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 Season 6

Episode 8

(Finding the common ground)

Leila stared at Chris and said in a solemn voice, "Yeah, if you talk about love, I really had deep feelings for Mr. Lu. I cannot deny it. He is handsome, successful at such a young age and more than anything else, he is a thorough gentleman. How could anyone ever resist his charm?    

 Had it been a few years back, I would have been overjoyed to accept your proposal. I would have promised anything to be with Charles. But now my priorities have changed. Now, all my focus is on my son. As a mother, I have to be responsible for both of us. I need to pay attention to my behaviors. It's important for me to set a good example.

 Besides, I don't have much money. The first thing I think about when I wake up is how to make more money to support myself and my son. Love is merely a luxury for me. But then one's energy is limited. I can't waste my energy on gaudy enjoyment." Leila spoke in one breath. 

For the first time she sounded reasonable to Chris. Leila was infamous for her deceitful and opportunistic attitude that had even affected Charles and Autumn's marriage in the past.   

Leila stood up and continued maintaining the earnestness in her voice, "Miss Lu, I am sorry. I can't keep your request. It is no use persuading me. I won't say yes." Speaking these words she turned her back towards Chris, trying to map her silence as she listened to her. Leila played her cards very well till now.

 She knew exactly how to win Chris's confidence and use her to get Charles back in her life. All her good intentions as she revealed to Chris were fake. Her ultimate goal was to get married to Charles. And she was sure Chris would create opportunities for her to get close to Charles. 'After Autumn went missing, Charles' loneliness has been a matter of concern for everyone in the Lu family. 

And who could be better than me to be with Charles?' Leila thought.     

"Wait!" Chris stopped Leila by holding her arm as she was about to leave.   

No matter how much genuine Leila tried to sound in front of Chris, her past activities stopped her from believing in her. 'How is it possible for a girl like Leila to give up on Charles? My gut tells me she is lying,' Chris thought to herself. 

    'However, I have no other choice. She is the only hope to save Charles from depression. Besides, she has a son from Charles. Anyhow, I have to help her win Charles's affection.'    

Chris just could not let Leila go. She had to stop her for Charles's sake. She held Leila's arm and pleaded earnestly, "Leila, please take a seat and listen to me for a moment. I promise it won't take a long time." Leila didn't speak. Nor did she move from her place. Chris pulled Leila's hand and got her seated on the chair.    

 Then she sat down face to face with her and said, "Although you don't admit that Charles is the father of your son, I am not blind. Nor am I a fool. He has such striking resemblance with Charles that you simply can't deny that he is Charles's son." Leila lowered her eyes as she pretended to listen to Chris. However, heart of heart, she was elated and proud to be Charlie's mother. Charlie was the gate pass for her to enter into Charles's life and become his wife. But she showed no excitement in front of Chris. 

Rather, she presented herself to be a tender and considerate mother. Inside, her heart was taking leaps of fantasy by the thought of becoming Charles's wife and reigning over Dream Garden. But her face reflected humbleness as she sat with her head lowered in front of Chris. 

  Inch by inch Leila was getting closer to her target. She could not afford to make any mistake. She could not let Chris get the slightest hint of what was going on in her mind. Hence, she kept her eyes lowered lest Chris read her mind. In her mind, she said happily, 'Autumn did one good thing for me. She gave birth to a son and left him for me to bring him up. 

Now her son will help me to achieve my rightful place in Charles's life.'   

 Keeping her ambitions concealed in a humble smile, Leila replied to Chris, "Does it really matter?" Leila forced a smile and said in a firm voice, "The moment I decided to give birth to the baby, I had told myself he is my child. 

Only mine. He has nothing to do with anyone else. I decided to stay away from Charles and raise him myself."  

Leila's statement proved Chris's assumption to be true. Chris had a very strong intuition the moment she met Charlie that he could be Charles's son. 

Little did she imagine how it was Leila and her contriving ways that had brought her to this conclusion. It never even occurred to her in her wildest thought that Charlie could be Charles's son from Autumn. When she heard Leila indicating towards Charlie being Charles's son, she asked with a broad smile, "So you admit that Charles is the father of your son?" Chris stared at Leila, waiting for her reply.     

Leila sneered, "What if he is? And what if he is not? Why are you persistently asking about my son's father? How does that change anything for me or my son?" 

   Chris smiled and said politely, "Relax Leila. I mean no harm. I have asked an unofficial consulting detective to investigate about your livelihood. I learnt that you didn't live a good life. You had to take care of your son all by yourself and make enough money to earn a living. It has become more difficult for you when your savings are used up." Once Chris got confirmed about Charlie's identity, she knew how to persuade Leila for coming into Charles's life. Even Autumn would not have been happy to see the way Charles was wasting his life in loneliness and depression. She felt, if Charles accepted Leila, they would live a happy family.   

"Does it have anything to do with you?" Leila pretended to be unconcerned and said in an indifferent tone. 'Stupid Chris, you will never come to know how I used you to achieve my goal."    

Chris thought the simplest way to persuade Leila was to depict a new life for her son. A mother could never deny a comfortable life and a bright future for her son. Hence she showed concern towards Charlie as she said in a persuasive manner, "Think about it Leila. 

Your son is nearly four years old. Very soon you have to put him in a good school. And as you know it will be a huge expense. Will you be able to afford it all by yourself? Don't you want your son to enter the best school?"  

