The Creatures That We Are - C.468: Zhuang Mei

The Creatures That We Are

C.468: Zhuang Mei

“We met before, Xinxin. Don’t you remember?” Little Qing Ling still had a warm smile on her face, but her tone had a taunting edge to it.

“Ha, how could I forget?” Gao Xinxin scoffed. “You fooled my brother into going to a love...”

“Eat!” Gao Yang shot to his feet and rubbed at his stomach in an exaggerated manner. “Haha, Qing Ling and I haven’t had breakfast. I’m starving. Let’s get started!”

“Yeah, yeah!” His father played along. “I’m hungry too. My metabolism has been quite active recently. Come on, eat!”

He then turned to shoot Gao Xinxin a glare. What do you have to be unsatisfied with when your brother has found you such a good sister-in-law? Stop throwing a tantrum!


The doorbell rang.

“I’ll get that.” Gao Yang took the opportunity like a lifeline and quickly fled the battlefield.

He was surprised when he opened the door, but he put on a happy smile rather than letting it show. “Auntie Mei!”

The one standing outside the door was his mother’s old schoolmate, Zhuang Mei.

The woman in her forties had long black hair, dressed in a brown long-sleeved sweater and a pair of gray corduroy long pants. She didn’t have makeup or accessory on, and she looked gentle and natural, clean in a down-to-earth way. She was holding two large bags.

Gao Yang called out over his shoulder, “Mom, it’s Auntie Mei!”

Zhuang Mei had a lilting voice. She walked into the entryway and said with a smile, “It seems I’m not too late for your birthday celebration, Lin Yue.”

“Zhuang Mei!” His mother was pleasantly surprised and hurriedly went up to welcome her. “Why didn’t you tell me beforehand that you’re visiting?”

“Hmph, you’re one to talk. You didn’t invite me to celebrate your fortieth birthday.” Zhuang Mei huffed with feigned anger. “Thankfully, I remember.”

“Ah, it’s just a birthday. I want to celebrate it simply, so I didn’t invite any friends.” Gao Yang’s mother, Lin Yue, smiled. “But I didn’t expect you to remember my birthday. That makes me happy.”

“Here, my gift to you.” Zhuang Mei handed the gift in her right hand to Lin Yue before handing the bag in her left hand to Gao Yang. “Take this, Yang Yang. These are pickled mustard green and cured meat I made myself. Some free-range chicken eggs too.”

“Thank you, Auntie Mei.” Gao Yang took the bag and turned to go to the kitchen. He put the food in the fridge and took a deep breath.

For some reason, Zhuang Mei always gave Gao Yang a strange feeling. He didn’t sense malice or threat from her, but she unnerved him, like misfortune would be knocking on his doorstep once she showed up.

I have to use Lie Detection on her when I have the chance, but I can’t just force a relevant conversation, or my intention will be too obvious, and I’ll alert her if she’s an elite monster.

Gao Yang quickly reverted back to his mundane self and walked out of the kitchen.

Zhuang Mei and Lin Yue went to Gao Yang’s grandmother’s room. Zhuang Mei lit three incense sticks as tribute to the woman who had passed away.

The good friends talked about it in the room.

At the time, Lin Yue was still hospitalized for her injury. It felt like the sky had fallen when she learned that her mother-in-law had passed away, and her son had gone into a vegetative state. She didn’t know how she had gotten through those days. She was lucky to have Zhuang Mei keeping her company.

Lin Yue’s eyes reddened as she talked.

Zhuang Mei patted her on the shoulder. “It’s all in the past. It must be his grandmother’s blessing that Yang Yang woke up.”

“Yeah, I believe so.” Lin Yue sighed. “If Yang Yang had ended up suffering the same fate, I’d...I’d...”

It’s your birthday today. Let’s not talk about something miserable.” Zhuang Mei changed the subject with a smile. Then she asked quietly, “Hey, is that girl Yang Yang’s girlfriend?”

