“If we’re not free then we won’t go,” Diane scoffed.
Just as she said that, the phone rang again. This time it was from April.
Clearly her eldest aunt didn’t trust her to pass on the message and was afraid that her family wouldn’t attend the celebration, so she called April’s phone directly.
“I have to take care of your father and I can’t get away. Diane, you should go. No matter what, Grandma is an elder and it’s only right of us to celebrate her birthday.”
April did have issues with this sister of hers, but she remained filial to her own mother.
Diane didn’t know what to say. She opened her mouth to say that she didn’t want to go, but April had already hung up.
Ethan was amused. He had never seen Diane so reluctant before.
“Don’t look so grouchy anymore. We’ll go over tomorrow and I can take the chance to say hello to your relatives,” said Ethan. “Since I’m the son-in-law, I should greet my new relatives too.”
“They might not like you very much,” replied Diane unkindly.
That didn’t bother Ethan. But since his mother-in-law had entrusted this duty to him, he was going to make sure he did it well.
First thing the next morning, Ethan sent Diane to the office to settle a few urgent matters, then went to the mall and bought a present.
Then he went back to pick Diane up and they headed for her grandmother’s house in Park Creek.
“Ethan, if they ask a lot of questions, just answer them simply. If they say anything bad about you, please don’t be angry.”
Diane looked a little awkwardly at Ethan. “Those relatives of mine might be a bit too curious.”
She knew those people only too well.
“Relax, I know what to do.”
Meanwhile, at the Baker house in Park Creek.
There were lanterns and ribbons everywhere. Those who didn’t know anything would have thought it was Lunar New Year.
Everything looked very festive.
“Oh goodness me, why are there only three arches? Do you people know how to do things at all? Each family has to buy at least two, and if you can’t afford to buy then you have to at least rent one, right? Jared! Jared! Where’s the one from your family? Put it up quickly!”
“Why aren’t there enough dishes in the kitchen? I’ve bought enough for my side, so if there isn’t enough then you all have to contribute out of your own pocket!”
“Cheryl, go help Mum to change her clothes. I spent a few thousand dollars to buy her new clothes, so it’ll help her to look more energetic.”
The whole house was filled with the loud voice of Diane’s eldest aunt, Sherry.
Sherry was a plump woman who married a man of some standing in the local town office and was a fairly big shot in Park Creek, so she was always smug and arrogant in front of her own family.
Whenever something happened in the family, she would always say that she would get her husband to tell off whoever it concerned, but she never helped to settle anything before.
Sherry ordered her younger sister and brother to do all sorts of things, but she was just sitting around and snacking on peanuts. She started calculating who would come today, who would give how much money, and how much she would be left with after deducting the expenses.
“This April is terrible. What time is it already? She’s still not here?”
Sherry rolled her eyes in annoyance. “I know it’s hard for her family, but so what if it’s difficult? You mean she’s not going to contribute anything for Mum’s birthday? That’s too heartless of her!”
The man seated across from her had a small beer belly and didn’t do anything at all. He just quietly drank his tea and looked very calm.
“Even if their family contributed, how much could they contribute?”
Christopher Lawton snorted disdainfully. “Every additional person that comes means one more person to feed.”
This was why these two could get married to one another. The way they talked was also the same.
“Christopher, could you come and give me a hand? It’s very hard for me to put this couplet up by myself!” a voice came in from the door.
Christopher raised his eyes but pretended he didn’t hear anything and just changed his position and continued to sit there in peace.
Jared was asking Christopher, a low ranked mayor, to climb some ladder just to put up couplets?
What a joke!
“If you can’t do it yourself, just go slow and you’d get it done! Do you know how expensive it is to dry-clean his suit if it gets dirty?” Sherry scolded right back. “If you can’t get such a small thing done, why don’t you contribute more money?”