With a faint smile, Adeline nodded her head. She took Ronald's hand in hers, and soothed, "Don't worry, Dad. I know."
"Adeline, I owe you and your mom too much."
"Dad, don't you say that. I-I don't even have a boyfriend anyway. And eventually, I'll need to get married. Living with someone who is in a vegetative state is better than someone with bad intentions."
Unsure of what Adeline was implying, Ronald nodded his head heavily. "Since you're getting married, you can consider quitting school. There's no need for you to continue your studies."
When she heard what Ronald said, Adeline immediately voiced out, "Dad, I don't want to stop studying! I want to continue."
Ronald shrugged powerlessly. He looked spiritless and said weakly, "It's not that I'm stopping you from learning. The Lockwood family expects the girl that marries Mr. Lockwood to keep a low profile."
"Dad, don't worry. I'll talk to the Lockwood family about this. It's late now. You should rest."
"Alright. Good night," Ronald said. Then, looking at Adeline, his lips moved a little. But in the end, he didn't say anything else.
Adeline returned to her room and sat at her desk in a trance. When she saw the photo on the desk, she burst into tears.
Lying on the table and bawling her eyes out, she thought of how tender and loving Sebastian was to her for the past two years. Yet it turned out to be an illusion. The man she loved most was cheating on her with Zoey, her sister.
Adeline couldn't figure out whether she couldn't accept the fact that Sebastian no longer loved her or that the girl he was cheating with was Zoey.
But it didn't matter now as all she wanted to do was to let all her emotions out. Her tears streamed continuously down her cheeks and dripped onto the floor. Her muffled cries were loud in the quiet night.
On the other side of the bedroom door, Ronald stood there, holding a tray of food. He heard Adeline's sobs, and he couldn't help but shed tears too. He had always known that Adeline was naturally gentle, just like her mother. She must have promised to marry Christiano to not make things difficult for him.
Ronald's hand trembled slightly. He brought the tray of food back downstairs and smoked alone in the living room. Puffs of smoke circled upwards and then slowly dissipated in the air.
Early in the next morning, Adeline was barely awake when she heard knocking at her door.
Her eyes were sore, but she managed to get up and asked with a hoarse voice, "What's the matter?"
"Miss Adeline, the Lockwood family has sent someone over to present betrothal gifts. Mr. Ronald asked that you'd freshen up and head downstairs."
"I—" Adeline's voice was hoarse from crying the night before. When she opened her mouth to speak, she felt a strong burning sensation in her throat.
"Miss Adeline, are you okay?" Rosa, who was standing outside by the door, asked worriedly upon hearing Adeline's hoarse voice.
"Rosa, I'm fine. I just feel a little uncomfortable at my throat. You can go back downstairs first. I'll come down once I take a shower."
As soon as Adeline finished her sentence, she heard the sound of footsteps going downstairs.
She got up and went to the bathroom. She saw her own reflection in the mirror, who looked haggard with swollen bloodshot eyes.
After a quick shower, Adeline changed into a white knee-length dress and put on some makeup to hide her fatigue Then she headed down.
Martha was the one who came over. Adeline smiled and greeted her, "Good morning, Mrs. Lockwood!"
"Why do you look so pale? Did you have trouble sleeping last night?" Martha asked, concerned as she saw how exhausted Adeline seemed.