"Aunt Li, it was you who said that to educate our children we need to often learn such philosophies, I am just following the same." De Xi said cheekily earning a chuckle from everyone.
"You brat! Are you calling us children?" Grandpa De asked in feigned anger, trying to suppress his laughter.
"How dare I say that." De Xi said exaggeratedly as if she was afraid of them.
"Aish! This girl! What are you here for? To deliberately anger us?" Grandma Mu asked with a warm smile completely contradicting her words.
"If not for me worrying that, few oldies might starve to death in my house, I wouldn't have bothered to come here." De Xi said playfully as she faked her disdainful look.
"This brat! Go away, even if not because of starvation, you will certainly anger us to death." Grandpa Fang said in annoyance.
"Old man don't blame me for your weak health." De Xi said warily in a warning tone.
"Alright, alright. Stop arguing like small kids." Grandma Li said with a sigh.
"That is right, let's go down, the lunch should have been served." Grandpa Mu said as he tenderly helped up Grandma Mu.
"Aiya! Even these oldies are feeding me with dog food." De Xi sighed pitifully as the Mu Grandparents threw her a look of disdain.
De Xi chuckled softly and immediately left the place afraid of getting smacked in the head by one of the grandparents.
What they did not notice was that Lu Chao and Li Chang were standing near the other adjacent entrance of the gazebo, listening to their Great-grandparents, Grandparents, and De Xi's conversation.
The elders and kids had their lunch first followed by the younger generation because the table could not fit all of them at a time.
After lunch, the elders returned to their rooms to rest up, the kids doing their own things and the younger generation was also catching up with their work.
De Xi was also busy working on her study, sorting out the medical documents followed by the business documents.
There was a knock on the door, to which De Xi responded with a hum.
"Mummy, are you busy?" Lu Chao asked softly as he peeked in cautiously, careful to not disturb her.
"No Little Treasure, come in." De Xi said as she smiled warmly towards her son and stood up from her seat to sit beside him on the couch.
"Do you want some tea?" De Xi asked as she picked up the teapot with hot freshly brewed tea in it and poured it one cup and then another one when Lu Chao nodded his head in agreement.
"Mummy, how come your tea drinking habit has never wavered even after so long?" Lu Chao asked in amusement when he accepted the porcelain cup from his mother.
"Habit dies hard and I have had this tea-drinking habit since I was your age or even younger I believe." De Xi said while chuckling softly and taking a sip from her cup.
"Mummy..." Lu Chao started but stopped short hesitating whether he should continue or not.
"What is with you kids today? All of you are hesitating to talk to me. Have I grown horns or do I look scary that you all are suddenly hesitating like this?" De Xi asked in a half-joking, half-amused manner.
"How can that be? My Mummy is the most beautiful woman in the world." Lu Chao immediately protested as he looked at his mother wide-eyed, making De Xi chuckle warmly and pat his head.
"Alright, I know. So tell me what is bothering you?" De Xi said warmly as she smiled dotingly at her son.
"Mummy, you have suffered a lot, before this."
"From here on I want to protect you from all the troubles. So share them with me, now I am a grown man." Lu Chao said proudly in a confident tone as he looked at De Xi with determination.
"You can't bloom so fast. You have to grow first. For now, let Mummy protect you all, when Mummy grows old and weak you all can protect me together." De Xi said with a warm smile full of motherly love.
Lu Chao wanted to protest but there was a knock on the study, the mother-son duo turned towards the door to find George standing there with a warm smile.
"Uncle George." Lu Chao greeted him with a smile and De Xi looked at him casually.
"Looks like I disturbed an important bonding session, shall I come back later?" George asked in a teasing tone, as he sensed De Xi's gaze.
"It is alright Uncle George, I am done. I won't disturb your work." Lu Chao said calmly as he beamed his mother a warm and wide smile, before nodding lightly towards George and leaving the study.
After making sure Lu Chao left, George closed the study door and took his seat opposite De Xi, as the latter was about to pour him a cup of tea.
"Don't pour me tea, I just had coffee, let that taste remain." George said hurriedly as he stopped De Xi from pouring the tea.
"Alright. Do you want another cup?" De Xi chuckled and asked, as she placed down the teapot.
"You know I would never say no to a hot cup of coffee right?" George said as he beamed like a child who just got his favorite candy.
"I'll make it right away. By the way, what brings you here?" De Xi asked as she looked at the file in George's hand.
"Oh! These... They are Selena's monthly reports, Frank brought them with him." George said, trying to sound as normal as he could, but still could not hide the heartbreak in his voice.
De Xi immediately walked over and took the report, taking a look at the recent data, while the water was boiling.
"The condition is stable, which in itself is great news, given how fast Selena's ALS was progressing. There is still hope." De Xi said in a positive tone, trying to cheer up George which did not work..