Deana hastily changed into her outdoor slippers and opened the door to find a lady and a middle-aged man standing outside the iron gate. Although they were Jagoan’s grandmother and uncle, Deana didn’t recognize them as the Evans family seldom appeared in the media.
“Who are you looking for?” Deana inquired.
The lady smiled and asked, “Excuse me, are you Ms. Deana Thorne?”
Upon hearing her name, Deana replied modestly, “Yes, that’s me. May I know who you are, Auntie?”
The lady smiled and introduced herself, “I am Eleanor Evans, Bruce Wade’s mother-in-law and Lily’s mother.”
Then she gestured to the man beside her and continued, “And this is my eldest son and Lily’s younger brother, Desmond…”
Deana was surprised to see Aunt Evans standing at the door and exclaimed, “Aunt Evans, please come in! And Mr. Evans, please come in too!”
She quickly opened the door, welcoming them inside.
Initially, Deana was unsure why Aunt Evans had come to visit her. But soon, she realized that Aunt Evan’s visit had nothing to do with her. Based on Jagoan’s explanation earlier, she immediately concluded that Aunt Evans was seeking clues about Jagoan.
Aunt Evans thanked Deana and followed her inside. Just then, Zara emerged from the inner door and was taken aback to see an old woman and a middle-aged man entering the yard. She couldn’t help but feel puzzled.
Deana quickly introduced Zara to Grandma Evans and Uncle Evans, “This is my daughter, Zara. Grandma Evans and Uncle Evans are visiting from the United States.”
Zara blurted out, “Grandma Evans… Isn’t that Mr…”
She stopped short, realizing she was about to betray Jagoan’s trust.
Thinking quickly, Zara corrected herself, “Isn’t that Uncle Wade’s mother-in-law?”
Aunt Evans looked curious and asked, “Miss Banks also knows Bruce?”
Zara shook her head and explained, “No, Grandma, you misunderstood. I don’t know Uncle Wade personally. I heard about him from others and since my mother moved here, I’ve heard her talk about him.”
Aunt Evans nodded, not questioning Zara further. She had already looked into Deana’s past and knew of her close ties to Bruce. However, visiting Deana felt somewhat awkward for her.
The gentle and intellectual woman standing before Aunt Evans was, to a certain extent, her daughter’s rival in love and she had been miserably defeated by her daughter. Deana, too, felt embarrassed by the unexpected visit.
To break the awkward silence, Deana turned to Zara and said, “Zara, aren’t you running late for school? Hurry along.”
Zara nodded and bid Grandma Evans and Uncle Evans farewell politely before making her exit. Aunt and Uncle Evans followed Deana into the inner sanctum of her old house.
As they entered, Aunt Evans was struck by the unchanged decor, which remained the same as it had been twenty years ago. It was the last place her daughter, son-in-law and grandson had lived before their tragic demise. Tears welled up in her eyes as she reminisced about her daughter.
Aunt Evans quickly wiped away her tears with her sleeve, not wanting to make a negative impression on Deana.
She then complimented Deana on the well-maintained house, “Ms. Thorne, to tell you the truth, this is the first time I’ve been here in so many years. Thank you for keeping it in such great condition!”
Deana quickly interjected, “Auntie, please don’t call me Ms. Thorne. Just call me Deana.”
Aunt Evans nodded and proceeded to ask her, “Deana, I hope you don’t mind me asking, but have you seen any suspicious-looking young men around the age of twenty-seven or eight, who have been wandering around here?”
Deana knew that Aunt Evans was seeking information about Jagoan, but she still pretended not to know, “Auntie, to be honest, I haven’t noticed anyone. This is the old city of Aurous Hill, with a high population density and a mix of people coming and going. I really can’t recall any suspicious behavior.”
Aunt Evans looked disappointed, “Jagoan was always very fond of his parents and had a strong sense of filial piety. If he’s still alive, he will definitely come back to see them.”