Tea Leaves and Gold Pins

Old Money, Clan and Parents

Match Five: Old Money, Clan, and Parents:


Next up on my list is my clan itself. Oh buddy; there are so many ways to start up on them. Well, there is the history. My father is descended from old money. Old as the eighth century I believe. The clan's backbone was born from trade. My ancestors built their wealth off of silk, rice, and wine. Out of those three, wine was the top product that made the most money. The product list has changed and grown over the years, but wine always remained at the top of the Liao client most desired list.

My father was the first one to proudly admit that we at the clan made our own wine by hand. He took joy in telling me all about the different businesses the Liao clan did in the wine and trade business. He practically bragged about each detail forever. I made myself smile and nod. Why should I be rude? I just let him live in his pride when he talked about the clan business. That was all he had left when my mother died.

Now, it's up to me to keep his pride alive and running. It's lucky that I have much support from the clan to back me up.

About them, I feel it is appropriate to talk about my generation first because they are like my brothers and sisters to me. There are four boys and three girls between the six families. I will now start from oldest to youngest in the clan.

Chang Biao is Bik and Hen-to's son. I have already talked about him a bit, but I feel that there is more to be said about this man that I have admired for years. He is a doctor by profession. He works mostly in the Chinese countryside. Biao is Bik's pride and joy. She got him into a career in medicine. She introduced him to her medical books and took him to her clinic from time to time when he was a little boy. Over time, Biao became really good with medicine. When we younger, we always took our teddy bears and toys to him to "heal" them. He took confidence in his work. His parents' joy could be heard all the way from France when Biao announced that he was going to med school for college. He currently is half-way through his internship. He'll be a resident pretty shortly.

Now that he is on his way to being a successful doctor, Bik is now obsessed with him getting married. I've met his girlfriend last year. She's a good woman for him. Her name is Xin and she too is studying to be a doctor. A pediatrician to be exact. She and Bik get along so well. Xin is almost like a daughter to the nurse. I myself wonder she and Biao haven't fully gone through the engagement yet.

"Why don't you and Xin get married already?" I asked him out of curiosity one summer day. He turned to me with that big goofy grin of his.

"Because," he said. "That would be cheating, wouldn't it?" I gave him a funny look.

"Cheating on who?" I asked. "You don't have any other girlfriends." Biao leaned in close to my face.

"But I do have another girlfriend," he said. I raised an eyebrow at him.

"Who?" I asked.

"You!" Biao exclaimed. Then, he grabbed me by the waist and picked me up over his head, laughing. He called me his little girlfriend because I used to follow him around when I was a little girl.

Bo Chih isn't really a part of clan. He's kind of adopted. When Biao was seven years old, he found four-year-old Chih out of on the streets and took him home. Bik and Hen-to took him in as their own son and he's been with us ever since. Chih used to be a punky little asshole, but he grew up over time and polite young man. He has no desire to find his real parents.

"Why would I need to?" Chih asked. "This is my family here. I wouldn't have it any other way." During junior high, he developed a love for the judicial system. Hen-to and Bik encouraged him to pursue this dream and now his is applying to go to law school when he graduates. Even father, pushed Chih to become prosecution lawyer.

"It's very rare in this day and age that young people have any useful ambitions with their future," he told him.

"Thank you sir," he said with a bow. Chih and I get along rather well.

Song Kee is Fei and Cai's son. He is close to Chih's age. Those two are rather close together. From what I here, he is a miracle baby. His mother, Cai, had been pregnant the past two times before he was born. Both ended in miscarriage. The third time made her nervous.

"I don't want to lose another baby," she said in a trembling voice to her husband. He patted her on the head.

"It's okay," Fei told her. "This one will be just fine. Our baby's going to grow up healthy and strong."

"You think so?" she asked.

"I know so," he said. Everyone in our clan kept watch over her to be certain. Despite two miscarriage scares, Kee was born healthy. He's the type of person who's really smart, but very lazy. If you gave him the choice of studying for exams or napping, he would gladly take the nap. But, Kee means well when it's all said and done.

Qin Mei is my best friend in the clan. Her parents are Qin Chi ju and Wan. Mei is heavy in her weight, but not enough to a health risk. She reminds me a fluffy teddy bear. Mei-xiaojie is proud of her weight.

"I'm not fat, I'm fabulous!" she bragged to me so many times. I just smile and nod at her. Mei loves clothes and she loves to design them. She really wants her own line someday. Her mother constantly puts her down about everything from her weight to her dreams.

"Don't be so childish about such things," her mother constantly said. Mei's father, on the other hand, supported his daughter all the way.

"You will be great one day," he said. Mei acts my confidant when I am down or need help. She always been there for me as far as I can remember. Another about Mei-xiaojie is that she loves boys. I mean loves them. She could get a date pretty easily.

"You don't have to be a size zero to satisfy every boy you've met," is her motto. I do have to agree with her there; it is true.

Kim Szu is the final girl of my generation in the clan. Her parents are named Kim Lili and Hark. She's like a typical teenage girl. Clothes, boys, pop culture, and sweet things make her world go round. This little girl wants to be a singer when she grows up. I can't remember a day when some sort of pop music didn't float out of her room. Reminds me that I'm home. Sometimes I would peek in her room to see her singing along while using a hair brush as a microphone. She did it when she was eight and she still does it now. Szu may be loud, lazy, and stuck-up on the surface, but she's a good kid at heart. I've known her for years.

Finally, we come to the baby of the clan. Sun Qian was born the same year Szu was. His parents are Sun Man and Lew Tse. Now, why do his parents have two different last names? His biological father died in a car accident before his son was born. In fact, Tse was five and a half months pregnant with Qian when she heard the news. She sank into a depression for two months. Around seven months of her pregnancy, Tse met Man at the counseling center for her depression. He worked there, in fact. They hit it off pretty well and ended up dating. The couple didn't get married until Qian was three.

His great loves are girls and soccer. In fact, I believe that Qian has a quasi-girlfriend already. He's trying to ask her out, but hasn't had the nerve yet. We all tease him mercilessly about the girl. The poor boy gets all embarrassed and yells at us to shut up. It's just so much fun to see him worked up like that. Qian and Szu have been close since they were babies. So of us in the clan believe that they have thing for each other, but don't realize it yet. What do I think about that? I'll just let them be for now.

Okay, I covered the kids. Now to move on to the adults.

The adults here are really loyal to my late father. They come to be supportive of me in the future when the time comes. Bik is like a mother to me. Hen-to and Fei will be behind me into next year. My siblings will support me just the same. Cai is always fun to do girly things with. The ladies have all been there for my mother. In fact, they only nice things to say about her. Same thing with the men. That went especially for Fei and Hen-to. They had a little crush on her when they younger. I believe that love stay remains to this day. Their wives know, but they keep quiet out of grace. Or rather, Cai does. Bik wouldn't stand for it.

"I will not compete will a ghost!" she warned her husband when he said he still loved my mother. Bik made that real clear. So, Hen-to does his best to keep his feelings to himself. I can see them in his and Fei's eyes. My mother seemed to be their first love. It's hard to forget your first love, you know?

I put down my pencil on my textbook. Thinking about my clan reminds me that I have to make a call to Mei and them. Yet, I have to study for my exams. I stared at my workbook and textbook for long moment. I finally dropped my shoulders.

I might as well make the call. It's going to bug me for the rest of the evening if I don't. I close up my workbook and flipped open my phone. I dialed Mei first like I always do.

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