Aerial Rain
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TGCF Ch 15 Part 2 – How Come the Neighbors Don’t Detest Xia Mian? (II)

Xia Mian left a message saying she was at Teacher Mi’s house and asked him to call back there, so Zhang Qiming’s response was relatively swift. Once the call connected, he immediately questioned her, “Mianmian, someone complained to me. How could you bring those shady friends to our compound? What if something had happened? And why are you bothering Teacher Mi?”

“Mianmian, please behave a bit. Your second uncle called me today, saying he wants to pick you up for a matchmaking visit.” Zhang Qiming pleaded earnestly, “You know how old-fashioned your second uncle is. With no adults in your family and your grandmother listening to him, what if he just marries you off to someone randomly? Who would you turn to then?”

Xia Mian narrowed her eyes. Seemed like their intention was to corner her by blocking her escape route, huh? Since she couldn’t get into the house and didn’t dare to return to her hometown, they must think that she would have no option but to go with those thugs.

“Hah!” Xia Mian scoffed inside, but she didn’t argue and simply said, “No one’s home. I couldn’t get in, so I had to use Teacher Mi’s phone. Cut the chatter; you don’t want to waste money on the call.” In this era, making phone calls was still expensive. Phone bills were calculated by the length of the call, and even receiving calls would get you charged. Average folks, who had just gotten out of tougher times, lived more frugally than later generations.

With that said, Zhang Qiming found it hard to press further. He listened as Xia Mian continued, “Huang Xiaojuan has left with Xuanxuan and seems not planning to return. What do you think Xiao Feng and I should do?”

Zhang Qiming said helplessly, “I was suddenly arranged to go on a business trip at the last minute, and the train ticket was already bought. There’s nothing I can do now. Look, I’ll call Aunt Liu in a bit. You can go to her or Teacher Mi. As for money, didn’t Xiaojuan say you got five hundred today? That should be enough for a few days. If not, see if you need to borrow some.”

“I’ve already spent all the money,” Xia Mian said. “Xiao Feng didn’t have anything, so I bought things for him.”

“Huang Xiaojuan hasn’t returned my passbook yet. Why would I need to borrow money if I have my own?” Xia Mian said, displeased. “My mom said not to borrow money casually, and I don’t like borrowing money.”

Teacher Mi remarked from the side, “It’s fine, it’s an emergency after all. Xiao Zhang can repay us when he returns.”

Zhang Qiming finally realized that Xia Mian had turned on the speakerphone. He recalled what he just said and found nothing improper. After knowing that Teacher Mi was listening, his tone turned even more earnest, “Your mother saved that money for your education, you shouldn’t spend it recklessly. If you don’t have money, just figure it out first, and ask the neighbors for help if necessary. It may be inconvenient, but bear it for a few days until I return. Teacher Mi, we’re really sorry to trouble you with Xia Mian and Xiao Feng.”

Teacher Mi replied, “It’s nothing, we’re all neighbors here.”

“Anyway, I won’t borrow money,” Xia Mian firmly repeated. “I’ll manage on my own, no problem. Just make sure to return my passbook when you’re back. I don’t believe your words.”

Zhang Qiming sighed, “Don’t worry, I’ll return the passbook as soon as I’m back,”if you still need it.

“Just don’t make problems and seek help from the neighbors if needed. If you owe any money, I’ll pay it back when I return.”

Hearing this, Aunt Liu, who had followed them in, chimed, “That’s more like it. Since you’ve brought this girl here, you need to take proper care of her. And there’s Xiao Feng too. I think Huang Xiaojuan is beyond hope. How could she run off and leave two children behind? I bet she did it on purpose!”

Zhang Qiming frowned slightly; this situation wasn’t what he had expected. Why didn’t the neighbors despise Xia Mian?

Zhang Qiming was puzzled, yet he still found a way to subtly put the blame on Xia Mian, “Xiaojuan has just called me too, saying she was terrified by the thugs who showed up at her door. Xia Mian has dealt with similar situations back in her hometown.” Otherwise, she wouldn’t be so skilled in a fight.

“Her second uncle also thinks she’s not good at her studies, which is why he’s always thinking of marrying her off. She is still so young, though, so I believe it would be better if she continues her education…”

“Well, let’s not talk about this now. When I get back, I’ll reprimand both of them. However, for now, could we trouble Aunt Liu and Teacher Mi to take care of Xia Mian and Xiao Feng?”

After hanging up the phone, Aunt Liu shook her head, “When did those thugs come to her door? My door is open all day and I haven’t seen a thing. Now that I think about it, Huang Xiaojuan packed her bags too quickly.”

“Obviously, she had prepared in advance. Otherwise, what about Zhang Qiming’s luggage for his business trip? It must have been taken care of together. I used to think this Xiao Zhang was a decent person. Alas, I was mistaken…” Then she asked Xia Mian, “Is your second uncle really planning to marry you off?”

Xia Mian was nonchalant, “That’s not going to happen. My eldest uncle would never allow him. Zhang Qiming is just trying to scare me so I would be too afraid to go back to my hometown.”

Aunt Liu had also figured it out and frowned in disgust, “That Zhang Qiming!”

Teacher Mi then said to Xia Mian, “We have a spare room here. Why don’t you stay here for a few days?”

Xia Mian smiled, “No need, I saw a locksmith on the way home today. I’ll just change the lock, and charge them the cost later.”

Aunt Liu clapped her hands, “Smart! Why didn’t I think of that? Seems like my brain has caught up with my age, huh? Right, changing a lock is easy. Silly me.”

The reason Aunt Liu and the others hadn’t thought of this solution was because their generation had experienced bad times. Frugality being their nature, they cherished every small thing and wouldn’t have thought of breaking a perfectly good lock. However, since the Zhang family had acted so improperly, it served them right to pay a bit.

“Do you have the money?” Aunt Liu asked again, “Changing a lock costs a few tens of yuan. With Huang Xiaojuan’s character, I’m afraid she hadn’t left anything to eat at home.”

Xia Mian said with a smile, “I don’t have money, but emergencies call for desperate measures, isn’t it? I can pawn something at home, like the cassette player or the bicycle. If I’m frugal, it should be enough for us for a few days.”

“When my brother-in-law comes back, I’ll redeem it. If they ask for interest or whatever, I’ll pay them back once Huang Xiaojuan returns my passbook.”

Surprised and amused, Teacher Mi and Aunt Liu exchanged glances. This girl might be young, but she was quite something! The Zhang family would probably regret pulling this stunt.

They didn’t believe that Zhang Qiming would have the face to ask Xia Mian’s money to redeem the pawned things later. Aunt Liu pondered, and was determined to make Zhang Qiming pay for it when he returned!

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