"Still, they called me a thief!"
She continued to cover her face as she bawled her eyes out.
She seemed to have returned to that time at the orphanage when she was surrounded by the other children and their cruel finger-pointing.
The memories she had suppressed for a decade and a half surged through her inner defensive walls and overwhelmed her. She could hear and see the deafening accusations, evil gossips, and hideous faces around her. Accompanied by images of the harsh beatings and serious scolding she had received, all of them played on a loop in her mind. The way they tormented her heart was akin to the grinding of a saw chain.
The reverberating white noise pushed her to the brink of sanity. She attempted to block out the suffocating noise by covering her ears and screaming, "I'm no thief! I'm really no thief! Mu Wanrou is the thief; she stole my thing! That's my thing…"
Qin Zhou looked up to see the service crew standing beside them sheepishly; the polite smile on their faces had gradually frozen over. They looked at one another before shaking their heads at him cluelessly. This crew just came moments before him, so they were naturally clueless on what had transpired here.
By the time they made it to the scene, she was already woodenly muttering to herself in this despondent state.
He bowed his head to look at her again. Her eyes were tightly shut as she shook all over from an undulating, insurmountable terror. Kneeling on the floor, she carefully curled herself into a ball as she rocked back and forth in great distress. Her helpless and desperate appearance triggered an inexplicable surge of pain inside his heart.
He did not know what had happened, but seeing her looking fearful and panic-stricken, he unreservedly grabbed her shoulders and consolingly pulled her into his arms.
He stroked her head lightly with his palm as he gently reassured, "Shishi, I believe you. Don't be scared; I'm here!"
She clenched her lips very tightly as the imaginary voices nearly tore her last shred of consciousness.
With her recovered memory, the accusing voices in the past had broken loose inside her head and tormented her ceaselessly. If someone, anyone, had stood by her side, believed her, and defended her, she would not have felt trapped in hell back then.
She tried her best to forget those nightmarish scenes, but with her memories mostly back now, the long-suppressed fear and suffering crushed her with their weight.
He saw her depressed look. Clenching his teeth in firm resolve, he tried to guide her away from the place. Her legs had gone soft and weak, however. In the end, he had to carry her himself.
He drove her back to his apartment instead of the office.
Once he carried her into his place, he let her lie in the bed and covered her with a comforter.
She burrowed in the quilt and defensively curled herself into a ball, looking totally helpless and insecure.
Sighing in resignation, he knew that there was nothing else he could do. He had tried in vain to coax information from her along the way, but she had remained in a defensive stance with her head buried. She did not seem to hear his questions and stayed unresponsive to him.
He had never seen someone so out of control before.
He sat on the bed's edge and suggested gently, "Shishi, why don't you take a rest first?"