Chapter 35 Casper returned to Class Nine indifferently after that.
Relieved to see him, Emily asked, “Where did you go? I was about to go and look for
“I needed the restroom,” Casper answered as he walked into the classroom and took his seat next to Olivia.
Emily stared at him for a moment. She had always found the little boy to be intimidating, and there were times when she couldn’t even bring herself to look him in the eye. However, he had proven himself to be nothing but a little angel. He was polite and sweet, so much so that Emily was convinced she had imagined the somewhat domineering quality of his behavior.
During the morning break, Emily was called over by Miss Kruger.
It didn’t take long for the other teachers in the lounge to swarm around Emily as they said in hushed tones, “Casper’s sister might be autistic, but it’s not as if we have no experience in guiding her. Don’t ever hesitate to come to me for help should you need it!”
“Olivia is such a pretty child, and it’s our great fortune to have a child as gorgeous as her roaming around school grounds. We must take splendid care of her and make sure she stays in school.”
“Miss Morris, I do hope that you have the patience to guide the child, but if you find it challenging, then you could always have Olivia transferred to our class.”
Emily felt the corner of her lips twitch in disbelief. “Weren’t you all just telling me to find an excuse to expel Olivia?”
“We were only testing you to see if you truly had the selfless heart to educate the child!” Miss Kruger said with a dry laugh. “Now, Miss Morris, I certainly hope you are able to see that child’s early years of education to the end and care for her to the best of your ability so that she could learn to cope in spite of autism.”
Al present, Casper had enough evidence to destroy their careers, and if they allowed Olivia to be expelled, then their act of accepting bribery from their parents would be publicized by Casper. If that came to pass, then these teachers would lose both their income and their reputation,
It would be much easier for them to treat Casper and Olivia respectfully until they graduated kindergarten, whereupon they would be free of the little boy’s threat.
While Emily had no idea as to why these teachers had a sudden change of heart
about Olivia, she was unbothered. She had never thought anything mean of Olivia, so naturally, she didn’t care about how others might perceive the little girl.
After school, Casper held Olivia’s hand while waiting for Rachel to arrive. Their first day of kindergarten had gotten off to a turbulent start, but it was resolved eventually, and both children were rather calm at the end of the day.
Presently, Rachel arrived at school, and she beamed at the teacher as she said, “Miss Morris, thank you for your hard work today. Were the kids well-behaved?”
“Don’t worry, Miss Yates, botli Casper and Olivia did well today. The kids in the class were all clamoring to be friends with them, too,” Emily said, then ruffled both children’s hair affectionately. “Why don’t you both go home and rehearse the song and-dance routine that we did today? Alright now, say bye-bye!”
Casper waved goodbye to Emily obediently, and after Rachel bid the teacher goodbye, she led both children into the car. She seemed somewhat surprised as she asked, “Casper, your teacher seems to like Olivia a whole lot, doesn’t she?”
Casper nodded. “Miss Morris is nice to Olivia, and Olivia doesn’t mind holding her hand.”
Rachel heaved a small sigh of relief. She had seen the way Emily ruffled Olivia’s hair earlier, and she was worried that the little girl might object to it. Much to her surprise, however, Olivia seemed to take the affectionate gesture in stride.
It seemed as if Caleb was right when he said the kindergarten treated its students without discrimination, and such confirmation reassured Rachel.
She drove over to the farmer’s market first to pick out fresh ingredients, then headed to the supermarket to grab a couple of snacks for the kids before she returned home.
Olivia might be autistic, but she was an independent child by nature. As soon as they got home, she quietly made her way over to the rug and set herself to work on the jigsaw puzzle.
Casper, on the other hand, followed Rachel into the kitchen to help with the groceries,
He helped Rachel wash the vegetables in the sink. He was only four, but he knew how to tackle most of the housework. There were even days when Rachel was swamped with work, and he would whip up lunch for his sister,
Rachel was cooking while making small talk with her son, tuning in to all that had happened at school today,
Just then, her phone buzzed with an incoming call. There weren’t a lot of people who had her new number ever since she returned to the country, Thinking that it was a
cold call, she rejected it swiftly.
However, it didn’t take long for the other person to call her again. This time, she wiped her hands and put the call through.
“Rachel, it’s you, isn’t it?”
Upon hearing the man’s voice on the other line, Rachel felt her expression turn grim. The voice belonged to her father, Francis. She couldn’t help noting sourly how he had only called her days after her return to the country. Ah, but what do I expect from a father who has done nothing but love and indulge in me since my childhood days?
“Mr. Yates, I trust you’ve been well,” she said now, her tone dripping with sarcasm.
Francis nearly choked on his words. He took a deep breath, then said, “Rachel, I know you blame me for what happened, but you’ve got to cut me some slack here and put yourself in my shoes. You literally set our family home on fire and walked away, and now that you’ve returned, you decided to wage war against us. It’s only reasonable that I get upset over it, don’t you think?”
“So let me get this straight, Mr. Yates-you don’t think I’m as important as your company, is that right?” she countered icily. “In that case, why do you even bother calling me?”
“There are no grudges between father and daughter,” he said, attempting to soften the hard edge of his voice. “Besides, you’re my daughter, Rachel; my firstborn. How could I not care about you? You don’t belong to the Sinclairs, and it’s not right that you stay with them. I’ll have someone bring you home, okay?”
The sneer on Rachel’s face grew even more disdainful. She could sense that there was something fishy going on behind his sudden kindness. Moving back to the Yates Residence was equivalent to volunteering as Shirley’s torture subject. As if I‘d fall for that!
With that in mind, Rachel bit out, “That won’t be necessary because I’ll never go back to the Yates Residence.”
Francis nearly threw his phone on the ground in a fit of rage. He thought he was being gracious by calling up this ingrate daughter of his and inviting her home, only to have his kind favor rejected. She used to be so obedient. What in the world happened to her? Alas, he swallowed his anger and said through gritted teeth, “Your grandmother’s seventieth birthday banquet is just around the corner. Won’t you at least come home and visit her?”
She stiffened at this. When she was younger, her grandmother, Vivian, had been the only one who doted on her. She still remembered how Vivian had fought tooth and nail just to keep Miranda from marrying into the family,
Unfortunately, Miranda fell pregnant and gave birth to Shirley in secret. It was only then that Vivian had no choice but to allow Francis to marry her and bring her into the family.
At the beginning of the marriage, Vivian had stayed at Yates Residence to keep an eye on Miranda so that she would not dream of hurting Rachel.
However, Miranda proved to be quite the actress. She would buy Rachel all the nicest clothes and the most delicious chocolates just to get on her good side, and at some point, Rachel started calling her ‘Mom’.
As the years passed, Miranda never once revealed her true colors, and she had always played the role of the indulgent mother. When Rachel finally left Yates Residence, she realized in retrospect how Miranda had weaponized those bonding moments.
She also realized that Francis had been coerced into loving her and how Shirley had only pretended to love her as a sister,
Rachel had only been eighteen when the life she had always known came unraveled. Looking back, she couldn’t believe how stupid and blind she had been. It was her naivety that allowed her to be manipulated and set up by others; she was knocked up at a young age and nearly died in a fire, one which would have taken five lives. “Your grandmother had a heart attack after she thought you died, and she stayed in the hospital for four years. Now that she knows you’re alive and here in the country, she insisted on leaving the hospital just so she could throw a birthday banquet,” Francis explained, his voice pulling Rachel out of her thoughts. “Rachel, I won’t force you to come home if you don’t want to, but before you make up your mind, at least think about your grandmother and the grief she’s been through.”