"Why do I have to marry that hideous loser from the Walsh family? Just look at how ugly he is with all those burns, like some kind of leper! Go marry him yourself if you want to!"
Zoey Boyer roared angrily. She looked like she was going to punch someone in the face at any moment.
Layla Boyer, who was cooking in the kitchen, glanced towards the living room.
Was her sister getting married?
Her father, Dylan Boyer, stamped his cane heavily on the floor before replying sarcastically, "I would if I could. Sadly, the Walsh family is very particular when it comes to outsiders. Do you have any idea how many women are willing to spend their blood, sweat, and tears just to marry into the Walsh's noble line? You wouldn't have had this chance in the first place if it wasn't for Camron Walsh."
"Noble line? Bah!" Quinn Frye, matriarch of the Boyer family, held her daughter in her arms. She spoke to her husband through gritted teeth, "Camron Walsh is nothing but a failure! With his terrible temper and his history of torturing his servants like a sicko, oh, what would happen to our poor Zoey if she marries him?!
"What if he abuses her? She's going to be all alone over there - my only daughter, pushed to such a state. If you insist on forcing her to marry, Dylan, you'll have to get through me first!"
Quinn sobbed as she spoke, still hugging her daughter closely.
Dylan's temples throbbed menacingly as the crying continued. He sat back and said helplessly, "Do you think I want to see Zoey suffer? I'm not heartless. I know how dangerous this is.
"But if Zoey doesn't marry the Walsh family, they won't help our company with its debt. I can't watch our family business collapse just like that."
"Hey, why don't we marry off Layla instead? She has Boyer blood, right?"
Zoey rushed into the kitchen upon saying that, dragging Layla by her hair out into the living room. "It doesn't matter which daughter marries into the Walsh family so long as they're a Boyer. She could go. It's high time she paid her dues, anyway."
Layla sheepishly lowered her head, voice fragile. "Zoey, I..."
She was swiftly interrupted. "Ugh. Don't start. You're a b*stard who doesn't deserve to see the light. If not for my mother, you would have starved in the streets."
"Mom, Dad. Layla is pretty, she has a good temperament, and she's always doing everything we tell her to. At this rate, she could satisfy our families' bargain even if she went to the Walsh family as a maid. I'm sure Camron would agree that she's the perfect fit!"
Dylan inspected his youngest daughter. The skinny girl stood in the corner. fearfully trembling. Anyone who saw her would think she was gentle and obedient.
Zoey, arrogant and domineering, was Layla's direct opposite, having been spoiled by Dylan and her mother since she was a baby. If Zoey married Camron, it would only be a matter of time before she did something to offend the Walsh family.
Yes, Layla was his illegitimate child, which made her lesser than Zoey, but wasn't Camron himself a disfigured lunatic looked down upon by his family?
In fact, Camron might not even be on par with Layla.
But right now, Camron's uncle-in-law was in control of the Walsh Company. He would definitely choose someone meek and quiet to marry his nephew, not someone like Zoey.
Just like that, Dylan had come up with an idea.
"Layla, what do you think about marrying into the Walsh family?" Dylan asked.
He had actually felt guilty towards Layla since she was a child. He had met Layla's mother during a business trip and fell head over heels for her, so he hid the fact that he was married to her. When he heard she had gotten pregnant with his child, he cut off all contact with her.
What Dylan never expected was Layla's mother to come knocking on his door. After learning that he was a married man, she had jumped off a building several storeys high to her demise.
Quinn put on a look of faux concern in order to persuade Layla. "I've treated you decently over the years, haven't I, Layla? Just like my own daughter. What say you help our family now in our time of need?"
This concealed guilt-tripping put Layla in a very difficult position.
She had been quite the fawning child since she was young, always pleasing her elders. But marrying a man that she had never met? That went against her principles.
Plus, being an illegitimate child, she had been looking forward to having a normal family, what with being away from the limelight. But now she was being asked to step in for her sister...
Quinn saw Layla hesitate and immediately patted her chest assuringly, "Don't worry. I'll pay for your uncle's surgery and get your cousin employed in our company after you marry into the Walsh family," she promised.
Hearing about Layla's impoverished family ticked Zoey off.
"My mother is a saint for being so kind to you and your family. Let me remind you, your uncle's surgery cost more than one million dollars! Your aunt is jobless, and your cousin has already been getting into trouble since he was thirteen!
"If it weren't for Mom, they would've all perished by now. So you better agree to this!"
Layla's chest tightened.
She couldn't just sit back and watch her uncle's illness take over him, he was her family after all.
Layla nervously tugged at the hem of her clothes before a determined expression appeared on her face. "Alright. I'll do it. I'll marry Camron Walsh."