After dinner, Rose didn’t say anything more and left directly.
Gabrielle finally breathed easier. Throughout the meal, she was so tense that her shoulders were stiff. Now, she could relax.
With Rose hovering near them, Gabrielle thought of all the things Lance wanted to tell her but couldn’t because someone else was with them.
But with Rose gone, Gabrielle could ask him about it. She was dying to know what news he had for her.
“Lance, did you have something to say to me? Rose isn’t here anymore, so you can talk freely,” Gabrielle said anxiously. She was fidgeting with her fingers.
It had been pressing on her the entire night. If Rose wasn’t here, Gabrielle would have asked him already. She wanted answers.
“Yes, I have something to tell you.” Lance turned on the TV and scanned their surroundings even though he knew it was only Gabrielle and him. He couldn’t help but be hyperaware of their environment.
It was a small colored TV, probably brought by people who lived here before. The transmission signal was extremely poor, so only the Thai channel was available. It was also pretty grainy.
Lance didn’t want to watch TV, and he didn’t care about the content. What he needed was the sound to drown out their conversation. Even though there was no one else in the room, he didn’t want to risk being spied on.
“Lance, you’re making me a little nervous.” Gabrielle had to lower her voice after seeing what Lance had done. She had seen movies about people doing this to avoid others from eavesdropping. Somehow, it made her uneasy and nervous.
It was not something to be afraid of, but now he made her nervous. Lance was always cautious, but this was a bit too much—even for him.
She had never been at ease since she came into the forest. She was always pulsing with raw fear, and because of the dangers all around, she kept her guard up. It was the first time Gabrielle ever experienced anything like it—as if things could come crumbling down any minute.
“Gabrielle, don’t mind what I just did. What I’m about to tell you is the thing that ought to make you nervous.” Lance hadn’t decided yet whether to divulge the latest news to Gabrielle or not. He was still debating with himself.
“Lance, go ahead.” The room was enveloped by the sounds on TV, of people speaking Thai. Gabrielle darted her eyes from the screen to Lance, who was sitting with his hands on his lap.
“Is it about Bryce? Has his condition gotten worse?” Bryce was almost always on Gabrielle’s mind. They came here for him. If anything happened to him, she wasn’t sure she could take the pain. She wouldn’t be able to explain it to the Jones family when she would go home. Gabrielle’s anxiety only heightened.
“It’s not about Bryce. Gabrielle, do you know the Campbell Family? Specifically the Campbell Family in Italy?” Lance faced her and asked without preamble. He waited for her reaction.
“The Campbell Family in Italy?” Gabrielle furrowed her eyebrows in confusion and shook her head slowly. How could she know someone from Italy? From the sound of it, it seemed like they were a powerful family.
Yet, something itched at the back of her mind. She tried to think harder, and something clicked. Her eyes widened as she recalled hearing about it for the first time.
The Campbell Family in Italy was Bonnie’s family. She was Gabrielle’s sister-in-law and the eldest daughter of Campbell Family.
She didn’t know much about her family, except that they were the largest foreign clan in Italy and that they had a good relationship with one of the most powerful families in the country.
Anyway, it was a big family notorious for evoking fear from people. They were the kind nobody wanted to mess with. So, why did Lance suddenly ask about the Campbell Family? Surely, they didn’t have anything to do with the forest?
“Yes, the Campbell Family in Italy is currently one of the largest clans there and also one of the top clans in the world. Did you know that?” Lance moved a little closer to her, his voice insistent. There was a sense of urgency when he spoke to her.
Gabrielle blinked hard. Fear shot up her spine, and she found that her hands were trembling. She already knew it spelled disaster when someone offended the Campbell Family, but why did her cousin ask about them seemingly out of nowhere?
The eldest daughter of the Campbell Family was married to the eldest son of the Morris family in Antawood. It was not made public, and even the photos of Bonnie and her daughter were never shared. It was all for their safety, to protect them from their enemies.
