Tea Leaves and Red Silk

Rehearsal Dinner

Match Twenty-Eight: Rehearsal Dinner:

-Present Day-

The rehearsal dinner began at four in the afternoon. The bride-to-be, Ju, wore jeans and a pink tank top today. The adults of the clan whispered among each other about her clothing choice.

"Are you sure you are okay with wearing that?" Fei asked her from the bedroom door.

"Sure it is," Ju said. "I don't want to get my mother's dress dirty before the big day." On the surface, she looked so cheerful. However, there was no real joy to be held.

Yao and Ju stood before the clerk of the courthouse and walked them through the process. The old man looked them with his shifting eyes.

"Are you sure you want to do this?" he whispered.

"Yes," Ju said without thinking. Her tone was so sure, but her lips trembled. Yao squeezed her hand as if to calm her down. The clerk shoved up his glasses.

"Very well," he said. "Do you need me to explain what you need to do again?"

"Yes," Ju said in a rushed voice.

"And you, sir?" the clerk asked Yao.

"Yes," he said.

"Very well," the clerk said. "When will this wedding take place."

"July eighth," the couple said. The clerk looked through his planner.

"How does ten in the morning sound?" he asked.

"We'll take it," the pair it. The clerk filled out the information in his planner.

"Alright," he said. "Would you like to pay in a deposit or cash?"

"Deposit," Yao said. He slid forward his bank card. Once the deposit was paid and the date for the wedding was confirmed, Ju knew that she couldn't back out now. Despite continuing to die inside, she knew that this was her fate.

Dinner was at six o'clock. Most of the countries showed up for the feast. It was supposed to be a festive celebration. However, one couldn't escape the feeling of this being more like a wake than a rehearsal dinner. The bride-to-be put on a brave face beside Yao. Kiku stared down at his drink. Ivan hid mostly in the back corner.


Yao still doesn't know about my personal problem in the bedroom. Ever since he caught me beating myself with the dish rag, he looks at me with those eyes of concern. He rose to his feet with a glass in his hand.

"I would like to propose a toast to our impending marriage!" Yao announced.

"Cheers!" the guests cheered. Marriage. It felt like the final execution to my soul. Don't get me wrong, I love Yao. I don't think I can stop loving him. To be honest, he has turned into an enabler. My beloved is an enabler to my own self-destruction. I can't tell him, either. He won't believe me. Why would it? I'm not sure if I'm imagining my drama anymore. If that's the case, why? What the hell am I so afraid of?

Whatever the case is, I have two weeks to deliver my answer before my final execution. I drink my wine and eat what can be called my last meal. As I drink, my eyes shifted over to Mr. Honda sitting further down the table.

-Ju on Kiku-

Every time I see Mr. Honda, he looks like he wants to tell Yao and I something. I have heard that he's been in and out of hospitals and therapy over the past two years. No one is willing to guess what is wrong with him. However, I have gotten a look into his eyes yesterday.

They look like they have seen hell or something worse. (I am sure that the latter is even possible.) However, he appears to ache to tell us, anyone, what's been bothering him. I don't think that he knows where to begin. Yao and Mrs. Honda don't seem to know how to ask the questions. I myself don't know how to ask either. Tonight doesn't seem like the appropriate time to ask Mr. Honda either.

I lowered my glass and shuddered. I am still not used to the bitter wine that my clan still sells. Strangely, this brand is one of our top sellers. I fail to see why people like this wine so much. I push aside that thought as my mind returns to Kiku. Maybe I will ask Yao later tonight. I pick up my chopsticks and my attention focuses on Ivan in the back corner.

-Ju on Ivan-

Ah yes, him. I still don't know what we are going to do with him. Ivan still seems to linger onto Yao even now. Ever since Yao and I became lovers, Ivan looked depressed and he won't leave my beloved alone. I am thankful for getting those DNA results on Junjie, but Yao told me there are strings attached. He refuses to tell me what they are, but that already has me worried.

Yao held my hand again. I turned my head and saw him giving me a little smile.

"Don't worry so much," his eyes told me. "Just enjoy tonight." I smile awkwardly. My mind didn't want to seem to do that as I looked over at Kiku and Ivan for the rest of the night.

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