“What nonsense are you spouting, Scarlett?” Sally widened her eyes and shot me an incredulous stare before exclaiming, “You’re crazy. You’re absolutely crazy!”
I felt rancor toward this woman and couldn’t help but find her laughable. “You personally sent the White family to their death—three lives in total. Aren’t you afraid of retribution? You were the one who forced them to their deaths!”
“I didn’t!” Sally roared. “Scarlett, I won’t pursue this matter since you’re Ashton’s wife, so you’d better stop running your mouth or I’ll exercise my right to sue you for slander and false accusations.”
My lips curled into a sneer. “Sure, go ahead. As long as you can sleep peacefully at night instead of being haunted by your conscience; as long as you can let go of those three lives, go ahead and sue me!”
Sally’s chest heaved from so much anger that she couldn’t speak for a long time as she glared at me. Finally, she sneered. “Why are you so sad that Marcus is dead, Scarlett? Are you in love with him? Are you heartbroken? Are you reluctant to part with him? Don’t forget whose wife you are and what you should and should not say.”
It’s so crazy how people can be so shameless.
It started snowing heavily just then. Large snowflakes fell from the gloomy sky and onto the glaring pool of crimson blood on the ground. Before long, it was covered with a layer of white snow so thick that I could barely make out the blood beneath it, as though everything that happened earlier was only a bad dream.
Ashton brought me back to the villa and never once spoke during the whole journey. Neither did I have the urge to talk as the image of the pool of blood Marcus left behind weighed on my heart and mind along with self-blame and guilt.
If only I had noticed the changes in him sooner and realized that he had lost faith, I could’ve ignored the gossips and Ashton’s jealousy to accompany him through this period of time. If I did, perhaps things wouldn’t have turned out this way for him.
It’s because of me. I was selfish and too guarded. It’s all my fault!
The night sky darkened to an inky black and the snow outside was getting heavier. My mind kept replaying the scene of Marcus closing his eyes for the last time.
It was so maddening that I went downstairs and out to the yard, wanting to use the cold winter to drive away the resentment and pain overwhelming my heart.
But there was no way to erase the guilt buried deep within me. The harder I tried, the more violently the memories of Marcus’ kindness flooded my mind, like raging torrents threatening to pull me under.
The guilt in my heart grew as though in correspondence with the falling snow. Molly came out with an umbrella. Seeing me covered in so much snow, she persuaded in a gentle tone, “Madam, let’s go inside. The weather’s too cold. You might get frostbite like this.”
I looked at her in a daze and broke into a peculiar smile. Shaking my head at her, I murmured feebly, “Molly, I’m so tired of living.”
She was taken aback for a moment, then quickly draped a coat she had brought out for me over my shoulders before reaching out to tug on my hand. “Don’t say such things, child!”
Upon coming in contact with my ice-cold hand, she gasped in shock. “Look at how cold your hands are! Quick! Let’s go back inside. You’ll get a frostbite if you stay here.”
I remained motionless. The only way I could numb myself and have some semblance of relief was if I stayed in this kind of harsh environment. Molly tugged on my hand a few times, but for someone who was up in the years, she couldn’t make me budge an inch. Hence, she had no choice but to relent. “Don’t fall asleep. I’ll go get Mr. Ashton. You’re putting your life in danger, child!”
After Ashton brought me home, he immediately went into his study. Probably having heard Molly’s voice, he came downstairs right then.
He strode out of the villa with pursed lips. When he saw me standing rigidly in the snow, his face darkened and he looked at Molly. “What’s going on?”
Molly shook her head and sighed. “Madam is acting strange.”
I raised my eyes to see Ashton who was clad in all-black. As I looked at him, a sense of detachment and unfamiliarity rose in me. I shook my head weakly and said, “I’m fine!”
Wriggling my stiff toes, I began walking toward the villa, making sure to skirt around Ashton. Just like my heart, my face had gone slightly numb from the cold.
Not knowing what happened, Molly asked with concern, “Mr. Ashton, Madam seems…”
Ashton replied in a low voice, “It’s fine. Go in and rest first.”
With that, he followed me into the living room and reached out to pull me. When he touched my frozen hands, his eyes turned terrifyingly cold. “Are you punishing yourself because of him, Scarlett?”
I shook his hand off. For some reason, the sight of him filled me with loath and animosity. “Let go of me!”
The sides of Ashton’s mouth tightened and his expression hardened.
He blocked my path while staring at me with a frightening glint in his eyes. Suddenly, he scooped me into his arms and went directly to the bedroom on the second floor before placing me down in the bathroom.
The heater was turned on in the bathroom. Swaddled in warmth, my thoughts became slightly jumbled and hazy.
Seeing me staring blankly into space, Ashton stretched out his hands to undress me.
“Scarlett, everyone has their own lives to live. Don’t torture yourself, okay?” he advised in a dispassionate tone.
Indignation swelled in my heart. What does he mean everyone has their own lives to live? I slapped his hands away and uttered in an eerily cold voice, “Get out.”
My abrupt manifestation of anger took Ashton by surprise. After a brief moment, he narrowed his eyes dangerously at me and growled, “You are my wife, Scarlett!”
“So what if I am?” I yelled. “Yes, I’m your wife, but you failed to protect your own child; you failed to protect me. Marcus was the one who did all of this. Without him, do you think I’d be able to stand here in front of you, alive and breathing? To put it bluntly, I’d be dead if it wasn’t for him.”