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 Season 8

Episode 12

(I will not apologize)

Rita gaped in awe the moment she saw Emily. Judging by how wide Rita's eyes were, anyone could just imagine the sparks in her brain, desperately trying to connect the dots and instead just causing a short circuit. The resemblance was too uncanny to cast aside as a coincidence. Not only did she look like Emily, the woman standing before her spoke and behaved exactly like her friend. And the eyes?    

Her eyes were too beautiful to describe them in words. To say that her eyes were like shining stars would fall short because the beauty of her eyes was not about colours or shape, it was about the loving sweet essence that was so clearly there.    

The only difference Rita observed was that this woman was years younger than her friend. The woman revealed a strong sense of youth and vitality. Rita was almost convinced that this was Emily, her friend Emily, but she knew that it couldn't be true because her friend was supposed to be a beautiful mature woman if she were still alive.  

Rita was fooled at first sight, but the details quickly revealed the difference. 

Only she could notice the subtle differences because she knew Emily like the back of her hand.    

But could there be two people in the world who looked exactly the spitting image of one another? Could she leave it all to coincidence? Rita was flabbergasted, to say the least, and awed by he the wonders of the world.   

 "Hi, Rita and David, I am so glad to see you guys. What brings you here?" Emily was delighted to see them, just as Jacob had expected. The familiar and casual manner in which she addressed and spoke to them made it feel as though they had known each other for a long time.    

Rita's brain told her that this young lady couldn't be her old friend, but she couldn't deny her heart from feeling a certain kind of familiarity with her. "Hello! I am afraid I don't recognize you. Have we met before?" Rita's face conveyed a spectrum of skepticism.  

The world around them fell silent as they looked at each other in embarrassment. Although, David shared the same doubts as Rita, he decided to save his wife from the awkward situation by breaking the silence. He turned to Emily and said, "Hello, Miss. We heard that Jacob had returned from his travels so we came her to catch up with him. Oh, I am sorry. 

Allow me to introduce myself, I am David. And you are?"    

The vibrant smile on Emily's mouth faded and the look of disappointment came over her face almost as soon as she heard what they said. "I don't know what to say. I am so sad even my friends can't recognize me anymore. Can't you really recognize me?" Emily's voice trebled and she sounded like a person drained of all hope.  

Jacob felt sorry for Emily. He couldn't bare to watch her sad face so he went over to her and gave her a hug, gently patting her on the back to comfort her. 

Brushing stray hairs from her forehead, he whispered into her ear, "Don't be sad, my love. Just like everybody else, they just need some time to get used to your present look. Have faith on them, okay?"    
"You're right. I understand,"  Emily answered, her face looked glum, but it creased into the recollection of a smile.

    Rita and David stared at each other, communicating doubt and confusion. 

Jacob's words did very little to make them change their stance and they still couldn't make up their minds what to make of the woman in front of them.    

If this woman wasn't Emily, then why was Jacob treating her so kindly? Perhaps, this notion only helped to prove that this lady must have had special powers to have been able to sway Jacob's heart.  

There was an awkward silence that filled the room, as the couples sat there shuffling their feet, while Rita and David looked at Emily with apprehension.

Failing to properly address the elephant in the room, after a while, Rita and David made an excuse to leave. As Emily watched her friends leave, a feeling of loss and despair crept into her heart.    

While, Ancho and Beryl, secretly observed the situation between the four people unfold from upstairs. As soon as they left the villa, Beryl called Rita's phone to speak with her. As soon as Beryl hung up, Ancho came over to her, gripped by a mixture of anticipation and dread. "What did she say, Beryl? What did Mr. and Mrs. Xu say to you?   What did they think about the woman? Were they convinced by her claim?"    

"Uncle David and Auntie Rita aren't sure what to make of her as well,"  Beryl sighed in resignation as she put the phone down.  

