Table For Two Chapter 184
Xiu Ling and Sylvia's combined effort was slowly getting to Joann. They broke down the preconception that Qing Qing had built in her mind little by little until Joann could see the young woman for who she was. It was a long and arduous process mainly due to Joann's reluctance to accept the fact that she had been tricked. She had slipped up for once. For some, admitting that was harder than asking them to reach up into the sky. Oftentimes, the ego stood in the way.
However, after that had been resolved, the rest would come easy. The frown between Joann's brows relaxed, her lips stretched to a thin line, she shook her head from left to right imperceptibly and she gave out a long sigh. Things were how they were and she had come to terms with them.
Then again, with the mountain of incontestable evidence piled up before her, what else could she do about it? Refuse to accept the truth even though she was practically slapped in the face by it?
Joann was headstrong but not dumb. Even she knew when to throw in the towel.
"So Qing Qing is this sort of girl. Honestly, I still have a hard time believing it. She always looks so friendly and innocent. I suppose this is why they say looks can be deceiving." After Joann came to terms with this reality, things started to fall into place. Details that she did not notice before due to her implicit trust in the young woman started to surface. 'So that was why she did all those things...'
In retrospect, Joann could not believe how blind she was. There were so many telltale signs but she had subconsciously or consciously overlooked them. Now that the spotlight had been shined on them, they became surprisingly hard to miss.
Xiu Ling and Sylvia had such a hard time trying to convince Joann earlier because they were trying to initiate a drastic shift in her perspective. The woman that she perceived as an angel was actually a demon in disguise, that would understandably need some getting used to. After all, it would not have been easy to change a belief that one had held for years.
However, after that shift had been done, the gathering of supporting evidence around said new perspective would have been easy. For example, after Joann was convinced of Qing Qing's true character, she could easily reach back through her memory to find evidence to complement her new understanding of Qing Qing. This was because Qing Qing was not as careful as she thought and Joann was a clever woman. After all, she had managed to build herself to her current status. If she did not have a certain level of intelligence, how would she had done that?
One could say that before this Joann was being willfully blind but now that the blinders had been taken off, things could not have been clearer.
As Joann adapted to the news, the expression on her face changed from the initial denial to disbelief and shock, and then submission and acceptance before finally reaching indignation and anger, the appropriate response to finding out what Qing Qing had done to Lee Mu and Zao Ming.
"Mom, are you okay?" Sylvia asked with concern when she saw the range of expressions that crossed her mother's face. She was worried that this was too big of a news for her mother to absorb.
"How could she do something like this? Have you talked to Lee Mu and Zao Ming? We need to get them involved and discuss whether we should call the police. In any case, we mustn't let this slide!" Joann claimed with a firm nod.
Seeing this, Sylvia sighed in relief. They had finally gotten her mother on board.
Granted that was good progress but would that really make what they needed to do next any easier?
Joann was eager to exact justice on her friend's behalf after her mind had made the turn around, however, Xiu Ling's grasp on her hand held firm. "Joann, wait a minute. There is something else you need to know."
The finality with which Xiu Ling said that was like a pail of cold water drenching the fire of vengeance that was starting to burn in Joann's heart. The sense of bad omen that she had before now returned with full force.
There was a part of her that wanted to stand up and run. After all, if they prefaced Qing Qing's betrayal as the lighter news, she was not sure she wanted to find out about the rest. What could be worse than that?
However, Joann was also mature enough to understand that hiding was not going to solve the problem. She might have shown some reluctance to accept the truth earlier but it did not mean that she was a runner. She just needed time to mull over the challenge to her perception that seemed to come out of nowhere. It was understandable what Joann did. She might have been a bit uncooperative at the start but Joann was not a particularly unreasonable person.
Xiu Ling stole a look at Sylvia and the latter nodded silently back.
"Joann, please understand that no matter what, we'll be here for you," Xiu Ling said but the minute those words left her mouth, she regretted it. It made things sound so foreboding and based on the guarded expression that appeared on her best friend's face, Xiu Ling suspected it had done more harm than good.
"What do you mean, Xiu Ling?" Joann asked cautiously. She did not like the direction their conversation was going. Joann was someone who looked forward and while that also meant she often charged ahead without much thought, the positive side was that she rarely found herself being held back by uncertainty and misgiving.
In contrast, Xiu Ling was the bigger worrier of the two. Xiu Ling was more cautious in her thoughts and thus had more to consider. This also meant that she had to watch her steps often.