In addition to the reception room for the guests on the first floor of the Zhangs’ house, there was also a small living room for the family to rest and gather from time to time.
Heling brought the scissors and tape, and followed Yansheng downstairs with a confused look. They went all the way to this small living room.
Yansheng looked around and chose a wall. There were exactly two entrances and exits at both ends of that wall, leading to the interior of the house and the courtyard, with such a narrow wall in the middle. There was now a side table with a small sculpture on it. There was a painting hanging on the wall as well.
She looked around, then walked over to take off the painting and put it aside.
“Cut four short pieces of scotch tape and give them to me,” she instructed.
The little girl obediently followed the instructions. She cut a short piece of scotch tape and handed it to Yansheng first. She lowered her head and cut the second one. She looked up and wanted to hand it to Yansheng, but she was stunned all of a sudden.
She saw her sister pressed her ‘Learning Star’ certificate on the wall and one of the corners was fixed there with a scotch tape.
Upon seeing that Heling was stunned, Yansheng took the piece of tape from the little girl’s finger and exclaimed, “What are you waiting for?! Keep cutting!”
Yansheng also fixed the other corner of the certificate with the second piece of tape. Now, her own hands were freed. She noticed that Heling was now useless, she simply took over the scissors and tape, and did the cutting herself.
Heling asked hesitantly, “Is this… okay?”
“Why not?” Yansheng asked rhetorically. “Isn’t something like award certificates must to be shown to others? What’s the point of hiding them in a box sneakily?”
“No…” Heling replied weakly. “I mean, it’s not good to post it here… right? Will Dad and Mom be upset?”
Yansheng cut the scotch tape and told her calmly, “This is where the award certificates were originally posted, don’t you remember?”
“Huh?” Heling was a little dazed.
“Forget it, you were still young at that time. It’s amazing that you remember me pushing you,” Yansheng said while sticking the tape. “This wall was used for me to post my award certificates. At that time, I had many awards and some competition certificates. When you first came home, this wall was almost full of them. That painting was just hung here later.”
Then later, why didn’t you post anything? Heling thought.
Yingying had always disliked Heling for being ‘stupid’, but Heling just wouldn’t please Huan as much as Yingying had expected. It was definitely impossible for a young child who could take the first place in the class to be a fool.
Heling faintly felt that if she asked her sister ‘what happened later’, the answer might not be what she wanted to hear. She also felt that this was probably related to their arrival in this house—stepmother and half-siblings.
The little girl bit her lip and was too timid to ask.
Yansheng posted the ‘Learning Star’ certificate, stepped back, looked at it with her crossed arms, and asked, “Is it all right? It’s not crooked, right?”
Heling also looked at it and exclaimed, “It’s all right!”
Yansheng nodded, rolled out the tape, picked up the scissors, and began to stick the second one.
When she was pressing her finger on the wall to gently smooth the tape, Yansheng didn’t expect that she would do this one day.
In the past, her father didn’t care about the family affairs. So whenever she received a new award certificate, she would give it to her mother as soon as possible. Her mother would stick it on this wall by her own hands. When her mother passed away, this wall was full of her award certificates.
Later on, no one had posted it for her anymore.
She also stopped participating in all kinds of competitions that were actually meaningless. Her academic performance had gradually become ordinary, so she couldn’t get any awards at school.
The award certificates on the wall had become old or even broken.
When she went home one day, all of her award certificates were gone and a painting that Yingying bought was hanging there.
She quarreled with Yingying and asked, “Why did you tear up all my award certificates?!”
But Yingying replied, “They’ve been hanging there for so long. They’re old already and one of them is already damaged. It looks ugly, okay? Look at this house, it’s beautiful everywhere. But with this tattered wall, what kind of look is this now?”
Huan, who tried to smooth things out at that time, just said, “They’re really old and don’t look good. It’s okay. Let’s hang up the painting first. When Yanyan gets a new certificate, we will post it again here. As simple as that!”
But Yansheng knew that this matter was not that simple at all.
This Yingying was a woman who was eroding her home little by little.
Yansheng could only hate that she was young at that time. She could feel it but she couldn’t express it. She could only scream and make a loud noise.
Being powerless to change something was really annoying.
“Hey, what’s going on? You’re sticking certificates?”
Huan’s voice suddenly sounded in the corridor.
So the two girls looked over.
As soon as Huan finished lecturing his wife, he was full of dissatisfaction and got hungry. He went downstairs since it was almost time for dinner.
Before the meal was ready, he used to sit in the small living room first. As soon as he walked to the entrance, he saw what his two daughters were doing there.
He liked to see these two half-sisters getting along so harmoniously. This was a peaceful scene that had only been seen in the past few days and it made people feel very good when they looked at it.
He walked over, looked at the award certificates on the wall, and said with full of emotions, “It’s been a long time since I saw an award certificate posted here. Remember when you were young, they were all plastered here. But later on, they were all gone. I kept saying that I would post it when you got a new one, but Dad waited for a long time. Okay, let me see! Yanyan, what kind of awards did you get this time? Eh? Huh? Are these… Hehe’s?”
Huan looked embarrassed right there and then.
Yansheng didn’t care and thought, Oh please, only elementary students care about things like awards. Well, does a middle school graduate still cares about this stuff? Besides, I am actually an adult already!
“They are Hehe’s awards from last semester.” She paused and added, “In the third grade.”
She had a little doubt that Huan didn’t even know what grade Heling was in.
Heling didn’t pay attention to what Yansheng just said, but her eyes lit up.
She noticed that her sister just called her ‘Hehe’.
This was the first time in her memory.
