"Wake up, Autumn, it's time for dinner." After carrying the food upstairs, Charles entered their bedroom, turned on the light and shook Autumn awake. However, Autumn, who had been sleeping for hours, woke up in a daze and told Charles that she was not hungry and wanted to go back to sleep.
"Oh, please get up and join me for supper." Charles frowned. "Get out of bed and eat something, love. Please don't forget, you're carrying our baby so now you have to eat for two people."
Their relationship was now treading on delicate grounds owing to Autumn's occasional outbursts which were caused by her illness. Taking advantage of her sobriety, she apologized sincerely, "Charles, I'm sorry for all the trouble I've been causing lately. It must be very hard on you, I am so very sorry..."
"Oh it doesn't matter, Autumn. Please forget all about it," Charles interrupted her immediately, as he looked into her eyes lovingly.
"We're husband and wife, and you deserve everything I do for you."
"I mean it, my behavior was unwarranted for and I can't imagine what I made you go through on my account." Autumn looked back into his eyes deeply. She was fully aware of how her illness had affected those around her, and bearing that guilt in her mind, she wanted to express her apology to her closest ones without losing control of her emotions.
"Look, Charles, if I lose my temper again, just leave me alone until it passes because I do not know what I am saying and it means nothing," Autumn advised.
"I really feel guilty about bothering you so much."
"Don't say that," Charles said sadly as he helped Autumn sit up in the bed. "No matter how long or what it takes, I will find a way to cure you and help our baby be born safely," he added firmly to assure her.
After only a few bites, Autumn put the bowl and chopsticks down. Her appetite had almost died. So Charles helped her to lie down. And soon she fell in deep slumber.
In most cases, pregnant women gain a couple of pounds, but instead of gaining weight, Autumn was shedding weight owing to the stress and side effect from the medicines. Charles was heartbroken as he realized this.
In the early hours of the next morning, Isla came to visit Autumn. Tears welled in her eyes at the sight of Autumn, who was thinner than the last time she saw her. "Oh, dear, how haggard you seem. Damn it! Who on earth has done this to you?"
Isla cried and cursed the unknown culprit, and then blamed Charles for not protecting Autumn completely.
The pregnancy was supposed to be a blessed period, but no one was happy about Autumn's pregnancy now. After cursing for what seemed like a long minute, Isla sat on the bed beside Autumn and asked her with red eyes.
"Now, Autumn, please tell me why are you so foolish as to insist on keeping this child after knowing what you do about your condition and the consequences?" Isla wept just at the thought of her ordeal.
Autumn had already been through rounds of people's incomprehension and advice. "You'll understand when you get pregnant."
It was because of a mother's unconditional love.
She looked expectantly at Autumn's tummy, where a life was growing. At the same time, she was worried about Autumn. Ambivalent feelings haunted her all the entire time.
Autumn instantly comforted her and told her that she was now actively cooperating with doctors and would be fine soon.
These words reassured Isla. She stayed with Autumn for a long time. By the afternoon, Autumn was caught in a bad mood swing again. She clamored for Charles to settle accounts, and asked Isla who she was.
Isla was upset and furious to see her like this.
Not knowing what to do in the situation, she had to call Charles. When Isla arrived this morning, Charles went to the office to take care of things at office. He was in a meeting when he got the call from Isla.
As soon as he heard that Autumn was in bad condition, he hurried home, leaving the shareholders in the meeting room dumbfounded.
After a short while, the meeting room became very lively and the shareholders were discussing Charles. As Leila, who pricked up her ears, heard that Autumn was pregnant, she clenched her fists tightly.
'Why? Why does Autumn come out and disrupt everything every time I get a little closer to Charles? It seems like nothing will work in my favor so as long as she is alive...' she cried out in her heart, feeling tired and helpless of being caught in this recurring situation.
'Now that Autumn is pregnant, how can I win Charles over from her?'
Suddenly, a shareholder sitting next to her with more information said, "Mrs. Lu really is pregnant, but so what? It is said that she is also ill now. Who knows whether the baby will be born safely or not."
"She's ill? What's wrong with her?" Leila immediately reached over and asked dripping with curiosity.
"Who knows?" The shareholder cast a quick judgmental glance at her, annoyed that she, a secretary, was eavesdropping on their conversation, abandoning all sense of hierarchy.
Leila hurried to explain, "Oh, I'm just concerned about Mrs. Lu's health. I did not know things were so serious. Sorry, I don't mean anything else by my actions."
She then sat back in her seat and called Charles after some hesitation. "Hello, Mr. Lu, this is Leila. Where are you? Everyone is expecting you for the meeting. Will you be back?"
"No, I will not be able to come back. Please inform that the meeting has been canceled and will be rescheduled," Charles replied anxiously as he drove quickly, particularly worried about Autumn.
"Okay, sure, I'll pass on the message." With that, Leila hung up the phone, announced the news, and apologized politely to the shareholders in the room.
Yet it still caused everyone to complain despite his personal emergency.
"What? How could he leave in the middle of the meeting? This is not the way to treat us."
"Yeah, I won't come to the meeting again if I am asked to. What a waste of time it is to come here!"
Leila took everyone away with a smile before she sat down in her chair and breathed a sigh of relief.
If what that shareholder said was true, then she just had to find out what disease Autumn had.
All of a sudden, she thought of Burke, one of her high school classmates. He had been loving her since high school, but Leila refused to go out with him due to his ordinary family.
He was an obstetrician and gynecologist at Y Hospital. She may be able to extract some information about Autumn from him.
After mulling over it for a few seconds, Leila gave Burke a call. "Burke, are you free this evening? Shall we have dinner together?"
"This evening? Yes, sure! That sounds good. I'm free." Burke hurriedly agreed to her invitation, almost desperately to meet Leila in a second. After all, he had regarded Leila as his goddess since high school, and this was the first time she asked him directly out to dinner.
They arranged to have dinner at a barbecue restaurant. As soon as Leila arrived at the appointed place, she saw Burke waving to her eagerly with a big smile on his face.
"You're so early!" Leila smiled at him.
"It's quite close to the hospital where I work. And I came right after you called me," Burke replied. "Order whatever you like."
Leila didn't care what to eat, so she ordered some dishes. "How about two bottles of beer?" she offered.
"Sorry, I'm afraid I can't drink. I'm still on call." Burke frowned. "I asked for two hours off. I have to go back to the hospital on duty after dinner."
Leila's face instantly turned dull on his refusal. Burke bewildered a little, but he would not disregard the rules and regulations of the hospital. Asking for time off for an appointment was already a strict no-no. He could not top that up with another violation.
"Leila, please don't be angry. I'll ask you out for a drink when I'm free. You know the hospital rules. I really can't drink today," Burke explained urgently.
"Okay, okay, fair enough. I won't force you to drink then," Leila said helplessly. "I remember you are... an obstetrician and gynecologist, right?"
"Yes..." Burke nodded awkwardly. He always thought that Leila wouldn't go out with him because of his profession, so he tried to make it clear, "Leila, there are more and more men who are obstetricians and gynecologists. Actually, it's not what you think..."