That night, Eleanor was tutoring Evangeline in the living room. Although the former was extremely sleepy, she was determined to help her daughter with her studies.
“Mommy, I actually know the answers to all these questions.” Evangeline suddenly lifted her head to look at Eleanor.
“Why did you get them wrong, then?” Eleanor was baffled.
“That's because you would tutor me every time I get poor results in exams, Mommy. It has been a long time since you've helped me with my homework. I just want to spend more time with you.”
Eleanor felt terrible when she heard that. I've neglected Eva for so long because I've been busy trying to make ends meet.
Eleanor pulled Evangeline into her embrace and said, “Eva, no matter how busy I am, I promise you I'll spend more time with you during the weekends.”
“Thank you, Mommy.” Evangeline hugged Eleanor and said, “Mommy, I promise you I'll get all these questions right next time.”
“I'm looking forward to it!” Eleanor patted her daughter's head lovingly.
“La! La la la...”
Suddenly, Juliet danced her way into the mansion while chirping a song happily.
Her bizarre behavior caught Eleanor and Evangeline's attention.
Before they could ask Juliet what was going on, the woman cupped her face in her palms and said, “I'm falling in love!”
“La la la la! I'm falling in love!” Juliet sang as she pranced up the stairs.
Evangeline was amused when she saw the state Juliet was in, and she couldn't help but giggle as she watched the latter go up the stairs.
When Juliet arrived at the corner of the stairs, she suddenly turned around and pointed at Evangeline. While giggling, she uttered, “Eva, I'm falling in love!”
“Hehehe.” Evangeline continued giggling, thinking Juliet's behavior was hilarious.
“I'm falling in love! I'm falling in love!” Juliet uttered as she backed off to disappear around the corner. Evangeline, tickled pink, couldn't stop laughing.
The next day, Eleanor brought Evangeline to Sunshine Elementary School and said, “Eva, attend your classes first, okay? I'll head to the office to clock in before coming back here to attend the parent-teacher conference with you.”
“Sure!” Evangeline nodded and went to school with a small backpack on her back.
The parent-teacher conference that was being held that day was unlike the previous ones.
Prior to that, parent-teacher conferences were held in classrooms.
That day, however, the school had requested the parents to bring their kids to the school field for the parent-teacher conference.
That was because someone influential donated ten million to the school, and the principal had jumped through a lot of hoops to invite that influential benefactor.
All the parents there were eager to meet the aforementioned benefactor.
As soon as Evangeline arrived outside the classroom, she was approached by a few boys, and they teased her.
“Quick! Run! The evil woman's daughter is here! The evil woman's daughter is here!”
“Evangeline, your mommy smokes. I bet she's a vixen that works at a nightclub.”
“My mommy said we shouldn't be near you. Since you're an evil woman's daughter, we'll surely get influenced by you and turn naughty.”
Upon hearing that, Evangeline clenched her fists and fumed, “My mommy isn't an evil woman!”
“The vixen's daughter is angry! Let's run!” a chubby boy yelled.
The boys ran away as if they had seen a ghost.
At that moment, all the other kids treated Evangeline like a jinx, and they just distanced themselves from her.
Evangeline's eyes welled up with tears when she saw that. Saddened, she clenched her fists and walked toward the classroom.
“Did you know that Evangeline's mommy drinks and smokes? She's also a worker at the nightclub, and her job is to seduce men.”
“I've heard about it. My mommy doesn't want me to hang around with her anymore.”
“Let's just distance ourselves from her. There she is. Let's leave!”
Evangeline heard those remarks, and every word was like a dagger stabbing her heart.
She wanted to explain herself, but the moment she wanted to do so, all she saw was her friends running away from her.
The words got caught in her throat. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't voice them out.
Instead, she went back to the classroom on her own and sprawled on the table to sob.
Meanwhile, a Rolls-Royce Phantom slowly came to a halt outside Sunshine Elementary School. Rowan Quinn, the principal of Sunshine Elementary School, went out to welcome his guest personally.
When Juliet got out of the car with Emmanuel, the crowd cheered and welcomed them.
The scene had sent goosebumps all over her body as they entered the school under everyone's watchful eyes.
She felt as though she was a superstar.
Having grown up in a village, she had been treated coldly by everyone when she arrived in Summerbank.
However, she became the center of attraction now that she was next to Emmanuel. I'll never forget this feeling. Heck, I think I'm in love with the attention I've been getting.
There were even people pouring drinks for them when they were in the principal's office.
Whatever she wanted, she could just ask someone to attend to her.
Emmanuel suddenly turned to her and asked. “Would you like to accompany me on the stage and say a word or two later? I can tell that you're in love with how things have been going. I bet you have a lot to say to the kids, right?”
“C-Can I?” Juliet gulped emotionally. She was so excited that she was having goosebumps when she realized that she could address the crowd and accompany Emmanuel on the stage. “If you don't mind, Mr. Kirsch, it would be my honor to be on the stage with you.”
“Okay.” Emmanuel smiled at Juliet and drank his coffee.
Half an hour later, the parent-teacher conference was about the start. Hence, the students and the parents could be seen carrying benches to the field to attend the event.
Evangeline, on the other hand, was an outcast. She was carrying a bench on her own as she walked among the crowd.
“Eva, is your mommy not coming?” Ramona walked up to Evangeline and asked.
Evangeline raised her gaze to look at Ramona and answered, “My mommy said she'll be here in a while.”
“All right, then.” Ramona shook her head helplessly. I've already told Eleanor about the parent-teacher conference yesterday. How could she still miss it? No wonder the other parents are critical of her.
After watching Romana leave, Evangeline carried the bench to the school entrance and waited for her mother to show up.
As the minutes slowly ticked by, Eleanor was still nowhere to be seen.
At that moment, Evangeline was feeling increasingly aggrieved. She felt even worse and was on the verge of crying when she recalled what the other students said about her. Yes, my mommy smokes, but to me, she's still the best mommy in the world. She's not an evil woman.
“Eva!” Eleanor was panting heavily when she showed up. She then squatted down and apologized, “I'm sorry for being late, Sweetie.”
“Mommy!” Evangeline immediately wrapped her arms around Eleanor's neck and cried in distress.
Eleanor was stumped when she saw her daughter burst into tears. Heartbroken, Eleanor said, “Sweetie, stop crying, okay? I'm sorry for being late.”
Evangeline sobbed and uttered, “Mommy, will you please stop smoking?”
Eleanor's heart skipped a beat, and she grew anxious. She then held Evangeline's arms and asked, “Eva, what happened? Tell me.”
With tears flowing down her cheeks, Evangeline said, “My friends are saying that you're a bad mommy because you smoke and drink. Hence, they don't want to play with me anymore. Mommy, could you stop smoking? I want you to become a good mommy.”