Chapter 2: The Third Year

Today, Leo's heart was filled with excitement as he awaited that moment. The car came to a stop in front of a villa.

Tina quickly got out of the car. She didn't want to spend another second with her cowardly mute brother-in-law. It was now 8 PM, and after parking the car, Leo entered the villa and went back to his room, closing the door behind him.

Leo and Sophia led seemingly separate lives, each occupying their own bedrooms within the confines of their shared home. Despite being legally married for four years, their relationship was merely a façade, lacking any true emotional connection. Their marriage existed only on paper, and they had never even experienced the simple act of holding hands.

At this moment, Leo had a strong premonition that the pain would soon come, even stronger than before. Leo took a calendar from the table and crossed out the number 30 with a pen.

Today, his humiliating life would come to an end. Even if that old man had deceived him, he would forever leave the Henley family!

A sharp pain struck Leo's head, and he quickly took off his shirt, then sat cross-legged on the bed, focusing his mind and waiting for that moment to arrive.

Meanwhile, in the hall downstairs, Jessica Henley, Leo’s mother-in-law, entered with a man of similar age with Leo. They were chatting and laughing.

"Gilbert, why didn't you tell me earlier that you were returning to Langstel?" Jessica led the man to the sofa and said, "Have a seat. I'll pour you some tea."

The man called Gilbert Gray, the son of one of Jessica's close friends, was dressed in a well-fitted casual suit. With his long legs and strikingly handsome features, he possessed an allure reminiscent of a Hollywood celebrity.

"Auntie, you don't have to be so polite. I just returned from studying abroad today and came here specifically to see you and Sophia," Gilbert said, taking out an exquisite box from his pocket and handing it to Jessica with both hands. "I came back in a hurry and didn't prepare any proper gifts, but I hope you'll like this."

"Gilbert, your mom and I are like old friends. No need to be so formal," Jessica teased, trying to feign anger but failing to hide her smile.

Gilbert smiled and said, "That's why I bought a gift for both my mom and Auntie."

"You naughty kid!" Jessica playfully scolded, her eyes sparkling with joy as she graciously accepted the small gift box from Gilbert. Peering inside, she was delighted to find a stunning jade bracelet, clearly not a cheap thing.

After putting the gift away, Jessica went to pour a cup of tea for Gilbert, but couldn't help but sigh.

She watched Gilbert growing up. He had always been smart and caring towards his parents. Jessica had originally planned to match him with Sophia when they both graduated from college. However, Gilbert's decision to study abroad had delayed those plans.

Not long after Gilbert went abroad, Sophia inexplicably contracted a rare illness. No hospitals, whether home or abroad, could find a cure. In desperation, Jessica, who was somewhat superstitious, sought help from a fortune teller.

The fortune teller told her to find a man to marry Sophia to ward off the illness. Miraculously, Sophia's strange illness did disappear after they got married.

But in Jessica's eyes, it wasn't Leo who saved her daughter. That orphan Leo was nothing more than a tool. If it weren't for the property division involved in divorce, Jessica would have kicked him out long ago.

Whenever she thought of her mute son-in-law, Jessica felt even more annoyed, especially when compared to Gilbert.

"By the way, Auntie, has Sophia not come back yet?" Gilbert looked around and casually asked.

Jessica placed a cup of tea in front of Gilbert and replied, "She's busy with work. She has a packed schedule, so she probably won't be home until around 10 PM."

"I see. I heard that Sophia got married. Is her... her husband not at home?" Gilbert asked again.

A look of annoyance appeared on Jessica's face as she pointed upstairs and said, "That lazy bum should be up there. Who knows what he's up to."

Gilbert had a barely noticeable cold smile on his face. "Auntie, where is Sophia's husband working exactly?"

Upon hearing this, Jessica's anger couldn't be contained. She raised her voice and shouted, "Leo, we have guests at home. Aren't you ashamed of yourself, hiding like this?!"

"It seems that the situation is exactly as I heard," Gilbert thought to himself.

In fact, he had inquired about it beforehand. Sophia had married a useless man, a grown man who lounged around at home, indulging in laziness and relying on the wife’s family to support him.

Oh, and yes, a mute man trying to find a job. It's unlikely any company would hire him.

Truly living worse than a dog.

As the time approached nine o'clock, Leo's physical symptoms became more apparent. Even if he heard Jessica's calling, how could he go outside?

Seeing no response from anyone, Jessica called again, "Tina, Gilbert is here, why don't you come down now?"

Tina's bedroom door opened, and she glanced downward with dissatisfaction. "Mom, why are you shouting so loudly? If Gilbert is here, he's here. What's the big deal?"

Tina didn't like Leo, and she disliked Gilbert even more. Women's intuition told her that Gilbert was cunning and not a good person.

"Tina, watch your tone when speaking to your mother!" Jessica's anger surged up.

Seizing the opportunity, Gilbert said, "Auntie, don't be angry. Not worth it. I'm afraid Sophia's husband hasn't returned."

Gilbert used a little provocation. He really wanted to see what Sophia’s husband looked like.

As expected, Jessica's anger couldn't be contained. "Tina, has Leo come back?"

"He's back, and he came back with me!" Tina replied.

"Go and ask him to get down here for me!" Jessica ordered.

"Fine," Tina replied impatiently and walked towards Leo's room.

Tina felt that her useless brother-in-law was becoming more and more unbearable. He had locked himself in his room as soon as he came home, acting like he was the boss.

As Tina reached out to knock on the door, a horrifying scream suddenly came from Leo's room—a scream of extreme pain.

This scream didn't startle Tina; she simply sighed helplessly and shook her head. "Sigh, he's having an episode again."

For the Henley family, this situation was no longer surprising. Similar incidents had happened the previous year and the year before that. The Henley family had never considered taking Leo to the hospital for examination or treatment. To them, Leo's death would be the best outcome.

Tina twisted the doorknob and then witnessed a scene she would never forget.

"Ah!" After a brief moment of shock, Tina let out a terrifying scream and ran away.

"Tina, what's wrong with you?" Jessica, downstairs, heard Tina's scream and thought Leo had done something bad to her. She rushed upstairs.

At this moment, Leo contorted his body as he lay on the bed. He looked as if he had just been pulled out of a pool of asphalt, with a dark substance coating his body, leaving only a pair of bright eyes to prove that he was still alive.

No wonder Tina was frightened.

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