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(Happy family (1)

Lawrence Chu was sitting on the couch watching TV in the living room when his mother returned home with Violet Chu and Alice Lu.    

 "Mom, look! Lawrence is watching TV again,"  Violet pointed out, pursing her lips. She was displeased to see her brother watching TV and laughing loudly.    

 Lawrence Chu shot her a scornful glance. "That's none of your business,"  he snapped before returning to watching the TV.     

"Stop watching!" Violet Chu shouted back, running to the living room. She grabbed the remote out of her brother's hand, keeping it from him.     

"Violet, what are you doing?" Lawrence yelled at her, trying to grab the remote back. He was infuriated by Violet's constant bullying against him. 'She is so overbearing with me, but mom always says Violet is more obedient than I am, ' he thought angrily.   

"Lawrence, it's not right to bully your sister,"  Cherry reminded her son without looking at them. She began taking off her shoes.     

"What? Mom, didn't you see what happened? I'm the victim here!" Lawrence retorted, giving Cherry an injured look.     

With no response, he noticed Alice standing where they had all come in. He let out a breath and felt calmer. "Hello, Alice,"  he greeted softly.     

"Hi, Lawrence,"  Alice Lu nodded in return.     

"Why don't you have a seat? I can grab you a cup of water,"  he offered warmly.  

   Alice Lu shook her head lightly. "I'm not thirsty, Lawrence. Please don't bother yourself,"  she responded politely.   

Watching the exchange between the two of them, Violet Chu frowned in irritation. "Well, I'm thirsty! Lawrence, get me some water!" she demanded.     

Lawrence Chu glanced over at his sister, wondering, 'What am I supposed to do with her?'    

"Get it yourself!" Lawrence Chu snapped. He hesitated before continuing,"Oh, never mind. Just wait there." He stood to get her a cup of water.     

Cherry finally came into the living room after removing her shoes. As she did, she saw her son handing a cup of water to her daughter. "Violet, you're always whining about how your brother treats you badly. Look, he's really nice to you,"  she noted aloud, smiling.     

"Mom, he is a bad brother. He always claims my writing is terrible compared to his, and he teased me saying I couldn't memorize English vocabulary! I didn't lie to you, Mom. Lawrence is always saying I'm a stupid girl,"  Violet complained pathetically, grabbing her mother's hand affectionately.   

Lawrence Chu simply ignored his sister's complaints. 'She's always tattling on me. I'm used to it by now, ' he thought.     Shaking her head, Cherry just smiled. 'How could I not know this?' she asked herself.     

"Lawrence, take Violet and Alice to the study, help them with their homework. Aunt Amy will be by later to pick up Alice,"  Cherry instructed her son.    

 "Okay,"  Lawrence Chu replied obediently.     

Looking at Violet Lu and Alice Chu, Lawrence nodded,"Come on, two little gorgeous girls. Let's go upstairs and finish your homework."    

Hearing her brother call her gorgeous gave Violet Chu a merry smile. She rushed to him and took his hand. "Dear brother,"  she said sweetly,"I have several math problems I couldn't work out. Please explain them to me."  

"Me too, Lawrence,"  Alice Lu agreed. 'How could I pass this chance by?' she said to herself.    

 "Follow me then. I must make a small sacrifice today,"  Lawrence replied. He took a look at Cherry, sighing at her. "Mom, your baby girl and sworn daughter are difficult to handle,"  he exclaimed dramatically.     

"Naughty boy,"  Cherry smiled,"just take them upstairs." 'He is a teenager now, but still acts like a little boy, ' she giggled to herself.   

  Cherry watched the three children head upstairs together and then went to the kitchen to help Lily with dinner.     

"My lady, you don't need to trouble yourself. I can do my duties myself,"  Lily explained politely. 'Each time I cook, she often comes to assist. I feel a little guilty.

 Other rich ladies lead easy lives with everything provided for them. Unlike them, Mrs. Cherry is an independent mistress. She prefers to do things on her own. Even if Mr. Jackson dissuaded her from this, she would convince him with some eloquent argument to let her do what she likes, ' Lily thought to herself.  

 Cherry turned to wash the vegetables. "Let me help you, please. I have nothing else to do. All the kids are upstairs and don't need my help,"  Cherry pleaded.  

   Realising it would be futile to try to change Cherry's mind now, Lily gave up and focused on her work.     

"Did master mention when he would come home?" Lily asked a few minutes later.   

  "He didn't tell me. I guess he'll be home soon,"  Cherry replied. 'Jackson usually gets home soon after the kids. I suppose he'll do the same today, ' she thought.   

  Lily glanced at Cherry. "It seems that master has been busy recently. Please, remind him to take care of his health,"  she said softly.   

"I will, thank you,"  Cherry nodded, understanding Lily's meaning. "He said he wouldn't have so much work to deal with soon."    

Lily gave a small smile before returning to her duties.     

"Lily,"  Cherry spoke softly but abruptly.     "What is it, my lady?" Lily asked.   

  "Do you see Jackson as a little boy in your mind?" Cherry asked. 'Having lived with Lily and Jackson for a number of years now, I've noticed that she pays more care and attention to Jackson and our house than she is required as our maid, ' she thought.     

Lily froze before looking at Cherry. "Yes,"  she confirmed hesitantly. "In my eyes, you and Jackson are like my children I care for."  

  Cherry put the vegetables down and held Lily's hand warmly.   

Lily, we have always thought of you as part of our family. In my eyes, you are Lawrence and Violet's grandma. You're our elder,"  Cherry declared earnestly.    

 Lily smiled happily. "My lady, you're so kind. With your education and guidance, Lawrence and Violet will grow up into excellent adults,"  she replied affectionately.     

"I hope so. They are good children. Lawrence is more obedient than before too,"  Cherry responded contentedly. Even thinking of her children brought her great satisfaction.    

 "They will make you proud, my lady. Lawrence will become an outstanding young lad,"  Lily affirmed confidently.     Cherry smiled delightfully.    

 As the two women were looking affectionately at each other, they heard the front door open.   

"That must be Jackson,"  Cherry noted. "I'll go have a look,"  she said and then left the kitchen.     

As Jackson entered the living room, he found it empty of people. Assuming that Cherry must be cooking dinner with Lily again, he turned to head for the kitchen.     
He didn't need to move any further, for Cherry rounded the corner into his sight. She walked to him. He felt his fatigue vanish at the mere sight of his beautiful wife.   

"You're home," Cherry said gently as she took the briefcase from his hand.

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