Chapter Three: Botan Rice Candy:
In this warm spring rain,
tiny leaves are sprouting
from the eggplant seed
Morning rain; guess the clouds werenâ€™t done crying yet, but Tsuzuki tried to ignore it. The Cinnabon line was backed up to the door and the Shinigami stood at the tail end.
I got here too late!, he thought, Damn the chief for all of that paperwork! He looked at the front again. Donâ€™t have enough? I hope they havenâ€™t run out, Tsuzuki thought nervously. However, that made it way to his â€œthings to be concerned about todayâ€ list pretty quickly. Tsuzuki happened to look out of the corner of his eye and see Hotaru smiling at him.
â€œHiya!â€ she cheered. A sweat drop formed on his head.
â€œOh, itâ€™s youâ€¦â€ he mumbled.
â€œAnd me!â€ a voice spoke up. Tsuzuki looked on the other side of him and found Emiko smirking at him.
â€œHi!â€ she said. The Shinigami sighed.
â€œAnd you brought a friend!â€ he mumbled. Hoto-chan laughed.
â€œGirlfriend!â€ she said lightly smacking him on the arm. Tsuzuki looked forward as he rubbed the place that she hit.
â€œYouâ€™re not here for the Coffee Cinna Sticky Buns, are you?â€ he asked. The girls shook their heads.
â€œNo,â€ they said so innocently.
â€œFigures,â€ the Shinigami muttered. Emiko grinned at him wickedly as she hung onto his arm.
â€œYou know what tastes better than a sticky bun?â€ she purred in his ear. Tsuzuki didnâ€™t move as he frowned.
â€œI know I wonâ€™t like the answer, but what?â€ he replied. The demons giggled at each other before Emiko turned and whispered in his ear. The Shinigamiâ€™s face went bright red.
â€œEmiko, what the hell?!?â€ he shouted.
â€œShhh,â€ she whispered, â€œNot so loud!â€
â€œWhy would you say something like that?â€ the Shinigami asked in a whisper. The butch demon shrugged.
â€œWell, does it?â€ Hotaru jumped in. Tsuzukiâ€™s face went redder.
â€œI wouldnâ€™t know that!â€ he yelped. The girls laughed again. They didnâ€™t even care if people were staring at them.
â€œI donâ€™t see why not,â€ Hotaru said, â€œYou two seem perfectly fit for each other.â€ Tsuzuki shook his head.
â€œNo, itâ€™s not like that!â€ he yelped. Hotaru raised an eyebrow at him.
â€œOh?â€ she questioned him.
â€œThen, what is it like?â€ Emiko challenged.
â€œUhâ€¦â€ Tsuzuki began to say. The girls grinned as if they expected that answer.
â€œAh!â€ Hotaru said, â€œSo you do like her!â€ Tsuzuki finally dropped his head. He just lost to the one thing that he wasnâ€™t sure about and tried to deny so adamantly to keep everything simple. These two shot that right out the window. Why couldnâ€™t they leave well enough alone?
â€œFine,â€ Tsuzuki sighed, â€œYes, I do like herâ€¦â€ The girls looked at him now intrigued.
â€œIn what way?â€ Hotaru asked leaning closer to him. The Shinigami quickly looked away.
â€œDo we have to do this now?â€ he asked.
â€œYes!â€ the girls insisted. Tsuzuki shook his head. They didnâ€™t know how to quit, did they?
â€œJustâ€¦â€ he began again, â€œI want to get to know her in any way that I can.â€ The demons listened and nodded.
â€œFair enough,â€ Hotaru said.
â€œHave you told her how you feel?â€ Emiko asked. Tsuzuki shook his head.
â€œWhat would I say?â€ he asked.
â€œYou like her!â€ the girls said together.
â€œNo, thereâ€™s more than thatâ€¦â€ he tried to reason. The girls looked at him closely. He knew they didnâ€™t believe him. Emiko lightly patted the Shinigami on the shoulder.
â€œAw donâ€™t worry,â€ she said, â€œShe finds you very attractive too.â€ Tsuzuki looked at her in surprise.
â€œShe does?â€ he asked.
â€œShe does,â€ Emiko replied with a nod, â€œI got her to admit it.â€ Tsuzuki looked on amazed and suspicious. Anna really found him attractive after all these years? Emiko slapped him hard on the back.
â€œSo, what do you have to lose by telling Anna how you feel?â€ she boomed. Tsuzuki winced.
â€œOw,â€ he whimpered.
â€œOh, I didnâ€™t hit you that hard, you big baby!â€ Emiko said.
â€œIt still hurts and I could lose my job if I get too close to Anna. Iâ€™m already in trouble for bringing her back from the dead,â€ he complained. The demons tried to look innocent.
â€œWellâ€¦ you just let us deal with the boys of Ju-Oh-Chu,â€ Emiko said, â€œYou just go get your woman, okay?â€ Tsuzuki looked at her uneasily as he didnâ€™t like the sound of that. Emiko grinned at him.
â€œOkay?â€ she pressed again. Tsuzuki nodded quickly.
â€œUhâ€¦ yeah, yeah!â€ he said. Emiko and girlfriend smiled.
â€œGood!â€ Hotaru replied. She patted him on the shoulder.
â€œEnjoy your sticky bun!â€ she cheered as she and Emiko left Cinnabon hand-in-hand. Tsuzuki made it to the front of the line with leftover discomfort.
â€œCan I help you?â€ the girl behind the counter asked. Tsuzuki blinked once. Suddenly, he wasnâ€™t so hungry anymore.
â€œNever mindâ€¦â€ he mumbled. The Shinigami quietly walked away.