Chapter 378 Innocent
The unpleasant interlude in the restaurant hardly weighed on Sophia’s mood.
Bob’s obnoxious niece barely piqued her interest. In fact, Sophia was more interested in Alexander and Chandler’s history.
She wanted to broach the topic during their meal, but the opportunity was lost when Bob approached them with his niece and an apology in tow.
A while later, their car cruised into their neighborhood. The two reporters who had been camping outside the gate that afternoon were gone, returning the road to its usual peace.
Alexander turned onto his street and soon pulled up before the mansion.
Sophia’s phone vibrated with an incoming notification. She looked down and realized it was a text from Katherine informing her that the variety show they filmed back in June would be premiering next week.
Katherine had sent her a promotional trailer of Going Forward. The special guests had been blurred out in post-editing, but Sophia could immediately tell who they were.
Filming for the show had ended almost two months ago, so Sophia had almost forgotten about the whole thing.
Sophia closed the video player to find more enthusiastic updates from Katherine, who was enthused over the number of future fans Sophia would surely gain after the show was out.
The flattery was nothing new to Sophia, who smiled before shooting off a monosyllabic reply to acknowledge Katherine.
Katherine was understandably ticked off by the one-word response to her slew of enthusiastic texts. She replied: You’re cruel and heartless. How could you send me a single ‘ok’ after all my updates? I’m cutting you off for three days!
She followed that up with a few crying emojis. Alas, much to her dismay, Sophia texted: Sure.
Katherine was annoyed but resigned. I poured my efforts into the wrong person!
Alexander returned to Sophia with two glasses of water just as she finished texting her friend.
She set her phone aside and received a glass from Alexander, shooting him a grateful smile. “Thanks.”
Alexander downed half his glass at a go before sitting beside her. “Another video surfaced today.”
Delilah had made a move again, likely in retaliation to Sophia’s continued refusal of an interview request. The rejected reporter spun his own tale about Sophia’s motives instead. He argued that Delilah had raised Sophia’s mother, so even if Sophia was not the old lady’s biological granddaughter, her refusal to meet Delilah was nothing short of cold-blooded.
The paparazzi loved coming up with such scandalous accusations to increase their readership. They stood on their moral high horse and criticized Sophia for lacking filial piety.
Sophia never gratified their attacks with a comment, long numb to their actions. Netizens these days were far more logical and intelligent as well. Sure, there were still those who disparaged Sophia, but some had stood out to defend her, even bringing up the incident when Delilah threw a tantrum outside Specter Entertainment three months ago, demanding money from Sophia.
The fresh wave of attacks began just past seven that evening. Sophia had already received a heads-up from Yvonne on the way home.
Again, she could not be bothered by their speculations. Karma would eventually bite them in the back.
“I’ve seen it,” she said to Alexander after taking a sip of water.
Her nonchalance reassured Alexander that she was blissfully unbothered by Dillon’s second wave of attacks. He dropped the topic.
Sophia drank more water before propping her chin up on one hand. She stared at Alexander and asked, “Did you know Chandler from before?”
Something flashed through Alexander’s eyes at her question, though he did not deny their previous acquaintance. “Yes.”
He paused and added, “But we’re not close.”
Sophia chuckled and asked, “Oh really? I heard you went to the same university.”
Pursing his lips, he replied, “We did, but we weren’t close to each other.”
A smirk played on her lips as she added, “Did you know Chandler has a younger sister?”
Alexander’s expression shifted as he mumbled, “Yes.”
It was obvious from Sophia’s question that she knew about his history with the Shaws.
Since Alexander had no plans to hide the truth from Sophia anyway, he explained, “Her name was Noelle Shaw. Ten years ago, she passed away during a robbery. She had called me the night of the incident, but I didn’t answer her call. I hung up and blocked her number immediately. Chandler holds me responsible for his sister’s death.”
He had never believed he was responsible for Noelle’s unfortunate demise, not even when the Shaw family rebuked him for his heartlessness.
Noelle’s call that night was no different from the countless times she had harassed him against his will. In fact, going by Alexander’s temper, he would have blocked her number ages ago if not for Chandler’s sake.
The morning of Noelle’s death, she even presumptuously cleaned his condominium and broke his laptop in the process. It contained his thesis, which he had worked on painstakingly for over a week.
He would have struck her if she was not a girl.
Over the years, he had never told anyone about Noelle’s obnoxious behavior, nor did he have plans to do so in the future.
In any case, Alexander believed he had the freedom to answer or reject Noelle’s call. Hence, he would not shoulder the blame for her tragedy.
He asked Sophia, “Did Chandler tell you about this?”
She shook her head. “Katherine did.”
Sophia was rather indifferent about the whole issue. She did not think Alexander’s rejection and blocking of Noelle’s number were to blame for her accident either.
Noelle should have called the police when she was in danger, not Alexander.
Certainly, some would assume Noelle had panicked out of fear and called Alexander for help because he was saved as her emergency contact. Calling Alexander would have been her most straightforward option.
Yet, Noelle clearly knew Alexander did not appreciate her attentions. Saving his number as her emergency contact was simply foolish.
Of course, Sophia was not one to speak unkindly of the dead, but she believed Noelle had called Alexander precisely to force him into some form of emotional blackmail.
Anyone with a smidge of a moral compass would have rushed over to save her. Had Alexander answered her call, he might have arrived in time to rescue her. If he was too late, the result would be the same as if he did not answer her call.
If Alexander had rushed to the scene and rescued Noelle, she had the perfect excuse to continue hounding him.
To immediately hang up on her call and block her number spoke volumes about how annoyed Alexander had been by Noelle’s constant harassment.
The only person to blame in this incident was the robber who took Noelle’s life.
Sophia could hardly call herself a saint. While she would never wilfully harm another, she did not have a fountain of sympathy for just anyone either.
In a society that absolved the dead of any wrongdoing, it was a necessary evil to view one’s flaws objectively, even if the victim was an innocent person. Otherwise, one would fail to see the kindness of a bystander.
Sophia knew Alexander’s reasons for posing his question. Everyone must have shoved the blame on him over the years.
She, however, strongly disagreed.
Arching a brow, she stared at Alexander for a moment. Her lips curved into a faint smile as she asked, “What exactly did you do wrong?”
Alexander returned her gaze and suddenly pulled her into his embrace. “I didn’t do anything wrong.”
It had been years since the incident, yet Sophia was the first person to ever question if he had done anything wrong.