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 Season 5

Episode 87

(A lie to protect Autumn)

Anthony offered his condolences to Arthur, Amy and Charles. "I heard what happened to Emily,"  the doctor said. His wrinkled forehead signaled worry. He paused before facing the three. "I think it's best that Autumn does not know about this,"  he said. Anthony waited for a reaction before continuing, "Any more emotional blows will not be good for her."   

 "I understand,"  Charles nodded in agreement. Although he was concerned about the unborn babies, Charles was more worried about his wife's health. 

    'Emily's funeral is set in three days. 

Autumn should be there to see her off, but…' Charles hesitated.   

  Amy with her reddened eyes suggested, "We'll take care of Emily's burial. But Autumn shouldn't be there." With a sigh, she stressed, "Too bad for Emily."  

Arthur looked at his wife and gently told her, "Emily will understand."    

As he grieved silently, Arthur thought, 'I'm sorry, Emily. Please understand why Autumn can't be there to see you off. Don't blame her, okay?'    

They three all agreed to keep Emily's death from Autumn. Charles knew Autumn would be very upset and blame him once she found out, but he already made up his mind that she couldn't be there.     

"Now we need to make up a story." 

Anthony's voice snapped Arthur back to the present. "For sure Autumn will be inquiring about Emily's condition,"  he said. He was quiet for a moment, thinking. Finally, he suggested, "What if we tell Autumn Emily needs treatment abroad? And explain to her that it is so sudden that we aren't able to inform her of the plans immediately."    

"That's it. I don't think we have another option." Arthur nodded, his heart heavy.  

 Anthony went ahead into the ward to first check on his patient. He ordered her to get some rest and Autumn reluctantly agreed.     

"If you need anything, don't hesitate to call me, okay?" the doctor offered. He did his best to mask the worry he felt before leaving Autumn. Anthony nodded at the three who were waiting outside the ward and gestured for them to come in. Charles entered first and approached Autumn's bed.     

"There you are!" Autumn exclaimed. Her eyes lit up as she saw her husband. She tried to sit up, with great effort, but finally gave up. Charles quickly came to her side and helped her lie down again. With a look of concern, he reminded Autumn, "And what did the doctor tell you?" 

Holding his wife's hands, he said, "He told you to stay in bed and get some rest, right? So, stop trying to get up."    

Autumn was quick to reassure her husband, "I'm fine, really." Then she remembered, "How is Emily?"  

Charles felt a flutter of panic. "She's…" he faltered. Autumn noticed the hesitancy and distress on her husband's face. She gripped Charles' hand and asked nervously, "What's wrong with Emily?" Autumn urged, "Is she all right?"    

Her husband stroked her hand and gave a small smile. "She's fine. Don't worry, okay?" Hoping Autumn didn't notice, he took a deep breath before continuing. 

"Well, her doctor said there was little they could do to treat her here. So, Grandpa Arthur made some calls and quickly decided to send her abroad for another kind of treatment. Everything happened so suddenly, and I didn't have time to tell you about it,"  Charles explained hurriedly.     

Charles' words terrified Autumn. She mumbled to herself, "Went abroad?" She spoke louder, still doubtful, "She left all of a sudden?"    

Charles nodded. "Yes,"  he swallowed the lie. He was having a difficult time hiding the fluster in his voice. Charles was a poor liar. But he had to lie to protect Autumn. It still didn't feel right. Eyes filled with concern, he told Autumn, "Grandpa Arthur made the decision for Emily's sake. We didn't expect her condition to worsen quickly."  

Autumn said nothing. She closed her eyes, trying to absorb everything Charles told her. "Can her condition be treated abroad?" she finally asked. She kept looking at Charles for reassurance.    

 "Grandpa Arthur found an experienced medical expert for Emily. We are hoping he can keep her alive longer,"  Charles replied. He looked pleadingly at his wife.

 "Grandpa Arthur did this for her."   

