The person who opened the door for them was Margaret Saunders, Emmeline's mother.
Jonathan's impression of his mother-in-law was that she was extremely coarse, mean, and petty. Since he married into the Smith family, she had never liked him and took pleasure in humiliating him or making him run errands.
The list of errands he had to do was endless, including replacing faulty lightbulbs, cleaning the dishes, vacuuming the floor, fixing the toilet, and even washing Margaret's undergarments because she was too lazy to do it herself.
Even so, she was still displeased with Jonathan. Often, she would urge Josephine to get a divorce so that the latter could get married to a wealthy man.
“Mom!” Jonathan greeted her.
Regardless of how much he hated Margaret, he had to endure her as long as he was still married to Josephine.
“I'm not your mom!” Margaret responded sharply. “You went missing for three years without informing us. What do you think we are, huh? A hotel that you can come and go as you please?”
“Mom, I've been—”
Before Jonathan could explain what had happened to him in the past three years, she cut him off. “Enough, stop making up excuses. I'm not interested in knowing how you have been doing. In fact, I'd rather see you die, for there's no point for you to exist except taking up space and wasting food.”
She took a deep breath before declaring, “Jonathan, let me be frank with you. You've been away for three years, so according to the law, your marriage with Josephine has ended. In other words, you two are divorced. Thus, don't show up at the Smith residence again as we don't welcome you!”
Without giving Jonathan a chance to explain himself, Margaret made it clear that it was time for him to leave.
She did not want the loser son-in-law of hers to upset her any further. The longer she looked at him, the more she found him to be an eyesore.
He was nothing compared to the only son of the chairman of Langford Group.
“Which law states that my marriage with Josephine is automatically over since I wasn't home for three years?” Jonathan demanded, his expression grim. He had tolerated her repeatedly, but his patience only served to fuel her arrogance and cruel comments.
It was the first time he came home in three years, yet she refused to let him in.
“That's none of your business! Jonathan Goldstein, stop spouting nonsense. I want you and Josephine to head to the City Hall tomorrow morning and get a divorce. From today onward, stay away from her. If you keep clinging to her, I'll ask someone to rough you up!” Margaret pointed at him and warned.
Jonathan lost the mood to play nice since she was the one who treated him rudely first. “Are you in a hurry for us to get a divorce because you want her to marry Alvin Langford?” he questioned sternly.
“How did you know?” A look of surprise appeared on Margaret's face, but she quickly recollected herself and answered, “Yes. So what? Josephine has been living like a widow ever since you disappeared. Can't she marry another man? That's better than staying with a loser like you!”
Jonathan announced icily, “Dream on. Alvin won't marry Josephine!”
After what happened that afternoon, there was no way Alvin would marry Josephine unless he had a death wish.
“Really? Do you think Alvin's afraid of you?” Margaret scoffed. “Jonathan, only your boasting skills increased during the past three years, huh? Enough, stop putting up an act. I know you well. Just stay away from Josephine, or bear the consequences!”
Without hesitation, she dragged Emmeline into the house and was about to shut the door to lock Jonathan outside. However, when she did so, the bruises on her daughter's arm appeared in her sight.
Her face turned solemn as she demanded, “What is this?”
“M-Mom, I...” Emmeline stuttered nervously.
“Did that b*stard Jonathan do this to you?” Margaret exclaimed as she glared at Jonathan. “B*stard, did you do this to Emmeline? How dare you lay a finger on her! I shall teach you a lesson!”
While speaking, she reached out to give Jonathan a slap on his cheek.
Alas, before she could even raise her arm, Jonathan caught it in a vise-like grip. “Your daughter got drunk in a bar and was drugged by someone else. I saved her from being raped!”
“Jonathan, let me go. How dare you touch me?” Margaret demanded, fury raging in her chest. “Emmeline's my daughter, so I know her well. My obedient daughter has always been a straight-A student. There's no way she would go to a bar!”
She refused to buy Jonathan's explanation.
This b*stard took advantage of Emmeline but refused to admit it, so he made up a lie to deceive me!
“Ask her yourself!” Jonathan shoved her away and looked at Emmeline. “Emmeline, go on!”
“I-I didn't go to a bar. He's slandering me...” Emmeline's eyes reddened as though Jonathan had indeed vilified her.
“Jonathan caused these bruises. He spotted me coming home alone and tried to take advantage of me in the dark. Luckily, I was quick enough to escape from his clutches. He even threatened me not to tell you about it or... He will...”
At that point, her voice trailed off. The way she bit her lip to hold back her tears made her story seem utterly convincing.
“Jonathan, what do you have to say for yourself? Filthy b*stard!” Margaret's temper sparked as she gave Jonathan a tight slap. “Emmeline's your sister-in-law! Even if you hate us, how could you do that to her? Son of a b*tch, I won't let you off!”
Margaret started shouting in a fit of anger. Just then, footsteps sounded inside the house before Connor Smith, Margaret's husband, also Jonathan's father-in-law, showed up. Running to the door, he inquired, “What is going on?”
Behind him was Josephine, who Jonathan had parted with that afternoon.
“Connor Smith, your daughter has been violated! Hurry, come teach this scum a lesson!” Margaret shrieked, her voice thick with tears. “Not only did he take advantage of Emmeline, but he also hit me!”