“You have no idea how stubborn and heartless that Yao Tang is. She managed to cause so much trouble just a few days after coming to the city! She is nothing like our sweet Ranran.”
“Heartless, you say?” The old lady frowned. “Speak for yourself! Here you are, doting on someone else’s daughter without a care for your own! I wouldn’t be surprised if you just wake up one day and forget who your real daughter is entirely.”
“Mom!” Qin Manshined, though she couldn’t meet the old woman’s eyes out of guilt. “We’re telling you, thatYao Tangdoesn’t want to live with us, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Besides, we’ve raisedRanranas our own for over ten years. How can you expect our affections to change so suddenly.”
Qin Man sniffed and raised her chin. “In any case,Ranranis the only daughter of my heart. She is sensible and filial to her parents. She was the one who asked us to come and pick you up, and she adores her dear old ‘Grandma’ so much. Do you really not care for her at all?”
She didn’t bother to hide the reproach in her voice, hinting that the old lady was somehow in the wrong for detesting a fake grandchild.
At that point, the old woman didn’t want to speak to Qin Manany longer, anyway, so she turned toYao Yuan. “Where is my real granddaughter?”
He shifted uncomfortably. “Mom, let’s talk about this once we’re home, okay? You must be tired from your flight.”
The old lady understood what her son was trying to say, and her shoulders slumped. Indeed, she couldn’t lose her composure in front of other people, especially while discussing a family matter.
She had no choice but to grit her teeth and rein in her foul mood, if only for her son’s sake.
She wasted no time when they got home, however. The old lady ambled into the living room and leaned on her walking stick.
“Well? Can you tell me everything now? I will be honest with you, I only came to see my real, biological granddaughter. I won’t waste my breath blaming you for past mistakes, but now that the girl has been found, you cannot let her suffer any more grievances. You have no right.”
Hearing this, Yao Ranteared up and clung toQin Man, who stroked her hair in a gesture of comfort.
The old lady had an intimidating presence and an equally formidable temper. Even Yao Yuandidn’t dare to go against his mother. As it was, he could only look at her helplessly.
“Mom…” he said slowly, trying to find the right words. “This Yao Tang, well… That is, she is at Second Brother’s. We—ah, it is what she wants. We couldn’t dissuade her, so… She currently stays with Second Brother’s family.”
“What?!” the old lady burst out. “You let your brother take care of your own daughter?”
Her face was a mask of outraged disbelief. She pointed an angry finger at Yao Yuanand said, “And you call yourself a father? I can’t believe I have someone so irresponsible for a son!”
Yao Yuan winced, recognizing how close he was to being disowned.
“But, we’re only following Yao Tang’s wishes,” he reasoned out, muttering his words. “She doesn’t like being here, anyway.”
“Ha!” His mother snapped, shocked at his words.
For as long as she could remember, her son had always been an obedient and upstanding person. And while they hadn’t seen each other in so many years, she had never imagined that he would turn wayward.
It looked like he had become spineless, too!
Yao Yuan pressed his lips together and hung his head. Of course,Yao Tangwas not in his brother’s home, but the lie was infinitely better than the truth.
If his mother found out that Yao Tanghad moved out on her own, it would only infuriate her further, and there was no doubt in his mind that she would put the blame on them.
An awkward silence fell in the room.
The housekeeper, who had been standing with the butler by the foyer all this time, couldn’t help but feel wronged on behalf of her masters.
That brat, Yao Tang, was a true rascal who was always up to good. In what world could she possibly be better than the Young MissYao Ran?
Having looked after the girl all these years, the housekeeper felt as though Yao Ranwas her child, too. The stubborn Old Madam just didn’t understand how things really were.
A small sob came from Yao Ran. Her face was buried inQin Man’s shoulder as she cried silently.
The butler chose that moment to step forward.
“If I may, Old Madam, the Young Miss Yao Ran participated in the recent Math Olympiad Competition. The results were supposed to be out at seven this evening.”
He paused before adding, “Why don’t we check and see her results for the time being?”