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 Season 6

Episode 5

(Three-years separation)

"Think rationally Charles." Chris gazed at his brother's distraught, sullen face and sighed. She was desperate; she wanted to make Charles see straight with her words. "You know this three-year absence might endanger Autumn."   

 She hoped her words would bring her brother to his senses, not being like this. She pursed her lips and glared at him. 

"You had better cheer up than remain in seclusion with only despair and liquor as your friend."    

"It's my life, so you better stay the hell out of it!" His eyes shone with fury as he met his sister's startled ones, his voice was raised and his words were intentionally hurting her. She was frozen still, and her face showed disbelief at her brother's behavior towards her. Gone was his loving brother, who was replaced with this hostile man.   

She gulped and lowered her gaze; her voice was almost like a whisper against the eerie stillness of the room. "You are wasting yourself, dear brother…" 

Continuing her advice, she said, "Please act like a real adult and spare us from worries about your irrational actions."   

 Her words hit Charles. He stared at her face before stepping out from the room, the door hitting the frame with a bang as it was shut behind him.   

  With his eyes closed, he breathed out his frustrations and welcomed the fresh, cold air entering his lungs, as he stood in front of the lush greenery of a garden. 

His eyes opened and focused on the cold cement flooring and at once, his thoughts drifted back to Autumn's face, filling his heart with sadness and immense pain.   

  Later that night, he found himself in front of the counter of the bar, sitting on a comfortable stool. Taking observations and comparison of the peaceful club he used to go to, he found this new crowded club was featured by loud music around.  

Just when he was about to take his drink from the bartender, a woman dressed in daring red outfit came and approached him with every intention of flirting with him.     

The woman's hand was about to touch him lewdly when she noticed his glare. His dark, cold look shaken her to senses and left him in peace. It also served as a warning to the other watching sluts waiting for their chance on the side.   

  Two glasses of liquor were gone in one gulp. Charles was drowning fast into drunkenness. His only wish was to relieve these emotions and feel a sense of elation.     

A loud crash and broken glasses earned the attention of everyone. The once wild crowd of dancers stopped and focused on the scene. Charles turned his head and looked as well. There was a man, possibly the chief barman, scolding a waitress, while the latter pleaded for mercy.   

  After half an hour of severe reprimand, the waitress returned to the bar counter, almost close to tears. Her back turned to him, her shoulders shaking slowly. By now, he thought, she must be crying.   

Charles looked at her and ordered for another glass of liquor to mix. She turned to him, her eyes were red and there were trails of tears on her face. He later knew she was a new waitress.    

 "Please give me a glass of whisky with ice cubes." His tone was direct.    

 Blinking her tears away, the waitress hastily moved to make his order. She was still sensitive over the earlier scenario, her hands still shaking from fear. Her determination to make things right didn't go with her body as the glass slipped from her hands and smashed into the floor, shattering loudly.     

The chief barman saw this mishap and turned to the poor waitress. "Miss, your low performance on the job demands an immediate termination, though your being a single mother gained my sympathy."  

 The man from earlier gave the waitress a severe scolding.   

"Leila, you better seek employment somewhere else considering your poor performance for your first week of work here." The man shouted his words at the poor waitress, his index finger pointing at her.     

Blazing bright neon lights of the bar made Leila's face recognizable to the shocked Charles.     

He knew she recognized him when she stole a second glance at his direction, but she kept her calm demeanour.    

 "I beg you. I need this job for my son's treatments. Please do not fire me, Sir. I will not repeat the same mistake again." 

She grasped the man's hand, pleading for his mercy.     

However, the man remained indifferent to her words and continued with a lowered voice, "Your poor job performance justifies your termination. I cannot think of any reason to retain you.    
 You must take good care for your son's health by doing any other job instead." 

 The decision was finalized and there was nothing she could do. She went to the empty staff room quietly and took off her uniform. She made one last look of it before putting it in the hanger, her mind on her only son and his needs.     

When Leila exited the staff room, Charles's presence surprised her.    

 He was casually waiting for her by the door. "Why are you here?" Though she was afraid of meeting him back then and now, he stood in front of her.     

"Please calm down. Meeting you here is just a pure coincidence." Autumn's long absence had Charles seek for someone close to talk with. He was desperate to ease the loneliness of his lost wife.    

 He just wanted to talk about his lost wife and reminisce the memories.    

 "What for? I don't think we have something to talk." Leila glared at him, putting a brave front before walking away. He tried to stop her.   

He stared at her retreating back, his hopes high on having a conversation with someone close to Autumn none other than Leila.     

"Relax, Leila. All I want right now is to have a decent conversation..." She stopped and turned to him as her eyes were wide in shock. Charles was ridden with guilt upon remembering Leila's reason for termination.    

 She whispered a reply. "I can only give you half-an-hour."    

"Sounds good." Grateful for her time and understanding, Charles went to buy some canned beers in a nearby supermarket. They agreed to have a drink on the side of the road, sitting by the metal railings lining the road.    

 He gave her a can, which she gladly accepted. Sharp pop sounded upon opening his can, and he drank quickly from it. "I recalled you told me one time that you had grown to hate both the alcohol and the bars,"  Leila said while she remained watching him drink.   

"It all depends on the circumstances,"  came his quick reply. His face turned to her, a smile plastered on it. However, she could see how forced they were. He softly added, "This world is too unpredictable and violent! I am in desperation and depression of losing contact with my beloved wife."    

She understood the reason of Charles despair was Autumn's absence. "I am aware of Autumn's disappearance."    

"Really?" Charles looked at her, pausing shortly before taking another gulp of beer.    

 "Mr. Lu, to tell you honestly..." She looked up to him and continued with her words softly, "It is possible Autumn was in danger during her three-year absence. 

But, you need to be optimistic and keep your faith in her as she expected you to be."

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