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 monthï¿½s bills at the kitchen table. Hotaru and Kazue sat by his side.
ï¿½Well?ï¿½ the loli demon asked. Mike sighed and lowered the papers.
ï¿½Weï¿½re screwed,ï¿½ he said, ï¿½The rentï¿½s gone up again. Weï¿½re already drowning to pay for the house. We also have water, electricity, heat, food, baby suppliesï¿½.ï¿½ Mike dropped his head. ï¿½Damn it, Emiko,ï¿½ he complained. ï¿½Why did you have to leave us with the mess?!ï¿½ 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.
ï¿½My job at the construction site is barely holding us up as it is,ï¿½ he complained.
ï¿½But youï¿½ve had that job before the money ran out,ï¿½ Hotaru pointed out. ï¿½That was one of the conditions to touch that account.ï¿½
ï¿½That money was for me,ï¿½ he said. The American turned to Kazue. ï¿½And how is your job coming along?ï¿½ he asked.
ï¿½Fired,ï¿½ she said. The other two frowned at her.
ï¿½What?ï¿½ Hotaru asked.
ï¿½I got fired again,ï¿½ Kazue repeated.
ï¿½What did you do now?ï¿½ Mike asked.
ï¿½This old guy tried to grab my ass,ï¿½ she said. ï¿½So, I punched him in the nose.ï¿½
ï¿½Kazue!ï¿½ Mike complained.
ï¿½What was I supposed to do?ï¿½ she asked with a shrug. ï¿½I wonï¿½t let creeps touch me.ï¿½
ï¿½But we need the money,ï¿½ Mike pointed out.
ï¿½So?ï¿½ 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.
ï¿½Hello?ï¿½ a young girl asked on the other line. Hotaru drew in a deep breath.
ï¿½Hi,ï¿½ she said. ï¿½Itï¿½s me. Can we meet at the park today?ï¿½
ï¿½Okay, just give me ten minutes,ï¿½ the girl said. Hotaru bowed her head.
ï¿½Thank you,ï¿½ she said. Hotaru turned and went back into the house. At eleven oï¿½clock, 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.
ï¿½Thanks for meeting me here,ï¿½ the loli demon said.
ï¿½Sure,ï¿½ Vivian said back. ï¿½How bad is it?ï¿½
ï¿½Rentï¿½s been raised this month,ï¿½ Hotaru replied.
ï¿½Ouch,ï¿½ the younger demon said.
ï¿½Did you bring the form with you?ï¿½ Hotaru asked.
ï¿½Yes, I did,ï¿½ Vivian said. ï¿½Hang on.ï¿½ She reached into her brown shoulder bag and pulled out the paperwork. Hotaru read over the contents.
ï¿½So what do I need to do again?ï¿½ she asked.
ï¿½Itï¿½s a lodging program,ï¿½ Vivian explained. ï¿½The school provides the money to house foreign students for a semester. Freshmen are first out of first come, first serve.ï¿½
ï¿½Iï¿½ve heard about this program,ï¿½ Hotaru said. ï¿½Eight schools are experimenting with it, right?ï¿½
ï¿½Yes,ï¿½ Vivian said. ï¿½The deadline is the fifteenth.ï¿½ Hotaru read over the paperwork again.
ï¿½Do you have a pen?ï¿½ she asked.
ï¿½So youï¿½ll do it?ï¿½ Vivian asked. The loli demon shrugged.
ï¿½We donï¿½t have a choice,ï¿½ she said. ï¿½We really need the money.ï¿½ Vivian handed her the pen.
ï¿½Thank you,ï¿½ the loli demon said. She clicked it opened and signed on the important lines.
ï¿½Thank you for this,ï¿½ Vivian said. Hotaru put her hand on her shoulder.
ï¿½No, thank you,ï¿½ 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 wouldnï¿½t 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.
ï¿½What?!ï¿½ he shouted. ï¿½You did what?!ï¿½
ï¿½We need the money!ï¿½ Hotaru shouted.
ï¿½So weï¿½re taking in a child?!ï¿½ he yelled.
ï¿½The schoolï¿½s paying for the semester,ï¿½ she argued. ï¿½The pay is really nice! What are you so against this?ï¿½ Mike rose to his feet as he gritted his teeth.
ï¿½Why did you have to ask for outside help?!ï¿½ he shouted. ï¿½We didnï¿½t need it! I couldï¿½ve picked up a second job!ï¿½
ï¿½What are three jobs going to do to keep us all afloat?ï¿½ the loli demon asked.
ï¿½But weï¿½d at least be doing it ourselves!ï¿½ he snapped. Hotaru raised an eyebrow at him.
ï¿½Iï¿½m sorry, but is it because Vivianï¿½s not Stella or is it your own pride?ï¿½ she asked. ï¿½Or is it both?ï¿½ Mike snorted as his face burned red.
ï¿½Shut up!ï¿½ he snapped. Hotaru turned her eyes towards Kazue.
ï¿½Kazue, what do you think?ï¿½ she asked. The other demon shrugged and shook head.
ï¿½Donï¿½t care,ï¿½ she muttered. Hotaru clapped her hands together.
ï¿½That settles it,ï¿½ she said. ï¿½Weï¿½ll do the program.ï¿½ Mike turned and stormed out of the living room.
ï¿½I still wonï¿½t accept this crap,ï¿½ he muttered under his breath.
ï¿½I heard that!ï¿½ Hotaru yelled. His bedroom door slammed shut down the hall.