Tea Leaves and Red Silk


Match Eight: Turmoil:

-Six Months Ago-

On the outside, Szu is doing fine. She still smiles. She still talks to her friends. The girl still socializes with people. She still loves to sing. Her laughter hasn't changed one bit. Szu still struggles in school, but nothing too serious as before. She still dresses the same and her diet hasn't changed. To everyone close to her, Szu is fine.

On the inside, she is damaged. She can't sleep with the lights off anymore. She gets scared when men outside of the clan touch her. Szu didn't get a good look at the man who raped her that night. Despite scrubbing her skin raw in the shower, she could still feel him on her. Her mind wouldn't let her let go of the image of his hands grabbing at her. Szu found herself waking up screaming and covered in sweat at nights. She can't even bring herself to talk about it. What would she say? Who else would believe her? Szu didn't get a good look at the guy. They would probably accuse her of seducing the guy and claiming he raped her out of retaliation for bad sex. She figured that it she could survive this, it would all go away. Qian refuses to let it go, however. Three weeks after the assault, he knocked on her bedroom door.

"Szu," he said. "We need to talk about it." She sat on the floor with her knees to her chest.

"I don't want to," she said with her voice muzzled.

"We can't keep avoiding this."

"Go away!" Szu wants to forget. Qian trying to talk to her about what happened keeps reopening old wounds. She never saw it coming. Her attacker grabbed her from behind and forced her to the floor. She didn't even see his face. Outside, Qian dropped his shoulders and sighed.

"Szu, this isn't going to go away," he said. "Let me help you. We'll go to the police together."


"Why not?"

"Who would believe me?"

"I believe you. Your mom believes you. Your dad believes you. Why wouldn't the police believe you?"

"I don't even know what he looked like."

"So? What's the one thing you remember about him?"

"I don't know!"


Inside, Szu put her hands over her ears and closed her eyes, whimpering. "Please, leave me alone! I just want it all to go away!"

"It will as soon as you let me help you!" Qian froze when he felt someone touch him on the shoulder. He turned his head and saw Lili frowning with a stern look on his face.

"Could you please leave?" he asked in a low voice. "Can't you see you're upsetting her?"


"Please leave."

Qian struggled to say something back, but upon realizing that his arguments would fall on deaf ears, he dropped his shoulders and walked out of the house. Still, that boy couldn't let the matter rest. If Szu and her parents weren't going to act, he would take matter into his own hands.

So, Qian went over to underground nightclub and talked with a close friend in the seedy bathroom.

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