What was it with today?

"Nan Nan… oh, why is the door open?" Qiao Dongliang, who had a slaughtered chicken in his hand, pushed the door and realized that it was ajar. "Nan Nan, why didn't you close the door? Was someone here just now?"

"Dad, you are finally back!" Qiao Nan was so scared that she rushed forward and grabbed the arm of Qiao Dongliang.

"What's wrong? Why are so pale? Did you have a fright? Who came just now?" Qiao Dongliang sensed that Qiao Nan was acting strangely. He threw the chicken aside and took a closer look at Qiao Nan.

"No, nothing in particular." Qiao Nan smiled awkwardly. She could not possibly say that she saw Auntie Miao, who had schizophrenia, and had a big fright. However, was there anything wrong with Auntie Miao? Should she tell Brother Zhai and Sister Zhai Hua when she saw them? "Dad, why did you throw the chicken aside? Is that the chicken you bought to prepare tonics for me?"

"That's right. Both you and your sister will have one each. That's because you gave me a big fright just now." Qiao Dongliang picked up the chicken quickly. "I will wash it and prepare a stew for you. I bought a spring chicken for your sister, but yours is an old hen."

"Is Mom okay with that?" Qiao Nan smiled when she heard the difference. Though they were all chickens, the price of the old hen was much more expensive than the spring chicken.

"It's my money. It has nothing to do with her." Qiao Dongliang snorted without care. "Why are there so many things at home?"

"Brother Zhai and Sister Zhai Hua came over just now. These are from them."

"I see. Nan Nan, you are too…" Qiao Dongliang was about to nag at Qiao Nan for being so insensible. They owed Zhai Sheng a huge sum of money. Now that he was back from the army, they should be the one who gave Zhai Sheng gifts. How could they possibly accept gifts from Zhai Sheng?

But on second thought, Zhai Sheng was an adult whereas Nan Nan was still a child. Nan Nan must have found it difficult to reject his kind intentions.

Given Zhai Sheng's domineering aura, even if Qiao Dongliang was present at the time, he might not be able to refuse his gifts either. He had no rights to nag at Nan Nan.

"No wonder the door is left ajar. Still, you are quite close with Zhai Sheng, yet why is it that you seemed to be scared out of your wits? Was it because you rejected his gifts and Zhai Sheng became unhappy?" Qiao Dongliang sighed. It was unreasonable of them to accept his gifts. But if they did not accept them, Zhai Sheng would be unhappy. It was difficult to please all parties.

Zhai Sheng had taken the blame for his mother unknowingly.

"Dad, no matter what, Brother Zhai has brought the things here. Let's prepare the chicken stew." Qiao Nan said a silent apology to Zhai Sheng. Since it was his mother who was to be blamed, it was not too much to ask of Zhai Sheng, her son, to take the blame for her.


"Okay, since you have good culinary skills, just prepare the stew according to your preferences."

"Alright."

Qiao Nan began to prepare her chicken stew. On the other hand, Miao Jing had returned home before lunch.

"Mom?" Zhai Hua was shocked at seeing her mother back home for lunch. "Y-you are back?" She was back much earlier today. It was so unlike her mother to come back home at such an early time. In the past, she would only be home around nighttime.

"I am hungry, so I came back home." Miao Jing smiled when she saw her daughter. She looked at everyone in the house, except for one person.

Zhai Yaohui was treated as if he was transparent. Though he felt bitter, he did not think much about it. He was too careless to notice that something was amiss. "Since you are hungry, sit down and have your lunch."

Since Old Master Zhai was back, he would take the center seat that faced the south. Zhai Yaohui would take the seat on his left, while Zhai Hua and Zhai Sheng would take the seats on the right. Usually, Miao Jing would sit next to Zhai Yaohui, but today, she instructed the nanny to put her rice bowl next to Zhai Sheng, and so she sat down next to her son.

As soon as Miao Jing sat down, everyone at the dining table was stunned.

Old Master Zhai blinked and laughed. He knew that something was wrong.

"Why do all of you keep staring at me? You can't fill your stomach by looking at me. Let's eat." Miao Jing shot her children an angry look. She could not nag at her father-in-law, but she could reprimand her children.

"Mom, let's eat. Today's meat is very delicious." Zhai Hua smiled. She tried to please her mother by putting some food into her bowl. As long as her mother was happy, nothing else mattered.

Miao Jing ate the vegetables that Zhai Hua got for her.

"You see, Mom. Since Zhai Sheng doesn't like Qiu Chenxi, and as it is only one-sided and wishful thinking of the two families, why don't we call it off?" Zhai Hua felt that Miao Jing seemed different from usual and thus decided to approach the subject now, hoping to cancel the engagement with Qiu Chenxi there and then.

"No!" Miao Jing turned serious. There was no room for discussion for this matter alone.

"This won't do!" Old Master Zhai said in a loud voice. He objected to what Miao Jing said. "I won't agree to this. My grandson cannot marry the lady from the Qiu family. Zhai Sheng has to marry someone he likes!"

Seeing that Old Master Zhai was riled up, Miao Jing softened her tone. "Dad, this time, the party concerned has the surname of Qiu, not Qi. As expected, there's a difference between the way you treat your grandson and your son. It is no wonder that the elders often say that grandparents dote on their grandchildren."

"Miao Jing." Zhai Yaohui raised his voice, his expression turning grim.

When Miao Jing noticed that Zhai Yaohui was unhappy, she was afraid and wanted to pacify him.

But when she thought of what Qiao Nan's words, she bit on her lips and refused to say anything.

Old Master Zhai raised his voice and yelled at his son. "Who are you yelling at? Why would you be angry toward Miao Miao? She is right. But in my opinion, there is no difference whether one is from the Qiu family or from the Qi family. Both of them won't do. It's my freedom to dote on my grandson alone. What's wrong with that? If you are unhappy, you can settle it with me!"

"Dad." Zhai Yaohui felt awkward. There was nothing he could do with his father. "This is between Miao Jing and me."

"I am referring to the issue between you and me!"

The three elders were at each other's necks. Zhai Hua and Zhai Sheng stared speechlessly at each other. From what her mother said inadvertently just now, there was more to this than met the eye.

After the meal, Zhai Hua pulled Zhai Sheng to the study room. "If you are serious about Nan Nan, Mom will be a big problem to you. You should know what Mom likes about Qiu Chenxi. If you do not deal with this, when you start going out with Nan Nan, both of you will have a difficult time. By that time, it's either Nan Nan or Mom who will be hurt."

"Nan Nan is a good girl. As long as Mom gets to spend more time with her, she will accept her." Zhai Sheng had full confidence in Qiao Nan.

"What if things go wrong?" It was a fact that Qiao Nan was born in such a family. There was nothing they could do about it.

Her mother preferred Zhai Sheng to be with ladies who came from families as established as the Zhai family. At least, not too far off of the established standard.

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