Water quickly filled Shelly’s eyes. Before the first tear broke, however, Mark groaned exasperatedly. “No, you stop that! Stop your tears! Now! It’s not going to inspire mercy from me—hell, the longer I look, the more you disgust me. Don’t bother wasting your acting chops on me! It was you who harmed Alejandro, wasn’t it? What the hell are you going to do next, huh? Murder Arianne, isn’t it, you psycho?! You don’t belong anywhere other than a goddamned asylum, where you can get your lunacy mended!”Shelly forced the rolling tears back into her eyes. “Y-Y-You’re disappointed to see me here, aren’t you?” she said, her voice trembling. “But I can assure you, it’s not what you think! Not once has my body been defiled. I simply have nowhere to go, Mark. I have no money. This is only temporary, a quick fix. Do you…? Do you really think so little of me…?”Mark’s mind was so utterly ablaze that it fueled the curtness in his answer. “How about ‘bloody yes?!’ I wish you’d never tainted my life
Shelly seemed to have reached a point where she balked at recounting her past. Her voice, thick and strained, had broken into a series of unintelligible croaks complementing the anguish in her face.Mark curled his fingers into fists and gritted his teeth. “Go on.”Shelly waited, letting the brunt of her emotional turmoil pass, before continuing.After the labor was over, she took a glance at her baby boy.In a snap, all the repulsion and the feeling of defilement left her completely. Women may experience a profound change of heart the moment they claim motherhood, and Shelly emerged from her experience a mother who could not bear to part with her son.Suddenly, she refused to let her sister take her child away.To stem unwanted developments from this incident, Shelly’s sister took the baby back home the next day. The baby was then christened as Mark Tremont.Never had Shelly ever imagined that her sister would one day be so utterly possessed by a man that she saw her own little
Years of care and dedication had not awarded the man any reciprocation. It was only a matter of time before her husband wore out his senses and devolved into the same unstable mess that Shelly was. He started drinking hard and physically abusing her when prompted by liquid courage.Shelly thought that receiving his abuses was the only way to get even with what she owed him. She forgave him every time.When the alcohol passed, the man’s sobriety would be marked with tears of guilt as he gawked at the bruises all over Shelly’s body. He would always throw in an equal-part apology and equal-part relentless inquisition. He could not stop asking why Shelly refused to love him, and why she balked at bearing him a progeny.And Shelly would always reply, “Because you remind me of my sister. I’m only your wife because she arranged my life that way; you’re a cage she’s prepared for me. I want to go home—my home, where my son is! I hate them… I hate them all. I want them all dead!”For the pas
It was too much for his mind to digest.Time crawled into the wee hours. Mark drove Shelly to a hotel owned by Tremont Enterprise for her accommodation.“This is where you’ll stay for today. Tomorrow, I’ll have Brian move your things to you,” he said before he left. “I’ll arrange lodging for you in the hopes that… you never meddle into my life ever again. The truth is, I never wanted you to appear.”Shelly opened her mouth, but whatever she wanted to say never came. All there was left to her answer were the tears that refused to stop streaming down her cheeks.Mark returned to the Tremont Estate. Instead of entering his bedroom, however, he retreated straight into his study.The house was in still silence, and none of Mark’s movements broke it. He forfeited turning on the lights but sank into his chair, spreading his long, lean legs wide while dropping his arms tiredly at either side. Right now, this laidback posture was the only means he had to keep his cool and sense afloat.He
The more Mary acted this way, the more uncanny everything felt. Then, Arianne examined the entire house and found that every single one of Shelly’s belongings—her suitcase and other things—were gone. Someone even drove her car out of the garage.There were only two possible explanations for this. Maybe Shelly was found and Mark sent her somewhere else to stay, so all of her things were transferred away. Alternatively, Shelly was dead, and a grieving Mark could not bear to look at the things she left.Arianne was more inclined to believe the former than the latter. Shelly might be a little loco in the head, but she was not delirious. In fact, she had proven herself to be quite clever and lucid. A woman like that just didn't seem the type to accidentally kill herself just because she’d ventured into the world on her own for a few days. But if that were the case, then why would Mark hide that information from Arianne? Why would he refuse to say anything?Arianne decided to feign ignora
Robin, too, was utterly flummoxed. Shelly’s heroic tale of rescuing Mark at the cost of her leg was well-known in the office. But here Robin was, staring at Shelly’s decidedly not-lame leg and feeling really lost.Shelly recovered quickly. “Come in,” she said with a placid flair, as though nothing earth-shattering had happened at all.Arianne had to give props to the unit Mark had bought for Shelly. A wide, roomy corridor led from the entrance to a living room furnished and designed to invoke the feeling of wholesomeness and the hearth. The open-concept kitchen seemed European-inspired. The large French windows in the living room allowed one to overlook the bustling city streets outside.Shelly poured two cups of water for them. “And here I thought Mark would rather keep all of this from you.”“Oh, he tried,” Arianne replied flatly, taking the cup. “For that, he even started avoiding me these past few days. I managed to find out about him purchasing a unit in this condominium by my
Arianne gave Robin a sweet smile. “I trust you. You know what they say, ‘don’t air your dirty laundry in public’, so let’s not air mine out, alright? Anyway, come on. We gotta get back to the office now. We’re technically playing hooky by being here at work hours.”Soon after the two returned to Tremont Tower while Arianne crossed into her workstation, Sylvain halted her with news. “Mr. Tremont came back a while ago; dude’s been looking for you. Since you weren’t around, he asked me to tell you to meet him in his office when you’re back,” he said. “Er, heads-up? He looks kinda pissed. You guys… aren’t fighting again, are you?”Arianne pouted. “We weren’t, but God knows if that’s going to last for long. Anyway, I’ll go now.”What if Mark was reluctant to have Arianne visit Shelly? Maybe this would become the fuse that started a new fight between them.Before she entered Mark’s office, she knocked politely, pushing the door open only after hearing Mark’s vocal invitation from inside.
Melanie mused on her words and instantly came to an understanding. “Um, he’s upstairs. Still recuperating, I’m afraid, so he’s technically a homebody these days. Come, I’ll show you the way.”She brought Arianne to Alejandro’s room upstairs to see him. Immediately, Arianne put on her most guilt-ridden exterior and muttered, “Hi, Alejandro. You’re not critically wounded, are you? I’m really, really, reeeeally sorry about what happened.”From his chair, Alejandro briefly considered her before looking back down at his phone. “Please stop. You’re weirding me out. Look at your expression and tone—it’s like one of those solemn Japanese pleas for forgiveness,” he replied. “You weren’t the one who stabbed me, anyway, so if I’m demanding apologies, pretty sure I want to hear them from Mark or his sweet, beloved aunt. The hell’s that got to do with you?”Arianne laughed awkwardly. “As you already know… that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Look at me. I’m the only one who ended up here… al