When Song Jia was almost done, the wait staff came back again with a few pastries in different flavours arranged like a pinwheel in a tray. Song Jia had a very strong sweet tooth ever since she was young. Many a times when she was young she had even eaten sweets and candies on empty stomach or without even brushing, ending up with stomach ache.
Song Chen placed a rum ball in her plate and she ate it happily. Desserts worked best to pep up her mood. Song Chen was admiring his daughter's happy face while she ate without a care in the world.
After she was finally done, she looked at Song Chen and asked again, "What did you want to talk about?"
"How are you coping?" He was referring to Nanny Lin's death which Song Jia understood well.
"I am doing fine. Thank you for asking."
"I visited Jade Condominiums yesterday, the place was still locked. Have you not moved yet?"
"I moved in with Wu Zhang." Song Jia spoke word for word. No matter how brave she looked up front, deep down she felt nervous to tell him that she has moved in with her boyfriend.
Song Chen looked very surprised. He was not expecting his daughter to move in with some other man before marriage. No matter even if he was Wu Zhang himself, he still felt uncomfortable hearing it.
"What is the matter Mr. Song?" Song Jia asked taking a sip of her tea.
"The matter is.. I wanted to ask.. if you can forgive me? The last two words were spoken under Song Chen's breath. Barely audible.
*Cough Cough* Song Jia's hand that was holding the tea cup stopped in mid-air on the way to her lips. She looked at him puzzled while Song Chen looked at her with an expression that was a combination of anxiety, hope, and anticipation.
Even though he didn't want to due to the fear of rejection, he still could not help hoping for a 'Yes' from her. He wanted her to forgive him so that they mend their bond but when he thought about it factually there was actually no reason for her to forgive him. He has faltered as a father and wronged his daughter in so many ways.
"What did you say?" She could not believe her ears and looked like she has seen a ghost. Her face was drained of colour and looked quite pale.
"Is there any way by which we can mend our relation? I know it's difficult to go back to normal, but can we try?" He was so nervous that his words sounded more like that of a lover than that of a father. "I know I never fulfilled my duties as your father, but ever since you returned to China, I have wanted to talk to you, and I also tried but after seeing the indifferent look in your eyes I could never gather the courage to say what I wanted to. I have hurt you too much and that guilt has always been with me." What he spoke was the truth. After Song Jia was called back, Song Chen had tried talking to her so many times but she never spared him even a glance and just simply shunned him out of her life. After some time passed, she started responding to formal talks and would speak whenever necessary but she stopped caring for him and never even thought to make any attempts in conversing with him because she was way too disappointed in him. For three years she hoped to be called back, but it was all in vain. She was happy when she was finally asked to return, she thought her father has missed her. But the happiness was short-lived because she soon found out that she was called back because she was proved innocent and not because he wanted to call her. And her teenage heart immediately added the meaning that he did not miss her, concluding it as a compulsion for her father to call her back and not out of the act of love. Because the truth was if she would not have been proved innocent she would have never come back.
Song Jia was silent and her head hung low, staring at the tea cup in front of her. She didn't know how to react. A turmoil of emotions has risen inside her and she wanted to say a lot of things but could not get the words right. She wanted to ask him why he didn't trust her back then? Why he didn't stop his wife from sending her away? Why he never cared for her? How did she wrong him that he didn't even care when she was being sent away for an indefinite time period with a high chance of never being able to come back? The worst thing was, the people she was sent to, she has never met them before. Even though she bonded well with them, it couldn't change the fact that her father threw her out of his life and home. After a long pause she looked up and could only ask a small question, "Do you really want to amend things between us?"
Without any hesitation Song Chen answered, "Of Course! I want to."
"What can you do to make me agree?"
"Everything that is in my power."
"Can you break your ties with your wife?"
"What?!!" Song Chen has not expected her condition to be so straightforward.
"Can you? Or can you not?" Song Jia asked with a bitter smile. "If you can sacrifice me for her, can't you sacrifice her for me?"
"I-" Song Chen didn't know what to say and this lead to another unbearable silence.
After two minutes Song Jia finally spoke, "Thanks for the lunch, but I can't forgive you. I will always remember my filial piety towards you but I will never be your daughter. Take care." She didn't wait for another second further, collected her bag, got up from her chair and left, leaving wordless Song Chen behind.