Table For Two Chapter 182
Xiu Ling decided to begin with the lighter of the two expose to gauge Joann's receptiveness to the news. She took in a deep breath and said, "We have found the culprit who blackmailed Lee Mu and Zao Ming."
"Really?!" Joann's face broke into a smile. Her worry from earlier turned into joy for her friends. "Who is it? We will definitely go teach them a lesson!"
However, something else hit Joann on the back of her head and she voiced it aloud, "Then again, why are you coming to me with this news? I mean, I do appreciate the update but shouldn't we have invited Lee Mu and Zao Ming? After all, they are the main victims of this ordeal."
"Mom..." Sylvia began to say but she appeared to find herself unable to continue. She sighed and when she saw Joann look her way, she turned swiftly away. This act of evasion made the worry and apprehension that had left a minute ago return to curl around Joann's heart again.
"Joann," Xiu Ling reached over to grab her best friend's hand to give it a squeeze. When Joann turned around to look into Xiu Ling's eyes, the latter said, "We're here because it's related to you."
"Me?!" What Xiu Ling said caused the cogs in Joann's mind to turn. Since everyone in company knew that Zao Ming and Lee Mu were the victims, there was no more revelation about them. Therefore, it had to be the culprit whom she was somehow related to. "But how?"
Xiu Ling said as clearly as she could in case Joann misheard her, "The culprit is your female co-star, Qing Qing."
Joann's mind froze for that split second as the sound wave that was received in her ears transformed into electronic signal to be sent to her brain. However, the truth was so preposterous that the synapses in her brain had trouble parsing that audio stimulus.
"Qing Qing?!" Joann repeated with disbelief. She was experiencing cognitive dissonance. The thing that Xiu Ling was telling her did not line up with how she understood the world. "Qing Qing is the most innocent, kind and caring person I know. She would not have done something like this."
"Yes," Joann continued but it was uncertain who she was trying to convince then. "There has to be a mistake somewhere. Where did you get this information from? Perhaps your source is trying to trick you." This time Joann sounded more convinced in what she was saying.
Out of her sight, Sylvia bit on the bottom part of her lips. If this was how her mother was reacting to this news, she really could not imagine how she was going to react to the other news.
Sylvia could not understand why her mother had such faith in that woman. She knew her mother was not a gullible person so why had she fallen so for that vixen's tricks?
This was a question that maybe even Joann herself might not be able to answer, at least not before some deep self-examination. Perhaps it was as simple as she wished to see the goodness in others and wanted to believe in the virtue of human heart. Alas, she had been in the entertainment business, a business that was based on selling a dream, for far too long to not be exposed to the realism of life.
In that case, perhaps an individualistic personality like Joann needed someone to feed into her ego and Qing Qing fitted that role so well that she was unwilling to see that change? After all, Qing Qing came to Joann when she was just a little fledgling, or at least she appeared to be, and Joann volunteered to take her under her wings. Ever since then, Qing Qing had been telling others and the public, everything she was that day was due to Joann. Even though she did not state it explicitly, this meant that by extension, every success that the young woman had gained along the way could be credited to Joann, her supposed mentor. That contributed to Joann's sense of validation and for someone that was as self-loving as the senior actress, the vicarious sense of accomplishment could be something to get addicted to.
Joann thought Qing Qing had grown dependent on her and was going to find a day to talk to her about it but could it be that the opposite was true as well?
Joann had gotten so used to Qing Qing being there to put the spotlight on her that she had come to expect it. In the same vein, she also came to become dependent on it. In this case, who really was the one that was in power in this relationship?
Regardless, personal feelings had no place before cold hard facts. Xiu Ling smashed through Joann's misconception by offering her proofs that she could not deny. "My source is the best forensic department this country has to offer. Lin Kang has pulled some strings to get them to look at the envelope the blackmail letter was sent it. They found a set of foreign print on it and it was traced back to Qing Qing. There is no reasonable doubt in this case. Why would an esteemed department forge an evidence against the young woman when they have no stakes in this case? Joann, I know this might be hard to believe but this is the truth..."
Joann was silent for quite some time, perhaps allowing the information to percolate in her mind. At least she had stopped rejecting the statement directly, Xiu Ling took that as a good sign.
However, things hadn't really changed that much unfortunately. After giving it some thought, Joann still shook her head and said, "No, it's impossible. Perhaps Qing Qing has accidentally touched the envelope or the real culprit loaned the thing from her?!"
"Mom!" She was saddened earlier but now Sylvia was getting increasingly annoyed at her mother's insistence on coming to the woman's defense. "Are you even listening to yourself?"