#1 “It Would Be On My Terms, Not Yours.”
“This is the divorce agreement that Mr. Stone gives you, Mrs. Stone,” Charles, Alexander Stone’s butler said while handing a large manila envelope to Sophia.
Even though Sophia had been anticipating it, the last thing she expected on this dreary Sunday morning was Charles’s visit. She lift her eyes to meet Charles, who seemed to emit the same irritation as Sophia’s.
“Mr. Stone requests your immediate attention to these documents,” Charles uttered.
Sophia extracted the divorce papers from the envelope. “Ten million dollars as long as he never lays eyes on me again?”
“How can he possibly believe he can get away with such a ludicrous demand?” Sophia scoffed, her eyes rising to meet Charles, whose expression remained inscrutable.
“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.” She continued reading.
“This is preposterous. How could I fulfill my duties without seeing my so-called husband?”
Sophia tossed the papers aside, what a mockery of their marriage this was. She felt like Alexander was shrugging her off, like she is the water on a dog’s head. She felt insulted.
Three years ago, Sophia had reluctantly agreed to marry Alexander at the command of their families. Her grandfather had orchestrated the arrangement, and she had felt bound to fulfill his wishes.
Resigning from her powerful position at her law firm, Sophia had tried to embrace her role as a low-profile CEO wife, never appearing in public. Though the stipulation of her invisibility in the contract had always puzzled her, she had made a promise to her grandfather and would never dare to disappoint him.
Charles watched Sophia with indifference, his demeanor calm as he responded.
“Ms. Stone, you have a three-day window to sign the agreement and vacate the premises.”
Sophia took a deep breath. Her anger did not cause her to complain aloud, instead, she sneered.
“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 to mention, it is an agreement. It is 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, but her message was clear.
“Although I cannot say for certain. I can tell you that he wishes for you to sign these papers, emphasizing that he does not need to be present during the signing. 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?” Sophia mused.
Charles did not answer her retort. He bowed to her, then turned on his heels right there and began to walk away.
After the sound of his receding footsteps vanished, Sophia picked up her phone and called Alexander’s office number-the only contact information she had for Alexander, which she had never called in her three-year marriage.
She just wanted to know what was going on with these documents 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 picked up. It was a young woman’s voice, “CEO’s office. “
“Hello, I’d like to speak to Alexander. “
“Who are you?” the other side of the call asked abruptly.
Sophia frowned when she heard the rude reply, but her tone stayed calm. “I’m his wife. You’re not his secretary, are you? “
The woman scoffed. She did not 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 said, “He won’t answer you, his attitude is already in the divorce agreement. For being a useless ex-wife, he has given you enough. What more do you want? “
“Useless ex-wife? Is that what he said? ” Sophia was caught by a few specific words.
The woman continued to tease on her nerves, “You shouldn’t want more, just leave him. You didn’t deserve him.” With that, she hung up the phone.
Sophia held her phone for a few seconds after they finished the conversation. Her mind was buzzing. For a while, she paced around the living room to calm her nerves.
“Useless wife? What right did he have in calling me that? He was never around as a husband, so what did he know about marriage?” Sophia felt suffocated.
The entries in the contract rubbed against her self-esteem. In the three years she had been married to Alexander, it was as if she had suffered all the indignities that could befall her, being ignored like a transparent person, and thrown away like a spent piece of trash. The servants of the villa looked at her with contempt and sympathy, and though they did not say it, secretly they mocked her because her husband had not once visited the house.
Sophia knew she would not be silenced, dismissed, or bought off with a mere sum of money.
After she has calmed down a bit, she picked up the papers lying on the floor. She read through it once again. A glimmer of inspiration danced in her eyes as an idea sprouted in her mind. She smiled.
“Dear, Dear ex-husband, it’s really a shame that you never bothered to get to know the real me. That is going to be the biggest mistake of your life!” She tore the divorce agreement in half and shoved it in the trash can.
In the early days of their marriage, Sophia had clung to the hope that everything would somehow work out. Arranged marriages succeeded all the time, didn’t they?
She had convinced herself that if she showered Alexander with love, patience, and unwavering support, he would eventually see the powerful, intelligent, and remarkable woman she was.
She had hoped their relationship held the potential for something extraordinary. But she never saw him. In fact, after the first month, she rarely even spoke to him on the phone or via text messages.
“If we are going to get a divorce, then it would be on my terms, not yours.” She picked up her laptop from the side table and began to draft a new agreement.
She swiftly composed her version of the divorce decree, skillfully incorporating her modifications within minutes. With a sense of satisfaction, Sophia printed the revised document, securing it from the printer’s tray.
Rereading her carefully crafted words, the smile on her face expanded as she reached for her cherished Montblanc fountain pen. She signed her name with resolute strokes in one graceful, fluid motion: Sophia Stone.
“That is the last time I will ever sign as Sophia Stone,” she declared.
Sophia immediately made her way to Alexander’s study. She knew there would be a Stone Enterprise seal. She put the mark at the bottom of the document and put it back in the original envelope.
After finishing all of these, she rang the bell from her room. The servant came strutting in after a few moments.
“Ma’am, you called?”
“Yes, Peter. I need you to mail this document to Stone Enterprise and start packing my belongings. We are leaving.”
At that very moment, Sophia knew she was free. She had put her life on hold for three long years, but no more. Finally, she could reclaim her autonomy and embrace the future she had initially planned for herself on her terms.
“It’s been three years. I don’t know if anyone remembers me. “ She muttered. She felt empty after she had ended a marriage farce.
Sophia reached for her phone with renewed purpose, dialing a familiar number. It rang just once before a voice answered on the other end.
“I’m divorced,” she declared.
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