Chapter 20

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Vanessa stood by the door, hugging her animals: Popcorn and Blueberry

When nobody said a word, the nine-year-old hurriedly explained, "I heard some yelling," At that, Felicity threw a dirty look at Xander, "And then you guys started talking about Sir- I mean Stephen Huntley."

It was true. She had overheard voices yelling, but ignored it until the name Stephen Huntley popped up.

When the girl began eavesdropping on the conversation, her first thought was that her family had connections with Huntley and that they were responsible for the abuse she suffered, but as she carried on listening, she understood that they were only worried about her health and safety.

But why?

Why were they talking about Huntley?

And how do they know him?

Judging by the conversation, she gathered that her family distrusted the man. Did they know what she did to him?

The silence was broken by Athena, who cautiously walked up to her granddaughter, "Sweetheart, how much did you hear?"

"When Dr. Reese mentioned the wedding," replied Vanessa curtly. She turned her attention to the rest of her family and demanded, "How do you know Stephen Huntley?"

Deep down, Vanessa knew the real reason she was lashing out was that she feared they didn't want a traumatized burden to shatter their gorgeous, perfect life.

Why would anyone want such a burden like her in their flawless life?

Dr. Reese spoke, slowly approaching the girl, interrupting her thoughts, "Why don't we just take a moment to calm down?"

Calm down?!

Vanessa noticed her breathing steadily accelerating.

Breathe in... breathe out, she told herself, attempting to calm the rising hysteria.

"Hey, hey," she heard someone distantly say. "It's alright."

She stared at the doctor. "How do you know Stephen Huntley?"

Felicity glanced at her husband. They knew they needed to tell her the truth, but how could they? Vanessa was old enough to know some things about the family business, but with only details of her past, they knew it was futile not to trigger a panic attack.

"How do you know him?" Xander countered.

"He was my uncle!"

Silence.

"What?" Viktor snapped, aghast. Had he heard that correctly? That man was living under the same roof as his daughter?! When the doctors at the hospital told them that their little girl was abused, he could hardly control his rage.

Scars. There were scars littered across his little princess's torso. How dare those bastards do that to Vanessa? She was just a child. He knew he had made numerous enemies over the years, as his mafia became most of the most powerful. But he never expected his sister-in-law to do something as horrible as this.

"He is dad's business rival's little brother," Matteo said, glancing at his father.

Brother? Stephen Huntley had a brother?

That monster had a brother?

She knew nothing of Stephen's life before marrying Amberly. But a brother?!

Vanessa pushed those thoughts aside and whispered, "Are you going to kick me out?"

At that, Viktor snapped his gaze to his trembling daughter, "Of course not! Why would you think that?" He was dimly aware of Mrs. Malton and Dr. Reese escorting his very reluctant sons outside, giving them some privacy. He would have to thank them for that later. Right now, his daughter was his top priority.

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