"Of course I do,"  Leila replied promptly without hesitation. Her eyes mellowed down when she thought about her financial situation. Slowly, the sparkle in her eyes disappeared. It was true that she couldn't afford the expenses of sending Charlie to the best school. In fact, she didn't have enough money for him to learn something like piano. "But, it would be totally impossible,"  Leila said in a very soft voice. She looked humiliated and embarrassed as she admitted about her poor status. She felt herself going red in the face.    

 "Nothing is impossible, Leila,"  Chris comforted Leila with a gentle smile. She went on to speak in the same persuasive manner and said, "You can take your son back to Dream Garden and tell all the truth. Since you are family, Charles will take good care of him and be responsible for his education."   

 "No way,"  Leila retorted firmly. She stared at Chris and announced, "I have told you once that my child is only mine. He has nothing to do with Charles."  

Chris laughed with disdain and contempt, "If you insist on that, you should leave Y City with your son." As the conversation proceeded, Chris gained a strong position. She knew Leila's intention and would be happy to help her if she stopped playing tricks and be honest.     

Chris was aware of Leila's little game and could see into her soul. Leila stayed in Y City and dreamt of becoming Charles's wife and be able to live a rich life.    .

 Leila couldn't refute Chris's words. What she said was absolutely true. Leila had never giving up the idea of marrying Charles.     
"You came here to make fun of me?" Leila asked feeling humiliated. She didn't like the feeling of being mocked at. Chris attacked her in a very point-blank manner. True enough! If she did not want any help from Charles in her child's upbringing, why didn't she leave Y City once and for all? For the first time since they started conversing, Chris revealed that she was completely aware of Leila's intentions. And this made Leila feel a bit uncomfortable.   

"To be very honest with you Leila, I really don't like you,"  Chris twisted her mouth and said in an indifferent tone. "I used to dislike you. And even now, my feeling is the same." Chris knew she shouldn't have said such words, but she couldn't help letting out her disdain. Chris thought, 'What a fake woman!

 Charles deserves a woman like Autumn, not a hypocritical woman like Leila. But after Autumn's death, Charles needs a companion. And since Leila is the mother of Charles's son, it will be a good option for them to form a family. This way Charles can get rid of his loneliness and even his son will find a home.'    

"Really?" Leila asked casually, curving her lips into a sarcastic smile. She couldn't care less about Chris's hatred towards her. After all, they wouldn't live together.    
 Chris had always thought Leila was manipulative and scheming. But given the situation, she could not rely on anyone other than Leila to save Charles from getting into depression.   

"I am asking you for the last time, is the child Charles's or not?" Chris urged. Leila didn't speak. Chris became impatient and said, "If you don't want, you don't have to reply to my question quickly. If he is not Charles's son, just pretend this meeting never happened. But if he is, I will help you marry Charles. You can consider my proposal carefully and give me your answer."   

 Chris was in a strange dilemma. She knew Leila was not the right person for Charles. But on the other hand, she could not see Charles being lost in Autumn's memory and end his life in desperation. 

He needed to start a new life. And the only hope in front of Chris at the moment was Leila. No matter how deceitful and cunning she was, she could at least help Charles to start a new life.    

 Leila maintained silence for a long time pretending to think over Chris's proposal. Then she spoke narrowing her eyes, "Are you serious? You will help me?"  

Before Chris said anything, Leila took a deep sigh and continued, "Yes, it is true. 
Charlie is Charles's own blood. About four years ago, I went on a business trip to Europe with Mr. Lu. One night, he was drunk and we had sexual relations. He had no idea what had happened that night. Before he woke up, I had left. I didn't know how to face him and Autumn. I just kept it a secret. It was out of my expectation that I was pregnant. 

After serious consideration and struggling with myself for a long time, I decided to give birth to the baby. He is Charlie." Leila finally played her card. She had Chris hear what she wanted to hear. 

Also she made the story clear once and for all so that it could stop questioning Charlie's identity over and over again.    

 Leila forced a smile and continued, "I have been worried about Charlie these days. He is growing to be more and more like Mr. Lu. He has asked me a thousand times why he doesn't have his father. The other children all have their fathers. I have really been anxious about his mental health.   

If you can help me to be with Mr. Lu, Charlie will have his father and I will appreciate your help." Leila stared at Chris with gratefulness written all over her face. Leila could not believe her luck. 

Heart of heart, she was bouncing with joy. But she had to show integrity and self-respect in front of Chris. At least till the time she got married to Charles. 

    Chris was not to be easily cheated 
either. She knew Leila too well to believe every word uttered by her just on the face of it. Though Chris was looking at Leila's face, her mind kept hovering over the idea to see Leila, Charles and Charlie as one happy family. And in the view of this, Leila's words could be partly trusted. She hesitated for a while and promised, "Since the child is Charles's, we won't let him live outside. I will consider it carefully and call you." Chris knew that Leila was not telling the complete truth. And she was very well aware of Leila's intention. Chris was sure Leila wanted to be Mrs. Lu.     

"Why are you helping me?" Leila asked with the desperation venting out through her voice. The last statement made by Chris put her into a dilemma once again. She thought, 'Chris doesn't like me. Why did she offer to help me? And now she is saying that they won't let Charlie live outside. What does she mean by that? 

What if she just takes away Charlie and ditch me?' Thousands of questions came crowding her mind. It was important for her to know Chris's real intentions.   

Chris smiled ruefully and explained, "In these years, Charles felt Autumn was still alive. He had meals on time, went to work in the day, sleep late at night. Whenever he was free, he would drink too much. I feel sorry for him and hope your coming into his life will help him to come out of this life of quiet desperation. That's why I will help you."  

Liela nodded in assuring manner And promise, I will.

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