Chapter Nineteen: California Splash:


“I hate heels,” Anna complained. She struggled to get her right shoe on. Tsuzuki straightened up his tie. He giggled to himself.

“What?” Anna asked. He smiled as he shook his head.

“Nothing,” he lied. Anna groaned.

“Please quit playing around,” she said. “We’re going to be late.” They arrived in California four days ago. First, the family visited Allison and Daisy to show off Kirika-chan.

“Mama, I’m alive,” Anna said. Allison gasped. She rushed forward and hugged her daughter. Daisy covered her mouth in a gasp. The family was invited been that long? It felt longer. Everyone sat at kitchen table.

“How have you been?” Daisy asked.

“Great,” Anna said. “This my husband, Asato and my daughter, Kirika.”

“Hi,” Tsuzuki said.

“Hello,” Daisy said. Her cheeks turned bright red.

“How long have you been married?” Allison asked.

“A year now,” Anna said. Daisy started to play with the baby.

“Hi there,” she said to Kirika-chan. “Hi there. Hi there.” The baby cooed and giggled. Daisy smiled.

“Did you come back for the wedding?” Allison asked.

“Yep,” Anna said. She and the older women got lost in conversation. Tsuzuki sat back, nodding and trying to keep up. Daisy glanced up at him.

“You don’t talk much, do you Asato?” she asked. Tsuzuki shook his head as he held up his fingers in a little.

“Little English,” he said. “Little English.”

“Oh!” Daisy said. “I see.” She clapped her hands together.

“Have you eaten yet?” she asked.

“No,” Anna said. Her guardian stood up.

“Okay,” she said. “I’ll fix up something really tasty.” Anna had to translate for Tsuzuki. Her husband’s eyes lit up. He cheered and clapped his hands. Anna giggled. Daisy couldn’t help but join in.

Dinner turned out nice. Anna had to help out in the kitchen.

“I don’t know what use I will be,” she said.

“You’ll be fine,” Daisy insisted. “We’ll help you.” Anna chuckled nervously. She turned to Tsuzuki. He flashed her a V-sign.

“Right…” Anna mumbled to herself. Dinner was meatloaf and roasted vegetables. Tsuzuki had an odd look on his face.

“What is this?” he whispered to Anna.

“Meatloaf,” she said back. “With brussels, broccoli, and carrots.” Tsuzuki blinked.

“Don’t worry,” his wife said. “I’m eating it.” She picked up her fork and took a bite.

“Mmm!” Anna said.

“Mmm?” Tsuzuki asked. He picked up a fork and took a bite of meatloaf. Stars filled his eyes.

“This is good!” he said. The couple ate up. Anna took a moment to feed Kirika-chan. After dinner, Daisy wasn’t finished.

“You really have to try this lemon pie I made!” she said.

“Aw, but we’re stuffed,” Anna complained.

“Just eat it,” Allison said. “It will make her happy.” Anna translated everything to Tsuzuki as Daisy went into the kitchen. Naturally, he grew excited.

“Here it is!” Daisy said with the pie in her hands.

“Yay!” Tsuzuki said. Anna put her hand on his shoulder.

“Sorry,” he whispered as he settled down. Daisy giggled as she made it to the table.


The family went to see Anna’s friends. They all fond over the baby.

“So cute!” Becky said at her home.

“Thank you,” Anna said.

“I want one,” the American friend said. She wasn’t the only one.

“John and I tried to have one,” Clare said.

“And no luck?” Anna asked.

“No,” her friend said, shaking her head. Her husband had a sheepish look on his face.

“Well, we adopted Kirika-chan, so…” Anna said.

“Ah!” Clare said. She turned to John. “We can do that.” He pressed his lips together and nodded.

“Right…” he muttered. Tsuzuki and Anna looked at each other in silence.

“Don’t mind him,” Clare said. “I have been driving him crazy with baby talk.” John rolled his eyes.

“Uh… okay…” Anna said.  Tsuzuki sat back and said nothing. He just smiled and nodded along. Felt strangely comforting this California trip was.


“How do I look?” Anna asked in their hotel room on Amy’s wedding day. She had on a long red and white crane dress. Her gold earrings and necklace went well with her dress. Tsuzuki smiled as he sat on the bed.

“Beautiful,” he said. Anna took a breath.

“Great,” she said. “Hang on.” She stepped forward and straightened his tie.

“Good, now grab the baby and let’s go,” Anna said.

“Right,” Tsuzuki said. He picked up the carrier and followed Anna out of the room.