(Emily look at me)
Nighttime stretched further ahead as Emily and Beryl dozed off.
After he immersed his day with matters of his job, Jacob felt relieved to finally go home. At the front porch, he took out his key and entered. He made his way towards Emily's bedroom and discreetly entered.
A sliver of moonlight spilled through the window and the glimmer of the night lamp both illuminate the room. Emiy lay on her side, with Beryl in her arms. Jacob smiled as he looked at them sleeping softly and peacefully.
Jacob approached the bed and laid beside Emily. He nuzzled her hair and gently embraced her from behind. Emily shifted a bit, but was not roused from her deep sleep.
"My dear." Jacob whispered as he kissed her softly on the cheek. Emily stirred a bit closer to him as she slept soundly.
Jacob smiled and held Emily closely. He slowly drifted to sleep beside her.
Around midnight, Beryl suddenly opened her eyes and sat up. Her face looked blank and her vacant eyes looked straight ahead.
A recollection of awful and painful memories cascaded through her mind. Her fists clenched as she was instantaneously filled with such a bloody resentment.
The wretched creature formed at the bottom of her heart shouted, "Forgive? You want me to forgive you? You think I can forgive you? Just forgive that easily?"
Beryl turned towards Emily and fixed her a hostile look. Unaware where she got the knife, she lunged and stabbed it down at Emily.
"Beryl!" A voice furiously howled. Beryl was startled, she blinked and came to her senses. But unfortunately, she had already struck down the knife in her hand.
Instinctively, Jacob reached out and parried the blow of the knife using his hand. Luckily, Beryl was not strong enough and the knife only pierced a little through Jacob's palm.
Emily jolted up due to all the commotion. She hurriedly turned on the lights and looked around the room. She could not believe what she was seeing.
Her daughter, Beryl, was sitting on the bed, her eyes glimmered with watery tears. Unable to move with shock, Emily turned her gaze towards the knife pierced through Jacob's hand. Blood trickled down and stained the pure white quilt.
"Beryl! What happened? What are you doing? What.. Why.. Where did you.."
Words could not find their way through her. She had no idea where the knife came from.
"Sorry! Sorry, I swear I did not mean it. I had no idea." Beryl was horror-struck as she tried to find the words to explain. She was terrified as she turned away from the bloodstains. She stuttered, "I... Dad.. I didn't.."
"What did you..." Emily started but was unable to continue. Instead, she pursed her lips and said nothing. Jacob pulled the knife away from his hand. Seeing this, Emily snapped back and started moving. She fetched several paper towels and shakily grabbed Jacob's injured hand. She pressed the paper towels down on the wound, desperately trying to stop the outflow of blood. "How is it? Are you... Is it serious?"
"It's nothing. It's not that serious, just a minor wound." Jacob shook his head, his eyes turned dark.
"Hold it still. I will go and get the medicine box." Emily immediately stood up with a purpose. She started walking out of the room. Before she reached the door, she stopped as if she had remembered something. She hesitated, turned back, and took Beryl out with her.
Jacob shook his head and shrugged bitterly. He knew what Emily was doing. He knew what she was thinking, how could she?
He would never hurt her, Beryl was his own daughter. And even if she wasn't, how could Emily think that of him.
Jacob pressed the paper towels down on his wound. He gripped his bleeding palm and followed Emily and Beryl out the room.
Ina was holding Beryl, while Emily searched for the medicine box. She took it out and quickly cleared Jacob's wound. She wrapped it up with a gauze. There was fear and regret in her face. She opened her mouth and tried to ease the tension, "Beryl was..."
"Emily, she is our daughter. I will never hurt her, nor will I put the blame on her." Jacob fixed his gaze on Emily's eyes, as she turned to look at him. His eyes flashed with pain as he said, "You don't have to treat me like a stranger."
"I know. I'm sorry!" Emily was shaking her head. She didn't know what else to say. Jacob felt irritated, he was starting to feel exasperated with her. He was not waiting for an apology. He was waiting for an explanation.
"You told me this morning that Beryl is already recovering. You assured me she's okay. What just happened? What's wrong with her now?"
"Yes, she is actually recovering. She's still recovering, occasionally she still does something impetuous."
Jacob's brows furrowed and he squinted his eyes at her, "So tell me, did she cause that wound in your arm?"
Emily shook her head quickly, and replied, "No, she didn't. I caused this. I was too clumsy..."
"Emily, look at me." Jacob held her by the shoulders and turned her towards him. He looked straight into her eyes and said, "I know you're lying. You can never dare to look me in the eyes when you are."
Emily closed her eyes. She was silent for a while. Then she sighed, opened her eyes to look at Jacob's, and firmly denied, "No, it is not."
She did not want Jacob to think of Beryl that way. She refused to accept that Beryl hurts others at her own free will.
Jacob let her go and turned away. He leaned towards the counter and crossed his arms. He looked at Beryl and slowly walked towards her as he asked, "Beryl, did you hurt your mother?"
Beryl hid her face and sobbed unceasingly into Ina's arms. As much as she tried to hold it in, her muffled sobs broke through and it took her a while to choke out the truth. "Yes.. It's me.. It's me.. I hurt mommy.. I can no longer be my mommy's child.."
Salty tears continued to pour down her face. Her shoulders were shaking with grief.
Emily's heart was broken upon hearing her daughter cry. She was about to assure her that everything's going to be okay, when Jacob reached out and took Beryl from Ina. He was gently rocking her in his arms. He gently hushed, "I do not blame you, Beryl. I will never. Don't cry. Okay?"
He continued swaying her as he tried to calm her down. He looked at her and lovingly said, "Dear..."
Beryl gradually stopped crying. She looked up at Jacob, red-eyed, "Daddy, you really don't blame me?"
"No, don't be afraid."
"But I can never forgive myself."
"You are just sick. I know you don't want to do this."
Emily looked at the pair, father and daughter, quietly. She listened to them and could not help but smile.
Jacob was a good father. She should have known this long ago.
After coaxing Beryl, Jacob turned and looked at Emily. His eyes feel on her injured arm. He sighed. He felt helpless. "From now on, Beryl will be sleeping with me at night."
"Are you sure?" Although Emily believed in Jacob, she was still worried about Beryl.
Jacob's face turned somber. He said, " You know, if I was not sleeping beside you tonight, it would be you who was injured. Don't forget, you were already injured yesterday."
He felt remorseful at the thought. If only he was at home last night, Emily wouldn't have been hurt. The serious problem of Beryl would have been found out earlier.
Before Emily could respond, Beryl cried, "Let me sleep alone. In that case, I would not hurt anyone. I don't want to hurt anyone, and I don't want to hurt mommy and daddy. Please."
She felt that she's really a little devil. "Beryl, daddy can protect you and can also stop you. But mommy is too weak, she wouldn't be able to do those things. So would you like to sleep with daddy?"
"Daddy, are you a superman?"
"Yes, daddy will beat the little monster. You will be fine."
Beryl was convinced. She nodded her head as she agreed, "Okay, daddy."
Hearing all this, Emily did not say anything. But the nagging sorrow in the bottom of her heart kept tugging her with worry.
Beryl could not control her behavior and actions at all. She would start to hurt others and fall into a painful self-blame.
What Emily feared the most was that if nobody watched her, would she eventually develop into hurting herself?