🌼ALL THE WRONG REASONS🌼
🌻EPISODE TWENTY ONE🌻
Julianne stood at the footsteps of the ballroom of Mayfair
Court. At the last minute, Justin asked her to step in for him
and Adrienne to represent Adams Industries in the
prestigious Round Ten event. This was a yearly event
organized by the top ten hotel groups around the world. It
was as exclusive as the companies organizing it.
Julianne didn’t want to go. She had been dreading this
since yesterday when Justin begged her to step in for them.
But Jeffrey broke his arm in his martial arts class. He had to
stay in the hospital to determine whether he needed
surgery, and both Justin and Adrienne wanted to stay with
him. Julianne pretty much didn’t have a choice.
She had better things to do. She was getting ready to
move out of the Adams Mansion. And tomorrow, she would
spend the weekend at her new apartment. She planned to
paint and do whatever repairs and decorations needed to be
done in the house. She wanted it to be perfect when Jared
finally came home. She wanted her son to love it as much
as she did.
Since this event was organized by the top ten hotel
companies in the globe, she had a hundred percent chance
of running into the person she was avoiding the most… the
person who had been occupying her every waking thought
in the last week.
Jin Starck had asked her to wait for him. She didn’t
know for what, and why. But even against her will and better
judgement, she knew that’s what she was doing. She was
waiting for him.
The decision for her to attend the party was so
rushed, she hadn’t even had enough time to buy her own
dress. Adrienne had to lend her another of her gowns again.
The one she was wearing tonight was a black ball
gown with strapless top and shimmery crystals all over the
bodice and the waists. When the lights shine on her, the
bodice would sparkle.
Before she left, Jared told her she looked like a
princess. She wasn’t sure that was a good thing because
now, heads started turning towards her as soon as she
entered the ballroom.
She wondered why she thought she could do this alone.
She was greeted by an usherette at the entrance of
“Can I take your name and your company name?”
“Julianne Sanders,” she replied. “For Adams
The lady was kind enough to escort her to her table.
She was seated with two older couple who came from
chatty. She was happily dominating the conversation in the
table and all Julianne had to do was nod and concur. She
was also quite a gossip, and though Julianne wasn’t
interested in other people’s business, she was glad to be
knowing people’s names through Missis Chapman.
“You know Rafael McKenzie broke up with Alexandra
Bocelli?” Missis Chapman asked the group.
Julianne scanned her brain for the name. The only
McKenzie she knew about were the ones who owned
McKenzie Hotel Group.
“Yes. It’s all over the news,” Missis Barton, the other
older lady replied. “That was a very high profile romance.
Missis Chapman gave them a knowing smile. “It
turned out he’s got somebody else on the side. Alexandra
“Who was the girl?”
“They’re trying to keep this hush-hush for now. But my
sources say her name was something-something Wright.”
Julianne fought the urge to laugh.
“Oh no!” Missis Barton’s eyes widened. “I hope she’s
not connected to Winston Wright.”
“Wasn’t he jailed for ten counts of fraud?”
“Yes. And he’s a hopeless womanizer. Rumor has it, he
has a love child with actress Anabelle Smyth.”
The two women looked at each other with wide,
bewildered eyes. “Oh. My source said that Rafael’s other
woman was enchantingly beautiful. She could be Winston
Wright’s love child.”
Julianne listened to their conversation and felt sorry
for the people they were gossiping about. She wondered if
people like Missis Chapman and Missis Barton talked about
her like this when news of her pregnancy and broken
engagement with Patrick McAllister erupted on the social
Just then, the two ladies stopped talking. They were
staring past her. Julianne slowly turned around and found a
tall, handsome man standing behind her.
“It’s okay ladies,” River Jefferson said to the two
women. “There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a
love child. The parents’ sin need not be the children’s. And
I’ve had the honor of meeting Jasmine Wright. She is
Rafael’s childhood friend, not his other woman. But I would
definitely not blame him if he becomes smitten with her.
She’s an exquisite woman.”
Julianne had to bite her lower lip to keep from
laughing. She slowly stood up from her seat to face River.
“Miss Sanders,” he said, finally looking at her. “We
“Mister Jefferson, the pleasure is all mine,” she said.
