Tea Leaves and Opal Necklaces

Failure, Pressure, and Biao

Match Eleven: Failure, Pressure, and Biao:

-Ju-

I am not pregnant yet. Yao and I keep trying, but so far nothing. I keep looking for ways to keep the sex interesting. Sometimes, I have to remind Yao not to bring up babies at all. When he slips up, the mood goes dead. I end up rolling over and going to sleep. Yao pushes on my shoulder to try and wake me up.

“Oh come on,” he complains.

“Nope,” I said.

“Don’t leave me hanging like this.”

“You had your chance tonight, but you had to say the b-word.”

“You mean ‘baby’?”

I pulled my pillow over my head. “And this is why you aren’t getting any tonight. Good night, Yao.”

“That’s not fair,” my husband complained. “You’ve already got me hard. What am I supposed to do now?”

“That’s not my problem. Maybe I might give you some tomorrow. But for now, let me sleep,” I said. Yao tried shaking on my shoulder more, but I pretended to be asleep already. Finally, he gave up and walked into the bathroom.

Yao’s getting better at this, though. He doesn’t mention babies at all when we’re about to try again. But, I’m still not pregnant. It didn’t help that the mothers of the clan keep trying to pressure me as well. Bik looked at me with sympathetic eyes this morning.

“It’s okay if you can’t conceive now,” she told me. “It took your parents four years before they had you.” I don’t know if that’s supposed to be helpful or not. It felt like something died in me. Bik smiled and put her arm around my shoulders.

“I wouldn’t worry too much about it,” she said. “Your mother had many health issues. You’re young and healthy on the other hand. These things just take time.” Gee, thanks. Can’t they talk to me about something other than babies. Every time they open their mouths, I want to run away. But, I don’t know how to stop them. I didn’t want to come off as rude when they were trying to help me, but they are smothering me at the same time.

“How has your diet been?” Bik asked.

“Huh?” I asked.

“Have you been eating the food I’ve recommended you?” she asked. I didn’t catch on right away. My face had a blank expression on it before something clicked inside.

“Oh!” I said. “Yeah, yeah.”

“Good!” Bik said. “I just need to come up with a diet plan for Yao to increase his sperm count and strengthen the little guys up.”

“Okay, I did not need to know that,” I said. “Plus, shouldn’t you be talking to him about that issue?”

“Yeah, but you are his wife,” she said. “It’s the wife’s job to make sure her husband does the right thing. You have to be hard on him about what he eats and everything else that goes into his body.” I nodded and pressed my lips together.

“You got me there,” I said.

“I’m going to come over there one day and make a proper meal for you both,” Bik said.

“You don’t have to do that,” I said. “I am getting better with my cooking. Really I am.”

“Then, I will show you how to make it.”

“You don’t have to do that. I can just look the recipes up online.”

“No can do. You can’t rely on the internet all the time. Besides, it has a tendency to cut corners. Let me show the right way to cook proper meals for reproduction.” Her tone warned me that I should give up now. I dropped my shoulders and sighed.

Bik’s not the only this week.

This morning, I was about to head out when there was a knock on my door.

“Coming!” I shouted. I raced over to the door as the bell rang again.

“Who is it?” I asked as I looked out of the peephole.

“Mei!” a half-tired voice answered. A confused look came over my face as I opened the door. Mei stood outside in her pajamas with a small paper bag in her hand.

“Mei?” I asked. “What are you doing here? What are you doing up this early?” She looked me frowning as she handed me the bag.

“Mom sent me over here to give you that,” she said.

“What is this?” I asked.

“It’s an ovulation kit,” she muttered. My face dropped as my eyes widened. Mei looked like she wanted to go back to bed.

“What?!” I yelled. Mei rubbed her right ear.

“Gag, too loud,” she complained.

“Sorry,” I whispered. “But why are you giving me this?”

“Mom’s making me do it. Why she won’t deliver it herself is beyond me. Can I go back to bed now?”

I blinked as I took the bag. “Sure… Thank you. Uh… You can go now.”

“Thank you,” Mei said. She bowed her head and walked down the dirt road to her house. I sank to my knees with big eyes. Don’t tell me… They wouldn’t resort to using my friends to get me to have a child. I broke down whining as I messed up my hair.

“Gah! No, don’t do that to me!” I wailed. “I don’t know how much more of this I can take!”

“Are you feeling okay?” I heard behind me. I lowered my hands and turned my head. Yao stood in the doorway, eyeing me. I slowly stood up and cleared my throat.

“Yeah,” I said. “Mei just stopped by to give me some things.” I prayed that he wouldn’t ask me what it was. Instead, he gave me a straight look.

“Why would she be up this early?” Yao asked.

“Her mother sent her over,” I said.

“Don’t you have class today?” my husband asked.

“What?” I asked. I turned and looked at the clock on the living room wall.

“Ah!” I said. “I’m off now!” I ran out the door as fast as I could.

“Have a good day!” Yao yelled out after me.


What can I do? I am still mastering balancing college and the clan. Babies complicate things. I can see why Tina loves to be single. She’s also not running a powerful clan either. But, she does show me some sympathy. My cell phone rang on the bus.

“Hello?” I asked.

“Hey girl!” Tina shouted over the other line. I held my phone away from my ear.

“Hello, Tina,” I said.

“Any luck yet?”

I sighed and pushed my bangs from my forehead. “No. And they aren’t helping either.”

“That bad, huh?”

“You have no idea. Bik’s coming to cook for Yao and I.”

“That doesn’t sound too bad.”

“You know how she is! She insists on showing me how to make meals that will help with reproductivity.”

“Are you serious?”

