A punch on the face.
That was the last thing that Lily remembered before waking up on a bed with a mattress covered in silk. Their bedsheet was not silk. This was not her room, she instantly concluded before she became aware of the dim light inside the room. Lily sat down, her eyes roamed around the room- or maybe a suite.
The room was spacious, with beige walls and a large abstract painting hanging on the wall, facing the bed. Slowly, Lily made her way out of the bed and instantly noticed the soft carpet against her feet. There was no television, no bookshelf or even a dining table. There were only a few couches that were facing a wall mounted electric fireplace.
"You're up." Lily flinched at the gentle voice behind her.
"Jack! What is the meaning of this?" she asked after she turned around to face the man. "What the hell are you doing?"
"Take a seat, Lily." He gestured for her to sit on one of the couches by the fireplace. "We need to talk."
"What are you doing?" She asked one more time. "If George will know that…"
"George is dying." Jack interrupted her, making Lily froze as her eyes widened. "He does not have a lot of time left."
Jack Arison took a step towards Lily prompting her to take a step back and. vigilance apparent in her eyes. "What have you done Jack?"
"It wasn't me. I would never hurt my father Lily." His voice contained assurance, his gaze gentle as he smiled at Lily. "It wasn't your brother either. Please take a seat. I don't have a lot of time. Your husband might be going ballistic at this moment. I don't want him to barge in here and kill me in front of you."
The mention of Zhuo Jingren seemed to have waken Lily up. She clenched her teeth and walked towards the couch and sat, her gaze straight at Jack. "What do you want?"
"I heard that you are getting married? Italy?" he sat opposite to her.
Lily pursed her lips and stared at him. So far, Jack is not doing anything that could possibly harm her. He even said that Zhuo Jingren is coming anytime to save her. She deduced that she must still be in Hong Kong right now.
"You understand the meaning of marrying him, right? His uncle might start targeting you as well." His statement was an obvious surprise to Lily. However, when she remembered how influential George was in the black market, he realized that it was only normal for them to know everything about Zhuo Jingren. "Do you think he can protect you?"
"I do." Lily nodded earnestly.
Her words earned a sigh from Jack. "George would want me to protect you. Are you sure that you are up for a relationship where people will be targeting you all the time?"
His question only met silence from Lily as she eyed his swollen jaw. It must be because she punched her in the restroom a while ago, she thought as she became aware of the throbbing pain in her right hand. "Why did you take me here?" she asked.
"You can run away if you want to," Jack said, his face stern. "We still have time. Runaway… you can live a good life. I will take care of him once he arrives."
His words instantly earned a frown from Lily. What does Jack mean by this? Does he think that Zhuo Jingren was forcing her to marry him? "He is not forcing me to do anything against my will." As expected, Jack stared at her intently, his face was not showing any emotion but there was an obvious disbelief in his eyes.
"Jack… seriously. I am not dumb. Why did you take me here? I don't think that…"
"Someone was targeting your husband. A bomb exploded at the restaurant just a couple of minutes after we left. If I didn't take you out on time… you would have become one of those dead bodies that they are still recovering at the…"
"What did you say?" Lily interrupted him. Her face instantly lost its color when his words reached her ears.
"You heard me. You don't have to worry… your husband didn't suffer any major wounds. He followed you in the restroom so he knew that you were not there. He should be looking for you right now."
"Who- Who would want to attack him in broad daylight? The Zhou Family…"
"Their enemies," he said. "It should be someone from Western China. I think it might be the Dongfang family. I can't be sure for now." Seeing Lily in a daze, Jack let out a sigh and leaned towards her. He rested his elbows on his knees. "I am worried that they will hurt you. You can go back to Europe. Maybe ask him to sort things out while you are away."
"I can't do that," Lily said sternly. "I will take care of things myself." Lily thought that Zhuo Jingren was the one who helped her out with the Qin Family in China so she should also do the same for him.
"Can you? Do you even know how to shoot a gun? I mean… you can give a punch but do you know how to kill people Lily?"
"I don't kill people at least… not directly." She was not a hypocrite. People died because of her and that is enough to say that she had indirectly killed them.
"Well… I can try to help you as much as I can. But with father…."
"Where is he?"
"In Europe," he answered then continued, "Someone gave him a potent poison. Damaging his organs, slowly. My guess is it was from one of his enemies- or friends in China."
"Is this the real reason why you brought me here?"
Her question earned a smile from Jack as he nodded. "You are right. This is everything that I know so far from the person that he met just before he fell ill." He handed her a flashdrive. "My connections are good in Mainland China but it wasn't as good as Zhuo Jingren. If you are serious about marrying him, then… I guess it's time for you to know the extent of his capabilities. The flashdrive included some of his networks- only the ones that I am aware of."
Lily narrowed her eyes at the flashdrive before shifting her gaze to Jack. If he wanted to hurt her, then he could easily do it now. "I thought you don't want me to marry him? Why are you asking for his help now?"
"Well… my guess is… the one who poisoned Father is someone from the Zhou Family. His uncle or grandfather are both capable of killing people. If my guess is right, then it would mean that we have one enemy. I have to make sure that you are up for it before telling you about the poison." Jack smiled gently. However, his words did not give Lily the assurance that she was hoping to hear. Something… something about Jack seems off and he could not figure it out, for now.