gulp in reflex.

Claire kept herself steady despite his intense alpha vibes upon her.

“I’m saying that I’m fine…without my father’s share in CGX, because I understand that it was never mine anyway…!” Claire said, holding her chin up since to level her eyes on Hunter’s face she had to look up.

“Well, CGX doesn’t even belong to your father too.” Hunter’s voice was heavy with a bit of a threatening tone. He took another step closer to Claire.

“Do you even know what CGX stands for?” Hunter asked rhetorically. “Colten-GavexX... It was originally named after my family...for decades! And one day your father decided to take advantage of my mother, and deceived her to give all of CGX! So… I don’t care how, I will take CGX back and I won’t be fooled.”

They were standing too close now. There are too many questions going on in Claire’s head but asking questions to Hunter may not be the right thing to do at the moment and it only gonna make him furious, besides, Claire didn’t know anything about her father and his past.

How could she defend her father without knowing who’s right and wrong? Claire thought inside.

“And I’m telling you again. I’m willing to give everything back to you…! I’ve given you the best idea I could come up with…! Why don’t you enlighten me on what you propose?” Claire said in a gentle and firm kind of way which made Hunter feel challenged even more.

Challenged to make her break, to make her lose. And to kiss her. Wait, what the fuck?! Hunter was slightly shocked by his own thoughts for a second. He took a step back away from her.

After he managed to cage his mind, he told her his idea. “Marriage,” Hunter shortly said as he walked away heading toward the table.

Claire was still not aware of what marriage Hunter was referring to. “Um, I did say that I will be married in a--”

“Not a marriage with your fiance.” Hunter cut in coldly. He turned his back facing Claire with his hand on the table before saying, “Ours.”

Did he say, ours? Claire thought she heard wrong or if she didn’t know Hunter better, she would think that he was joking. But he’s not.

But maybe he is. Claire started to have too many chats with herself inside her mind, which was her habit of overthinking when she’s panicking.

“Wait, heh, I thought you were saying ours? O-ours as in me and…” Claire slowly said as her widened eyes turned empty, she did look a little pale.

“You and I, Claire,” Hunter emphasized emotionlessly.

Claire started breathing heavily as she was touching her head which began to numb. She was back in her seat.

“I, heh, that’s--” She stammered. “H-how does our marriage help you get back the CGX?! A-and even if you become my husband, you still have to wait for a year, which is the same thing.”

“That’s true, but at least I know for real that I’ll get back the CGX,” He frigidly said, implying his distrust of Claire. “Or aren’t you clear on your father’s will that you can’t give it to another guy who’s not your husband?”

Claire sadly scoffed, looking down. “I-I, I can’t…” She stammered and slightly shivered. “I can’t…I won’t disappoint the person I love,” Claire said.

Hunter slightly sighed and looked away before tightening his jaw. Was he upset because Claire didn’t want to give him CGX or because Claire choose her fiance? Hunter couldn’t help to filter his thoughts.

“Then I guess we don’t have the agreement about CGX. We both lose.” Hunter said flatly, he was walking toward the door. “I wish you luck on CGX and your father, Claire.”

“Wait!” Claire stood up from her seat. “Please tell me there’s another way...” Claire softly said between her round eyes that’s starting to get glassy.

Claire was hoping Hunter would tell her his other idea than marrying him, or at least soothing her, telling her that they were on this together, they could cooperate to search for a win-win solution. But no, Claire forgot how Hunter hated her father, or the rest of Neverner family for that matter, including her.

Hunter just coldly glanced at her before giving her his name card. “I’ll give you 24 hours to think about it. Don’t bother to call me at all if you still disagree with me,”

The moment Claire was about to take his card, Hunter pulled his hand. “I think it’s best not to tell anyone first about any of this,” He said strongly before giving the card and walked out the door.

***

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