Even though the weather was very cold, she was still sweating. Her palms had become moist from sweat as she reached for the phone inside the booth. After taking a deep breath, she dialed Zhao Qiang's number. With every ring, the pace of her heartbeats rose as her anxiety increased as well. She was not sure if Zhao Qiang would agree to her proposal or not, but for her daughter, she was willing to take a chance.
The call was answered at the last ring when she had lost all her hopes for it to be answered.
"Hello." Came the mellow voice of Zhao Qiang from the other end. Liu Anna was fumbling to get the right words out of her mouth but she could not manage to speak anything and just remained silent.
"Anna is that you?" Zhao Qiang asked suspiciously when he heard the little sound of sobbing from the other end.
"I have two questions for you." Were the first words that came out of her mouth.
"Can... can you get me divorced in an hour?"
"Huh?" Zhao Qiang was not sure if he heard it right.
"Can you or can you not?"
"I can... but why?" He wasn't sure what was he supposed to answer exactly.
"Okay, second question. If you get married in an hour, can you help us arrange the money by noon?" She had by this time gotten her fingers crossed and was just hoping for him to say yes. If she needed his help, he had to get married. And this was the only possible solution she could think of in the current scenario.
"The minute I get married, I will inherit the entire property. So yes, I can. But how is this possible?" Even though he had a notion of what was going to come next, he still wasn't sure and the confusion in his voice was evident.
"It is, if you still have any place left for me in your heart," Liu Anna blurted out. "If you want I am willing to marry you right now."
"I have space for no one in my life anymore..." His words made her heart drop. Even though she wanted him to say yes, deep down she had expected this outcome. It was her who left him in the past so it wasn't her place to blame him anymore. She had no right to do it anymore. But soon he said something she was not expecting to hear, "...after you became a part of it."
It took her some time to process the meaning behind his words. "Are... are you speaking the truth?"
"Then Zhao Qiang, will you marry me? I know it is selfish of me to ask you like this, but I need to save my daughter. Marry me, please. I promise to never leave you again."
The other end was silent making Liu Anna doubt if the call got disconnected. But Zhao Qiang spoke when she was about to hang up and redial his number, "Meet me outside the Civil affairs bureau in two hours and don't worry about the divorce. My lawyer will be there soon with the papers."
While Liu Anna was still in a daze, Zhao Qiang had hung up. She wiped her tears and walked out of the telephone booth to wait for Zhao Qiang's lawyer before she could go and tell Song Chen about her decision.
Very soon a man came to her. "Are you Miss Liu Anna?"
"I am." She nodded her head. From the looks she could tell, this man was the lawyer Zhao Qiang spoke about.
"Miss Liu I am Jin Liang, Mr. Zhao Qiang's lawyer. These are the papers he asked me to bring to you. Please sign here." With that, he pulled out a few papers from the black file that he was carrying and handed it to Liu Anna.
She looked at the papers and seeing the word 'divorce' brought a complicated feeling in her heart. She was hesitant at first but when she thought about her daughter, she signed it immediately. She then took the papers and went to see Song Chen with Jin Liang following her at a distance.
Inside the hospital, she saw Song Chen sitting along with Song Guang on a bench outside Song Jia's ward. "Chen, can we talk?"
Song Chen looked at her and nodded, signaling her to speak. Liu Anna looked at his sleep-deprived face that looked tired and spoke slowly, "In private."
"Alright." Song Chen got up and then both walked to a corridor that was empty.
"I have contacted an old friend, we might get the loan san—"
"Song Chen I want a divorce." Before Song Chen could finish, Liu Anna's words made him shocked.
"You want what?!" He could not believe his ears.
"I want a divorce. I can't live with a man that can't even arrange money to save his own daughter. And I don't want this life anymore. I married you because my parents wanted us to get betrothed. But I am done with you.
"Anna we can talk this out—"
"Mister, please sign the papers immediately." This time Jin Liang stepped forward to speak. Song Chen had been too preoccupied to notice him earlier.
"This is a matter between me and my wife. Who are you?" Song Chen growled.
Jin Liang stepped closer and undid the buttons of his coat. He pulled the flap apart by the lapel to reveal a pistol stuck in his waist. "You don't have to know. Sign the papers."
Song Chen looked at Liu Anna in disbelief. "Were you so desperate to leave me?"
Even Liu Anna looked shocked with this turn of events, her face pale like a sheet of paper.