Tea Leaves and Opal Necklaces

Dinner Celebration, Announcements, and Foreboding

Match Thirty-One: Dinner Celebration, Announcements, and Foreboding:


Saturday evening. We all ate at the Nobu Beijing restaurant. I had always wanted to eat at this place, but never had the time or the occasion.

“Is there where you want to eat?” Yao asked.

“Of course,” I said. “I always wanted to try out that place.”

“Alright,” he said. “I’ll be happy with what you pick.” At dinner, the atmosphere put me in a relaxed mood. I think I might have been here before when I was little. I didn’t exactly remember when, though. I looked at my clan from the head of the table. Everyone was lost in food and conversation. Mei threw back her head, laughing. I had my hand to my stomach. Yao held my other hand.

“You’re not having the sushi tonight?” Szu asked.

“She can’t, dear,” Bik said. The younger girl tilted her head.

“Why not?” she asked. I sat back, smiling.

“You’ll find out soon enough,” I said. I reached over and picked up a dim son with my chopsticks. Bik stopped Szu from asking another question. The waiter came by our table with more drinks. I glanced between Biao and Chih over my non-alcoholic tea. Who was going to be the first one to make the announcement. I smiled over my glass. So far, Bik hasn’t been running her mouth about anything. (That’s a first.) The waiter came back to our table with the main course.

Halfway through dinner, Biao clanked his glass. All eyes fell on him as he stood up. Bik looked like she would fly away.

“Everyone,” he said. “I have an announcement to make.” Hen-to had to hold Bik’s hand. Biao broke into a little smile.

“I passed my exams,” he said. We all broke into applause. Biao bowed.

“Thank you,” he said.

“That’s my baby!” Bik said. “Now he needs to get married!” Xin blushed as Biao rubbed his forehead.

“Mom,” he muttered. The nurse leaned against her husband, smiling.

“Why do you have to do that, dear?” Hen-to asked.

“Can you blame me?” she asked. “I want grandchildren!” Biao and Xin held their bright red faces. Chih laughed and smacked his brother on the back.

“You better get on it,” he said. Biao looked at him, frowning.

“Shut up,” he hissed, sitting down. Chih looked up to Bik and Hen-to’s eyes on him.

“What?” he asked.

“Don’t you have something to share?” the nurse asked. Chih gave her an innocent look.

“Hm?” he asked. Biao nudged him in the arm.

“Come on, man,” he whispered. “Spit it out.” Chih lowered his eyes. I raised my eyebrow.

“What are your exam results?” I asked.

“Oh,” he said, softly. Bik narrowed her eyes at him.

“Chih?” she asked. My ear twinkled as I kept my focus on him. Was he… laughing?

“It’s not good,” he said.

“What?” the rest of the clan asked.

“I’m sorry,” Chih said. Biao had the same facial expression I did. Bik’s eyes widened as she started to panic. Hen-to raised his eyebrow.

“What grade did you make?” he asked.

“Not good,” his younger son mumbled. I could’ve sworn that he was trying to keep from laughing. What are you up to? Bik frowned as her face turned pale.

“Will you have to repeat your final year?” she asked.

“No, I don’t think I will,” Chih said. “I mean, what’s the point?” Bik broke down trembling.

“What does that mean?” she asked. Hen-to had to hold her up by this point. Biao turned to him, frowning. Chih lifted his head, grinning.

“It means I made two zeros and a one on all of my exams!” he bragged. The rest of the clan was quiet before it sank in. Bik’s face turned bright red.

“Don’t do that to me!” she shouted. “You had me thinking you failed.” Biao slapped his brother in the head.

“Why would you do that?” he asked. Chih gave him a goofy smile as he shrugged.

“My bad,” he said. “I just had to do it.”

“Jerk,” Biao muttered. Once Bik calmed down, she perked up. She smiled and clapped her hands together.

“I’ve got a doctor and lawyer now!” she said. “This calls for a toast!” Bik picked up her glass. “To Biao and Chih’s successes!”

“Cheers!” we all said. Glasses clinked all over the table before we all took a drink. I happened to look over and notice Bik’s eyes on me. Oh crap. Don’t you do it. We talked about this. Don’t you do it. Don’t you do it.

“Ju, don’t you have any good news to share?” she asked. Damn it! I mean, this had to come out sometime, but I wanted to be sure that I was out of the critical time of pregnancy. I wanted my chances of miscarriage to be lower before I told anyone. All eyes fell on me. I lowered my chopsticks. Yao held my hand.

“Ju?” Mei asked.

“It’s okay,” Bik whispered. “You have a doctor and nurse to take care of you.” I pressed my lips together.

“I do have an announcement to make,” I said. I turned to Yao. He gave me a nod as if to say it was okay. I lifted my head.

“We’re having a baby!” I said. The rest of the clan stared me with big eyes.

“Wait…” Mei said. “Are you…?”

“Yes,” Yao and I said together. The mothers broke down cheering. Mei broke into a huge grin.

“Congratulations!” Xin said.

“Thank you,” Yao said. I smiled and took a drink of my tea. The waiter came around and collected our dirty plates.

“Waiter!” Hen-to said, sticking his hand up in the air. “We’re ready for dessert.”

Around ten o’clock, I could hear a soft whisper as the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I glanced around behind me, but there was no one there.

“Something wrong?” Yao whispered. I turned back, shaking my head.

“I just thought I heard something,” I said. “Excuse me.” I stood up and walked down the hall to the bathroom. I couldn’t even hear Yao calling my name. What was happening to me? Why was I leaving the table? Where was I going?

I came down to the end of the hall. Waiting for me was Shion with her feet inches off of the ground. I tilted my head.

“You,” I said. “What are you doing here?” Shion lifted her head.

“You’re here,” she said.

“What am I doing here?” I asked. Shion stretched her arm in the air.

“The person who called me is finally here,” she said. I looked around with a confused look on my face.

“Where?” I asked. “I do not see anyone else.” Shion walked over to me and placed her hand upon my stomach. I tried to push her away.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said. “He’s the one who called me here.”

“Wait… He? How do you know it’s going to be a boy?”

“I listened to his voice even before he arrived.”

“What are you talking about? Who are you?”

Shion backed up and bowed. “I haven’t properly introduced myself. I am called Shion and I listen to the voices of certain unborn children.”

“Huh?” I asked. She looked down at my stomach.

“He’s got quite a story to tell me,” she added. I started to back away.

“What the hell are you talking about?” I asked. “Look, I don’t know what you are going on about, but you are creeping the hell out.” Shion’s eyes seemed to glow in the dark.

“Do you even the story that he has to tell?” she asked.

“What are you talking about?!” I yelled. “What story? I’m only three and half weeks pregnant. I won’t be able to tell what gender the baby’s going to be! Enough with this bullshit! You are freaking me!” When I looked again, she was gone. I darted my eyes back and forth. Where did she go? That’s when I heard her lay it all out for me in my ear.

"Your son is destined to change the fate all humans as the end drafts narrow. I will be back to hear more of his story in the near future."

When I turned around, I found that I was alone. When I returned to the table, I smiled and acted like nothing was wrong. But, I still couldn’t shake the feeling that something bad was heading for us all.

“Is something wrong?” I heard someone ask.

“Hm?” I asked, turning my head. Yao had a concerned look on his face. I blinked before I smiled.

“No,” I said. “Nothing’s wrong. Nothing at all.”

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