Tea Leaves and Opal Necklaces

Dads

Match Twenty-Five: Dads:

Just like the clan mothers, the clan dads are just as important to keep their beloved clan going strong. They circle around their wives, children, Ju, and Yao. Today, we focus on their relationships with their children.

-Hen-to-

He takes care of two boys. Well, two boys and a girl to be exact. It started out as one, but then it bloomed into three.

Biao was the first and only born. Bik doted on their son ever since he was a baby. Hen-to felt pretty proud himself. Both new parents had ideas for their son’s future.

“He’s going to be a doctor when he grows up,” Bik declared. Hen-to didn’t argue with her. He might have been the man of the house, but the nurse had the final say in the end. Hen-to was quick to learn that right after their first date.

“I am my own woman,” Bik told him. “I won’t take orders from any man.” Hen-to blinked at her.

“Okay…” he said. “Why would you say that?” The nursing student dropped back her head and groaned.

“It’s always the same,” she complained. “Every man I tried to date ended up trying to control me. They want me to be this meek little housewife. That’s just not how I was raised. I want to go into a medical field.”

“Okay,” Hen-to said. “I’m not going to stop you.”

“Huh?” Bik asked. He grabbed her by the shoulders.

“If you want to be a doctor or whatever, do it,” the young man said. “That’s all you. I will be here to support you.” His love interest gave him a strange look.

“Why would you do that?” she asked.

“Do you have to ask?” Hen-to asked. He stayed true to his word from then on. Even with Bik’s goal to turn Biao into a doctor. She did make the profession look interesting and engaging for their oldest son. Hen-to even played along when Biao wanted to take care of him when he came down with a cold. Just as long as wife and son were happy.

Chih was next to join. Biao was the one who brought him into their lives. Hen-to was the one who pushed the adoption forward. The four-year-old started out be a little shit. Unruly little terror in the house. Hen-to and Bik didn’t give up on him. Their older son wouldn’t let them put him back out.

“He’s my friend,” he would say. “Don’t send away my little brother!” It would be cruel to kick the younger child out of the house. Hen-to didn’t give up on Chih. He treated the kid just like his own son. Mostly, the kid was confused on the kindness being showered upon him. He spent the first four years of his life on the streets of Beijing. He didn’t even know who his parents were. In a way, Biao must have felt sorry for him. Overtime, Chih grew into a nicer kid.

“Can I call you dad?” he asked Hen-to when he was six years old. The man smiled and patted him on the shoulder.

“Sure, buddy,” he said. “You are my son too.”

Now, Chih was studying to be a prosecution lawyer at China’s top law school. Bik wouldn’t stop talking about how proud she was of her boys. Hen-to felt the same way.

“Our boys are moving up in the world!” the nurse said. Her husband put his arm around her shoulders.

“Yes, they are,” he said.

Bik kind of took in Ju in after her mother died. The nurse always wanted a daughter. She would keep trying until she had one if not for China’s One-Child policy. Ju ended up being a surrogate daughter even before Daiyu’s death. The lady of the clan got too ill to take care of her own daughter after Ju was born. It fell upon Bik to feed, dress, bathe, and change the child. The nurse didn’t mind it.

“It’s like we have our on daughter,” she said. Hen-to just let his wife be happy. He himself grew fond of the little girl. It was nice to have a girl for a changed compared to three little boys. Come to think of it, Hen-to and Bik tried to help Ju enjoy a normal childhood. Khai focused her on being the heir of the whole clan. She didn’t have time for childhood games or television. Ju wasn’t even allowed to wear Western-style clothes. Hen-to and Bik would sneak her out of the main house and take her to the park so she could play like a normal child. In a way, the couple shaped her part of her rebellious behavior.

Hen-to is going to have to shower his attention and his protection on another that might be coming into the world pretty soon. The only problem was the pregnancy tests kept turning up negative.

“Maybe you should see a doctor,” Hen-to suggested. So, to the doctor Yao and Ju went the next day.

-Fei-

Fei had been through for Cai even through her miscarriages. She so desperately wanted a child. After so many tries, Fei’s wife got pregnant. He remembered the day that she told him. She cooked a special little dinner for them both. Cai led Fei into their dining room.

“Aw, you didn’t have to do all of this,” he said.

“I wanted to tell you something,” she said.

“What?” Fei asked.

