Chapter Three: Night Drinks:

Tsuzuki walked Anna home after dinner. She snuggled up close to him in the thick summer night. The warmth of his body stirred her heart; she wished he could stay with her tonight. The woman even tried to entice him to her bed, but Tsuzuki refused.

“I have to work tonight,” he told her, “But I’ll make it up to you tomorrow night, okay?” Anna snuggled up close to his chest.

“Mmm, okay,” she said, “But you better promise!” Tsuzuki smiled at her.

“Right,” he said. He kissed her good night at her door and vanished. Anna let the kiss linger on her lips before going inside. She took in a deep breath at the door. It was a nice change to have their relationship out in the open. Too bad Hisoka seemed so sad about it.

Maybe I’ll talk to him later, Anna thought. He probably won’t listen, but she at least had to try.

A light sound caught Anna’s ear in the dark. Her eyes looked into the living room and she spotted Rihoko sitting alone in the dark with a bottle of wine in her hands. The grad student looked up and saw her housemate.

“Hey,” she whispered with a little wave. Anna gave her a little smile.

“Hi there,” she said back, “What are you doing up so late?” The young mother shrugged her shoulders with the bottle to her chest.

“Couldn’t sleep,” Rihoko said. Anna walked into the living room. Her housemate had on her pajamas, a tank top and white shorts. Her heavy breasts looked like they were going to pop out of her top at any moment. Anna wondered how much Rihoko’s back hurt because of them.

“Ah,” she said as she sat down next her. The woman pulled a black band out of her ponytail and shook her auburn hair loose.

“Drink?” Rihoko offered as she held the bottle out to her. Anna raised an eyebrow at her.

“What is it?” she asked.

“Peach wine,” the roommate said, “I bought it last year and forget I had it until I looked around in the fridge.”

“Sure,” Anna said with a smile. Rihoko poured the “ghost” a glass. Anna took a sip and shivered at the taste.

“It’s so cold!” she said.

“Like it?” the grad student asked.

“It’s good once you get past the cold,” her roommate said after she took a second sip. Rihoko smiled a bit.

“Yeah,” she said, “That was my first reaction too. I can’t believe that I had it this long.” Anna took another sip and the roommate did the same. In a couple of hours, the spirits began to raise high and with that, lips became loose. Anna turned to Rihoko with a grin.

“I had weird dreams when I was in college,” she confessed. The other woman looked at her.

“I worry about being a good mother to Yoko-chan,” she said back. Anna raised an eyebrow at her.

“Huh?” she asked, “What do you mean?” Rihoko finished her sip as she became somber.

“I messed up my life,” she reasoned, “My parents were getting a divorce by the time I started high school. They didn’t pay much attention to me; so, I started looking for love and attention elsewhere.” She took another drink. “I met this beautiful boy in my sophomore year of high school,” Rihoko went on as she turned her glass in her hand, “We dated for almost two years. Needless to say, we moved too fast and I got pregnant at seventeen.” She finished off her glass and poured another one. “As the cliché goes,” she said, “He left me for another girl at seven months and I had Rihoko in a city clinic.” She took another drink and sat back against the couch.

“It’s been a struggle ever since,” the woman went on, “I have to balance school and my daughter. My parents haven’t even called me once to say hi.” She sighed aloud and lowered her head. “I was just thrown in without a map or a destination,” Rihoko said, I don’t think I’m doing it right.” Anna smiled and shook her head.

“You’re a good mother,” she said. Rihoko looked at her with big surprised eyes.

“You mean it?” she asked. Her roommate nodded.

“Yoko-chan is happy and healthy. She’s a bright child as well,” she said, “You did right by her.” Rihoko eyed her amazed.

“Really?” she asked, “You believe all of that.”

“Yeah,” Anna said. Rihoko sat in disbelief at what she just heard.

“Wow,” she mouthed. Rihoko looked at her roommate.

“What about your dreams?” she asked. Anna blinked at her.

“Huh?” she asked. The question took a moment to sink in. Anna giggled when she realized what she was talking about.

“Oh,” she said, “Oh yeah. I had strange dreams in college.”

“About?” Rihoko asked. Anna swallowed her drink.

“Different things,” she said, “Once there was this nude woman with wings wrapped with red ribbons.” Rihoko looked intrigued.

“What was this about?” she asked.

“Who knows?” Anna replied with a shrug before she took another drink. “I don’t think I’ll ever know,” she said. Rihoko smiled as she drank.

“Sounds silly to me,” she said. Anna thought about that statement and laughed.

“Yeah, I guess,” she said, “It does sound silly.” Both girls laughed, but then it hit Anna hard. Her eyes opened wide as she stopped laughing. The images flashed in her mind over and over again: the feathers, the blood, her body, his smirking face. Anna broke down trembling as she hurled up into a little ball.

“Anna?” Rihoko asked as she shook on her friend, “Anna, what’s wrong? You look so pale.” It all pounded up in the other woman’s mind and cracked.

“Just leave me alone, okay?” she cried as she shoved off Rihoko. Anna got up and ran all the way to her room.