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C4 Old age getting to me

Barbara's expression suddenly shifted to one of concern. "Mia, why are you home? Isn't your sister still in school?"

Although her words appeared to show genuine concern for her stepdaughter, Mia sensed an underlying message.

The witch was insinuating, "Why aren't you taking your studies seriously like your sister?"

Barbara was deliberately stirring up trouble in front of her father. Again.

But Mia was accustomed to this behavior. Barbara always did this.

"Yes, why are you here? Aren't you supposed to be in school?" Mia's father bellowed.

Yet, Mia couldn't help but be shocked each time her father sided with Barbara, falling into the witch's trap repeatedly. Why? He had never taken her side, not even once.

"Have you suddenly lost your ability to speak?" Mia's silence started to irritate him.

"Dad," she looked directly into his eyes, hoping to find a glimmer of affection. "Were you not informed that I fell ill?"

Her father's brows furrowed. "Ill?"

He glanced at his wife.

"Yeah, the school called and said she slipped and passed out. They rushed her to the hospital immediately," Barbara said with a slight smile.

Then her expression changed to one of shock. "Oh my!"

"I didn't tell you... I thought I did!" She covered her mouth with her hands.

Mia felt a surge of disgust. Liar!

Her father was clearly unaware of her situation. However, Mia knew Barbara hadn't forgotten to inform him. The woman deliberately kept the information from her father.

But Mia had to admit, the witch knew how to put on a convincing act. It was her skill in acting that allowed her to remain in her father's house for so long.

"Must be my memory failing me due to old age." Barbara chuckled. "Baby, I'm sorry. Thankfully, here she is, looking healthy as ever."

Once again, the witch had managed to turn the tables on Mia, causing her to fall into her father's disfavor.

Although Barbara's words seemed grateful and happy that Mia was well, they actually implied that since Mia had made it all the way home, there was nothing wrong with her and she probably faked the entire incident.

Mr. Thompson turned his attention to his daughter. "Since you've been discharged from the hospital, why didn't you return to school? Why did you come home instead?"

Mia's heart shattered at her father's cold gaze. Was this man truly her father?

"Do you think I pay your school fees just for fun? Are you trying to waste my money?!" He yelled angrily.

No, this was not the father she once knew. The man had changed completely.

Ever since her mother's death, Mia had never found favor in her father's eyes. But when her mother was alive, everything used to be different... until she discovered her father had been cheating on her mother, resulting in Vivian being a few months older than her.

"If you don't want me to abruptly end your education, return to school this instant!" Mr. Thompson threatened irritably.

Mia gasped as tears began streaming down her face. The man had changed completely.

Slowly, she tore her blurry gaze away from her father and fixed her eyes on the woman seated beside him on the couch.

Barbara wore a triumphant smirk as she observed the miserable Mia. Good for the girl! What did she expect, coming home to meet her and her husband? Did she truly believe they would be upset just because she passed out? She must be a fool.

She needed to remind the girl that everything that once belonged to her was now hers and her daughter's. And nothing would change that.

Feeling dejected, Mia took slow steps toward the door, tears still streaming down her face as she stepped outside.

Sniffling and wiping away her tears with the back of her hand, she noticed the taxi that had brought her there. She suddenly remembered that she hadn't paid the driver yet.

Earlier, when they arrived, she had asked the driver to wait, intending to borrow money from whoever she met at home...

"Young girl! Why are you wasting my time?! Do you know how long I've been here? You kept me waiting when I should be working!" The agitated cab driver barked at her upon seeing her.

Mia sniffled and hurriedly walked down the steps to meet him. "I'm sorry. I truly am sorry." She bowed her head repeatedly.

The cab driver huffed, "Well, just give me my money so I can be on my way." Mia's heart skipped a beat. How was she going to explain that she didn't have the money? If she went back inside now, her father might truly cut off her education funds.

What was she supposed to do? She fidgeted, her lips quivering.

"Answer me, girl! You're wasting my time!" The man thundered angrily.

His patience was wearing thin due to the girl's indecisiveness.

Mia's lips trembled even more. She wished the ground would open up and swallow her whole.

Just then, her father and stepmother emerged from the house.

The couple had resumed watching their favorite comedy show when they heard the commotion outside. Curiosity led them to investigate.

And there she was—the rebellious daughter. Again. Mr. Thompson let out a frustrated sigh. Why was the girl still lingering in his compound?

"What's going on?" His deep voice echoed throughout the mansion.

The cab driver scanned the man who had spoken. Judging by his attire, he concluded the man was wealthy. Furthermore, the man's authoritative tone suggested he was the owner of this grand house.

Clearing his throat, the cab driver spoke up, "This young girl has refused to pay me for my services," pointing at Mia, who simply hung her head in shame.

Mr. Thompson fixed his gaze on his daughter. "Is that true?"

Mia slowly raised her head, locking eyes with her father.

With ragged breaths, she nodded. "Yes."

Her father closed his eyes in annoyance. Why did this foolish child always manage to embarrass him?

After a few seconds, he opened his eyes.

"Don't I give you enough money for your expenses?"

Mia's head dropped once more, and she bit her lip until it nearly bled. It was her fault. If only she hadn't passed out last night...

"Darling, don't be angry with her," Barbara attempted to soothe her husband.

Then she added, "Although you give Mia and Vivian the same allowance, Mia might be using her money for other things—she might not find it sufficient."

Which insinuated that Mia recklessly spent money on unnecessary things.

This further enraged Mr. Thompson. He turned to the cab driver and said, "If she doesn't pay you, take her to the police station. Or do whatever you want with her."

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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