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 Season 6

Episode 86

(Driving home)

By saying those words, it seemed like Gary was hinting that Sheryl did them a really huge favor that they must pay. To her surprise, even Nacy who was busy cooking in the kitchen came out just to urge them to stay for dinner. "Please stay, Miss Xia. Look, I've made your dinner already and if you insist on leaving now, it'll be a great waste of food!"    

Feeling defeated, Sheryl felt it was no use to continue turning down their warmhearted offer. Charlie had already used both hard and soft tactics to stop her from leaving. Even the whole members of the family helped him. Thus, she had to give in and stay for dinner.   

  After dinner, she wanted to leave Dream Garden right away so she bid goodbye to them. However, it was very dark outside and it was also raining heavily. Raining from time to time was just normal in Y City's summer. No wonder people always say that the weather in summer here is as changeable as a baby's face. 

Standing in front of the door, Sheryl heaved a deep sigh.   

"Listen,"  Charles suddenly spoke behind her. He cleared his throat before he said again, "Listen..."    

But this time he was interrupted by Sheryl. "Mr. Lu. If you'd ask us to stay here tonight, please save your efforts and better not say it. I'd rather go home soaked in the rain than stay overnight in other people's place."    

Then she stared at him with an alarmed expression on her face, anxiously waiting for his reply. Charles was quiet for a moment. 'You silly woman! This is your own home!' He wanted to say it to her but he opted to keep it in his mind.    

 Instead, he said, "You are overreacting, Miss Xia." With a smile on his face, he continued, "What I wanted to say is..." He paused for a while. "Er... I can drive you and Shirley home,"  he almost stuttered to finish his words.   

Hearing his words, Sheryl felt her face burning so she turned her eyes away in embarrassment.   

Charles didn't say anything for a moment before he continued to explain, "It's not easy to get a cab here even if it were not raining. Besides, the stuff you bought from the supermarket are still in my car now, so I think I don't have any reasons not to drive you home."    

Sheryl thought it over for a long while. If she turned him down, she had to stay here longer. Thus, she had to agree with his suggestion if she wanted to go home earlier. Sounding hopeless, she turned to look at him again and said, "I really appreciate that. Thank you for the offer of driving us home, Mr. Lu."    

Charles was beaming at her words. However, instead of driving himself, he asked his driver to drive for them. This way, he could get a chance to be closer with Sheryl and her daughter. So, the three of them sat on the back seat, with Shirley in the middle.   

Sheryl couldn't feel more embarrassed at this situation.    

 Because it was a rainy night, the car moved slowly. From time to time, Sheryl wanted to ask the driver to drive faster but she couldn't manage to speak it out.     
On second thought, she gave up the idea. She'd better not risk their lives.    

 To her relief, Charles was silent all the way to her home and didn't even bother to talk to her.     

When the car pulled over in front of their apartment building, Sheryl carried Shirley in her arms and was about to get off. However, Charles' voice halted her. 

"Please wait a minute,"  she heard him say.     

He got off first and then opened the door for Sheryl. And all of a sudden, Sheryl found herself under a big umbrella. She was surprised of his actions. She'd never thought that Charles could be this sweet and considerate.   

After a while, they walked to the building shoulder to shoulder. Although Sheryl was carrying Shirley, she felt that not a raindrop had fallen on both of them at all. Curiously, she turned to look at Charles. She was stunned to see that half of his body was now soaking wet. 

She didn't know that Charles sacrificed himself and leaned the umbrella over them.     

Sheryl had the instinct to pull him closer to avoid him from getting more soaked in the rain. But, they had already reached the inside of the building before she could even touch him.    

 Before she could say anything to him, Charles already ran back to his car to get the stuff she bought from the supermarket.     

When he was striding back to her, she seemed to have a tedious familiarity of the situation. It seemed like it already happened a million times to her. Deja vu?   

All of a sudden, Sheryl got lost in her thoughts. She tried her best to recall when and where this similar situation happened.   

Seeing her standing absentmindedly, Charles interrupted her thoughts, "It's cold outside. Come on in!"   

 Sheryl followed him mechanically. When she came to her senses again, the elevator had already opened and Charles was already standing inside. She furrowed her eyebrows. Charles noticed her hesitation so he let out a soft laugh. 

"Don't overreact. I'm just going to carry the shopping bags to your door. I believe you wouldn't be able to carry these with Shirley in your arms. So relax! I won't step in to your place without any invitations."    

