Ding Jiayi had been telling herself that Qiao Dongliang had just woken up and was not as vigorous as before. He was still weak, so it was normal to ignore them. This was how a patient would behave. It might just be her misconception after all.

But since Ding Jiayi was not the only one who noted the strange atmosphere, but also Qiao Zijin, Ding Jiayi started to feel uneasy.

"Your dad is sick, and his wounds must hurt badly. He does not have the strength to speak. Don't think too much." Ding Jiayi patted Qiao Zijin on her head. She seemed to be consoling Qiao Zijin as well as herself.

The three of them would have to go back in the evening, and someone would have to stay behind to take care of Qiao Dongliang.

Without waiting for Ding Jiayi to say anything, Qiao Dongliang spoke up. "Nan Nan, you should go back tonight. Zijin should stay behind to take care of me."

"It is not really appropriate, is it?" Ding Jiayi frowned. She had wanted Qiao Nan to stay behind. After all, Zijin was the first person Old Qiao saw when he woke up. She should no longer need to tire herself out any more than this. "Zijin stayed up all night to take care of you. It will be Qiao Nan's turn to look after you tonight. The day after tomorrow—tomorrow night—we will have Zijin take care of you."

Ding Jiayi's initial plan was only for Qiao Zijin to wait on Qiao Dongliang till he woke up.

After he woke up, Qiao Nan would have to take care of him.

Unexpectedly, Qiao Dongliang came up with this request all of a sudden, catching Ding Jiayi unaware.

Ding Jiayi used to be the one who was in charge of such 'small matters' in the family. Qiao Dongliang never gave his comments and would not bring up any request on his own accord. Why would he do that today?

Could it be that since Zijin was the first person Old Qiao saw when he woke up, he then developed an attachment to her and came to value her more than before?

Ding Jiayi paused momentarily. She did not know how to react to Qiao Dongliang's requests.

"Well… well, I will stay behind tonight." Without waiting for Ding Jiayi to say anything, Qiao Zijin spoke up first.

"Zijin, are you up to it? You didn't sleep well yesterday." Ding Jiayi spoke anxiously.

"I…" Actually, Zijin felt tired and sleepy. Most importantly, it was summer now, and she had looked after Qiao Dongliang for a long day. She was sticky from her perspiration, feeling uncomfortable. She really wanted to go back to have a bath.

However, her father had already said his piece. If she did not stay, how would the other patients in the ward think of her?

Qiao Nan was filial; she was a good daughter as well!

"Dad, why don't I stay behind?" Qiao Nan never harbored any hopes on Ding Jiayi or Qiao Zijin. Qiao Zijin might be unwilling to stay behind, but she was all the more willing to do that. "Dad, how about I stay behind instead?"

Her father's condition the day before was not really stable, and Qiao Zijin had stayed up all night to take care of her father. The one who stayed behind today to look after her father would no longer need to keep vigil all night. One could still have a nap.

"No need. You should go back," Qiao Dongliang said firmly. "Zijin, are you staying or not?"

Qiao Zijin was stunned momentarily. She quickly agreed. "Yes, I would definitely stay behind. But Dad, how about I go back home first to have a change of clothes and come back later to take Qiao Nan's turn?"

"Sure." Qiao Dongliang nodded in agreement.

Ding Jiayi heaved a sigh of relief. Qiao Zijin could hurry back and have a short rest at home before returning to the hospital.

After Qiao Zijin left, Ding Jiayi sat down by Qiao Dongliang's bedside. "Old Qiao, what's wrong with you today? Did you know that you gave Zijin a fright just now? You…" Ding Jiayi hesitated, not knowing how to describe Qiao Dongliang's behavior.

"What did I do just now?" Qiao Dongliang asked a question in return.

"Nothing… It's nothing." Ding Jiayi shook her head immediately. Old Qiao was a patient and should not be agitated. But Qiao Nan that wretched girl stood to gain! Qiao Zijin would have to do all the hard work.

While Qiao Dongliang was talking to Ding Jiayi, Qiao Nan peeled an apple for Qiao Dongliang. She even cut the apples into small pieces, making it easier for him to eat.

Actually, besides Ding Jiayi and Qiao Zijin, Qiao Nan also noticed that Qiao Dongliang's behavior was strange.

Even though her father refused to let her stay behind and rejected her curtly, she did not sense any loathe in his tone.

But why would her father behave in this way? She had no idea as well.

By the time Qiao Zijin returned to the hospital, three hours had already passed.

Even though it was summer, the sky already looked dark at eight.

"Are you alright?" Ding Jiayi asked out of concern. Ding Jiayi started to have regrets as soon as the sun set. She should have accompanied the elder daughter home. It was no longer as safe as it used to be. What should she do if Zijin had any mishaps or was bullied by someone on the way?

"I am fine. What could have happened to me?" Qiao Zijin said in a displeased tone.

As soon as she reached home, she had a bath, had some food, and went to sleep for two good hours.

Regardless, she was drenched in sweat on her way to the hospital, and her clothes were plastered to her back. She had bathed in vain. Naturally, she was in a bad mood.

"Shall I stay behind with you tonight?" Ding Jiayi gave Qiao Zijin a towel to wipe off her perspiration, waiting on her.

Unlike how Ding Jiayi took care of Qiao Dongliang, she was so ardent and eager to wait on Qiao Zijin as if she was waiting on her elders.

"No need. You have to work tomorrow." Qiao Zijin rejected her mother's suggestion. If her mother did not work, she would not be paid, and she would have no money to pay for her school fees when school reopened.

Even though she planned to find a good job with the help of the Zhu family after graduating from high school, she still wanted to graduate from high school. "If you stay behind to accompany me, you would be too tired to work the next day. Mom, go back home with Qiao Nan. I can cope with it by myself."

Ding Jiayi broke into a smile at the elder daughter's concerned words. "Alright, you look after your dad. I will go back home first."

"Nan Nan, you should go back home too." Unlike her concerned words toward Qiao Zijin just now, Ding Jiayi left by herself, not bothering to wait for Qiao Nan. Qiao Dongliang frowned and urged Qiao Nan to go back home. "Be careful on your way home. Walk on the big road. Do not take the side road."

"I understand, Dad. I will go now." Qiao Nan nodded and turned to leave.

As soon as Qiao Nan came out from the hospital, she was stopped by Ding Jiayi. "Let me ask you. Did you tell your dad anything without us knowing?"

"Dad is sick. Don't worry. I did not say anything to him." Qiao Nan shrugged away Ding Jiayi's arms and did not trail after her. She made her way back home by herself instead.



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