Chapter 666 The Peak of Frustration
With Toby to cushion her fall, Sonia felt no pain whatsoever, though her chin throbbed after colliding against his muscled back. She rubbed her chin as she scrambled off him, then reached to pull him up. “Toby, are you okay? Are you hurt?”
“Hmm?” Toby sat up gingerly on the floor and gazed at her in confusion.
She felt one of her eyes twitch. As it turned out, he didn’t even know what was going on, and he probably didn’t register his own fall. But judging from the looks of it, he doesn’t seem like he’s hurt at all. Besides, the floor is carpeted.
With that in mind, Sonia visibly relaxed and continued to help Toby out of the study, guiding him toward his bedroom.
He had no strength in his legs, and he staggered with each step until they finally, painstakingly, found themselves in the adjoining bathroom of his bedroom. Sonia didn’t think she had ever in her entire life been as exhausted as she was in the present. “Phew.” She let out a breath, then turned to address the man next to her, saying, “Okay, hold on to this!”
She jerked her chin in the direction of the bathroom sink.
Toby blinked at her stupidly. “Huh?”
She rolled her eyes, then enunciated through gritted teeth, “I said, put your hand on the edge of the sink so you can hold yourself up.”
“My hand?” He glanced down at his own hand for a few seconds, then tried to reach for the sink.
Relief washed over her when she saw that he was doing as told, but just as she was about to let go of his arm, he suddenly drew his hand back from the sink. He moved so quickly that she would have missed such a gesture had she blinked.
The corner of her mouth twitched a little in exasperation as she asked, “What’s wrong with you, Toby? Did the sink electrocute you or something?”
“It’s cold,” Toby answered stiffly, pursing his lips.
The onset of a migraine was starting to attack Sonia as she grumbled, “I know the sink is cold, but I don’t see how that’s a reason for you to not hold onto it. Surely you aren’t so fragile as to shrink away from cold porcelain. Are you a man or not?”
“I am,” he replied matter-of-factly with a nod.
She could choke on frustration. “Well, you answered pretty quickly to that. Okay, that’s enough dilly-dallying. Hold onto the sink now.”
“No, it’s cold!” he whined as he shook his head, adamant in his stance.
Sonia’s eyes fluttered close, and with great determination, she suppressed the rage that bubbled up in her. Don’t get mad, don’t get mad, she chanted in her mind like a mantra. He’s a ten-year-old kid right now. You mustn’t get mad at him. Listen up, Sonia Reed, if you get riled up by a brat, you’d only end up losing.
As she told herself this, she suddenly realized just how blatantly oblivious she had been to the trials that came with caring for children, particularly the man-child who was currently in her charge. In fact, she had never quite experienced the peak of exhaustion and frustration as she did now.
All in all, she came to the sore conclusion that even Douglas had been easier to deal with than Tobykins.
Pinching the space between her brows, Sonia glowered at the man darkly as she warned, “Toby Fuller, I’ll only say this one more time: put your hand on that sink, or I’ll leave now and never speak to you ever again.”
Toby’s eyes widened at this, and he quickly gave in to the threat, putting his hand on the sink right away. Looking over at Sonia helplessly, he grumbled, “Okay, okay, I’ll put my hand here. Don’t go.”
She heaved another sigh. “For heavens’ sake, why must I become the villain before you would listen to me?”
He lowered his head without saying anything, behaving much like a dejected child who had just been told off.
She couldn’t help seeing the comical side of this, though she was still frustrated. He looks like I’m about to drag him into a slaughterhouse. “Alright, now just keep holding onto that sink and plant your feet firmly on the ground, okay?” She slowly let go of his arm. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you if you fall over later. There’s no carpet here to break your fall; you’re going to end up hurt.”
“Okay…” he mumbled begrudgingly.
She shook her head, then turned toward the bathtub.
She came to a stop before the bathtub and took in its extravagance. It was large enough that it could accommodate five or six persons at the same time. She resisted the urge to snort as she thought rather disparagingly, My, he certainly knows how to indulge. I didn’t even have such luxuries when the Reed Family was in its heyday.
Not pondering any more on this, she turned on the tap and drew a hot bath for Toby to soak in. As the water ran, she returned to Toby’s side and said, “Stay here for a bit while I get your clothes.”
