4 Chapter Four

Zhou Hua Fan stood at the front door of a large home, the front yard was large and furnished with hedges and symmetrical trees trimmed and almost glowing green with a vibrancy that bragged about just how healthy the plants were kept here. She looks at the large intimidating front door that she wanted to rush through but at the same time, she was afraid to see the person inside. She recalls his clear look of disappointment and sadness, they broke her heart and made her afraid he would give her the same look as he did back then. Back when she was still too proud to take his help when she didn't know he was the one who treasured her most. How low she had to fall before she realized he loved her, Hua Fan is a foolish girl.

"Miss?" Seeing as Hua Fan stood there doing nothing but staring at the front of the home with a faraway look. Aunt Li calls out to her worriedly, was her injury hurting again? Although it hadn't been long since they last applied medicine to her bruise after shopping for gifts the woman was still concerned Hua Fan would feel pain. Hua Fan was a delicate girl who never knew pain until last night, it wouldn't be surprising if she was more sensitive than others. But Hua Fan snaps out of her daze quickly enough before Aunt Li could touch her arm. The girl gave Aunt Li the same sincere yet dead smile she had given this morning. "Let us go, I heard grandfather had arrived back in A city three days ago. He should be having tea in the garden at the moment."

Hua Fan was lead up the steps by one of her maids before Aunt Li could recover, the woman made to follow her but then she pauses at the top as the maid beside Hua Fan rang the bell. Wait a moment, she casts the stone-faced girl in front of her a conflicted expression. How did the young miss know the old master likes to drink tea in the garden? Hua Fan remains purposely oblivious to Aunt Li's questioning look not feeling like explaining how she knew what she knew. She stops herself from impatiently knocking on the door, a yearning in her heart to see her grandfather.

The need to see him alive and well, as well as the fear she swallowed down forcefully. Barely two seconds pass before Hua Fan starts to feel her back sweat and her hesitation swell up, her face shows a trace of hesitation and fear and she makes to turn around and retreat. But the door opens before she could fully walk away, "Young miss." An older man with wrinkles on his face that shows his age and eyes that were unjudging and kind was what she saw. Hua Fan did not dare move under his warm welcome yet searching gaze. Shuang Hui Ning, it was no secret he was her grandfather's most trusted friend and housekeeper.

He had an eye for spotting even the tiniest detail out of place and had a rather good knack for judging people at first glance. The people her grandfather favored were not many, and being one of them was a feat that many tried but usually never succeeded in doing. His eyes fall onto her bruised cheek and the smile on his face fell, the pretty girl before him was obviously hurt. Hua Fan was nervous but not due to old Shuang, it was because she could hear the sounds of footsteps behind the housekeeper. "Why are you still at the door? If we have guests invite them inside and don't dally."

Hui Ning was about to answer but Hua Fan surprises everyone in the room when she ducks under his arm and lets herself up. Faster than anyone could stop her, Hua Fan latched onto Zhou Jian Kong, the old man himself was startled into silence. Her tiny arms wrapped around his waist hiding her face in his shirt. Jian Kong was still in shock and didn't move an inch, having a child suddenly hug him was something he would never expect to happen when he woke up in the morning. Hui Ning panics and makes to remove the girl but when he touched her shoulder he was quickly blocked by Jian Kong himself confusing the housekeeper.

The old man had recovered from his shock and when he felt the child hugging his waist shaking as well as the warm tears staining his clothes. He knew something was wrong. Never had this child taken the initiative to visit him or greet him when he came back from his business trips. Actually, no one in his family cared to visit him, he is used to solitude and peace. Not to mention this little girl was actually a proud, and arrogant child who refused to let herself be stepped on without making the other party suffer first. For her to actually visit him and cling to him like this when she barely knew him apart from knowing he was her grandfather.

