Chapter Twenty-One: Demon Debt Crisis:

Wisteria House had a problem. Emiko controlled the money and basic necessities. Now that she made it to Heaven, the demons struggled to make ends meet. Mike looked at this month�s bills at the kitchen table. Hotaru and Kazue sat by his side.

�Well?� the loli demon asked. Mike sighed and lowered the papers.

�We�re screwed,� he said, �The rent�s gone up again. We�re already drowning to pay for the house. We also have water, electricity, heat, food, baby supplies�.� Mike dropped his head. �Damn it, Emiko,� he complained. �Why did you have to leave us with the mess?!� Emiko left them six months worth of money in the bank as a living allowance for her roommates. The money ran out three weeks ago and now they were here. Mike sat back and groaned.

�My job at the construction site is barely holding us up as it is,� he complained.

�But you�ve had that job before the money ran out,� Hotaru pointed out. �That was one of the conditions to touch that account.�

�That money was for me,� he said. The American turned to Kazue. �And how is your job coming along?� he asked.

�Fired,� she said. The other two frowned at her.

�What?� Hotaru asked.

�I got fired again,� Kazue repeated.

�What did you do now?� Mike asked.

�This old guy tried to grab my ass,� she said. �So, I punched him in the nose.�

�Kazue!� Mike complained.

�What was I supposed to do?� she asked with a shrug. �I won�t let creeps touch me.�

�But we need the money,� Mike pointed out.

�So?� Kazue asked. Hotaru watched her roommates argue. She glanced down at her son. Akira slept peacefully against her breasts. The loli demon sighed. What should I do? She quietly got up and left the table. Hotaru put Akira in his crib and picked up her phone. The demon disappeared out the back door as it rang.

�Hello?� a young girl asked on the other line. Hotaru drew in a deep breath.

�Hi,� she said. �It�s me. Can we meet at the park today?�

�Okay, just give me ten minutes,� the girl said. Hotaru bowed her head.

�Thank you,� she said. Hotaru turned and went back into the house. At eleven o�clock, she headed out for Kiba Park. The loli demon found Vivian waiting on a park bench. The wolf demon waved her over when she spotted her. She stood as Hoto-chan dashed across the street.

�Thanks for meeting me here,� the loli demon said.

�Sure,� Vivian said back. �How bad is it?�

�Rent�s been raised this month,� Hotaru replied.

�Ouch,� the younger demon said.

�Did you bring the form with you?� Hotaru asked.

�Yes, I did,� Vivian said. �Hang on.� She reached into her brown shoulder bag and pulled out the paperwork. Hotaru read over the contents.

�So what do I need to do again?� she asked.

�It�s a lodging program,� Vivian explained. �The school provides the money to house foreign students for a semester. Freshmen are first out of first come, first serve.�

�I�ve heard about this program,� Hotaru said. �Eight schools are experimenting with it, right?�

�Yes,� Vivian said. �The deadline is the fifteenth.� Hotaru read over the paperwork again.

�Do you have a pen?� she asked.

�So you�ll do it?� Vivian asked. The loli demon shrugged.

�We don�t have a choice,� she said. �We really need the money.� Vivian handed her the pen.

�Thank you,� the loli demon said. She clicked it opened and signed on the important lines.

�Thank you for this,� Vivian said. Hotaru put her hand on her shoulder.

�No, thank you,� she said. Next, she had to break the news. It should be okay, right? After all, Japanese homes are starting to take in foreign students for cash this year. There had been many success stories behind it too. She and her roommates could keep up with payments and Vivian could learn more about the country. Ideally, everyone won.

Too bad it wouldn�t be greeted warmly after she called the meeting via text. The loli demon broke the news to her roommates in their living room. Mike crushed his beer can in his hand.

�What?!� he shouted. �You did what?!�

�We need the money!� Hotaru shouted.

�So we�re taking in a child?!� he yelled.

�The school�s paying for the semester,� she argued. �The pay is really nice! What are you so against this?� Mike rose to his feet as he gritted his teeth.

�Why did you have to ask for outside help?!� he shouted. �We didn�t need it! I could�ve picked up a second job!�

�What are three jobs going to do to keep us all afloat?� the loli demon asked.

�But we�d at least be doing it ourselves!� he snapped. Hotaru raised an eyebrow at him.

�I�m sorry, but is it because Vivian�s not Stella or is it your own pride?� she asked. �Or is it both?� Mike snorted as his face burned red.

�Shut up!� he snapped. Hotaru turned her eyes towards Kazue.

�Kazue, what do you think?� she asked. The other demon shrugged and shook head.

�Don�t care,� she muttered. Hotaru clapped her hands together.

�That settles it,� she said. �We�ll do the program.� Mike turned and stormed out of the living room.

�I still won�t accept this crap,� he muttered under his breath.

�I heard that!� Hotaru yelled. His bedroom door slammed shut down the hall.