Jiang Wan almost rose from her seat, ready for a fight. ‘How can this woman be Yao Tang’s mother?’
But Qin Manignored her and continued to sneer atYao Tang. “Well,Yao Tang? Do you have anything to say for yourself? You don’t even have the resources to play to a decent audience, do you? I wouldn’t be surprised, since you’re better suited for side street performance, anyway.”
A sense of foreboding washed over Yao Ranas soon as she heardQin Man’s words.
She reached out and tugged at her mother’s sleeve in another attempt to lead her out of the room. “Let’s go, Mom. My rehearsal is about to start. We should go now, or I’ll really be late.”
Qin Man flung her hand yet again, her frustration palpable in the air. She didn’t know why her lovely, obedient daughter was suddenly acting spoiled and shortsighted.
“Why don’t you leave first, then? Can’t you see that I’m not done here yet? The driver is waiting downstairs, so you can go and head to your rehearsal without me.”
Yao Ran gritted her teeth, but she had no choice. “All right, Mom. Please excuse me.” With a grim expression, she turned in the direction of the door.
Her steps were heavy as she trudged out of the room without a backward glance.
Qin Man took no notice, since her attention was still onYao Tang. “Now, you listen to me. Just how greedy can you be, huh? You’re barely out of your teens, yet you think you’re capable of participating in an orchestra? You even aspire to be a concertmaster?”
Yao Tang nodded, unfazed. “We actually have a performance scheduled in the near future.”
Qin Man scoffed, thinking that the girl was bluffing. The arrogant brat probably thought she could save face by a few flimsy lies.
After all, it wasn’t as though orchestras held a performance at leisure.
More importantly, it would take a reputable band of musicians to garner a noteworthy audience.
“Look at you, still lying through your teeth!” Qin Mancried. “You’re just an eighteen-year-old nobody from the countryside. You can dream all you want, but there’s no way you would ever be able to perform in an orchestra! Or perhaps you simply think too highly of yourself. Do you think you’re more talented than ourRanran, huh?”
Ranran had to undergo the assessment in order to be on the stage and had to work hard to even qualify for the said selection.
“You’re overthinking things,” Yao Tangsaid dryly, unaffected by Qin Man’s taunts.
“All right, fine! If you’re really performing with those young men from earlier, then I shall attend and see it for myself!” Qin Manannounced.
Jiang Wan reached over and pattedYao Tang’s hand. She was about to comfort her when the girl said, “No.”
Jiang Wan pursed her lips and sighed.
Yao Tang was quite wise for her age, drawing a clear line between herself and her enemies. Moreover, she knew enough to see through her adversaries’ tricks and refuse them even a single inch.
What Jiang Wan liked about her the most, though, was how straightforward Yao Tang was. She didn’t like wasting anyone’s time, and she always stood by her word.
Qin Man pointed a shaking finger atYao Tang, her face twisting into a wretched expression. “Look, look, look! She was lying all along, wasn’t she? That’s as good as an admission! You’re afraid of being found out, aren’t you? That’s why you don’t want me to go to this imaginary performance of yours. You should be ashamed of yourself!”
Old Madam Yao couldn’t stand it anymore and slammed her fist against the table. “That’s enough!Qin Man, what are you still doing here? If you’re not here to eat, then leave! Stop making a ruckus in this family gathering.”
Qin Man snorted and rolled her eyes, but she took comfort in her belief that she had exposedYao Tangas a liar in front of everyone.
Satisfied that her daughter-in-law had somewhat calmed down, the old lady turned to Yao Tang. “Tangtang, give it some thought, all right? We can go with any instrument you like. Just forget about the orchestra.”
Yao Tang smiled at her grandmother. Her next words were spoken slowly. “I only meant that our orchestra will be performing in theMusic Association’s annual assessment, so…” she paused and gaveQin Mana pointed glance. “You can’t see me perform, even if you want to.”
Another pregnant silence fell in the room.
For the second time in less than an hour, they were all gaping at Yao Tangin shock.
What was it that she’d just said?
Qin Man went cold all over.
She couldn’t believe her ears, but everyone else’s reaction told her that she hadn’t misheard anything.
Her thoughts began to race.
‘Yao Tang… She… She is performing in the Music Association’s annual event? How is that even possible. She’s just a nobody from the mountains! How did she even manage to get affiliated with theMusic Association, let alone asked to perform at such an important affair?’