Chapter Twenty-Two: Dinner with Family:

-Ten Years Ago-

Jessie sat at the dinner table, waiting. Hikaru’s mom served the plates.

“Try my specialty tonight,” she said. Jessie looked down at her plate. She froze at the curry’s rich scent.

“Wow!” she gasped. The demon swallowed back a little drool.

“Think it smells good?” Hikaru asked. “You should try it!”

“Yes,” Jessie replied. She picked up her soon.

“Wait,” Hikaru’s mother said. Jessie glanced up at her.

“What’s wrong?” she asked. Hikaru’s mom cleared her throat.

“We have to bless the food first,” she said. Jessie blinked at first.

“Oh!” she said at last. “Oh, of course.” Hikaru’s mom pressed her hands together.

“Bless the food,” she said.

“Bless the food,” the young couple repeated. Jessie’s first bite made her see heaven.

“Wow!” she cried. “This is so good!”

“Isn’t it?” Hikaru asked.

“Uh-huh! I’ve never had home-cooked meal this good before!”

“Oh, stop! It’s embarrassing.”

“No, I meant i! This curry is so good!” Jessie took another bite. Hikaru’s mom raised an eyebrow at her son.

“Okay, how much did you pay her?” she asked.

“Nothing, mom,” he insisted. “She really likes your cooking.”

“You sure?”


His mother put up her hands. “Okay, okay.” Hikaru chuckled. His mother turned to Jessie.

“So, where are you from?” she asked.

“California,” Jessie lied.

“I see,” the mother said. “You have such pretty blonde hair.”

“Thanks, I guess.”

“Gaijin have such pretty hair.”

“Uh… thanks.”

“Mom!” Hikaru hissed under her breath. The woman straightened up in her seat.

“Do forgive me,” she said. “It’s a rare treat for Hikaru-kun to bring any friends over.”

“Why is that?” Jessie asked.

“Oh, my Hikaru-kun just attends school, work, and is really shy.”

“Mom!” Hikaru hissed again. Jessie quietly took another bite, smiling at herself.


“Your mom is really nice,” Jessie said as she and Hikaru watched TV in the living room.

“Yeah,” he replied. “She relies on me too much, though.”

Jessie looked over at him. “What do you mean?”

Hikaru sighed. “I’m all she ever had. She took care of me up to high school. Now, I pretty much take care of her.” He put his arm around Jessie’s shoulders. “My grades are good enough for college and I have a stable part-time job. Mom works two jobs for both of us.”

“She really cares about you,” Jessie pointed out.

“I appreciate Mom taking care of me, but I wish that she would take care of herself as well.” He pulled her to his chest. “Eight more days.”

“What are you talking about?” Jessie asked.

“My birthday will be coming up then. After that, we can run away together.”

Jessie’s jaw dropped. “You can’t be serious!”

“I am.”

“But what about your mom? Your friends? Your job?”

Hikaru pressed a kiss on her lips. “My mom has to learn to live without me someday. I have been saving money from my job and my friends and I are about to graduate in a few days.”


“There’s nothing here for me anymore. I want to make your happy.”

Jessie’s heart did a big flip in her chest and kissed him on the lips. “Okay, let’s run away together.”

“I love you, Jessie,” Hikaru murmured.

“I love you too, Hikaru-kun,” she whispered back. They shared another kiss in front of the TV.

However, their plans would soon come unraveled as Jade spied on the young couple through the living room window. She would not have such independence under her watch.