Mother Qiao had always liked Chen Yang. After her daughter came back from their dates, she would even especially go and watch a few of his movies. She liked him so much that every time she played mahjong, she would often recommend her daughter's boyfriend's new dramas to her mahjong friends.
So when mother Qiao learned that Chen Yang had come over, she stopped cooking the dumplings and ran out of the kitchen to offer him a seat.
When New Year's dinner officially started in the Qiao family home, New Year's Gala just came on the television. Father Qiao went over to turn up the volume.
Even though people only kept saying that the New Year's Gala got worse year after year, they couldn't deny that it had become a tradition that made the New Year's feel special.
In the past, father Qiao would be the only man at the table for New Year's Eve, and Qiao Anxia would sometimes have a few drinks with him, but today there was Chen Yang. Father Qiao especially brought out a bottle of the good stuff he'd been storing.
Because there was someone to drink with, father Qiao was really happy. Before Chen Yang arrived, he had especially bought a gift. Mother Qiao received an emerald bracelet, which made her so happy that she couldn't contain herself. Every one at the table ushered Chen Yang to eat more.
Chen Yang really did like Qiao Anxia from the bottom of his heart. When she asked him for a napkin on the table, he handed it to her so slowly that she impatiently rushed him a little too rudely. Chen Yang then hurriedly gave her the napkin to wipe her hands.
Mother Qiao would inevitably say a few words about Qiao Anxia, to which good-natured Chen Yang would just smile and say that it was fine. This made Qiao Anxia blink proudly towards her mother, who would helplessly shake her head.
Perhaps it was because Chen Yang was there, mother and father Qiao were focused on him and Qiao Anxia. Their conversations were all about the two, so Qiao Anhao couldn't really get a word in, nor was she in the mood to talk. She wore a smile throughout dinner, but occasionally, when Chen Yang and Qiao Anxia did something lovey dovey, a tinge of gloominess would flash across her eyes. She would lower her head and quietly eat the dumplings in her bowl.
After dinner, Chen Yang wanted to help put the dishes away but was turned away by mother Qiao. She ushered Qiao Anxia to take him away.
Seeing the leftovers on the table, Qiao Anhao couldn't let mother Qiao to tidy up by herself, so she helped clean it up.
She also picked the job to wash the dishes.
Mother Qiao grabbed some fresh fruit from the fridge, cut them up neatly, and carried them out on a tray.
Qiao Anhao placed the washed plates into the tableware sterilization cabinet. When she came out of the kitchen, she coincidentally saw Qiao Anxia grab a toothpick with a piece of apple and put it into Chen Yang's mouth. Though Chen Yang, who was talking with father Qiao, didn't turn his head to look at Qiao Anxia, he casually opened his mouth to eat the apple. Then he reached his hand out to hug Qiao Anxia's shoulder.
When Qiao Anhao saw this, she couldn't help but lower her eyes, as she remembered how she would sit to one side and watch TV in Ming Zhu Garden while Lu Jinnian was working in the evening. He was afraid she'd get bored, so he would prepare all sorts of snacks and fruit for her.
At the time, she did what she saw now before her eyes. As she ate, she would feed Lu Jinnian every now and again. He and Chen Yang were the same in one way, they didn't look back. Sometimes, she would mischievously shove nutsh.e.l.ls, watermelon seeds, and other things into his mouth. When he bit into them, he would realize something was wrong, then put everything down, turn around, and pounce on her.
"Qiao Qiao? Finished was.h.i.+ng the dishes?" asked mother Qiao, while carrying a pot of tea into the living room, when she saw Qiao Anhao at the kitchen door.