Mingxi didn't know that when she went to celebrate her birthday with Fu Yangxi, He Yang and Dong Shen, the Zhao family had actually been here.
Regarding Mingxi’s birthday, the Zhao family felt very complicated about it. They didn’t know how they could get together with Zhao Mingxi and mend the cracks when they had broken up to this point— She should not be willing to celebrate her birthday with them now.
Therefore, on Mingxi’s birthday, when the Zhao family ate in the morning, the air pressure on the dining table was very low.
Everyone knew that today was Zhao Mingxi’s birthday, but looking at the empty spot on the table, everyone fell silent. They mechanically stirred the porridge in the bowl, not knowing what to say or what to do.
Zhao Yuning had stayed in the hotel for more than half a month and never went home. But because Zhao Yuan went to the training camp and she won't be back for another 10 days or so, he was still taken home by Zhao Zhanhuai, who had half threatened and half coaxed him back. It was impossible for the Zhao family to really let him, a 15 to 16 year old child, stay outside for a long time.
However, the first condition that Zhao Yuning made for agreeing to go home and live was to raise a stray cat he found near the hotel.
Zhao Yuan was allergic to cat hair and was prone to itching and eczema. Although Zhao Yuan's actions not long ago caused the loss in Zhao Zhanhuai's company, it was impossible for Madam Zhao, Zhao Zhanhuai and Mr Zhao to take Zhao Yuan's health lightly out of anger.
So Mr and Mrs Zhao discussed it in private and planned to agree to Zhao Yuning’s request first. They would let him bring the cat back to keep it for around 10 days. When Zhao Yuan comes back, they will take advantage of his carelessness to send the cat away. Take it as a buffer strategy.
Zhao Yuning still didn’t know that other people in the family were thinking of fooling him and thought they had really allowed him to keep a cat, so he excitedly took his friend to the pet shop and bought a cat litter box, cat litter, very high-end automatic drinking fountains and automatic feeding machines. Then, he set up a nest for his Xiao Mei on the third floor of the villa.
He had something to do for the past two days, so he stayed on the third floor of the villa and didn't come down.
When he was eating in the morning, he was covered with cat fur. He looked at the empty place opposite him, feeling suddenly lost. Now there were cats, but the person who kept the cats secretly with him was no longer there.
Zhao Mingxi will not pick up food for him nor will she play games with him in the middle of the night anymore.
Zhao Yuning felt lonely. In addition to losing an older sister, he also lost an important playmate.
Zhao Yuning suddenly counted the days, only to realize that Zhao Mingxi hadn't been home for more than two months. If converted into a year, then it was a quarter of a year. After so long, the family finally realized that Zhao Mingxi would never be back in a short period of time.
Even if Zhao Yuning didn't want to accept it, he could only admit this reality.
He kept a cat these few days, thinking that he could divert his attention and won't think about it again. However, he never expected that although Zhao Mingxi had only been here for two years, there were traces of her everywhere in the house— including the light blue cushion on her chair. Zhao Yuning saw that she was no longer sitting on her light blue cushion and there was no longer tableware placed in her seat. He felt very uncomfortable.
Zhao Yuning said nothing.
Madam Zhao had not been able to eat or sleep well recently. She seemed to have aged further and was not in the mood to speak.
Zhao Mo was not home.
Zhao Zhanhuai ate in a bad mood. He had to go to the company as soon as possible after breakfast to solve the mess that had happened a while ago.
Only Mr Zhao looked at the newspaper and at Mingxi's empty seat. He was very upset. “If I remember correctly, today is Mingxi's birthday. Do you all have any ideas?”
"She doesn't recognize us and refuses to come home. How else can we celebrate her birthday?" Madam Zhao said in a numb voice, feeling weak when she spoke, as if she was about to die at any time. “What she hates most right now, I’m afraid, is me.”
She thought about her failure as a mother. Zhao Yuning didn't like her and Mingxi hated her.
It seemed that only Zhao Yuan was close to her— But thinking of this made Madam Zhao even more heartbroken. What’s the use of being close to her if she is not my biological child?
What if Zhao Yuan finds her biological parents one day and leaves us for her biological parents?
