Chapter 167: The correct way to wear a green hat 22
“Hongmei, you have to teach your daughter well. She has only been in school for a few days, yet she already causes her parent to be called by the teacher.”
The Jiang old lady looked at her daughter-in-law and warned.
“Don’t learn some unspoken rules from the country.”
This sentence meant something. Old lady Jiang could not bear to see a woman like Yu Hongmei, who clearly had a husband, yet still messing around with other men, and finally brought her son to the top and abandoned her possibly disabled husband. This kind of unfaithful, ruthless and unjust behaviour in marriage reminded her of her former daughter-in-law. She was afraid that one day her son would have an accident and Yu Hongmei will abandon her son like her former husband.
This kind of woman was the standard person who can share happiness but cannot share suffering. Yet, she has to put a flowery word with the coat of true love to disguised her greed for wealth and prosperity. If it were not for the sake of the two unborn children, the old lady Jiang would not have allowed her to share their good life.
“Mom, Huakai is not sensible. I will teach her well.”
Yu Hongmei looked at the old lady and said flatteringly. She then pulled her daughter’s sleeve, asking her to apologize quickly and promise that she would not make any more mistakes.
“I am not in the wrong.”
Jiang Hua lowered her head. Her tears slid down into the rice bowl in front of her. She seemed to be eating the rice in the bowl mechanically as it mixed with the salty taste of tears. Her mood was even more depressed.
“If you right, is it the fault of those classmates? Are those classmates uniting to bully you for no reason?”
Yu Hongmei became a little impatient, “You weren’t like this before.”
In the past, Huakai was so sensible. She was not like this little crying bag that made people who look at it become angry.
Jiang Hua lowered her head and did not speak. She thought to herself that her mother was also not like this before.
“I’m in the right, anyway.”
She put down the bowl, covered her face and ran upstairs. She wrapped herself tightly with a quilt. Only in this small-enclosed space can she get temporary relief.
Yu Hongmei stood up and wanted to talk to her daughter Jiang Hua. Didn’t she know that her unreasonable behaviour was embarrassing her mother? Initially, the two elders of the Jiang family already disliked her, now his daughter misbehaviour making those two opinions on her being a not good woman further cemented.
“Forget it. The child is still young.”
Recently, the business of the disc store was getting tough. There are fewer and fewer people renting discs. As for his two net café, recently, they have been reported frequently. It was not only parents and teachers who come to the Internet to find those underage students. Even people from the fire brigade and the Industrial and Commercial Bureau came to check his store’s safety hazards and business qualifications. Because of these people, his net café’s business also plummeted.
Therefore, Jiang Tiancheng was also in a bad mood. He did not want to listen to his current wife educating her child with her ex-husband during his only rest time.
I am afraid that only Jiang Ruyi knows the whole story at the moment. Seeing Jiang Hua’s sadness and grievance, she bowed her head with some guilty conscience. It was rare that she did not find fault with Yu Hongmei during the meal.
After the meal, Yu Hongmei helped Jiang Tiancheng set the bathwater. While Jiang Tiancheng was taking a bath, she still sneaked to her daughter’s room.
“Cry, cry, cry, what is there to cry. I already transfer you to a better school, but you still acted as if we mistreated you.”
As soon as she saw her little daughter crying again, Yu Hongmei felt a little unlucky. She subconsciously covered her belly. She didn’t know if the two babies in her stomach would be affected by this sister.
“Okay, since you felt wronged, then tell me why your classmates bullied you. Don’t just cry. You have to give me a reason.”
Yu Hongmei did not believe a word of what the daughter said just now. The children in the city are well educated. How could she bully a transfer student transferred from a township elementary school for no reason? There must be something that her daughter didn’t do well enough.
“I am not wrong!”
Jiang Hua has endured for too long. Although she is young, she also knows that some things cannot be said in front of the new grandfathers and grandmothers since it would negatively affect her mother. She still loved her mother, so she was reluctant to say anything that would negatively affect her.
Yet, her mother’s actions made her felt aggrieved. Now, only the mother and daughter were left alone. She finally could not help it and wanted to tell her grievances.
“They all laughed at me as the daughter of a Xiaosan, saying that you are a bad thing, and I am a little bad thing. They laughed at me for being dirty and smelly. But, I am neither dirty nor smelly. I take a bath every day. I am not a bad girl, nor am I a dirty child.”
Jiang Hua was hoarse. Why did everything become what it is today? Why must mother leave father? Didn’t their lives were all good before?
She did not like this new home, nor did she like the villa and the new school. She wanted to go back to her previous life.
After hearing her daughter’s words, Yu Hongmei’s first reaction was not to feel distressed but to slap her heavily.
