"I remember we don’t have oil painting materials at home. When did you go out to buy it last night?" Ning Xiaoruan looked curiously at Shen Zhining and Sheng Jiaoyang.
"Why do you need oil painting materials for an ink painting?" Grandfather Ning’s gaze landed on Ning Xiaoruan.
"What? Ink painting?" Ning Xiaoruan cast a dumbfounded look at Sheng Jiaoyang. "I thought you’re good at oil painting?"
"Is there any contention between oil painting and ink painting?" Sheng Jiaoyang felt that Ning Xiaoruan was making a fuss about nothing.
"How can one person be proficient in so many different types of paintings?! Besides, how old are you? Did you start learning in your mother’s womb?"
Shen Zhining briefly glanced at Ning Xiaoruan. "Just because you can't do it doesn’t mean that others can’t."
"…" Are you calling me stupid? Ning Xiaoruan parted his lips but, in the end, he put up with it.
"I've always known that you can draw, but I haven't seen your work. I'm going to have a good look at Jiaojiao's paintings later," Madam Ning said with a smile.
"Jiaojiao," Grandmother Ning called out and said, "Yesterday, Sufen showed me an online video. You have been wronged yet you still have to put up with everyone's misunderstanding."
Su Fen was the name of Shen Zhining’s aunt. Last night, his uncle and aunt went back home and didn't stay over.
The Ning couple looked at each other. Grandmother Ning wouldn’t bring this up for no reason; there was more than meets the eye.
Sure enough, Grandmother Ning continued, "Is that pregnant woman who wrongly accused you really your classmate?"
"Yes, Granny," Sheng Jiaoyang replied.
"Then why did she accuse you? I heard her mention in the video that she used to hang out with you, which meant that you two should have a relatively good relationship. Why would she try to damage your reputation? Did you have a falling out with her over something?"
Grandmother Ning looked at her with a gentle expression and led her to speak up.
"Actually, I don't remember much about the past." Sheng Jiaoyang innocently replied.
Grandmother Ning's expression froze for a moment and then said, "It’s okay, we are family, so there’s nothing you can't say."
"Granny, Jiaojiao got in a car accident before, so I think she truly can’t remember the past," Ning Xiaoruan explained.
With the exception of Sheng Jiaoyang and the people in the know, everyone else looked surprised.
"A car accident? Was it serious?" There was a trace of concern in Grandmother Ning's voice.
"Look at how alive and kicking she is now! There is definitely nothing wrong with her. On the contrary, the person who hit her with the car met with an unfortunate ending." As soon as he finished, Ning Xiaoruan reflected on his words and realised that he had said something he shouldn’t have said. He hurriedly glanced at Shen Zhining, only to find the latter with an unperturbed expression.
Huh? This is weird.
"What happened?" asked Grandmother Ning.
"Err…" Ning Xiaoruan looked at Shen Zhining and didn't know whether he should continue or not.
"What exactly happened? Is it something you can't tell us?" Grandmother Ning was obviously intrigued by curiosity.
Ning Xiaoruan lowered his head and quickly answered, "She passed away."
There was a moment of silence at the table.
Madam Ning smiled, "Ruanruan, are you playing a joke on us? How could the person who was hit be fine while the driver died?"
Ning Xiaoruan looked up at Shen Zhining. Afterwards, he licked his lower lip and responded, "It's true, Cousin knows about it, too."
The two elders of the Ning Family and the Ning couple all looked over at Shen Zhining.
Sheng Jiaoyang suddenly laughed. There wasn’t any trace of moodiness on her face as she jested, "When you put it like that, those who don't know would think that I’ve killed the driver."
Ning Xiaoruan thought for a moment and sweated in silence. That seems to be really the case.
"I'd better clarify. If I let him go on, I wouldn’t know if I can clear my name after this," Sheng Jiaoyang playfully joked.
"The thing is, I was hit by a car, and the person who hit me had braked in time, so I didn't get hurt, but she happened to have a heart attack." She spoke very briefly.
"Is someone with a heart attack allowed to drive?" Madam Ning frowned slightly.
Sheng Jiaoyang blinked. She felt inexplicably guilty and softly coughed. "Maybe she wanted to live like a normal person."
When Shen Zhining heard this, he put down the cutlery and held her left hand that was placed on the edge of the table.
Ning Xiaoruan caught this out of the corner of his eye and felt that his cousin was becoming weirder and weirder. Xu Jiaojiao was clearly talking about someone else, why is his cousin looking at her with a heart-rending expression?
After breakfast, Ning Xiaoruan made it widely known that he was going to check the painting drawn by Sheng Jiaoyang. Except for Grandfather Ning, who had already seen the paintings in the morning, the Ning couple and Grandmother Ning were also filled with curiosity and walked to the study together.
Seeing everyone leave, Sheng Jiaoyang and Shen Zhining also followed suit.
Sheng Jiaoyang's painting were on her desk.
Ning Xiaoruan immediately grasped the corners of the painting and lifted it up.
"Oh, not bad!"
The others also saw the painting as a result. The Ning couple were quite surprised. From an amateur’s point of view, there was nothing wrong with the painting. The composition and details of the painting were very harmonious.
Even Grandmother Ning was impressed.
