Chapter Thirty-One: New York Shimmer:

They had never been here for pleasure before. Last time, it was to deliver bad news.

“Wow!” Anna said. “How long has it been?”

“A year, I think,” Tsuzuki said. She turned to him.

“We’re here. We’re actually here!” Anna shouted. She threw her arms in the air.

“We’re finally here!” she shouted. A sweat drop form on Tsuzuki’s head.

“Please don’t act like a tourist,” he said. Anna cleared her throat.

“What are we doing first?” she asked. Tsuzuki shrugged his shoulders.

“Up to you,” he said.

“Are you serious?” she asked.

“Yeah,” he said. “It’s your vacation too.” Anna smiled and kissed him on the lips. She gently poked Kirika-chan in the cheek. Her little face looked so pink. She didn’t know they weren’t in California anymore.

“I want some coffee,” Anna said.

“Okay,” Tsuzuki said, nodding. “We can do that.” The couple began their walk down the street.

New York was certainly cold today. Anna shivered in her jacket.

“I… was… not… prepared… for… this!” she complained in between chattering. Tsuzuki pulled her close to his body.

“Better?” he asked.

“A little,” she said. “Here.” Anna took the baby into her arms.

“Aw, you didn’t have to do that,” he said.

“I don’t mind,” Anna said. She cuddled against Kirika-chan. The baby cooed. Her mother giggled. Tsuzuki smiled.

They made their way to a local café. Anna frowned.

“Looks kind of crowded,” she said.

“Should we go somewhere else?” he asked. His wife turned her head.

“Are we expected anywhere?” she asked.

“Maybe… not yet,” the shinigami said. Anna tilted her head.

“What does that mean?” she asked. Tsuzuki kind of smiled.

“Let’s go inside,” he said. The shinigami hurried his girls inside.

“Asato-kun?” Anna asked. They got in the back of the line. She tried to look at the front of the line. She frowned and bounced Kirika-chan in her arms. What was Tsuzuki plotting this time?

The line gradually began to shrink. Anna turned to Tsuzuki.

“What do you want?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Something sweet, I guess.” His wife made a face.

“Of course you would,” she said. “You sweets monster.” He pretended not to hear her.

“Next!” the barista shouted. Anna stepped up to the counter.

“Good morning, what can I get you today?” the barista asked.

“One hot chocolate and one…” Anna said. She took a look at the menu. “Hm… What does that say right there?” The barista turned around and looked.

“That’s our peppermint white chocolate bark coffee,” she said. “It’s one of our holiday specials.” Anna took another look.

“I’ll go with your vanilla-cinnamon blend,” she said. The barista rang up the order.

“That will be $9.28,” she said. Anna reached into her wallet and paid for the coffees. The barista gave her the change.

“Your coffee will be ready in ten minutes,” she said. “Name for the order?”

“Anna Tsuzuki,” Anna said. Tsuzuki felt like singing. The barista wrote the name on the cup.

“Okay,” she said. “We will be with you shortly.” Tsuzuki hugged Anna from behind.

“Stop,” she whispered. He looked up, smiling.

“You said your married name,” the shinigami said.

“Yes,” she said. Anna sighed and dropped her shoulders. Tsuzuki cuddled up to her, smiling.

“Uh… Can we sit down? We’re holding up the line,” his wife said. The shinigami let go of her.

“Sure,” he said.

“Thank you,” Anna said. The couple took a seat in front of the shop window.