90 If only father were still around...
The bright sun rays in the early morning of summer streamed into Pei Ge's room through the window and woke her up. She had forgotten to pull the curtains together last night.
The warm sunlight bathed her fair skin in gold, making her look gentler and more radiant.
"Haaaa!" Yawning, she stretched her hand to shield her eyes from the bright rays of the sun.
Only when her eyes had adjusted to the brightness did she open them.
Her mood was lifted by the vibrant colors she saw outside her window, and she rose from her bed feeling rather rested.
Shua! She drew aside the day curtains to let the bright sunlight fully enter her room.
The warm sunlight fully shone on her face as she stretched her body.
"Ge Ge, why don't you sleep in?" Zhang Manhua, who was cleaning the house, suggested when she saw her daughter already up and about.
"Couldn't go back to sleep now that I've woken up."
"Breakfast is in the pot; go get it from the kitchen," the mother said to the daughter as she wiped the TV cabinet.
Pei Ge nodded and entered the kitchen to have breakfast.
After eating breakfast, she helped her mother do chores around the house.
"My child, you should rest on your day off. Why did you insist on helping me clean the house?" Zhang Manhua chidingly asked her daughter this when she saw the beads of sweat on the latter's forehead after they had finished all the chores.
At the thought of her daughter maturing too fast after her husband's passing, her heart could not help but ache dully.
"Mom, this is me trying to lose weight."
The mother laughed as she shot the daughter a look.
"When we arrive at your Second Uncle's house for lunch this afternoon, try to get a hold of your emotions if you see that Zhou Zhuoyang there. Don't be like that other time." Zhang Manhua pulled Pei Ge's hand to hers when she said this.
Pei Ge was stunned to hear this name from her mother's mouth, but she still smiled and nodded. "Mhm-mhm. I know, Mom. Don't worry; I'll treat him like an invisible person this time."
"Oh." Zhang Manhua sighed in relief when she saw her daughter's smile. Feeling slightly helpless, she continued, "Mother knows that you feel wronged, but I don't have a choice either. Your Second Uncle treats us very well; how can we return that kindness with ingratitude?"
"Mom, you really don't have to worry. I've long let that matter go. I won't let an unrelated man affect our relationship with Second Uncle or cause Cousin and me to fight. It's not worth it. That man is not worth it," Pei Ge reassured her mother with a gentle smile on her face.
"It's good that you can let it go. If only your father were still around..." As she said this, Zhang Manhua's eyes began to water.
Pei Ge was stunned by her mother's words. If her father were still around... she would have fiercely punched that Zhou Zhuoyang on the day of his and Pei Shishi's engagement.
She might have even shot her Second Uncle's family a look because... she would have had her father's loving support.
"Mom, don't think too much about it." Since reality was different, she could only offer comforting words to her mother.
The years had not been easy on her mother, who had single-handedly raised her. Honestly speaking, her mother was beautiful and had many suitors, yet she chose to remain a widow for fear of getting hurt.
"Oh! Look at me bringing up all these unhappy things and ruining your morning," Zhang Manhua said softly as she wiped the soon-to-fall tears from her eyelids.
Pei Ge shook her head and said lightly, "You didn't ruin my morning, Mom. I don't dislike it when you talk about father; what I dislike is seeing you cry. I think all those memories of father are beautiful and precious."
"Ge Ge..." Her daughter's sentimental statement finally loosened the tears out of Zhang Manhua's lachrymal and she said with affliction, "You say your father was a good man, then how could - how come...."
Pei Ge could only sigh at her mother's crying face and consolingly pat the latter's back.
Each time my father's death anniversary nears, mother acts like this... Pei Ge helplessly sighed inside as she continued to pat her mother's back.
She had actually never thought about it. If her father was a good person, why would he die young? Was there not a saying that good people get good returns? Her father was such a good man, yet his life was brief.
Thinking of her father's car accident, she was reminded of the unanswered question as to why her father owed money – and a lot at that – to those loan sharks.
Time unknowingly passed by as the mother-daughter pair casually chatted on the sofa.
After washing up and dolling up, they left home at almost 11 A.M.
"Mom, call a cab," the daughter suggested to the mother as she pinched her arm.
However, Zhang Manhua refused.
"You child, it's so expensive to hire a cab. Let's just take the public bus." With that said, she directed her daughter toward their neighborhood's bus stop.
Pei Ge resigned to her fate and trailed after her mother. Fortunately, despite it being the weekend, the approaching lunch hour had few people traveling about, so they were able to occupy seats on the bus that they had boarded all the way to her Second Uncle's house.
Upon hearing the bus announcement of its arrival at a bus stop, the mother-daughter pair alighted from it.
"Your second uncle's neighborhood really has lots of trees. Just look at how vibrantly green the surroundings are." Zhang Manhua gushed as they walked through the neighborhood.
Pei Ge smilingly nodded at the sight of the surrounding flora.
She worked in the real estate industry, so how could she not know about her Second Uncle's neighborhood?
This neighborhood was not considered as the best grade in the capital, but it was of mid-range standard, and the houses here were not cheap, so the average people could not afford them still.
The two walked at a leisure pace toward her second uncle's villa while admiring the greenery along the way.
Fortunately, this area was not entirely populated with many villas, or they would tire out from all this walking.
Reaching the front of a luxurious-looking villa, the two could not help but gawk at it. Their relatives had indeed made a fortune!
One could not blame them for thinking this way. After all, this was the mother-daughter pair's first time coming to the place, as they had never been invited over even during the villa's housewarming party that year.