I was still recovering from the shock of what had just happened. My entire body felt completely numb.
Jared continued chattering next to me, but I didn’t register a single word he said. When Cameron and Zachary arrived in the room, Jared turned to look at me with a rather complicated expression on his face.
Cameron was the first to open his mouth. “Are you alright?”
I looked up at them and said in a dull tone, “If the both of you want to file a lawsuit against me, please go ahead.”
Cameron shook her head frantically. “No, we’re here to take a look at you! Ms. Stovall, you…”
Zachary interrupted her impatiently. “Alright, you’ve seen her. Let’s go and visit Rebecca now! This matter is over as far as I’m concerned.”
Jared helped me to bandage my wounds. As he gazed darkly after their retreating backs, he said with a frown, “I suppose the Moore family won’t be filing a lawsuit against you, then.”
Truthfully, I wasn’t afraid of what they might do to me. I bowed my head and stared at the wound on my arm.
Looking up at Jared again, I asked, “Nothing will happen to Ashton, right?”
He burst into laughter. “He didn’t sustain injuries to his lungs, so he’s fine. He’ll be alright after a few stitches, don’t worry about it.”
I nodded, still feeling a little uncertain.
Ashton jumped down from his hospital bed after the stitching and said to me, “Come on, let’s go home!”
I gaped at him, feeling rather stunned. A complicated mix of emotions surged up within me. “Ashton, you must be knocked in the head!” I exclaimed. “You’ve just come out of the operating room, and you’re looking for death again? Don’t you think your injuries are bad enough as they are?”
It was already three in the morning now. Mrs. Eriksen and Sally had returned to the villa. Jared and Joe went home, too. As for Rebecca, the Moore family had hired a night nurse to look after her.
I remained in the hospital with Ashton. When he tried to sneak out against doctor’s orders, I managed to stop him with an angry yell.
He looked at me, stunned. With a frown, he demanded, “Aren’t you tired of being cooped up at the hospital?”
I pursed my lips and shoved him back onto the hospital bed. The injuries on his abdomen had been bandaged and were healing well, but I felt my heart ache just looking at them. “Lie down on your back,” I ordered. “We’ll leave the hospital only when the doctor discharges us.”
Ashton lay back down obediently and patted the space next to him on the bed. “Lie here with me, or we’ll go home right now.”
I pressed my lips together in exasperation. There was no use in arguing with a sick person. Besides, I was pretty tired. To his delight, I lowered myself into his bed, trying to put as much distance between us as possible.
However, Ashton snuggled closer to me and wrapped his arms around my body. In a low voice, he mumbled, “Sleep tight.”
Hearing his voice, the tears I had been holding back started flowing down my cheeks uncontrollably.
I turned around to face him, my face wet with tears. “Ashton, don’t you dare do this for me in the future. I don’t need it, and I don’t want you to get injured because of me.”
He tilted my chin up and looked deeply at me. “Does your heart ache?”
I gazed into his eyes and leaned up to press a kiss on his lips. Because of my clumsiness, Ashton looked rather amused.
Since we were still at the hospital, he pushed me away lightly and mumbled, “Alright, that’s enough. Don’t you know where we are?”
However, women were ruled by emotion. Since I had started it, I couldn’t possibly stop right now. Avoiding his injury, I buried my head in his neck.
Ashton’s breathing sounded even more ragged now. “Scarlett, stop fooling around. We’re at the hospital!”
I refused to listen to him. After plastering his entire face with kisses, I lay my head against his chest and started crying silently again.
Ashton sounded a little helpless. “We’re still at the hospital, you know. If you want to make out, we can do that when we get home!”
I ignored him and continued sobbing against his chest. Haplessly, he tried to console me. “Do you really want to do it right now?”
After a pause, he continued, “Let’s go home first, alright? We can make out as much as you want when we get home. It’s a little inconvenient to do that in the hospital.”
I looked up at him, registering the sharp features of his face. Ashton was so handsome that God was so unfair. In a rather hoarse voice, I said, “Ashton, don’t do this again in the future, alright? I’m n—not worth putting your life on the line for.”
Ashton froze when he heard my words. In a deep, restrained voice, he replied, “You’re completely worth it. Everything I do for you is completely worth it.”
I took in his words, my heart throbbing with indescribable pain and sadness.
Although the bed in the VIP lounge was huge, it was incomparable to the size of the one we had at one. Because of the shock of the event, I scarcely slept a wink that night.
I jolted awake numerous times that night, startled awake by the nightmarish images of Ashton lying in a pool of blood.
A few more times later, my entire body was dripping with sweat. Upon realizing that I was having a nightmare, Ashton pulled me into his arms and patted my back to comfort me.
I gazed up at him, my heart hurting tremendously. “Ashton, make sure you die behind me when the time comes, alright?”
I was terrified. Thoughts of those frightening events were still swirling in my mind, and I never wanted to experience them again.
In a low voice, Ashton asked, “What did you see in your dream?”
“You went missing!” The moment I opened my mouth to reply to him, tears rolled down my cheeks again. My heart was aching so much that I didn’t think I could bear it anymore.
“You silly girl,” he laughed. “Close your eyes and go to sleep! I promise I’ll still be here when you wake up.” He sighed and caressed my hair gently.
Because we had such a difficult time falling asleep in the hospital, Ashton went and got himself discharged from the hospital the very next day. We returned to the villa instead.
Sally had already returned to the White residence. Apparently, Mr. Bauman had called off the investigation on her.
Mrs. Eriksen was the only employee left at the villa. Molly had been dismissed by Ashton before we returned home.
Because I had slept so badly the entire night, my head was throbbing painfully. The moment we got home, Ashton knitted his brows together and said, “I’m going to go take a shower first.”