"No, there are no such people in our quad." Ding Jiayi shook her head. "Look carefully again. It may be somewhere here."

"Well, hurry and look for it." These two new clothes were supposed to motivate Qiao Zijin to work hard for the next few days.

However, despite having searched high and low in the house and covered in dust, Ding Jiayi and Qiao Zijin could not find the bags in which they put the clothes that were bought yesterday. "No, no, it cannot be. Did someone take it away?" Ding Jiayi could not help but wonder since she still could not find the new clothes after searching for a long time.

Initially, Ding Jiayi was furious that she had to surrender the rights to family funds and had to fork out fifty yuan from her salary to make it up to Qiao Nan. But at the thought that she had spent fifty yuan in advance to buy new clothes for Qiao Zijin, she felt slightly comforted.

As for Qiao Zijin's tuition fees, she would come up with ways to get the money.

That said, they could settle the problem of the tuition fees somehow, and Qiao Zijin could have two pieces of new clothes for her new school term. Everything was going smoothly for the start of a new semester. But now that the new clothes could not be found, everything became imperfect.

Who would be so daring as to steal things from the Qiao's residence? Did they have no regard to the police?!

Ding Jiayi was so angry that she wanted to call the police. Just then, Qiao Nan came back home.

Initially, Ding Jiayi did not pay attention to Qiao Nan. The sight of Qiao Nan irritated her eyes. Therefore, she turned away after one glance. But in the next instant, her gaze returned to Qiao Nan again. "Where did you get the new dress you are wearing from? I bought it for your sister! You… you take it off right now! Where is the other piece?!"

The new dress Qiao Nan wore today was exactly the same as the one that Ding Jiayi bought for Qiao Zijin, the one that she could not find anywhere at home.

"A thief cries 'thief'. Yesterday, you called the police. It is my turn to call the police today. You are so young, yet you picked up bad habits, becoming a thief and stealing your sister's belongings. Now that your dad is not at home, I will make sure you pay for your mistakes!"

"Who said that I am not at home?" Qiao Dongliang came back just in time. He had a stern look on his face. His eyes narrowed, looking at Ding Jiayi's raised hand.

Ding Jiayi trembled at Qiao Dongliang's piercing icy stare. Ding Jiayi lowered her hand instantly. "Old Qiao, you cannot blame me for what happened today. You really have to lecture Qiao Nan. She stole the dresses I bought for Zijin. You are a soldier, so you should know the saying 'he who steals a pin will steal an ox'. You always praise Qiao Nan for being well-behaved, but she is not well-behaved at all. She has learned to be a thief!"

"Mom, what are you talking about? Nan Nan did not do it on purpose. She must have thought that the clothes are beautiful and wanted to try them on. I don't blame Nan Nan." Qiao Zijin sneered in her heart. Qiao Nan also hankered after her clothes, yet she acted as if she was above material pursuits. Today, she had given herself away. "Nan Nan, please return the dress to me if you are done wearing it. There is another new piece of dress. Do return it to me as well."


Now that Qiao Nan was caught stealing her clothes, she did not believe her father would still think that Qiao Nan was a good daughter and side with Qiao Nan.

Qiao Dongliang smiled. "Ding Jiayi, you stole three hundred yuan from Nan Nan, but you insisted that you merely took it from her. Why is Nan Nan labeled as a thief just because she wears a new dress? Nan Nan did not take the dress. I give it to Nan Nan, and it has nothing to do with Nan Nan."

Of course, he knew that these two pieces of new clothes must have been bought by Ding Jiayi for Qiao Zijin. They were bought with the money that Qiao Nan earned!

"…"

"…"

Qiao Dongliang's words made Ding Jiayi and Qiao Zijin dumbfounded, especially Qiao Zijin whose face turned green and couldn't speak at all.

In the Qiao family, Qiao Nan's belongings were Qiao Zijin's, while Qiao Zijin's belongings were hers only. Whoever had the same surname as her, their belongings were all hers. It had always been this way. Qiao Nan's belongings were thus naturally hers. No matter what happened, Qiao Nan could never claim ownership for Qiao Zijin's belongings.

But this time, the new clothes that Qiao Zijin took great lengths to get ended up being Qiao Nan's. Qiao Zijin was so angry that she almost fainted.

Ding Jiayi grew agitated as well. "Old Qiao, I bought them for Zijin! Why did you give it to Qiao Nan?!"

"Because it was paid using Nan Nan's money."

"Yes, that may be the case at the beginning, but then you took my money and gave it to her to make up for what I took from her. In that case, it could be considered that I bought Zijin the clothes with my own money. What right do you have to give Qiao Nan the clothes I bought for Zijin?!" Ding Jiayi was the one who had this kind of unreasonable and arrogant behavior, but why did Old Qiao act like this today?

"You may have earned the money but are they yours? Don't forget that I am in charge of our family's household funds now. Since I say that this dress is Nan Nan's, it belongs to Nan Nan."

"Old Qiao, why are you so unreasonable?"

"Unreasonable? I learned it from you. When you spent five thousand yuan that I earned so that Zijin could study at The High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China, did I lament to you about it? If you intend to argue with me about whom the money and clothes should belong to, fine. As long as you return the five thousand yuan I earned, I will buy you dresses that are identical to those you bought. If you are unable to do that, keep quiet then!"

Qiao Dongliang had seen the two new dresses yesterday and boiled with anger for the whole night.

He barely survived the accident, and his family owed a lot of debts.

As the mistress of this family, Ding Jiayi did not come up with ways to make more money and reduce her expenses so as to clear their debts as soon as possible. Instead, she had the audacity to steal from her younger daughter and squander away the money on new dresses. At the thought of this, Qiao Dongliang had a terrible heartache.

When he woke up this morning, he gave the clothes to Qiao Nan to wear.

It was already so tensed up at home, yet Ding Jiayi had the time and mood to spend money to dress up Qiao Zijin. Qiao Dongliang could do the same.

Nan Nan was young and pretty. She was at the age to dress up. Whatever Zijin had, Nan Nan should have as well.

With this thought in mind, Qiao Dongliang decided not to return the dresses and not to ask for a refund. He removed the label and gave the dresses to Qiao Nan instead.

"Dad, the fabric of this dress is of good quality. It is very comfortable." Qiao Nan acted just like a child, flaunting the dress and telling her father how good the dress was.

In this era where ten yuan was sufficient to cover one week of expenses for a family of four, her mother was willing to spend fifty yuan to buy two pieces of clothing for Qiao Zijin. The quality of the dresses that were bought using a family's half-month living expenses had to be good and comfortable.

"It's good that it is comfortable. If you like it, I will buy them for you next time. You can pick them by yourself." Qiao Dongliang used to be cold and stern when Ding Jiayi was around. However, in front of Qiao Nan, he was smiling from ear to ear, his tone gentle and soothing.

Qiao Nan shook her head out of genuine concern for the family's situation. "No, these two pieces of dresses are more than enough. I can wear them for two years."

Qiao Dongliang paused momentarily and then smiled. "Nan Nan is right. Given our situation now, we should not be so wasteful. You will have to go to college in the future, and we need to pay off the debts. We have many other expenses."

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