Gabrielle was still confused. She initially thought Lance was going to tell her something about Bryce, but she did not expect this. Perhaps it was Bain who told him to d
She always felt that Bain was far more clever and sinister than he looked. He probably intended to look like an easy target, but Gabrielle knew he was more powerful than he let on.
“Lance, why are you suddenly asking about them? Their turf is in Italy, far away from here. Have you ever offended them or done something to put you on their radar?” Gabrielle asked him directly.
Gabrielle needed to know the reason first. She didn’t want to endanger her sister-in-law and her family, so Gabrielle didn’t mention them yet.
“Gabrielle, Bain has a grudge against the Campbell Family. They wounded his men after some altercation involving their business. They’re sworn enemies. If Bain finds out that someone living here knows the Campbell Family and is friends with them, he will kill that person without hesitation,” Lance said anxiously. He wasn’t a man who easily gave in to fear, but this time, it was there in his voice and his eyes. He was scared.
What made him anxious wasn’t fear for his own life, but for Gabrielle’s.
Gabrielle paled, and her pulse pounded in her ears. Her breathing quickened, and her mouth suddenly became dry. She never once considered how serious things were.
There were words that stuck out. If Bain found out anyone remotely related to the Campbell Family, he would kill them. Gabrielle swallowed hard, and beads of sweat collected on her forehead.
Gabrielle didn’t just know anyone from the Campbell Family, she was related to them. She was the sister-in-law of the Campbell Family’s eldest daughter. In short, she was family.
If Bain found out about her identity, would he kill her immediately? No questions asked? No negotiations?
“Gabrielle, what’s wrong? You don’t look well.” Lance was worried. Gabrielle looked like she had just seen a ghost.
“Lance, are you serious? How could Bain hate the people of the Campbell Family so much? At least enough that he would kill any one related to them?” Gabrielle struggled with her rising panic. Even her mind betrayed her and conjured images of b****y and brutal fights—scenes where people were hurt or killed.
It was yet another nightmare she wasn’t prepared for—that Bain and the Campbell Family had enmity between them. Who knew how long this was going on?
If Bain found out how she was related to the Campbell Family, she would be in danger. He wouldn’t hesitate to take her life.
Gabrielle already knew this was a dangerous place, but it gave her another reason to leave as quickly as possible. She was not safe. She deluded herself into thinking that Bain wouldn’t harm her. But if he found out about Bonnie and Gabrielle, he might just bury Gabrielle alive. As she thought of this, a chill ran down her spine. She felt a numbness in her limbs.
“Of course I’m serious, Gabrielle. I wouldn’t joke about this. Bain personally told me that there were people from the Campbell Family just outside the forest. For the time being, they wouldn’t dare enter the village for fear that Bain and his men would hurt the person they came to look for. Bain and the Campbell Family didn’t have such open hostility between them until recently. So there must be a reason why the Campbell Family gathered enough courage to come here. That’s why Bain is suspecting that someone inside the village either knows a member of the Campbell Family or is close with any of them. The Campbell Family is looking for someone but they are still hesitant to make any trouble for Bain,” Lance explained hurriedly. He had to make Gabrielle understand how serious this situation was.
Suddenly, hope sprang inside Gabrielle.
She could think of one reason why the Campbell Family would be there outside the forest. It could only be Westley’s doing. He probably asked his brother and sister-in-law for help, so they sent their people here.
If that was the case, then did it mean that Westley was outside the village too?
Just moments ago, she was frightened for her life. But now, she had mixed emotions—she was happy but nervous. She was happy because Westley came for her, which meant that he really loved her and cared about her. He wouldn’t go to such lengths if he didn’t.
But she was also nervous because Bain was a formidable enemy. The forest was surrounded by the most advanced weapons. That alone would inspire fear in anyone outside the village.
Her happiness was quickly extinguished. The more she thought about it, the more fearful she became. Her entire body trembled. Gabrielle really shouldn’t have come here on impulse in the first place. She might meet her end here before she could take Bryce home. Plus, she even put Westley in danger.
Thinking about her complicated and high-risk situation, she plunged into extreme sadness and frustration.