Rotting disgust and indifference filled in Charlotte’s eyes. Seeing this, Finnick uttered without a trace of emotion, “You’re not worthy of being compared with Vivian. You’ll never match up to her. Not a single part of you stands a chance of beating her.”
Then Finnick picked up his bucket. He returned to the well and fetched another bucket of water before heading back. He did all of this without sparing a single glance at Charlotte.
Seeing Finnick leave without any concern for her, Charlotte’s knees gave in. She fell into a squat and bawled. Her shoulders trembled rapidly as angry tears slashed down her face.
Her appalled thoughts questioned Finnick’s audacity. How can he say that I’m not good enough? I won’t accept this defeat. It’s not fair! Plus, do I really have to leave Sunshine City once we get back?
A shudder rattled in her chest as she thought back to when Finnick threatened, “Don’t force me to take extreme measures”. There was no doubt that Finnick’s intervention could easily remove Charlotte from Sunshine City. Plus, he could get the entire media industry to boycott her.
At the thought of this, Charlotte sobbed harder. She was only trying to secure her ideal husband; how did it lead to such a pitiful ending?
Finnick returned to the campsite with a hardened expression. He ignored her cries that howled from behind him.
From afar, the others caught sight of his return and sighed in relief. They rushed towards him and asked, “Mr. Norton. Why did you take so long to fetch the water? And where’s Charlotte?”
“Yeah, Mr. Norton. You’ve been gone for a long time and everyone was starting to wonder if something happened to you guys. We even went out in groups of search parties but couldn’t find you guys at all. It was driving everyone crazy.”
Finnick felt a pang of guilt after being surrounded by everyone’s worried faces. “The water spilled on our way back, so it took longer than planned. I apologize for the delay and for making everyone worry.’
“The important thing is that you’re alright.” Comforting smiles bloomed on everyone’s faces as they frantically waved at him. They felt flattered after seeing their boss explain so apologetically. “Speaking of which, where’s Charlotte? Didn’t she accompany you earlier? Why didn’t she return with you?”
Finnick’s features darkened at the mention of Charlotte. He responded coldly, “She’s on her way. She’ll be here soon.”
Noticing this stark change in Finnick’s expression, everyone pondered quizzically. Did they get into an argument? But why would there be conflict between them? That’s just not possible.
Although they thought so in unison, no one dared to ask Finnick what happened. After all, he was their superior.
“Where’s Ms. Morrison?” Finnick asked. He had glanced around but couldn’t find Vivian in the crowd.
“After you guys left, Sarah went by herself to collect firewood and hasn’t returned till now. We also tried searching for her earlier but failed. Then Vivian got worried for Sarah’s safety since there’s no telling what dangers could happen to an unattended girl. So she and Shannon set off to find her again.”
“Just the two of them?” Finnick’s face was anxiety-ridden.
“Yeah,” Caroline nodded. “Vivian was afraid that we’d encounter more danger if we all went, so she told us to stay here. Then she left with Shannon.”
Hearing this, annoyance blew up in Finnick. Always so concerned for others being in danger… why can’t she look out for herself! Must she worry me all the time?
Finnick grew more anxious as he waited for almost ten minutes. Seeing that Vivian still hadn’t returned, he couldn’t wait any longer. Before he could gather everyone to form search parties, he saw Caroline emotionally racing off somewhere.
“Sarah, where have you been? Why did you take so long to get back?” Caroline asked. She sprinted over to Sarah’s side with a face full of concern and self-blame. Sarah’s disappearance must have really worried her.
“I thought I’d pick up some firewood nearby, but I accidentally got lost. I just couldn’t find my way back. I took a couple of wrong turns, then started wandering further away. Took me a lot of effort but I made it back eventually,” Sarah explained as she lugged some firewood in her arms.
Earlier, Shannon had mentioned hearing Sarah’s cries for help. This made Caroline worry. She checked Sarah from top to bottom for injuries. “Did you get into any trouble? Did you get hurt?”