Moonlight streamed through the window, casting a soft glow in Madelyn’s room. Her long hair was all messy as she stood there. Her gaze seemed hollow.
On the bed, her phone kept flashing with bright light, accompanied by a ringing tone that echoed through the room. The caller ID showed: Ethan.
Madelyn watched as the call was rejected by itself, time and time again, only to start ringing once more. She didn’t pick it up. After a while, she eventually walked over, switched it off, and tossed it aside. Resting in one corner of the room was the crystal crescent pendant necklace.
The following morning, Madelyn descended the stairs to find Hayson, Jasmine, Zach, and Jadie already having breakfast.
At the dining table, Hayson seemed oblivious to anything unusual. He was engrossed in discussing company matters with Zach, just like any other day.
Listening to their talk, Madelyn realized that Hayson had gradually delegated most of the significant responsibilities of his company to Zach. Many of the important projects were now under Zach’s control.
At present, Hayson was completely captivated by Jasmine, leaving him with little time to focus on company affairs.
“Join me at a banquet tonight. The Young family’s daughter wishes to personally express her gratitude for the recent incident. Choose an appropriate gift and put some thought into it. You know what appeals to young girls.”
“The Young family?’ Madelyn found the name somewhat familiar, though she struggled to recall exactly where she had heard it before. 1
After sipping half a bowl of creamy soup, Madelyn gently placed her spoon down and stood up. “Father, I’m off to school now.”
Only then did Hayson shift his attention toward her. “Have you caught up on all your missed after-school classes?”
Madelyn replied, “I’ve made up for the three months of classes I missed. Don’t worry, I won’t fall behind.”
A hint of relief crossed Hayson’s face, and he nodded. “Go ahead to school. Be careful while you’re on your way.”
Just as Madelyn was about to take her school bag from Margaret, Hayson called out to her. ” Hold on.”
Madelyn paused and turned back, her expression calm.
Hayson inquired, “How’s your wound?”
The wound on Madelyn’s arm hadn’t fully healed yet. It had begun to scab over. As long as it didn’t come into contact with water, it wouldn’t split open.
“It’s not too deep. I think it’ll be better in a few days,” Madelyn replied.
Hayson felt a pang of guilt for letting his business occupy him and neglecting his daughter lately. “Don’t push yourself too hard. If you need some time off, take a break for a few days.” His eyes then caught sight of the wound at the corner of Madelyn’s lips. His expression subtly shifted, yet he refrained from prying for more details. 2
Madelyn really wanted to keep her distance from Zach and Jadie, especially after the whole thing that went down the night before. But, life threw her a curveball: she found herself having to share a ride to school with Jadie in Zach’s car. And so, there they were, the three of them, sitting in the car in silence. None of them mentioned the incident from before.
As tension filled the air, Madelyn closed her eyes, trying to wrap her head around why Zach had kissed her. ‘Jadie saw it too… Does he not care about her? He’s head over heels for her. He’s been waiting patiently, not even looking at anyone else, just to be with Jadie when she’s ready.’
A bunch of stuff suddenly didn’t make sense to Madelyn.
Even as they reached the school gate, Madelyn stayed quiet. She simply hopped out of the car and made her way into the school building.
Back in the day, Jadie would’ve given Zach a peppy goodbye, reminding him to drive safely to work. But this time, all she could muster was a plain, “I’m off to school.”
“Okay,” Zach’s voice sounded distant.