“Ha! Girl’s talk?” Thea scoffed at the idea as she raised her head to see Conrad walking down the stairs.
“As for you, Conrad. Perhaps you can start by explaining the meaning behind your previous lover leaving the mansion together with your mother!”
Conrad furrowed his eyebrows but showed no nervousness at all. He firmly descended from the last step and then walked over to hold Thea’s hand as a sign of respect.
“Have a seat, Grandmother Thea. I have something to tell you too. Mrs. Taylor, please prepare a pot of tea.”
“Of course, Mr. Maxwell.”
“Don’t think that I’ll give you a hint of respect just because you sent the servants away. If you did something to Fia, I will make you suffer even if I have to sacrifice myself!”
Conrad knew full well what a pain Thea was. He didn’t want to clash head-to-head with her.
He also knew that the old woman was far stronger than Fia and Echo realized. And so, he directly said to her, “Fia and Echo want you to stay here for a while.”
Thea frowned and said, “Why did they suddenly ask for me if nothing’s wrong? And Echo… The last thing she wants is to trouble Fia. Did something happen?”
“Echo, she… is not doing that great,” Conrad said with a serious expression on his face.
Thea grabbed her walking stick tightly as she took a deep breath and whispered, “What kind of disease is it?”
“Well…” Conrad lowered his head and had his elbow on his thigh as he pressed his body forward toward her and whispered back, “Cancer. Terminal.”
“Cancer? How did she get something so serious?!”
The old woman’s vision was slowly blurred by her tears. “She has been quite frail ever since she was little. Her life is one of misery as well. And now, she ends up with such a bizarre disease despite being in her prime…”
Conrad remained silent. No one wanted to hear anyone they know have this kind of illness.
“I’m almost ninety but God wants me to bury my own daughter!” Thea sobbed. She took in a deep breath and held her walking stick tightly.
“I want to see them. Where are they?”
“Upstairs. I’ll help you up.”
Conrad had just extended his hand but Thea simply knocked his hand away with her stick. “No, thank you!”
She stared at him and said, “Despite all the anguish they must be feeling right now, you still let Esme into those doors of yours! Have you ever treated Fia with any sincerity at all for the past three years?!”
Conrad looked her in the eye and replied, “For the past three years, I have always remembered that I am her husband.”
“Ha! Then you and your mother are just as blind!” Thea walked up the stairs and used her walking stick to support her weight. “You want a divorce? Never! Unless these old bones are laid to rest!”
Conrad remained silent.
Thea walked into the guestroom with her walking stick. Mrs. Taylor and Silas wanted to help her, but she shooed them away every time. They were worried that she would fall if she was thrown off balance.
Luckily, they worried for nothing. Thea was still quite tough.
“Grandma,” Fia said as she helped her sit down. “You’re an old lady now. Slow down.”
“I’m doing quite well,” Thea replied. After that, her eyes shifted to Echo who was lying on the bed. Once again, she sobbed.
“I… I wish I have some magical abilities so that I can transfer the rest of my lifespan… to your mother.” After she finished her sentence, she could no longer hold her tears back and she wept.
Fia took some tissue to wipe her grandmother’s tears away despite being full of tears herself.
Echo smiled as she wiped her tears away herself and said, “Mom, don’t do that. Fia has been feeling quite depressed for the past two days. Don’t make her cry again.”
As Thea was wiping her tears away, she gave Fia a closer look and saw the handprint on her face.
“That Maxwell boy hit you?!”
Fia shook her head and said, “No.”
“Then who did this?” Thea gave Mrs. Taylor a look and said, “Tell that sorry excuse of an employer of yours to come up here!”
Silas then muttered, “He’s gone back to the family residence.”
“That bastard! Very good! Seems like his mother must have knocked all his senses out of him!” Thea roared sternly as she knocked her walking stick on the floor. “Don’t think that I can’t deal with the Maxwells just because the old man has kicked the bucket!”
“It’s okay, Grandma. I retaliated,” Fia said as she held the old lady’s hand with a smile. “I threw his mom into the pond.”
“You don’t have to worry about how I feel. I know you… You’re kind but easily taken advantage of! I’m going to the Maxwells’ family residence right now. I will force Beryl to apologize to you!”
“I didn’t lie to you. You can ask Mrs. Taylor about it.”
Mrs. Taylor didn’t want things to get any worse, so she said, “That’s right. I saw it with my own eyes. Mr. Maxwell saw it too and he personally jumped into the pond to save her.”
Silas, who was listening from the sidelines, was completely taken by surprise. He never thought that his boss’s wife would have such a strong moment! He was feeling somewhat regretful for having been arranged to pick Thea up and missing the entire thing.
“That boy saw it with his own eyes?” Thea caught the main point in the sentence.
“Yes… Yes, he did.” Mrs. Taylor wasn’t sure what the old lady wanted to do next.
Thea grabbed Fia’s hand and then asked, “Did he curse at you?”
Fia bit her lips. There was a lot of anguish in her heart. She had been in anguish since the moment he asked for a divorce.
“Get out, all of you!”
Thea got rid of both Mrs. Taylor and Silas and then asked Fia in a stern tone, “Be honest with your grandma and your mother, Fia. What kind of feelings do you have for Conrad?”
Fia was trying to fake it. “What kind of feelings?”
“Do you love him?”
Fia wasn’t sure how to answer.
“I walked the same path you did. There are so many people in this world, but it’s so hard to fall in love with any one of them. If you don’t want Esme to steal your husband, let me help you!”
That was the first time that someone wanted to help her so firmly.
Desire bloomed in Fia’s heart.
“How will you help me?”
“Esme is getting old. I’m going to arrange a marriage for her so she’ll get married as soon as possible!”
Fia bit her lips and continued, “What if… What if she divorced? Even Conrad wanted to divorce me. Their love is so great, she…”
“There is nothing great about that! That’s pure selfishness! They cared for no one at all!”
Thea was someone decisive. After she tucked her daughter into bed, she made calls to arrange for Esme’s marriage.
Conrad had just sent Esme home. Once he was back in the mansion, he received Esme’s call for help as she cried over the phone.
“Grandmother has gone overboard! She didn’t even ask for my opinion and is forcing me to marry a man that I don’t like! They know who I love, and I gave up everything to come back with you! Why are they still trying to split us up!”
After he hung up, Conrad was reminded of that moment again as his veins were popping…
Fia pinned his mother at the railing. When she fell into the pond, she stood there unmoving as Mrs. Taylor pushed her to make a call.
He could feel the fire rising in his heart as he rushed to the bedroom on the second floor.
He kicked open the door. Fia was lying in bed as she glared at him with her eyes opened wide and a cold expression on her face. She didn’t even flinch.
“I want to ask you something, Fia.”