Amanda had discreetly arranged for Charlotte to sit between Luna and herself. Although they painted quite a happy picture of a wholesome family, in reality, the set-up was meant to trap Charlotte between them so she couldn’t escape.
When they were finally seated, one of the aunts, Aunt Leigh, turned to Charlotte and smiled at her as she gave her the once-over. “We haven’t seen you in years! You look so much more mature now, Charlotte.”
“You looked like a girl the last time we saw you, and now you look like a woman!” Another aunt, Aunt Geraldine, chimed in on purpose. “Amanda, what were you saying about Charlotte’s kids? Do you mean that she’s already married with kids now?”
“Yes, she already has three children. Time has flown by, hasn’t it? We’re all getting old.” Amanda laughed shrilly and continued, “Charlotte, why didn’t you bring your kids along with you today?”
This time, Charlotte didn’t interrupt her. Instead, she allowed her aunt to finish saying what she wanted to say.
From the moment Luna bumped into her and her child at the kindergarten the other day, Charlotte knew that her secret was out.
The news of her child would have spread like wildfire among the Whites and the Windts.
From what she knew about Amanda’s personality, the older woman had probably fed the other aunts all sorts of vile stories about Charlotte to taint her reputation.
Charlotte was sure that Amanda had invited her over tonight to make a mockery of her. The latter probably wanted to embarrass her in front of Hector so that he would end their relationship forever…
Everyone at the table was extremely stunned. It had been four years since they last saw Charlotte, and she had returned with kids—three of them!
A few of the uncles started to frown. Their expressions had clouded over, and the look in their eyes as they gazed at Charlotte seemed to turn rather accusatory.
Aunt Leigh asked excitedly, “Charlotte, when did you get married? We didn’t even know!”
“How old are your kids?” Aunt Geraldine asked. “What does your husband do for a living? Why isn’t he here with you?”
Amanda and Luna looked at Charlotte and smiled, looking as though they were grimacing instead.
The two of them waited gleefully for her answer. How was Charlotte going to tell everyone that she had hooked up with a gigolo at Sultry Night and now had three of his children?
After a pregnant pause, the woman finally spoke up, “That’s my business. I don’t suppose you think you have a right to know, do you?”
Immediately, the entire room fell silent with shock. Nobody had expected her to reply to their questions like this.
One of the uncles growled angrily at her, “Of course we have a right to know! We’re your elders! Don’t we have a right to ask you about your marital situation?”
“Look how wishy-washy you’re being. Did you get pregnant out of wedlock?” another uncle asked. “Who’s the father of your children?”
“Why aren’t you saying anything?” The others chimed in anxiously, “Did you get together with a married man and give birth to his illegitimate children?”
“Haha!” One of her aunts burst into laughter beside him. “A married man is already the best-case scenario. It would be much worse if she doesn’t even know who the father is.”
“How could you have done something so awful? You’ve brought nothing but shame upon all of us!” One uncle was so angry that he slammed down on the table and left the room.
“Charlotte, this is simply preposterous,” Aunt Geraldine said crossly. “Four years ago, you did something so outrageous that your father threw himself off the building and committed suicide in anger. We thought you would stop embarrassing yourself after that, but you’ve only changed for the worse!”
“Exactly! As your elders, we can’t condone such behavior anymore…” Aunt Leigh heaved a sigh and continued, “If your father—bless his soul—knew how you’re behaving right now, he would be rolling in his grave.”
A few of Charlotte’s aunts put their heads together and started whispering loudly, “She used to be so obedient as a child. What happened to her? She must have been possessed by the devil.”
“When all’s said and done, her poor behavior probably stems from the fact that she didn’t have a mother to guide her when she was young. Take a look at Luna—she would never behave like Charlotte…”
“Exactly! Luna is such an innocent lass. She got married like a normal person would and had her husband’s children. As for Charlotte, however…”
Hearing this, a smile of satisfaction appeared on Luna’s face.
“Oh, Leigh, my dear, you mustn’t say that!” Amanda exclaimed, humbling herself as much as she could. “I’ve kept a firm rein on Luna since she was a child. Charlotte, the poor thing, lost her mother when she was very young. That’s why she’s gone off the beaten track now. As her elders, we should do our best to educate her…”
Charlotte couldn’t stand it anymore. “Have you all said enough?”