Tea Leaves and Red Silk

Red Wedding Part 2

Match Thirty-One: Red Wedding Part 2:

"Please take your seats," the clerk said. The guests sat down in the benches behind the couple. Ju squeezed Yao's hand.

"We are gathered here today to witness this union between man and woman," the clerk said. He turned his eyes to the bridal couple. "Shall we begin?"

"Yes," Yao said. Ju had the face of a brave woman facing her execution.

-Ju's Mind-

She stood before a waiting crowd dressed up in their finest clothes. The prisoner pressed her lips together as the executioner read through his lines for the wedding. He turned to the hangman, Yao in his traditional wedding clothes.

"Wang, please say your vows," he said.

"Ju, I will love and protect you until death do we part," Yao said. "I know you are a strong woman, but I want to be supportive of you in love and marriage. I don't want to be a father or a guardian. I want to be a friend, partner, and husband. I promise to love and honor our vows forever." The clerk turned to Ju.

"Liao, please say your vows," he said. The bride stepped up and put the noose around her neck.

"I…" she began. The bride pressed her lips together as she looked around the guests eyeing her. She moved her hand to her chest.

"I love you, Yao, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you," Ju said. "I will honor and love you always. I will give you all of me—body, heart, and soul. Along with my love for you, I will be true to myself. I want you to make the better version of myself. I love you and look forward to spending the rest of my life with you."

"Please exchange rings," the clerk said. Yao and Ju exchanged wedding rings. The bride looked at her platinum and diamond ring on her finger as the noose tightened around her next.

"Yao, do you take Ju to be your wife to honor and love in sickness and health, for better or worse until death do you part?" the clerk asked.

"I do," Yao said.

"Ju, do you take Yao to be your husband to honor and love in sickness and health, for better or worse until death do you part?" the clerk asked.

"I do," Ju said. The clerk shoved the papers forward.

"Please stamp your names on the lines below," he said. Yao took the stamp and made his mark. Ju followed behind with her stamped signature.

"I now pronounce you man and wife," the city clerk said. "Please kiss your bride." With one romantic Judas-like kiss, the stand was kicked away from Ju's feet and she hanged there on display for her guests to see. For some reason, Ju was okay with all of this.


The reception went on through the night. Ju's worry that she had felt up until the worry had sank down into the floor and disappeared. A little smile came across her face. Yao squeezed her hand at the reception table.

"Happy?" he whispered. Ju closed her eyes and nodded.

"Yes," she said.

Meanwhile, Tina had slipped outside to make a quick phone call. She had just hung up when she noticed a sweet, vintage corvette parked outside the reception hall. The bridesmaid gave the car a cold glare as she walked up to it. Stefan happened to look up and notice her.

"Tina?" the Belgian asked. The American woman smacked the driver's car door.

"Go home, Stefan!" she said through gritted teeth. Stefan raised an eyebrow at her.

"I don't know what you are talking about," he lied.

"She is married now! She is never going to get back with you! Go home to Belgium! You are wasting your time!" Tina snapped. Stefan sighed and shook his head.

"Fine," he said. The bridesmaid put her hands on her hips as he drove away. I still don't trust that guy, she thought.

Back inside, Ju felt herself getting lost in her inner self's afterlife. I wonder what's going to happen now, she thought.

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