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 Season 6

Episode 75

(Still Alive)

"Really?" Sheryl asked surprised. "Do you really think this place is better than America, Shirley?" Recent events had made Sheryl actually reconsider her current circumstances. However, she wanted to find out how Shirley felt about it too.     

"Yes, I like here,"  replied the little girl. She kept thinking to herself, 'America is just so different. But here... here I have my friends, like Amanda and Charlie. Also, they are all like me, with my skin color, facial features and dark hair, different from those children in America who are all blondes.'  

  "Tell me, if we were to live here and never come back to America, would you like it?" Sheryl continued. "Or if you had to attend school here, could you get used to it?"    

"If we stayed here, could I play with Amanda?" asked Shirley. Her sweet voice and innocent look made it look like she was asking to stay, not just considering it.   

Sheryl stood no chance against her cuteness. Her heart melted, and she quickly replied, "Absolutely, my love." 

Shirley hesitated to confirm for a few seconds, but once she finished processing the offer in her little mind, she nodded in agreement. "Okay Mom, I am willing to live here."    

Sheryl cared a lot about her opinion. She didn't want to do anything that her little daughter would not feel comfortable with.   

  So hearing her say those words sealed the deal for Sheryl as well.    

 "Autu…… Uhm... Miss Xia?" Isla called out to her from behind. Sheryl had taken Shirley out to a locale near Cloud Advertising Company. That was also where Isla regularly went to, during her afternoon tea break.    

 "Miss Zhao?" said Sheryl after taking a second look at her. A few seconds earlier, her eyesight had quickly brushed over Isla's image failing to register who she was. The previous night Isla had worn an exquisite dress, giving her a completely different allure. But at that locale, standing in front of her was different Isla, a competent, professional businesswoman in a suit.   

So it took Sheryl a few moments to discern who she was.     

"What are you doing here?" inquired Isla quite excitedly. She was so excited that she even grabbed Sheryl's hand while asking that question. However, Sheryl was not too receptive to her gesture.    

 Gently pulling her hand away from her, Sheryl answered, "I was just taking Shirley around. This is her first time in China." She then tried to reciprocate Isla's kind interest by asking back, "And you Miss Zhao? What are you doing here?"    

"My company is near here. And I am coming out to buy some tea or food for my employees. They really appreciate these small attentions. But, I'm so glad that I ran into you,"  Isla expressed in an attempt to bridge the gap that time and memory loss had put in between them. 

  However, Sheryl kept it casual by stating with a respectful nod, "You are a good boss, Miss Zhao." Isla's sight was fixed in Sheryl's direction trying to make sense of the situation. 'Autumn, how did you forget everything?' she kept wondering in disbelief.    

 'The company is still yours. It is you that always came out here to buy food.'   

 "Auntie, where is Amanda?" Shirley timidly interrupted her thoughts, while pulling on her suit's hem.    

 "She is at home. Do you miss her?" Isla elaborated happily. She kept looking lovingly into Shirley's eyes, noticing just how similar they were to Autumn's. "If you miss her, then tomorrow I will bring her out to play with you; how about that?" Isla went on, grabbing the opportunity to see them again.    

 "Great!" exclaimed Shirley enthusiastically. Isla then straightened up and addressed her old friend, "Miss Xia, let's exchange phone numbers, and tomorrow I will have someone pick you up."  

"You don't have to bother yourself about it,"  Sheryl replied shyly. She didn't want to be a nuisance for Isla.    

 "Nonsense! It would actually be my pleasure. Amanda is always talking about Shirley, and Shirley also has no playmates here; so it would be good for both of them to hang out, and it is no trouble for me at all." Isla was quite excited about it. This was her chance to have some bonding time with Autumn, which she had been dreaming about since she was pregnant. Her dream was finally coming true.     

Sheryl eventually agreed and after arranging all the logistics of the next day, excused herself politely. She took Shirley back to the hotel, and then called Sue to invite her out for dinner.     