Won’t I lose everything?
After discovering that Zhao Yuan was not her biological child three years ago, they never tried to find Zhao Yuan's biological parents.
At that time, Mr Zhao suggested finding them.
Because Mr Zhao was a more traditional man, he was more inclined to a blood-related relationship. She was not his own daughter, so wasn’t he raising a daughter for others?
It was also he who insisted on finding Zhao Mingxi.
However, Madam Zhao at the time couldn't bear to let Zhao Yuan go, so she cried and clamored to prevent Mr Zhao from looking for Zhao Yuan's biological parents.
Then, the matter was never spoken of again.
"Don't say such depressing words." Mr Zhao frowned. “A blood-related relationship can never be broken.”
Zhao Zhanhuai said, “She is just a little girl training outside alone. It must be very hard for her. We must celebrate her birthday with her. She has grown up and is 18 years old, but we have only spent two birthdays with her.”
With that last sentence, the four people at the table went silent.
If it weren't for his reminder, they almost forgot that for Zhao Mingxi’s whole life, she had only received birthday wishes for two years.
In the first year, she cried due to Zhao Mo’s bullying.
The next year, Zhao Yuan's friends came and she had an argument with them, which was not a pleasant memory.
Mr and Mrs Zhao, Zhao Zhanhuai and Zhao Yuning suddenly felt very sorry for Zhao Mingxi.
While Zhao Yuan grew up carefree, learning piano, painting, riding and various talents, she waited for adoption in that small place and was trapped by poverty with her grandmother. When Zhao Yuan fell and had a group of family members taking turns to hug and comfort her, she could only get up silently by herself. Every birthday, Zhao Yuan’s family and a group of friends would give a lot of gifts. When the gifts were so many that she had to open them for a few days, Mingxi probably only had an extra bowl of longevity noodles every year...
Before this, they rarely thought about it.
Because when Mingxi first came, she seemed to be dressed decently, not as if she had suffered a lot. Her grandmother was also good enough to her and she had no worries about food and clothing.
Although they felt guilty, they were more unfamiliar.
Although they had the mentality of compensation at the beginning, after a long time, they forgot that Mingxi was only found in the middle of the way.
However, now several people were wondering whether the reason why Mingxi was so concerned about her grandmother who adopted her at the time was because the two depended on each other a lot— Even the more decent clothes when she came. Would she also have used the little money she earned from working during the winter and summer vacations to buy them?
They did not dare to think in further detail.
The more they thought about it, the more miserable their hearts felt.
"I'm so sorry to Mingxi jie." Zhao Yuning buried his head. Suddenly, big tears fell down his cheeks. "At that time, I didn't know that she wanted to participate in the chemistry competition. I saw the participation form on her table. Anyway, she was in a normal class and her grades were not good, so she didn't need it, so I took it to Zhao Yuan jie."
"Later, Zhao Mingxi lost her temper and didn't play with me. I felt a little guilty, but I didn't apologize because of my temper. I didn't think that now—"
Unexpectedly, now that I want to apologize, I don't even have that chance anymore.
Zhao Yuning started crying as he talked, getting all choked up. In the end, he dropped his chopsticks and went back to the room.
There was dead silence on the dining table.
Zhao Yuning said he was sorry to Zhao Mingxi, but who out of them didn’t feel apologetic to Zhao Mingxi?
There were so many things they could think of.
It's all small things.
However, after the person left, these things were like tiny thorns which pricked the heart from time to time. It led them to think suddenly, could it be that these little things have become the straw that pressed on Mingxi and the straw had accumulated so much that she completely went away?
Mr Zhao stood up, walked to the window and took a smoke. Then, he said, “When Mingxi had just come back, one day she and Yuanyuan came back from school, and when I came back from a business trip, I subconsciously picked up Yuanyuan. She should have been pretty sad at the time.”
Zhao Zhanhuai said in embarrassment, “I used to act unreasonably as well. I only picked up Yuanyuan every weekend."
Madam Zhao had an even longer list.
She stared at the barely eaten breakfast in front of her, unable to swallow, and her eyes went red.
A lot of things happened on this day at the same time. E Xiaoxia received a call from her uncle from the hospital to inform her that the result of the DNA test had come out.
