Rumors spread about the city’s wealthiest man, Alexander Stone, abandoning his wife after three years of a secret marriage to marry the daughter of a state senator for personal gain.
However, his wife surprised everyone by calmly modifying their divorce agreement to demand compensation for her husband’s failure to fulfill his duties as a husband. She is entitled to half of his company. And when the man offers a reward for her whereabouts, he puts himself in the hands of his top lawyer advisor, unknowingly she is the abandoned ex-wife who is set to take half of his company.
Chapter 1 “It Would Be On My Terms, Not Yours.”
“This is Mr. Stone’s divorce agreement, Mrs. Stone,” Alexander Stone’s butler, Charles said as he handed a large manila envelope to Sophia.
“Mrs. Stone, you have a three-day window to sign the agreement and vacate the premises.” Charles watched Sophia with indifference, his demeanor calm as he spoke.
Although Sophia had been anticipating this moment, her heart sank upon the mention of the divorce agreement. She glanced at Charles, accepted the envelope, and extracted the divorce agreement from within.
“Ten million dollars of alimony as long as he never lays eyes on me again?” she scoffed, looking straight at Charles, whose expression remained inscrutable. “How can he possibly believe he can get away with such an absurd demand?”
She continued reading, “In accordance with the terms of the divorce agreement, it is acknowledged that Sophia Stone has failed to fulfill her marital obligations for a period of three years. As a result, Alexander Stone reserves the right to initiate divorce proceedings.”
“This is ridiculous. How could I fulfill my duties when I couldn’t even see my so-called husband? He’s never been under the same roof with me in three years.” Sophia tossed the papers aside.
What a mockery this made of her marriage. She felt like Alexander was shrugging her off. Like she was the water on a dog’s back that he simply got rid of by shaking vigorously. She felt insulted.
Three years ago, Sophia reluctantly entered a marriage arranged by her grandfather, who had laid out three tasks to her during this marriage: stay out of the public eye, assist Alexander in taking over Stone Enterprise, and be his unwavering support.
Though the contractual stipulation that she remain invisible to the public eye always puzzled her, she had promised her grandfather to not disappoint him. She resigned from her powerful position at her own law firm, and tried to embrace her role as the low-profile wife of a CEO who never appeared in public.
Alexander took over Stone Enterprise soon after they united, and then, he became the world champion in hide-and-seek.
In the beginning, she tried to maintain a connection with her husband by preparing lunches and visiting his workplace. Yet, she soon realized that Alexander was either never at the office or too preoccupied to meet her.
After six months of futile attempts, she accepted the bitter truth that fulfilling her grandfather’s directives was impossible. She channeled her energy into developing her hobbies, all in her pursuit of self-improvement, persuading herself to see this period of respite as a relief from her life as a renowned lawyer and founder of the world-famous law firm.
Yet, she refused to touch a single cent of the money he sent her. She had her own income, enough to lead a comfortable life until the end of her days
She was certain that her marriage would eventually come to an end, but she was appalled by the way Alexander Stone twisted the narrative to paint her as the one who had failed in her marital duties.
Sophia took a deep breath, resisting the urge to express her anger, and instead, she said sarcastically, “Well, where might my charming husband be today? As far as I can remember, a divorce agreement takes place between a husband and a wife, not a husband’s butler and a wife. Not to mention the fact that it’s an agreement and is thus supposed to include my terms as well, not just his.”
Charles stiffened his posture and replied, “Mr. Stone is in town, most likely at his office.”
“Oh? Is he alone, or was he accompanied by someone?” Sophia didn’t say it directly, but her message was clear.
“I cannot say for certain. All I can tell you is that he wishes for you to sign these papers, and he emphasized that he does not need to be present while you do so. That is precisely the way he prefers it.”
“As always, it’s what Mr. Stone prefers. He didn’t want to see me even at the end of our marriage, did he?” accused Sophia.
Charles didn’t answer her retort, he simply bowed to her, then turned on his heels and began walking away.
