Tea Leaves and Silver Rings

Stefan, Uncle, and Haunting Images

Match Fifteen: Stefan, Uncle, and Haunting Images:

-Ju-

I still have a few problems on my hands. If you have been keeping up with this story so far, I don’t really need to repeat what they are. However, there are some new developments with them.

First, an update on my Stefan problem.

I had just got out of the shower this morning when I noticed Yao holding my cell phone. I noticed the disapproving look on his face. My hands slowed down as I dried my hair.

“Is… something wrong?” I asked.

“Why is he still calling you?” Yao asked. At first, I gave him a blank stare.

“Who?” I asked. He shoved my phone into my face. I stared at the screen and realized that I had one missed call. My eyes trailed up to my frowning husband.

“What were you doing looking at my phone?” I asked.

“It was buzzing and you weren’t in the room. I thought it was important and looked at the screen.”

It was then I began to see who he was talking about. “I have had nothing to do with him since last year.”

“Then why the hell does he still have your number?”

“I don’t know.”

“When did you give it to him?”

I rubbed my forehead. “It was last year, but I have never called him. I don’t even know what he wants right now.” By now, I am starting to get annoyed by my husband accusing me of something that I didn’t do.

“Excuse me,” I said. I snatched my phone out of Yao’s hand and walked back into the bathroom. I had some choice things to say in my head as I accessed my voice mail.

“You have one new message,” the operator said. “New message.”

“Hi, Ju, it’s me,” Stefan’s voice filled my ears. “I decided to stay in Beijing for a little bit longer. We really should catch up properly. I have missed you so much. Come out to Yao Ji Chao Gan this evening at six. I will be waiting.”

“End of messages,” the operator said. My heart stopped in my chest as I sank to my knees. Stefan… Why was I so uneasy about this?

Minutes later, I came back into our room. Yao looked at me with his arms across his chest.

“Well?” he asked. I clutched my phone in my hand.

“He’s staying in Beijing a little bit longer,” I said, lowering my eyes. I didn’t have to look up know what Yao was glaring at me.

“I’m not going to cheat on you,” I said.

“But he doesn’t seem to think that,” he said.

“Where is this jealousy coming from?”

“It’s not jealousy, it’s concern.”

I pretty gave up there. My arguments were just going to fall on deaf ears with him. As for Stefan, I don’t know what I’m going to do with him yet. I don’t know what he really wants with me. Mei, Tina, and Yao thinks that I’m going to end up having an affair. Maybe he might not want that. Maybe he just wants to talk. I will see what he has to say and that will be the end of it, right?

Now, for an update on my uncle.

It’s been quiet with him. Too quiet. I don’t like that. Hen-to and Fei have been keeping tabs on Jianjun’s moves ever since Yao and I got married. My uncle’s latest movements have me pretty concerned.

“What is he doing visiting Junjie in jail?” I asked.

“We have no idea,” Fei said. I rubbed my forehead and breathed out. I had an idea what he could be plotting, but something inside of me hoped that I would be wrong.

“You want us to intervene?” Hen-to asked.

“No, keep watching him,” I said. “Let me know if anything changes.”

“What about Hark and Lili?” Fei asked. “Shouldn’t we warn them?”

“I’ll talk to them myself,” I said. I leaned back in my chair and sighed. “The last thing I want to do is end up causing needless panic.”

“This isn’t needless panic! What if he gets out and comes to attack Szu again?”

“Which is why I’m going to talk to them first. They do need to know what’s coming for them, no matter what it could blow up into.”

“We’ll go with you.”

“No. I just let me talk to Hark and Lili in private. I want to keep this as simple as I can before I have all of the information that I need to act.” I eyed both advisors.

“Just don’t do anything rash, okay?”

“Okay,” Fei and Hen-to said.

“Good,” I said. “You are dismissed for now.” I didn’t move as Fei and Hen-to walked out of the room. Right from jump, I hated this. The worst part would be seeing the looks on Szu and her parents’ face when I would have to tell them. We all thought that we wouldn’t have to worry about Junjie until his trial date.

I pressed my hand to my forehead. Here goes. I picked up the phone sitting on the desk.

“Hey, Szu,” I said. “Are your parents home? Good, I need to speak with them right now.” I braced myself as I waited. I already had the words that I was going to say memorized in my head.

“Yes, Lili?” I asked. “We have a serious problem. I will be over at your house in five minutes to talk. Yes, this has to be said in person.” After a brief conversation, I hung up the phone and sighed as I buried my head in my hands. I needed a moment.

That just leaves me with one more problem.

I haven’t told Yao about this either.

I’m having the dreams again. They creep me out to talk about them. I rubbed my forehead on my bed.

They all started out the same.

I wake up in this room of emptiness. There is nothing but white walls under a dull light. A door is on the other side, but it’s bolted shut. I can’t go over to it. I am lying down on a metal bed and tied down. Something is strapped to my head—maybe a camera or something. The white noise in my ears makes my head hurt. It hurts to keep my eyes open. I look around for any sign of someone to come and help me.

The white noise changes into a low death rattle.

My heart jumps in my chest. Hello? Hello?! Against my better judgement, I looked up and my blood runs cold. A pair of black, soulless eyes stare down at me. The owner’s face looks like a creepy mask with the mouth wide open. A death rattle escape from it as the face drops down towards me.

That isn’t the only dream that I have had.

The others are just too creepy to think about. I find myself trying to distract myself when I remember those dreams. Lately, Yao gives me that worried look when he thinks I am not looking. I can’t guess why. I used to believe that it was because of Stefan or something stupid like that.

Now, I’m not so sure anymore...

But how do I ask him what’s wrong when I don’t know how to put in words myself?


Meanwhile, the first signs of the End of Days began to surface in Greece.

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