He hummed once more in response.
She cast a furtive glance at his hand, and after making sure that he had a firm enough grip on the sink to not topple over, she ventured out of the bathroom and headed for his walk-in wardrobe.
Having arrived in the wardrobe space, she made a beeline for the rack where his sleepwear collection was stored and mindlessly picked out a set of pajamas for him, thereafter going over to his undergarment selection.
She found the neatly folded boxer briefs in one of the many drawers, and instinctively blushed as she selected one at random. Unceremoniously shoving it into the folds of the pajamas in her arm, she hastily closed the drawer and went back to the bathroom.
Tony’s eyes lit up when he saw her figure re-enter the bathroom. Cheerily, he greeted, “You’re back.”
“Yes, I am,” she said with a nod. Placing the change of clothes into the hamper, she went over to hold his arm and helped him over to the bathtub. “Okay, get into the bath, and you can go to sleep when you’re done.”
He hummed again and then lifted his leg so he could crawl into the tub.
Alarmed by this, Sonia pulled his arm to stop him. “Hey, what are you doing?”
He was puzzled as he blinked and replied without much thought, “Taking a bath.”
She pressed a palm to her forehead. “How are you going to do that if you’re still wearing your clothes?”
He tipped his head to the side as though questioning why bathing while fully clothed was impossible. She pulled a face that suggested she was trying hard to keep her frustration from getting the better of her; with forced patience, she explained, “Toby, listen to me: you cannot step into the bath while you’re fully clothed, okay? So take off your clothes and go into the tub, and when you’re done with the bath, change into the clothes I put in your hamper.”
He looked over in the direction she was pointing at and noticed the hamper where she had put his pajamas.
Upon sensing his comprehension, she raked her fingers through her hair like an aggrieved parent and said, “Alright, you just take your time with the bath. I’ll be waiting for you outside.”
“Don’t go,” he said, holding onto her arm urgently.
She halted in her steps. “Is there anything else you need me to do for you?”
“Take off my clothes for me.” He was looking at her earnestly as he said this.
Her eyes grew to the size of saucers. “I beg your pardon?” Did he just ask me to take his clothes off for him?
He took a deep breath, then repeated, “Take off my clothes for me.”
“No way!” Sonia was blushing furiously as she rejected him outright. “I can help you with plenty of other stuff, but not this! You have to take off your own clothes. I mean, why would you even ask me to do that for you?”
“I can’t do it myself,” he explained pathetically, gesturing to his leather belt as he stared at her helplessly.
Sonia felt as though she might have a stroke. “Toby, I’m not sure if you’re just really dumb or if the alcohol has turned you into a spoiled brat, but there is no way you can’t get out of those clothes, so why don’t you stop with the excuses and let go of me? I want to go out now.”
“No.” Toby tightened his grip on her arm, stubbornly holding her in place as he stared at her defiantly, as though telling her that she would not be stepping out of the bathroom until she helped him with his clothes.
She tried to move her arm, hoping that she could break free from his hold. However, she discovered that his grip grew tighter with each one of her movements, and she could not pull away no matter what.
Cornered, she loosened up so that he would, too.
She had to remember that she was dealing with someone who was badly drunk. She couldn’t reason with him, and there was a likelihood that her suggestions and gentle prompting would only fall upon deaf ears. With reverse psychology at work, he would only do the opposite of whatever she said and hold on tighter when she asked him to let go; but if she were to loosen up, then so would his vise-like grip on her.
True enough, as soon as he sensed no resistance on her part, his grip loosened up a little.
She glanced sideways at his hand, which was still clutching her arm. An idea flashed in her mind, and she quickly jabbed a finger toward the ceiling as she shouted, “Look, it’s a plane!”
Much to her disbelief, Toby actually fell for the trick and looked up.
When she saw this, she seized the opportunity to pull away from him, hoping that she could break away while he was still distracted.
However, he instantly reacted to her sudden movement and turned his attention back to her. This time, he tugged her backward forcefully.
But because his legs were too weak to hold him upright, his balance was already precarious as it was, and such a forceful backward tug resulted in the both of them toppling into the bathtub behind them.
With a loud splash, the water splattered everywhere as Toby and Sonia’s combined weight displaced it from the tub.