Tea Leaves and Purple Robes

3:00 a.m., Invasion, and Sleepless Worry

Match Fourteen: 3:00 a.m., Invasion, and Sleepless Worry:

-Ju-

I can’t sleep. It’s not because of the baby. Jing sleeps really well at night. No, there’s something else I am worried about. I looked up at my sleeping child in his basinet. I have taken to put him down there because I can’t move the crib out into my room. Or rather, Yao doesn’t want me to.

“Jing’s going to be fine in his room,” my husband insisted. “I had new a security system installed around the house, remember?” Somehow, that did little to ease me. I had fears that that witch woman could still get in my house.

I looked at the clock at my back. Three in the morning? I should be asleep by now. But if I do, I won’t be able to keep an eye on my son. I shook my head to myself. I really need to sleep. Why can’t I stop worrying like this.

My eyes turned back to my son’s chest. He looked so precious. I gently ran my finger on his little forehead. I kissed the skin.

“Good night, sweetie,” I whispered. I stared at the clock again. Today had been kind of dull. I had gotten back into work. Yao, Hen-to, and Fei had been keeping the clan’s finances stable and afloat. Some of the clients were happy to see me again. (Guess they got sick of talking to mean all the time. It’s kind of strange to me in a way. Most of the old partners were old men anyway. Kind of makes me glad in a way.) After morning business, Yao and I had lunch in the den. I wanted to eat outside but it was too cold. Oh well, maybe next weekend. My husband turned to me.

“It’s good to see you working again,” he said.

“Uh-huh,” I said, shoving a dumpling in my mouth. He eyed me with a serious look on his face.

“How have you been doing?” Yao asked. “Tell me honestly.” I glared up at him as I swallowed my food.

“I’m doing better,” I said. “I am still trying to sleep. No, I do not want any remedies to help me either.”

“Alright,” he said. I gave him a little smile.

“That’s sweet of you to ask about my well-being,” I said. Yao chuckled.

“I have to care about you,” he said. “I’m your husband.” I smiled and took another bite of my food. I rested my head on his lap.

“I love you,” I said. Yao stroked my hair.

“I love you too, dear,” he said. The baby started to cry. I set down my bowl.

“I’ve got it,” I said. I pushed myself to my feet and walked across the den to tend to my child. I pulled Jing into my arms.

“Shhh. Shhh,” I whispered. “I’m here. Don’t worry. Don’t. worry.” Jing quieted down after I got him so food and changed his diaper. I returned to the couch and finished up lunch.

“He’s good?” Yao asked.

“Yeah,” I said. The rest of the evening was rather quiet. I got caught up on the work, tended to Jing, had dinner, watched some TV, and went to bed.

Which leads me back to my current situation.

I lay curled up on the cot in the den with Jing by my side. I’ve always loved the big window near the back door. I got a view of the courtyard and Mei’s and Kee’s houses. The quiet should’ve helped me sleep that night. It did quite the opposite. What was the point of sleeping anymore?

I got up and went to the bathroom.

When I got back to the den, I had the nagging feeling that something wasn’t right. I slowly poked my head around the corner.

A figure was standing over my son’s basinet. From what I could see it was the back of a woman. My mind flashed back to times Allison was in my house. Could I creep down to the kitchen and get a knife? My phone was upstairs. There were phones in the kitchen and den as well. But could I reach either one without being seen?

“There’s no need to do that,” a voice said in the den. My heart froze in my chest. I slowly turned my head. The woman still stood with her back turned to me. I gulped.

“Who are you?” I asked, trying to sound tough. “What are you doing to my child?”

“Your child?” the woman asked.

“Yes! That is my son!” I shouted. The woman chuckled to herself. I resisted the urge to turn and run. This woman slowly turned her head. It wasn’t Allison but I was still in panic.

“Who are you?” I asked. The woman chuckled again.

“Call me, Hecate,” she said. “A pleasure to meet you.” I glared at her.

“What do you want with my son?” I asked. “Why are you here?” Hecate smiled.

“You have a cute baby,” she said. I gritted my teeth.

“Get out of my house,” I hissed. Why was I still trying to keep my voice down? This was my house. This bitch was standing over my son uninvited. How did she even get past our security system?

“If you lay a hand on my baby I will kill you,” I said. My voice was rising. Hecate put up her hand.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” she said. “We don’t have to get violent here! I just wanted to see the baby. I don’t know why my mum is so interested in this little brat anyway.” I glared at her.

“Mother?” I asked. “Don’t tell me…” She smiled and bowed her head.

“That’s right!” Hecate said in a sing-songy voice. “My name is Hecate Mayfair, oldest daughter of Allison Mayfair. Pleased to meet you—again.” I felt my face turning red.

“Get out of my house!” I shouted. “Get out or I will call the police!” Hecate put up her hands.

“Fine,” she said. “No need to be violent. I’ll leave.” Hecate walked over to the glass back door. Her fingertips touched the glass before turning her head.

“You have a cute baby, though,” she said. Then Hecate had disappeared. I sank down to my knees. I found my body shaking as I panted. I wasn’t afraid.

I was pissed!

Now her family was harassing my baby? No. I will not take this shit anymore. I pushed myself to my feet and held my child in my arms.

I didn’t go back to sleep for the rest of the night.

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