Tea Leaves and Gold Pins

Mother, Father, and Business Meetings

Match Two: Mother, Father, and Business Meetings:

To get a better understanding of myself, I will talk about my late parents.

Our parents shape who we are in life. Whether it's for the good or bad, they mold us into the people we will be in the future. Mother and Father shaped started me on this path of my life.

My Mother was Kim Daiyu before she married my father. From my notes, she was could be called an angel. For that reason, they couldn't figure out how she could be related to her older twin brother, Kim Jianjun. I will get back to him at some point of the story. Back to my mother.

Daiyu had many admirers growing up. Just looking at pictures of her when she was younger made it easier to understand why. My mother was a girl growing up. She didn't only have her looks, however. Many people described her as gentle, top of her classes, powered with a quiet strength, patience with people, and skillful as a young lady. All of these traits helped her make friends easily. Yet, she had a couple of problem with her growing up.

First off, my mother was a sickly child. Her health never really stayed stable throughout her life. She ended up in and out of hospitals at an early age. Her parents even considered homeschooling her at one point due to her illness. My mother was held back a year because she missed too many days of school and couldn't keep up. Despite all of that, Daiyu kept a cheerful attitude about life.

"It's so nice to have so many people come and visit me when I'm sick," she said during her last year of junior high. My mother even got to bond with all of the doctors and nurses at the hospitals that she stayed in. This was well and all, but she still had her other problem to deal with.

As everyone can guess now, my uncle, Jianjun, was my mother's other problem. To say that he's the black sheep of the family is a huge understatement. He's a con man to sum it up. My uncle has been one since his last year of grade school. It started out as a way to get attention. Jianjun used his ill twin sister as a way to have sympathy from all of the adults in their small town. He was always smooth with his words and could attract people with his twisted charm. As he and mother enter junior high, attention didn't suit his taste as it used to.

My uncle and mother grew up in what the West would call working class. Their parents worked to support their children and Daiyu's health care problems. As soon as the twins hit junior high, my uncle began crave money. His sister was growing up into an attractive young women. Just like in the past, he knew how to exploit her to his advantage. Lucky for my mother, she had her two childhood friends, Fei-xiansheng and Hen-to-xiansheng, to keep her safe from her own brother.

Their function worked in an odd way until my mother fell in love with my father.

My father, Liao Khai, was born into a rich family. He and his mother spent most of the summers out in the country. He met my mother when they were fifteen in the summer of '83. My uncle spotted him first. When he saw my father's clothes, he thought that he get easy money out of him. He had the whole set up to rip off my soon-to-be father then. My mother would be the centerpiece of the con.

However, things would not go as planned for my uncle this time.

My father was bored at the time and decided to check things out in the countryside. It never really impressed him, but he did so anyway so that he could be impressed later. He wanted to buy some treats, so he wandered into Yangxin County to find a local store. My uncle studied Khai for the past three days then. They trailed him to the candy store. Jianjun turned to his sister.

"You remember the plan, right?" he asked. "Just go in, woo him with your charm, and everything will go smoothly from there. Got me?" My mother nodded uneasily. Usually, she went along with her brother's schemes just to keep him happy. This time, however…

Jianjun patted her on the back. "What are you waiting for?" he asked. "Go!"

"Okay…" Daiyu mumbled. Then, she crossed the street and walked into the candy store. Khai looked at the choices even though he already knew what he wanted. After a good couple of minutes, he made his selection to head over to the counter with. His hand reached out for the last sugarcane when my mother reached for it as well. Khai looked up and saw this baby doll face looking at him.

"Uh…" he said. "This one is mine."

"No," my mother said. "I want this one."

"But I was here first."

My mother lowered her head in fake sorrow. "Please! I just got out the hospital and I hadn't sugarcane in so long! I'll pay you back, I promise. Just please…" My father tried to resist her sweet little teenage doe eyes at that time. No one could resist that classic charm then. My father dropped his shoulders and groaned.

"I really wanted this sugarcane," he complained. Khai turned to see Daiyu pouting at him now.

"Fine," he groaned. She bowed her head at him.

"Thank you," she said. But then, Daiyu paused. Her graceful baby doll face flooded with worry.

"Oh no!" she wailed. My father gave her a strange look.

"What now?" he asked.

"I don't have enough money to pay for it," she admitted in a small, embarrassed voice. She pulled out her wallet and turned it over. Only two coins fell out on the ground. Khai groaned aloud.

