The next day, Lin Yijun went to work as usual, but perhaps because she was still angry with Lu Chen, she left without even preparing breakfast.
Lu Chen made breakfast when he woke up and shared it with Qiqi before bringing her to kindergarten.
The director of the kindergarten had wanted to object to their enrolling halfway through the term, but when Lu Chen slipped him a bank card and told him that it contained a hundred thousand, the director agreed readily without even confirming the amount.
“Qiqi, Dad’s going to take you to buy some new clothes, and then, tomorrow, you’re going to come here to learn and study.” Lu Chen held Qiqi’s hand as they walked toward the mall.
“That’s great! I want the prettiest outfit; the one that grandma bought for me last time didn’t look nice at all,” Qiqi chattered happily.
“Okay. Then today, Dad will buy you the prettiest one,” Lu Chen told her as the corners of his lips lifted into a smile.
“Dad, I want to pick it out myself,” Qiqi said.
“Alright. I’ll buy whatever outfit our little princess chooses.” With that, Lu Chen picked Qiqi up; she’d only been discharged a few days ago and Lu Chen still wasn’t comfortable with her walking so much so soon.
They arrived at New Skylight Mall very soon, where Lu Chen led Qiqi straight to a children's clothing store.
There were three floors dedicated to clothing in New Skylight Mall, all of which were high-end imported luxury goods. There were also shops that sold food and beverage, a cinema and an entertainment center. It was a lively place indeed.
“Dad, Auntie’s over there,” Qiqi suddenly pointed at a boutique beside them.
Lu Chen turned, only to see Lin Yijia walking out from a boutique with several friends.
“Auntie, Auntie!” Qiqi cried out toward Lin Yijia and her companions.
Lin Yijia walked over with a smile upon hearing Qiqi’s voice.
“Qiqi, let Auntie give you a hug.” Lin Yijia pulled Qiqi into her lap.
“Auntie, are you here to buy new clothes? Dad is bringing me to buy new clothes too,” Qiqi announced.
“That’s right. Auntie will buy a new dress for you as well,” Lin Yijia declared.
“Wow. Yijia, is this your sister’s kid? She’s so pretty.”
Lin Yijia’s friends gathered around them. One of the girls smiled and patted Qiqi’s face. Not used to it, Qiqi shied away, making the girls around her giggle.
“Auntie, I want Dad to carry me.”
Qiqi saw that the surrounding strangers were laughing at her and refused to stay in Lin Yijia’s lap.
“Qiqi, Auntie will take you to buy some new clothes. Don’t mind your dad,” Lin Yijia coaxed.
“No, I want Dad.” Qiqi wiggled, wanting Lin Yijia to put her down.
Lin Yijia had no choice but to hand Qiqi over to Lu Chen. Her gaze swept over Lu Chen’s face with distaste.
Lu Chen took no notice of her and carried Qiqi toward the children’s clothing store.
“Lu Chen, the clothes in that store are all branded, imported from Italy. The cheapest thing you can find there still costs several thousands. Can you afford it?” Lin Yijia’s brow wrinkled and she called out to him from behind.
She knew that Lu Chen was no longer going to work; the money he spent was all from her sister’s hard work.
Most importantly, Lu Chen was in debt by several hundred thousand thanks to Qiqi’s medical bills!
She couldn’t help getting infuriated seeing Lu Chen spend so much money on just some kids' clothing.
“I can afford it,” Lu Chen stated mildly.
“You can afford it?” Lin Yijia sped after Lu Chen and threw his statement back at him sarcastically. “Did you tell my sister that you were buying such expensive clothes for Qiqi?”
Lu Chen couldn’t be bothered with her and just walked into the children’s clothing store.
“Yijia, your brother-in-law must be rich. I hear that even the cheapest clothes in that store cost at least a few thousand per piece,” one of the girls remarked.
“Rich?” Hu Hong sneered and jibed. “I hear that he’s in debt by several hundred thousand and that he just loafs around.
“Huh? A man not going to work, letting a woman earn money to provide for him?” one of the girls cried out in astonishment.
“Such a man actually exists. What trash,” the others sneered in disdain, shaking their heads at Lu Chen’s back.
Especially those two girls—they thought that if their future husbands were as impotent, they’d have kicked him to the curb long ago.
Lu Chen’s face clouded over, ticked at what he heard.
Lin Yijia often insulted him from time to time. As her brother-in-law, Lu Chen usually wasn’t bothered to react, but they were in public; slandering him like that was a bit too much.
“Dad, I want that dress,” Qiqi piped up, pointing at a snowy white kids’ dress just as Lu Chen was about to confront Lin Yijia.
“Okay.” Swallowing his anger, Lu Chen nodded as he turned and walked toward the dress that Qiqi pointed to.
“Sir, this is a summer outfit that we imported from Italy; it just arrived the day before. Would you like to let your daughter try it on first?” The pretty saleslady smiled as she introduced their product.
Lu Chen nodded. The saleslady had just retrieved the dress and was about to bring Qiqi to try it on when a couple walked over with a little girl around Qiqi’s age.
“Mum, I want that too.” The little girl pointed toward the white kids’ dress that the saleslady held.
“Assistant, wrap this up for me,” the plump woman ordered the saleslady without a second thought.
The saleslady looked at Lu Chen, obviously in a bind.
After all, Lu Chen’s daughter had picked it out first and was just about to try it on.
“Dad, I want it too,” Qiqi pled as she reached out for Lu Chen’s hand and shook his arm, knowing that someone else wanted the same item.
“I’m sorry. My daughter already chose this dress and she was just about to try it on. Please choose another.” Lu Chen said as he directed his gaze toward the woman.
“Try it on? It’s you poor people who can’t afford it yet keep coming here to try on things that make so many of the clothes dirty,” the woman scoffed and looked him up and down with contempt.
Lu Chen was dressed very plainly. This made the woman feel that someone like Lu Chen was certainly unable to afford the children’s clothes under this label.
“How would you know if it fits without trying it on?” Lin Yijia, who’d followed them in, snapped.
Though she had no love for Lu Chen, there was no way she’d just watch from the sidelines when Qiqi was bullied.
“Just throw it away if it doesn’t fit. What’s the big deal? You need to teach kids about money from young so it sticks with them. I’m sorry, you just don’t know how rich people really live,” the woman turned her nose up at Lin Yijia and the rest of them.
This was called teaching her child about money?
Everyone stared in amazement. The woman’s perspective was truly unique.
She wasn’t trying to raise a wastrel, was she?
“Please bring my daughter to try it on,” Lu Chen told the saleslady.
He couldn’t be bothered to waste time arguing about it. There was no talking to an unreasonable woman like that.
“Why don’t you ask her whether she’d rather sell it to you, or to me?” The woman mocked Lu Chen and threw him a dirty look.
Then she turned on the saleslady. “We asked them to wrap up five sets of clothes earlier—it should come up to forty thousand dollars or so. If you dare to give him this dress, we won’t take the other five either. We’ll also file a complaint to your manager. Let’s see if your manager would rather keep you or butter me up,” the woman declared arrogantly before turning back to Lu Chen, provocation overflowing from her eyes.
Lu Chen kept his calm as Lin Yijia and the others turned to look at the saleslady, waiting for her response.