"Hey," Zhuo Jingren said gently as he knelt on bended knee in front of Lily. He slowly reached out to touch her cheeks, making her aware that Zhuo Jingren was in front of her. Lily immediately shifted her gaze towards Yang Jing's vacant seat and let out a sigh when she saw that he'd had already gone. He must have left at Zhuo Jingren's commands. She pursed her lips and shifted her gaze back to the man in front of her.
Seeing Zhou Jingren's calm expression instantly let her know that he did not feel pity for her, and she was somehow thankful for that. She slowly rose from her seat and walked towards the floor to ceiling windows behind her conference table.
Silence ensued. Not the kind that would make one chill or suffocate. This silence was something that Lily needed.
"I never saw her body," Lily said after a few minutes of silence. She knew that Zhuo Jingren was just behind her, standing, waiting for her to say something. He was just silently standing there, waiting…
"They only give me her ashes," she continued. The murderous instinct that she was exhibiting earlier was slowly dissipating, as if it had been mysteriously blown away by an unknown existence. "Ashes, Jingren… they give me nothing but her…. Ash."
And it was at that moment that a single tear slowly trickled down her cheek. A single tear that she was not even aware of. Lily then felt Zhuo Jingren's hand slowly stroke her shoulder as if silently giving her the strength to continue talking, letting her know that he would always stand beside her… silently.
"When a psychologist asked me about that moment, I always say it felt like getting paper cuts. Hundreds of paper cuts. Remembering that moment… felt like being cut by yet another piece of paper. And the sad thing was… none of those paper cuts were enough to kill me." Another tear made its way onto her cheek… followed by another, until it became an unending stream of tears. Lily's lips slowly quivered as her eyes were flooded with emotions. Emotions that she had been suppressing for a while now.
"You know what's the worst thing about all of this?" she asked. "It's the fact that after they gave me her ashes… I did not even ask why she died. I didn't even doubt anything that they told me. I am a horrible daughter, Jingren…"
"I am the worst daughter."
Then she felt his hot breath on her ear. He had closed the small gap that he maintained earlier. Zhuo Jingren did not utter a word. Not a sorry, nor anything that would aim to comfort her. Instead, he slowly wrapped his arms around Lily. Giving her warmth, threatening to melt the ice that had covered her heart for so long.
Then Lily's emotions rained down like a storm. Her shoulders began to tremble as tears poured down like rain, threatening to drown her from the inside. The sadness and loneliness that had dried in her veins flowed like a cold unending river. Why did she believe them? All those years and she never even asked one single question. Was it really because she believed their words? Or she was too scared to recall what really happened that night?
Lily felt Zhuo Jingren turn her towards him, letting her cry on his chest, his arms around her. It was as if the world had melted around Lily and all she felt was the surge of emotions that were trying to block the warmth coming from the man who was hugging her. It was as if her emotions were trying to pull her back behind her invisible shield, trying to hide her back in the abyss where she could forget watching her mother jump in front of the car to protect her. Who was she trying to fool? She was a coward who was afraid to face the truth. She was afraid to think about how Bec Facci's blood, her own mother's blood, dampened Lily's clothes before both of them lost consciousness. She refused to think about Bec Facci's eyes staring at her with gentleness as blood trickled from her mouth.
Just what kind of mother was Bec Facci? What did she do to deserve to have a daughter as horrible as Lily?
Lily was selfish. She wanted to forget those emotions, she wanted to forget everything that would give her access to the feelings that she was trying to hide. She was a horrible individual who refused to face the fact that she caused her mother's death. She neither asked nor investigated her mother's death, afraid that she would recall those last moments, afraid to dream about the gentleness in her mother's eyes as she gave Lily her last smile, as her mother reassured Lily they both would be just fine, meanwhile Bec's life was steadily trickling closer to its end.
Lily was a horrible woman. Selfish and petty. Scheming and evil. And yet here she is… in the arms of the man who… worships her like a saint.
"You are not a sinner," Lily heard Zhuo Jingren's low voice. "Nor a saint," he continued, his hug appearing to have become a little warmer, a bit gentler. "You are Lily… the Lily that I love, and I will love you no matter what you will become."
Lily did not respond. She bit her lip, trying to stop her tears from falling only to fail miserably.
'the Lily that I love'
'and I will love you no matter what you will become'
Zhuo Jingren's gentle voice echoed inside her mind, over and over again, trying to engulf the other voices that were telling her to kill them, to make those people suffer. Zhuo Jingren's voice seemed to wrap around her mind, giving her something that she had never felt before.
Lily continued to let her tears tumble down her cheeks as she closed her eyes and slowly… very slowly, Lily lifted her arms and hugged Zhuo Jingren back.
She needed him, a small voice seemed to echo inside her as she slowly closed her eyes and snuggled deep into his arms.