Slowly, all the visitors left and all that was left in the house were the Chens. Throughout the duration of their stay, An and Ping were very cordial and concealed the rage burning within them. Not only had Sherry left without a warning last night, she had also allegedly allowed a grown man to stay over at their house and she didn't tell them. The Chen couple felt like their trust had been betrayed.
"(Shi Ming, come here for a second.)" An called, a smile on her face. Sherry who was packing up the board games and cards, lifted up her head and walked into the kitchen. Her mother was sitting at the table with her father beside her. They looked at her, an eerie look on their faces.
Puzzled, Sherry took a seat directly opposite of them. They stared at each other for a long time until Sherry finally grew impatient and asked. "(What did you call me for, Ma?)"
"(You see, we were talking to Lily earlier as she told us something very interesting.)" An said, her tone flat and calm. Sherry gulped, she felt a bad feeling itching at her heart.
"(What did she say?)" Sherry felt herself grow nervous. The anticipation clawed at her heart and the bad feeling grew worse.
"(Well, it was something to do with Dylan.)" An carefully observed Sherry's reaction. But the expected reaction did not show. Sherry merely tilted her head and displayed a confused expression.
"(What about him?)" Sherry asked. She genuinely forgot about what she had told Lily and so had no reaction to her question. All she remembered was that Lily met Dylan once when she picked up George...….She remembered. Oh god. I told Mrs Mason that Dylan was staying over. Oh my god. Ma must know. OMG. Sherry thought in her heart.
An saw Sherry's face pale and knew that her stupid girl finally realised what she was talking about. She continued talking slowly with narrowed eyes, further cultivating the fear and guilt. "(I was informed that he had been staying over at our house, surely that is not true.)"
Sherry found herself shivering once more. Her heart palpitated irregularly just like it did yesterday. In her heart, she was complaining to herself: Uuu, whenever Dylan and my parents mix, I always end up getting in trouble.
"Ah, uh, um, I…" She couldn't answer and kept stalling.
Ping frowned. "(My pyjamas were missing)"
Sherry flashed back to her memories of a not so distant past. She was talking with Dylan and they were packing together. Dylan threw all his belongings into his space and came to her with the remaining. In his hands were black pyjamas and also a set of casual clothing. They were what she had given her before they went shopping together.
"What should I do with these?" Dylan asked her.
Sherry shrugged, not caring. "Just bring it with you." She said, "He won't notice."
Sherry wanted to invent time magic and travel back to in time just to punch her past self in the face. Oh my god, I hate myself sooooooooo much, she thought to herself.
"(…He didn't have anywhere to go.)" Sherry mumbled under her breath.
"(I said he didn't have anywhere to go.)" She repeated, her voice firmer and more confident.
An and Ping were silent. Their eyes pierced her and seemingly looking into her soul.
"(…So, it's true that he stayed over.)" It wasn't a question but a statement. Ping was now convinced that his beloved daughter had slept under one roof with a man, a full-grown man! A man and a woman stuck in close-quarters with no one to stop them, who knows what they could've done. Hell, when he was in high school, people still managed to get into trouble with the other gender even with intervention.
"(Is he your boyfriend?)" Just as Sherry was about to defend herself, An interrupted with a question.
"(Wha-no, he's not. He's just a friend.)" Even despite the situation, Sherry blushed at the thought. Dylan holding her hands, Dylan kissing her, whispering into her ear confessions of love, oh my god, this was too stimulating! Sherry wiped the thoughts out of her mind in a flurry.
"(Even if he is your boyfriend, you are forbidden from living with a man alone. How can an unmarried woman live alone with a man? Think about what people will say. How are we supposed to go out to see people? Do you know how embarrassed we felt when we heard about you from someone else?)" An angrily growled.
"(Your mother is right. At the very least you should have told us. Do you wish for us to die of embarrassment? If news went out, everyone would laugh at us.)" Ping added.
"What!" Sherry felt anger surging in her chest. She was so worked up that she didn't even bother speaking in Chinese. She spoke in English to better convey her thoughts and rage. "That's outdated thinking. Do you know how many live with their boyfriend or girlfriend these days? It's a common practice. Not even that, you are worried about your reputation?! You're confronting me right now because you are afraid that people are going to whisper? How can you do this?! Do you even care about me?"
Sherry felt her eyes sting with tears. They threatened to fall and drop to the ground but Sherry resisted. She didn't want to look weak, she didn't want to look vulnerable, she wanted to look strong. She was angry, she was furious and she was upset. These tears, she refused to let them douse the flame and let the sorrow sink.
Her expression right now was ferocious, it was pitiful and heart wrenching. An and Ping felt their hearts ache and guilt and sorrow invaded the depths of their hearts.
"(It's not like I did anything wrong. My friend didn't have anywhere to go so I offered to let him stay. He is a good man, I know this, that's why I wasn't afraid. Do you not trust me? Are you doubting my ability to judge people? How can you be like this? Especially after you taught me to help people in need, to be there for my friends and to never abandon them. If I left him to stay on the streets simply because he was of a male gender, what kind of friend am I?!"
An and Ping were speechless. It was only after a while that they recovered. "(…Even so, you shouldn't have concealed this from us.)"
"(I didn't tell you because I knew that you'd react like this. You would automatically judge him as a fiend, a wolf that's preying on your daughter. But I just want you to trust me, to let me make my own choices and live life.)" Seeing that her parents were still silent, Sherry finally let her tears slip. They fell from her eyes, flowing down her cheeks and dripping from her chin. Sherry wiped her eyes with her sleeve in one fierce motion and turned around. She stomped out of the kitchen, slamming her room door behind her.
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