"They aren't sure? What does that mean? They're both supposed to know your mother very well. How can they fail to recognize her real identity?" Ancho wasn't too pleased. She was expecting to have a definite answer by now. But seeing as how even the Xu couple failed to ascertain whether the woman claiming to be Emily was indeed her or not, Ancho felt disappointed and lost.    

Things were starting to look bad for Ancho, as she didn't want her speculation to come true.   

 Meanwhile, instead of leaving with his parents, Dylan decided to stay back with Beryl. In truth, the Xu couple left their son here under false pretenses of playing with Beryl while in fact, Dylan was there to act as a spy. He was to report anything that seemed suspicious and out of the ordinary to his parents.    

However, Dylan's astute observation of Ancho's questionable behavior led him to doubt her real intentions instead of Emily's.  

Dylan noticed that despite being just a maid, Ancho seemed too invested in Emily's true identity instead of caring for Beryl, which was supposed to be her chief concern.   

 Like a reliable spy in action, Dylan decided to report his suspicions on the maid to his parents. Then the next thing he felt he needed to do was to separate Beryl from Ancho because she was good at stirring up trouble and her silver tongue could influence Beryl's otherwise sensible judgment.    

"Beryl, let's go to finish our homework. Forget about all the adult problems. We should just leave them to our parents,"  Dylan suggested, hoping to take Beryl away from the maid.    

Beryl, however, was too worried about her mother to pay attention to his advise. She snapped at Dylan, "If you want to finish your homework, you can go. I am not going to go with you. I am not in the mood right now."  

"What's bothering you? Is it the lady claiming to be your your mother? I think she has been nothing but kind to you. If you ask me, she doesn't look like a bad person to me. Why do you always have to give her the cold shoulder?" Dylan asked.    

"You don't know what you're talking about! That woman is not my mother. 

Can you see that she's trying to replace my mother. No way! I won't let her plan succeed!" Beryl replied angrily.    

"But even if she isn't your mother, she has been nothing but kind to you, and she treats you like her own child. I am sure that even if you father finds you another step-mother, she won't treat you with the same level of kindness as this woman does,"  Dylan said confidently.   

 Irritated by the Dylan's candid remark, Beryl thought he was being too harsh. 

"What are you trying to say, Dylan? I can't believe you would choose to be on her side. Am I not your friend? How could you say that about my father?" Beryl raised her voice, shivering with anger.  

Dylan, however, was taken aback by her sudden outburst. "Beryl, I was just saying what I felt was the truth. And I meant every word with kindness. Would you really want your father to spend the rest of his life alone? Someday when you grow up, you will have a family of your own. You won't be able to stay beside your father all the time. What do you think will happen to him then? He will be a lonely old man. Imagine that! Would you want that life for your father?"    

Beryl's eyes glazed over and she slumped back on her chair. "Don't talk nonsense! I will stay with my father forever. No one can separate us!"  

  Beryl's emotions clouded her judgment, and she felt as though Dylan's intentions were to drive a wedge between her and her father. Consumed by the negative thoughts that burned away her ability to think straight, Beryl released her fury upon Dylan by giving him a hard push.

Dylan, unfortunately, the unsuspecting victim, happened to be standing next to the stairs when Beryl pushed him and the next thing he knew he was suspended in the air, mouth agape as he clutched feebly for the stair-rail like a drowning man—and missed it.    

In an instant, Beryl's brain formulated no thoughts other than to register that Dylan was falling as she desperately reached out trying to grab his hand—but failed. By the time the horror settled in, she saw Dylan at the bottom of the stairs in a pool of his own blood.    

The loud, thudding noise aroused the attention of both Emily and Jacob and they rushed to the site immediately.  

  "Dylan, are you all right?" Emily shook his body to look for a response. She loved this child just as much as she loved her own daughter. The sight of his blood and lifeless body drove a dagger through her heart as she cried for help incoherently.  

"Be carefully! Watch your step, Emily!" Jacob was worried that Emily would fall down as well as she rushed to fetch some gauze and cloth to stop the bleeding.    

