Tea Leaves and Gold Pins

Work, Questions, and Kiss

Match Twenty-Seven: Work, Questions, and Kiss:


Things between Yao and I are going smoothly so far. Hen-to and Fei just finished the paperwork to complete the partnership between my clan and Yao. He really is a good man. Yet, I can't shake the feeling that something really bad will happen if I try to get close to him outside of business.

Today shouldn't be too bad. We're just looking for a new building to set up shop in. Fei and Hen-to looked at all of the information for me beforehand. It be next year before I can do most of this stuff myself. I waited for Yao at the front glass doors of the vacant building. Fei and Hen-to are taking care of things back at the office. I should be fine, right? I mean, it's broad daylight and we already set the unspoken boundaries when we first met. He's a good man who will respect them, I'm sure of that. If we keep it like that, everything should be just fine.

I drew in a heavy breath. Okay, no problem!

I looked up and noticed a taxi cab pull up to the lot. He's here!, I thought. I did my best to straighten up my looks as the door opened just a couple of feet away from me. I put on a proper smile as he stepped out.

"Good afternoon, Wang-qianbei," I said with a hand. I glanced up to see him hold out a hand to me.

"Please," he said. "Just call me Yao."

"Yes sir," I said as I straightened up. I clapped my hands together. "Shall we go in?"

"Yes," he replied. "After you." His tone is suggesting that he is starting to accept me as the new boss. Maybe because he has to now in order to keep his business flowing. Fine by me, it makes my work much easier for me today. As expected, the inside was pitch black. I reached around for a light switch.

"That probably won't work," Yao spoke up. "They've cut off the power from this place ten years ago."

"Did you bright a light?" I asked.

"Sure, hang on," he replied. Yao reached into his bag and pulled out two flashlights. He tossed one at me.

"Thank you," I said as I caught it. We turned them on and continued our walk. My eyes kept trailing back behind me. I still had so many questions to ask Yao.

"How were things between you and my father?" I asked.

"Good," he said. I glanced at him again.

"How do you mean?" I asked. Yao kind shrugged at me.

"We were on good terms before he died," he said. "Why do you ask?" I shook my head.

"Do you think I'll be as good as him?" I asked.

"I can't say," Yao replied. "Why would you ask?" I shrugged at him.

"Just curious," I said. "I just find it a bit odd that you've been dealing with my father sine I was a child and I didn't really recognize you until the first meeting together." He nodded in silence. I flashed my light over to the left.

"Look," I whispered. "This place has an elevator. Hope it doesn't have to be repaired."

"Probably not," my partner said. "The first floor itself looks almost new."

"Well, if all goes well," I said. "We can call the people and tell them that we're interested in buying, right?"

"Correct," Yao said. I nodded a bit as we came to the stairs.

"How many floors are in this building?" I asked. He took a moment to think.

"About four or five I suspect," he replied. I gave off a low whistle.

"I'm glad I don't wear heels," I muttered to myself.

"You say something?" I heard the older man ask. I only shook my head. Long periods over silence lead people into long stored away thoughts. I found this to be so as Yao and I walked up to the second floor. I glanced behind me at him again.

"Yao," I spoke up. I noticed a curious look on his face.

"Yes?" he asked. I paced myself to ask that old reoccurring thought that just wouldn't leave me head.

"Have you seen that tower?" I asked.

"Sorry?" he asked. I should've stopped there, but something inside of me just wouldn't shut up. I drew in another breath before speaking.

"During my exams," I began. "I had these strange dreams that I was drifting down through the darkened skies down to this cold black tower." I heard Yao pause in his tracks.

"What about this tower?" he asked. I stopped walking myself to think.

"Well," I said as I tried to picture it exactly in my mind. "From my point of view it looked to be made of black marble with the point that looked aimed right at my chest. I try to float away from it, but the tower slowly but surely keeps dragging me down towards it. The more I try, the more it gets worse. I even hear screaming coming from it as I get closer."

"Screaming?" Yao asked with an eyebrow raised now. I nodded at him.

"Then, I hear like this child-like voice whispering, 'Don't let the devil get me,'" I added. I paused on that thought. "Could it be because of this old file that my father tried to translate, but abandoned in the late 90's?" I asked.

"That's enough!" Yao snapped at last. I blinked at him.

"Is… something wrong?" I asked.

