Robbie wasn’t as vexed as he had been the previous time. The feeling that rose within him was more akin to a sense of loss.
However, this seemed like a promising lead to Mommy’s whereabouts. Hope rekindled within Robbie’s heart, and he felt a renewed sense of vigor surge through him.
Robbie was young, but he knew that the more something was shrouded in secrecy, the more there was waiting to be uncovered.
He was determined to get to the bottom of things. What did that woman from Northridge have to do with Mommy?
Why did her figure look just like Mommy’s?
Most of all, why did she have Mommy’s ring?
Robbie’s actions had alarmed her now, however. He couldn’t afford to be reckless.
As he was deep in thought, there was a banging on the door followed by Zachary’s voice hollering, “Robbie, can I come in?”
“Daddy!” Robbie dashed to the door and opened it. “Please come in.”
Zachary entered the room. He draped his jacket over the small sofa and surveyed his surroundings. “Raina did up this room for you when you were three and a half years old. Now that you’re older, would you like a revamp?”
“No, I like it like this,” Robbie said, handing a cup of fruit juice to Zachary. “I only have fruit juice, milk, and yogurt. There’s no alcohol here.”
“Ha!” Zachary chortled. “Wait till you grow up. I’ll install a mini-bar here for you.”
“How old must I be?” Robbie queried, pouring himself a glass of milk.
Zachary clinked his glass of fruit juice against Robbie’s milk. He glanced down at Robbie fondly and said, “Mentally and intellectually, you’re already pretty grown up. But your body is still that of a child’s, so you’re still one.”
“Thank you,” Robbie said, taking it as a compliment.
“Jamie and Ellie complained that their rooms were too childish for them. They’re insistent on renovating it. Are you really fine with keeping yours the way it is?” Zachary quizzed.
“Yes,” Robbie answered, looking around his room. His gaze landed on the family portrait hanging on the wall. “This room still has traces of Mommy and Mrs. Berry.”
At this, Zachary fell silent. When Charlotte had left all those years ago, Robbie was the only one who had ever seen her. Robbie was thus privy to much more nostalgic sentiments than Jamie or Ellie.
Robbie was already a lot more mature than other children his age. He was able to piece things together even when the event had been incomprehensible to him when it happened. Robbie was thus aware of the fact that it was Henry who had forced Charlotte to leave.
Robbie’s resentment towards Henry was therefore perfectly reasonable.
“Why did you come back so early today?” Robbie asked, changing the subject in an attempt to lighten the mood.
“Mr. Spencer called to say that you’d shut yourself in your room all day without taking a single step outside. Great-grandpa was very worried about you. He hasn’t eaten or drunk anything,” Zachary replied, looking meaningfully at Robbie.
“Huh? Why didn’t Great-grandpa eat or drink anything?” Robbie asked, stunned. “I was busy doing something in my room. I had lunch.”
“Great-grandpa was just concerned about you. At the same time, he also feels a sense of guilt towards you…”
Zachary trailed off. This was the first time he’d confronted Robbie about this matter. However, Zachary was never really good with words. He was at a loss on how to finish what he had impulsively started.
Zachary felt bitter towards Henry and usually kept his distance as well. How could he then expect Robbie to put on a facade of affection for Henry when even Zachary could not bring himself to do so?
“So?” Robbie frowned. “What are you trying to tell me?”
“Treat it as if you’re doing Daddy a favor. Go visit Great-grandpa,” Zachary said, gently ruffling Robbie’s hair. “He’s getting along in years and if he doesn’t eat, he’ll destroy his body.”
“All right, I’ll go,” Robbie said smoothly. “But there’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you for a very long time, Daddy.”
“What is it?” Zachary asked warmly.
“Why didn’t you protect Mommy?” Robbie’s clear gaze seemed to penetrate right through Zachary. “Why did you abandon her?”
Zachary lowered his gaze. Memories of the past crowded into his mind, clamoring. “It’s not that I didn’t protect her. I just didn’t do it well enough. I didn’t abandon her either.”