Grant was confused. “Is it because of what?”
Fawn smiled painfully. “You were there before my face was wrapped in bandages, Grant. You know what I’m talking about and—-” Her voice choked off, fear of the unknown clogging her throat. Looking away from Grant, she whispered, “Tell me the truth. Is it because h-he knows I look like this that he doesn’t want to come?”
Ah. Grant swallowed. “It’s n-not that.” At his words, she slowly turned to look at him, and he forced himself to meet her gaze. Her brown eyes were the only things he could see of her face. Everything else was hidden under a swath of bandages, but even so what he saw in those big brown eyes—-
In spite of how fate had tried to beat and carve it out of her—-
In spite of how the love of her life turned his back on her—-
In spite of her going through more horror than someone like her would never deserve—-
Hope still struggled to live in those eyes, enabling her to stay whole—-
And he would do everything to keep that hope alive, Grant thought feverishly.
“It’s your mother,” he heard himself lie. “She has my parents c-convinced that Chalkias will only c-cause trouble, so she’s had him b-barred from visiting you.”
Tears of relief glistened in Fawn’s eyes, and the sight of it told him he had done the right thing.
Fawn’s hands in his moved, and this time she was the one tightly holding on to him. “H-help me, please?” The tears fell, and the bandages below her eyes started to darken at their wetness.
It was a horrible sight, a heartbreaking sight, and it tore him apart.
Why did someone like Fawn have to suffer this much?
“I need to see him, Grant.” The wet, dark stains spread on the bandages. “Please help me.”
Grant nodded jerkily, and looking away, he mumbled. “I’ll do my best.” But it was another lie.
From the very first day, he had been trying his best to get the prince to come.
And he had failed.
Again and again.
When Fawn finally succumbed into an exhausted sleep, Grant left the hospital and went straight to the prince’s compound. The guards stationed on the parapet above nodded to him in greeting, and he managed a strained smile as he slowly backed his car to block anyone from entering through the gates.
When he stepped out of his car, he saw the speaker box mounted next to the side door light up just before a sound came out of it, a voice asking soberly, “Making an ultimatum?”
Recognizing the voice as belonging to Reid Chalkias’ security chief, Grant muttered in explanation, “I h-have no choice.”
Still inside the guardhouse, Noah frowned as he had the CCTV zoom in on Grant Bennett’s face. The man looked all too pale, and he asked sharply, “What’s happened to the signorina?” Everyone knew that Bennett had been coming every night to plead with their employer to visit Fawn, just as everyone knew that the prince had coldly turned Bennett’s request down without hesitation.
“It’s b-bad.” Grant swallowed. “She’s never cried since she was rescued, you k-know? But today, she c-cried when she a-asked me to help her see him.”
“In that case…” Noah’s face became grim. “We’ll back you up.”
Noah’s voice became gruff. “You’re a good man, Bennett. You were an ass before, but you’re a good man now.”
“You, too, Noah. It t-took a while f-for me to see p-past the shady stuff, but you’re a good man, too.” And if Grant wasn’t feeling like Fawn’s emotional stability was hanging by a thread, he might even have managed a laugh at the very irony of it.
Noah and the other guards had all been there when he had taken a gun in his mouth like a cocksucker. And yet here he was, feeling a sense of camaraderie with them—-
Because that was what Fawn had always been good at doing.
Making people feel.
His eyes started to burn as he suddenly remembered all the times she had quietly stood by his side, never losing her temper, always with the right words to say—-
In the years that they had been together, she had always been the one to give, and he had always been the one to take.
He remembered Fawn’s bandaged face and swallowed.
He hadn’t been able to do anything for her in the past, but this time it would be different.
He would do everything for her now.
Hours passed, and Grant found himself falling asleep in the driver’s seat until a honking horn finally woke him up. When he saw it was the prince’s limousine honking behind his car, he nearly tumbled out of the car in his haste.
Even now, fear clung to him like a shameful odor he couldn’t get rid of, one he knew that everyone would notice, but even so, the need to help Fawn drove him forward, and when he reached the limousine, he started knocking on the window behind the driver’s seat.