Huan also noticed it. After all, Yansheng refused to call Yingying ‘Mom’ or even ‘Auntie Liang’. She also called her younger half-siblings by their first names. Yingying often whispered something in his ears, and his ears were almost puffed up with all her nonsense.
He was overjoyed and the unhappiness caused by his wife had dissipated just now. He said cheerfully, “Oh, they are Hehe’s! Awesome! Dad will check what kind of awards these are. ‘Learning Star’? What kind of award is this? Is this a commendation for academic performance?”
“The top three in the class receive the Learning Star award,” replied Heling.
Huan was surprised and exclaimed, “Our Hehe can enter the top three in the class? That’s great!”
Heling hesitated for a moment and then said, “I am the first in my class and the second in the entire grade.”
Zhang Huan was stunned. “Huh?”
Yansheng couldn’t help reacting to him. “Heh!” It was full of sarcasm.
Huan couldn’t hold on to his face, so he hurried to make up for himself. “Look at your father, he’s too busy at work. I don’t even know when our Hehe’s academic performance becomes this good?”
Heling said helplessly, “I have been since the first grade, and I have also taken the first place in the first grade.”
Huan was too stunned to speak.
And Yansheng reacted with full of sarcasm again. “Heh!”
So Huan smiled embarrassedly. “Your mother didn’t tell me either. Good! Very good! Our Hehe is so awesome!”
As he said that, he clapped his hands and gave a thumbs up.
That was his way of coaxing a child.
But Heling was indeed still a child. It was the first time Huan had paid so much attention and praised her for growing up like this. She was a little loss and flattered. Her little face was flushed with excitement.
Huan always knew that his youngest daughter was very cute. After all, both of her parents had good looks and none of the three children in the family were ugly.
But now, he really felt that Heling was so cute.
He believed that as a father, he should—when his children did not cry, did not cause trouble, and earned back an honor—appear on the stage, give praises and rewards, listen to the children cheering with joy, and admire their happy smiles and shining eyes.
As for those crying and bickering, trivial things, and the children’s growth process that required a lot of energy and thought—there was still their mother anyway.
As a father, you were responsible for making money to feed your children, and then you could enjoy these good times.
Unfortunately, since the death of his first wife, he had not enjoyed such a good time as a father for a long time.
Ever since Yingying was brought into the family, the house had been so noisy.
He once regretted not listening to his brother’s advice or obstruction from his mother. He thought that the children could only be taken care of by their mother, so Yingying entered the family.
In fact, at the beginning, his brother and mother’s f*cking idea was to just bring the children in and spent money on the woman to get rid of her. His old mother even said that she could raise the two illegitimate children. But Zhang Huan was fascinated for a while and didn’t listen to them.
Regret… the person involved stated that he had regretted it for the past few years.
“Come here, Hehe! Talk to Dad, what do you want?” Huan said with a smile.
He suddenly felt as if he hadn’t said this for several years.
Yansheng hadn’t heard this sentence for several years as well. Once upon a time, when this man saw her award certificates, he always smiled and asked, ‘What does Yanyan want?’
This was simply his highlight moment.
He never asked what kind of effort Yansheng had put into obtaining those awards and what kind of effort her mother had put into as well.
He would only make a promise and pay generously.
Later on, when Yansheng died, he had long given up on her as his hopeless daughter, and only used money to send her away without seeing her.
Heling wanted to say, ‘I don’t have anything I want’. However, Yansheng slapped the scissors on the side table with a snap, which shocked the father and daughter who were performing the touching scene of ‘Father’s Love and Filial Piety’.
“Hehe needs to change her piano teacher,” said Yansheng. “Her teacher is not good. She is not serious at all. Her class is purely a waste of working hours and cheating your money.”
Only then did Huan know that there was still this issue, so he asked Heling directly, “Hehe, is that right?”
Heling nodded. “She doesn’t care much about me. She just lets me play by myself.”
“She’s taking my money but not doing anything! Fire her!” yelled Huan.
Yansheng said, “My piano lessons have stopped and I won’t be able to take them in the future. My teacher was found by my mother. She has taught me for many years. She is very good so let her teach Hehe in the future.”
Huan replied, “Okay, it happens to be your teacher, so you can just—” Say hello to her and get things done.
However, before he finished speaking, Yansheng had already fiddled with her cell phone, raised her head, and interrupted him. “I sent you the teacher’s phone number, so you should contact her.”
“With her—huh?” Huan was taken aback.
“You are the parent. After all, Hehe still has a father.” Yansheng smiled sarcastically. “You can’t just pass your child to someone’s care, okay? I’m already taking care of myself, without a mother nor a father. So, I cannot take care of everything for her as well.
“Oh, by the way, contact her as soon as possible. My teacher is very popular. It is not easy to make an appointment when her coursebook arrives. I am afraid that it will be too late. If she make an arrangement for others, then you will not be able to make an appointment.”
Mrs. Luo appeared at the entrance of the corridor at this time and called them, “It’s time for dinner.”
Yansheng then turned around and walked out.
Huan took Heling to the dining room, but suddenly reacted and asked her, “Why is your sister not taking piano lessons anymore?”
“Sister said she doesn’t like playing the piano at all,” replied Heling.
She doesn’t like it?
He clearly remembered that when Yansheng was a child, she practiced the piano very seriously and went to the exam level by level. Every time she took the next level, his late wife would be very happy.
So he found out that she was actually just trying to make his late wife happy.
He couldn’t help but sigh.
Thinking about it again, he concluded that Yansheng couldn’t really talk well.
But what does she mean by having no mother and father?
Hey, I am still alive.