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(A change of heart (2)

When Jean was done watering the gardens she saw Cherry coming towards her, she hastily said, "Cherry, why aren't you reading up in the study? Why'd you come out here? Go back in and get your coat on! It's freezing out here! You need to take care or you'll catch your death of cold."

"Jean, don't fret so. I'm all right. It's too stuffy inside, so, I came out here, for a breath of fresh air," replied Cherry as she walked over to Jean.

Jean smiled and said, "Alright, you can help me water the flowers, if you like. I have nothing to do every day, so I tend the gardens to help kill time."

"Well, now I'm here with you!"

While Mond drove, Joe watched the passing scenery out the window, glancing at Mond from time to time.

"Oh, you saw that?" Joe asked, a little embarrassed that Mond noticed the look he shot him.

"So? Spill it, what's on your mind?" asked Mond as he looked at road ahead.

"Can I ask you some questions, Uncle Mond?" Looking over at Mond's profile, Joe thought he was very handsome, with an aura of mystery. Anyone could see his expression, but not his thoughts.

"Well, since you've started, why don't you keep asking?" Mond replied.

Joe thought Mond's tone was somewhat cold, but he went on asking, "Why are you so kind to my Mommy?" And why don't you and my Daddy get along? Is it because of...a thing?"

Joe's innocent way of asking penetrating questions shocked Mond. He glanced over at Joe confused and then pulled over to the side of the road and parked.

Looking at Joe with a look of surprise, Mond asked, "What do you think you know?"

"Don't look so surprised, Uncle Mond. Maybe, I know everything I should know," replied Joe. He wasn't really sure if what he guessed and found out through investigating was true, but, he decided not to pretend too much confidence in front of Mond, because he thought Mond wasn't ordinary, instead, Joe felt Mond could read his behavior, as well as his mind. There seemed to be a lot of secrets surrounding Mond, which made him unfathomable.

How could this young child know so much about adult business? Mond wondered, giving Joe an incredulous look. He wasn't sure Jackson and Cherry truly knew their angelic son.

"Uncle Mond, you think I'm an incredible boy, don't you? You must be thinking, this five-year-old boy shouldn't know so much about you, right?" Joe paused for a second and went on, "It's because I want to protect my Mommy. I love my parents, and I won't allow anyone to hurt them."

"Do you think you are capable of protecting them?" Mond thought it was good for a young child to have such noble idea like protecting one's parents, but Mond didn't believe Joe had the means to carry it through. After all, he was just a small child, so, how could this little boy achieve a goal that his father, Jackson, was not able to?

"But you are right. I am merely a child, after all." replied Joe calmly. He looked at Mond with a sincere expression, not feeling nervous or afraid at all. Joe admittedly couldn't protect his parents just then. After all, he was just a child, and the people he could contact with were only his family members or classmates. He also had to admit that thinking and doing were two completely different things. But even so, that didn't mean he was completely inept at protecting his parents. He could take some measures, depending on the situation.

"It's good that you are aware of that. You are a clever boy, but I advise you to keep your cleverness to yourself. The world of adults is not as simple as you think," Mond said with slight disdain.

"Uncle Mond, why didn't you answer my questions?" Joe wanted to know why Mond didn't answer any of his questions.

"Do you really want to hear my answers?" Mond gave Joe with an earnest look, "Fine, I will tell you what you want to know. First, your Mommy is stunning, and I want to help her because she is very nice. Second, the matter between me and your Daddy is something you're better off asking him about. Chances are, you will believe in what your Daddy tells you, but, if I tell you something different, you wouldn't believe. As for the thing Jackson and I are fighting for, you should know what it is, right? Then, you should also know I'm not the only one who wants it. There are a lot of people out there looking for it."

Mond finished and looked out the window, avoiding looking at Joe, so the child would not see him looking angry. He had tried to keep these feelings pushed down deep, but everything came rushing back to him after this little boy asked him a few questions, and Mond felt the impulse to seek his revenge throbbing in his heart again.

"But, Uncle Mond? It wouldn't be of any use to you if you were to get the thing, right? After all, it was left by my Great-Grandpa to..." Mond cut Joe's words off before he could finish.

"No, it wasn't Andrew's property! He's not entitled to leave it to Jackson." Mond shouted staring at Joe fiercely.

Joe stared at Mond in fear. Mond's brows were knitted together tightly, and his dark eyes became darker, as his face contorted angrily.

Seeing Joe's trembling lips, Mond knew his expression had frightened the little child, he tried to calm himself down.

After all, Joe was Cherry's son, and he did not want anything to happen bad to him, mostly because he didn't know how he would explain it to Cherry if her son ended up hurt because of him.

"Alright, look, you are just a child, and all you need to do right now is to study.

Don't ask about adult affairs, okay? I'll take you to school now," said Mond before revving the engine and driving away.

Joe sat next to Mond silently as thoughts raced through his head, 'Well, I may not have learned any useful details from Mond, but, at least now I know more about his character and personality. I know what kind of person Mond is, and maybe, I can help Daddy and Mommy if Mond tries to harm them one day.'

When the car parked in front of the school gate, Joe unbuckled his seat belt and picked up his schoolbag saying, "Thank you for the ride, I'm going into class now."

Nodding Mond replied, "Go ahead." After watching Joe go into the school building, Mond felt relieved and drove away.

At the ZM office building Mond sat at his desk in his private office, immersed in thought.


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