Chapter 90 - A Painting
Delighted, Ye Ci went over to Ye Ting.
Ye Ting patted her head affectionately.
“It’s been a while, Lil Ci. You’ve grown even more beautiful now. Did you miss me?”
“Of course, I do!” Ye Ci hugged her aunt gleefully. The two of them looked as close as mother and daughter. “Auntie, it’s been a while since you came back.”
Ever since Ye Ting married a man in the capital, she barely came back to Yunzhou. Most of the time, she only returned because of Ye Ci.
Ye Ci lost her mother when she was very young, and Ye Ting loved her like her own. Therefore, Ye Ting slowly accepted Su Yuan because she treated Ye Ci like her own daughter.
“Come, sit beside me.”
Ye Ci also said hi to Su Pei who was playing games on his phone and simply nodded to his cousin.
Ye Ting glared at her rude son, but he simply turned a blind eye to her.
Su Pei was born when his father was quite elderly, and the boy grew up with utmost attention and care, which resulted in his arrogance and hot temper. He was in his second year of high school this year and was addicted to games, so he never really paid attention to his studies.
If it was not for his wealthy background, the boy might have already been expelled.
The reason he followed his mother here was that he was involved in a fight at school, and he was instructed to stay at home for a few days to reflect on his actions.
Ye Ting brought him here, hoping that he could learn a thing or two from his cousin. Unfortunately, the more she cared for her son, the more unruly he was. As a result of his rebellious nature, he gave Ye Ci the cold shoulder.
To him, Ye Ci was the kid next door to whom his mother would compare him, and he found it irritating.
It was not the first time she was being ignored by him anyway, so Ye Ci was not overly concerned.
She tugged Ye Ting’s hand softly and switched the topic.
Ye Ming then called Ning Li over, “Ning Li, come here.”
The man cared about his reputation a lot, especially at family gatherings of this scale. He tended to be as thoughtful and considerate as possible in front of everyone.
Ning Li went over and pulled a chair out for herself, then Ye Ting finally noticed her.
“Su Yuan, is this your own daughter?”
The room went silent for a moment.
Ye Ting was being overly frank, and her comment was unnecessary, However, she did it on purpose.
Ning Li looked at Ye Ting and noticed the woman sizing her up. Ye Ting might have been flashing a courteous smile at her, but behind that fake smile was cold hostility.
Ning Li understood the hostility behind Ye Ting’s fake smile. Su Yuan had taken good care of Ye Ci for many years, and even after she gave birth to Ye Cheng, she tried her best to look after Ye Ci in every aspect.
Ye Ting was satisfied with Su Yuan’s performance, so she did not want to be calculative anymore.
However, with Ning Li’s arrival, things changed.
Ning Li was Su Yuan’s own flesh and blood, and Ye Ting was also a mother herself. Therefore, she knew what it meant when it came to her own flesh and blood.
Moreover, Ning Li and Ye Ci were born just three months apart from each other.
Ning Li’s arrival would surely distract Su Yuan, so what would happen to Ye Ci then?
When Su Yuan suggested taking Ning Li into the family, Ye Ting had disagreed strongly, but Ye Ming cared about his image and reputation more.
Ning Li was still a minor, so as her mother, Su Yuan had the responsibility of taking care of her daughter. If Ning Li was simply allowed to wander outside, it would surely damage the Ye family’s reputation.
Since the Ye family was wealthy, surely they could house one more girl under their roof. Ye Ting failed to convince her brother then, and the rest was history.
Now, seeing Ning Li with her own eyes, unusual emotions arose in Ye Ting’s heart.
Su Yuan was embarrassed. “Yes, she’s my daughter. Ning Li, where’re your manners? She’s your aunt.”
Ning Li replied nonchalantly, “I remember that Father is the only son.”
The atmosphere froze in awkwardness. The name Ning Haizhou was definitely taboo in this family, and Ning Li’s straightforwardness did not show any respect for anyone at the table.
The smile on Ye Ting’s face became colder.
As expected of a rascal from some rural city, the girl never had proper education and did not have any actual parents to teach her manners!
“Ning Li!” Su Yuan sounded stern. “What is that about?!”
“I’m telling the truth. Am I not allowed to do that?” Ning Li asked innocently.
Ye Ting’s resentment was already showing on her face. There was no room for courtesy anymore.
Meanwhile, Ye Ming frowned. “Okay, just calm down. Ning Li is new to the family. She’s still adapting to her new environment, so just give her some time. Besides, it’s your birthday today. Have a seat.”
Ye Ting glared at Su Yuan. “Su Yuan, I suppose you are going to have a hard time ahead of you.”
Ning Li’s poor behavior and impudence proved to be a time bomb; no one knew when she would explode or what kind of damage she would cause in the future.
As a result, Su Yuan was deeply embarrassed.
Ning Li simply leaned in her chair nonchalantly, as if she was completely fine with the awkwardness.
Ye Ci blinked nervously before she said with a smile, “Oh, right, Mom, I got you something. Do you want to open it right now?”
She then gestured to the attendant to bring her present over. Since the present was inconvenient for her to bring along, she had someone deliver it to the hotel beforehand.
She was the daughter of the Ye family, after all, and the Ye family owned the place. Of course, she could simply call someone to do her a favor.
Su Yuan found a way to temporarily escape the awkwardness, so she smiled and said, “Sure!”
The attendant quickly brought the present over.
As Ye Ci mentioned, it was a painted portrait of Su Yuan.
In the painting, it was a dark, quiet night and the background was an empty street. The main subject, Su Yuan, was walking towards the front and looked up into the sky slightly as if she heard the wind calling. Her eyes were sparkling in surprise. She wore a decent coat while her hair was slightly messed up by the wind, but it did not affect her delicate beauty.
The overall color of the painting was warm and the strokes were refined. Even though it was a painting, the joy in her eyes was obvious.
Su Yuan was astonished when she saw the painting, and she got carried away by her delight for a while. She looked at Ye Ci in gratitude.
It was also Ye Cheng’s first time seeing the painting and the way his mother was portrayed in the painting baffled him. He asked, “Sis, is this really Mom? Why does she look different?”
Ye Ci smiled. “This is Mom from ten years ago. Of course, she seems different.”
Su Yuan affectionately moved her fingers across the canvas and said softly, “I didn’t know you remembered this.”
“Of course, I remember. That day, I left the house because I was angry and you went looking for me for a long time.”
Ye Ci had a hard time accepting Su Yuan when she first arrived, so she stormed out of the house out of anger. At night, she got lost on the streets and became afraid. She hid in a dark corner and started crying.
It was then that Su Yuan found her.
“Starting from that day onward, I decided to call you my mom.” Ye Ci looked embarrassed when she said that, but her affection and reliance in between the lines were obvious.
Ye Ting caressed the girl’s head lovingly. “Lil Ci, you are really caring. Your painting skill is getting better and better.”
Su Yuan stared at the painting for a while more before she told the attendant to keep it safe.
“Thank you, Lil Ci. I like the present a lot.”
Ye Cheng was a little jealous. “If Sis gave you this, then you won’t like the present I’m going to give you.”
Su Yuan tapped the boy’s forehead gently. “No, I like everything you give me.”
Only after she appeased the boy lovingly, Ye Cheng grunted softly with a hint of jealousy.
“Sure, you like my present, but you like Sis’ present more!”
Ye Ci then looked at Ning Li. “Oh, right. Sister Ning Li, didn’t you prepare a gift for Mom as well? Why don’t you take it out for her now?”
Everyone looked at Ning Li who shifted her attention away from the painting.