"I suppose you want me to pay for it too, huh?" he asked. My mother gave him a nervous chuckle.

"I'm so sorry," she mumbled. Khai rolled his eyes.

"You're lucky you're kind of cute," he mumbled. So, my father paid for the last whole sugarcane for my mother. My uncle watched them the whole time. He grinned in victory. However, mother twisted the whole plan around from there.

She invited him to take a walk with her. "It's the least I can do for taking your sugar cane," she insisted. Khai dropped his shoulders.

"Why not?" he asked. They took the back roads through the countryside. There, my mother broke down and told the truth.

"I can't go through with this," Daiyu admitted. My father gave her a strange look.

"What are you talking about?" he asked. My mother paused and turned to him.

"My brother is a con man," she said. "You're his latest target." Khai blinked at her.

"What do you mean?" he asked. My mother lowered her head.

"You're rich and he wants cheat you out of your money," she explained calmly. "He always uses me in his cons."

"But I don't get it," my father said. My mother fidgeted with her fingers as she blushed.

"I kind of like you," she mumbled. Khai frowned at her.

"How can I be sure that you're not willingly helping him?" he asked.

"Just be careful," Daiyu said. She handed him the sugarcane. Khai blinked at her.

"Why are you giving me this?" he asked.

"Just be careful," Daiyu said. Then, she ran away as fast as she could. Father looked on at her with a strange impression about her.

From there, they kept in touch through the years. Khai came to see Daiyu every summer. They didn't really get together until they went to college in Beijing. By age twenty-three, they were married. However, the story isn't finished yet. Every clan needs an heir to keep it going. They tried for four years to have a baby. Then in '94, I was born. However, my mother had a difficult pregnancy. The doctors worried about her having a baby. Some of them even suggested that she get an abortion for the sake of her health. My mother refused.

"I am having this baby!" she protested. My father just wanted to make her happy. So, he supported her through the whole nine months. However, he was disappointed that I was born because he wanted a son and not daughter.

"I'm so sorry," my mother apologized to her husband in her hospital bed. He gave her a light kiss on the forehead.

"It's not your fault," he whispered. My father tried to risk the One-Child policy by having a baby an old friend of his. That plan fell through when she couldn't get pregnant by him. Over time, Khai's sperm count had dropped too low and he couldn't have any more children. In the end, he had to deal with me being the potential heir in the end. My mother was happy with the short time that she spent with me on the last years of her life. As far as I remember back, she was always in bed sick. Bik-taitai and the other women of the clan did their best to take good care of Daiyu. Even though everyone knew that she wouldn't last long, they tried to make the most of it with my mother. Father even sat my crib right now to her bed so that his wife could be close to her baby in the first years of her. By the time I was four, Daiyu lost her life from her life-long illnesses. That two loses that my father never really recovered from: fertility and his true love.

Back at the House

Wang Yao sat down with Fei and Hen-to in Khai's office. Hen-to leaned forward.

"It's so good that you came in today, Wang-qianbei," he said. Yao looked at each of the men with his eyes.

"Are you sure that this is a good idea to talk about business today?" he asked.

"Yes!" the advisors said in one breath.

"It's better to get this meeting out of the way before that dirty rat Jianjun catches wind of our lord's death and tries to seize control of the clan for himself," Fei confessed. Yao nodded once.

"This is true," he admitted. Hen-to heavily breathed out.

"It's a good thing we can all still speak ill of the living!" he snapped as he rose to his feet. "Our lady's brother has been a disgraceful plague to her since they were born! I cuss his cock!" Yao lightly shushed him.

"That is not necessary right now," he said. Hen-to settled back down in his chair.

"Forgive me," he said. The men waited until everything went calm again.

"May I ask who the head of this clan is now?" Yao asked.

"His daughter," the men said. A shocked look came over the third man's face.

"What?" he asked. "But she's only a child!"

"Better to have the clan's future in the hands of a child than a crook," Hen-to reasoned.

"But she's only sixteen," Yao pointed out.

"She'll be seventeen in a few days," Hen-to said.

"Plus we'll be running the clan behind her until she comes of age," Fei added on. "Would you like to meet her when she goes home from the burial?" Yao shifted in his seat some.

"I guess it couldn't hurt…" he mumbled. Hen-to gave him a calm smile.

"The clan will be in good hands," he said. "I swear on my son's future to it!" Yao forced himself to smile back. Better to have the clan's future in the hands of a child than a crook.

Right…

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