"When you meet your cousin later, you better say a proper thank you. Although she was overseas all these years, she's always been thinking of you, even recommending so many decent blind dates for you."
Sitting inside the taxi, Pei Ge's mother, Zhang Manhua, instructed her carefully.
Pei Ge, who was sitting next to her mother, listened to her nagging without a hint of irritation, even smiling in acquiescence.
"Mom, I know. You don't need to remind me. Cousin treats me really well," Pei Ge replied, grinning from ear to ear as she reached for Zhang Manhua's arm.
Although Pei Ge viewed every guy she was match-made with as a jerk, perhaps it was as Tang Xiaoyu had said; it was only because she could not forget that person...
"Right. You had a blind date with that bank manager today. How did it go?"
It was only after she was done talking about the serious stuff with her daughter that Zhang Manhua remembered about the blind date.
Once Zhang Manhua brought up today's blind date, Pei Ge laughed dryly and muttered softly, "That whatever manager and I did not click at all...."
Zhang Manhua gave Pei Ge a stern look. Helpless, she said, "Ge Ge, you're not young anymore. Don't be so picky. As long as you can get by in the future..."
"I know; I'm not being picky. It's just that that guy is really not a good fit." Pei Ge responded so softly it was as though her words were meant more for herself.
"You've had many potential suitors, but you always claimed that they're not suitable. Clearly, you are still hung up on that ex"
Before Zhang Manhua could finish her words, Pei Ge interrupted her.
"Mom, do you think Cousin will like the gift I bought for her?" She cheerfully asked her mother, swiftly changing the topic of their conversation.
Seeing her like this, Zhang Manhua knew that her daughter had not let go after all this time. Her heart sighed, but she did not probe further.
"Definitely! The both of you share the same taste, so your Cousin will definitely like the gift you bought."
Just like that, the pair of mother and daughter chatted casually and soon arrived at where Pei Shishi was at.
Yuefeng Hotel, one of the largest five-star hotels in B City.
"Second Uncle's family is getting richer and richer, eh." Pei Ge could not help but comment as she felt overwhelmed by the majestic building that greeted her eyes upon alighting from the taxi.
Hosting a private event at Yuefeng Hotel was definitely not something any rich person could do.
"Yeah. Their lives are improving every day," Zhang Manhua agreed to her daughter, her tone filled with happiness.
"To think that this Second Uncle of mine who did not study and has no skills whatsoever could be this successful."
Surely, the gods are laughing... That year, before her father passed away, everyone would always say that he was promising and would succeed in life. In contrast, her Second Uncle only received looks of disdain from others and was always looked down upon.
Who would have guessed that her favored father would die early in an accident and that the lazy uncle would suddenly mature after her father's death?
It just goes without saying that life is really unpredictable...
"Don't be rude! Your Second Uncle treats us very well; you shouldn't talk about him that way."
Hearing Pei Ge's words, Zhang Manhua immediately reprimanded her with a wrinkled forehead and furrowed brows.
Pei Ge cheekily stuck her tongue out before nodding her head with a grin. "I know, Mom. Second Uncle really treats us very well. I'm merely talking about the past."
Ever since her father passed away when she was young, the positions of her family and Second Uncle had switched.
When her father was alive, it had always been her family helping Second Uncle's family. After her father's death, it became Second Uncle who took care of her family.
She and her mother were really grateful for Second Uncle's generosity and help all these years.
Pei Ge held on to her mother as they followed the hostess, who was wearing a qipao, to the ballroom.
Only when the pair of mother and daughter made it to the ballroom did they realize that many people were invited for Pei Shishi's welcome party.
Once they entered the hall, it became obvious to the casually dressed Pei Ge and Zhang Manhua that they did not belong to this crowd of people that were either wearing leather suits or evening gowns.
"Ge Ge, did we go to the wrong place?" Zhang Manhua asked softly as she looked at the crowd in confusion.
Pei Ge shook her head confidently and replied, "No way; Second Uncle booked the entire place so the only guests here are his."
