375 I will lend you the money for the surgery!
It had become a daily routine for Pei Ge to phone Tang Xiaoyu first thing in the morning, but never once had her call successfully reached her best friend.
Two days had passed like this.
This was worrying for Pei Ge not only on the account of her mother's sickness but also of Tang Xiaoyu's safety.
In her frustration, she changed her clothes and walked out of the bedroom.
The moment she walked out, she spotted her mother exiting the toilet with a pale face.
"Mom, are you alright?" she asked worriedly, her face contorting with worry.
Zhang Manhua could see the worry in her daughter's eyes and shook her head reassuringly. "Don't worry, I think I accidentally ate something bad, so my stomach…"
Her voice trailed off when it occurred to her that she had gastric cancer. Although she stopped herself in time, Pei Ge still caught her words.
"Mom, let's go to the hospital," she anxiously urged.
"My savings is still enough to cover your hospitalization; let's go to the hospital now."
"Hush, you lass. No need to worry as I'm really fine." Her mother smiled and waved her concerns away. It might sound strange, but although the doctor said that she had gastric cancer, she really did not feel anything wrong with her body.
"Mom, don't take your body for granted," Pei Ge lightly admonished with a frown.
"Alright, alright, I know. Haven't I already told you? Let's postpone going to the hospital at a later time; accompany me to all the places I want to visit first," she smilingly refused before grabbing her daughter's hand.
Pei Ge could only nod at her request. "Alright…"
"Okay. Quickly take a shower while I go prepare breakfast." She patted her daughter's arm with a smile and headed into the kitchen.
Her eyes clouded with gloom as she watched her mother's retreating back.
She initially thought that she would not have to worry about cost of the surgery as she could just borrow from her best friend, but the latter was unexpectedly unreachable.
What should she do now? If she could not get hold of Tang Xiaoyu in time, where would she find the money to fund her mother's surgery?
With a heavy heart, she accompanied her mother for breakfast before heading out together.
Since the medical results were out, her mother had taken to bringing her to those places they had once visited with her father.
"Your father proposed to me in this spot back then. At that time…"
Of course, her mother's favorite topic was her father.
"Aii, what a pity; this place is completely different from before. There used to be a fountain here." She sighed helplessly while standing at a desolate-looking vacant lot.
Pei Ge observed the park, which lay abandoned for so many years. Forget about the fountain, even the flowers were a rare sight. It no longer had the vibrant and beautiful atmosphere it once had.
Rumors had it that this place was going to be rebuilt into a shopping mall soon…
"Mhm, I know. When I was younger, I used to throw a coin and make a wish here with Xiaoyu," she affirmed her mother's words with a face full of nostalgia, adding, "As for daddy, he would often buy me cotton candy here!"
"He he! You lass only knew how to eat back then." Her mother mirthfully shook her head.
They loitered around the empty park for a long while before visiting a restaurant they used to frequent as a family at lunchtime.
It was only after lunch that they returned home to rest for the day.
Once her mother retired to her room for her siesta, she returned to her bedroom as well.
Though she had woken up earlier than usual, she was not at all in the mood to sleep right now.
All she could think of was the cost of the surgery.
Just as she sat in front of her computer and was about to research on gastric cancer, her phone suddenly rang.
"Sister Pei Ge, why didn't you come to work these few days? Did something happen?"
Qin Qitong's worried voice came through the phone the moment she answered the call.
"Mhm… I resigned." She hesitated for a bit before admitting it to her.
"Resigned?!" Qin Qitong cried out in shock and disbelief.
"Mhm," she confirmed.
"But - But… I heard from your colleagues that you've taken a week off work," the girl said in confusion.
"… I didn't take a leave; I resigned." She frowned slightly as she thought to herself, This must be that annoying fellow's doing.
Was he so sure that she would not resign?
"Ah, Sister Pei Ge, why did you resign? Is it because of my cousin?" the girl asked cautiously.
She was silent for a moment before answering, "No, don't make wild guesses. It's because something happened at home."
"What happened? What happened at home?" Qin Qitong worriedly probed.
Hearing her worried voice, she hesitated for a bit as she thought of the cost of her mother's surgery but eventually decided not to ask for help from her officemate friend.
"It's nothing; don't worry about it."
She had only known her for a few months. How could she dare borrow money from her?
"Sister Pei Ge, am I still your friend?! How could you treat me as an outsider?! What exactly happened at home?" she demanded indignantly.
Pei Ge's heart warmed at her indignation.
She took a deep breath and haltingly revealed, "Qitong… my mother… she's been diagnosed with gastric cancer…"
"Ah?! Gastric cancer?!" she exclaimed in shock.
"Mhm…" She shifted uncomfortably and felt abashed. "Qitong… you…"
Before she could finish, the girl asked hurriedly, "Sister Pei Ge, how much is the fee for auntie's surgery? I can lend it to you!"