"As Í’m better at realistic portrayal, my traditional Chinese painting techniques are quite limited, so my painting isn’t picturesque enough. Gramps, I heard Zhining mention that you’re very good at calligraphy. I have specially left a spot here for you to write an inscription. I hope that your touch can enhance the realm of this painting."
The books that Sheng Jiaoyang had read for more than half a year hadn’t been in vain. In the past, she wouldn’t have been able to say these words.
Her remark not only showed modesty, but also complimented Grandfather Ning seamlessly. From her words, one would make out that she had a high EQ.
"Do you have a teacher?" Grandfather Ning suddenly asked.
Sheng Jiaoyang was stupefied for a moment and realised that Grandfather Ning was asking her if she had a teacher specialised in traditional Chinese painting. "No, I don’t have one yet."
Grandfather Ning raised his eyes and glanced at her before indifferently saying, "You still have a lot to learn."
"I think so, too." Sheng Jiaoyang smiled.
Grandfather Ning’s gaze softened when he looked at her again. He walked out with his hands behind his back and told everyone to prepare to set off together.
In less than a day, Sheng Jiaoyang had already gotten a general understanding of the two Ning elders’s characters.
Grandfather Ning was obviously the kind of person who appeared serious on the surface but he didn’t overthink things on the inside. Meanwhile, Grandmother Ning appeared kind and benevolent on the outside but was shrewd on the inside.
Sure enough, Ning Xiaoruan was a weirdo. Although he grew up in this kind of family, he was still so foolish. This was truly a remarkable feat.
On the way to the hotel, Sheng Jiaoyang leaned against Shen Zhining and whispered, "Looks like Gramps likes my painting."
"Gramps doesn't praise others so easily, but I can see that he really likes it." Shen Zhining assured her.
He knew his grandparents well, which was why he didn't interfere and just watched Sheng Jiaoyang interact with them. He knew that the person he chose would be liked by them sooner or later.
She was lively and quick-witted and exuded an imposing presence. As long as they interacted more with her, they would discover more of her good traits and like her even more.
Looking at her innocent little face, Shen Zhining concealed the thought in his eyes. As for those peeping, they could only look at her from afar. She was his, and no one can come between them!
When they arrived at the hotel, Shen Zhining’s uncle and aunt were already waiting for them with another young man. He looked about the same age as Ning Xiaoruan. He wore diamond stud earrings and appeared quite fashionable.
"Guangyu, you haven't greeted your cousin yet." The uncle said to the young man standing next to him.
"Cousin, long time no see." Ning Guangyu greeted Shen Zhining with a smile.
Shen Zhining nodded and indifferently acknowledged with a faint ‘mhmm’.
When Ning Guangyu saw Sheng Jiaoyang standing beside Shen Zhining, his eyes lit up. He was about to walk forward, but was blocked by Ning Xiaoruan.
"Why are you blocking me?" Ning Guangyu cast a sidelong glance at Ning Xiaoruan.
Ning Xiaoruan put on a disdainful expression, "I just want to block you, can’t I?"
Because they were around the same age and were cousins of the same clan, the two of them had been compared with each other since childhood and thus didn’t see eye to eye.
"Get out of my way. I haven't greeted Cousin's girlfriend yet." Ning Guangyu waved his hand and pushed Ning Xiaoruan away.
Ning Xiaoruan's feet seemingly took root and didn’t move. He pushed the frame of his glasses and snapped, "Ning Guangyu, don't you dare think of any stupid moves."
He leaned closer and threatened in a low voice, "If you do anything, you're toast."
"Hey, Xiao Ruanruan, why are you so worried?" Ning Guangyu looked at Ning Xiaoruan with a smile.
Ning Xiaoruan's expression darkened a few shades. "Ning Guangyu, I warn you, don't call me that!"
Ning Guangyu crossed his arms and responded in an annoying tone, "I’m happy to call you that, Xiao, Ruan, Ruan!"
Ning Xiaoruan was so mad that his face twitched uncontrollably.
Sheng Jiaoyang said with a laugh, "The two of them are quite funny."
Shen Zhining declined to comment.
"Hey, Jiaojiao, come over here." Grandfather Ning, who was talking to others two meters away, suddenly turned around and called Sheng Jiaoyang. Since it was the first time he was calling her by her name, it came out a bit awkward.
Sheng Jiaoyang looked at Shen Zhining. Seeing the latter nod at her, she walked over to Grandfather Ning’s side.
"Gramps, how can I help you?"
"Oh, Old Ning, when did you get yourself a granddaughter?" An old man with a half-finger length beard standing in front of Grandfather Ning smilingly asked.
Grandfather Ning glanced at Sheng Jiaoyang and introduced, "This is my granddaughter-in-law."
The old man stared at Sheng Jiaoyang with a surprised look. He touched his beard and asked, "This little girl looks very young. She isn’t a child bride, is she?"
Grandfather Ning’s lips pursed into a thin line as he stared at his good friend speechlessly. He then turned to Sheng Jiaoyang. "This is Grandfather Wu. His traditional Chinese paintings are selling rather well."
Sheng Jiaoyang was stupefied for a moment. She then looked at Grandfather Wu standing in front of her. Zhining said that Gramps didn’t like to praise others, so it was rare to hear Gramps compliment someone. This meant that the standard of Grandfather Wu's paintings must be very high.
However, what surprised her even more was the fact that Grandfather Ning actually introduced her to a master of traditional Chinese painting.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Yuna | Editor: Grace | TLC: Grace