“Come and see,” his wife said. She led him over to the table. When they came over to his seat, Fei happened to look down on the bowl and gasped. Cai’s pregnancy test sat positive.

“Wait, you mean…?” he asked.

“Yes!” Cai said. Fei hugged her wildly.

“We have to tell the others right away!” he said.

“Okay,” she said. It didn’t take long for the calls to spread through all of the adults of the clan. Daiyu was especially happy for her friend.

“Congratulations!” she said. “Biao will have a new friend to play with here.” Bik did her best to help take care of the mother-to-be. But sadly, the happiness only lasted for four months.

Cai was out in her garden one morning when she started to bleed. Panicked, she ran into the house and called her husband in the main house.

“Hello?” Khai asked.

“Is my husband there?!” Cai asked, panicked.

“What’s wrong?”

“I’m bleeding!”

“Okay, hang on.”

Drops of blood started to hit the wooden floor near the kitchen doorway. Tears started to form in Cai’s eyes. Come on! Come on!

“Hello?” Fei asked. All he got was screams of pain on the phone. Cai sank down to the floor clutching her stomach.

“Hang on!” her husband said. “I will have the ambulance come and get you!” Cai was too busy screaming to hear him. Her right hand clutch her stomach as she screamed. By the time she and Fei got to the hospital, it was too late. The baby was already gone. Cai lay in bed in tears. Her husband held her in his arms.

“It’s okay,” he whispered. “It’s okay. It will be okay.” Cai wept against his chest.

A year later, Cai became pregnant again. Naturally, she got excited. But, she debated about telling anyone at first. What if this child died too? The woman shook her head. She had been following everything to have a healthy child down to the tee. It should be fine, right? About three o’clock, Cai finally got on the phone.

“Honey!” the woman said on the phone. “I’m pregnant.”

“Are you sure?” Fei asked.

“Yes,” she said. Cai rested her hand to her chest.

“That’s great!” her husband said. “Let’s go out and celebrate tonight. I’ll pick you up in twenty minutes.”

“Okay,” his wife said. Months of medical care and trying finally paid off. Maybe this child would be born without problems. The couple were a little more quieter on the news this time. Bik did her best to make sure this baby would be born healthy. But four months later, tragedy struck.

This time, it was winter. Cai and Fei were out shopping for new things for the baby. The mother-to-be went into the bathroom and noticed that she was bleeding again. Her screaming drew the attention of security outside. One trip to the hospital later and the baby was dead.

“I’m so sorry,” Cai whispered. Fei held in his arms and kissed her on the forehead.

“It’s okay,” he whispered. “We will keep trying until we have a child of our own.” Cai looked up at him with tears in her eyes.

“What if I can’t have children?” she asked.

“Don’t say that,” Fei said. “We will keep trying no matter what. Do you understand me?” Cai sobbed in his arms.

“Do you understand me?” he asked again.

“Yes,” his wife whimpered.

“Shhh, very good,” Fei whispered.

Another year later, she got pregnant a third time. By this time, Cai became scared.

“What if I lose this one too?” she asked.

“You won’t,” Fei told her at the table. “We will have this child. I can feel it.”

“I don’t want to lose another baby,” she said in a trembling voice to her husband. He patted her on the head.

“It’s okay,” Fei told her. “This one will be just fine. Our baby’s going to grow up healthy and strong.”

“You think so?” she asked.

“I know so,” he said. His wife forced herself to smile and nod along with his enthusiasm. She rested her hands on her stomach.

Like the last two times, Bik saw to all of Cai’s needs. Fei stayed optimistic, but his wife was always on edge. He did his best try and calm her down.

“Stress is not good for the baby,” Fei reminded her. He would rub on her stomach and kiss her neck. Despite two miscarriage scares, Kee was born healthy. Despite him being lazy and a bit of a pain at times, Fei and Cai loved him with all of their hearts.

-Chi Ju-

Chi Ju was pursued by Wan ever since they were teenagers. It all started with a family vacation to the Gulangyu Island. Wan came from a poor village. Like most girls her age, she dreamed big. Ever since she was a child, she had a laundry list of big dreams. They always changed from day to day. However, one dream always stayed the same. By the time she was fifteen, that dream almost looked dead.

But then came the summer of 1981.

Wan went out to shop with her mother for dinner. By this time, she figured that the only way she could get off of the island was to find a husband. She didn’t want any of those boys from her village.

