Zara’s heart soared with joy when Barne mentioned his plans to visit her mother’s house. She beamed at him and replied, “Thank you, Mr. Wade. I’ll pick up my brother and meet you at my mom’s place.”
Barne gave a small nod and turned to Isaac. “Mr. Cameron, please make the necessary arrangements. Once Young Master Banks arrives, bring him to meet Miss Banks.”
Isaac didn’t skip a beat. “You can count on me, Young Master. I’ll get right on it.”
Then, Isaac turned to Zara and said, “Miss Banks, head over to the airport and I’ll meet you in the afternoon.”
“See you later, Mr. Wade!” Zara said farewell to Barne before driving off to the airport, eager to meet her brother.
Even though Fitz had sided with their grandfather when the family was in danger, Zara didn’t hold it against him. She understood her brother’s nature all too well. Edgar wasn’t a bad person, but having been coddled for so many years, he lacked a sense of responsibility.
Moreover, their grandfather had always been a formidable figure before stepping down as head of the family. If Fitz didn’t demonstrate his loyalty to him, he would surely be cast out of the house and stripped of his right to inherit the Banks family. That was an unacceptable prospect for someone as sheltered as Fitz.
Despite her youth, Zara understood that people’s fundamental nature was difficult to change, even though their circumstances might be fluid. She sympathized with her brother’s choice in the current situation. She could imagine the hardships he must have endured to walk a mile in his shoes, and it pained her as his younger sister.
Today, thanks to Barne’s intervention, her brother was finally allowed to return home. Zara couldn’t wait to see him again.
When Zara arrived at the airport, Fitz’s plane had already touched down.
Despite the shabby state of his clothes, which were rumpled and creased, Fitz was relieved to see his sister waiting for him. The circumstances of his sudden departure meant that he had no time to pack decent clothing, and the Wade family had provided him with none. So, for now, he had to make do with what he had.
Thanks to Isaac’s coordination, the staff of the Wade family had arranged for Fitz to be escorted directly out of the airport and to Zara’s side.
Zara parked the car on the side of the road and waited anxiously for Fitz. When she saw several staff members leading a man who looked like a beggar out of the airport, she recognized him right away.
Despite her sadness at Fitz’s appalling appearance, she opened the car door and called out to him in a choked voice, “Brother!”
Fitz turned towards the sound and saw Zara. Tears instantly welled up in his eyes. Without hesitation, Zara rushed towards him and embraced him, disregarding his grubby appearance.
She cried, “Brother! You’re finally back…”
Fitz couldn’t help but feel ashamed of his disheveled appearance.
After crying, he blurted out, “Zara, I’m too dirty…”
“It doesn’t matter,” Zara shook her head, tears still streaming down her face. “Brother, you’ve suffered so much in the past six months…”
Fitz let out a heavy sigh and looked remorseful. “I didn’t suffer much, but I feel so guilty whenever I think of you and Mom. I can never forgive myself…”
Zara quickly reassured him. “Those things are in the past, brother. Let’s not dwell on them. Mom and I understand how difficult it was for you. She’s not angry with you, and neither am I.”
Drying her tears, Zara urged Fitz, “Come on, let’s go home. Mom’s waiting for you.”
Fitz looked a little sheepish. “Zara, I don’t look very presentable right now… Why don’t I find somewhere to freshen up and change my clothes first?”
“No need,” Zara replied, shaking her head. “Mom’s already prepared everything for you, including a razor. So come on, let’s go!”
Fitz was surprised. “Mom knew that Mr. Wade would let me come back? Did she ask him?”
Zara shook her head and explained, “I told Mom yesterday that I wanted to ask Mr. Wade if he would let you come back temporarily for Dad’s wedding. Mom said that as long as I asked, Mr. Wade would definitely agree. So, I bought all these things for you yesterday afternoon in advance.”
Fitz was slightly taken aback, then nodded and sighed, “It seems like Mom knew that Mr. Wade would be lenient with me.”
Zara nodded in agreement and urged her brother to hurry, “Come on, let’s get in the car and chat. Mom’s waiting for us.”
With that, Zara thanked the Wade family subordinates who had accompanied them and led Fitz to her car.
Looking at Zara’s clean and tidy Volvo, Fitz hesitated, “Zara, I’m dirty and smelly. I don’t want to get your car dirty…”
Zara simply pushed him into the car and said with seriousness, “Brother, we’re family. No car is more important than you.”
With that settled, Zara rushed to the driver’s seat and started the engine, eager to take her brother home.
As they drove, Zara asked her brother, “How was your journey? Are you tired?”
Fitz shook his head, “I wasn’t tired. At first, I felt like I was going to die of exhaustion, but I quickly got used to it. I wasn’t prepared for the sudden interruption, though. The plane ride was quite rough.”
Zara was surprised. Her pampered older brother had adapted to the grueling pilgrimage so well.
Fitz continued, “In the past, I never could stick to anything. Sometimes I wanted to quit smoking, but I couldn’t even last a whole morning. Other times I felt like hitting the gym, but I’d only last two days. Sometimes I wanted to learn something useful, but I couldn’t stick to anything for more than a few years…”
Fitz let out a heartfelt sigh, “This pilgrimage has taught me a valuable lesson. It’s not so hard to persevere. The real challenge is the first few days. Once you push through that, things get easier. Kneeling and prostrating while walking every day might sound unbearable, but after the first few days, I got used to it. I even quit smoking…”
“Everything has improved a lot, and I feel like I’m more natural and thorough than ever before. That’s why I’m grateful to Mr. Wade, from the bottom of my heart. It might sound strange, but he’s reshaped my soul.”