After Natalie repeated that several times, she had managed to feed him almost the entire glass of water.
Seeing that the crease of his brows had eased, she breathed a sigh of relief.
“Just how much did you have to drink?” she muttered at the stench of alcohol hanging in the air.
Then, she shrugged helplessly before placing the back of her hand on his forehead to check whether he was running a fever.
After all, it was common to contract a fever from overindulgence.
Fortunately, Shane wasn’t running a fever — he was merely sloshed.
At that, Natalie’s heart that was lodged in her throat finally settled back in her chest. She then got up and went to the bathroom for a basin of water to wipe him down.
Having done all that, she pulled the covers over him and made to leave.
Out of the blue, Shane abruptly grabbed her hand. In a hoarse voice, he cried out, “Don’t go!”
Thinking that he was awake, she hurriedly whirled around only to realize that he was merely talking in his sleep.
“Don’t go!” the man repeated once more.
“I’ll stay.” Natalie sat back down on the edge of the bed.
Perhaps he heard her, for his grip on her hand loosened a smidge, and he didn’t clutch desperately at her anymore.
She merely stared at him.
After an indeterminate time, the flush on his face gradually faded. As such, he was probably sobering up.
Sure enough, Shane’s eyelids twitched. In the next moment, he opened his eyes.
Upon seeing Natalie, he frowned. “Why are you here?”
Upon hearing his chilly voice, the elation on Natalie’s face instantly disappeared. “You were drunk, so I came over to take care of you.”
Huh? I was drunk?
Shane was startled for a moment before he remembered that he had gone out for drinks with Jackson. He accidentally imbibed because of everything that had happened in the past two days, so he then got hammered.
“Are you feeling unwell anywhere, Shane?” Natalie inquired when she noticed that he had suddenly gone silent.
Just then, Shane noticed that he was holding her hand. His expression darkened, and he released his hold on her. “No. You may leave now.”
Natalie felt as though the air had been sucked out of her when he dropped his hand, and her anguish snowballed when she heard that.
“Shane, how about I stay and keep you company tonight?” she murmured, gazing at him hopefully.
Since he doesn’t want to give me a chance to talk to him, I’ll take the initiative to stay the night with him. Perhaps he’ll soften toward me then.
However, the man remained unmoved. Flipping the covers, he sat up and massaged his temples. “No, it’s okay. You may leave.” His voice was as cold as ever.
Biting her lip, Natalie pleaded, “Shane…”
“Leave!” Shane snapped.
In an instant, the light in Natalie’s eyes vanished, and her expression dimmed. She got up and dragged her feet toward the door.
Shane naturally didn’t miss her disappointment and dejection. A glimmer of distress flashed across his eyes at the sight.
In the next instant, however, his heart hardened again when he recalled the scene of his parents being mowed down.
When Natalie left the room, she gently closed the door behind her. Then, she leaned against the door. Looking up at the ceiling along the corridor, she forced back the tears that threatened to fall.
It was a long while before she finally managed to compose herself and return to the master bedroom.
That night, she again had trouble sleeping.
The next day, the dark circles under her eyes became all the more distinct. She applied a thick layer of concealer to mask it, but still, the weariness on her face and fatigue in her eyes simply couldn’t be concealed.
As he had done the past two days, Shane left early in the morning without staying for breakfast.
As Natalie stared at his usual seat, she inwardly smiled bitterly.
Well, well… Is he even reluctant to eat with me now?
“Mommy.” The two children’s childish voice interrupted her speculations.
Natalie turned to look at them. “What is it?”
“We’re going to be late to school,” Connor reminded.
Only then did Natalie snap back to reality and notice that it was almost nine o’clock. She hastily placed her cutlery down. “Sorry, I lost track of time. Let’s go. I’ll drive you two to the kindergarten.”
“Okay.” The two children nodded obediently.
Natalie quickly left the villa with them in tow.
After dropping them off at the kindergarten, she drove to the office.