Simon took a deep breath he was excited and frustrated.

It was the last week of August.

After a whole summer apart he was going to see his sister River her shuttle would be dropping her off in a few hours time.

Simon had wanted to plan a surprise homecoming party.

However his father had just gotten a wave that morning that Ambassador Zhǎng wanted him and his mother at his lake house for vacation.

His parents would be gone the whole week that River would be home.

All plans of Simon's were completely dismissed which left him very disheartened.

Just for once why can't they think of us instead of themselves! He thought annoyingly.

His parents had spent the entire morning preparing themselves for the seven day long getaway they had packed four carry bags each.

Simon had been trying to no avail to convince his mother and father from attending so they could greet River when she came home.

However none of his pleas were making any real headway.

Simon took a deep breath and tried once more to dissuade his parents from leaving.

He turned to his father and said pleadingly "Father, do you and mother honestly have to leave this week, River will be home soon she hasn't seen either of you all summer I think it would mean a lot to her if you both were here to welcome her home."

The elder Tam wore a traditional dark blue tuxedo, his hair was brushed back and slick with a very expensive hair oil he looked every bit the aspiring politician.

Gabriel sighed and replied irritatedly "Zài lǎo tiān de fèn, Simon this trip is very important for my career I already promised the Ambassador, besides your mother and I will only be gone qī tiān, come along, chǒng'ér we must go our shuttle will be here any second."

Simon said angrily "Father, seven days is a week River won't see you at all!"

Gabriel shook his head and replied curtly "I'm sorry son it can't be helped don't worry through we will see River on her next break, tell her I love her all right?"

Without another look back Gabriel turned on his heel and strode out the door.

Simon groaned slightly he knew that his feeble attempts to keep his parents at the house for his sister's homecoming was futile.

Once his father had a meeting , or party or a week-long lake side vacation to attend rarely nothing stopped him from going.

His only daughter is going to return from school you would think this should be a celebratory experience for him instead he thinks of it only as a chore, maybe if River were a government official it would rank higher on father's priority list. Simon thought infuriated.

He knew his parents loved him and River however sometimes it seemed to Simon that the only thing they really cared about was attending expensive and important functions.

His mother kissed Simon on his forehead.

Regan was dressed in a elegant blue silk kamino-like dress.

She wore large jade chandelier earrings and a gold necklace with a single piece of jade in the shape of a tear drop.

Her radiant brunette hair was shiny and full of voluminous curls she had pulled the bulk of it up and put it in a simple yet elegant bun at the top of her head.

A few strands of thick russet swirls hung at the back they shone brightly in the late morning sunlight.

Regan smiled warmly at her son.

She then exhaled and replied apologetically "I'm sorry qīn'ài de tián zhī yī, don't worry I'll get your father to relax and we will all spend some real quality time together soon I promise."

Simon smiled hopefully.

Still he knew that convincing his father to slow down and relax was nearly impossible he chose to accept his mother's words.

Gabriel's voice broke into Simon's thoughts.

He yelled impatiently "Regan we need to go the shuttle is here come along tiánměi de yīnghuā!"

Regan sighed and shouted back quickly "I'm coming, qīn'ài de zhàngfū!"

She turned her limited attention to her son and said warmly "Look after River while we're gone dóng má? I'm sure she has been terribly homesick."

Simon hugged his mother and replied softly "Don't worry, māmā I will."

She said hurriedly "That's wǒ de hǎo háizi, I'll see you soon all right, I love you."

He gave his mother a quick hug and replied softly "I love you too, māmā."

With that Regan gave her son a swift kiss on his cheek and hastily left.

Mandarin Translations

Zài lǎo tiān de fèn- For heaven's sake

Wǒ de hǎo háizi- My good boy

Qī tiān- seven Days

Chǒng'ér- Darling

Qīn'ài de tián zhī yī- Dear sweet one

tiánměi de yīnghuā- sweet cherry blossom

qīn'ài de zhàngfū- dear husband

Māmā- Mother

dóng má- understand