"Call the doctor, now! Be quick!" Jacob ordered one of the maids.    

The doctor came over as fast as he could and the maid informed him that the injured boy was the son of the Xu family, so it was imperative that he handled the situation with the utmost care and immediately checked Dylan's head for internal damage. After an hour or so, when the doctor patched up Dylan's head wound and confirmed that there was nothing to worry about anymore, Emily and Jacob slumped back to their seats and breathed a sigh of relief, forcing their nerves to go lax.   

 "Master Dylan is fortunate that the injury on his head wasn't as bad as it looked. I have done what I can to stop the bleeding and I've prescribed some anti-inflammatory medicines for him. The cut on his head will heal in a few days, but I'm sorry to say that it's going to leave a scar behind,"  reported the doctor.  

Emily's state of relief didn't last long as she fell into despair again. "Doctor, is there anything we can do to get rid of the scar? Please, doctor, whatever you need, just let us know. I don't want to see an ugly scar on his head after his wound heals,"  Emily implored.    

She was horrifically guilt-stricken, blaming herself for not being able to take care of Dylan.    

How was she going to show her face to Rita? What was she going to say to David? They left him here under her care and she had failed them.    

Jacob put his arm around Emily's shoulders, rubbing her back, "Hey, don't worry so much. Dylan's a big boy, and I'm sure he'll be fine. Honey, I'll see what I can do. I am sure this small scar won't be difficult to remove. We'll get the best surgeons in the world. Everything is going to be okay."  

Fortunately, the doctor did a wonderful job of patching up Dylan's wound quickly. When the boy came to his senses he immediately knew that Emily was blaming herself for the accident with just one look at her. He reached out his hand towards Emily and said, "Why do you look so sad? You really don't have to worry about me. I am a big boy, you know. And I've heard what the doctor said about the scar. That's not a big deal at all. In fact, I think it'll make me look cool and mature!"    

Dylan was such a sweet and sensitive boy that he understood why Emily was worried about him. Taking her feelings into consideration, he tried to lift her spirits by pretending to be tough, even though his head was still hurting.    

Jacob understood what Dylan was doing and he patted him on the shoulder, as he couldn't be more proud of the person he had become. When Jacob saw Beryl hiding behind Ancho at the top of the stairs, with a guilt-stricken look on her face, he immediately figured out what had happened.  

"Ancho, care to explain what happened? Did Dylan fall down the stairs by accident or did someone push him?" Jacob's cold voice drove shivers down her spine.    

Ancho avoided Jacob's sharp eyes, trembling with fear, "Sorry, sir! I... I didn't see what happened. It wasn't me! I..."   

 "This has nothing to do with Ancho. It was me. I pushed Dylan,"  Beryl confessed. "But it's all his fault! He said all these horrible things about you that got me angry!"    

"So you pushed him down? Just because you were angry at him?" Jacob shouted at her.  

  "Yes! So what? He deserved it!" Beryl felt disappointed at the way Jacob was charging at her.  

"Beryl! How dare you!" Jacob roared, "What's the matter with you? Why won't you apologize to Dylan? I am so disappointed at you!" Jacob couldn't understand how the loveliest girl in the world had become such an unruly child.

    Emily simply stared at Beryl with a deadpan expression on her face. She was at a complete loss for words.   

 Beryl had gone too far today. Emily loved her daughter, but that love didn't come without principle. She decided not to defend Beryl, either. She knew that if she had stopped Jacob, Beryl would never realize her mistakes and that would be even worse. Seeing how her daughter reacted today, frightened her to think what her daughter would be like in the future.    

If Beryl had simply apologized to Dylan, everything would be different. But she didn't. She thought she would lose face if she did that in front of all the people. 

And she felt wronged by her father wondering why he chose to stand with Dylan instead of her?  

I refuse to apologize! I refuse apologize!" Beryl repeated loudly.

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