In the sample she sent, the male and the two females were not related by blood.
As for the DNA identification of the two women, it showed that they were in a mother-daughter relationship.
E Xiaoxia couldn't believe her ears. She was so surprised that her hands were shaking. "How is this possible? Uncle, are you not mistaken?"
She originally thought that Zhao Yuan was at most a stepsister to Zhao Yuning. Zhao Yuan might be an illegitimate daughter, but she never expected that she had no blood relationship with them at all???
What's going on?
And why is there a blood relationship between Zhao Yuan and that nanny? Is he sure about this?
"Xia Xia, who’s sample did you send me?” Her uncle said on the phone, “I asked my colleague who has been working in this field for more than 10 years to do the test, how could something go wrong?”
E Xiaoxia couldn't hear what her uncle was saying anymore.
She almost couldn't hold the phone firmly. She was completely shocked, as if she had lost her voice. After finally coming back to her senses, she swallowed her saliva nervously and hurriedly said to her uncle, “Uncle, please make a copy of the original identification result and send me both the original and the copy. Please send the electronic version to me as well. It is very important to me.”
How could it not be important?
E Xiaoxia faintly felt that she had discovered a great secret of the Zhao family.
She had to think about how to deal with it.
E Xiaoxia hung up the phone and sat down on the ground, still unable to recover from the shock.
She now slowly remembered Zhao Yuan's series of weird reactions before-
Two years after Zhao Mingxi came to the Zhao family home, when she said that Zhao Mingxi must look mediocre under the mask, Zhao Yuan's face went stiff.
When she mentioned that Zhao Mingxi was totally rejected by Zhao Yuan's family members, Zhao Yuan stopped her and told her not to talk so casually, though she looked relieved. Now that she thought about it, E Xiaoxia seemed to realize that there was still a faint hint of worry hidden in that expression...
Also, it's no wonder that Zhao Yuan's feelings for Zhao Zhanhuai were very delicate.
If the two were not siblings, E Xiaoxia would have thought that Zhao Yuan liked her elder brother! E Xiaoxia had also ridiculed Zhao Yuan about the matter of the brother complex.
But now that I think about it, isn’t it an outright crush—?!
So does Zhao Yuan actually know that she is not a part of the Zhao family? Does everyone in the Zhao family know?
Also, does the Zhao family know that Zhao Yuan and Zhang Yufen are related by blood?!
—They probably don’t know!
Otherwise, why did Zhao Yuan and other Zhao family members treat Zhang Yufen just as an ordinary nanny every time I went to the Zhao family’s house?
Zhao Mingxi came back more than two years ago. The Zhao family said she was another daughter who was in poor health and had been raised in the country when she was a child.
However, not many people in this circle believed that, including the E family. They all wondered whether she was the illegitimate daughter of Mr Zhao.
Nonetheless, she never expected that this might be a plot of having picked up the wrong child?!
E Xiaoxia was so surprised by this family that her brain buzzed.
If everyone in school found out that Zhao Yuan, the ever so delicate School Beauty, was just a fake who occupied the real child’s place, and that Zhao Mingxi, who has been squeezed out, was supposed to be the real one who should have known them since childhood and praised as a princess in their circle.
Friends, resources, family, money and identity should have all belonged to Zhao Mingxi.
—What would the people in school think? OMG!
Meanwhile, over here.
After the Zhao family made a decision, once Zhao Zhanhuai came back from the company in the evening, the family drove a large SUV with custom-made cakes and some gifts they bought in the trunk and set off to the training place where Zhao Mingxi was.
Zhao Zhanhuai drove, Zhao Mo wore a cap and sat in the passenger seat while Mr and Mrs Zhao and Zhao Yuning were in the back seat.
To some extent, Zhao Mingxi's break with his family caused the Zhao family, who had always found it difficult to gather together, to finally get together for once and work together to do a certain thing.
But when they went, Zhao Mingxi was no longer in the training hotel.
After asking the front desk and a student, they found out that Zhao Mingxi was away celebrating her birthday with her friends.