“What nonsense are you talking about?”
Even the thick-skinned Yu could not help but feel ashamed at the thought of such obscure topics being talked about by primary school children, especially when the words were relayed from her daughter.
The force of this slap was not small. Jiang Hua held her face, feeling that half of her face was stiff.
She stopped crying as she covered her face. Her heart was icy at this moment.
“I think you were really broken under your dad’s influence. Dare to say anything without any consideration.”
Yu Hongmei avoided her daughter’s gaze as she continued.
“Okay, go to bed early and go to school with your sister tomorrow. As for those ignorant classmates, just ignore them. The more you care about what they say, the more they will do it. As long as you don’t provoke them, they will naturally calm down.”
After saying that, Yu Hongmei no longer wished to pretend to be a caring mother, so she left Jiang Hua’s room and hurried back to her room.
The next day, Yu Hongmei watched her daughter wash up and silently ate breakfast. Thinking that her daughter was finally sensible after a nap, she let go of the big stone in her heart and then watched the babysitter send the two children onto the bus.
After arriving at school, Jiang Ruyi walked towards the junior high school with her schoolbag on her back. In contrast, Jiang Hua, who was supposed to go to the elementary school, turned into a corner after separating from Jiang Ruyi and walked out of the school gate.
According to her memory, Jiang Hua walked to the bus stop. She remembered that she could go back to her home in the country by taking the bus.
It was just that Jiang Hua seldom went out on her own. So, the first bus that she boarded headed in the opposite direction.
“Little girl, we are already at the terminal station. Won’t you get off the bus?”
Half an hour later, the bus driver was ready to get off the bus and enter the station to get a cup of hot water. Seeing Jiang Hua had not got off the bus, he asked curiously.
“I am going down, going down now.”
Yesterday Jiang Hua thought about her plan to escape all night, but she didn’t sleep well. Hence, she fell asleep while sitting in the back of the car and was awakened by the bus driver.
Seeing this completely unfamiliar environment, she was a little flustered. But she still hurriedly got off the bus like a headless fly.
Now she was at a bus terminal. Jiang Hua clutched the strap of her schoolbag tightly and then walked to a crowded place. This time she got smart and noticed that many people were staring at the bulletin board at the edge of the platform, with place names written on it as if the bus stopped at the same place.
She has just entered the first grade, and she could only recognize a few words. In addition, many of the platforms on the bulletin board used formal written names. In normal times, Jiang Hua only heard others speak of these names with dialect, so after making a rough guess, Jiang Hua once again got on a bus.
Obviously, her luck was horrible today. She got one word right but did not get the other word right. The platform where she got off was still far away, from where she wanted to go.
Looking at the unfamiliar environment and the bustling people around him, Jiang Hua began to regret her decision to run away from home.
She should have figured out how to take the bus home before leaving her mother’s house.
That morning, Jiang Hua only drank a bowl of gruel. She was hungry now. Fortunately, she was not tall enough to buy a ticket. Therefore, it did not cost much to take a bus. Now she still has fifty cents in her pocket, which was the money she saved from before.
Jiang Hua used the money to buy three meat buns. She ate half of them. After feeling that her belly was fifty per cent full, she started her journey home.
Along the way, she did not dare to ask strangers for directions. After all, her father had told her that many traffickers like to abduct and sell children her age. Although Jiang Hua was timid, she pretended to be confident on the surface, as if she was used to these moves and people was waiting for her at her final destination.
In this way, when the sky darkened, instead of finding a way home, Jiang Hua made herself tired, hungry and thirsty.
The night was getting deeper, and the weather was getting colder. Jiang Hua was only wearing a thin autumn sweater. She held into her arm as she watched fewer and fewer pedestrians on the road. She finally became panicked.
The little girl wiped her tears and walked forward with heavy steps. Under the light, the huge shadow looked like a monster, which could eat her in the next second.
Jiang Hua began to miss the old days when her father was still healthy. She was sitting on her father’s neck with a small windmill in her hand. Her brother begged her to come down and let him ride on her father’s shoulder. At that time, she always acted shamelessly as she hugged her father’s head tightly and did not let go. She continued to act like a baby and begged her brother to let her sit for a while.
She began to miss the sweet and sour pork tenderloin and boiled fish made by Grandma Man Chun. Compared with her mother’s food with almost no oil and salt, it was apparent that the taste of the thick oily red sauce made by Grandma Man Chun was more in line with her appetite.
She began to regret it. Jiang Hua squatted down, hugging her knees and howling loudly.
“Huakai? Is that you Huakai?”
A familiar voice rang from behind. Jiang Hua stood up abruptly and then turned her head.
