Chapter Eleven: A Close Dinner:

Anna left the Research Center to have a surprise waiting for her outside. Tsuzuki stood inches away from the building. The woman looked pleasantly surprised as her cheeks turned cotton candy pink.

“Asato-kun,” she murmured. “What are you doing here?”

“I came to pick you up for dinner,” the shinigami replied. Anna gave him a little smile.

“Just dinner?” she asked.

“Yes,” Tsuzuki said with an innocent nod. Anna looked at him intently.

“You sure?” she asked in a naughty way. A sweat drop formed on Tsuzuki’s head as his eyes shifted around.

“Okay, maybe a bit more!” he blurted out, “Maybe…” Anna giggled at his tone.

“Why do you do that to me?” Tsuzuki whined. Anna smiled as she walked over to him and leaned in close to his ear.

“Like I said,” she said softly. “I only tease guys I love.” Tsuzuki held her close as his cheeks reddened. They went to Chimoto for dinner. Tsuzuki insisted that it would be his treat. They were quiet at the table as they waited for their food. A question drifted back into Anna’s mind.

“Asato-kun,” she spoke up. The shinigami glanced at her.

“Hm?” he asked.

“Why did you call me all upset this morning?” Anna asked. Tsuzuki didn’t speak as he lowered his eyes to the table.

“I don’t want you to get killed,” he mumbled. Anna blinked at him.

“What are you talking about?” she asked. “Did something happen?” What’s the matter?” Tsuzuki shifted his lower eyes away from her.

“Well…” he began, “Last night, I had this dream that you were stabbed to death in front of me.” Tsuzuki looked so pale as he felt his hands trembling. Anna lightly touched his hand. The shinigami lifted his head to see her giving him a gentle smile.

“There, there,” Anna murmured, “I won’t let myself be killed without a fight.”

“But…” Tsuzuki spoke again.

“Shhh,” Anna whispered, “Don’t speak; just nod.” Her man did so once. Anna gave him a kind smile before she gently kissed him on the tip of his nose. Her fingers lightly stroked his left cheek. Her boyfriend’s face felt so warm as the woman held his face.

“We will be okay,” she said in a low voice.

“Anna,” Tsuzuki murmured.

“No,” the woman whispered. “Just say it back to me; four little words. ‘We will be okay.’” Tsuzuki hesitated as he tried to look away, but her eyes kept drawing his own back to them. He folded by her gaze.

“We… will be…” Tsuzuki stumbled with his words. Anna waited patiently while the shinigami felt as if he had been caught smoking a blunt and was now holding his breath. Tsuzuki tried again.

“We will be okay,” he broke down. Anna smiled at him.

“Thank you,” she said as she bowed her head. The woman let go of him as Tsuzuki only stared at her. Their food arrived and they spoke no more.

In the back corner, he lowered his paper disgusted. She had a boyfriend now; not a shallow relationship like she had with Henry in college. No, this was intimate with its roots spreading to the very bottom and growing upwards to the summer sky. That meant only one thing.

Maybe it’s time to pay her a little visit tonight, he thought. He licked his lips as he focused his eyes on her.