Because they didn't know where she went and didn't install a tracker in her mobile phone, the Zhao family had to park the car in the underground garage, open a suite in the hotel and wait on the sofa.
Speaking of Fu Yangxi, the Zhao family were a little puzzled.
"Does that prince like Mingxi jie? Otherwise, why did he beat er ge on Mingxi jie’s behalf last time?"
Zhao Mo was extremely annoyed when he heard Fu Yangxi's name. “Zhao Yuning, please explain what you mean by the boy surnamed Fu hitting me? It’s obvious that we were fighting each other and I also gave him quite a few wounds, alright? Not to mention that group of boys were bullying the weak with numbers!”
Mr Zhao glanced at the wall clock and his face turned a bit ugly. “It's already past 10pm. Why isn’t Mingxi back yet? She can’t be dating, is she?! Puppy love before she turns 18. Even if the kid has a lot of money, it won’t do! No, I have to look for her.”
Zhao Zhanhuai quickly stopped his father.
"Dad, calm down, even if she is dating right now—" Zhao Zhanhuai paused and said, "We can't control her anymore."
"It will only worsen the already rigid relationship."
When this was said, there was dead silence in the suite and they all fell silent again.
The Zhao family did not see Zhao Mingxi come back even after half past eleven.
After waiting for more than five hours, Madam Zhao, who was the most overwhelmed, looked faintly pale. She tiredly lay on the sofa.
Mr Zhao and Zhao Zhanhuai couldn't help but go out to look for them again. They waited at the entrance of the hotel for a while.
When they went out, they ran into Zhao Yuan and her group of friends who came back after eating supper.
Zhao Yuan was stunned. "Dad, big brother, why are you here?"
In order to celebrate Zhao Mingxi's birthday, they specially reserved a room, but Zhao Yuan had not been notified yet.
Mr Zhao and Zhao Zhanhuai were a little embarrassed, so they only nodded to her.
Zhao Yuan's first reaction was that they had come to visit her in the training camp, but then she remembered that today was Zhao Mingxi's birthday, so her joy disappeared immediately.
But Pu Shuang and the other friends beside Zhao Yuan didn't know that today was Zhao Mingxi's birthday. After all, they all thought Zhao Mingxi and Zhao Yuan’s birthdays were on October 14th.
So when they saw Zhao Yuan's family, they subconsciously thought that they were here for Zhao Yuan.
The girls were very enthusiastic and said to Mr Zhao and Zhao Zhanhuai, “Uncle, brother, would you like to have supper with us? Yuanyuan will treat you today.”
But Mr Zhao and Zhao Zhanhuai recognized Pu Shuang and the other girl. According to the boy they spoke to today, the two girls threw Zhao Mingxi’s school bag, pencil case, test papers and other things into the trash. Then, Zhao Mingxi had a big fight with them and was scolded by Mr Jiang.
When they heard that, several members of the Zhao family were so angry that they couldn't speak.
However, they never expected that when something like this happened, Mingxi didn't tell her family, nor did Zhao Yuan.
If it hadn't been for the friends around Xiao Shen, they wouldn't know.
Moreover, now, Zhao Yuan and Pu Shuang were still talking and laughing while coming back from outside.
Mr Zhao and Zhao Zhanhuai looked at Zhao Yuan with extremely ugly expressions.
Zhao Yuan didn't know that her family knew what happened this afternoon. She didn't respond and she couldn't help asking, "Dad, brother, what's the matter?"
At this moment, Zhao Yuning, Madam Zhao and Zhao Mo just came out of the hotel.
Zhao Yuning saw Pu Shuang and the other girl at a glance and anger took over his brain immediately. He rushed up and cursed, “F*ck, Yue Teng was talking about you both this afternoon, right? You two still have the audacity to stand here? How did you both bully Zhao Mingxi? Come out with the truth now!!”
Pu Shuang and several other girls were suddenly shocked, their faces pale.
Could it be that Zhao Yuan's family didn't come for Zhao Yuan, but to teach them a lesson on behalf of Zhao Mingxi for what happened in the afternoon?
But isn’t this too much?! The whole family is here?!
Isn’t it known that the Zhao family only dotes on Zhao Yuan and doesn’t care much about Zhao Mingxi?