My chest heaved rapidly. “I shouldn’t have come back with you. You Fullers are cold and heartless creatures. Sally killed the White family, while you killed your own child and broke your own wife’s heart. You’re all beasts in human skin who are capable of cruelty beyond comprehension. In fact, all of you are even worse than Cameron. Despicable and revolting!”
Ashton pressed his lips together as his gaze sharpened and a horrifying chill flashed in his eyes. Even with the heater switched on, a shiver still traveled through my body.
He clasped my wrist and gritted out, “So the Fullers are so worthless in your eyes, huh? Why? Are you feeling sorry for the White family and their tragic ending? You’ve turned me into your punching bag because of Marcus’ death. I have to admit, I’m impressed. He left this world with a bang, seeing as he’s still influencing our lives beyond his death!”
I looked at him, but no longer had the strength to argue with him. Suppressing the pain in my heart, I said emotionlessly, “I don’t want to see you.”
When I recalled how Sally had been using me as her shield the days before Marcus’ death, my guilt intensified all the more. She knew from the very start that Marcus hated her. Fearing that he might do something to her, she made sure I stayed in the White residence as an assurance for her own life.
She knew that she’d be safe with me around because Marcus would never hurt me, be it emotionally or physically. Hence, she kept me by her side. Even at the very last second, Marcus had swerved the car to protect me.
I never wanted to hurt anyone, but that seemed like the only thing I was good at.
Ashton peered at me with an unfathomable gaze. After a long time, he let out a soft sigh and said, “I know you feel guilty about Marcus’ death, but Scarlett, no one killed him. He was the one who crashed the car.”
Anger sparked in me. I removed my high heels and threw them at him. “Get out, Ashton! I don’t want to see you!”
How can he say that no one killed him? It was obviously Sally! She forced Sharon to her death, then targeted Marcus next. It was clearly all her doing! She killed so many people without even batting an eyelid. How dare she pretend to be innocent in the end?
Surprisingly, Ashton had built up his patience. Even though I had just hurled my heels at him, besides his gaze darkening subtly, he showed no other reaction as he took me into his arms and soothed, “Are you done? Take a bath now before you fall sick.”
I felt as if I was punching at cotton. Nothing I said or did manage to elicit a response out of him.
I, on the other hand, was filled with more anguish.
When his hand reached out to remove my clothes, I flinched and shoved him aside. “Leave!”
His expression turned sullen. “How long are you going to keep this up?” Everyone’s patience had a limit.
But, so what?
Clenching my jaw, I stared fixedly at him and repeated, “Leave!”
With a glum expression, he extended his hand to press me against his chest, using his other to grasp my chin before forcibly kissing me.
His kiss was fierce, as though he wanted to swallow me whole.
Just when I thought he was going to take me right then and there, he released me and mumbled, “Are you done kicking up a fuss now? Hmm?”
I was already an emotional train wreck to begin with. Another wave of anger rose from deep inside me. “I told you to leave, Ashton. Leave! Can’t you hear me? Are you deaf or dumb?”
Without waiting for a response, I climbed out of the bathtub and started throwing everything and anything I could at him.
He stared at me with knitted brows but didn’t dodge the onslaught of flying objects. I grew tired after a while and seeing that there was nothing left for me to throw, he finally spoke, “Are you done?”
A sense of hopelessness washed over me as I gazed at him.
After I collapsed in a heap on the ground, he crouched down to peel off my soaked clothes, his temper as mellow as ever.
He carried me and placed me in the bathtub again. Heaving a sigh, he coaxed, “No more tantrums, okay?”
Seeing that I no longer had any emotional outbursts, he filled the tub with warm water, then searched through the mess on the floor. After finding the shower gel and bath towel, he placed them beside me.
Thereafter, he went out wordlessly.
As I lay in the bathtub, my mind whirred; everything was a blur. Marcus’ death had pushed me into a bottomless abyss that I couldn’t seem to climb out of, and the guilt that came with his death would haunt me for the rest of my life.
Ashton did nothing wrong. He was only protecting his family and guarding me, his wife.
The one in the wrong was me. I was cowardly and spineless. Ashton didn’t know why Sharon died, so he couldn’t understand why Marcus hated Sally, let alone why he wanted to kill her and chose to end his own life in the end.
I was wrong for not being there for Marcus during his darkest days; during the time he needed me the most. I didn’t give him a reason to live, so he chose to leave.
After a long time, I emerged from the bathroom to see cigarette butts littering the balcony floor. It was obviously Ashton’s doing.
I glanced around but didn’t see him. Not bothering to wonder where he was, I put on some clothes and tied up my blow-dried hair before trudging downstairs.
Molly was slightly taken aback upon seeing me. “Madam, are you going out?”