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 Season 5

Episode 52


"I'm… I'm fine,"  Nancy reassured Autumn with a weak smile. She looked up and saw Charles coming down the stairs, excusing herself hastily on the pretext of preparing breakfast.    

 Nancy was unable to concentrate on her kitchen chores. The more she recalled, the uneasier she felt. She left the couple eating breakfast and purposefully went straight to Bren'ts room, opening the door without preamble.    

 Brent was relaxing on the bed after a hearty breakfast when his mother suddenly burst into the room. Brent sat up with a scowl and grumbled," Why didn't you knock the door before barging in, mom?"    

"Why do I have to knock? Are you hiding something?" Nancy asked her son. "Why do you look so nervous? Did you do something bad?" she quizzed.   

"What are you talking about, mom?" Brent asked, evidently annoyed. Looking at his mom's red face, Brent tried to reason with her in a softer tone," I'm not a child, mom. What if I'm changing my clothes or something?"   

 "You'd better watch out. If I find out that you stole things in the house, I swear I will beat you to death,"  Nancy warned with a stern look at her son. Nancy looked around Brent's room with an eagle's eye. Seeing no signs of the missing Jade Ruyi and prayer beads, she stormed out of the room.     

Charles seemed reluctant to go to work this morning but since he was already dressed, Autumn urged him to go. She planned to go shopping today so she asked Brent to take her to the mall. 

Charles had ordered Brent to follow Autumn closely and he promised to follow his instructions to the letter.    

 Autumn wasn't much of a shopper. But since getting pregnant, she couldn't seem to get enough of shopping for baby items. Brent followed her discreetly everywhere she went, which made her feel uncomfortable.   

"Brent, can I talk to you for a minute?" Autumn beckoned Brent to a corner of the big shopping mall. "I'm sure this is terribly boring for you, why don't you go sit in the coffee shop nearby and have some fun? I will call you when I finish here,"  Autumn suggested with a smile. 

    "No, I can't!" Brent shook his head vigorously. "Mr. Lu asked me to keep a close eye on you since you haven't been well lately. I don't feel right leaving you alone,"  Brent refused her offer flatly.   

  "You…" Autumn gazed up at Brent in disbelief. Her husband sure could inspire loyalty, she mused. When she suggested hiring Brent, it's only as a favor to Nancy. But she didn't expect this.     

Looking at the resolve on the young man's face, Autumn gave up on the idea and continued looking around for baby accessories, a silent Brent behind her.   

Entering a maternal and infant store, she was surprised to see a familiar yet unwelcome face of her former colleague, Leila. She was obviously alone and looking at her bulging abdomen, obviously very pregnant. She gasped in surprise.     

"Leila? It's really you! What are you doing here?" Autumn surprised Leila and she almost dropped the pile of shopping bags she's carrying. During their last unfortunate meeting, she could swear that she hadn't noticed Leila's condition.

 Looking at her, she has no doubt that Leila was expecting a child. "Are you pregnant?" Autumn blurted.   

  "Autumn…" Leila was totally unprepared to see Autumn, that was obvious. Her bags dropped unnoticed, spilling baby clothes everywhere. Pulling herself together she bent down to pick up her purchases on the floor. "Why…why are you here?" she stammered as she looked at Autumn.   

  "I'm buying stuff for my babies. How about you?" Autumn replied, pointedly resting her eyes on Leila's tummy.   

'Who is the father of her child?' Autumn thought.     

"I…" Leila stopped and bit her lips, lowering her head as if in embarrassment. Finally lifting her head, she met Autumn's eye squarely and said, "I'm shopping for my baby, too."    

Leila's reply took Autumn by surprise. She glanced at her baby bump thoughtfully. 'From what I can see, it must at least be four months since she became pregnant.'   

 "When did you get pregnant?" Autumn asked, taking a long assessing look at Leila.     

With a sigh, Leila answered," It's a long story."    

Noticing the young man behind Autumn, Leila proposed," We can grab a coffee and I will explain to you if you have time."  

"Good idea,"  Autumn smiled her in agreement. 'I'm curious to know who is the father of Leila's child.     

Besides, I don't feel like shopping now,' she thought to herself, looking at Brent. 

    They left the Department Store together and went to a dessert shop across the street. Autumn ordered coffee and cakes for Brent, a discreet table away.  

   It was a busy shop. They chose a spot near the window overlooking the busy street. It was a cold day and they basked in the sunshine.    

 They ordered two tall glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice and a slice each of red velvet cake.Sitting back casually, Autumn asked, "What's going on with your child?" Her brows rose enquiringly as she waited for Leila's response.   

  "It's my boyfriend's,"  Leila replied simply. A peaceful smile passed her face as she gently massaged the bulge in her belly. "I'm on my fourth month."  

"Fourth month?" Although she guessed correctly, Autumn was still shocked. Her brows knitted in a frown. "But I didn't hear you getting married. Is he accepting responsibility?"    

"You're wrong about him…" Leila defended her boyfriend. "You see, we already have plans to get married, but then I got pregnant. So we decided to postpone it for a while, but I still plan to give birth to my baby,"  Leila said, touching her belly lightly.   

  "You're doing the right thing, Leila,"  Autumn smiled approvingly. It was hard to reconcile the Leila she knew before and the Leila sitting before her now. 

'Having a baby requires a lot of courage, especially since it's out of wedlock, I admire her for that,' she said to herself. 

"Is your boyfriend the one I saw at the shopping mall with you before? I remember seeing him at the hospital. He is a doctor. I think he is a good catch, except maybe he's too busy,"  Autumn remarked.   

"Yes, that's him,"  Leila answered proudly, a wistful look in her eyes. "When I found out I was pregnant, I was scared. We have plans but we're not yet ready, I thought the baby ruined my life and I was resentful for a while. But later, I changed my mind. Now I think to have the baby was the best blessing for me, so I decided to keep it."   

 Suddenly, an earnest look replaced the smile on Leila's face as she turned to Autumn," I know you hate me, Autumn. I did a lot of terrible things to you and I deserve it. I just realized how cruel I've been to you. For the sake of my baby, can you forgive me?"    

Her words melted the rancor she felt in her heart against Leila. "It's all in the past now. I forgive you,"  Autumn told Leila with a genuine smile.     

Pregnancy had changed Autumn a lot. She used to dislike Leila, hate her even. But finding Leila pregnant and with a positive attitude, Autumn couldn't help but forgive her.   

"Thank you, Autumn, you're very kind. I really regret the terrible things I did to you. Since I got pregnant, I feel a lot of remorse towards you. I'm really glad I met you today. I feel like a heavy burden was lifted from my shoulders. I'm really thankful that you have forgiven me." Leila looked at Autumn gratefully.    

 'If she didn't get pregnant, would I have forgiven her so easily?' Autumn asked herself. 'But since she's pregnant, I should let her off for the sake of her child.' Autumn felt as if a weight had been lifted from her shoulders, too.    

 Leila then inquired about Autumn's pregnancy and when her baby was due to be born. Autumn's face turning red, she suddenly felt uncomfortable as Leila stared at her belly.

1 comment:

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