368 I want to go to a happy place in my remaining days.
Pei Ge did not sleep well that night as she worried over Zhang Manhua's condition.
Hence, the next morning, when dawn broke, she was already up.
She reached for her phone to check the time and found that it was not even 7 AM yet.
"Xiaoyu's plane should've landed by now, right?"
With this thought in mind, she dialed her number.
In the end, she was unable to reach her despite her three attempts.
Du… duu… duuu… The call went unanswered until it automatically got disconnected, causing her to feel anxious.
"What's wrong, Xiaoyu? Why aren't you answering? Haven't you gotten off the plane yet?" she worriedly muttered as she walked out of her bedroom.
The moment she opened her room's door and took a few steps out, she saw her mother sitting on the sofa and holding their family's photo frame in a daze.
This scene caused her nose to itch.
"Mom…" she gently called out as she walked over.
"Ge Ge, why are you up so early? Why don't you sleep in some more?" Zhang Manhua asked with a smile when she saw that her daughter was already awake.
"Mhm. I'm no longer feeling sleepy." She returned her mother's smile with hers and sat next to her.
"Mom will prepare your breakfast, then." She got up off the sofa and moved to enter the kitchen.
Hearing her mother's intention, she quickly pulled her back with a helpless smile and said lightly, "No need; I can do it myself."
"You child, I can do it. You'd better go and wash up, instead. You still need to go to work." She grinned at her daughter.
She was stunned for a moment at the mention of work.
She had resigned yesterday.
She was planning to tell her mother about it last night, but who knew that such a thing would happen?
"Mom, I've taken a leave of absence, so I don't have to be at work today," she fibbed to keep her mother from worrying.
"Leave of absence? What did you do that for? You can be at ease and go to work as I'm really okay," her mother persuaded otherwise, slightly stunned by her words.
"It's alright, Mom; I've already taken one week of leave." She grinned and proceeded to pull her down to sit on the sofa again. "Just rest well and let me prepare breakfast."
Her mother's lips moved, seemingly wanting to say something, but eventually settled with, "Mhm."
She quickly averted her gaze to prevent herself from being affected by her mother's watery eyes and said in an upbeat tone, "I'll go and prepare breakfast now! What do you want to eat?"
"I love all your cooking." Zhang Manhua took a breath to control her emotions and then smiled blissfully.
"Alright! I'll prepare your favorite seafood noodles, then." With that, she ran to the kitchen.
Pei Ge's smile faded the moment she reached the kitchen.
"Aiii…" she sighed, her eyes moistening.
She was clearly very upset and hurt, but for her mother, she could not reveal it, lest the latter should worry further.
She took a deep breath and channeled her sorrow into dedicatedly preparing breakfast.
After throwing the noodles into the pot to boil, she took out her phone to redial Tang Xiaoyu's number.
Who knew that her best friend would still be unreachable, though?
At this time, her heart was starting to feel uneasy. She thought that it would not be an issue even if her second uncle did not lend her money as she still had her best friend who would surely loan her money.
Since she could not reach Tang Xiaoyu, she could not help but worry.
Yesterday's morning flight may not have landed yet…
She comforted herself silently.
Gu lu, gu lu! Soon, the noodles were ready, and amid her unease, she scooped them out.
She opened the lid and her nose got filled with the fresh fragrance of seafood.
Turning off the fire, she scooped two bowls of seafood noodles out of the pot and served them.
"Mom, the noodles are ready!"
Her mother walked over just as she brought the seafood noodles out.
"Mhm, smells delicious! My daughter has such good cooking skills!" She grinned and sat next to her daughter.
She laughed in reply. "You'd better eat a lot, then. There's plenty in the pot."
The mother-daughter pair sat down and ate in silence.
Zhang Manhua drank a mouthful of the soup and then praised her daughter's cooking. Eating some noodles, she praised her again.
This made her feel embarrassed. Her cooking skills were merely average.
If one asked who cooked the best noodles in their family, then the answer would be her father.
She heard that one of the reasons her mother married her father was that he could whip up a bowl of delicious noodles.
"Mom, do you want to go the hospital today?" she asked softly after drinking a spoonful of soup.
At the mention of hospital, the smile on her mother's face did not fade but remained gentle as she replied, "No need."
"But…" Pei Ge pursed her lips. This was cancer; how could there be no need to go to the hospital?
"There's really no need." Her mother smiled in assurance.
"Mom, do you need to be hospitalized?" She looked at her seriously. Her research on the internet last night revealed that stomach cancer required surgery and hospitalization.
"Mhm, but it's not urgent," she explained while maintaining a smile.
"How can it not be urgent?! No! Let's go to the hospital today to handle the necessary stuff. You can just undergo treatment with ease," she said firmly.
She could guess why her mother was unwilling to go to the hospital.
First was because of money issue. She did not want to be a burden to her.
Second was… her mother was actually terrified deep down, so… she neither wished nor dared to go to the hospital.
"Ge Ge, I don't want to be hospitalized so soon," her mother said softly as she placed her spoon down.
"Mom! You—" She was interrupted from completing her words by her mother.
"Ge Ge, I… Let's go somewhere fun, instead," she persuaded.
While she appeared indifferent, the tremor in her voice said otherwise.
Her mother… was afraid.