When she looked at these guests dressed in extravagant clothes, Pei Ge could only think of how her family's station in life had grown so far apart from her Second Uncle's family.
Whether it was the exquisite attire or sophisticated gesture, it was obvious that these guests around them were not the average Joes.
"Sister, Ge Ge, you have arrived." Just as they were feeling overwhelmed by the crowd's appearance, Pei Ge's Second Uncle and Auntie came over to greet them.
"Second Uncle, Second Auntie," Pei Ge warmly greeted the middle-aged man and woman in Chinese traditional clothing.
"Ge Ge, I heard from your mother that you went on another blind date this afternoon. How was it? Successful this time?" Pei Ge's Second Auntie inquisitively asked with a smile on her lips.
When she heard Liu Yan's words, a tinge of helplessness assailed her inside and she shook her head, "No, we couldn't get along."
"That's alright; we'll just get your cousin to introduce someone better." Pei Ge's Second Uncle responded in kind and smiled at her in reassurance.
In this gentle Second Uncle before her, Pei Ge could no longer see the old gangster who used to live life rather frivolously.
"Sister, what exactly does our Ge Ge want in a man? Our Shishi has already recommended so many good men, yet none of them was able to catch her attention." Liu Yan glanced at Pei Ge before pulling Zhang Manhua's hand as she asked her about Pei Ge's unsuccessful dates.
"He he... Well, if it's not the right one, it's not the right one." Zhang Manhua laughed as she gave this answer.
"Sister, I must say, our Ge Ge is not getting any younger. She's also not like her older sister with a good education and looks. I think you better urge Ge Ge not to be so picky."
Although Liu Yan seemed concern over Pei Ge's welfare, it was evident in her voice that she was just showing off.
Knowing what kind of person Liu Yan was, the mother-daughter pair did not take notice of her disdainful words.
"Look at our Shishi; not only did she earn herself a master's degree, she even successfully brought home a boyfriend!" Liu Yan exclaimed, brimming with pride for her daughter.
Pei Ge's eyes widened in shock when she heard Liu Yan's words. "Cousin has a boyfriend?!"
"Yes, of course! That guy is extremely outstanding, too; really perfect for our Shishi. They returned to prepare for their engagement." Liu Yan was practically beaming at this point, and her mention of the engagement caused the smile she had on to become sincere.
"What joyous news." Zhang Manhua also rejoiced when she heard Liu Yan's words.
Everyone was exceptionally happy, the atmosphere filling with festivity and anticipation.
"Oh, right. Second Auntie, what is the name of my cousin's boyfriend? How did they meet?" Pei Ge asked curiously.
Given her cousin's high standard, Pei Ge was truly curious as to what kind of man managed to not only woo her but also convinced her to settle down so quickly.
"His name is Zhou Zhuoyang..."
Zhou Zhuoyang? The curious look on Pei Ge's face froze.
Surely, it was just the same name. Pei Ge's hands that hung by her sides now clasped tightly together in her nervousness.
"This name..." Zhang Manhua furrowed her brows, her eyes filling with suspicion as she cast a glance at Pei Ge, "Sounds... familiar."
"Now that you mentioned it, it does sound familiar!" Just as quickly, Liu Yan smiled and said, "Eh. How silly me. You must have heard it on the news; Zhou Zhuoyang is the heir of Zhou Real Estate."
Zhou Real Estate... Zhou Zhuoyang....
"Pei Ge, I never imagined that you're this kind of woman who cares about appearance. Did you cheat on me because you think I have no money? No future?
"Pei Ge, I'm truly disappointed. You'll definitely regret this because I'm a hundred times richer than that man that you are involved with.
"Pei Ge, let's break up...."
Zhou Zhuoyang... Zhou Zhuoyang....
No! Impossible! How can Zhou Zhuoyang be with Cousin?! This is impossible!
Cousin always knew her relation with Zhou Zhuoyang.
It has to be just someone with the same name...
"Ah! Shishi and Zhuoyang are here!"
Hearing Liu Yan's excited voice, Pei Ge turned around nervously. And as she looked, her whole being froze in shock and her face immediately paled.