Chapter 3 - The Struggling Girl

By the time they’d returned home, it was already past 9 p.m, so Sheng Jiaoyang ended up sitting on the bed while she watched Xu Qing busying herself with the housework. Although their house was small, there were still a lot of daily chores that needed to be completed.

In her memory, when her mother had taken her away to live in the villa, her grandfather had ordered Aunt Zhang to take care of their three daily meals, and another full-time housemaid to manage the villa. She’d never seen her mother do any housework before.

The current mother in front of her was incredibly ordinary. Her personality was rather weak, but it was worthy of admiration. Moreover, not every mother was capable of raising her child alone.

“Jiaojiao, I’ve already filled the bath with water for you; quickly go bathe!” Xu Qing’s voice interrupted Sheng Jiaoyang’s train of thought.

Later that night, Sheng Jiaoyang found herself waking up due to being too hot, and once she’d opened her eyes, she was so scared that she almost jumped in the air. At the end of the bed there was a shadow, but because of her myopia, the shadow was so hazy that it appeared particularly strange.

Her hand quickly grabbed her cell phone to turn on the flashlight, and as soon as it lit up the shadow, it turned out that it was just Xu Qing.

Sheng Jiaoyang pat her chest and unhappily asked, “Why aren’t you sleeping yet?” It’s the middle of the night! What is she doing sitting at the end of the bed instead of sleeping?

Fortunately, this body didn’t have heart disease.

Xu Qing was also startled by Sheng Jiaoyang’s voice, and she quickly responded, “I was just about to go to sleep.”

Hearing the hoarseness in Xu Qing’s voice, Sheng Jiaoyang sat up and turned on the light in the room. As expected, she caught sight of Xu Qing trying to hide her eyes which were red and swollen from crying.

Crying in the middle of the night until her eyes became like this; did something bad happen? For herself, at the time when the man she’d loved was intimate with that big breasted woman right in front of her, she hadn’t really cried. At most, two frustrated tears had silently slid down her cheeks.

“What the matter? Who bullied you?”

“Nothing.” Xu Qing turned her head away to secretly wipe her tears. “Let’s sleep.”

“Don’t hide; I’ve already seen it. What happened to you? I’m your daughter, so if there are problems, we should face them together.”

Xu Qing looked at Sheng Jiaoyang. She wanted to say something but kept hesitating, her tears unable to stop gliding down her cheeks.

Sheng Jiaoyang moved to sit down beside Xu Qing, and reaching out her hands, she hugged Xu Qing as she softly said, “I’ve already grown up; there’s nothing that can’t be said to me. Sometimes, there are problems that you’ll be unable to solve on your own, but maybe someone else will have a way to solve them. Moreover, there’s only the two of us in this family, so you should believe in me more!”

Xu Qing had always been the backbone of the family, and suddenly being comforted by her daughter and feeling the warmth of her hug, it was like she’d abruptly found support to rely on. Hugging Sheng Jiaoyang back, Xu Qing burst into bitter tears.

Sheng Jiaoyang repeatedly stroked Xu Qing’s back, allowing Xu Qing to cry out all her grievances. Crying it out was better than holding it in her heart.

Once Xu Qing had gradually calmed down, Sheng Jiaoyang said, “Alright, can you tell me why you were crying now?”

“Jiaojiao, Mama has let you down…” Xu Qing was unable to suppress her sobs.

“How could that ever be possible? Everyone else might be able to let me down, but you never will.”

Xu Qing was comforted by Sheng Jiaoyang’s resolute words, and finally stammered out why she was sad.

Xu Qing worked as a sales representative in a cell phone store in the shopping centre. After going to work yesterday afternoon, she was absent-minded as she was constantly thinking about her daughter, and unfortunately, three new cell phones were switched with fake ones. It wasn’t discovered that the phones had been stolen until she was just about to return them behind the counter, but by then, the swindler had already run away.

Although they’d immediately reported the incident to the police, the swindler had still managed to get away. This, plus the fact that Xu Qing had lately been requesting extended leaves of absence, the shop owner was left feeling dissatisfied and had fired her. On top of that, he’d also forced her to cover the cost of the three stolen cell phones. Unless they could catch the swindler and recuperate the loss, the money wouldn’t be returned to her.