Sheryl then stepped into the elevator feeling embarrassed once again. 'Why did he always seem to read my mind?' 
she thought. To be honest, she really felt awkward sharing the same elevator with him even though Charles had tried his best to make her feel at ease. Sheryl was full aware of his efforts and she actually appreciated them.   

When they arrived at her unit, Charles put down the bags in front of the door. He then turned to her and said, "I'm leaving now. Hope little Shirley and you will have a good night." He turned again and walk towards the elevator.    

 It seemed that he never really intended to go inside to even have a cup of tea.  

   "Hold on!" Sheryl tried to call his attention. Before he could turn around, she already shouted, "Can you come inside first and take a seat? I need to return the money you lent me in the supermarket earlier."   

 "No, it's alright. Maybe some other time. It's already late so you and Shirley must really have some rest now,"  replied Charles with a smile. "By the way, I wanted to apologize for Leila. I knew she came to you indiscriminately the other day, and I really felt sorry for what she did. I felt like I'm very much indebted to you. I promise it wouldn't happen again,"  he added.   

"Oh, that,"  she uttered absentmindedly. "To tell you the truth, I barely remember what happened,"  she added, like as if it never bothered her at all. After Isla told her about the story of Charles and his wife, she had intentionally slipped it from her mind and didn't blame it to him. It had nothing to do with him anyway.    

 But today's matter was totally different. Since he had paid for her stuff at the supermarket, it was just reasonable for her to pay him back.   

  "Listen, I wouldn't be able to sleep well if I owed money from anyone. It's an old habit of mine. So please, wait a minute,"  Sheryl explained. But Charles had already gone inside the elevator before she could take her wallet out. Before the elevator door closed, he said with a smile, "I'm leaving! Maybe we can have dinner sometime later and then we can talk about it."  

If Sheryl had asked him to come in for a cup of tea, he would agree to it without any second thoughts. But she intended to return his money, and this was the last thing he would want to happen.     

As long as she owed him, then he would have the right excuses to see her next time, the time after next time, and so on. He intended to see her from time to time until she'd remember him as her husband.     

Sheryl couldn't do anything but watch him wave and the elevator door closed. She just sighed and opened the door to take Shirley inside.   

The next morning, she got up early and went to the grocery. She'd invited Sue to have lunch with them so she needed to prepare something special for lunch.   

  Good thing her place was located downtown. It was not only convenient for her to go to work, but also just a few steps away from the supermarket, the hospital and the wet market. In short, she didn't need to worry about being stuck in a traffic jam. It didn't take her long to finish grocery shopping. With the ingredients of Sue's and Shirley's favorite dishes in her hands, she went back home happily and began cooking.   

She spent her entire morning busily cooking in the kitchen. When the lunch was ready, she asked Shirley to knock on Sue's door and bring her over. Sue had been actually drunk again last night so she wasn't up yet until Shirley knocked on her door.     

"We're here!" Shirley shouted as she ran into the room holding Sue's hand who was still wearing her nightgown. Sheryl cracked a big smile at them and said to Sue, "Go and wash your face! We'll wait for you so we could have lunch together."    

Sue followed her order. After refreshing herself in the bathroom, she went to the dining table and found that Sheryl had already made a cup of honey water for her.   

"It can make your stomach feel better. Please drink it before eating lunch,"  Sheryl urged her.     

Holding the cup in her hands, Sue felt overwhelmed by Sheryl's sweetness.    

 Of course she cherished her friendship with Sheryl. However, she felt awkward to show it in front of her after all those words she had said to her before.    

 This was also the reason why she deliberately didn't come over to visit them these past few days.     

"Here they are! Have a taste and tell me whether my cooking skills had regressed!"    

Sheryl said as she was taking all the dishes one by one to the table. These included sweet and sour ribs, stewed beef brisket with tomatoes, sauteed Chinese greens with mushrooms, shredded pork with salted vegetables, and braised fish in brown sauce. It was more than sufficient for the three of them.   

They were having a feast! This was actually the first time that Sheryl prepared a formal meal after she got to Y City, thus, she paid much attention to it.     

Firstly, she wanted to celebrate her and Shirley's moving in to this city and for having her own place to live. Secondly, she was trying to patch things up between Sue and her.   

  "How are the dishes?" she asked Sue anxiously. Both Shirley and Sue had already started eating.

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