(Sam found out the truth)
It was Sam who showed up at the door. Seeing him there, Autumn was struck by how quickly Wendy had been working on her plan.
She couldn't believe that Wendy, while forcing her to push Charles away to create opportunities for Yvonne, was also using Sam to get between her and her husband.
This woman had a good strategy, and what a sophisticated plan!
"Simon, Wendy, thanks for having me." Sam greeted. Like Autumn, he had brought many gifts. Seeing Autumn sitting on the sofa, he nodded lightly at her. As for Wendy and Simon, his opinion of them had been low, which was evident in the cold greeting he gave them.
"Here you are at last! I've been expecting you." Beaming with delight, Wendy took Sam's hand and sat him down beside Autumn.
"There is no need to bring so many gifts. This is so kind of you, really!" she exclaimed.
She was grinning from ear to ear, but Sam responded dryly to her excessive enthusiasm and said, "You are welcome."
Wendy was a bit embarrassed hearing his words. She then glared at Autumn and snapped, "Sam is our guest. Why don't you have some manners and get him a glass of water?"
She turned back to Sam, put her smile back on and said, "You and Autumn grew up together. She's been rather too free with you and has put all the courtesies behind. Don't be too surprised about that."
Serving the guests had been the duty of the servants. Since when did Autumn have to do it?
Superficially, Wendy was scolding Autumn for her misbehavior. But in truth, she was trying to show everyone the close relationship between Autumn and Sam.
Fortunately Charles wasn't there. Otherwise, one wouldn't be able to draw his sour face, hearing all this.
Wendy continued playing matchmaker. She smiled and said, "Speaking of which, I bet you two haven't seen each other for many years. Autumn has been living with her grandma since childhood.
Fortunately, you were around to take care of her. I had always thought that... you two would be destined for each other."
Wendy's laughter rang throughout the living room. But Autumn and Sam were not a bit amused.
Casting Autumn a glance, Sam knew that she wouldn't be able to defend herself, so he spoke up for her.
"You misunderstand. Autumn and I... have been close, only like brother and sister. He then sneered and continued, "We all know that you remarried soon after her father's death, leaving her alone with her grandmother, and they had no one but each other for support. The neighbors took pity on them and helped them out once in a while. I lived nearby, so it was only natural for us to develop a close relationship. I think that was how the gossip started."
He paused before saying, "Wendy, you have already done wrong to Autumn when she was a child. She is married now and it is inappropriate to be talking like this.
People might think of you as an unfit mother."
Wendy was totally speechless. Autumn really wanted to clap her hands if not for Wendy.
Wendy let out an embarrassed smile and said to Sam, "You are absolutely right. It was all my fault back then. But it is now a thing of the past. Autumn, why not show Sam around the house, it's his first time here."
Autumn did not refuse. She had been waiting for an opportunity to ask Sam why he came today.
"Come with me, Sam," she said with a faint smile.
Autumn did not even have her own room in this house, only a temporary one prepared for the wedding not too long ago. As for how well she knew the Gu Family, well... She had visited this house for merely a few more times than Sam.
If anything, the little garden in the backyard might be the place she was most familiar with. It was both open and secluded, a good place to have a talk without the risk of being overheard.
"Little Ye..." Sam called Autumn softly while following her. He had been back from abroad for quite a while, but hadn't had the chance to talk with her privately until now.
"How have you been?" he asked.
"Not bad," she replied casually for she had something else on her mind. "Sam, what brings you here?"
"Didn't you know?" Sam looked at her with surprise. "Wendy called me and said you've asked for me to come..."
It was just as Autumn had expected.
She smirked. It was clear that Wendy would go to any extent to have Yvonne marry into the Lu Family.
"Autumn... I've been meaning to ask you something, but I just never had the chance." He frowned lightly, hesitated for a while before asking, "I had a chat with Chris the other day, and we talked about you. She called you Yvonne, why is that?"
"Well…" Autumn sighed. She knew that this secret would be out in the open, some time or other, but she never expected that Sam would be the first person to find out.
She frowned and said nothing at all. But Sam could somehow tell by her grim expression. He then asked hesitantly, "Don't tell me… that you married Charles under the name of Yvonne."
This was the only sensible explanation that Sam could think of, but it was also the most unacceptable one for him.
He had spent many years overseas for her sake. He had always wanted to win her back. But then he returned, only to find out that she had married. How could he accept it if her marriage to Charles was all Wendy's doing? How could he get over her if she was forced into all this?
"Yes, that's true!" After a long period of silence, Autumn nodded her head affirmatively, "Sam, it's complicated. I hope you can keep it a secret for me..."
He held her tightly before she could finish and blurted out, "Why? Why didn't you tell me?"
"Let go of me, Sam," Autumn said and gently pushed him away. "It's all over now," she added.
Sam couldn't contain himself. He hated the fact that he hadn't come back sooner. If he had, Autumn would never have had to suffer. "I am so sorry. I wish I have returned sooner."
"It was not your fault." Autumn forced a smile and said, "My grandma was seriously ill at that time, but I couldn't afford the medical care. Just then, Yvonne had fled from her wedding, so Wendy took grandma away, held her against our will and forced me to take Yvonne's place. So..."
"What else do they want from you? When on earth will they be satisfied? How could they play around with your marriage and happiness? This is just ridiculous!"
Sam exclaimed. He now wanted to confront the Gu Family and ask for an explanation. Autumn stopped him immediately, "Sam, I knew you would get angry, that's why I have been keeping this to myself. I am fine. Even though I married Charles against my will, he has been treating me well. This is actually good enough for me."
"Little Ye, don't try to make me feel better. There is no need for that now." Sam sneered. Initially, he had decided to give up on Autumn. After all, he saw the way Charles cared for her, and knew that the man could be trusted. But he could no longer turn a blind eye to it. How could he live with the fact that Autumn was forced into this circus from the very beginning? No thanks to Wendy.