Chapter Ten: Bitter Twist:
He's really gone?
Anna walked over to Wisteria House on the same morning and knocked on the door four times. She looked around at the dying vines as she waited. The brown wrinkled leaves looked nice in a rather odd way.
"Coming!" Emiko croaked. Anna's attention returned forward when she heard the door open. She looked as if she had just woken up.
"Yeah?" she asked, rubbing her eyes. Anna blinked at her wildly unkempt hair.
"Is this a bad time?" The butch demon looked and perked up.
"Oh, Anna," she said. "It's you, come in!" The women bowed before Anna went inside. She looked around the dim living room.
"Where's Hotaru?" she asked.
Emiko only shrugged. "Dunno; she wasn't in bed this morning." Anna raised an eyebrow at her.
"You two made up?" she asked. Emiko shook her head.
"Not really," she said.
"Not really?" Anna asked her. The butch demon shrugged at her.
"It's complicated," Emiko said. "I woke up in the middle of the night and found her snuggled up close to me in the bed. She looked like she had been crying."
Anna looked on at her. "Oh." After a beat, she clapped her hands together. "Right, do you have my notes translated?"
"Oh," Emiko said. "Yeah, yeah; hang on." Anna watched as she disappeared down the hall. The butch demon reemerged with the copies in her hand.
"Here you are,â€ she said in a chipper voice. â€œPapa Daisuke's notes fully translated. Enjoy!" Anna read over them briefly with a puzzled look on her face.
"This is it?" she asked. Emiko shook her head.
"There is more, butâ€¦" she said.
"But what?" Anna asked.
The butch demon shook her head. "That was all you gave me."
Anna gave her a blank stare. "What do you mean?"
"That was in the boxes you gave me."
The other woman shook her head in disbelief. "That can't be! Papa kept everything. He didn't like to forget anything!"
Emiko pondered the situation at hand. "You think he hid the notes elsewhere?"
Anna searched her mind for the answer. "I do remember Papa leaving some boxes with Kato-san."
"And do you know where Kato-san is now?"
Anna shook her head. "I haven't talked to him since May."
"Does your father have his number?"
"I don't know."
"Hmâ€¦" Emiko glanced at Anna. "Is he close to anyone?"
"There was someone. Yes, her name was Iijiri-san."
"Does she have a number?"
"I think so, hang on." Anna dashed all the way home. She came back with Daisuke's old address book.
"It should be in here," she said. Emiko and Anna scanned the numbers.
"Here it is!" Anna exclaimed. "She should still be in the old village!"
"Well give her a call," Emiko said. Anna had her phone out, grinning.
"Already on it," she said. The woman dialed the number and held the phone to her ear. She waited as the other line rang. Emiko listened in close.
"Well?" she asked. Anna frowned as she shook her head.
"No good," she said. "She's not picking up."
"What about the other neighbors?" Emiko asked. Anna began going down the list. Eight numbers later, she had the answer. One of the old neighbors told Anna where Kato-san lived. She wrote down the information on a piece of paper and headed out.
The trip to the apartment took about twenty minutes into the city. Despite the offers, Anna wanted to go alone.
"He wouldn't know you," she reasoned. "Besides, I have to ask him a few things."
"Fair enough," the butch demon said. "Just be careful." Anna heeded her advice every step of the way, all the way to the front door. She stood in front of apartment 319. It felt weird because she hadn't seen or heard from the man in months. What could she say to him? The woman had to worry about that later. She drew herself together and knocked on the door.
"Who is it?" a muffled voice asked.
"I'm here to see Kato-san," Anna answered. "It's really important." The door opened a crack and a pair of tired grey eyes peeked out. Anna looked really confused.
"Is Kato-san in?" she asked.
"No," the old woman said.
"When will he be in? It's real important. I need to talk to him about some boxes Papa left with him. Please, I have to know." When the door opened wider, Anna didnâ€™t recognize the person standing before her.
"Uhâ€¦ who are you?" she asked. The woman looked closer at Anna and widened her eyes.
"Anna?" she asked. "Anna, is that you?" The younger woman tilted her head.
"Should I know you?" she asked. Kyoko gave her a little smile. She leaned into the other woman's ear.
"I used to hide you under my kitchen island when you didn't want to go home yet during the summer," she whispered. Anna's mind shot back into realization.
"Iijiri-san?" she gasped. Kyoko stepped back.
"It's been so long," she said.
"What are you doing here?" Anna asked as she tried to look around inside of the apartment. "Where's Kato-san?" She noticed a look of worry cast over Kyokoâ€™s face.
"Iijiri-san?" she asked. "What's wrong? Did something happen to Kato-san?" The other woman trembled. Why couldn't she tell the lie that she had told everyone else about Kato? She had it down so well. Why wasn't it coming out with Anna?
"I need those boxes, Iijiri-san!" Anna pleaded. "Tell when Kato-san is coming back! Please, I have to know!" Kyoko finally shut her eyes and shook her head.
"He can't!" she yelled. Anna raised an eyebrow at her.
"What do you mean?" she asked. "What happened?" Kyoko lowered her head as her lower lip trembled.
"He's dead," she whimpered. Anna gave her a surprised look.
"What?" she asked. Kyoko shook her head.
"I'm so sorry, Iwao," she murmured. The old woman looked up at Anna.
"Come in," Kyoko mumbled. "We have to talk." She walked back into the apartment.
"Okayâ€¦" Anna mumbled as she followed behind and shut the door.