“Yes, you may,” she said.
“Julianne Sanders?” Missis Chapman echoed. “Weren’t
you once engaged to Patrick McAllister?”
“I’m sure that was in a different lifetime,” she said,
putting a fake smile on her face. “Please excuse us.”
Once they were on the dance floor, they both couldn’t help laughing.
“Now, she’s off talking about me. Well, it’s only fair
her attention is shifted to give poor Miss Wright a break,
whoever she is.”
“These people judge others as if their own lives were
perfect,” River hissed. “I know Rafael. I’m sure Miss Wright’s
family history does not even matter to him.”
“Oh, so you know them?”
River shrugged. “I need to know these people. They
are good for business.”
“Did the McKenzies invite you here?”
River nodded. “Yes. And you’re representing Adams
“Yeah. Justin and Adrienne couldn’t make it. Jeffrey
had an injury in his martial arts class.”
“I’m sure he’s gonna be fine. I lost count of how many
bones I broke just learning how to fight.”
“I know. I took some lessons as a kid too. And soon, I
need to enroll Jared. I’m worried, but it’s necessary.”
Just then, her attention was caught by a couple
walking towards the dancefloor.
She recognized Vanessa Bernard in a red backless
gown. She was wearing a diamond necklace that looked
very heavy, and matching diamond earrings that looked like
they were pulling her earlobes down. Like her, she was
shimmering too. But not because of the crystals on her
gown, but because of the expensive jewelry she was
She was pulling Jin Starck towards the dancefloor. He
was looking dashing in a black suit and a black tie. He
looked dark and devilish, but ever so handsome.
Julianne felt a twist in the pit of her stomach.
Wait for me your ass, Jin Starck!
She was reeling with anger and she struggled to
control it in front of River.
How dare him!?
He asked her to wait for him and now she sees him
here? With his supposed fiancée? Does he really take her for
“I think she couldn’t wear enough diamonds, huh,”
River said, following her gaze.
Julianne shifted her focus back to River and tried to
put her emotions under control.
“I would feel [email protected] standing next to her,” she joked.
“You’re not wearing any jewelry at all, but you know
that you look a hundred times more dazzling than her,”
River said. “Nice gown. You look even more enthralling on
“You flatter me, Mister Jefferson,” she managed to
smile. “But thank you.”
“I guess she’s trying to upstage herself,” River said.
“And the word ‘overkill’ is obviously foreign to her.”
Julianne laughed. “River Jefferson, I cannot believe
you are turning out as judgmental as the old hags over
“You wear too much bling, you open yourself up to
other people’s opinions. And besides, I’m not saying it’s
bad. I’m just saying that it’s…”
River smiled. “Yes. Okay, so everybody in the room
now knows she’s rich.”
“She is an heiress.”
“So are you,” River reminded her.
Julianne shook her head. “Not anymore. Remember,
my father revoked my birthright? The reason why I’m
wearing any fancy jewelry tonight is because I lost all mine
when he kicked me out of his house. And you know what,
there are more important things in life than jewelry. Like my
“Well said.” River smiled. “Your son is very lucky to
have you. And I know he loves you very much. Jared and I
are not really different. When I was growing up, my mother
was all I had too. And that was more than enough.”
What River said touched Julianne in a way she wasn’t
expecting. Tears loomed in her eyes and she fanned her
hand in front of her face to keep them from rolling down her
“I’m sorry, did I say something wrong?”
Julianne shook her head. “No, I’m fine. I just hope
you’re right. Someday, I hope Jared understands the
decisions I’ve made for him.”
“He will,” River assured her.
After the song, River told her that he had to meet
briefly with some business associates.
“I’ll find you later. You might need another rescuing
from those rumor mongrels you had been unfortunately
Julianne laughed. “That’s why I’m gonna get some air
in the balcony first. I would rather be alone than sit and
listen to them murder another poor soul’s reputation.”
The balcony overlooking the hotel garden was dimly
lit, particularly on that cloudy night. There were only a few
stars in the sky and the moon had been covered by clouds.
