Chapter Thirteen: My Dear Friend:

On his way back to work, Tsuzuki overheard a woman yelling in Japanese with a Southern Californian accent. He looked across the street and found a woman on the phone standing near a street fountain. She looked clearly upset as she paced around, talking. Tsuzuki couldn’t help, but to eavesdrop.

“Listen!” the woman yelled, “I don’t care if you’re back-logged or not! Tell me what you’ve found on my friend! You’ll get around to the case? I don’t want to hear that! My friend could be alive and being sold as a whore as we speak! You don’t like my tone? Tell me, are all Japanese police this incompetent?” She hung up in and sighed aloud. The woman looked up when she noticed someone staring at her. Tsuzuki looked at her wondering if he should go over or not.

“What?!?” she asked, glaring at him. Tsuzuki panicked for a second.

“Uh… I was just walking by!” he said aloud. The Shinigami looked dead-on nervous as the blonde-haired woman narrowed her eyes at him. Finally, she looked away and Tsuzuki relaxed. Suddenly, a thought came into his mind. He walked over to the woman.

“Hey, what’s the matter?” he asked. The American looked up at him and sighed.

“It’s these stupid police,” she complained.

“Oh?” the Shinigami asked.

“Last month, my best friend was reported dead here in Japan. They said it was suicide,” she told him. Tsuzuki raised an eyebrow at her.

“And you don’t believe it?” he asked.

“No!” the blonde-haired woman pressed. She trembled all over after shouting that.

“I know she wouldn’t,” she went on, “Anna’s not the type of person to kill herself like that! She’s too strong for that!” Tsuzuki looked intrigued.

“Really?” the Shinigami asked.

“Yes,” she said, nodding. “That’s why I believe something has happened to her! I think she was murdered or sold into prostitution.” The woman trembled again. Tsuzuki looked at her in sympathy.

“You were really that close, weren’t you?” he asked. His new friend looked up once she managed to calm down.

“Well, almost,” she admitted. Tsuzuki looked at her confused.

“What do you mean?” he asked. The woman shrugged her tiny pale shoulders. The Shinigami got a girl look at Anna’s best friend as she slumped into sadness. This woman was a skinny Californian girl with her short orange-blonde hair just barely dusting her small shoulders. Her power blue tank top propped up her triple B cups. Her short jean shorts drew attention to her hips and made her long, skinny legs look so pale. His friend’s pink flip flops shaped her narrow feet with a silver heart pendant drew attention to her chest. She looked pretty cute in American sense. The woman looked up at him with her deep blue eyes.

“She’s a very private person,” she answered. Tsuzuki listened on and his friend pushed herself to keep talking.

“Anna always locked herself inside an invisible glass box,” she explained, “She’s there, but out of reach. It’s funny; I have never seen Anna cry, but I could see in her eyes that she was in pain.” The American woman smiled and shook her head.

“That girl…” she said aloud, “Anna seemed to be suffering every day, but she wouldn’t admit it. Maybe she didn’t need to. I saw the loneliness and heartache in her eyes. That’s why I dragged her into the photo club.” Tsuzuki took it all in; he understood how Anna felt. The man had been lost without Ruka after her death. Since that time, Tsuzuki had slipped into a sea of darkness that led to eight years in the hospital and suicide attempts before his death. Anna and he seemed to share the same loneliness when it was all taken apart.

“I can understand…” he mumbled. His American friend stared at him and then she smiled.

“Oh, I almost forgot!” she exclaimed, “I’m Rebecca Campbell, but you can call me Becky.”

“Tsuzuki Asato,” the Shinigami said back. They bowed after that exchange. The Shinigami looked her amazed.

“You know Japanese manners so well,” he said. Becky smiled and nodded.

“I learned from Anna. She is Japanese-American,” she told him.

“Really?” he asked.

“Yep; Anna is amazing once you push through her glass box and get to know her,” she said in pride. Tsuzuki smiled at her. Hearing all of that made him want to do so.

“What will you do if your friend is dead?” the Shinigami asked in serious tone. Becky shrugged.

“Go home knowing the truth, I guess,” she replied.

“But you think she’s still alive?” Tsuzuki asked.

“Yep,” Becky answered, “That reminds me…” She pulled out her phone to dial the police once more. Tsuzuki sat there in worry and tiny joy. He now had two personal things to do that tied into the Eda-Kimoto case: Get rid of Becky and the other friends before they really discovered the truth and break down Anna’s invisible glass to get to know her.