Chapter Forty-One: Granny:

March 21st, 2010.

It took more than a mountain for Haruka to like someone. She didn't like her husband and children. Her Grandchildren, not so much either. Viki is different; Haruka isn't annoyed by her. Viki slid the front door open and the old lady smiled at her.

"Viki-chan," she said. "So glad to see you." The girl smiled at her.

"Grandma!" she cheered. Haruka looked inside the house.

"Are your parents home?" she asked.

"Nope," her granddaughter said.

"Good enough," the old lady said. Haruka walked right in and Viki closed the door behind them.

"Got any tea?" the grandmother asked at the table.

"Hang on, I'll see," Viki said. She headed into the kitchen as her grandmother peered at her.

"How are they?"



"Yeah, dad's working and mom's been good."

"I see."

Viki pulled out the last of the green tea from the cabinet. "You'll have to forgive me," she said. "I haven't gone out to buy more tea yet."

"That's fine," she said. Her granddaughter set up the water on the stove. Haruka looked at the dining room walls. Her son and his family looked happier in earlier pictures together. The old lady sneered to herself. She knew better.

"How is school?" she asked.

"Boring," the girl said. "But it's better than home."

"I see," Haruka replied. Viki kept her back to her grandmother. Age made everything complicated for her. Why couldn't Haruka be sixteen instead? Her grandmother understood her well.

"Grandma," she said. "What brings you by to Tokyo?"

"Oh," Haruka said. "Just to check on you."

"You don't say."

"It's true I don't care about my family, but I still have to check on you guys." The kettle whistled in place of a response. Viki took it off the stove and poured the water into the cups. She put honey in her cup.

"Here you are," the granddaughter said. Haruka took a sip. Viki waited with bated breath.

"How is it?" she asked. The old lady nodded.

"Good," she said. "But�"

Her granddaughter blinked. "But what?"

Haruka lowered her cup. "I'm fonder of fresh tea."

Viki bowed her head. "Forgive me, I haven't had time to buy better tea."

The old lady waved her off. "Fine, fine."

Viki sat down and had a drink with her. She winced at the taste. "Oh! I really need to buy fresh tea!"

"Exactly." She turned to her granddaughter. "You know, we should go out."

The girl looked at her in surprise. "What are you serious?"

Haruka nodded. "If you don't mind your mother coming along."

Viki forced herself to smile. "Of course."

Haruka gave her a little smile. "Good." She didn't like her family, but Viki didn't annoy her for some reason.