"I understand." Autumn nodded. She looked miserable. She touched Charles' arm for comfort. "I am aware Emily will leave me sooner or later,"  she said tearfully. "I can't help but think that I'm the reason why she got sick. That's why I feel so bad for her."    

Charles cut her off immediately. "What are you talking about?" He took her hand and stroked her back. "Everyone will die, Autumn. Even if Emily didn't get sick, she was still likely to leave the world ahead of you. You need to learn to accept that fact. I'm sure Emily wouldn't want to see you worry about her, right?" He lifted her face so he could look into her eyes. 

"Now, what you need to do is take good care of yourself and our babies, okay?"  

Autumn nodded with a light smile. But the doubts persisted. "Did Emily really go abroad?" Charles hoped his wife wouldn't notice his heart beating faster.     

"You don't believe me?" he asked. Fortunately, Arthur and Amy chose to enter the ward at that moment. Charles heaved a sigh of relief. "If you don't believe me, ask your grandpa and grandma. Then you will know whether I was lying to you."    

"I believe you,"  Autumn said aloud. She felt guilty for suspecting Charles would lie to her.   

"What are you two talking about?" Arthur asked. He and Amy approached the couple slowly.     

"I was telling Autumn about Emily's going abroad to receive a new kind of treatment,"  Charles said, looking Arthur in the eye. He complained, "I was telling Autumn Emily will be treated abroad, but she thought I was lying. Anyway, since you're here now, you can explain it to her. I don't want her suspecting that I'm a liar."    

"Oh, I see,"  Arthur said. He gave Autumn a faint smile. He crossed his fingers mentally. "I made the decision suddenly, so there wasn't time to tell you. Charles was telling you the truth. Emily is abroad now for treatment,"  he said gently.    

 "So it really is true,"  Autumn said, relief in her face, after hearing Arthur's confirmation. Noticing that her husband still looked upset, Autumn tried to comfort him, "Come on, please don't be mad at me. I believe you. I do."  

Charles couldn't believe he pulled it off. "I forgive you,"  he said with a smile.    

 Arthur and Amy also felt relieved seeing Autumn's smiling face. The old man hurriedly said, "Your grandmother and I have to deal with an important matter in the coming days, so we won't be able to visit. You take care of yourself while in the hospital, all right? Charles will be here to watch over you."    

Autumn nodded in understanding. When her grandparents turned to leave, their faces took on a grave look. They walked out, their thoughts preoccupied.     

That night, Autumn slept well. Charles, however, found it hard to sleep as he kept thinking of Emily. He stepped out of the ward quietly and walked to the other end of the hallway. He lit a cigarette, stuck it in the corner of his lips, inhaled and then blew out a stream of smoke. It was late, but he stood in the corridor alone, puffing away his worries.    

 Anthony was not feeling well. With Autumn confined at the hospital, he stayed for the night shift to be able to monitor her condition constantly.   

After finishing his rounds, he headed straight to Autumn's ward. Before reaching the room, he saw Charles at the end of the hallway smoking. He approached him.     

When Charles noticed Anthony heading his way, he snuffed out the cigarette and asked the doctor, "Are you still on duty?"    
Anthony nodded. "Is she sleeping?" Charles replied, "Yes, soundly in fact."    

"That's good. She needs to rest,"  Anthony said, while rubbing his face. Charles looked at Autumn's doctor. "Thank you for what you've done."   

 He smiled gratefully at Anthony. 'He not only kept my babies safe, more importantly, he also came up with a good story to cover up Emily's absence,' Charles thought. He realized keeping the truth about Emily was the only way to protect Autumn and ensure that she stayed healthy during the pregnancy.   

"Do we really need to be so formal with each other?" Anthony gave Charles a polite smile. When Anthony remembered Emily's death, his brows furrowed. He asked Charles, "What are you going to do with Emily's passing away?" Charles bowed his head in sorrow.

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