Not knowing whether it was a dream or reality, Dad actually stood behind her.
“Wow–” [T/N: I admit I also cry here]
Jiang Hua did not have the mind to think about why her father appeared in this strange place. Her first reaction was to rush over, hug her father’s waist tightly, and then cried loudly, seemingly to cry out all the grievances that she had suffered.
“It’s okay. Everything is over.”
When Jiang Liu saw that the locator he placed on his daughter showed that her position had deviated from the normal route between Jiang’s house and the school, he knew that he should be able to close the net on his daughter’s side. Hence, according to the position displayed on the locator, Jiang Liu had been following his daughter Jiang Hua from early on.
He watched her eating those three little meat buns as if it was a cherished item. He also watched her, who was so thirsty yet have no money to buy a drink, ran to the park to use the tap water to quench her thirst…
Even though he felt distressed, sometimes, one must undergo a painful journey to leave a long memory.
Jiang Liu did not want Jiang Hua to keep the beautiful image of her mother in her heart. So, he used this kind of cold-looking means to tear the bloody truth in Jiang Hua’s heart.
“Dad, I want to go home. Uwaaa!! I miss my brother. I miss my dad. I want to go home.
The little girl cried heartbreakingly. Jiang Liu picked her up and hugged her as he walked slowly to the station.
“Yiyi, why didn’t Huakai come back with you?”
It was time for dinner, but her daughter Jiang Hua hasn’t come home yet. Yu Hongmei can’t help worrying.
“Ah, I thought she went back on her own.”
Jiang Ruyi raised her eyebrows. Did that timid girl being left at school?
“That kid’s heart is too wild. How can anyone not go home after school? Hongmei, you have to teach that kid well.”
The Jiang old man sat in the living room, shaking the newspaper in his hand, yet did not lift his eyes.
“Dad, there may be some misunderstanding.”
The more Yu Hongmei thought about it, the more she felt it was wrong. She hurried to her room to take out her mobile phone. As she opened it, she found seven or eight missed calls, all of which came from the same number. Yu Hongmei hurriedly called back.
“Hello, who are you?”
“I’m Yu Hongmei. You called me several times today, but I did not receive it because my mobile phone was not by my side. May I ask who are you?”
“Oh, you are Jiang Hua’s mother. Why didn’t Jiang Hua come to school today? Is she sick?”
After that, Yu Hongmei could not remember what she talked about. She ran downstairs in a panic, grabbed Jiang Ruyi’s arm and asked sternly, “Yiyi, didn’t Huakai went to school with you? How come the teacher told me that she was not at school today?”
No matter what, it was a piece of meat that fell from her body. When she suddenly heard the news that her daughter might be in an accident, even the cold-blooded and selfish Yu Hongmei could not help but feel nervous.
“Ah, you hurt me.”
Jiang Ruyi frowned and cried out painfully.
“Yu Hongmei, what are you doing? You are hurting Yiyi.”
The old lady Jiang stepped forward and slapped Yu Hongmei’s hand away. She then rolled up her granddaughter’s sleeves in distress as she stared at Yu Hongmei angrily after seeing the red marks on her granddaughter’s arms.
After being slapped and shouted at by the old lady, Yu Hongmei suddenly calmed down a lot.
“Mom, I didn’t mean it. The teacher just called and said that Huakai did not go to class today. Huakai also did not come home at this late hour. I was anxious at the moment…”
Yu Hongmei explained with a serious face.
“Humph, a stepmother is really a stepmother. It doesn’t hurt your heart if it’s not your own child.”
Old lady Jiang did not care about the oil bottle that Yu Hongmei had brought over. She cared more about Yu Hongmei’s attitude towards her precious granddaughter.
“It’s gone. Are you still going to splash your anger on us?”
The Jiang old man was better than the Jiang old lady. He has an excellent reputation and does not want others to think that they have treated the child brought by his daughter-in-law wrongly. Therefore, he paid more attention to Jiang Hua’s disappearance.
“The county town is not that big. Where can the children go? Maybe you and Tiancheng should go out and look around for a while.”
The Jiang old man felt that this new granddaughter was squeamish. Her granddaughter had never run away from home like her.
“What to look for? I think she will know how to come back when she is cold and hungry.”
The Jiang old lady stared at her husband. What did he mean by sending her son to find that little girl? Isn’t this giving too much face to that pair of mother and daughter? This was all Yu Hongmei’s trick to get them to take her and her daughter seriously.
What’s more, Jiang old lady really doesn’t believe that a seven-year-old girl can run away from home. Even if she leaves, how far she can go? I am afraid she will be sent back soon.
“Mom, or maybe we should call the police?”