“They are too stupid and ugly,” Wan complained.

“They aren’t all that bad,” her mother told her. “Give them a try at least.” Wan folded her arms across her chest.

“I will not,” she mumbled under breath.

“What did you say?” her mother asked.

“Nothing,” the teenaged girl lied. She followed after her mom, frowning. Wan always hated this part of the day. Her mother would take all day just shopping and talking with the ladies in the village. There wasn’t many kids her age on the island. Wan carefully looked around for a place to escape. If she was going to escape today, she would have to do it fast. Which way was she going today?

But then, her focus splintered off when she noticed a boy her age walking into market with his parents. Wan had never seen them before in her life. From a distance, she could tell that they weren’t from this island or the village. These people had on Western-style clothes. The couple’s son intrigued Wan. So much so that she started wandering over to him. By the time the boy looked up, he was already in her sights. The girl stood inches away from her new target. She broke into a huge grin.

“Hi!” the girl said. The boy blinked at her.

“Uh… hi…” he said. Wan turned to his parents.

“Welcome to Gulangyu Island,” she said, bowing. The parents fell for her angelic little charms. Their son, on the other head, tilted his head. Something about this girl screamed, “run away”. Too bad he didn’t listen to his instinct.

Today, Chi Ju plays peacemaker. He’s caught between Wan and Mei. Both of his girls hate each other, but he is the one that has to keep them from killing each other. Sometimes, Chi Ju will try to look for a distraction. Maybe this new baby would be a distraction.

-Lili-

Lili would do anything for his daughter. From the moment that Szu was born, he saw his job was to protect her and keep her happy. Lili look her into his arms after she was wrapped into a blanket. Her little heart melted his heart.

“She’s beautiful,” Hark said.

“Yeah,” he said. Throughout the years, he worked to protect and make her happy. Lili felt like he failed to protect her when she was raped. For a time, he and his wife felt powerless. Their beloved daughter wasn’t singing like she used to. Szu wouldn’t even leave her bedroom. Her parents were worried that the rapist wouldn’t get caught. They wouldn’t feel relief until Junjie was found guilty for his crimes. Hark and Lili became worried again when the disowned was out on bail.

Lili was not only worried for his daughter, but for the rest of the clan and the baby to come.

-Man-

Despite Qian not being his son, Man still cared about him as such. He promised his girlfriend at the time, Tse, as such. From the moment he held the little boy in his arms, Man found himself feeling like he was more family to the baby and his mother. He still couldn’t believe that he went from a single psychiatrist to a father figure in a short amount of months. Tse even had the doctors put down her boyfriend’s last name on the birth record for the child. Man himself didn’t know how to take this at first.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” he asked.

“Yes,” Tse said, cuddling her newborn son. “You will be like his father now.”

“But, we aren’t even married.”

“Yes.”

Man gave her a strange look. “What do you mean by yes?”

Tse gave him a tired smile. “Yes, as in I will marry you when you ask me to.” Her boyfriend gave her a stunned look as he stumbled backwards.

“What?!” he asked. Tse giggled.

“When the time is right, of course,” she said. “Is it okay if I go to sleep now?” Man smiled again.

“Of course you can,” he said. Tse closed her eyes and went to sleep.

Ever since then, Man found himself treasuring each day with his wife and step-son.

-Yao-

Yao and Ju sat in the doctor’s office waiting for the results. They couldn’t even look up at the clock ticking in the background. Ju and Yao lifted their heads when the door opened. Biao walked into the office. The clan leader gave him a strange look.

“Biao?” she asked. “What are you doing here?” He had no emotion on his face as he closed the door behind him.

“I’m shadowing a doctor today,” he said. “Your other doctor will be here in a moment.” Ju fidgeted with her hands in her lap.

“Is it bad?” she asked. “Can you at least time me that?” Biao nervously clenched his teeth.

“I’m not supposed to say any of that,” he admitted. “We should wait until the doctor gets here.”

“Please?” Ju begged, pressing her hands together. Biao sighed and dropped his shoulders.

“Alright,” he said reluctantly. “But the problem isn’t with you. It’s with him.” Yao raised his eyebrow.

“What do you mean?” he asked. Biao closed his mouth just as the original doctor walked into the door. The med student turned his head.

“Sir, may I tell them the rest?” he asked.

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