However, Sue's line was consistently ringing busy. So with a deflated sigh, Sheryl gave up after several attempts. 'Perhaps some time afterwards, Sue would feel at ease with me,' thought Sheryl.   

At the hospital    

After hearing what had happened last night, Chris was in utter disbelief and shock. Unable to fully grasp the news, she kept asking Sam, "Wait what... What did you just say? Can you say it again, please?"    

"I said Autumn is still alive, but she has lost her memory,"  Sam reiterated on a slower pace. He heated a glass of milk for Chris while reminding her, "Luckily your effort to match Leila with your brother didn't work; otherwise, imagine the dilemma he would have right now facing Autumn again."    

The relief in his tone, however, didn't make Chris feel any better.   

  She kept remembering that Leila had already slept with Charles. What could she do about it now?     

She felt extremely remorseful. Why was she always so impulsive? How was she going to face her sister-in-law with all the guilt inside her?   

Chris's regrets were eating her up. She couldn't possibly fathom the idea of Autumn being alive. So she suggested on a hopeful note, "Sam, maybe you've mistaken her for someone else..."

  How could that be possible? A person who had been missing for three years suddenly appeared back in their lives. She simply couldn't accept it.    

 "I have known Autumn since childhood, so it is nearly impossible for me to mistaken her for anyone else,"  argued Sam puzzled by Chris' reaction. With a tense stare he insisted, "And even if I were to make a mistake, it's highly unlikely that your brother would confuse his own wife, don't you think?"   

 "But what if…… What if she's simply a look-alike? What if that woman is not really my sister-in-law?" Chris argued back, still refusing to accept the fact. 

The more she thought about it, the more alarmed she felt.   

By that point, Sam had almost had it with her. His frown and angry stand needed no explanation. Yet, he decided to add, "Chris, what you just said better not be heard by your brother; otherwise, your relationship will never be the same."    

"But what I said... is also possible, isn't it?" she attempted to reconcile. It wasn't that she was unhappy about Autumn being alive. Initially, Chris had worried that Charles would not get over the sorrow of losing his wife, and at this point she was beginning to worry about him being used by some evil person, who had created a so-called sister-in-law that abruptly appeared with her memory completely lost. It just felt like too much of a coincidence to her.     

"Chris!" yelled Sam. He intensely looked her in the eyes and said, "Stop this. You can't say such words again. There is no doubt that person is Autumn. You too will know once you see her."   

Chris dared not continue her argument, but was still reluctant about accepting Autumn's existence.   

This mysterious Sheryl who seemed to be her long-lost sister-in-law was starting to intrigue her more and more.    

 In a different corner of the town, stepping out of Leila's house with his head hung low, Charles wasn't sure what to do about Charlie. His pleadings had really affected him. He couldn't stand seeing his son locked in.    

 Fortunately, Leila hadn't taken his phone away too. So as soon as Charles arrived at work, Charlie called him. With a hopeful whisper, the boy requested, "Dad, could you pick me up tonight?"    

"But… she locked you in, didn't she? How would you get out?" Charles wondered. He too had thought of taking Charlie away by force, but feared that Leila would be angry enough to hurt the boy if he tried.    

 Charlie giggled through the phone and said, "I secretly hid away one of the keys, but I didn't want her to suspect anything; so I kept quiet earlier."  

"Good boy!" stated Charles proudly. His smile had returned to his face, and his heart filled with hope and ambition. This time, he was going to get Charlie out, and never allow Leila to get close to him again.     

He had to... for the kid's own sake.    

 Outsmarted by the boy, Leila unsuspectingly went to bed that night. She could have never imagined that Charles and his son would collaborate against her. When she woke up, Charlie's room was empty. He was nowhere to be found. Panicked and frustrated, she couldn't think straight any longer. She rushed without any hesitation to the hotel where Sheryl was staying to hold her accountable for Charlie's disappearance.

1 comment:

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