Chapter 2 - The Debt of Love: A Life-long Redemption

Chapter 2

Cordy turned toward the voice to find a boy who looked around five years old standing at the door of her ward. He was dressed in a patient’s garb like her, and his little face was so beautiful one could not take their eyes off him. At the same time, Cordy’s heart skipped a beat. She felt as if she was tugged somewhere in her body, but she could not quite describe it. The boy then ran up to her bed and climbed up to it on his little feet without a pause, snuggling up to her and hugging her with his soft, little body. “Were you bullied, Mommy?” He then released her and carefully wiped her tears with his stubby hands. Cordy realized then that her tears were leaking from sheer frustration, and her heart almost melted from the boy’s comfort. Even so, she was still positive that she did not know him. Smiling and tousling the boy’s smooth curly hair, she spoke with unexpected mildness. “You have the wrong person, kid.” “No, you’re my mommy. Daddy and I will protect you from now on.” The boy spoke with confidence and excitement. “Daddy has a bad temper, always pulls a long face, doesn’t like to talk, comes home late, gets stomach aches because he doesn’t eat on time, and smokes… but he’s rich and handsome. Please don’t leave us ever again, Mommy.” Cordy was left speechless and smiling helplessly. “You’re adorable—but I’m not your mommy.” “Dicky.” A cold yet alluring voice spoke from the door just then. The boy flinched and turned his little head in that direction, with Cordy following suit. A man stood at the doorway, his white shirt unbuttoned at the collar, and he carried the air of indescribable abstinence. His facial features seemed sculpted to perfection and his visage projected wit and composure. He stood towering and upright with a noble but nonchalant air. None of the rich and important men she met held a candle to those bewitching looks! “Daddy!” Timmy greeted him primly and properly. Even as Cordy turned toward Timmy again, she realized the reason why the boy was so good looking. Nonetheless, the man said sternly, “Back to your room, now.” Timmy pouted, but nodded tamely despite his reluctance—he must have been properly disciplined back home. Still, Timmy turned toward Cordy and said, “I have to go, Mommy. But I’m just next door, so could you visit me later?” Cordy could not refuse him once she saw his yearning look, and she nodded. “Okay.” She could also explain to him properly that she was not his mommy when she did. “Oh! My name is Richard

Levine, but everyone calls me Dicky. You should too, Mommy.” After introducing himself, little Richard reluctantly walked over to the man, who must be over six feet tall from a single glance at his tall frame. The height difference made Richard appear cuter, even perfect, as the child stood beside him. As the man took Richard’s little hand and left, he did not glance his way. However, despite that stiff and aloof demeanor, Cordy somehow did not find him rude… perhaps that was the privilege of good- looking men. For Cordy’s part, she did not enjoy talking much, and she actually felt comfortable with the man’s distant reaction toward a stranger. She got out of bed then. Although walking was inconvenient since her right foot was plastered, she stubbornly leaned on her crutches to reach the floor. It seemed to have grown into a habit, but she was used to being alone—even if she had been dating Kyle for three years, she would never trouble or rely on Kyle too much. She suddenly felt lucky that she was like this, allowing her to persevere despite the prospect of facing troubled times ahead. However, after it took her considerable effort to leave the washroom, Cordy stepped out and found that Richard’s daddy had returned. She was startled, and the man watched as her face turned pale. “Do I look that scary?” he asked with his deep, magnetic voice. “No.” Cordy shook her head. “I just didn’t expect someone else here.” She was just feeling fortunate that he was aloof—his abrupt visit left her slightly repulsed. Seeing the change of attitude in her eyes, the man pursed his lips ever so slightly. “The name’s John Levine. The venue where you held your wedding happened to be mine, Ms. Sachs.” Cordy realized with a start as John cut to the chase—as the owner of the venue, he certainly had a responsibility for the fire. “I’m sorry that you were caught in the fire and suffered a fracture in my premises,” John continued then, his tone as businesslike as it was solemn. “I hence offer to cover for all your expenditure while you’re staying here in this hospital, and that includes the fees for treatment, hospitality, rehabilitation, and the like. You may also seek damages for labor injury, emotional distress, as well as the cancellation of your wedding.” “No,” Cordy said flatly. “Just covering my medical fees would be enough.” John looked at her a little weirdly just then, whereas Cordy’s feet were getting numb from standing too long. Still, he obviously sensed that she had trouble moving around. He asked, “Would you like my help?” “No… Oh!” Cordy had barely finished when her crutches suddenly twitched. However, just as she was about to fall, John darted forward and caught her squarely in his

arms. Despite her shock, Cordy smelled a clean minty scent and seemed to hear his heart pounding from his chest, loudly and a little too quickly. She quickly tried to get away from him because she was really uncomfortable with such intimacy. In the three years she spent together with Kyle, they at best held hands since Kyle learned that she was averse to intimacy with men due to past trauma. He used to care for and respect her… and yet. Truly, the heart is fickle. Still, as Cordy straightened herself with John’s help, her crutches were still on the floor. Without any support, she tried to stand on one foot. However, it proved unsteady—she started to teeter as she could not lean on anything. Startled, she quickly wrapped her arms around John’s neck… but as soon as she did so, she realized that she was being overly intimate and she quickly released him. Her cheeks, drained of color at first, were now blushing red. John could naturally tell everything Cordy was doing, but he remained silent as he saw the stubbornness in her eyes. She probably did not want anything further to do with him. After all, the ward was just that wide and it was just a few paces to her bed—all she had to do was bear with it for seconds. Pursing his lips, John eventually moved and carried her to her bed. “What are you doing?!” As the familiar voice of a man suddenly resounded in the ward, sounding obviously angry, Cordy felt her heart skip a beat and she bit her lip. John, however, was unmoved—even deaf to the other man’s outburst. He seemed to have his eyes fixed on Cordy even as he walked steadily and unhurriedly to put Cordy in her bed.

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