Yu Hongmei plucked up the courage to ask. This child did not go to school. It might not necessarily mean that she ran away. It could also be an accident. Thinking of the kid abducted from the neighbouring village before, Yu Hongmei worried whether his daughter was also being abducted.
“What do you want to report to the police? You still think our family has not been showing enough publicity recently, don’t you?”
The Jiang old lady stared at her daughter-in-law. When the police came, she was afraid that others would be reminded of the recent news and the Jiang will have to go on the TV again.
The Jiang family had already been disturbed enough because of their many problems with this pair of mother and daughter.
Yu Hongmei always loved herself more. Afraid of being disliked further by the Jiang old lady, in the end, she chose to go to the school and the nearby neighbourhood with Jiang Tiancheng to search for a circle, but still returned without success.
“Old Jiang, you said that there wouldn’t really be an accident with Huakai, right? It is all my fault. I should not have scolded her yesterday. How old is she? I should be more patient.”
The cry was partly heartfelt and partly ambitious.
What Yu Hongmei portrayed in front of Jiang Tiancheng was the image of a good wife and mother. Now that her daughter is missing, she should be despondent.
“It’s better to call the police and let the police look for the child.”
Jiang Tiancheng comforted his wife in a low voice. They have been looking for more than an hour, and they have not seen any trace of Jiang Hua. Now they can only call the police.
The Jiang old lady snorted coldly.
“Grandma, call the police.”
Jiang Ruyi was a little guilty. After all, she knows that all the fuse comes from her plan with her good sister. If she had not transferred her resentment towards Hongmei to the innocent Jiang Hua, she would not fight with her classmates. She also would not be scolded by Yu Hongmei and would not have to go to school after being wronged by others. Now, they could not even find her.
No matter how self-willed she was, Jiang Ruyi, after all, was only a 13-year-old junior high school girl. Her heart was not so vicious to the point that she could watch a girl younger than her starve to death.
Therefore, when the Jiang old lady was feeling unhappy, Jiang Ruyi spoke up.
“In the end, Yiyi is the only kind-hearted girl, unlike some people.”
The old lady looked at her granddaughter lovingly and then gave a hmm, expressing her consent.
Yu Hongmei endured embarrassment and prepared to call the landline to report to the police. Yet, her cell phone rang before she could dial 110.
“Huakai is with me. Tomorrow I will come to discuss with you regarding the transfer of custody of my daughter.”
The call was from Jiang Liu, and his tone was icy. Although the words were meant for discussion, his tone was very decisive. Obviously, he was about to decide the custody of his daughter. This sentence was just a notice, not a discussion.
“Why, whose call is it?”
Seeing his wife’s face turned blue and white, Jiang Tiancheng was puzzled.
“It’s my ex-husband. He said that Huakai is with him.”
Yu Hongmei listened to the beep on the other end of the phone and replied in a daze.
Transferring the custody of their daughter? She has been married to Jiang Tiancheng, and in eight months, she will have another pair of children of her own.
It was not as if she did not care about Huakai, but that child was too ignorant and disobedient. Perhaps Jiang Liu was right. The child’s custody should indeed be returned to him.
“Humph, you mother and daughter are really amazing!”
Old lady Jiang sneered, “The little one ran directly to her father’s house. What happened? We gave her the grievance and let her go back to her father’s house to file a complaint? We could not afford such a child in the Jiang family.”
The whole family was in a state of hysteria because of her behaviour. It was so late, yet they didn’t even have their dinner. That little girl was competent.
The Jiang old lady did not like such a selfish child, let alone that the child was not of their Jiang family’s blood.
“Since she has already gone, she did not have to come back.”
Jiang old lady glanced at her son and daughter-in-law: “If it is a big deal, just give them some money. Anyway, we can afford to pay for that little alimony.”
The Jiang old man stared at the sharp-toothed old lady. He then looked at his daughter-in-law and said kindly, “The child may not be used to the new home, and you, the mother, must also consider the child. Maybe the child is more willing to be with her father and brother.”
Obviously, the attitude of the old man was the same.
Now Yu Hongmei strengthened her previous thoughts. It didn’t matter if this daughter returned to Jiang Liu or not.
That night, Jiang Hua slept very sweetly. She dreamed that a group of monsters wanted to eat her, but her father and brother, who was wearing armours, smashed all the way through the thorns to rescue her from the monsters.
She sat on her father’s shoulder and watched the sun slowly rise from the east.
It is daybreak.
Jiang Hua rolled around on the bed. The smell of the sun-dried quilt and the familiar washing powder enveloped her breath.
She opened her eyes abruptly and looked at the surrounding environment.
It wasn’t a dream. She really came back!
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