225 A fervent wish to hear another bedtime story.
<p>While the neon lights on the streets were as dazzling as those within the mall, they were not as warm.</p><p>The autumn night's wind was a little chilly.</p><p>The moment Pei Ge stepped out of the mall, a passing cold breeze caused goosebumps to rise on her neck. Still, the coldness she felt on her body was inferior to the coldness she felt in her heart.</p><p>"Sister Pei Ge, what's wrong?" Qin Qitong asked worriedly when she noticed that she did not look well.</p><p>Pei Ge turned around, and when she saw Qin Qitong's worried look, her heart terribly ached. <em>A mere friend sincerely worries about me, while my cousin, who is related to me by blood… Why… Why would she scheme against me?</em></p><p>She felt really upset and had the strong urge to confront Pei Shishi regarding this right at this very moment.</p><p>"It's nothing." She tugged at her lips and lightly shook her head.</p><p>However, her actions only made Qin Qitong worry even more.</p><p>"Sister Pei Ge, are you like this because of your cousin?" Qin Qitong tugged at her arm while she looked at her solemnly.</p><p>"Qitong, don't busy yourself with this…" She did not want to speak much about this matter since it was a family matter.</p><p>"Sister Pei Ge, I am not busying myself with this. Liu Yue is a bad person, yet your cousin helped her get a job, so it can only mean that your cousin is not a good person, too!" Qin Qitong felt angry and aggrieved for her.</p><p>With anguish-filled eyes, Pei Ge gave herself a self-deprecating smile.</p><p><em>Even Qitong who doesn't know anything is able to easily see this fact, whereas I am trying to run away from the reality of the matter. How useless of me.</em></p><p>"Qitong, I'm a little tired and it's also pretty late, so let's just go home." She gave her a slight smile as her mood somewhat lightened.</p><p>Qin Qitong blinked her eyes at the light smile on Pei Ge's face and reluctantly nodded her head.</p><p>Pei Ge took a taxi home once she separated from Qin Qitong.</p><p>The moment she opened the door grill to their house, she spotted her mother sitting on the sofa in the living room and watching TV.</p><p>"Ge Ge, you're back." Zhang Manhua looked over her shoulder when she heard a noise and saw her daughter standing behind her.</p><p>"Yes." She nodded her head.</p><p><em>Second Uncle has helped our family so much, so if the truth of this incident comes to light…</em></p><p>"Ge Ge, what's wrong? Why do you look sad? Weren't you out shopping with your colleague?" Zhang Manhua sensed her daughter's depression and promptly got up off the sofa.</p><p>"There's nothing wrong and I am not unhappy, Mom," she denied lightly, giving her mother a stiff smile.</p><p>"You child, don't lie to your mom!" Zhang Manhua grabbed her daughter's hands and guided her to sit on the sofa.</p><p>"What is going on?" She frowned slightly at her daughter.</p><p>She pursed her lips and felt unsure if she should tell her mother about that matter with Pei Shishi.</p><p>With her mother's personality, if she knew that Pei Shishi did that…</p><p>Her mother would definitely have insomnia the whole night and rush to Pei Shishi's house the first thing in the morning to seek justice for her.</p><p>When she thought of this, she felt her heart warm inside. In the end, she decided not to tell her mother about this neither-good-nor-bad incident.</p><p>In any case, despite it being frustrating, it was not anything unsolvable.</p><p>She knew her place. Her second uncle's family might treat her family well, but Pei Shishi was still their real daughter. Therefore, at the end of the day, they would choose to side with their daughter instead of her.</p><p>"Mom, there's really nothing wrong. I simply quarreled with someone I don't get along with while shopping." She shook her head with a smile and pretended as though nothing had happened.</p><p>Zhang Manhua glanced at her daughter. She sensed that something was off, yet she did not pursue the matter when her daughter refused to reveal anything despite her probing.</p><p>"You lass, don't bear everything on your own and keep them all bottled-up inside."</p><p>"I understand, Mom. It is just a small issue, so you don't have to worry about me." She grinned and leaned on Zhang Manhua's shoulders like she used to do when she was still a child.</p><p>"Sigh… You lass only ever poured your heart to your dad. If your dad were still here…" Zhang Manhua was reminded of her deceased husband when her daughter leaned on her shoulders.</p><p>Pei Ge knew that talking about her father would only upset her mother, so she decisively changed the topic.</p><p>"Aye, right! Mom, I saw a handbag that really suits you while shopping with my colleague. I will buy it for you on my next pay day!"</p><p>"You child, I am already this old, so I don't really need a handbag. Just buy yourself a few more presentable clothes when you get your pay. No need to buy me anything." Zhang Manhua expectedly dropped the topic about her husband when she heard her daughter's words, fearing that Pei Ge would spend money on her person carelessly.</p><p>Pei Ge was assured when her mom's attention was successfully redirected elsewhere.</p><p>She did not want her mother to feel upset and cry at the thought of her father.</p><p>She knew best how much her mother loved her father. Although she also missed her father terribly, she did not wish to talk about him before her mother.</p><p>This was because her mother would broken-heartedly cry each time her father was mentioned.</p><p>Even now, her mother still could not get over her father's passing.</p><p>"Sigh…" she lightly sighed as she retired to her bedroom.</p><p>She uncontrollably thought of her father. Her father's presence remained strong in her heart despite the ten years that that had passed.</p><p><em>Dad, you really left too early…</em></p><p>Pei Ge closed her eyes and lay in her bed. She seemed to still hear her father's voice reading her a bedtime story like he used to do every night<em>…</em></p><p>His voice was gentle and enchanting.</p><p><em>Perhaps, in this world, I will be unable to find a man as good as my father…</em></p>