Chapter 662 A Mysterious Apology
Right now, Toby was dreaming of his past.
He was going upstairs like he usually would in the mornings so that he could call his mother for breakfast. Normally, all he would have to do was knock on her bedroom door, and she would open it with a gentle smile on her face, one that was reserved for him.
This time, however, the door remained shut no matter how incessantly he was knocking on it. When the door didn’t seem like it would open any time soon, he started to sense something wrong.
Without wasting another moment, he called for one of the household staff to unlock his mother’s bedroom door with a spare key. But instead of a warm smile, what greeted him as soon as the door swung open was the strong scent of blood. As he walked in, he realized that the coppery smell was coming from the adjoining bathroom.
The color drained from his face as he slowed in his tracks, but when fear seized him, he barreled toward the bathroom like a madman.
The bathroom door had been left ajar, and when he skidded to a stop at the doorway, the horrific sight within instantly came into view.
His mother hung by the side of the bathtub, her face and body splattered with blood. Slumped on the ground, she was holding a razor in one hand while the other was submerged in the water-filled tub.
The water in the bathtub had been colored red by her blood, while she had already gone cold and lifeless.
The b****y scene was burned into the back of Toby’s mind ever since, only to resurface every year on his mother’s death anniversary so that it could torture his soul and remind him of his devastating loss.
There were even times when the scene would evolve into an entirely non-existent one, like right now, where he dreamed of his dead mother suddenly rising to her feet and slowly walking over to him. She was covered in her own blood as she questioned him hauntingly, “Why was I made to carry you in the first place?”
She went on to accuse him of being the reason why she was trapped within the Fuller Family, kept from pursuing her own true love. Then, as he stood there frozen, she reached out her blood-stained claws and strangled him.
Toby woke up in shock, his bloodshot eyes snapping wide open, and his breathing came out ragged.
Jumping at his sudden awakening, Sonia didn’t recover from the shock for a while, and when she did, she lowered her head as she gently patted his face. “Toby, what’s wrong?”
It was as if Toby couldn’t hear her at all. His pupils were dilated as he stared up at the ceiling in terror, and his lips moved like he was saying something.
Bending down, Sonia put her ear close to his lips and finally heard him mutter, “I’m sorry… I’m sorry…”
Sorry? She frowned, confusion filling her eyes. Why is he apologizing? And to whom?
She glanced at him worriedly and realized that he was having something like night terrors, and his thoughts were not of his own conscious mind. She quickly reached for his shoulders and shook him, yelling, “Toby, wake up! Wake up, please!”
She couldn’t let him stay in this trance for too long, or it would start taking a toll on his mind. He has to snap out of it and regain his thoughts.
Perhaps her shaking did the work, for Toby’s pupils started to constrict back to their normal size, and his gaze was slowly focusing on Sonia instead of the ceiling. He stared at her in a daze, and after a couple of seconds, he muttered weakly, “S-Sonia?”
He sounded hoarse, his voice so unpleasant that it reminded Sonia distinctly of the quack of an old duck. All the alcohol he had taken had obviously fried his vocal cords, and she couldn’t help but grow angry at him as she let go of his shoulders, snapping sarcastically, “Seeing as you recognized me, I gather that you’ve sobered up a bit.”
“What are you doing here?” he asked groggily, pressing his hand to his forehead as he made to sit up on the couch. But weakness overcame him, and he couldn’t even lift his neck, let alone find the strength to sit up.
At the sight of this, Sonia put her hands on his shoulders to keep him lying down on the couch. “Okay, that’s enough of moving. Just lie down and stay still.” Having said this, she rolled her eyes at him exasperatedly and demanded, “It was only yesterday when you guessed that I’d come, and didn’t I also tell you not to turn your phone off two days ago? You promised me, but you went ahead and turned it off anyway! If it weren’t for the reason that you were knocked out today, I would have broken up with you right here and now for having kept your phone off!”
Usually, Toby would have leaped to admit his fault and tried to cheer her up as soon as he heard any mention of a break-up, but as things were, he simply wasn’t in the mood.
He closed his eyes and raised his arm, then let it fall over his eyes as he kept quiet.
Sonia’s heart twisted when she saw him looking so forlorn, and she couldn’t help empathizing with him. After all, she had lost her parents as well, but his loss was a far more bitter tale than hers, so much so that anyone would afford him sympathy.
His father had been murdered at a hotel, while his mother took her own life. However, Toby had been the one to discover the horrific aftermath of the second incident when he was only a child.
As for Sonia, she had been too young to remember anything when her mother passed away from illness. While the death upset her, she didn’t feel devastated. Her father’s death had come about during her adult years, and she had mourned him, but by then, she was already strong enough emotionally to grow out of the grief.
Toby, however, was different. His mother’s suicide had been so sudden that no one could have possibly seen it coming; more importantly, he was the first to discover her body, and that would have scarred any child at such a tender age.
With that in mind, Sonia abruptly leaned forward and wrapped her arms around Toby, burying her face into the curve of his neck as she murmured anxiously, “Did you know you almost gave me a panic attack, Toby?”
He hadn’t expected her to embrace him so suddenly and merely lowered his gaze to look at her.
She looked up at him with red-rimmed eyes. “Did you know that Grandma told me about how you’d get really sentimental and unhinged on this day every year? She even warned me that you would resort to self-harm if you were left to your own devices. Can you imagine how frantic and terrified I was when I couldn’t get through your phone? I was so scared that I was too late, that I’d come into this apartment and find your lifeless body!”
Upon hearing the crack in her quivering voice, Toby realized that he had truly scared her to her wits’ end. He raised his arm and gently patted her back, muttering hoarsely, “I’m sorry…”
“Oh, are you feeling contrite now?” She reached out her hands and cupped his face, pointing out in mock anger, “Don’t just apologize to me; you still have to say sorry to Grandma and Mr. Brown. They were worried sick about you, terrified that you’d do something impulsive. Thank goodness…” Her expression softened as compassion flooded her eyes. “Thank goodness I got here in time, and thank the heavens that you got too drunk to hurt yourself. Otherwise, you would have ended up lying in a hospital bed instead of on this couch.”
Toby looked down as something flashed in his eyes, and he said nothing.
It wasn’t so much that he hadn’t had the time to hurt himself before the drinks knocked him out, as it was the fact that his body had given in without warning. He had only been a couple bottles of wine in when his heart started feeling like it was burning, and he passed out from the pain.
Indeed, he had collapsed not because he was drunk but because of his failing heart.
Even now, he could still feel a stabbing ache in his heart, but he couldn’t let Sonia know about it.
When Sonia saw the pensive and sullen look on his face, she sighed in resignation, then stared into his eyes as she suggested gently, “Toby, how about if we go and see a therapist?”
“A therapist?” He parted his lips as he said the words several more times, like he was trying them out.
She nodded. “That’s right, a therapist. You turn into a different person on the same day every year, and I think it’s because you have a disorder. You witnessed the traumatic aftermath of your own mother’s suicide, and with you being so emotionally scarred at a young age, you become unhinged as a coping mechanism this time each year. If we see a therapist about this, then maybe you could get professional guidance that will help you work through all these, or it could help you leave the past behind. It might even help you come to terms with whatever you witnessed as a child. Eventually, you’ll get better.”