Atrophied HeartAtrophied Heart
By: Webfic

Chapter 1 Send Her To Jail

"It wasn’t me. You gotta believe me!” Jane Dunn stared stubbornly at the person in the car. The roaring rain had splashed across the car window, but she could still vaguely see that cold hard face beyond the wet window. Jane’s body shook as she stood outside the door, shouting at him past the car window, “Sean! At least hear me out!” The car door opened suddenly, but before Jane could rejoice, she was yanked into the car ruthlessly. She fell onto his body, instantly drenching his crisp white shirt. “Sean, I wasn’t the one who hired those thugs to hurt Rosaline...” As soon as Jane said that, a long and slender finger pinched her chin mercilessly. His uniquely deep and mesmerizing voice spoke above her head. “Do you really like me that much?” His cold voice, and that faint scent of tobacco—his scent. “What?” Jane was a little dazed. Everyone and their mother knew that she liked him, so why was he suddenly asking her that now? The man held Jane’s chin with one hand, while his other slender and strong hand stretched toward her. His finger landed gently on her cheek, wet and cold from the rain. Jane drowned in his warm tender eyes, losing herself completely. She could almost hear him asking her, “Are you cold?” However, the man suddenly emanated a cold and cruel air, saying without any warmth, “Jane Dunn, do you really like me that much? So much that you would even kill Rosaline?” A chill crept up from the bottom of her heart, spreading to her limbs. Jane woke up in an instant, and she could not help but smile wryly to herself… Of course, of course he would never treat her so tenderly. That was not warmth at all, only a satanic smile. “I didn’t mean to kill Rosaline…” She wanted to defend herself. “That’s right. You didn’t mean to kill Rosaline, you just hired some thugs to rape and defile her.” Fury and impatience began to shine in the man’s eyes. Without giving any time to explain, he simply reached over and tore off her clothes. “Ah~!” With a scream, Jane was violently pushed out of the car. She fell into the rain painfully, as the man's cold voice by her ear sounded especially loud in the rain. "Jane Dunn, oh, Miss Dunn, I'll do to you exactly what you did to Rosaline. How does it feel like to be half-naked?" Swoosh! Jane raised her head abruptly, looking into the car in disbelief. The man was sitting inside and looking down on her from above. He took out a handkerchief and wiped his fingers slowly, saying, "I'm really tired right now, Miss Dunn. Please leave me." "Sean! Hear me out! I really didn't…" "If you want me to hear you out, sure." The man raised his gaze coolly and gave her a glance. "If you're willing to kneel in front of Stewart Manor all night, Miss Dunn, I might consider giving you ten minutes of my time. If I'm in a better mood, of course." The car door slammed to a shut, and a handkerchief was tossed out of the car, drifting to the ground in front of Jane and getting drenched in the rain. Jane lowered her head and picked up the handkerchief in the rain, clutching it tightly in her hand. The car drove into Stewart Manor, and the ornate metal gate closed right in front of her without a single hint of mercy. In the rain, Jane looked pale. She stood there for a long time before raising her head determinedly, walking to the main gate of Stewart Manor. Her lips were pressed tightly together, then she fell to her knees with a smack. She was kneeling! But not to atone for a crime! It was only because Rosaline Summers was her friend! Since her friend was dead, it was only natural for her to kneel. It was not because she had killed Rosaline like everyone thought! She was kneeling! She was begging this man to give her ten minutes, to hear her out! Her clothes were ripped to shreds. She covered her body with her hands, but her spine was straight. She was proud and she would stay proud even on her knees! She had her pride and her dignity; she was Jane Dunn of the Bund! She got onto her knees stubbornly, all for a chance to explain. She never did what they accused her of doing, and she was not going to admit to something she did not do! However, was she really going to get that chance? Could she really explain herself? Also… would anyone really believe her? The rain grew heavier, without stopping for even a second. … The night passed. Jane remained kneeling outside Stewart Manor amidst the torrential rain. The rain drenched her dress. She had been kneeling outside for the entire night. Dawn had finally broken, and the manor finally came back to life after a night of silence. The old silver-haired butler walked out of the yard, holding an antique umbrella. The metal gates opened with a creak after the night of inaction, its two halves splitting to reveal a gap at the center. Jane finally moved, raising her slumped head and giving the old butler between the gates a pale smile. "Miss Dunn, Mr. Stewart requests that you leave this place." The old butler's hair was immaculately combed, without a single strand out of place despite the rainy weather. He was just as strict and solemn as the foliage in the garden, tended to and trimmed by a professional gardener. The old butler threw a set of clothing at Jane. Jane reached out her hand, soaked overnight in the rain, and she shook as she put the clothes on. She parted her bloodless lips and said in a hoarse yet determined voice, "I want to meet him." The old butler did not even budge an eyelid, repeating the owner of the manor's words verbatim, "Mr. Stewart said that your presence here, Miss Dunn, is polluting the air around the manor. He wants you to get out of his sight." Not once had Jane expressed even a hint of weakness since everything started going wrong. Now, however, she could not keep up her facade of strength anymore. Her shoulders trembled, betraying the hurt in her heart. Jane closed her eyes, the rainwater on her face making it hard to tell if it was tears or rain wetting the corner of her eyes. The old butler looked at her expressionless. Jane opened her eyes again and raised her head, looking at the butler as she said, "Mr. Summers, I don't know what you're thinking, but I swear that I never hired those thugs to assault Rosaline. No matter what, I can't accept your hatred without reason." Although Jane was exhausted, she still said every word clearly and precisely… This was a woman who had her pride, even though she was willing to bend it temporarily. The old butler finally had a reaction beyond looking at her like she did not exist. His grey brows knitted together, and he looked at Jane with eyes full of hatred. "Rosaline was my daughter, and she has always been a good and obedient girl. She had never once set foot into a place as chaotic and filthy as a night club, but she had somehow ended up at one of those places with the lowest of lowlifes, where they assaulted her to death. "Miss Dunn, we checked her messages. Before the incident, she called you and sent you a text, saying, 'I've arrived at Nightlight. Where are you, Jane?'