At the thought of Zhai Sheng's situation and family background, Qiao Dongliang felt that Zhai Sheng and Qiao Nan's relationship was too unreal. "Nan Nan, I heard from the neighbors that there's an occasion whereby a girl came to our house and created a fuss. She said that you've snatched her boyfriend. What happened?"

As it was nearing Qiao Nan's examination period previously, Qiao Dongliang endured and dared not question much despite knowing this matter. He was afraid that Qiao Nan would be distracted. Nevertheless, he no longer needed to have such consideration today.

"Dad, this matter is rather complicated. I can't explain to you clearly in such a short time. That woman was referring to Brother Zhai, but Brother Zhai was not related to her in any way. As for the fiancée and fiancé that she mentioned, they were also not true. That day, Chief Zhai and Auntie Miao also came here to clarify the matter with that woman. It has got nothing to do with me."

"I did hear a little about that." Otherwise, he would not have endured until today to ask about it. "Nan Nan, how do the other family members of the Zhai family feel about the matter between Zhai Sheng and you?"

"Auntie Miao does not know yet, but she seems to have some objections about someone like me."

"True enough…" It was his fault. As a father, he could not provide Nan Nan with a good life and this had affected her life. She had to be shunned by others when looking for a marriage partner.

"Chief Zhai knew about us. He was not pleased, but he did not comment too much about it." Chief Zhai was basically adopting a wait-and-see attitude.

Qiao Dongliang jumped in shock. "Chief Zhai knew about the two of you and didn't ask you to break up?" How could that be?!

"Nan Nan, don't sweet-talk me. I've long guessed that their family would disagree. I just didn't want you to be too hard on yourself. Hence, I didn't want you to be together with Zhai Sheng. Zhai Sheng is outstanding, too outstanding. Our family is not compatible with him."

"Dad, I really didn't lie to you. Think about it yourself. If Chief Zhai really wants Brother Zhai and me to break up, he can come and look for you. It's more direct and straightforward that way. Did he look for you?"

Chief Zhai did request for Qiao Nan to break up with Brother Zhai that day but Qiao Nan refused to. Thereafter, Chief Zhai did not make any further attempt to do so, let alone take any concrete action.

Qiao Dongliang first nodded and then shook his head. "You're right. Yes, Chief Zhai did not look for me. Nan Nan, what do you think he meant by this?" Madam Zhai was not agreeable, but was Chief Zhai agreeable?

Qiao Nan replied honestly. "I don't know. Dad, don't think too much. We will let nature takes its own course. There will always be a way to settle this matter. Right, Dad, I'll give Brother Zhai a call, in case he gets people to send us things again without giving us any prior notice."


The refrigerator was a big appliance. In another two years' time, air conditioner and computer would become prevalent.

If Brother Zhai bought all of these items one by one, Auntie Miao would be able to guess their relationship without the need for anyone to tell her.

"…" Qiao Dongliang felt a little embarrassed. "Make the call. I'll go out and do some marketing."

Once Qiao Dongliang left, Qiao Nan gave Zhai Sheng a call.

"Hello, Nan Nan, have you finished your exams?" As soon as he received the call, Zhai Sheng guessed that Nan Nan was the caller. "Five days later, I have ten days of leave. I'll be able to come back."

"Oh, you're coming back. No wonder…" Realization dawned on Qiao Nan.

"No wonder what?" Nan Nan was implying something with her words.

Qiao Nan swallowed her saliva before saying, "I heard that Shi Qing is not from Ping Cheng. She could actually return home after taking the examinations and seek her Ping Cheng relatives' help to collect her academic results. However, I heard this morning that Shi Qing did not prepare to go back. She will be staying at Qiu Chenxi's house."

"You already knew about her relationship with Qiu Chenxi?"

"Could I not know? On the first day of my examination, Qiu Chenxi came to our school early in the morning and gave Shi Qing good publicity in front of my whole class. This Shi Qing is quite formidable. She could, in fact, skip a grade and study with the third-year students, yet she wanted to compete with me for the top place in the first-year cohort. As I was in a more relaxed state, Shi Qing shunned me for not being serious enough and said that I'm giving up on myself. Brother Zhai, Shi Qing said she wished to compete with me. Tell me, should I?"

"As long as you're happy."

"If I don't compete with her, can you accept it?" Could she really act according to her own wishes? Brother Zhai was really so generous this time?

Zhai Sheng relaxed his eyebrows. The three vertical lines on his forehead earlier disappeared. "Is it because you don't wish to, or is it because you don't like me?"

"Don't wish to compete."

"So, that means you like me?"

"Yes…" After Qiao Nan replied, she realized that she had fallen into Zhai Sheng's trap.

Zhai Sheng's deep and happy voice could be heard. "Similarly, I like you too. As long as you're happy, no matter what decision you make, I'll support you." He was not so anxious or childish to feel that Nan Nan needed to accept Shi Qing's challenge and work hard to guard her top place in the cohort to prove that she liked him. It did not mean that she did not like him or was giving him up if she did not compete.

"Nan Nan, you seem to have forgotten. I'm twenty-three, not thirteen years old this year."

Qiao Nan's ears turned red. She moved the phone receiver slightly further away from her ears. Using his voice to seduce others… He was flouting the rules!

After she suppressed her flustered feelings, Qiao Nan then placed the phone receiver back on her ears. "Brother Zhai, my dad asked me to tell you not to buy big appliances for my house anymore. After all, this house belongs to the school. Moreover, it's too easy for Auntie Miao to discover them. You made my dad accept your gifts suddenly, and he felt bad about it. This time, he accepted your fridge. In the future, he can still pay you back by working harder. But if you send us more gifts, my family's wealth can't compete with that of yours. If we can't repay you, my dad is afraid that he has to sell his daughter to repay the debts."

"Gifts blind the eyes. If Uncle Qiao can spare me the rod next time and decisively let me marry his daughter, then that will be the best." He did have the intention to ask them to repay the debts. In that way, he could save himself the need to pass the hurdle of the father-in-law.

It was not only the refrigerator. Zhai Sheng wanted to buy them everything that the Qiao family lacked.

He did not really want Qiao Dongliang to owe him anything. Zhai Sheng was just afraid that Qiao Nan did not live comfortably, and that it would be inconvenient for her not to have the necessities at home.

Qiao Nan did not know that Zhai Sheng was not only thinking of sending gifts to them, but he also nearly considered whether to take over paying all the electricity, water, and miscellaneous bills of the Qiao family.

Qiao Nan was the woman he loved. Moreover, she was someone he must marry and would be his children's mother.

He was supporting his own wife financially and buying a few things for her. Why couldn't he do that?

In short, anything that had to do with Qiao Nan, Zhai Sheng wanted to take them on himself.

"Brother Zhai, I'm serious. If you want to continue doing this, I don't know if I'll run away in fear, but my dad will definitely be frightened." Qiao Nan was both angry and helpless. She really could not tell that Brother Zhai had a tendency toward male chauvinism.

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