Reunion

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It was another three years before I saw him again. I was nineteen and master Li He was twenty-one by then. My new master had been kind to me and I had no complaints, I wouldn't have mind serving him for the rest of my life until he passes away. He's an older man, wealthy as he can be. His wife died years ago and never re-married. He said there's no point, he's an old man and his heart already belonged to her.

I dreamed of a man to love me like he did his wife one day.

I was called from the kitchen where I was helping the cook prepare by cutting her vegetables when I heard my master's gentle voice called for me.

"Hui dear, why don't you leave what you're doing for a minute and prepare me and my guests a nice kettle of warm tea."

I dropped what I was doing instantly and got to boiling some water. He needn't have to tell me twice. I plucked the tea leaves I knew is my master's favorite and brew it with the heating water.

It's taken me a good fifteen minutes, but based on the silent trickle of the murmuring conversation, I'm certain they don't mind the time passing because they seemed pre-occupied with their animated discussion.

I gathered a few cups, teaspoons, honey, and pastries to bring along with me, walking to the living room. Careful not to spill anything when my gaze landed on the familiar face, he was looking right at me. His simper that seemed frozen on his face dropped with shocked and suddenly, the room was silent.

I felt my heart skipped and the world came into a halt. My reaction was the same as his. We stared at each other as though we were the only people in the world at that moment. I never thought I would ever see him again, and master Li He looked just the same...except older.

"Hui, dear. Something wrong?" It was the voice of my kind master who pulled me back to him. I turned to chase his voice with a smile.

I peeled myself away from the sudden distraction and began arranging the teacups for them. I tried to rush, a bit more clumsy than I normally do things, but I couldn't help it, I was happy to see my old master and I could tell he knew I was excited.

The first thing I wanted to do was slap him senseless until he loses it, while I ran away screaming in terror because he's quickly gaining up on me. But that was the sort of things we used to do when we were younger.

This reunion was unexpected and failed dramatically. I would have expected two people hugging each other, but that is only wishful thinking.

I tried not to look at him or to his wife sitting beside him, as I kept my eyes glued to the table. My eyes would betray me, glancing over to them.

My stare lingered a little too long at his wife. I've never seen her until now, and she's every bit elegant and beautiful as I imagined. A perfect match for him.

My eyes dropped again and turned to walk away - without saying anything to master Li He. A slave is not allowed to interrupt her master's guests or their discussion, so I disappeared quietly just as I'm expected.

*****

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