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(A divorce deal)

Chris smiled at her father. "You take it easy, Dad. We're all here for you."

She sat down beside him and gave him a hug of reassurance.

By 10 o'clock, Rachel was out of surgery, although she had yet to wake up from anesthesia. Her forehead was plastered and her face was still pale. Edward asked about his wife and was relieved to be told she was out of danger.

He asked the medical staff who had handled the patient during surgery.

A doctor still wearing surgical scrubs and a mask approached Edward and the rest to report on the outcome of the procedure.

"I handled the operation," said he, after taking off the mask.

An anxious Edward inquired, "Doctor, how is she? When will she wake up?"

The surgeon patted Edward's shoulder to assure him Rachel was in recovery.

"I had to stitch her forehead which was cut open. The stitches will be removed in a few days. But…"

The doctor paused a bit, and then looked at Edward, his face quite serious. "Your wife is pregnant and is already in a delicate state. The accident, unfortunately, put the baby at risk for abortion. I'm sorry," said Rachel's doctor.

He explained the patient needed complete bed rest and must not be subject to undue stress, otherwise she would be in danger of losing the child.

Edward shook the doctor's hand and said, "Yes, thank you for taking care of her. And we shall follow your instructions."

He was getting impatient for the physician to leave. While he appeared to be concerned about Rachel, Edward really wanted nothing to do with her pregnancy. Still, he was asked to see his wife after she woke up and was taken to a room.

Then he turned to those who were with him to ask them to go. "Charles, thank you for your efforts and kindness," Edward said, shaking Charles's hands. You all go on home to rest. I'll stay behind to be with Rachel."

Chris, however, insisted on staying with her father. "I'll stay here with you to help out."

Edward thought of arguing with his daughter but eventually gave in. "Charles, Autumn, you can go home now and rest. Thank you for being here with us through all this," she said graciously, thanking Charles and Autumn.

Then the couple got up, preparing to leave the hospital.

"We will go ahead," said Autumn. She agreed it wasn't necessary to stay at the hospital and wanted to get home after a long and tiring day. "But call me if you need me, okay?" said she, turning to Chris.

The two women then exchanged a hug. "I know what to do," Chris reassured Autumn.

After seeing Charles and Autumn off, Chris went back to the ward and saw her father was not there. She went to look for him and found him by the staircase, smoking. "What are you doing, Dad?" she asked in surprise.

Edward waved off her question. "I need to smoke to relax. Don't worry, I'm all right," said he.

He thought he could drown his sorrows in cigarettes. If not for Chris' support and company, Edward was almost certain he would be facing a huge scandal once news came out about Rachel's pregnancy. And it would make handling his estate more difficult.

While puffing, he thought of his earlier impulse to strangle Rachel to protect Chris's shares in the company. But he decided it would not be worth the candle to murder Rachel, however hateful she was.

Having just reunited with Chris, Edward would do anything to protect his daughter and ensure they will have a harmonious relationship.

After watching her father in silence, Chris decided to talk about the situation.
"Dad, how do you want to go about resolving this matter," she prodded gently.

Leaving Edward alone was not really an option for Chris. Something had to be done to put an end to the scandal caused by Rachel once and for all.

He ran his fingers through his hair, shrugging. "I haven't thought of anything yet," Edward admitted.

He told his daughter that had she not been holding him tightly during his confrontation with Rachel, he may have actually beaten his wife to death.

Chris was shocked at the intensity of Edward's anger. For a moment she was paralyzed by fear thinking of how things may have ended. Seeing his daughter's stricken look, he quickly reassured Chris, "You don't have to be afraid. I wasn't going to put you through something traumatic like that."

His daughter shook her head, and then looked at Edward lovingly. "Sometimes, you scare me, Dad. I sincerely hope you will never do anything beyond redemption. You must control your impulses. And please cherish our bond because I am loath to lose you," she said lengthily.

Edward could no longer control his tears while listening to Chris. He gave her an affectionate hug and said, "My dear daughter, I promise that I will control my temper and won't act on impulse in the future."

Pleased with her father's response, Chris steered the conversation to Edward's marriage. "Since you're not the baby's father, how do you plan to handle the situation with Rachel?" she inquired. She herself could offer no solutions, but she was curious how her father would handle the problem.

At a loss for words, Edward simply shook his head. "I haven't thought of anything effective.

However, I am considering divorcing her," he admitted to his daughter.

The determination in her father's voice made Chris shudder. Divorce may be the best idea to deal with the marriage between Edward and Rachel following her cheating.

"Are you sure divorce is the answer?" she asked politely.

"Oh definitely! What other recourse is there?" he replied.

Edward stubbed his cigarette and threw it in the trash. He grimaced and added, "I can tolerate most anything…

But not lies and deceptions. Rachel must be taught an important lesson for her unforgivable betrayal."

"Oh, Dad…" Chris sighed.

She hated seeing her father unhappy and consumed by hatred.

But Chris had a very soft spot in her father's heart. So he said, "You can rest assured I will not commit anything silly or tragic."

He was suddenly gaining perspective and it was becoming clearer how he wanted to punish Rachel.

Edward knew Rachel married him to raise her status in society and to get back at Charles. 'If I divorced her, she would be hugely disappointed and in a state of misery,' Edward thought.

He was soon on the phone speaking to his lawyer whom he instructed to draft a divorce agreement. One stipulation was the withdrawal of the hotel that he previously offered to Rachel.

The next day, he took advantage of the fact that Chris left to buy breakfast and presented Rachel with the divorce papers. His wife touched her belly hoping to stir some sympathy from Edward. But he only sneered at her. "Stop using that child as a pawn. You're pathetic!"

With her head still in pain and Edward's cruel words, Rachel was soon in tears and desolate. Looking at her husband, she sobbed.

"You should have asked the doctor to just abort the pregnancy!"

"But I have nothing to do with that baby. It is your baby," he said harshly.

The pregnancy was simply a reminder of Rachel's betrayal and it made him furious again.

"Since you're awake, go over the divorce settlement carefully and sign the papers," Edward ordered.

He tossed the documents over to Rachel, almost loath to touch her.
She thought Edward was just kidding about the divorce. When she caught the papers, she was overcome with fear and shock after seeing "Divorce Agreement"

written on top of the page. She looked at her husband and asked incredulously, "Are you really going to divorce me?"

"Woman, you deserve it!" he almost shouted.

It pained him to call his lawyer to draw up the divorce papers. He thought about it over and over again. In the end, he knew the only solution was to end his relationship with Rachel. "Your betrayal and deception are unacceptable and caused me severe distress. Nothing but a divorce will satisfy me," he said emphatically.

Rachel tried to change Edward's mind once more.

"Edward, I admit my mistake. I wasn't thinking at that time. But please forgive me and give us another chance…" said she, speaking softly and humbly.



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