Chapter 9 – After all, she is their biological daughter
Xu Fangfang grew up well, and the key was that her family treated her well, and the Xu family was also good.
Her father, Xu Aiguo, was a worker in a textile factory. In these days, it was rare to have workers from the countryside. Having a monthly salary, wearing worker’s clothes, holding onto an iron rice bowl, and passing down the bowl to the next generation were considered valuable.
Just because of Xu Aiguo, everyone in the production team looked highly upon the Xu family.
Zhang Ailian also had a good personality, and her cooking skills were outstanding. Back when they had communal meals, Zhang Ailian was the chef. Even though the communal meals stopped later on, everyone in the production team couldn’t forget Zhang Ailian’s cooking skills.
Honestly, her cooking was even better than the dishes made by the master chefs in state-owned restaurants.
Xu Fangfang’s elder sister, Xu Fanghua, was also a high school graduate and a talented student. At the age of 19, she worked as a Chinese teacher in the commune’s primary school. Although it was a temporary job, she received a monthly salary without having to work in the fields.
Xu Xiangdong and Xu Fanghua were twins, but Xu Xiangdong was born a few minutes later, making him the younger brother.
Even though Xu Xiangdong didn’t like studying and only completed elementary school, in an era where most people were illiterate, he could be considered literate.
Moreover, Xu Xiangdong was tall, strong, and excelled at manual labor. After a day’s work, with a full score of 10, he could achieve 12 work points.
Xu Xiangdong’s younger brother, Xu Xiangbei, graduated from junior high school at the age of 17 and worked as the team’s scorer. He didn’t have to work in the fields every day but still earned a full score.
With such supportive parents and siblings, Xu Fangfang didn’t need to work at all. With her family backing her up, even if she didn’t participate in fieldwork, many families in the production brigade wanted to marry Xu Fangfang into their households as a daughter-in-law or granddaughter-in-law.
Unexpectedly, a while ago, it was suddenly revealed that there was a mistake. Xu Fangfang was not the biological daughter of Xu Aiguo and Zhang Ailian.
Their biological daughter lived in the city and was only recently discovered to have been swapped. Now, they seemed to want to switch her back.
People in the production brigade speculated that the Xu family’s deep affection for Xu Fangfang might make her feel extremely sad if she were to be returned. Moreover, they had no idea about the personality or appearance of their actual biological daughter.
However, there were concerns that their real daughter, who had previously lived in the city, might have developed into a bourgeois young lady. Perhaps she wouldn’t adapt well to rural life, and it was uncertain whether she would be willing to acknowledge Xu Aiguo and Zhang Ailian, her rural parents.
So, on the day Xu Jinning arrived, the villagers came out to see for themselves.
To their disappointment, Xu Jinning was nothing like what they had imagined.
She was the opposite of what they had speculated about a city girl – no signs of wealth, elegance, or sophistication. Instead, they saw a timid, dark-skinned, pale, frail, and thin young girl.
This raised a question in their minds: Was she really from the city? Could life in the city be worse than their rural life?
However, based on this observation, they felt that Xu Jinning couldn’t compare to Xu Fangfang in any aspect.
Presumably, Xu Aiguo and Zhang Ailian, upon seeing their biological daughter, would likely feel disheartened and might not fully accept her.
No matter how they looked at it, their real daughter couldn’t match up to Xu Fangfang’s excellence.
Perhaps Xu Aiguo and Zhang Ailian still wished that the mix-up had never happened, and they would prefer their daughter to be Xu Fangfang.
But now, the situation seemed to be unfolding differently from what they had expected.
Surprisingly, Zhang Ailian exchanged Xu Fangfang’s clothes with them, saying that she wanted to exchange them for fabrics to make new clothes for Xu Jinning.
“It seems like we all misunderstood. Whether this biological daughter is truly biological or not, it’s really different.”
“Exactly, regardless of whether she’s the biological daughter, if she came out of her own belly, she should be cherished. We just don’t know how Fangfang will feel when she finds out.”
“Yeah, I imagine Fangfang will be heartbroken when she learns about this.”
“What are you talking about? Why would Fangfang be upset? She’s going to live in the city, not toiling away in hardship. I heard her biological father is even an official. People like that won’t mistreat their own daughter.”
“Besides, I’ve observed that Fangfang doesn’t have much affection for the Xu family. If she truly cared, she wouldn’t have immediately left with her biological parents and wouldn’t have left behind the clothes that Ailian made for her. I think you guys haven’t seen clearly; I believe Fangfang is quite cunning.” In the production brigade, there were people with sharp eyes who could see through Xu Fangfang’s true nature.
“That actually makes sense.”
“I just wonder what kind of temperament the Xu family’s real daughter has.”
Discussions among the people in the production team continued.
Zhang Ailian was unaware of these conversations as she carried the clothes back home. In the afternoon, she didn’t go to work and instead stayed home to make clothes for her daughter.
Zhang Ailian was skillful with her hands, and her sewing was meticulous, even without a sewing machine. If she had one, the clothes would have been made even faster.
Xu Aiguo, who happened to have a day off, was also at home, contemplating how to handle the upcoming competition for the workshop director position. Meanwhile, he listened to his wife’s chatter.
“Fortunately, it’s late spring, almost summer. The weather isn’t too cold; otherwise, how would Ningning wear those two sets of clothes? I don’t think she brought any winter clothes.”
“I wonder how she managed through the previous winter.”
“As for the Lin family, they provided well for Fangfang, but they treated Ningning like this…”
Honestly, the more Zhang Ailian thought about it, the more upset she became.
Ningning looks like a sickly little chick, so pitiful no matter how you look at it.
“Aiguo, see if you can get some extra cotton from the factory today. I need to make two new sets for Ningning—thick cotton clothes and pants. Otherwise, she’ll definitely get sick from the cold this winter.”
“Alright, I got it. I’ll go out and ask my friends to help check on Ningning and Fangfang’s situation later.”
“Tomorrow, I’ll inquire at the factory to see if anyone has powdered milk. If they do, I’ll exchange for some to give to Ningning.”
“Okay, you remember that. Ningning must have suffered a lot before. We need to compensate her properly.”
“Find some time to take her to the county hospital, check her body for any issues, and if there are, we need to take care of them as soon as possible. She’s a young girl, and her body is too thin. It doesn’t look good; I’m afraid it might affect her future lifespan and childbirth.” Zhang Ailian continued giving instructions while sewing clothes.
Xu Aiguo nodded, recalling the emaciated figure of his daughter. She was even thinner than the orphan girls in the village who needed assistance. It was heart-wrenching to look at her.
Moreover, she was Ailian and his own biological daughter.
“Maybe I should take her now, while I’m off today. I’ll be back to work tomorrow.”
“Okay, I’ll go wake her up now.”