Caroline wrapped herself in the quilt, her face as pale as the sheet, and hot tears welled up in her eyes as the situation dawned on her.
She saw Rafael stand up, turn around, and make his way to the bathroom without sparing her a glance. She was at a loss but managed to find her voice to call out to him, "Rafael..."
Her voice had barely faded away when Rafael cast a sharp glare at her. "What did you call me?"
His tone was harsh, like a cold stab in Caroline's heart, making her tremble. She hurriedly corrected herself, "Mr. Patel..."
Last night, when she returned home, all the lights had been turned off, plunging the house in complete darkness. Before she knew what was happening, Rafael had caught her and dragged her into the bedroom.
She wasn't sure if he was drunk or not. Blinded by the gloom, she caught a whiff of alcohol and blood. She tried to protest as best she could, crying and resisting, but Rafael was too strong. He didn't care for her tears and tortured her through the night, wild like an irrational beast.
Now, it was too late. Last night was burned into Caroline's mind like a harrowing nightmare. She was in so much pain that she felt like her bones had been twisted and shattered.
Caroline opened her mouth to explain but suddenly caught sight of a blood stain, about ten centimeters wide, on the back of Rafael's strong waist.
Before she could look at it properly, Rafael whipped around and stormed back to her, to the edge of the bed. He reached out his hand and pinched her chin between his long fingers, forcing her to look up into his eyes. His deep voice reverberated gruffly as he said, "Caroline, did you think I will keep you by my side if you do this? Huh?"
"No, I..." Caroline hurriedly tried to deny it.
But she barely said a word when she saw the flash of revulsion in Rafael's eyes.
Observing his undisguised expression, Caroline felt a pang of sorrow in her heart. Her refutation died in her throat, and she froze.
Just then, a voice came from outside the door. It was Iris, a servant, who could be heard exclaiming in surprise, "Isn't this Caroline's dress? Why is it lying here at the door?"
Rafael released Caroline from his grip. He pulled out one of his shirts and flung it to her. Then he commanded in a low voice, "Change into that and get out."
Was he telling her to leave right now?
But there were so many people outside who would see her and figure out what happened!
Caroline was so flustered that she couldn't help trembling. Her body ached, and tears fell down her cheeks. Desperation building in her chest, she grabbed one of Rafael's arms and looked at him with wet, pleading eyes, begging, "Rafael, listen to me, okay? Last night, I..."
However, Rafael was not hearing it. He jerked off her hand and, with a frosty expression, snarled at her, "Caroline Hughes, you're as cheap as your mother."
He shoved her away so roughly that Caroline was thrown back onto the bed. Her bruises throbbed, and her bones seemed to wail in pain.
However, what hurt her more was the sentence Rafael snapped at her just now.
When Caroline was six years old, her parents divorced. Her mother, Bella Moore, was driven by ambition and took her to the Patel family. Determined to secure a place in the Patel family, Bella urged Caroline to curry favor with the cold young man. And she did.
Caroline knew that Rafael didn't like her and disliked her sticking to him.
But even though he was withdrawn by nature and disapproved of her being around, he had never treated her with such contempt.
Caroline didn't know what was wrong. Her mind was blank. She couldn't wrap her head around why Rafael had changed so suddenly and how he turned out like this after only a few days. The last time they saw each other before he left, he promised he would return with her favorite cake.
"I'll give you ten seconds. Get out of here!"
Gritting his teeth, Rafael said threateningly, his deep voice laced with impatience.
Caroline couldn't collect her thoughts and looked at him in a daze, her palms cold and clammy.