"It was only early autumn now, the weather was very hot, everyone was drenched in sweat and smelled terribly. I just praised you for finally understanding the way of things and now you're all muddle-headed again. How could you tell a young lady that she smelled right to her face?"
Zhai Sheng curled one side of his lips in a sarcastic manner. "How did you even manage to get into the army back then? Just because you were all brawn and no brains and could serve as cannon fodder?"
Zhai Hua almost vomited blood. This blood brother of hers really had a sharp tongue!
"Qiao Nan must have bought these books from the thrift shop."
Zhai Sheng had really sharp eyes. Just from the smell of her and her dirty little face, he could tell where Qiao Nan had been before coming to Zhai's house.
Zhai Hua arched her eyebrows.
When Qiao Nan returned with another stack of books, Zhai Hua paid more attention to her instead of her gender.
What she saw was exactly what Zhai Sheng said. With that Zhai Hua finally relaxed and asked, "Why did you go to the thrift shop to get old books?"
And among all the books, you picked Peng Yu's books.
Qiao Nan smiled awkwardly. She could tell Brother Zhai of her family situation, but for no reasons, she just could not bring it herself to reveal it to Brother Zhai's elder sister.
"This is the study desk?" This time round Qiao Nan noticed that the storeroom's light bulb was working, and it was refurbished with a sturdy-looking study desk.
The study desk was sparkling clean and smooth. One could tell that it had been used regularly.
"That belonged to my sister. She seldom stays at home, leaving it with her would only gather more dust." Zhai Sheng mentioned.
"Thank you very much, Sister Zhai." Qiao Nan thanked Zhai Hua from the bottom of her heart. Not only did she has a place to keep her books, but she also had a study desk.
This storeroom was much better compared to Qiao Nan's learning environment at her house.
Qiao Nan rubbed at her eyes quietly. Heavens seemed to be quite nice to her. She was given a chance to have a new lease of life and was lucky enough to run into two kind hearted souls.
Zhai Hua arched her eyebrows and puckered her lips into an "O" shape. She threw a meaningful glance at Zhai Sheng. What was wrong with Xiao Qiao, was she touched to tears?
"Have you brought all the books back?" Zhai Sheng did not respond to Zhai Hua's look. Instead he flipped through the books that Qiao Nan brought back and realized that they were in series, from secondary one to secondary three.
"Yes, I have brought everything back." Qiao Nan said as she felt the pinch. She had painstakingly saved up the money for fifteen years and now she had to spend more than three yuan on these books.
Qiao Nan wondered how much her mother had sold her books for? Did it even amount to three yuan?
"Alright, I will leave this place to you." Zhai Sheng dragged Zhai Hua who did not seem to be leaving alongside with him, leaving no room for argument.
"What is wrong with you?" Zhai Hua beat Zhai Sheng on the back of his hand and said sullenly, "You are so nice to that young lady, offering her your study desk, and let me take the credit for it. I am your blood sister, why aren't you so nice to me?
"By the way, what happened to Xiao Qiao, why did she need to buy books from the thrift shop?"
"What did you think was the reason?" Zhai Sheng looked askance at her; why would she ask when she already knew the answer?
Zhai Hua pulled at the corners of her mouth, "Young brat, is that how you treat your sister?"
Zhai Sheng rolled his eyes at Zhai Hua, not responding to her.
With such an unreliable sister who enjoyed setting him up, if not for his careful nature, he might have been totally screwed up long ago.
Zhai Hua glanced at Qiao Nan who was already studying in the storeroom. She then caught up to Zhai Sheng and stopped making comments regarding Qiao Nan's matter.
With no-one around to bother her, Qiao Nan pored over the books.
Qiao Nan had forgotten a lot of the Mathematics knowledge points. But she had studied them before, so with some reading up of the lessons, she still managed to grasp the concepts fairly fast.
As for Chinese, comprehension was pretty easy, but for those that required memorizing, she would have to do it from scratch.
In the blink of an eye, a day had passed. Qiao Dongliang had came back home from work. The first person that he called out for was his younger daughter.
Ding Jiayi breathed a sigh of relief. It seemed like Qiao Nan had not run off to look for Old Qiao. That wretched girl still had some conscience.
"There is no need to shout anymore, Qiao Nan went out to play, she is not at home." Ding Jiayi told Qiao Dongliang head on as he came in. "She is undoubtedly a young lady, but she craved fun and excitement more so than a young man, spending her time outside every single day. With such behavior, I reckoned that she would not survive secondary three. Did she really think that she could ace her three years of school with her petty tricks?"
Qiao Dongliang had a sip of water, wiped his sweaty face with a wet cloth and looked at Ding Jiayi, "I have made my stand, if Nan Nan would like to continue her studies, I will provide for her no matter what."
"All you say is you will provide, doesn't that require money?" Ding Jiayi was furious.
"Spend money? Can I not afford the money? My salary is not sufficient to pay for Nan Nan's education fees? Qiao Dongliang was boiling with anger. He would provide for the daughter that he had.
Ding Jiayi flushed with anger, "Do you even understand our situation here? Qiao Zijin is in high school now, the expenses are much higher than before, and there's our household expenses as well, everything needs money! If Qiao Nan were to work, the household would have an extra income and incur less expenses, wouldn't that be good?"
Qiao Dongliang pondered and said, "Even if Zijin wanted to enroll in high school and our expenses become higher, at most I could use my monthly pay to cover for all these and not set aside any money for savings. If there's any unforeseen circumstances, we still have some savings, what's there to worry about?"
Qiao Dongliang remembered that they have roughly more than five thousand yuan of savings, not much, but it should be enough for emergency use.
Ding Jiayi turned green with guilt upon hearing Qiao Dongliang mention the savings.
Qiao Dongliang did not notice Ding Jiayi's expression; he was lost in thought, pondering whether he should come up with ways to earn more. He would never know that the five thousand plus yuan of hard earned savings that he spent years sloughing his guts out for, had in fact been used by Ding Jiayi as bribery to get their elder daughter to enroll in high school.
The reason why Ding Jiayi wanted desperately for Qiao Nan to work, was not only because she did not want to provide for Qiao Nan; another reason was that they did not have any savings at all.
A wrinkled purse, a flustered Ding Jiayi.
Ding Jiayi stomped her feet in nervousness. Once riled up, there was nothing one could do to hold Old Qiao back.
Good thing was that Old Qiao said that as long as that wretched girl agreed to quit school, he would not force her. So she would have to work on that wretched girl.
Ding Jiayi thought for a moment, it was an easy feat to stop Qiao Nan from going to school. But what was most difficult would be getting Qiao Nan to quit school of her own accord.
She had no idea what the wretched girl had been into these two days. Though useless she used to be obedient, nowadays she even refused to listen to her and Zijin.
"How about Zijin?" The younger daughter was not at home, the elder daughter was nowhere to be seen as well.
Ding Jiayi raised her chin happily, "Zijin said that she wanted to enter into the college. She did not do well for the middle school examination and wants to revise the knowledge points. Hopefully after she has enrolled in high school, she can catch up on her studies."
"Okay." Qiao Dongliang was pleased that his daughter was studious and would like to strive for excellence. "Make lots of good food for her, and don't think of bullying Qiao Nan behind my back!"