After the sound of his receding footsteps had vanished, Sophia picked up her phone and called Alexander’s office number—the only contact information she had for him which she had never even used in their three years of marriage. She was determined to know what was going on with this agreement that treated her as if she were a doll to be manipulated.
The phone kept ringing, but nobody picked up. She dialed again. Her patience and virtue had limits, and he was dancing dangerously close to those limits. On her third try, the call was finally answered. It was a young woman’s voice. “CEO’s office.”
“Hello, I’d like to speak to Alexander.”
“Who’s speaking?” the woman asked abruptly.
Sophia frowned when she heard the rude reply, but she kept her tone calm. “I’m his wife. You’re not his secretary, are you?”
The woman scoffed and didn’t even bother to answer her question. “Oh, I see. It’s his ex-wife to be precise. What do you want with Alexander?”
Sophia resisted the urge to get angry and said, “I have questions about the divorce terms he gave me.”
The dismissive voice on the other end of the line replied, “He won’t answer you. His attitude is already clear in the divorce agreement. As a useless wife, he feels that he has already given you enough. What more do you want?”
Sophia was especially caught by a couple of very specific words. “Useless wife? Is that what he said?”
The woman continued to play on her nerves. “You shouldn’t expect any more than what you’ve got. Just leave him. You didn’t deserve him anyway.”
As Sophia’s frustration threatened to boil over, she suddenly heard the approach of a man’s voice from the other end of the phone. Her heart raced in anticipation. “Emily, why are you answering my phone without permission? Stop being ridiculous!”
The voice identified as Emily responded with an unsettlingly playful giggle. “Alex, your wife is calling you. She has some questions about the divorce agreement,” she said, her tone dripping with sarcasm.
Sophia couldn’t help but let out a bitter laugh. So, this was the sordid truth behind the disintegration of their marriage – all for his mistress.
Alexander hesitated, the silence stretching out agonizingly before he finally picked up the phone. His voice oozed with disdain and indifference as he coldly declared, “I no longer have the need to sustain this marriage. I have given you enough money, and there’s no need for further discussion.”
Then, without a second thought, he hung up the phone.
Sophia stayed with her phone attached to her ear for a few seconds after they had finished the conversation.
Restless and agitated, Sophia paced around her living room, her frustration bubbling over. “Useless wife?” she muttered angrily. “What right does he have to call me that? He was never around as a husband, so what does he know about marriage?”
The feeling of disgust and humiliation consumed her. “Is this really how he sees me? Tossed aside like an old, worn-out rag once I no longer serve his purpose?”
Sophia had clung to hope in the early days of their marriage, telling herself that arranged marriages succeeded all the time.
“If I shower him with love, patience, and unwavering support, hoping like an idiot he’ll eventually see the powerful, intelligent, and remarkable woman I am,” she murmured to herself the entire time.
“And now this divorce papers,” she grumbled, “With which he mocks me by throwing the blame on me, when he and only he is to blame.”
But she refused to be silenced, dismissed, or swayed by the lure of mere money. “If this is the callous attitude he wants to take,” she vowed, “then he has another thing coming. I won’t let him escape the consequences of this ill-fated marriage without a battle.”
After a few moments, she picked up the papers strewn across the floor. She read through them once again, her eyes narrowing with determination.
“Dear, dear ex-husband,” she muttered, a triumphant smile playing on her lips, “it’s truly a shame you never bothered to get to know the real me. That’s going to be the biggest mistake of your life.”
With a flourish, she tore the divorce agreement in half and tossed it into the trash can. “Ten million dollars?” she scoffed, addressing herself. “It’s peanuts compared to the three years’ worth of sacrifices I’ve put into this relationship.”
“Ten million dollars as a tuition fee for the lesson I’m about to teach Alexander? Laughably inadequate,” she proclaimed. “I can get this kind of money just from one case of my law firm.”
If we’re going to get a divorce, it’ll be on MY terms, not his.