Qiao Zijin, who was washing the dishes, paused for a while. Thereafter, her facial expression was awkward. "No, Nan Nan's fever had nothing to do with me."
"But Qiao Nan said?" Ding Jiayi heard what Qiao Nan said. She had definitely not done this, nor had Old Qiao . There were only four people in the house, so it must have been the elder daughter.
"Is what Nan Nan said certainly true? Mom, don't forget that Nan Nan's fever was so bad that day. She was sick and confused and mistook her dreams for reality. Nan Nan is paranoid, you mustn't become like her."
Qiao Zijin swiped her hands. "Mom, think about it, Dad just found out that we spent all the family savings so that I could study at The High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China. If he also knew about Grandpa Li, he would be even more furious. We should try our best not to let Dad get angry again. Just now, Dad did not mention Nan Nan's dream. You should not take it to heart, nor should you mention it to Dad anymore. There is no such thing, Nan Nan was talking about her dream, don't blindly believe and get involved. You think there aren't enough matters to provoke Dad?"
Only God knows that when Qiao Nan mentioned what happened on that rainy night, immediately, Qiao Zijin was so frightened that her heart was in her throat.
Fortunately, her father did not continue to pursue this matter. If not, she might let the cat out of the bag.
Qiao Zijin was afraid of Qiao Dongliang, but not Ding Jiayi.
After Qiao Zijin's coaxing, Ding Jiayi was no longer bothered about whether Qiao Nan's words were true.
There were enough troubles at home now, there would be no end if they pursued this matter again.
Qiao Dongliang heard Ding Jiayi shouting for dinner time. Initially, he was not willing to come out of the room. He was furious with Ding Jiayi.
But when he recalled that the doctor said the younger daughter was malnourished, Qiao Dongliang called Qiao Nan out. "Nan Nan, you're at your puberty age, don't be at odds with your body, the two of us - let's go and have our meal."
Qiao Nan immediately agreed. Although she was at odds with someone, no matter what, she should not be at odds with herself.
The family of four were seated together. Qiao Dongliang did not cast a single look at his wife or elder daughter. He was only focused on filling Qiao Nan's bowl with the good dishes, and repeatedly told her, "Nan Nan, eat more, you must eat your fill, you're too skinny."
"I know, Dad. You work so hard, eat more too, don't shortchange yourself."
Qiao Nan also helped herself and filled Qiao Dongliang's bowl with all the meat and vegetables.
In the past, the same plate of meat could feed the family for two or three meals. Now, it was like one meal as Qiao Nan tried her best to eat as much as she could.
The whole family scrimped and saved, in the end, the money were all spent on Qiao Zijin. What a waste.
When she saw that the Dongpo meat, which she had specially prepared to celebrate her elder daughter's return, was almost finished by the father and younger daughter - there were only three pieces left, Ding Jiayi felt the pinch. "Zijin, you eat too. You studied hard, and should eat more good stuff."
As she said that, Ding Jiayi placed one piece of meat into Qiao Zijin's bowl, added another, then placed the last piece in her own bowl.
When she looked at the two pieces of meat in her bowl, Qiao Zijin moved her mouth. She felt very unhappy.
It was such a big plate of meat. In the past, most of it would be for her. But today, it benefited Qiao Nan.
The matter that was argued about today, most of it had to do with Qiao Zijin. Qiao Zijin did not want to eat the meat.
Unexpectedly, her Dad was true to his word about not bothering about her anymore. He cared more about Qiao Nan and gave all the meat to her. If not for her Mom who gave her two pieces of the meat, this time, she might not even have any.
"That's right, Nan Nan. You studied hard. Have better food when you are in school. Don't shortchange yourself." Qiao Dongliang took out five yuan from his pocket and passed to Qiao Nan. "Take this money and spend. Although we should not be extravagant, wasteful, or yearn for things that do not belong to us, but we also should not be harsh to or shortchange ourselves, understand?"
"Dad, don't worry. I know." Qiao Nan helped herself to the money and put it away in her pocket.
Qiao Dongliang and Qiao Nan were like a duet, Ding Jiayi's face was red, Qiao Zijin was so embarrassed that she almost buried her face in the bowl.
After returning to his room, Qiao Dongliang thought about it. It was true that his wife was very concerned about the elder daughter but the wife was not familiar with the situation at the school.
If the elder daughter had not mentioned anything before his wife, his wife would not possibly have had the idea of admitting her into The High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China.
Most importantly, with his wife's character, it was not possible that she had instantly made the decision to spend the family savings to let the elder daughter switch school.
If the wife was so decisive, she could entirely depend on her own ability, leave the Ding family and seek a life of her own.
Although the wife had a strong temper. If not for the matter that the Ding family wanted to sell her out, she would have remained in the Ding family and continued to be a slave to them.
At the thought of it, Qiao Dongliang understood. He assessed that his elder daughter had taken great efforts in this.
He did not blame the elder daughter for thinking of her own future.
He could not accept that they had not discussed the matter with him, the head of the family, first. Instead, they had done it without consulting him, and he had to wait until Nan Nan mentioned it before finding out.
Ding Jiayi wanted to let Qiao Nan quit school to work but Qiao Zijin did not try to dissuade her mother. Moreover, the root of the matter was because Qiao Zijin had spent the family savings for her studies. At this thought, Qiao Dongliang felt a little uneasy.
For the first time, he discovered that, for the sake of her own future, the elder daughter was scheming towards her family members.
After placing the pieces of the puzzle together, now, Qiao Dongliang looked at Qiao Zijin and felt extremely awkward and uneasy.
His earlier words were entirely for Ding Jiayi and Qiao Zijin to hear.
Qiao Zijin understood the meaning in Qiao Dongliang's words, she clenched her chopsticks. With her head down, she finished the bowl of rice. "Dad, can I talk to you?"
Coincidentally, Qiao Dongliang also finished his food at this time.
Qiao Dongliang put down his bowl. He was still angry and actually did not feel like talking to Qiao Zijin, but, in the end, he said, "Follow me to the study room."
As soon as father and daughter left, Qiao Nan immediately put down her bowl of rice and returned to her room.
From today onwards, she would not do any household chores if Qiao Zijin was not doing them too.
When she saw that all three of them were each more arrogant than the others, Ding Jiayi endured and dared not breathe a word. She could only clean up quietly.
After she returned to the room, Qiao Nan stared at a book for a long time. Unfortunately, she did not register a single word in her mind.
After while, Qiao Nan took a few deep breaths and told herself to stay calm.
As of now, her mother and Qiao Zijin had only committed "petty crimes". Qiao Zijin was a smart person. She knew that she could not offend Dad as he was the sole breadwinner in the family. She could not continue to disappoint him.
Whatever it was, even if her father was appeased by Qiao Zijin, she no longer needed to be nervous and afraid.