“No,” he said, but he recalled that after he had carried her back to the rental apartment when he wanted to put her on the bed, she had clung to him.
When he went to lay her down, she pulled him onto the bed and rolled until she was on top of him.
A man of rigorous control and training, how had he let his guard down like that? Before he could get up, she touched his face with her hands.
”Your eyes are so beautiful… I really… like them…” she murmured.
“Like?” The word was not strange to him. After all, there were always women who said that they liked him and liked his eyes.
In the past, when he was young, his father would always look into his eyes and become lost in thought. His father would mutter to him, “The kind of eyes you have are deceptive. They look like they’re very emotional, but in reality, they’re the most heartless. I don’t know if you will be emotional or heartless in the future.”
“They’re clean…” She ran her fingertips across his brow. “Clear.”
He sneered. She was drunk. Of course, his eyes were clean or clear or whatever. He’d showered this morning.
“It’s like… They have never been tainted by any sin… They’re clean…” She was so drunk that she didn’t seem to notice that her face was almost touching his. “Jay, don’t be afraid… I will… protect you…”
After saying that, she lay on his chest and fell asleep.
Protect him? This woman can’t even protect herself, but she wants to protect him? What a joke.
Grace’s face blushed as she stared at him. She really didn’t remember.
“You didn’t do anything. You just fell asleep.”
Hearing this, she let out a sigh of relief.
His eyes fell on the red, swollen part of her cheek. “Does your face hurt?”
Her eyes widened with surprise. “It’s fine.” This was the truth. After all, she had suffered much worse pain in prison.
“What happened yesterday? How did you get hurt and drunk?” he stared at her and asked.
“Nothing, I just met a drunkard and had a little conflict,” she said lightly. She didn’t want to tell him about the dark things from last night.
She always felt that he was clear and clean. Even though he had been wandering on the streets, he was still pure like the horrors of this world had yet to touch him. If possible, she hoped that he would stay that way.
“Is that so?” He frowned. “It would be great if I had arrived earlier. In that case, you wouldn’t have been hurt.”
In reality, it wasn’t true that he couldn’t have solved this matter earlier. This was just a game that added a bit of fun to his boring life. He had even expected that something might happen after she entered the private room.
But when he really saw what had happened, he found that he was not happy.
“It’s already good enough for you to have come to the club to pick me up. Otherwise, I might have slept right next to the street,” Grace said and pulled at his hand. “Thank you, Jay. It’s really good to have you here. And I’m fine, really. It was just a slap in the face. It’s nothing to me.”
Hmm. It was nothing to him either. But the bruise on her face offended him and when she smiled as she did now, looking at him like he was the greatest man in the world…it stirred something to life inside him.
“What? Evelyn tricked you into drinking with a man? She’s shameless! I’m going to find her!” Lina had gone to look for her friend that day and saw that Grace’s face was still faintly red and swollen.
“So what?” Grace held back Lina. “I was too careless. I thought that she would at most try to get some money from me. I didn’t really expect… but fortunately, Jay came to pick me up when I was drunk.”
“He’s the person who’s living with me now. Think of him as my younger brother. I got him to call me ‘sister’,” Grace said. When she mentioned Jason, a smile unconsciously appeared on her face.
“Younger brother? How old is he?” Lina asked.
“Twenty-seven years old, a few months younger than me.”
Lina almost choked on her own saliva. She couldn’t believe that her friend was living with a man.
“What are you thinking? What if he has evil intentions? Have you ever thought that you might be putting yourself in danger? You studied law, didn’t you? Are you not thinking about the risks!”
“I know what you’re worried about, but, Lina, with someone living with me, I don’t feel as lonely. Plus, Jay is a nice person.”
“What do you mean that you feel lonely? Don’t you still have me!?” Lina said. “Why don’t I move out and live with you?”
“Don’t do that. Your parents will hate me even more if you move out of the house,” Grace said.
When the car accident happened, she had not been drinking, but all the evidence seemed to show that she had been driving under the influence.
No one believed her words except Lina.
And during the three years she had been in jail, Lina had been busy with Grace’s case. She had even given up studying abroad for her. This also made Lina’s parents angry with Grace because they thought that she had delayed Lina’s work. They hated her for disrupting their daughter’s career path.
And it was the truth. If it weren’t for her, Lina would have had a better life now instead of being an obscure designer in an architectural firm.
“Moreover, Jay is like a little brother to me. You know, in the past, I always wanted to have a little brother. Now, my wish has finally come true,” Grace said.
Lina knew that there was no way she could dissuade her good friend. She could only put up with the second-best option. “Let me meet with him next time.” Only after she had met Jay could Lina feel at ease.
“Sure,” Grace replied.
“By the way, this is a copy of your case from back then. There’s also some information I’ve found over the past few years.” Lina passed a stack of documents to Grace. “Since you have been released already, are you planning on reopening the case?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know where to find the witness from that year, and all the evidence still points toward me. I haven’t been able to reverse the verdict for three years. In the future…”
“Perhaps we’ll find an opportunity to turn over the case in the future. Don’t forget that you are Grace Cummins, and the Grace I know doesn’t give up easily,” Lina said.
Grace smiled, but it was forced. Maybe she would have tried to overturn the verdict for herself three years ago, but after spending three long years in prison, her high spirits and sharp edges had been obliterated by pain. And by acknowledging that the system was broken and corrupt.
Grace took the stack of information back to the apartment. She saw that there was no one in the room and Jay was nowhere to be found.
That void of emptiness insider her deepened. What she’d said to Lina was true, she liked his company. But how would she feel when he inevitably moved on? Would this time have been a balm or would she feel worse, and even more lonely?