“Help me!” I looked up when the bus pulled up. I forced myself to smile at the bus driver as I climbed on.

“Are you heading off to college?” Tina asked.

“Yes,” I said.

“Why don’t you just drive there? Why do you have to take the bus?”

“I told you, it saves money. The school is across town, remember? The bus is just as effective as the car. I only need the car when it’s a big meeting.”

“I see. Fair enough. How long until you get here?”

“Fifteen minutes, why?”

“I’ve got some great news to tell you.”

“Can’t you tell me now?”

“No, I want to tell you in person so you can meet him.”

I blinked at first. “Meet him?” I paused as I covered my mouth. “Oh! When did this happened?” I waved off a lady staring at him as I took my seat in one of the sideways seats.

“You’ll have to meet him for yourself.”

“Is he a good one?”

“Oh yes.”

“Nice, I can’t wait to meet him.”

“He’s right here with me now.”

“Awesome! Where shall I meet you guys?”

“In the library. I’ll see you soon.”

I hung up the phone and broke down squealing. It felt good to hear something other than babies for a change. Everyone stared at me on the bus, of course. I just quietly shoved my phone into my bag. I think this was the first lover Tina’s had since high school. The last date she had was a girl named Hannah. Or was her name Naomi? I can never get those two correct from memory. Anyway, Hannah or Naomi dated Tina during our freshman year. As far as I can remember, it didn’t go so well. I don’t know the exact details, but it ended with an argument and the girlfriend went to another school. I keep meaning to ask Tina what happened. I guess I will have to ask her some other time. Right now, I am happy that she found someone. Let’s just hope this guy is actually a prince.


Outside of Tina, there are still my brothers and sisters in the clan that keep me from going crazy.

I didn’t exactly go home tonight. Instead, I sat down on a sat bench in the college’s garden. Part of me dreaded Bik waiting for me at home. I rubbed my forehead and sighed. Why haven’t I asked the mothers to back off of me yet? I know they are trying to help me, but I don’t know how much more I can take.

I pulled out my cell phone.

“Hello?” a guy’s voice asked on the other line. I leaned back and sighed.

“Hi, Biao,” I said.

“Ju, what’s the matter?” he asked.

“Life.”

“What happened now?”

“All of the mothers keep pushing me to have child. Your mother is the worst.”

“I know. She’s pushing me to marry Xin.”

I sat up, blinking. “Still?”

“Yes.”

“Why don’t you go ahead and get married already?”

Biao nervously chuckled on the phone. “I don’t know.”

“You don’t know?”

“Sorry.”

I sighed and rubbed my forehead. “What are we going to do with you?”

“Keep me. I’m just that cute.”

I rolled my eyes. “Idiot.”

“What?”

I shook my head. “Never mind. I don’t know how to get them to back off of me. They are trying to help me, but it’s too much.”

“You know how my mom is.”

“Yeah… But if they keep going with this I’ll probably end up barren. Wan even sent Mei over to give me an ovulation kit this morning.”

“What?!”

I lowered my head. “Yeah. Please don’t come to me or Yao with advice on him to get pregnant. That would just be too weird.”

Biao laughed. “Don’t worry, I won’t do that.”

“Thank you.” I breathed out and pushed up my bangs. “But what am I going to do about your mom?”

“Do you want me to talk to her?” he asked.

“Anything will do at this point,” I said.

“Alright, I’ll talk to her,” Biao said. “Maybe, I might try to get her off of my back about marrying Xin.”

“Say, does Xin even want to get married?”

“I don’t know. I haven’t even asked. Why? Are you going to push me to marry her too?”

I smiled as I shook my head. “No, I’m just asking.”

“Xin and I have been too busy with finishing up our final years in med school. Xin wants to have a stable career before she gets married.”

“Fair enough. More and more women are focused on building their careers before they get married and have kids.”

“Yeah. My mom is supportive of Xin’s career, but she still wants us to get married. She’s even thinking about grandchildren.”

“Geez! What’s gotten into Bik lately? Is she dying or something?” I asked.

“Not to my knowledge,” Biao said. “She’s doing fine.”

“I see…”

“Really, my mom is fine. She just wants you to have children and she wants me to start a family.”

I began to frown. “Seeking of which, are you going anywhere for dinner?”

“No…”

“Please eat with us tonight! Your mom has insisted on coming over to my house to show me how to cook foods to help with reproduction. I don’t know how much more I can take with her asking me question of how the baby-making process is going.”

“Do I have to?” he asked.

“Yes!” I shouted. I must have been so loud because I happened to look on the dirt path across from me and see two freshmen students staring at me. I smiled and waved them off. I returned my focus back to my phone call as they hurried away. Biao sighed over the phone.

“You aren’t going to let me say no, are you?” he asked.

“Please?” I begged. “You won’t have to do much. Just sit there and try to keep me from going crazy if your mom brings up babies again.”

“Alright, fine,” Biao grumbled. I squealed as I jumped up and down on the bench.

“Thank you!” I said. “You’re like the best big brother I could ask for!”

“Too loud,” he complained.

“Oh, sorry,” I said in a low voice. “I’ll see you this evening. I might have to give you something nice in return.”

“Right,” Biao said. “Anything else?”

“No,” I said. “I’ll see you when I get home. Love you.”

“Bye-bye,” he said. I didn’t stop smiling as I hung up. Now, I think I can make it through dinner tonight. If Biao can get through to Bik, I think this process can go easier and maybe it will be more enjoyable. If I can survive tonight, I will still have my sanity. I rose to my feet and headed to the bus station. Looks like I will have to thank Tina and Biao for calming me down today.

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