Chapter 1 Give Or Strip (Part One)
In the maternity ward of the hospital.
The strong smell of blood and disinfectant densely filled the air.
Ashley Fang laid on the hospital bed, sweat matting her hair on her forehead.
She was so weak that she could hardly breathe. "Baby, my baby..." She stroked her flat stomach and
whispered, her eyes red and swollen with tears.
The doctor's voice echoed in her thoughts countless times. 'I'm sorry. We did everything we possibly
could...' It had been nearly 24 hours since she was wheeled out of the operating room. And yet, those
words were like a magic spell, constantly ringing in her ears and stabbing her heart over and over
Just then, the door opened.
Ashley Fang turned around and saw a familiar figure.
Sorrow and grievance welled up. "Francis, what took you so long?" she said, voice trembling.
After receiving the phone call from her husband Francis Xue, Ashley Fang went to the supermarket for
shopping as per his request. When she went out, she was knocked down unexpectedly by a man in a
black jacket, and rolled down the steps outside the supermarket.
She phoned Francis Xue, but it just kept ringing until it went to voicemail. She called another four or
five times, but no one answered. With much determination, Ashley Fang endured the pain and took a
taxi to the hospital by herself.
There was a severe pain on her bulging stomach. When she was almost at the hospital, she passed
out from the amount of pain she was feeling. What was waiting for her when she woke up was the
heartbreaking news that her unborn son's life was taken by the fall she had.
"Francis, you have to trust me. I am sure I was hit on purpose by some bastard! We have to find him!"
Much to Ashley Fang's surprise, Francis Xue didn't say a thing. As he walked closer to her with a cold
look on his face, Ashley Fang's eyes were filled with tears again.
Ashley Fang was emotionally broken down. Seeing her pallid face, Francis Xue leaned against the wall
and stared at her apathetically.
He was well dressed in an exquisite suit paired with gleaming leather shoes. As he stood there beside
Ashley Fang, who looked utterly distraught and unkempt, he looked like a person from a completely
His calmness made Ashley Fang feel even worse, and she thoroughly understood that the death of
their baby meant nothing to him. 'Why doesn't he even seem to care!?' Ashley Fang screamed in her
Ashley Fang wiped her tears carelessly on her face. As soon as she came to herself, she grabbed his
clothes and asked in a trembling voice, "Where were you?! Why aren't you doing anything? !"
The past 24 hours had been the most painful and the most miserable time in Ashley Fang's life. As she
laid there in bed, she felt as if her heart was breaking into two. What's worse, it seemed like nobody
Her mother, her husband... No one was there for her.
"The man who pushed you..." Francis Xue said in a soft, and sweet voice, "...was me."
Before Ashley Fang could react, a woman who was just about her age came through the door. As soon
as she saw Francis Xue, she beamed from ear to ear. The woman then walked over and put her arms
around Francis's body.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Ashley Fang asked, completely bewildered.
Sheila Fang smiled and turned around to look at Ashley, her black miniskirt flaunting her slender and
radiant skin. "Isn't it obvious? I'm here to say farewell to your poor son. Look, the clothes I chose to
wear are perfectly matched with today's occasion. Didn't you notice?"
Ashley gritted her teeth as she glowered at Sheila Fang.
"Get out! You are not welcome here!" Ashley thundered. "You are banned from the Fang's house! Don't
even think about coming to my son's funeral!"
"Did you really think that we're going to hold a funeral for your dead fetus? Tell you what, we have
already thrown him in a dustbin. Now he might have been gnawed to unrecognizable bits by wild dogs
and cats," Sheila Fang sneered.
Ashley's eyes widened. It was not until now that she realized something strange.
With a somber face, she turned to look at Francis Xue. "Why does Sheila know that I had a stillbirth?"
she asked, her voice shaking. "And why does she keep saying 'we'? What does she mean by that,
Francis? Tell me, what's your relationship with her?"
Ashley looked intently at Francis, but he said nothing to any of her questions.
There wasn't any sign of love and care to his wife on his face -- only indifference and coldness.
It was at that moment that Ashley felt an unbearable wave of despair.
The answer was obvious.
"That's complete nonsense! Do you think everyone is as malicious as you are?" Sheila retorted with a
hint of sarcasm in her voice. Her face was a look of disgust as she still tightly and provocatively held
onto Francis's arm like a well-tamed snake.
A million different things began to rush into Ashley's thoughts. But, just when she thought she couldn't
feel any more miserable, Francis said something that made Ashley feel even more devastated.
"I want a divorce," Francis announced, his face as blank as a slate. It was like a knife stabbed her in
Ashley blinked and shook her head, thinking that maybe she just misheard. For nine whole months,
she carried his child with great care and effort, only to have it lost to the hands of death. Instead
supporting her like a good husband, he'd been fooling around with the woman she hated most in her
life. Now he even wanted to divorce and desert her altogether!
Ashley's face was twisted with pain as tears steadily rolled down her eyes. "Francis..." she cried, her
voice breaking, "we had just lost our child--"
"Stop lying. The child was not mine," Francis coldly interrupted her. "I've never slept with you. You
make me sick."
On hearing this, Ashley stared at him in bewilderment. Furrowing her brows, she shook her head.
"Francis, what the hell are you talking about?"
However, Francis was getting impatient with Ashley's questions.
He didn't care how clueless Ashley was. He directly took out the prepared divorce agreement and
stuffed a pen into Ashley's right hand, forcing her to write down her name.
At this point, Ashley realized that talk was cheap. "I'll do it myself!" she yelled as she shook off his
Since the marriage was hopeless, then let it go!
Quickly reading over the contents of the agreement, anger surged up from Ashley's heart. How could
Francis ask her to relinquish all the marital property!
How could those years of their love turned out to be nothing! Ashley looked at the man standing beside
her sickbed. The man was the same handsome man she had gotten to know and fallen in love with
But for some reason, it was like he was a different person, a stranger who vaguely induced a vague
sense of nostalgia and nothing more. In fact, Francis had never laid a finger on Ashley ever since their
wedding night. Since that day, this was the first time that Francis was physically close to Ashley. And it
wasn't even for a good cause. He wanted a divorce and Ashley to give up all marital property!
'How... how could have it ended like this?' Ashley thought, her hands trembling. They had known each
other since they were in college. She majored in acting while he studied directing. It seemed like a
match made in heaven. For four years, the two loved each other unconditionally. Francis even
promised to start a family with her after graduation so that she would no longer have to endure her
stepmother's cruelty. Why did it end up like this?