Lea nodded honestly. “Ms. Marlinie, anyone would be startled if you just showed up out of the blue like that, especially at this hour.”
The woman gave her an apologetic smile as she crouched down to hug Lea. “I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to scare you… It’s just that your mother sent me a picture of a girl today who looks exactly like my daughter. I had to catch a red-eye flight from M State to see you guys.”
Lea blinked in understanding. The good lady who saved her mom must be Ms. Marlinie’s long-lost daughter.
No wonder her dad’s bodyguards didn’t flinch when she came knocking. They recognized Ms. Marlinie, her mother’s best friend.
Bertha sighed at her friend’s rash actions. She first pulled her luggage inside before closing the front door.
“Marlinie, sit down. I’ll get you a cup of water.”
Marlinie stood up and shook her head. “There’s no need for water, Bertha. I want to meet this Ellinor girl. I need to see her.”
Bertha rubbed her temples. “I’d love to take you to her, but considering it’s 4 a.m., they might think we’ve lost our minds.”
Marlinie only then realized the time and flopped down onto the sofa. “Oh… right… I can’t scare her; she’s a timid one.”
Marlinie was usually elegant and composed, but she seemed like a different person now. She was completely in a daze as she thought about her daughter.
Lea sat next to Marlinie and shook her head. “That’s not true, Ms. Marlinie. Ellinor is very independent and brave.”
Marlinie looked at Lea. “She’s independent and brave?”
Lea nodded with certainty. “Yes, Ms. Marlinie. The person who risked her life to save my mother was Ellinor. She’s not just brave but kind-hearted too.”
Marlinie’s eyes turned red. Tears were welling up in her eyes but not falling.
Her emotions were a whirlwind. After looking at the picture, she had a strong feeling that the girl was her daughter, Pearl.
Yet, after hearing about the girl’s characteristics, she became uncertain.
In her memory, Pearl was extremely shy. She was always hiding behind her brother whenever strangers visited. It took her a while to gather the courage to greet them.
When she was born, she was the darling of the Howard family, so she was always well-protected.
Especially by Balfour, who would always look out for his baby sister. He kept her away from all dangers. He wouldn’t allow anything or anyone Pearl disliked to be around.
So, it was hard for her to believe that her innocent and timid daughter had grown into a brave and independent woman.
When she had entrusted her daughter to an old classmate for a while, she was told that her daughter had fallen ill and passed away. Apparently, they had already buried her.
The Mendoza family hadn’t erected a tombstone for her daughter then. They waited for her to decide what to put on it, as they weren’t her relatives.
She couldn’t bear the thought of her daughter’s suffering and decided to keep her ashes.
All these years, she believed her daughter was dead. She couldn’t imagine that her daughter might still be alive.
Why would the Mendoza family lie to her?
Why did they claim her daughter was dead and refuse to tell her where she was? She hated herself for not investigating further and blindly believing them. If that girl really was her daughter…