"I don't blame you," Lily said the moment Qin Chuan finished speaking. "I want you to know that I don't blame you." Lily pursed her lips as she looked at her father. She wanted to add that she does not hate him either, but she chose to keep this information to herself. She did not hate him or blame him because he was a victim – just like Qin Yuanfeng. However, she could not deny that she was disappointed in him.
Of course, she was also aware that her disappointment would not benefit anyone in this situation. Lily chose to not let her emotions hinder her from achieving her goals.
"I… I was expecting you to hate me," Qin Chuan answered.
"Why should I hate you?" Lily asked before continuing, "Hate is a very strong word. It requires a lot of emotional investment which I don't have right now." When Qin Chuan remained silent, Lily continued, "I can't really hate someone if I don't know their story. This is why I don't hate my mother even though I know that she sacrificed my childhood instead of going back to her family in Europe."
"I understand," Qin Chuan nodded as he swallowed all the other words that he wanted to say. Did he even have the right to ask her how she'd been? Qin Chuan still refused to look at his daughter as he thought of how, for so many years, he was just like everyone else who believed that Bec left him and Qin Yuanfeng after giving birth.
As someone who prided himself on his intelligence and his ability to think rationally, Qin Chuan made the biggest mistake by letting his emotions get the better of him when he cursed the woman he loved and married Zhang Yifei just to make Bec feel terrible for leaving him. How could he be so dense?
Qin Chuan could only lament the fact that he was utterly weak and useless against his own emotions, leading him to be trapped by Zhang Yifei and eventually Qin Hao.
"Your mother was so like you," he managed to say after a few seconds of being silent. "She was strong and brilliant. She was really hard-working too." He paused deliberately as he closed his eyes and reminisced about the past. "She was not some damsel in distress who would act weak in front of a man. She was the exact opposite. In fact, when I met her… she was trying to beat up a person who had attempted to rob her," he chuckled as he reminisced about Rebecca's expression as she cursed like a sailor while kicking the poor man.
"We… Funny how I thought she was the one mugging him, so I tried to help the man," he laughed. "Of course, your mother beat me up too… I mean… I was…" Qin Chuan did not continue his sentence as he pursed his lips.
All those memories… those funny interactions and witty comebacks from Bec; everything that eventually made him fall for her... It was all still so clear. Everything was so clear that it was as if it happened yesterday. But what right does he have to remember any of it? He was useless. Despite having money and influence, he was still useless.
"I really don't think the past is important," Lily said when she realized that the man in front of her was crying silently. With his head lowered, Qin Chuan did not utter a single word of sorrow as he let his tears fall freely from his eyes. "Maybe you could share your memories with me in the future. But for now… I would prefer if you tell me how Zhang Yifei was able to manipulate a man like you and everyone else in the Qin Family. How was she able to make you all her puppets?"
Lily could listen to Qin Chuan's stories all day long but she chose not to at the moment. She had priorities to attend to right now, and her parents' love story wasn't one of them. Moreover, she also wanted to create some boundaries between her and Qin Chuan. Since there were a lot of things about their story that Lily was still unaware of, she didn't want to trust a person who had been close to Zhang Yifei for more than twenty years.
Maybe she was being ruthless for not empathizing with her own father, but Lily chose to err on the side of caution. After all… you could only call something a betrayal if it was done by someone close to you.
Qin Chuan looked at Lily, his expression unfathomable before his lips curved into a small smile. As he nodded in satisfaction, a tinge of pride could be seen in his eyes.
"Your mother and I… We were already fighting because my father told her that I was engaged to Zhang Yifei after Bec got pregnant. I didn't inform her about this engagement because I thought that it was all a joke. Moreover, Yifei and I… we don't like each other like that. I didn't know that Zhang Yifei went to my father and cried about this matter – about how she felt all alone now that I found someone else."
"Of course, my father instantly talked to me and asked me about Bec's family and for other information about her. My father… I mean… We were all clueless about Bec when it came to her family background and where she came from. Not that it mattered to me, but it mattered to them – my father and everyone else in the Qin Family," he said, gazing straight into Lily's eyes. "After we had another misunderstanding…one day… she just disappeared and we only received a call that she was at the hospital giving birth. But… when we arrived, she was already gone. We only saw Yuanfeng."
"I immediately asked my father's men to find her. After all, she'd just given birth so there was no way that she could have walked or travelled very far, but we never found her. My guess was that she left Shanghai and moved elsewhere in China," he said as he paused and waited for Lily to say something. When she only stared at him in silence, Qin Chuan decided to continue.
"I asked them to search for her. Weeks and eventually months passed. I took care of Yuanfeng... I… until the stress of the business, being alone, and taking care of a child took its toll on me. Sure, we had staff who helped care for Yuanfeng but… his face alone was a constant reminder that Bec left me. It made me angry and I became even angrier as the days passed."
"I got crazy and went drinking every night, leaving Zhang Yifei to take care of Yuanfeng. Until… I realized that maybe Bec was just somewhere nearby. Maybe she was just observing me. I don't know what kind of spirit possessed me to decide to marry Zhang Yifei. But I did because I thought it would be the best way to make Bec jealous. I mean… she was… your mother was always the possessive type. I was sure she would reveal herself once I announced my wedding to the public."
"I was so sure she would come back to me. She would come back and declare that I was hers," Qin Chuan said, his eyes full of sorrow. "I waited… and waited and well… she never came."