." The old butler's gaze on Jane was filled with a deep hatred. "Miss Dunn, it wasn't just some cat or dog you killed. It was a living human being! She's dead now, but you still refuse to admit it! Everyone knows that you're infatuated with Mr. Stewart, whereas Mr. Stewart only had eyes for my daughter Rosaline. He hates you to the core! You were clearly jealous of Rosaline and obsessed with Mr. Stewart. That's why you wanted to have Rosaline raped. Your evil truly knows no bounds, Miss Dunn!" There was nothing Jane could say to that. Rosaline Summers was Mr. Summers' daughter and Sean's true love, whereas Jane herself was only a minor character who had a one-sided crush on Sean. Now Rosaline was dead, so Jane was more than a minor character now. She was a minor antagonist. "Please leave, Miss Dunn," said the old butler. "Oh, yes, Mr. Stewart also asked me to tell you one more thing." Jane looked at the old butler abruptly. "Mr. Stewart said, 'Why weren't you the one who died?'" Jane was still kneeling on the ground, but now her body began to sway as well. There was a sharp and intense pain in her chest. The old butler turned around, his dry and wrinkled lips curving into a cold yet hard angle. It made his conservative features look cruel and harsh. Jane killed Rosaline, and it infuriated him. He hated Jane's ruthlessness. Jane held up her body, which was chilled to the bone. She got to her feet, staggering, but as soon as she stood up, her numb legs gave way under her, and she fell hard onto the asphalt road, butt-first. She gave herself a cynical smile… 'Why weren't you the one who died?' That did sound like something that man would say. Jane smiled, but it looked even worse than a grimace. "Rosaline, oh, Rosaline… Your death made me public enemy number one." On the second floor of Stewart Manor, a man stood there with his long and slender body, with his broad shoulders and narrow hips. His black robe was casually wrapped around him, and he stood barefoot, his tall and sexy body perfectly still in front of the ceiling-to-floor window. His cold gaze was fixed on the shadow of that back outside the manor. "Mr. Stewart, I have repeated your every word to Miss Dunn, as you requested." The old butler stood quietly outside the door to the master bedroom after he chased Jane away. Sean swirled the glass of red wine in his hand. It was only after he heard the old butler's report that he coldly gave his next orders, "Tell the Dunns that they have to choose. If they choose to keep her, they can kiss their business goodbye. If they want to keep their business, they'll have to disown her." "Yes, sir." "Next, inform S University that they don't have anyone called Jane Dunn on their records. Tell No.1 High that Jane Dunn was expelled for fighting during her schooling days. Her highest qualification shall be her junior high graduation." "Yes, sir." "Lastly…" Sean Stewart said coldly, "Send her to jail." The old butler raised his head abruptly, looking shocked as he said, "Mr. Stewart?" "A life for a life. She hired others to kill a living human being, so I'll send her to jail and keep her behind bars for three years. What's the matter? Do you fault my decision, Summers?" The sentence of three years was one that Sean had decided for Jane of his own accord. They did not have enough evidence yet right now, but Sean was certain in his rage. "No, you made the right decision, Mr. Stewart. Absolutely… Thank you, Mr. Stewart. Th-thank you…" The old butler's face was awash with tears. He actually broke down. "If it weren't for you, Mr. Stewart, what Jane Dunn did to Rosaline would go unpunished. She's a Dunn, so there's nothing I can do about her. Thank you, sir, thank you… Sooob…" Sean turned around and stood before the window, looking down at the figure that turned the corner and walked out of sight. His eyes were filled with shadows, and his long fingers gripped his wine glass tightly. Finally, he threw his head back and drained all the blood-red liquid, swallowing it all up. "Summers, I'm teaching Jane Dunn a lesson, not because Rosaline was your daughter, but because she was the woman I chose," said Sean slowly. … Jane dragged her exhausted body back home. However, she never managed to set foot inside the Dunn household. The old butler who had been serving the Dunns all his life repeated Sean Stewart's exact words to her, and Jane was kindly "invited to leave" the Dunn household. She never even caught a glimpse of her own parents throughout the ordeal. Were they that afraid of Sean Stewart? Jane tugged at a corner of her lips… and then she pulled back her gaze. Those ornate steel gates drew a line between herself and the Dunns, cutting her off from everything she had ever owned. Jane did not know how to describe how she was feeling right now. The moment she turned around, two men in blue police uniforms stopped her. "Miss Dunn, we suspect that you hired thugs to rape a Miss Rosaline Summers, leading to her accidental death. Please come with us." Before she was escorted into prison, Jane saw Sean, standing majestically next to the window. Jane shook her head and said determinedly, "I never did anything to Rosaline." Sean deliberately walked his long and well-toned body up to her. Jane told herself to be brave. After all, she was innocent. She did not do anything wrong. Her delicate little face was raised fearlessly, and she tried her best to remain calm, but her trembling shoulders still betrayed her nervousness… and that pair of sharp eyes did not miss anything.
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