Published at 27th of December 2018 05:36:29 PM
Chapter 77

November 28, 20XX (Wednesday)

Zhao Manor

The Zhao family members stared at the table with uncontrolled awe . One-Fourth of the table was made from the kitchen and looked liked it was baked . Mother Zhao and Aunt Qinyang had a green colored shake with salads together with yogourt on the side . Half of the table was filled with kebabs, grilled steaks cooked well done and medium rare .

"Mei Li, would you please explain the food you have prepared?" Grandpa Zhao asked with fascination . He had once been active with his cooking especially when he founded his internationally acclaimed Sheng Restaurants that was now branched out in different parts of the world .

Grandma Zhao rolled her eyes at her husband . The culinary arts have always been his passion even when his high blood pressure had not hindered this which cause headaches to her on various occasion .

Mei Li nodded with a smile, "The dishes in front of Grandma, Grandpa Zhao, Mother, and Father Zhao have been specially made in the kitchen as we can't serve you barbeque in large amount . "

The light brown eyed woman turned to Grandma Zhao and said, "The dish in front of Grandma Zhao is low-carb Greek Lemon Chicken . "

Grandpa Zhao nobbed at her when she continued, "The dish in front of you, Grandpa Zhao, is Pistachio Baked Salmon . "

"Oh! Does this have salt?" The Zhao elder patriarch asked, careful of that one ingredient .

"No salt in those . . . but we also prepared the kebabs between Grandpa and Grandma Zhao which are marinated fish; either it is salmon or mackerel that have rich omega-3 fatty acids that can help reduce high blood pressure and counters diabetes . They have not been seasoned with salt also . " Mei Li explained with utmost care . She knew about Grandpa Zhao's escalating blood pressure and Grandma Zhao's fight with Diabetes .

"The dish in front of Father Zhao is Garlic Tilapia with Spicy Kale," Mei Li added after she turned her head to Zhao Shi Rong

"Because Mother Zhao and Aunt Qinyang doesn't eat dinner, The dish in front of them is a fruit salad with all kinds of berries and melon with a veggie smoothie of kale, lemon, apple, and cinnamon . "

"And for the rest of us, there are kebabs, grilled pork, chicken, and steak as Yue ordered . "

Finishing her explanations, Yue couldn't help but clapping her hands in appreciation . She knew she was right in inviting Mei Li to organize her birthday parties! She knew the food that would be served will be to die for!

Grandfather Zhao nodded his approval to Mei Li and surprised everyone when he nodded his head to Yang's direction as if to approve of Mei Li being his grandson's wife .

Grandmother Zhao laughed first and the rest followed when Mei Li turned red as Yang grinned with a thumbs up towards his grandfather . The best way to his grandfather's heart was always through food and Mei Li had proved herself capable with her preparations and explanations .

The Zhao family ate together full of laughter, warmth, and teasing . Everyone noticed how Yang had cut up the two steaks that were cooked rare in smaller pieces before he had pushed that plate towards Mei Li who had nodded with a gentle smile as thanks .

They were more surprised when Mei Li gave Yang a kebab that was full of grilled vegetables and the CEO had turned to her with a plea in his eyes . Everyone knew how the CEO was picky with his vegetables like a child .

The rest of the family stared wide-eyed as the CEO ate the vegetable kebab while helplessly looking at Mei Li's cocked eyebrow with a disapproving frown .

Grandma Zhao was not subtle with her snickering at all which made Mei Li blush again .

Helping Mei Li out from another round of teasing that would have followed, Aunt Qinyang asked with concern and changing the mood of the dinner drastically, "I heard you will only be staying at the Manor until Yue's banquet . Where will you stay afterward?"

Mei Li sobered up at the question . Her return to her normal boring life and painting away her boredom was soon approaching . She wondered if Zhao Yang would still treat her the same after she moves out of the manor . He had asked her to help with the interior design for his buildings and she had conceded but after that too would be done, would he return to ignoring her like before?

Seeing as the painter had paused and hesitated, Aunt Qinyang called her out, "Mei Li?"

Yang and Yue both had frowns in their faces; both displeased at the thought of Mei Li leaving the safety of Zhao Manor .

"Ah, yes!" Mei Li's hand gripped the end of the skewer of the kebab as she continued, "I have a studio apartment . I will return there on December 2 . "

"December 2?" Mother Zhao hollered loudly causing the people beside her, Father Zhao and Yue, to flinch . The Lady Xing, heiress presumptive of the Xing throne if the monarchy was still followed, pouted at Mei Li, "How about staying for another month, dear?"

Yue immediately agreed, "If you hate to bother the people, we can stay in my room!"

Mei Li shake her head in disagreement, "I have already bothered you and your family too much . "

Mother Zhao and Yue pouted with their bottom lips exaggerated extended at Mei Li . One month was too short for the development of Yang and Mei Li's relationship! This was a bad turn of event .

Yue had also thought that Mei Li would be too comfortable at the manor to move out . She had underestimated her best friend's stubbornness .

"How about staying in our condo near Grand Center Mall?" Aunt Qinyang offered .

This time it was Mei Li that had winced as she recalled that her condo that was given to Chen Zhong was also near in that mall . The possibility that they could encounter each other made Mei Li unhappy .

She firmly shook her head and denied, "Thank you . I appreciate the thought but my studio has been vacant for a while now and it would be better for me to occupy it . "

Mother Zhao, Aunt Qinyang and Yue turned their heads to Yang as if asking for his help . He touched his nose with helplessness .

If they can't convince her to stay, no one can; not even him!

In Mei Li's eyes, he was at the bottom on her list of the Zhao Family members' ranking base on importance . In simpler terms, he was the least important of them all .

The barbeque dinner had ended with Yang thinking of ways to protect Mei Li . Unknowing that Mei Li had piled his plate with vegetables that he had robotically eaten since his thoughts were too preoccupied for him to taste the difference .