3 Chapter Three

The morning after, a girl with a bright red cheek that was starting to turn purple opens her eyes on a large pink bed. She hisses after awakening, being conscious of the pain immediately, Zhou Hua Fan's memories of the night before filled her head. She blinks up at the ceiling with a hand to her cheek, Hua Fan smiles bitterly and her mind stops buzzing once she recalls her surroundings. Her left eye vision was a bit bad due to the swelling but Hua Fan does not let it bother her and stood up to look around her room with an empty look. It was the same... But instead of pride and feeling proud of owning such an extravagant room as she did before, Hua Fan felt disgusted. Revulsion towards herself and the ones who gave her these things to keep her unaware of the gross truth behind their "perfect" family.

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"Young miss?" Aunt Li calls out tentatively from the door, in her arms a towel and medicine for Hua Fan's injury. Two maids stood behind her nervously, the three of them all nervously look at each other when they hear no reply right away. "Miss?" Aunt Li calls out again a bit louder with furrowed brows, "Come in." A soft and childlike voice answers this time making them let out sighs of relief. Aunt LI puts on a smile before entering the room her eyes hinting at the other two maids to also follow her lead, they do as she asks and also put on smiles before following her inside.

But the image she had in mind of a sad-looking girl sulking in her bed didn't show up in front of her as she expected. Instead, she saw something very shocking, a girl sat reading on her desk as if it was a normal morning reading very casually, like the night before was just an illusion the rest of the house had. Her cheek was still red and currently turning purple but her elegance was something they had never seen before. Her large doe eyes had a calm and relaxing look in them as she read, she wasn't smiling but she wasn't frowning either, looking rather gentle. Still, in her nightgown Hua Fan was a pretty sight even with her swollen cheek, in fact, it enhanced her appearance to make the person looking at her feel sympathy and anger on her behalf.

Her aura had changed since the night before quite drastically becoming someone even Aunt Li hesitated to say if she recognized anymore. It was as if the girl who only knew how to be an arrogant beauty suddenly enlighten and her temper had mellowed out into a mature young woman instead of a young girl. Aunt Li and the two maids were stunned into silence by this serene picture of grace on this early morning when the young miss would usually still be asleep refusing to get up from the bed. Hair falling into her face, Hua Fan turns to look at the frozen group with a faint smile although it doesn't reach her eyes and make them sparkle like it use to. It was..... lifeless, but her words were soft and patient a strange contrast. "Aunt Li, you can leave the medicine there, I'd like to have my breakfast in my room this morning."

The smiles the three tried so hard to muster up fell upon seeing her appearance, the two maids glance at each other before quietly walking towards the bathroom to draw Hua Fan's bath for her. Hua Fan did not bother thanking them or acknowledging their presence, instead, her smile grew a tad bit more for Aunt Li's sake before she turns back to her books demurely. Aunt Li who was staring at her silently the entire time felt her nose sour again, her heart aching even though Hua Fan smiled at her. "Young miss...." "Aunt Li, please have the driver wait for me once I finished breakfast. I will finish a few errands today since I cannot show up to the public like this." Aunt Li was smart enough to get the message and stops herself from tearing up more, the woman returned her smile to the best of her ability.

"I'll do as the miss says." When Aunt Li left the things on her bed and exits the room Hua Fan smiled faintly turning the page of her book. Don't worry Aunt Li, I'm already used to it. My heart has long been closed off from this family, don't cry for me anymore. "Miss, your bath is ready for you." Hua Fan places a bookmark to save her place in the book, she closes it while standing for the maid to assist her in undressing. In her bath Hua Fan leans back against the tub while the maid carefully washes her hair for her, she was truly treated like a princess. Hua Fan's eyes slowly open, she stares at herself in the mirror, she was a useless spoiled princess. Talentless.

But not this time. This time, she would use everything that is within her grasp before it's taken away by that person she called "father". This time, she refuses to give in without an actual fight. In a new dress that was was a beautiful navy blue with lovely black flowers sewed on the top and a black silk ribbon tied around her waist. Hua Fan examines herself in the mirror. Before she lost herself to her jealousy, did she always look like this? She does not remember that old innocent Zhou Hua Fan anymore. "Miss?" The maid behind her spoke up cautiously, Hua Fan sat at her vanity and went back to reading as she was pampered by the maids. While having her hair dried Hua Fan adds as if it was an afterthought. "Make sure my sheets and the entire room are devoid of this color before I return." She sent the pink blankets and sheets a dismissive glance full of distaste, a frown alighting on her delicate features. "I despise pink."

The maid hesitates before responding, "Yes miss." Didn't the young miss love the color pink and her room? But it was not her job to question the people who were in charge of her paycheck. The old Hua Fan did love the color pink, but now the color was blinding and reminded her of a terrible past she would rather leave behind. Her long brown hair swirls at her waist, Hua Fan also pauses at the sight of the long locks in the mirror. "Call a hairdresser for me, I want my hair cut while I am out too." The maid accidentally pulls on her hair making Hua Fan narrow her eyes sharply at her, the maid panics internally while stepping back to apologize with sweat dripping down her brows. The young miss never punished them, but when she is in a bad mood she would occasionally dismiss them from her presence.