Nearly five thousand dollars of her savings was lost overnight; almost all the money that she’d saved for her daughter’s university tuition! Her daughter had been admitted to such a good school, but without the tuition money to pay for it, what else was she to do but shed bitter tears in frustration?

“Since the money's gone, it’s gone, but there’ll always be ways to earn it back. Moreover, the university can provide a loan so that I can still attend,” Sheng Jiaoyang said to console Xu Qing.

After revealing the burden hidden inside her heart, Xu Qing calmed down a lot. On the one hand, she was touched by her daughter’s sensible words, while on the other hand, she didn’t want to let her young daughter shoulder such a responsibility. Inhaling deeply, she said, “Tomorrow, I’ll go to your uncle to borrow money. Jiaojiao, Mama will make sure that you’ll be able to go to university smoothly!”

There’s an uncle?

“Will Uncle lend us the money?”

After Sheng Jiaoyang asked, she noticed that Xu Qing hesitated. From this, she instantly knew that this Uncle wouldn’t be a reliable source of help.

With no husband or maternal family that they could rely on, it was little wonder that when they would come across a situation like this, it seemed as if the sky was about to collapse.

Previously, she hadn’t really cared about five thousand dollars, she never would’ve thought that this amount would cause her family to become so anxious.

Even though it was now after midnight, Sheng Jiaoyang was unable to fall back asleep. Her mind was continuously thinking about how she could fix her family’s present dilemma.

Even if Xu Qing could borrow the money, the amount would just be a drop in the ocean. The only way to get out of this current dilemma was to have a good source of income.

Considering the situation from all aspects, it seemed that the best solution was to participate in that supermodel selection show.

The next day, Sheng Jiaoyang didn’t go to her uncle’s home with Xu Qing. Instead, she said that one of her classmates was looking for her to discuss something, and asked Xu Qing for a little money before going out.

After checking for some information online, Sheng Jiaoyang went straight to the registration location.

In contrast to an online registration, registering on-site was more direct. When registering in-person, there was staff on-hand that would measure the applicants three measurements of bust, waist, and hips, as well as their height and weight. If those results were acceptable, the applicant would next move on to an interview session. Finally, if they managed to pass the interview, they would then be able to participate in the competition. Compared to that, the online registration process was more cumbersome. After filling in their information, the applicant would have to wait for the system to check through their qualifications, and after that, they would then advance to video interviews. Once they passed the video interview stage, they would then have to book a time to visit the registration location to be measured. Only if the results of the measurements and the registration information were approved, could they then participate in the competition.

The registration location was in a newer part of the city, while Sheng Jiaoyang lived in one of the older areas of the city. Fortunately, there were subway stations near where she had to go. Other than yesterday, when she’d left Central Hospital with Xu Qing, Sheng Jiaoyang had never before taken a bus. Because it was a novelty to her, she’d observed them very carefully. Therefore, even though it was her first time taking the bus alone, she wasn’t at all confused.

Sheng Jiaoyang first took a bus to the nearest subway station, and then switched to a train to travel the rest of the way to the registration location.

It was only 9 a.m in the morning. However, there was already a lot of people lining up to fill in their information at the registration desk. This might have been because today was the last day to register for the competition.

All of the girls waiting in line to register were young, beautiful, and tall. Their hair, makeup, and clothes were all carefully selected to show themselves off in the best possible light. Two girls had evidently come together and were now excitedly chatting with thick Northeastern accents.

“Oh my god, I’m so excited! Yang Bao, what do you think; will I pass?” As the queue gradually moved forward, a tall girl with slightly above average looks nervously asked a girl standing next to her.

“Certainly! Just relax.” The girl called Yang Bao raised her hand and made an encouraging gesture.

As Sheng Jiaoyang watched the interactions between the two girls, the corners of her mouth slightly curled upwards. She’d also had a best friend; a beautiful girl who would be there to laugh and cry with her. The two of them had done many crazy things together.

When she thought of how their identities were so different now, like heaven and earth, she somewhat regretted her decision to return to her birth country. If she hadn’t returned home, then maybe at this moment she would still be enjoying her life as the Eldest Miss. She would be able to window-shop with Mei Niu, ogle guys…cough…and even if it meant that she would experience heartbreak, it didn’t matter. She was just unable to understand; why at that time had she insisted on returning home to fight with the stupid people of the Sheng Family?