The sky reflected much of what Julianne was feeling—dark
Away from the noise and the party, Julianne was able
to compose her thoughts. Her chest felt heavy. When she
saw Vanessa Bernard with Jin Starck, she realized that she
had kept her promise to him. She had been waiting.
Damn, you are a fool!
A tear rolled down her cheek and she couldn’t believe
that she was crying over him once again. Maybe he didn’t
want to be with Vanessa, but he was bound to her. He made
it his business to marry her to take his company to the top.
How could she possibly compete with that?
Suddenly, she felt a presence behind her. Her heart
pounded in her ribcage as she smelled the familiar scent of
his aftershave. Then she felt his arm snake around her waist
and his nose breathing in at the base of her neck.
“Arabella,” he whispered against her skin.
She felt her knees start to buckle as electricity started
shooting up to her veins. She bit her lip as she struggled for
I cannot fall for this anymore!
“Jin… stop,” she whispered as she pulled away from him.
She turned around to look up at him, trying her best to
appear stoic, or cold at best.
“I wasn’t here with Vanessa,” he started to explain.
“It doesn’t look like that to me.”
“She asked me to dance in front of her father and
some of our colleagues. I couldn’t say no,” he said.
“It’s okay. You don’t have to explain,” she said, turning
away from him and glancing at the garden in front of them.
“Do I look like I care?” she lied.
He fell silent for a second. Then he said, “Okay,
maybe you don’t care. But I still want you to know that I
didn’t come here with her. And I’m most certainly not going
to leave with her. That dance would be the closest she
would get to me, and I wouldn’t have even allowed that if
she hadn’t asked me to dance so publicly, in front of the
members of Round Ten.”
She raised a brow at him. “Why are you telling me all
“Because I asked you to wait for me, remember? I
want you to know that I was holding you to that promise. I
was going to come for you after the party.”
“What do you want, Jin?”
“You know what I want, Arabella,” he replied. He took
a step towards her. Then he pulled her to him and leaned
forward to kiss the base of her neck. “You. I want you.”
He took her lips in his and gave her a hot, searing
kiss. He wound his arms around her waist as he invaded her
soul with his tongue. She stopped fighting for a moment and
kissed him back. When it was over, he leaned his forehead
against hers and whispered, “You’re mine, Arabella.”
She shook her head, taking in a deep breath. “Only for
“Your body responds to me like a moth to a flame, my
love. Why do you keep fighting this?”
“Because this isn’t right. This is so complicated.”
He gave her a gentle smile and said, “I know it is. But
I need you to have faith in me.”
“Why should I trust you? You have a reputation of a
heartless monster… you have no regard for other people’s
feelings. All that mattered to you was getting to the top of
“Enough, Arabella!” he said in a cold, stern voice. “You
do not know what I’ve been through. You cannot judge me
based on what you hear others say about me. It’s not fair.”
“Why? Didn’t you make your own assumptions about
me when you found me again? You assumed I was a
cheater, a narcissist. That I get high on men’s attention.”
Jin shook his head. “I was mad at you! I was distraught
when you left me.”
“And you aren’t mad at me now? For leaving you? For
lying to you?”
He shook his head. “It doesn’t matter anymore. I want
you. You want me. That’s all I care about now.”
He tried to pull her towards him again but she gave
him a slight push.
“It matters to me, Jin,” she murmured. “You’re
committed to another woman. And you do not know me. You
want my body. But in your mind, you’ve already judged me.
What we had… wasn’t meant to last. We have no future
He sighed and she sensed his frustration. She could
tell that he wanted to say something but chose not to. And
when he looked at her again, his voice was more controlled.
“Adrienne told me you were moving out,” he said,
changing the subject.
“Yes,” she replied.
“I need to.”
“Well, excuse me. But this isn’t just about you, is it?”
Jin asked, slightly raising his voice.
“I know. And nothing will change. I’m still going to give
Jared the best life possible.”
“He’s comfortable where he is now,” Jin argued. “And
you’re safest with Justin and Adrienne.”
“But that’s not the life I want for my son. I cannot be
forever in the charity of other people. I want to teach my
son to stand up on his own two feet.”
