Chapter 26: Our Family Aren’t Wolves
Auntie Guo made two cups of osmanthus oolong tea and took out some cookies, nuts, dried fruits, osmanthus cakes, and mung bean cakes. She made a refreshment platter and brought them out for the sisters.
“Sister,” Xu Mingjing began. She didn’t want to eat nor drink. “Zhengwen went home early today. He said that my brother-in-law fired him.”
“Yes, I am aware of it.” Xu Mingzhen took a sip of tea. “Wenci discussed it with me last night.”
“Sister, why did you agree?” Xu Mingjing was shocked.
She always thought that Xu Mingzhen should be helping her.
“Let’s take a look at these.” Xu Mingzhen didn’t say much and then took out two ledgers.
They were the same ledgers that Tan Wenci threw at Yuan Zhengwen this morning.
Xu Mingzhen expected that Xu Mingjing would come to her. She knew it would be today, but just not sure what time.
That’s why Xu Mingzhen asked Tan Wenci to leave her two copies.
There was nothing more convincing than facts.
With a look of confusion, Xu Mingjing took the ledgers handed over by Xu Mingzhen.
“The one on the left is the real account records,” Xu Mingzhen explained, “and the one on the right is another one made by Yuan Zhengwen for the company.”
Xu Mingjing studied accounting in college, so she saw the problem at a glance.
“There’s that much of a difference?” Xu Mingjing looked up at Xu Mingzhen in shock.
“This isn’t something that we just made up to get rid of him.” Xu Mingzhen sighed. “When the position was arranged for him, it was actually expected that he would embezzle a little, and Wenci was basically okay with it. It can be regarded as helping his brother-in-law, but he didn’t expect that Zhengwen would do it excessively. Your husband was sucking our family’s blood. If suspicious financial activities are discovered, the entire company will be implicated.”
“He is exploiting our relationship and, in turn, harming us. Our family can’t be compassionately foolish like Mr. Dong Guo,” Xu Mingzhen explained. “Moreover, this company isn’t mine, but Wenci’s. I’m very grateful that he can help you for my sake. However, when something like this happens, I can barely raise my head in front of him.”
Xu Mingjing was hurt by her sister’s remarks, and her lips trembled.
“Sister, this is Zhengwen’s fault, but you can’t compare us to Mr. Dong Guo and the wolf. We… Our family aren’t wolves.” Xu Mingjing wasn’t expecting such a comparison from Xu Mingzhen.
Xu Mingzhen thought, ‘You, my sister, might not be… But Yuan Zhengwen and Yuan Keqing definitely are.’
“Sister, this matter was Zhengwen’s fault. Can you give him another chance? I promise that he will never do it again.” Xu Mingjing squeezed her sister’s hand and pleaded, “Currently, he is dismissed and I have no job. Keqing still has to go to school. Our family will be cut off from all sources of income.”
Xu Mingzhen didn’t respond and threw Xu Mingjing a meaningful look. “When this suddenly happened, Zhengwen was really frightened. He will definitely remember and learn from this lesson.”
Facing her sister, Xu Mingzhen felt soft-hearted for a moment, but instantly turned cold.
“Mingjing, Zhengwen is an ambitious man…too ambitious. I’m afraid you don’t understand a lot about him.” Xu Mingzhen sighed.
She took the cup and sipped some tea. She hesitated a little, but decided to speak out, “Before, by chance, I was invited by Wei Zhiqian to attend Old Madam Wei’s birthday party.”
“I know this.” It’s just that Xu Mingjing didn’t know the whole story. Weren’t they discussing Yuan Zhengwen’s work? Why were they suddenly talking about this topic now?
“Because Wei Zhiqian only gave us invitations and didn’t invite Keqing, I dared not to presumptuously bring Keqing, lest I make the host unhappy. The Wei family might be tolerant, but we still have to be careful and respectful,” Xu Mingzhen shared.
“I understand this.” Xu Mingjing didn’t understand why Xu Mingzhen was bringing this up. However, she was still anxious and reluctantly mustered an insincere smile.
“After all, it is the Wei family,” Xu Mingzhen continued, “so we all have to be careful. The slightest faux pas will make others displeased, and it will cause trouble for us.”
Xu Mingjing didn’t say anything.
“Keqing mentioned about coming with us to the banquet before, but I explained to her that there was no way I could take her with us,” Xu Mingzhen said.
“Did she mention it to you?” Xu Mingjing frowned and sighed. “How can this kid be so stubborn?”
“Sister, honestly, she told me about it when she went back and said she wanted to go, but I refused,” Xu Mingjing said. “I also said the same thing as you. I told her that this birthday banquet was being hosted by the Wei family. I told her you couldn’t just bring anyone with you because, for sure, it was a private event. I know you would bring her along if you could…”
“It’s good that you understand.” Xu Mingzhen bit her lips and saw Xu Mingjing smile. Xu Mingzhen spoke again, “But Yuan Zhengwen and Keqing seemed not to have understood and might have thought I was deliberately being unkind. Yuan Zhengwen didn’t seem to be satisfied with only working in Tanyue and wants to do something big.”
“Sister, what do you mean?” Xu Mingjing sensed that something was wrong.
“He kept it from us and took Keqing there. Keqing went to the lobby of Shengyue and waited there for Wei Keli, then asked Wei Keli to take her in.” Xu Mingzhen thought about Yuan Keqing’s behavior at the time, and the hand resting on her lap couldn’t help but curl into fists. “I took her to the Wei family’s house and introduced her to Wei Keli. Yet, in return, despite her young age, Keqing gave me such huge trouble.
“If people had seen that incident, they would’ve thought that I was a mean aunt who didn’t bring her there on purpose. When she saw me in front of so many people, she flinched back and looked scared of me. Did I not treat her well enough for her to act like I’m a vicious woman?
“It also makes people think that I don’t have any manners. I only got an invitation to bring my family, but I brought other people deliberately—at least to onlookers, that seemed to be the case. Can other families also use the invitation to bring family members and friends with them? That birthday party’s staff didn’t even arrange a seat or a name card for Keqing—they were added later. It shows that the Wei family didn’t intend to invite Keqing from the beginning.”
“I didn’t know that Keqing actually went!” Xu Mingjing was surprised to hear this. “She never mentioned a word to me.”
“Let’s not talk about Keqing, since Keqing couldn’t get there on her own. Yuan Zhengwen took her there. To say that he just wanted Keqing to be there and not to think of ways to get close to those powerful people, even you wouldn’t believe it.” Xu Mingzhen heaved a sigh of relief. “Let’s say we ignore your husband’s recent blunder since men are all a bit ambitious. But he deceived our family. Have you ever appreciated us helping him out on so many things?”
“Zhengwen and Keqing betrayed us.” Xu Mingzhen sighed, calmed down, and took another sip of hot tea. “So we thought, since Yuan Zhengwen has such ambitions, we won’t let him waste his potential at Tanyue. We’ll let him leave Tanyue and showcase strengths elsewhere.”