Joan could not be bothered with her. She took Selena and Jack to the center of the garden of their villa.
Jack began the conversation before his mother could, “Mom, did that old man and that woman come looking for you? Did they tell you to say something to me?”
She smiled. “You’re right. You guessed it before I even said anything.”
“What old man? What woman?”
Selena was perplexed, clueless as to what they were talking about.
Joan turned toward Selena and said, “Selena, there’s something that we’ve never told you before. Jack’s father isn’t dead yet… He’s still alive. His name is Nash White.”
Selena inhaled sharply, utterly shocked to the core, and it took her a long while to recover. “So now he’s back looking for Jack?” blurted Selena. “Both of you knew long ago that he was still alive?”
Joan nodded her head. “How do we put this…? There are plenty of powerful associations in this world, like the Ten Noble Families of Gin City. They’re considered plenty strong, right?”
Joan paused a good while to let that sink before she continued, “Yet there are even more terrifying forces in this world—far stronger than the Ten Noble Families of Gin City. They’re the underground family clans. They usually don’t bother with us, since they live so far removed from us. Not many even know about their existence.”
“No way… The Ten Noble Families of Gin City are already so strong, and you’re telling me that there are families even stronger than them?”
Selena gulped. “Are you saying that Jack’s father is from one of those underground families?” she asked cautiously.
Joan’s lips curled into a mirthless smile. “That’s right. I didn’t know this before either. He was young back then, and he just mingled with regular people for fun. We fell in love at first sight, being so attracted to each other. I thought that we’d live the rest of our lives in bliss, but I found out that he had a very high position down the line, and—he didn’t tell me then—he had wives!”
Selena nodded. She stared at Joan as she attentively listened and waited for her to complete her story.
Joan resumed, “He wanted to make me his third wife, since he already had two others. I didn’t protest because I loved him, and I agreed to the arrangement. After all, it wasn’t easy to find someone I truly loved…”
As Joan spoke, her eyes wandered into the distance as though she swam in her memories. There was a faint smile as she spoke of Nash.
Jack noticed everything. He still hated Nash for how he offered no help and no sympathy at that time, but he knew that his mother still had not forgotten him. She still cherished him in her heart.
Should Jack choose to not return, his mother would never again get the chance to meet him again.
At that moment, a tangle of emotions knotted his chest. He wondered if he was too selfish, that he did not have the capacity to think of his mother.
“But why aren’t you two together then?” asked Selena, and there was a frown on her face.
“That’s because the White family wasn’t that strong back then, but they wanted to become a true underground family, to be a first-class clan. He needed help from his first wife, who was from the Lagorio family.”
Joan flashed a bitter smile. “Lily Lagorio protested against our marriage…and Nash gave in to his parents’ and Lily’s demands.”