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When Fang Xueruo returned to the Fu family home, both Fu Zonghong and Fang Wanping were present. The sky was on the verge of getting dark, and the streetlights and interior lights were already lit, casting a bright glow on the room’s decorations.
Fu Zonghong was sitting on the sofa, watching an educational channel, and the spacious living room was filled only with the sound coming from the TV.
Fang Wanping was in the kitchen, preparing dinner with the help of the housekeeper.
“Uncle,” Fang Xueruo walked to the other side of the sofa and sat down.
“You’re back,” Fu Zonghong responded.
“Where’s Mom?” Fang Xueruo looked around, hearing some faint noises coming from the kitchen.
“In the kitchen,” Fu Zonghong replied, then fell silent and continued to focus on watching TV.
Fang Xueruo’s expression soured a bit. She watched for a while but couldn’t understand the appeal of childish children’s programs. Since Fu Zonghong didn’t initiate a conversation with her, she didn’t know what to say either.
“I’ll go help Mom,” she said, getting up and walking towards the kitchen.
Seeing Fang Wanping, Fang Xueruo’s eyes carried a hint of grievance, “Mom.”
The housekeeper quickly greeted, “Miss is back!”
Fang Wanping saw her daughter’s unhappy expression and said little, only asking her to help prepare the dishes.
She conversed warmly with the housekeeper, “Make the soup lighter; Old Fu hasn’t had a good appetite lately.”
“Madam cares so much for the Master,” the housekeeper said with a smile.
Fang Wanping smiled gently, “Old Fu doesn’t take care of himself, so I have to pay more attention.”
“Both of you really are affectionate.”
Fang Wanping’s lips curved into a smile, “What’s there to talk about? We’ve been an old married couple for a long time.”
With a menu of six dishes and one soup all ready, Fang Wanping instructed Fang Xueruo to bring the plated dishes to the dining area, while she herself carried a plate of brightly colored vegetable stir-fry.
“Old Fu, it’s dinner,” she called.
Fu Zonghong responded, turned off the TV with the remote control, and then walked to the dining room.
He was dressed casually, looking much younger, except for the faint wrinkles on his forehead that made him appear in his early forties.
Fu Zonghong looked at the two or three dishes obviously prepared by Fang Wanping, and his expression softened, “You’ve put in the effort.”
Fang Wanping smiled warmly, “Eat more; that’s the best compliment for me.”
Fang Xueruo made a pouting remark, “Mom only has eyes for Uncle. Even your daughter has to step back.”
Fang Wanping chuckled helplessly, scolding, “You’re all grown up now, don’t act like a jealous child.”
Fu Zonghong laughed heartily.
The family of three sat down and quietly enjoyed their meal, initially with little conversation.
Fang Wanping was the first to break the silence, “Xueruo, why did you suddenly come back? Is your drama finished?”
Fang Xueruo looked disheartened, losing her appetite even more. She replied, “No, there was an accident on the set, so it had to be put on hold. The male lead was replaced, and a few important supporting actresses also terminated their contracts.”
Fang Wanping furrowed her brows, “Didn’t you shoot for quite a long time? Isn’t it a waste?”
Fu Zonghong expressed his displeasure, “It’s right to be blacklisted. The male lead deceives a little girl and then has an affair while married. How can such a person still have fans? The entertainment industry is filled with all sorts of messy people.”
Fang Xueruo couldn’t help but be surprised. She didn’t expect Fu Zonghong to know about this; he’s never been interested in the entertainment industry before.
Fang Wanping sighed, “Xueruo, you’re suffering because of this. You’ve worked so hard for several months and even fell ill, but in the end, all your efforts were in vain…”
“All business involves gains and losses, high returns mean high risks. If you didn’t investigate thoroughly before investing, you can only bear the consequences afterward.”
Fang Wanping glanced at Fu Zonghong and agreed, “Since it’s already like this, don’t dwell on it. Your career doesn’t depend on just one drama.”
Fang Xueruo felt even more upset. She looked at Fu Zonghong and suddenly teared up, “I’ve been blacklisted; there are no more opportunities for me.”
Fang Wanping was surprised and asked with concern, “How did this happen?”
Fang Xueruo’s voice choked with grievances, “Since the incident with my sister on the internet… my life has been difficult. She has many friends in the entertainment industry who have blocked all my opportunities… I didn’t mind that because Brother Chang could still provide some resources for me, but now this happened…” She lowered her head, tears dropping one by one.
Seeing her daughter in pain, Fang Wanping felt heartache, but she hesitated and glanced at Fu Zonghong. Finally, she sighed, “She has been holding grudges… Forget it. Just use this opportunity to take a break.”
Then, as if suddenly remembering something, Fang Wanping suggested, “Why don’t you go and help your Uncle Fu at his company? Learn how to manage a company. You’ve been engaged for a while now; it’s time to consider getting married. Gaining some management experience will also help share the burden with your fiance.” As she spoke, she looked at Fu Zonghong, seeking his opinion, “Old Fu, what do you think?”
Fu Zonghong furrowed his brows and said, “You insisted on entering that entertainment circle in the first place. Now that you encounter problems, you want to escape. Can that solve the problem?” What’s so good about the entertainment industry, anyway? All these people running to join the entertainment and livestreaming circles, seeking attention from the masses!
Fang Xueruo hung her head, looking disheartened.
Seeing that Fu Zonghong was furious, Fang Wanping tried to placate him, “Old Fu, don’t let it affect your health. When kids encounter setbacks, they may feel down. It’s just a temporary phase.”
Fu Zonghong put down his chopsticks, stood up, and turned to leave the dining room.
Fang Wanping hurriedly got up and followed him, asking, “Old Fu, are you not going to eat anymore?”
“I’m not eating,” Fu Zonghong replied as he left directly.
“Old Fu…” Fang Wanping called after him again, but failed to stop him.
For a moment, the dining room fell into an eerie silence.
Fang Xueruo didn’t expect Fu Zonghong to react so strongly and was stunned as a result. He had never openly rebuked herself and her mother without caring for their feelings before.
Not long after, Fu Zonghong, who had changed into a suit, returned and strode towards the door, “A friend invited me out for a drink. Don’t wait for me tonight.”
Fang Wanping spoke softly: “Be careful. Don’t drink too much.”
“Mm,” Fu Zonghong’s response was nonchalant. He turned around and left without looking back.
After Fu Zonghong left, Fang Wanping stood for a while at the door, then she returned to the chair and sat down; her face suddenly turned cold.
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