Chapter 20

Inside Arielle’s room.

Arielle felt neither unhappy nor unsettled in any way as she surveyed the modestly decorated interior of the hotel room.

Never mind that she had temporarily fallen out of favor with Henrick, her very presence had already thrown this family into disarray, and amidst the ensuing chaos, she reckoned that she would surely find the truth which she sought!

The ceremony would begin in half-an-hour.

Before leaving the room behind, Arielle went before the mirror to straighten out her disheveled hair.

The girl staring back at her in the reflection looked unbelievably fetching, coltish and acquiescent, but only she herself knew this to be a mere facade.

A wolf masquerading in sheep skin bit faster, more incisively and viciously, and left no chances for its enemies.

The venue for the ceremony was extravagantly luxurious, with the aroma of coffee from the sampling stations of the various sponsoring roasters saturating the air inside.

Shandie picked up a cuppa the moment she entered and took a whiff from it before tilting her head toward Henrick. “This is pretty good, smells full-bodied. And judging from its form, I reckon that it should be from… Corleon.”

The sponsor at the side approached appreciatively when he incidentally overheard her. “You’ve a good eye, Miss. Our beans are indeed sourced from Corleon.”

The man’s effusive praise for Shandie made Henrick’s heart swell with joy as he looked proudly at her.

While Shandie was basking in her moment of glory, she lifted her head to see that sponsor looking absolutely mesmerized by Arielle.

Shandie had no doubt that the man would start drooling were he to carry on ogling, and that irked her to no end.


Although Shandie was a little over twenty just as Arielle was, the former still came across as a young lass who had yet to shake off her own girlishness.

In a few more years, there would be no telling whether Shandie herself would even be fit enough to be a complementary leaf to the ravishing rose that Arielle could become.

The very thought of that had Shandie gnashing her teeth and wishing for Arielle to disappear.

She thought that a country girl like Arielle should not show up and mess up her life like this!

Shandie took two steps to her left to block off the man’s line of sight, and harbored deviousness in her eyes when she picked up a cup of coffee in the same motion.

She shoved the beverage into Arielle’s hands and said, “Have a taste of their coffee too, Arielle. I thought it’s rather decent.”

Before Arielle could respond, Shandie pressed a hand to her own mouth as if she had hit upon a realization. “I forgot that you’ve always stayed in the countryside… so you must not have taken coffee before, haven’t you?”

her. He was looking for an ambassador for his company and

to him that she was from

or even undesirable, as a brand ambassador since such

and only wished to taste


smelled, it was too acrid to the taste buds and apart from the bitterness, there was little complexity to the aftertaste


it out

cup back from Arielle, adamant in the view that it was Arielle who did

bumpkin like

Shandie anticipated, and that greatly pleased her. The latter then turned to the sponsor apologetically. “I’m sorry, mister. It’s not that your coffee isn’t good, but my sister here doesn’t know how to appreciate

did not understand his product at all,

okay, since not everyone is a coffee

nodded at Shandie before

man depart, believing his

you have to let your

quite indignant. “It just slipped my

“The girl had always been forgetful, but Arielle, how could you tell the sponsor in his

her head bowed, Arielle lowered her gaze apologetically. “I’m sorry, Dad. Don’t

regarded Shandie. “It’s almost time, so you should go prepare yourself backstage. Dad and Mom would be waiting out there

waved to Cindy before she took her pass backstage, while Arielle followed


who looked like he was trying to keep his distance from something repugnant, acting

that was her dad. A good father who would happily toss her aside once she no longer

she kept her own emotions

shortly after

primarily because of the presence of Vinson

tooth and nail to secure a slot at the event just

Crown Coffee Academy; followed by a renowned barista in the industry; and then

host welcomed in the final guest. “Please put your hands together

to illustrate that more than half of the crowd were

video cameras were promptly directed toward the door leading backstage. At the end of the ceremony, the technicians would edit the footage and post it onto Crown

documentation of the ceremony each year would receive extra attention largely because of

stage to greet

Is that… Arielle?

awhile before


the people gathered in the seats. “Hello everyone, I’m

applause from the audience grew ever

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