Published at 13th of August 2019 05:50:51 PM
Chapter 198
August 7, 20XX (Wednesday)
Xue Manor

The moment the Xue Elders asked for Mei Li's time after her martial art tutorial was done, the painter had been suspicious about them . Mei Li knew that yesterday was her real birthday because of Yang's slip of the tongue, so she was sure that the reason they were asking her to spare some time for them was for her birthday . She rolled her eyes at their try to be subtle, but she didn't believe them at all . Who would treat an orphan child like she was their own granddaughter after only meeting her a couple of times? Especially with their history and their capabilities as a family of hardcore government agents, nobody in the right mind would believe their reasons in concern to their excuses for being close with Mei Li .
When Mei Li was done with changing into comfortable clothes, she went into the living room where the Elder Xues where waiting for her . She was surprised when she saw Big brother Chang Min together with her mentor and the Elder grandparents . Her eyes briefly scanned her Mentor and realized that he might not be the man he says he is . Mei Li sighed to herself; another secret she must pile out from her thoughts .
"Mei Li come here . Let's eat some of your favorite desserts . " Grandma Xue called her and mentioned for her to sit beside her .
Mei Li was reluctant to do so . Honestly, without Yang with her, she was just a stranger . The only person that she could attest with knowing is her mentor, Mr . Alfonsi, but even he has a secret . She suddenly wished Yang was there beside her to be the middle man of this awkward silence . He always had a way of making everything works on his favor .
"Mentor Alfonsi, I didn't know you were staying here?" Mei Li said . Knowing she cannot know everything doesn't mean she will not try to do so . Better to try and fail than to miss an opportunity for success .
"I stayed here after the accident . It is very peaceful here . " Her mentor continued, "I saw your new gallery . You did well . Reminds me of a certain man I know . The theme fits perfectly too . "
"Mentor Alfonsi, don't tease me . " Mei Li blushed . Her mentor was the same mentor she knew, but his usually tired eyes were now filled with hope . It was different albeit a little weird . She was not used to her mentor's inspired attitude, but she liked this side of him better .
Chang Min put a slice of cheesecake on her front and passed her a bowl filled with strawberry jam . Mei Li blinked, when did they know she liked these things? Did Yang tell on her? Mei Li watched with shocked eyes when Grandma Xue got three slices of cheesecakes and gave it to Grandpa Xue to eat, which was swallowed whole faster than Mei Li could finish her single slice . Mei Li stared at her fork with mixed emotions . Was her love for cheesecake sprung from Grandpa Xue? Her heart melted a little when Grandpa Xue gave her the last slice of the cake .
Their desserts were already eaten when Grandma Xue took a small box from her pocket and said, "I have these earrings I have wanted to give you . This would look on you . "

Mei Li stared at the blue box with amazement . Aren't they supposed to act like they don't know her? Why are they treating her like she has known them since she was a child, which Mei LI doesn't because she was fucking raised in an orphanage?!
"I can't accept these from you," Mei Li tried to dissuade the smiling elderly woman .
Grandma Xue just took her hands and placed the small box on it, opened the lid, and said, "I saw the ring that Zhao Yang gave you, these would make a wonderful pair with it . "
Her eyes shifted downwards to the teardrop earrings that resembled her engagement ring even it's peach-like color . Mei Li almost scoffed in disbelief . Yang had bought her ring using millions of dollars for the colored diamond, and these earrings would have cost the same as her ring . If Mei Li had doubts about their relations before, it was gone now .
But she was angry, why was it she could only experience love from them only when she expects nothing from them? Where were they when she was just a child craving for their attention? Where were they when she needed warmth? Where were they when she needed them the most? Honestly, they were not the people that helped mold her . They were probably protecting her in secret, but they were not the ones involved with raising her . To Mei Li, her family is elsewhere . A family does not leave, they stay .
Was it wrong to think like this or was it fair of her to do so? Mei Li filed all her thoughts and doubts away, she'll rant about it to Yue later on . Yang was useless about these things because she knew Yang would remain silent, but Yue wouldn't . Suddenly, she missed spending time with her best friend .
Chang Min then took a box from his feet and gave it to her . Mei Li tried to deny it again but Chang Min merely threaten Mei Li with giving it to Yang, and knowing her fiance, Yang would just toss it to her . Mei Li loves her fiance to death, but he was such an opportunistic bastard . Mei Li opened the box and saw the new pair of red bottom shoes she had been planning to buy .
When her mentor also gifted her something, and she saw it was a medium-sized box full of painting materials, Mei Li nodded and smiled before giving her thanks . Diamonds, shoes and art materials are always the best way to any girl's heart .
"Thank you," was all she could utter, emotions were stuck in her throat .