370 The rock and the names are still here, but the people are gone.
"Dad, what should we do now?" Pei Shishi frowned and inquired.
The project this time was really very important for the Pei Family Real Estate.
It would not be overboard to say that if they managed to clinch this project, their Pei family would be entirely rid of the term 'nouveau riche'.
"What should we do?" Pei Zhenghui coldly harrumphed as a cold glint flashed through his eyes.
"I refuse to believe that Ge Ge, that lass, will just leave her mother to die and not come back to borrow money from us."
She showed a helpless face when she heard this and informed, "Dad, have you forgotten about Tang Xiaoyu? Their family is much richer than ours."
He realized this fact only after she had pointed it out.
"I really have forgotten about that rude lass." He frowned.
"Forget it. Just leave her be if she doesn't come to beg us. It's not like she's our last straw."
"Mhm, then what about my big auntie?" She nodded in understanding and hesitantly mentioned Zhang Manhua.
"Your big auntie? It's cancer. Do you think 200,000 yuan is enough to save her life?" He coldly snorted and then said, "Plus, your mom and I were ready to lend her the money, but your cousin rejected it herself. If something really happens in the future, it's not our problem anymore."
"Sigh… What a pity…" she sighed softly and lamented.
Her exquisite face had none of that supposed pity and regret, though. Rather, she simply had an apathetic expression.
Pei Ge and her mother were of course unaware of the conversation that had transpired between the father and the daughter. After having their breakfast, the two packed some necessities and left in a taxi toward where they used to live.
They were so excited they chattered all the way to the place.
"Alright, thanks, mister!" She happily paid the fare and followed her mother off the car.
After they alighted from it, the two were greeted with an extremely familiar sight. Every tree and flower in front of them made their hearts flutter.
They had left in a hurry back then that they had even failed to bid their neighbors goodbye.
"It's been so many years, yet this place hasn't changed much." Her mother sighed wistfully as she took in their surroundings.
She smiled and nodded. "Yes. It also seems to be prettier than it was before."
The mother-daughter pair linked their arms and slowly strolled along the street.
Glancing at the rows of old houses they passed, Pei Ge felt as though she had returned to her childhood days.
She used to play hide-and-seek with her friends amid this greenery.
This place… was where her father personally taught her how to ride the bicycle. She still could remember herself wailing when she fell off the bike by the roadside and her father panicking subsequently.
She could not help a slight smile from forming on her lips as these beautiful memories played in her mind.
Those were such beautiful memories…
"Ge Ge, look. This rock is actually still here," her mother suddenly said in agitation as she pulled her toward a specific tree.
Returning to her senses, she saw her mother affectedly squatting to the base of the tree.
"Hm?" She eyed her mother in confusion until she registered the item the latter was touching.
"Ah, this rock!" Her eyes instantly lit up a thousand watts, and she also bent down to touch the rock.
"Our family members' names are still engraved in it. Here, touch it." Zhang Manhua was as excited as a kid with a lollipop.
Influenced by her mother's mood, she also got excited.
"It truly is!" Her fingers traced the carvings in the rock.
Although many years had passed, and the words carved in the rock had faded, the names of their family of three had never disappeared.
Her eyes turned watery as she stared at the normal-looking, black-colored rock that was no different from other stones.
The names on the rock were carved by her father.
In the past, carving names on tables or trees was all the rage. It was said that if the names of two people were carved in the same item, these two people would be together forever.
Hence, after coming home, she made a din for her father to carve all their names in a tree.
However, her father had said then that their names would disappear if he carved them in a tree but would not if he carved them in a rock, instead.
Hence, their family of three found this normal-looking rock, and he carved all their names in it…
Now, the rock was still here, and the names were also still engraved in it, yet… they were short of one person.
"Wuu…" Zhang Manhua cupped her mouth with her hand as tears streamed down her face.
Pei Ge turned to gaze at her mother and then embraced her sorrowfully.
Both remained silent as they squatted there staring at that piece of black rock.
Luckily, it was not the weekend, so few people were on the road, or the mother-daughter pair would definitely garner looks from others.
The two eventually stood up after a long while.
"Let's go see how our old house looks like now," suggested her mother while wiping her tears off.
She nodded in assent and hooked her arm through her mother's once more before replying with a smile, "It should still look about the same as before."
The two slowly made their way to their old house with interlocked arms.
Passing by a few villas, they eventually reached the house that they used to live.
"Gosh…" She looked at the two-story villa with astonishment and nostalgia.
"It hasn't changed one bit. It is still the same as before… as though we have never left this place…"
She nodded with a smile at her mother's stunned look. Shifting her gaze, she saw the house she grew up in.
"That's right… It hasn't changed one bit."
Pale yellow walls, red roof, huge floor-to-ceiling windowpane… and the garden filled with fresh flowers.
Everything looked so warm and vibrant, giving off a joyful feeling.
Over a decade had passed, but this two-story garden villa had not changed at all. Time seemed to have stopped for this particular house.