Arnold dragged her to his office and would not let her go, no matter how hard she struggled.
He made Josie sit down. Then, he took out an ointment and applied it to her bruise. There was a hint of concern beneath the fury in his eyes..
Josie felt awkward. “I’m telling the truth. It wasn’t Dexter.”
It was hard to tell what Arnold was thinking. He snorted and asked, “Is there anything he won’t do?”
Josie stopped trying to explain.
She sat straight and replied, “Arnold, being nice to me now won’t make me forgive you.”
She sounded so childish that Arnold could not help but laugh. He leaned closer to her and asked, “Tell me. What have I done wrong that requires your forgiveness?”
Josie had a lot to say. However, before she could say anything, she could not help but realize he was right. He had not done anything wrong that required her forgiveness.
She fell silent with frustration. The emotions she had suppressed for the past two days finally burst out.
“I’m an insignificant blade of grass to you and Dexter. All I want is to live, yet you and Dexter keep forcing me to do your bidding. If I don’t do them well, you will kill me. How is this fair?” Josie’s eyes welled up with tears. She looked up and felt unbearable tightness in her chest. I only wish to live.”
Arnold could not bear seeing her like this. He placed his hand on her head, comforting her gently. “No one wants to kill you.”
“But you and Dexter are pushing me to the brink!” Josie could not stand it anymore. “You and Dexter are always scheming against each other, and I’m stuck in between, bearing the brunt from both sides. Arnold, can you please let me go?”
Josie watched Arnold’s expression darken. He did not respond, but she knew his answer, prompting her to
shudder in fear.
“Please release me. Perhaps I should never have come here. I was too rash.”
She stood up, but Arnold pressed her back into her seat. “I promise I will keep you and your family safe. If Dexter tries to kill you, you can come to me for help. Josie, I will never hurt you.”
He seemed so serious and sincere that Josie was confused.
Arnold released his grip and stood before the floor-to-ceiling window. He lit a cigarette and said. “Dextor’s mother had psychosis. It could be hereditary.”
The revelation struck Josie like lightning and stunned her to her spot. She asked in disbelief, “What?”
“During one of her severe psychotic episodes, she beat Dexter so severely that he had to be hospitalized.”
Arnold explained calmly, but Josie could not stop her heart from beating violently. She did not expect there to be such a tragic backstory. No wonder Arnold reacted so agitatedly when he saw her bruise.
“That’s impossible… Dexter never hit me. I’ve been with him for a long time, and he has never been.
“Are you sure about that?”
Josie was stunned. She thought carefully and recalled the accident from that day. Does the time he crashes his car into someone else’s count?
Arnold flicked the cigarette ashes into the ashtray and continued. “He is genetically predisposed to psychosis and grew up in such a violent environment. How can he not be affected?”
Josic, you don’t know Dexter well.”
Josie sat still and did not move for a long time. She had no idea how she should process this revelation. All she knew was that her emotions were a mess. She was afraid but felt sad for him most of all.
Did Dexter grow up in that kind of environment? Suddenly, Josie understood why he always seemed hostile. and grim.
Before she left, Arnold added, “Remember what I told you just now. You can come to me for help any time.”
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