Oh alright. To be honest, at that time, she’d thought that she was unhappy and had wanted to find something that would please her. Then, she’d thought of the Sheng Family’s mother and daughter pair who’d viciously ruined her reputation. She knew she was different from her old self. She wasn’t the same girl who couldn’t stand against her stepmother’s tricks, leaving her no choice but to go and live abroad with her grandfather. Therefore, how could she tolerate letting them live a comfortable life?

If you’re filled with hatred or resentment; take revenge.

The beginning of her revenge went pretty smoothly as before she’d even had a chance to do anything, her younger sister’s sweetheart had confessed his love to her. When he’d confessed she was shocked; she hadn’t expected that her prey would take the initiative and send himself straight to her door. At that time, Sheng Shiyun’s embarrassed and pained face had made Sheng Jiaoyang feel rather pleased.

Sheng Shiyun had probably never thought that Sheng Jiaoyang, who’d been wrongfully discredited and treated like a vile person by people jealous of her success, would be able to easily steal her sweetheart.

Of course, Sheng Shiyun would never accept that kind of humiliation. Taking advantage of her birthday, she’d invited her sweetheart to her party and then secretly taken photos that could make a person easily misunderstand the situation. Next, she’d sent those photos to Sheng Jiaoyang.

Sheng Jiaoyang had just finished taking an exam, and because she had free time and was bored, she’d decided to visit this ‘adulterous’ couple. She was thinking of exposing Sheng Shiyun’s cheap trick.

Subsequently…

She’d then become Xu Jiaojiao.

Over the years, she’d taken excellent care of her body, all so that she could live like a healthy person. Who would've guessed that such a situation would be too stimulating and result in her collapsing? Only a few people had known about her disease. When she’d been born, her mother had concealed her illness from everyone. No one knew the reason why, but her mother had even hidden it from her father.

After Sheng Jiaoyang’s eighth birthday, her mother had passed away. Then, about two or three months later, she found out that her father had been hiding a mistress and her daughter. Once she’d found out, she’d taken to venting her frustrations on the mother and daughter pair. What no one expected though, was that after Sheng Jiaoyang had pushed the mistress, it caused her to have a miscarriage! Apparently, the mistress had been around two months pregnant. After this accident, Sheng Jiaoyang’s father had brought that mother and daughter pair back with him to live in their home. In less than two years, after numerous incidents had occurred, Sheng Jiaoyang became known as a vicious girl who was scolded by everyone. It was at this time that her maternal grandfather took her with him to go live abroad.

As Sheng Jiaoyang grew older, her experiences and knowledge increased to the point that when she recalled her youth in her birth country, she realised that many suspicious circumstances surrounded that time in her life. Now that she was aware, she would never again fall for that woman’s traps, where each mistake would lead to another.

“Do you see the form on the screen? First fill it in, making sure that you fill in the required sections. Now, please hand me your ID card so that I can check it, and after it’s been checked, you can head over to the testing area for the next step.” A hand stretched out from behind the computer, pointing to a desk diagonally across from the registration area.

Since it was currently her turn, Sheng Jiaoyang returned from her thoughts and took out her ID card. Quickly sweeping her gaze over the details written on it, she handed the card over and then moved the mouse to fill in the form.

Just after she entered her name, the staff member behind the desk called out to her to get her attention, “Ah, that’s wrong. Your name on the ID card is Xu Jiaojiao, yet you wrote Sheng Jiaoyang. Are you not the actual person on this ID card?”

Sheng Jiaoyang momentarily froze, and then, without a change in her expression said, “Oh, I just had my name changed and I’m not used to it yet.” Taking back the ID card, she filled in the section for ID numbers and other personal information before passing the ID card back to the staff member.

After checking all of the information, the staff member scanned the ID card and attached the copy to her form. Once the ID card was returned, he then stared at the photo on the copy of the ID card and murmured suspiciously, “Is that really her?”

The corners of Sheng Jiaoyang’s mouth turned down; she really wanted to say that she wasn’t the person in the photo!

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