“Then why don’t you go back to your parents’
mansion?” Jin asked. “Work for your father and Gian. You
deserve to be part of your family’s company as much as
Julianne shook her head. How could she tell him the
truth about her relationship with her father, and how her
father loathed the sight and thought of her and Jared?
“I’m happy with my job at Adams Industries,” she
replied coolly. “Working for my father was out of the
“You’re happy with your job but not with the house?
Did you fight with anybody in the Adams Mansion?”
“Then why did you have to move out and drag Jared
away from the life that he loved?”
She sighed. “It’s the best for everyone.”
“And you decided that… how?”
She stared up at him sternly. “Look, Jin. I don’t need
you to argue with me about this. I’m exhausted just
discussing this with Justin, Adrienne and Gian! Everybody I
know thought I couldn’t make it on my own! They believed I
wasn’t strong enough, or good enough to be raising a kid on
“I mean… was it too much to ask for my own kitchen?
Where I can cook, because damn! I love cooking and
baking! Can I not have my own garden where I can grow
flowers myself, and not have somebody else growing it for
“Is it too much to raise my kid to be independent?”
She took an exasperated breath. “I’m tired of people
thinking I won’t pull this off. That I always needed to have
Justin or Gian taking care of me and Jared. I can do it
myself! I’m exhausted just trying to prove this to the people
“It’s not about your capability to take care of yourself
or Jared. That’s not what this is about,” Jin muttered. “This is
about your safety. This is about Jared’s safety.”
“The neighborhood I chose is safe. Police station is
just a block away. It’s family friendly.”
“But you’re still safest in the Adams Mansion. Or your
parents’ house! Where there are guards and CCTVs.”
“Which is too much some times. I want my kid to
experience a normal life.”
“Jared is far from being normal, you know that. And
it’s best for him to stay where he could have the best
Julianne drew her brows together. “Excuse me, Jin
Starck! I decide what’s best for my son! Not you! And while we are on this subject, may I ask why you gave Jared a
Jin paused for a moment. Then in a calmer voice he
replied, “Because I want him to be able to call me anytime
he needed to.”
“Why would he need to call you?”
Jin shrugged. “Jared is very smart. You’re busy most of
the time. I wanted him to feel that he could count on a lot of
people in his life. Including me.”
“He knows a lot of people around him loved him. He
doesn’t need a new cellphone for that. I’m going to return
that to you,” she said firmly.
“Don’t!” Jin’s voice was sober and the expression on
his face was cold and serious. “Jared should be able to call
me anytime he wanted,” he said. “Don’t take that away
She was about to say something when they were
interrupted by someone behind them. It was one of the
“Mister Starck,” she said. “It’s time for the ceremonial
toast. Your presence is requested inside.”
Jin took a deep breath. She could tell that he was
annoyed with her decision to move out of Justin’s house, as
well as her demand to return the cellphone he gave to Jared.
She raised a challenging brow at him.
He had no say in her life. They were in love once,
when they were younger. After that, they shared moments
of passion and a few kisses. But he was still promised to
another woman and she had made it clear that they had no
future together. They may have a son, but he had no idea
nor interest in that. He never asked about Jared’s father. He
didn’t even know he was the first man she shared herself
No. Jin Starck cannot tell her what to do with her life
and how she would raise her son.
“I need to go inside,” he said. “Wait for me. I’ll drive
“No,” she said firmly. “I’m leaving now. I have a very
early start tomorrow. Justin arranged a car to wait for me.”
“We’ll talk tomorrow then,” he said.
She bit her lip. Tomorrow she’d be in her new house
for the entire weekend. There was no way Jin would see her
Jin walked back into the ballroom. She turned around
to face the garden again.
Things were getting more and more complicated for
both of them. He wanted her. He had been very vocal about
that. She wanted him too. There was no point denying that
But he was committed to marry somebody else, who
the whole world, including his family, approved of. She, on
the other hand, was disinherited by her own family. He
needed an heiress who could give him a business
advantage. She had nothing to offer him. Just herself… and
the son he had no idea was his.
She had a plan. Get a job. Get a new house. Save up
for Jared’s future. It was as simple as that.
Why did Jin Starck have to make it so complicated?