By the time Qiao Nan came back home, she saw Qiao Zijin sitting in a daze at her bed and her room was in a total mess. It was obvious that someone had gone through her room.
Qiao Nan twisted her lips and laughed. There was no need for her to ask anything. She knew what Qiao Zijin was up to.
Without a word, Qiao Nan tidied up the room that Qiao Zijin made a mess of and read her books quietly.
Qiao Nan was moving about tidying her room but Qiao Zijin had yet to come back to her senses. It was only until Qiao Nan finished revising two pages of her book did Qiao Zijin snorted in shock, "When did you come back, why didn't you make a sound, don't you know how frightening it is to be scared by another person?!"
Qiao Zijin was startled by Qiao Nan who had popped up right in front of her. Her reaction was much bigger than Qiao Nan's.
Qiao Nan rolled her eyes and said, "I have already tidied my room, when do you think I returned?"
"Well…" Qiao Zijin smiled awkwardly. "I dropped something. But I couldn't find it. So I searched through your room. I finally found it in the end. Sorry, Nan Nan."
"It's okay. I have tidied the room." Qiao Nan said pointedly. They all know she was looking for money.
"Zijin, I am back." Ding Jiayi sounded tired.
"Mom!" Qiao Zijin's eyes brightened and dashed out of Qiao Nan's room to welcome her. "Mom, have you found a job today?"
"Found it." Ding Jiayi dusted off the dirt on her clothes tiredly.
Ding Jiayi has been a housewife for years and yet she had to look for a job now. She almost could not bring herself to say that she was on the hunt for jobs.
Ding Jiayi had always been very sociable. But when it came to job searching, it was as if her lips were glued together. She just could not bring herself to ask.
Given her situation, even if she managed to find a job, it would not be an easy job.
After a half day's work, Ding Jiayi finally realized that it was not easy to make a living. Back then, she was so fortunate.
"Zijin, why haven't you tidied up the house?" Ding Jiayi was unhappy when she went into the house and saw that it was still messy.
Ding Jiayi had finished washing the clothes before she went out. But the dirty dishes from lunchtime had not been washed. She hoped that the elder daughter could help with the washing and to sweep the floor as well. These were simple household chores the elder daughter should be able to handle.
But she never would have imagined that when she came back, the house would still look as messy as when she left in the afternoon.
"I…" Qiao Zijin knew that she was in trouble. She was in Qiao Nan's room, pondering over her exams and her dance costume. She had forgotten all about the household chores.
"Mom, but I have tidied Nan Nan's room. Go and take a look if you don't believe me?"
Qiao Nan came out from her room to get a drink and overheard Qiao Zijin's audacious lie.
Qiao Nan twitched her lips, did not say a word and poured a drink for herself.
Ding Jiayi was tired to death after working for half a day. The look of apathy on her younger daughter's face made her boil with anger. "What kind of attitude is this?!"
Despite being yelled at, Qiao Nan did not bother to argue. She said nonchalantly, "Mom, you are back. Mom, you must be tired. I am going back to my room to study."
"What's there to study? You are all grown up, yet you needed your sister to help you tidy up your room? You are so useless!"
"What's this now?" Qiao Dongliang had just stepped into the house and overheard his wife scolding the younger daughter.
"She doesn't even know to be more understanding of her parents who are working and she only know how to enjoy herself. Is that what the books taught you? If that's true, what's there to study? If not, what have you learnt all these years?" Ding Jiayi lifted her chin and lamented. She wanted Qiao Dongliang to know of the situation at home.
Qiao Dongliang had been used to the house being neat and tidy. He could not help but knit his eyebrows when he realized the house was a little messy. "Why didn't anyone tidy up?"
"I went out to work."
"I was out studying."
Ding Jiayi and Qiao Nan gave their reasons for not tidying up. But Qiao Zijin was stumped for words.
"I… I tidied up Nan Nan's room."
"You took the whole day to do that?" Qiao Dongliang asked incredulously. "Besides, Nan Nan always tidies her own room."
"Nan Nan woke up earlier than me, she didn't tidy the room as I was still sleeping. Dad, I have never done such chores before, hence I am slower. You… You, please don't be angry."
"Forget it. Anyway it's not very dirty. Everyone help to clean up the house." Qiao Dongliang sighed.
"I… I will wash the dishes!" Qiao Zijin immediately volunteered for the easier chore while stealing glances furtively at Qiao Nan.
Her only excuse was that she had tidied Qiao Nan's room. But in fact, Qiao Nan tidied the room herself. Only the both of them knew about this.
Qiao Zijin noticed that Qiao Nan was not a pushover like before. She was worried that she might expose her lies in front of their parents.
But Qiao Zijin observed Qiao Nan for a while. She did not make any comment. Instead, she took the broom and started cleaning up.
"Phew." Qiao Zijin breathed a sigh of relief. Qiao Nan did have a temper now as compared to before. But deep down inside, she was still a pushover like before. This was good news to her.
Qiao Nan laughed dryly when she saw the look of relief on Qiao Zijin's face. She did not want to argue with Qiao Zijin regarding the room not because she had given in to her, but that Qiao Zijin still had no idea of her importance to her parents.
Cleaning the room was just a small matter. If she was to fight for the credit with Qiao Zijin, her Dad might acknowledge it, but he would not be happy at all.
Qiao Zijin was at home the whole day, yet she had not done any household chores. Even though this might make their parents realize how lazy Qiao Zijin was, it was not something to be proud of. After all, they were the ones who had brought up this lazy daughter.
In fact, her Dad would think that Qiao Nan was too petty-minded. Even if Qiao Nan was the one who did the chores, she should help her out and let Qiao Zijin take the credit.
After all they were a family, one should not haggle over every ounce. It was okay to be at a slight disadvantage once in a while.
Her father asked the question not because he wanted to make things difficult for Qiao Zijin, in fact he wanted to see her making progress.
The eldest daughter, it was such a superior position.
Her father might have given up on her in her previous lifetime as she herself did not fight, but the other reason was that her sacrifice was for the good of Qiao Zijin.
Otherwise, if her father stood firm, there was no way that her mother would not listen. Back then, she was more submissive. If her mother had not insisted, she would not have quit school and start working.
At the thought of this, Qiao Nan sneered. Because of her, her mother lost her job and her father was discharged from the army. In the end, she turned out to be a girl. Actually deep down inside, her father harbored some bitterness towards her.
In her previous lifetime, she was always the one to be sacrificed. All the sacrifices she made were for the good of Qiao Zijin.