“Yeah, they got together during summer vacation.” Lin Yue’s eyes lit up. “Don’t you know a thing or two about physiognomy? What do you think about her?”

“She’s a good girl. She’s pretty and has a bright future ahead of her.” Zhuang Mei smiled strangely and added, “However...”


“She’s likely someone with a strong personality deep down, while your son is too soft and kind-hearted. If they get married, he’s gonna be at her beck and call, just like your husband haha.”

Lin Yue paused before breaking into a smile, making to hit Zhuang Mei. “I should know you’re teasing me!”

“I know you.” Zhuang Mei chuckled. “While you seem gentle, you’re as stubborn as a mule.”

“Enough already. Let’s have dinner.” Lin Yue shook her head with a smile and turned to leave the room.

Back in the living room, Gao Yang and Little Qing Ling had already set the dining table. The family sat down and dug in. Gao Yang’s father was the most talkative. He always knew the right thing to say and when to urge others to speak more, and with his effort, even Gao Xinxin and Little Qing Ling were getting along better.

They enjoyed the food while chatting, the atmosphere warm and fuzzy.

Zhuang Mei talked a lot about the past she shared with Gao Yang’s mother when they were at the same school. She suddenly turned to Gao Yang’s father. “Speaking of which, you have me to thank for your marriage, Old Gao.”

“Huh?” Gao Yang’s father was chewing on a piece of half-eaten chicken butt.

“You don’t know, do you...”

Lin Yue shot her a glare. “Zhuang Mei, don’t speak nonsense here.”

“Haha, but I will!” Zhuang Mei was getting excited. She turned to Gao Yang. “When we were going to the same school, your mother and I had a crush on the same boy.”


Gao Yang’s father was stunned. He and Lin Yue were each other’s first love, but it turned out his wife had once had feelings for someone else.

“Whoa!” Gao Xinxin smirked, feeling a newfound admiration for her mother. “Good for you, Mom!”

Lin Yue denied it. “Don’t believe her. I didn’t have a crush on him. She had a crush on him.”

“Ah, that so?” Gao Yang’s father sighed in relief.

Zhuang Mei laughed. “I was a naive girl who fell easily for a pretty face. Back then, there were many girls who liked him, and I did too. I wanted to make him my boyfriend, so I dragged Lin Yue to watch him play basketball every day. Soon, I became friends with him, and we became something a little more than friends...”

“And then?” Little Qing Ling was drawn. She had her bowl in her hand, but she had stopped eating.

“Things couldn’t be more soapy then.” Zhuang Mei smiled. “He only got close to me for Lin Yue. He knew that Lin Yue and I were best friends, so he wanted to get to Lin Yue by winning me over first.”

“Ha, pig.” Gao Xinxin scoffed.

“Seconded.” Little Qing Ling agreed with Gao Xinxin in this regard.

Gao Yang’s father was worked up too. “Wanna get together with my wife? Only in his dream!”

“Use your mouth to eat. Don’t you feel embarrassed speaking like that?” Lin Yue shot him a glare.

“Haha, I was so heartbroken then that I held onto Lin Yue and bawled my eyes out. Not long after, the heartless boy transferred away.”

Zhuang Mei turned to Gao Yang’s father. “Do you know, Old Gao? I only learned afterward that the bastard sought out your wife before transferring away, and he confessed to her, saying that he would stay at our school as long as Lin Yue accepted her. What do you think happened?”

“My wife rejected him, of course!”

“Ha, aren’t you a little too confident? He was so handsome back then.” Zhuang Mei thought back to the time with a smile. “And he was a smoothtalker adept at coming up with lies. He could point at a deer and call it a horse, and people would believe him. It was hard for girls to resist him.”

She paused, giving him a strange smile. “If you don’t want to hear it, I won’t tell you.”

Gao Yang’s father scowled, his heart pounding and spasming. He wanted to hear it, but he didn’t dare to.

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