In the nicest way possible, the meaning is "Get out of my sight until I don't remember what you did to me." But the girl, strangely enough, didn't dismiss her, instead, she only looks away after looking the maid up and down a few times before easing up her sharp glance as if it was just a minor issue. "Cover my bruise up a bit for me." The maid let out a relieved breath and happily obliges, "Yes miss!" The things that she uses to make a big deal of were no longer big to her anymore. Hua Fan laughs on the inside, it seems the words about death changing a person is really true. Only after she had finished dressing up did she finally take a step out of her room. With her bruise made out to be a bit smaller than it really was, she didn't look to be hurt very bad compared to how it looked without makeup.

Walking down the staircase was Hua Fan with Aunt Li and the two maids trailing after her, over Aunt Li's shoulder was a bag full of snacks and some refreshments for Hua Fan on her tiny trip outside. Although Hua Fan wanted to decline, seeing the things inside were all her favorites from when she was young she bit her tongue and stopped herself from saying no. And not to mention to others, she was still just a child in their eyes, she had turned eleven this year she was sure. It was clear from the way the snacks were so soft-looking and warm to the touch, Hua Fan was sure Aunt Li had worked overtime to make these for her. The girl couldn't help but want to hug Aunt Li at that moment but she stops herself as it would be odd and she wasn't the type to be touchy with others. She really was a fool to take Aunt Li's sincerity as mockery in her past life.

On her way down the stairs, she spotted someone who ruined her good mood from Aunt Li's efforts. The boy stood at the bottom of the stairs beside a dressed-up Feng Ming, they looked to be waiting for her to arrive. Hua Fan doesn't hide her frown, seeing as things weren't looking good Aunt Li anxiously stood closer to Hua Fan wanting to put her arm protectively around the young girl but it wasn't her place. In fact, the girl didn't seem to be frightened at all which Aunt Li didn't know if she should be relieved about or not. The look in her eyes showed she held animosity towards her father, but not the simple one where she would get over it in a few days. It was the type of how one would look at their enemy and someone they despised with their whole being.

It was strange no matter what one would think, although he had hit her he was still her father and provided her with necessities in life without being stingy. Aunt Li sighs wearily, although she supposes, that is all he provided her with. No love or care was given after the novel of having a daughter was gone. To have been given everything then have it taken away only to be given to someone else, Aunt Li suddenly understood why the young miss would despise her father in a way. Feng Ming seemed to have willingly forgotten he had hit her the night before as his eyes did not fall onto her cheek once. He had no guilt.

Hua Fan clenched her teeth giving him a freezing glance, the man shamelessly calls her down with a magnanimous smile. "Fan Fan, since Gou Heng is new to the school why don't you introduce him to your friends at school? You two can ride home together and leave with each other every day, help him get adjusted to his classmates and teachers." School? The maids and Aunt Li who saw Hua Fan's unconcealed bruised face could not stop their faces from twisting with not so well concealed disgust and anger. He wanted her to go to school with a bruised-up-looking face?? Did he want Hua Fan to become a laughing stock and stepping stone for that wild boy?!

Wouldn't Hua Fan showing up beaten black and blue in the face with a random child untouched and dressed in expensive clothes be telling the world exactly who was more favored to Feng Ming and openly slap the young miss's face?! Hua Fan also understood the problems which would arise if she attended school with such an obvious injury, she sneers at Feng Ming. "Go to school with a wild child? You must have lost your mind! Do you have eyes "father"? It really is like they say, who knew "father" is so willing to wear a green hat and bring another person's seed into his own home to raise as his own. Hahaha!!" Hua Fan laughs mockingly while they were all shocked by her words that gave Feng Ming no face at all. The boy gave her a worried look as he saw Feng Ming stiffening with a dark expression.

"Plus, with the new "accessory" "father has given me, isn't it a bad idea for me to go out in public right now? I AM, the one and only heir to the Zhou family after all. Wouldn't it look bad on the family if I went out like this?" She gave him a sarcastic grin tapping her left cheek as a reminder of his cruel actions the night before making him grow angrier but he hesitates as if afraid Hua Fan would go and cry wolf to people in her school about him. Hua Fan's eyes were as cold as ice, the sarcastic smile fell and her tone went flat in seconds as she walks past him and Gou Heng. "Find someone else to be his stepping stone "father", as a member of the Zhou family, I am ashamed to have you as the matriarch of this home."

The silence that she left behind was deafening to the ears, the slamming of the front door being shut only made it worse on those left behind. The two maids and Aunt Li who followed her out were slack-jawed due to the one-sided beating Hua Fan had given her father. How come they didn't know the young miss was actually....so venomous yet graceful. She resembled a cold-blooded viper just then. Hua Fan sat in the car and recalls Feng Ming's stupid expression again, she felt glee and happiness in her heart. The girl giggled to herself a bit madly. To think, all those years I had lived under his thumb yet never realized why he had kept me so focused on the cage which was her room and so ignorant of the true matters of the outside.

If she had been a little bit smarter, she would have taken advantage of the biggest card in her hand that she didn't even know existed till she had died. "Take me to the shopping mall." The driver being ignorant of what occurred inside nods his head hearing her orders. "Yes, miss." She leans her head against the window to watch the world outside her pass by her as her thoughts wander to one of the dearest people she knew that she did not learn to treasure in her past life. "Ye Ye.....Have you been well?" She smiles sadly to herself, recalling the stern old man from her memories that stood by her side till the end. "Forgive me for only coming to pay my respects to you now..."

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