Jian Kong gave Hui Ning a look which the old housekeeper quickly obeys by clearing the room. Aunt Li was also stunned when Hua Fan rushed to hug the old master but seeing Hui Ning rushing everyone out from the room she hesitates. "Master Zhou-" Hui Ning held up a finger for her to be quiet and sent a quick look to Jian Kong who was petting the girl's hair gently, silently offering her comfort. The housekeeper spoke quietly to Aunt Li who still felt uncomfortable leaving Hua Fan alone, convincing her with reason. "The old master is her grandfather, he will not let her be wronged. You can tell me what happened to the young miss in the other room."

Aunt Li left after being reasoned with and Hui Ning closes the door behind them all leaving Hua Fan and Jian Kong alone. Hua Fan found that the tears she had cried in her past life had found their way back to her at the sight of her grandfather. Her decade of grievances welling up in her heart unwillingly, she thought she wouldn't cry, she thought she would be able to think and act rationally. But she could not. All she could do to comfort her aching heart was hold her dear grandfather tight to confirm her reality. Jian Kong was troubled as he did not know how to console a child properly, he felt conflicted inside even if on the outside he was patiently coaxing the girl.

He had only recently returned from a trip and was buried in paperwork not having time to check on how his son's family was. From his granddaughter's actions though, it must be rather large this time. Thinking of her suffering any grievances in his absence Jian Kong felt annoyance at his carelessness, "Who caused you to cry like this? Which family dares to treat a daughter of my family so carelessly?" Hearing his protective question only made Hua fan cry harder though much to his distress and confusion.

Had he said something wrong? Knowing her actions were only confusing him more Hua Fan tried to restrain, the girl delicately hiccups and did her best to speak with her head down to hide her expression. Her hand still holding on tightly to his shirt without letting go, "No one.." She says unconvincingly while sniffling and rubbing her red-rimmed eyes. Jian Kong of course did not believe her words but seeing the fragile girl acting so vulnerable he couldn't bear to press her with any more questions in case she started crying again. "Hui Ning." Jian Kong went to sit in the living room with Hua Fan trailing after him like a little lost chick.

His heart softens and he considerately sat on the double sofa instead of the single chair like he usually would. Hearing his name Hui Ning reenters the room with a grim-looking face, Jian Kong was finally concerned seeing as Hui Ning looked to be holding in anger as well. Hua Fan did not lift her head when Hui Ning enters even though both men gave her more than one glance to see her reaction. "Tell me what happened." Hui Ning took in a deep breath and recounted the events of the day before, each detail making Jian Kong more and more furious. The old man's sharp features were especially dark when Hui Ning spoke of his Hua Fan suffered an injury from Feng Ming's own hands.

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Hua Fan sat quietly throughout it all, only wiping her cheeks and nose with an occasional sniffle, playing her part well as a victim. Jian Kong's voice was cold and demanding as he looks over to Hua Fan, "Show me." Hua Fan does not hesitate to show him her injury and wronged looking expression. The old man felt his heart crack seeing her look as well as the hollowness in her eyes, his eyes find the not-so-well hidden bruise and his blood boils. The old man spoke through gritted teeth, his face especially dark looking seeing his granddaughter wronged so blatantly. "That unfilial son!" Hui Ning agreed with his employer's sentiment and cursed Feng Ming again for daring to raise his hand against a child.

No matter what Hua Fan had done he should never have risen his hand against her, she was his own daughter. His flesh and blood! Seeing how furious Jian Kong was Hui Ning did not stop the old man from rising from his seat to seek revenge for Hua Fan. "He dares act so unrestraint just because I have been lenient on his these past few years. Does he even see me as his father still?! Bringing in a wild child and shaming his own flesh and blood! Has he gone mad?!" Hua Fan rubs her eyes and finally spoke, her voice fragile and brittle. "It is Fan's fault...If Fan was a boy father would not have to adopt a child from outside." She lowers her head again as if ashamed of herself.

Jian Kong grew more infuriated at Feng Ming, seeing the girl being swallowed by a cloud of despair. "Nonsense! Who says that a daughter of the Zhou family is worse than a child from unknown origins?! Ning! Prepare the car!" Hua Fan was warm on the inside seeing her grandfather's unconditional support of her. Only Ye Ye would stand by me like this, only Ye Ye treats me like family... Zhou Hua Fan, you are such a stupid girl.

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