Chapter 35: Forbearance (2)
Lin Xin didn’t respond to his question and kept quiet. The two children sat together in heavy silence. After a while, the door opened and the Dean walked in slowly. He patted Lin Xinyu’s back in a fatherly manner and comforted, “Don’t worry, everything will be alright.”
Lin Xinyu bowed his head, but his trembling body revealed the grief he felt inside.
“She’ll be fine, let’s go.”
The boy lifelessly followed the Dean towards the door, but before exiting, he suddenly turned around and said with a bright smile, “I’ll see you again tomorrow.” He acted as if Lin Xin had never told him those hurtful words just earlier, and he gave her an ordinary farewell.
Lin Xin turned sideways and dared not face Lin Xinyu’s clear eyes. She clenched her fist and kept telling herself, over and over again, to stay calm and collected.
After that visit, the door opened once again, and the Dean stood at the door. “Don’t pretend to sleep. He’s far away.”
Lin Xin opened her eyes and struggled her best to sit up.
When she had awakened earlier that day to find Lin Xinyu by her side, she knew that things weren’t as simple as they appeared. Just as she had expected, the Dean was observing them and was eavesdropping on their conversation somewhere out of sight.
Now that the Dean had returned to this room, he must have something to say to her. As for what it was, Lin Xin had a few guesses.
“Then I’ll open the window.”The Dean removed his glasses, massaged his brows, then put his spectacles back on again. “Xinyu is still a child, so he likes to stick close to you. If you push him away like you did today, he won’t be following you around for long.”
Lin Xin couldn’t help but think to herself, ‘It’s really disgusting when the word ‘child’ comes out of his mouth.’ She smiled back at him and replied in distaste, “I’m not interested in your relationship right now; you’re disgusting, and he’s the same as you. I just want to know when you’ll be sending me a doctor. Since I won’t bother with your affairs, please, just let me go. I don’t want to lose my life.”
The Dean thought, ‘Usually, once a person has been pushed to the edge of life and death, their thoughts and motives soon change. It’s just that Lin Xin can’t be measured by the same standards used on ordinary people. What she just said was more sophisticated that what adults would normally say. Where could she have learned to be like this? Why haven’t I noticed this before?’
No matter what she is, he can no longer let her leave. The only way he could ensure her death was by imprisoning her within the orphanage. Another reason why he came to visit her this time was to assure her that as long as she doesn’t get involved with Lin Xinyu, he will not make make her life difficult.
“You stay here and rest until you recover. So long as you’re obedient, you can stay here in the orphanage and I’ll make sure that you’re taken care of.”
In this situation, Lin Xin now believed that the simplest and quickest solution was to leave the orphanage and find someone to save Lin Xinyu. Obviously, the Dean was clever enough to consider this possibility. As long as he was in charge of the orphanage, he could control everything. If he had allowed Lin Xin to escape the night before, the Dean never would have been as safe as he was today.
Lin Xin replied, “I’ll get well soon.”
The Dean laughed and said, “That’s good.”
The two had reached a ‘consensus’ in this way. After the Dean had left, someone delivered her meal and a drug for Lin Xin’s fever. Lin Xin was able to have a good night’s sleep after taking her medication. By the time she had awakened, it was already dark and the scene outside the window was a heaven dotted in stars.
Tonight’s moon was so dim that the stars around it seemed to shine even brighter. Lin Xin put on her clothes and struggled up towards the window. She wanted to open it up so she could view the stars outside, but then, a big red apple caught her sight, lying still by the windowsill.
Lin Xin took a bite of the apple and tasted sweetness along with a tinge of saltiness. It turned out to be her own salty tears. As she chewed, the sweet taste seemed to spread from her mouth and into her heart, filling her every being with Lin Xinyu’s warmth, and finally, leaving behind a lingering heartache.