Tea Leaves and Gold Pins

First Impressions, Wang Yao, and Connect

Match Nine: First Impressions, Wang Yao, and Connections:

"Bye-bye," I whispered to my uniform on Saturday morning. I made the right sleeve of my jacket wave at me. "See you Monday." I folded up the whole thing and put it in the drawer. Here it is today. My meeting with Wang Yao. I have to execute this just right. First impressions are deadly important in this case. I want… No, I need to be taken seriously today. I need to show that I am competent. This is way I am once again wearing traditional clothes.

I stood up and looked in the mirror at myself. I straightened my yellow and green cheongsam dress. Bik and Cai helped me picked out my clothes. I didn't understand why they kept smiling to themselves.

"Something amusing?" I asked. The women kept smiling to themselves.

"Come on!" I said. "I want to be in a good mood this morning." The women only smiled at me.

"Oh, you'll find out soon," Cai said. I looked at her oddly.

"What do you mean?" I asked. They fought to keep back another giggle as there came a knock on my door.

"Who is it?" I asked.

"Are you ladies done in there?" Fei asked.

"Just about!" Bik said.

"How much longer?" Fei asked.

"Just give us two more minutes," his wife said.

"Okay!" he called. I turned back to Cai and Bik.

"So, what were you giggling at?" I asked. Bik lightly panted me on the shoulders.

"You'll find out when you are a little more grown up," she whispered. I looked at her with a strange look on my face.

"Huh?" I asked. Both women left my room, smiling. I can't take when they keep secrets from me. Especially if they seem to be planning something for me. Now, I'm really going to have to watch my back now.

But right now, I can't worry about that.

I drew in a deep breath. Right, I thought. Get through this meeting and build a good relationship with Wang-qianbei. Everything will be fine.

I nodded a bit.

Okay! I turned to the door and left the room.

I had barely been in my father office since during my training as a child. An icy feeling pricks my arms and legs as I put my hand on the gold and bronze-colored doors. It almost feels like he's still in there having his meetings. I leaned my ear against the cold metal of the door. Silence. I think it's making my spine freeze up. I can't back out now. They are waiting inside for me.

I pushed up the door and went inside.

Hen-to, Fei, and Yao all waited in my father's office for me. I put on my trained poker face to the crowd of three.

"Good morning," I greeted them. The men bowed back to me. Okay, good so far. I took a seat at my father's desk.

"I am so sorry for your loss," Wang told me.

"Thank you," I murmured. "I didn't expect him to leave us so soon."

"It is nice to see you again. I haven't seen you since you were so little."

I looked puzzled behind my poker face. He's been here before? When? "Excuse me, but when was the last time we met?"

"Oh. You were really little."

I tried to place it further back, but gave up when I remembered what I was supposed to do. "Alright. What is your manner business today?"

"Yes. I have come by to renew trade agreements with you today."

"I see." I turned to Fei and Hen-to. "The papers."

"Right," Fei said. He handed me the key. My father made me memorize every single drawer in his desk. Boy did I want to kick that fine piece of wood so badly. Papers are in the top right drawer of the desk. Here goes.

I unlocked the drawer and pulled the file of papers. "Let's see here. Wang-qianbei, right?"

"That's right," he said.

"Hang on," I said. I looked through the various files in the folder. I found his right away. "Here you go," I said as I pulled out the right papers and handed them to him.

"Thank you Liao-furen," he said. Wang pulled out a pen and made the right signatures. I watched as he built up another few years with the Liao clan business. I couldn't hold back my questions any longer.

"When did you first start dealing with my father?" I asked. Wang glanced up at me.

"I'm sorry?" he asked. I sat back straight some in father's big leather chair. I shrugged a bit at him.

"Just a curious question," I said. "I just wanted to know how long you and my father have been working together. You don't have to answer if you don't want." Wang flipped over to the next page.

"I don't mind," he said. "It will be thirteen years this June." I froze at his answer.

"Thirteen years?" I asked. "In June?"

"That's right," he said.

"When exactly in June?"

Wang sat back to think about that for a moment. "Let's see… I believe that it was the twelfth," he said. "Yeah, I'm pretty sure of that."

I sat there, trying to maintain my poker face.

"Oh!" Hen-to spoke up. "It was the same day as our former lady's funeral. I remember now!" Little sparks of my memory started to light up from there. I was four years old at that time. I don't remember much about my mother's funeral. All I remember was standing near a pond and seeing a man in white walk into the house. I thought he looked handsome for my four-year-old mind then. I watched him for a long time until he turned and saw me. Or at least I think he saw me. I just remember turning away and blushing. Yeah, I said that right. I, a four-year-old little girl, blushed at the sight of an older handsome man.

Wang finished signing the papers before turning them over to me. "Here you are," she said. "Again, I am sorry for your loss."

I bowed my head at him. "Thank you. I am alright now. Is there anything else I can do for you today?"

Wang-qianbei shook his head at me. "No. May I take my leave now?"

I gave him a little smile. "Yes, you may."

Wang stood to his feet and bowed his head. "Nice talking to you."

Hen-to, Fei, and I all bowed to him. "I can't wait to work with you in the future," I said.

"Same here to you," Wang told me. Fei came over to his side.

"I'll show you out the door," he whispered.

"Thank you," Wang murmured back. Both men walked out of the office. I turned to Hen-to as he still stood beside me.

"How was that?" I asked. He gave me a shrug.

"You tell me," he said. I looked forward at the portrait of father, mother, and me as a baby near the back door.

I think… that went rather well for a first meeting.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.