"-Zhou. Miss Zhou?" The girl who sat in a daze on the bed of her room staring at the blizzard outside shook her head. She blinks twice to recover herself, a few seconds later the maid outside finally hears a reply. "What is it?" The voice was calm and neutral like every other morning. The maid lets out a relieved sigh, her face shows a faint smile and she answers. "The old master sent me up to ask if you would like breakfast in bed or not."
"Breakfast?" She looks over at the clock at her bedside table and saw the time. It was a little past breakfast already. "Come help me dress, I will join Ye Ye for breakfast." In a light blue sweater and leggings, Hua Fan made her way downstairs dressed in casual wear. Zhou Jian Kong sat at the head of the table with Shuang Hui Ning, they seemed to be discussing something before she came down.
Playing ignorant she walks over to pull her grandfather's sleeve with a smile. "I made Ye Ye wait." Jian Kong waves Hui Ning aside and looks over to Hua Fan with a faint smile. His voice held a hint of concern, "I just woke up myself, do not worry. Maybe Ye Ye should cancel the search for a winter break tutor, it is not good to overwork yourself." Hua Fan had asked for a tutor for winter.
And not only that but she was also going to attend company events with Jian Kong to gain experience for when she could make use of her shares and eventually ascension as heiress. Her schedule which should have been free for a girl her age to play around was filled to the brim with formal events and studies. Jian Kong did not feel comfortable with having so much pressure on her all at once. To him, there was no need for Hua Fan to do all of this. After all, she was still young, there was no rush.
She sat at his side and serves him patiently making the old man forget what it was he wanted her to do again as he suddenly overwhelmed with his granddaughter's attentiveness. It was only after he ate his fill did Hua Fan smile again and start eating herself slowly. "Ye Ye does not need to worry, this is the least Fan can do to ease Ye Ye's workload. Speaking of tutors, has anyone offered to take over yet?" Finding someone who was willing to work during a holiday would always be tough since most would be packing up to spend time with family by now.
Only the ones who were desperate for money or had no one but themselves would work at this time. And out of those people it was hard to choose since it was unknown if they were even qualified to teach someone like Hua Fan who was already bright and smarter than average middles school students. The ones most fit for the job had taken this chance to have a break like others. Jian Kong hummed and seemed unconcerned as Hui Ning hands him some paperwork directly. She hid a chuckle as he would not leave the table until Hua Fan herself did, it made her happy to see someone care for her in such a roundabout manner.
"There are a few I had my assistant gather up the ones that fit the criteria we are looking for. But it is not many, I had Hui Ning take a few off the list that came from dubious backgrounds." Hui Ning came over to her side to hand over a few candidates which Hua Fan took with a nod of thanks. Her hand barely came in contact with the paper when her pupils shrank and her hand jerks back in a startling manner. The papers which he let go of scattering across the floor as the girl doubles over with violent painful sounding coughs with a hand to her mouth.
Hua Fan felt fire in her lungs and a buzzing in her ears, the sound of shouting around was pushed back by the strange pain. She felt something gush up her throat, it was warm and metallic tasting in her mouth. She was alarmed when she felt another cough threatening to force her to spit out the contents in her mouth. No! Her free hand wildly flew to the table to search for her cup. Taking the glass of water she swallows the metallic tasting liquid with quick gulps of water without a trace of dignity.
Only after the taste was washed away did she bring a napkin to her lips and let the cough out again to clear her throat. "Fan'er what's the matter?! Did you choke?!" She raises a hand to comfort her panicked grandfather, and at the same time, Hui Ning who had felt something was wrong with the way she was acting quickly grabs her hand with the napkin and flips her hand over. She took a deep breath and gave the dumbfounded and worried people a helpless and embarrassed smile.
"I just choked on a piece of rice, why the worry?" Jian Kong was relieved and scolds her, telling her to properly chew her food next time. Hui Ning still hadn't let go of her wrist and stares at the white napkin with an indescribable look of doubt and concern. She glances at the man and took her hand back before he could find something she didn't. "Housekeeper Ning doesn't need to worry, there is nothing wrong."
There was something telling him something was wrong, he glances at the smiling unconcerned Hua Fan who went back to eating and chatting with Jian Kong. As he bent down to pick up the papers he became lost in thought, his eyes occasionally trailing back to the napkin that was quickly discarded by a maid Hua Fan had called over. He hesitates before murmuring an excuse to the pair and hurriedly following the maid to the kitchen. Hua Fan watches him leave before turning her attention back to her food and grandfather, on her lips a never leaving smile. Tightly in her hand under the table, her fingernails dig into her palm seeming to hold onto something that was hidden well in her palm.