Chapter Thirty-Four: Lunch in the City:


“I’m back!” Anna called as she walked into the apartment. She took off her shoes and walked into the living room. She found Annabelle sitting on the couch.

“Welcome back,” the blonde woman said. Anna looked around the room.

“Where’s Asato?” she asked. Annabelle pointed down the hall. Anna took her bags with her. The other woman turned her head.

“Asato-kun,” Anna said, poking her head in the doorway. She heard the water cutting off. Tsuzuki walked out of the bathroom.

“Oh, you’re back,” he said.

“Yeah,” Anna said. “Is something wrong?”

“Uh… nothing,” he said. “Nothing at all. Why do you ask?” His wife shook her head.

“Never mind,” she said. “Listen, have you had lunch yet?”

“No, why?” Tsuzuki said.

“Oh. I found a nice little sandwich shop next to a nice bakery,” Anna said. “Interested?” The shinigami’s eyes lit up.

“Where?” he asked. Anna grinned.

“Get dressed and come with me,” she said.

“Yay!” Tsuzuki said.


Tsuzuki, Anna, and Kirika-chan headed to Queens. The mood had pricked up by then. Guess he needed some food. Anna put her arms behind her head.

“Got my shopping done for Christmas,” she said.

“You did?” Tsuzuki asked.

“Uh-huh,” she said.

“Aw, I should’ve brought our presents here with us,” he said. Anna glanced up at him.

“We can open them when we get home,” she said. “It will be fine.”

“I could have them brought here,” he said.

“It’s fine,” she insisted.

“You sure?”


Tsuzuki sighed. “Fine.”

“Thank you,” Anna said. The show came down in big flakes. The family arrived at Lauren’s. Anna held out her arms.

“Ta-da!” she said. The shop looked like a life-sized all replica. Snow couldn’t hide the brick exterior. The green and yellow of the awning played peek-a-boo with said snow.

“How did you find this place?” Tsuzuki asked.

“By chance,” Anna said. He followed her inside. The warmth inside automatically swallowed the family up. The man behind the counter perked up.

“Welcome, what can I get for you today?” he asked. Anna stepped forward.

“What’s your special for today?” she asked.

Within minutes, the couple got their sandwiches. Anna smiled at the foil wrapping.

“I am going to enjoy this,” she said. She looked up at her husband.

“Ready to get the cheesecake?” she asked. Tsuzuki went into puppy mode with Kirika-chan in his arms.

“Uh-huh!” he said.

“Shhh,” Anna said. “Just come on.” He followed her next door. This building also looked like a little doll house. The pink paint looked so faint. Anna turned to Tsuzuki.

“What do you think?” she asked. A huge grin spread as Tsuzuki’s face.

“I love it!” he shouted. The shinigami kissed her on the lips. Anna kissed him back. The baby cooed in discomfort.

“Oh, on. Sorry,” Tsuzuki said. He bounded Kirika-chan in his arms.

“Shhh. Shhh,” the shinigami whispered. The baby went quiet. Anna walked into the bakery. Her husband followed behind. They came out with a big box of chocolate caramel cheesecake. The couple grinned at each other. Kirika-chan cuddled against Tsuzuki’s chest.


The family had lunch at the apartment. Tsuzuki grinned to himself.

“You know something?” he asked. “We should call Tatsumi to brag!” Anna giggled.

“Won’t you get in trouble?” she asked.

“Maybe,” Tsuzuki said. He pulled out his phone.

“No, don’t,” Anna said. The other line rang. The shinigami giggled.

“Hello?” Tatsumi asked on the other line. Tsuzuki grinned.

“Guess what we’re doing right now!” he said.

“What?” the secretary asked. Tsuzuki chuckled.

“We’re about to have cheesecake in New York!” he said. The shinigami laughed. There was a pause.

“Where did you say you were?” Tatsumi asked.

“New York,” Tsuzuki said.


“Uh… well you see.” Tsuzuki looked over at Anna, trying not to laugh.

“What happened was the wedding was nice. After that, we decided to visit some friends in New York.” He paused for effect. He could hear Tatsumi’s rage over the phone.

“And when are you coming home?!” Tatsumi asked. Tsuzuki laughed.

“Next year,” he said.

“What?!” his former partner asked.

“Yeah, Christmas in New York sounds really nice.”

“Do you know how much trouble you are in?! Get back here right now!”

“I’m sorry, what? We’re breaking up. What? What? I can’t hear you! What? What?!” Tsuzuki made static noises the whole time.

“I’m still here. Hello? Hello?” Tatsumi asked. Tsuzuki grinned as he hung up. He turned to his wife.

“You shouldn’t have done that,” Anna said, smiling.

“I know,” he said. There was a pause. The couple broke down laughing. Kirika-chan stared at her parents blankly.