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Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Fourth Man - Chapter 26


Opportunities for Cherri

Cherri Leng had made a good impression on several of the young men and their families although they didn’t want her married into their family tree.

There were two young men who were willing to go against their family wishes but Cherri refused their offer of marriage.

Caroline was somewhat mystified by her refusals for she thought it would be a great move up for her.

James had been observing her spending so much time with Tom that he just came out with it and said; “Are you trying to land Tom?”

She couldn’t help but smile when she said; “Tom will land himself when he is ready.”

James said, “You didn’t answer me.”

She said, “Why don’t you ask Tom if he has any interest in me and his answer will tell you what you want to know.”

James could see he wasn’t going to get an answer from her so he said, “Okay, I will.”

Tom was gone again so James had to wait until he returned. When he got back James cornered him and said, “What’s this you spending so much time with Cherri Leng.  You ain’t doing something you shouldn’t be doing are you?”

Tom smiled and said, “That never occurred to me but since you mention it… I’ll think about it.”

James said, “You had better behave yourself for if Les catches you doing that he will send you packing.”

Tom said, “Well you know it was you who brought it up not me.”

James went his way saying, Do what you want to do I don’t care.”

Cherri heard the conversation between Tom and James and said to Tom, “You two were doing a lot of talking about me.”

Tom said, “Yes but it was mostly James.”

She said, “We have gotten to know each other pretty good and have spent a lot of time together.”

He began to squirm a bit for he had never heard her speak with this tone in her voice.

She went on and said, “I guess I could live on what you make if I was careful with our money. I could have married a rich man instead of someone poor like you.”

Tom said, “Who said I was poor?  I have been teaching because I like it but not as a life’s occupation.

He continued, “No one knows it but my folks are rich and so am I.  Not only that but I will soon be a lot richer.  Ever since I have been here I have been buying the mineral rights to land for miles around here and in another year or two we will start drilling for oil. Renee’s has hired another teacher to take my place and if you want to marry me then let’s do it.”

Cherri said, “Okay let’s tell my folk’s and let the news spread around.”

Cherri and Tom found Chen and Mai and Chen said; “You like pretty China girl?”

 Tom said, ‘Yes very much.”

Mai said, “You no touch till you marry Cherri Leng.”

Tom said, “Okay, no touch.”

Occidental plus Oriental equals Eurasian

Tom and Cherri were married and Sarah insisted it be a grand occurrence.

Cherri was much loved and a lot of people showed up that neither of them knew.

Caroline and her husband and baby were there and seemed to be happy. She told Cherri how happy she was for her and that Tom was a good man. She said, “Maybe he could get a better job someday and would be better able to take care of her.”

Cherri never told Caroline that Tom was well off and just said, “I hope so.”

Tom set up an office in town and built them a nice house on the outskirts.

Then a few weeks later Chen showed up with Mai, Chen Tu, and May Leng in tow.

Cherri's Mom and Dad
Tom was surprised to see them and said, “Welcome Honorable father-in-law.”

Chen said, “You’re welcome too nice son-in-law.”

Chen spoke to Cherri in Chinese for a while and she looked at Tom with an uncertain look on her face. For the next half hour they conversed with Tom completely left out of the conversation.

Mai had went in the kitchen and made a pot of tea and said, “Everyone sit down for tea.”

Cherri wasn’t sure how to tell Tom what was happening but started by saying, “Honorable family has come to stay with first daughter and nice husband.”

Tom said, “That is alright they can sleep in the spare rooms while they are here.”

Cherri said, “You don’t understand, they have quit working for Les and Sarah and are moving in here with us. They are going to cook and clean like they did for the Riley’s.  They will need some rooms of their own so we will have to add on to the house.”

Tom was speechless but finally said, “The property next door is for sale. I will buy it and they can live there.”

Cherri said, “I will try to explain this to them but they have their mind set on living with us.”

Tom said, “I’m going back to the office for a while and give you time to sort it out for I will say the wrong thing not fully understanding their culture.”

The Chen’s agree (after Cherri tells them how it’s going to be)

When Tom returned home Cherri said, “It is all settled, go down tomorrow and buy the next door property and they will live there.”

Tom could feel a little tension in the air but better that than the alternative.

The Chen’s insisted on cleaning and cooking for Tom and Cherri, so Tom turned that situation over to Cherri.  In fact he let her handle most all of the things that related to the Chen’s.

After she got the one big issue pertaining to them  settled, (which was walking into their bedroom at an inappropriate time) the rest were easier to deal with.

With the privacy issue taken care of, Tom was at ease with his new family and assumed the head of the family position.

He wanted the Chen children to get a good education so he and Cherri taught them at home.  Later they would go to a private school where there they would mix with the future important people in the nation.

Tom said, “The name Chen Tu needs to be changed. He said Charles would be more proper for him. At home Chen Tu would be fine but when he mingled with money society he needed a name like Charles. He said Maybelline would be better for May to be known as but May or Mabel for friends to call her.

Cherri responds to social snubs

While trying to join the society circle in town Cherri was treated with disrespect.

This didn’t set well with Tom. He let it be known that his wife was to be treated with the same respect as the rest of the women in the upper circles.

Since he dealt with the men the wives still treated Cherri very badly.

One day the bank president was notified that the bank had been sold and that he no longer would be in charge of the bank.

As it turned out Tom’s family had added the bank to their holdings and Tom was the new bank president. When he took over he advised the old president that he could remain with the bank and work under Tom’s supervision.  At first he was offended but realized that he needed a job so he accepted Tom’s offer.

Tom had Cherri to make a list of all the women who had treated her badly and checked the bank records to see if they owed the bank any money.

As it turned out most were heavily in debt to the bank with loans that could be called at any time. It seemed that the society dames were big spenders and they were living on the edge financially.

Tom was still steaming and had Cherri come in and start calling the loans in. She was to face the people who had treated her very badly and make them pay for their disrespect.

Tom wasn’t satisfied until every penny had been paid with most of the elitist out on the street.  A few managed to sell enough goods to keep their dwelling.

Tom went into competition with them and eventually drove them out of business.

After he was satisfied, he was heard to say; “No one disrespects my wife for she is one fine lady.”

Cherri saw the lengths Tom would go to when someone didn’t give her the courtesy due her and she loved him much more than she had before.

It was shortly after this that Cherri told Tom to get ready for he was going to be a father.  Tom said he couldn’t believe it. Have you told your folks? She said mother knows and tonight I will tell father, May and Chen Tu.

Tom said I can hardly believe this; I wonder what our child will look like. She said it will be Eurasian and I believe our descendants will be the best of both worlds.
To be Continued


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