"I don't know what you are talking about with this tower and that file is long gone!" he barked. "Now don't ever mention it again!" I threw up my hands at him.

"Okay, okay," I said. "You didn't have to snap at me. I won't mention it ever again." Yao himself took in a breath.

"Forgive me," he said. "Shall we continue on our tour?" I nodded at him with big eyes.

"Why yes," I said in a small voice. We started to walk up the stairs again. The rest of the tour went on without a single word. The building passed our inspection. However, that whole time, I just couldn't shake the feeling that something was following us, watching the whole time. I wanted to brush it off as nothing after I crept myself out for talking about that stupid tower dream again, but somehow I had a hard time of convincing myself of that. By the time we got door stairs, night had fallen.

"Oh crap," I mumbled to myself.

"Something wrong?" Yao asked. I turned to him, frowning.

"Our inspection went on longer than I thought," I said. "I didn't even arrange for a ride back and the buses stopped running twenty minutes ago." I hung my head in stress.

"Now what?" I asked.

"Can't call them to pick you up?" he asked. I shook my head.

"They're probably in bed by now," I said. "I really don't want to wake them up." I sighed to myself.

"Oh well, let's like I'll have to call us a cab," I said. I pulled out my cell phone and dialed for a taxi to come pick us up.

"Hello?" I asked. "I would like a cab to come and pick us up the old Monkey building. Oh thank you! Thank you! Bye." I hung up and gave Yao a thumbs up.

"So how long do we have to wait?" he asked.

"Twenty minutes," I said.

"Alright," he replied. I rolled my shoulders for a bit.

"Right…" I mumbled to myself. The wait didn't turn out to be a long one to tell you the truth. I was just glad it was in the middle of summer. Yao and I ended up riding back to my villa in the cab. Again, my mind got lost in the silent thoughts. No tower or documents, this time. But about Yao himself. There is still so much I don't know about. I have many burning questions about him. So many that I don't even know where to start. I already vowed to myself that I would keep things on a professional level with him. So far, that's been working out rather well. It's not like I'm attracted to the guy or anything. Yet, I can't help but to get the feeling that something is going to screw up somewhere down the line. I just keep waiting for it to happen. It's like watching a car drive off a cliff in slow motion. I know it's going to happen, but it's not happening fast enough.

Suddenly, something caught my eye as the taxi drove into the city. You know how you catch something in the corner of your eye for one brief second, thinking it's a ghost or something? That drove me to stare right out the passing window. I could've sworn I saw a black shadow-like creature form outside. Gradually, it took form into a small child. A small girl child to be exact. I blinked hard at what I saw. The image only grew more vivid like I was watching a flipbook come to life before me. The shadow-like child began to develop a face. My heart began to race with I saw the face of a little girl looking at me with blank eyes. She held a stuffed bunny rabbit to her chest. Despite the whole car moving, she just remained where she stood as everything else moved around her. Just seeing her face reminded me of the dreams of the tower again. It flashed before my eyes into one continuous string. No matter how hard blinked, the images only grew stronger in attacking my brain. And then, I heard that little voice from my dreams again. Those words that I hoped that I would never hear again.

"Don't let the devil get me."

"Ju-furen?" I heard someone ask behind me. I jumped when someone grabbed onto my shoulder. Yao looked at me with a concerned face. I blinked at him in silent shock.

"Are you feeling okay?" he asked me. "You just started trembling and mumbling something under your breath. Did you see something outside?" I panted in response as I struggled to regain myself. From there, I don't really know how to explain what drove me to do what I did next. It just happened when I leaned in forward and kissed him on the lips. I'm sure Yao himself didn't know what to do. He didn't seem to expect this, but yet he didn't push me off either. That kiss must haven't lasted for at least ten minutes before I pulled away, blushing. Yao looked at me, blinking.

"What was that for?" he asked. I couldn't… no. I didn't answer. My hands closed in balled up fists. I just turned back to the window with a burning red. That little girl was no longer outside the window. Yao and I didn't speak for the rest of the way home. I didn't realize it at the time, but that kiss became the start of my unraveling. I just didn't really take the time in my embarrassment to measure the damage just yet.

The cab pulled up at my house. I paid the driver for both of us and reached all the way to the house that I lived alone in now. I closed and locked the door tightly behind me. It was then I finally gasped what I had done in that little kiss. I sank to my knees and buried my head in my hands.

Now why did I go and do that for?

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