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.
â€œI have to work tonight,â€ he told her, â€œBut Iâ€™ll make it up to you tomorrow night, okay?â€ Anna snuggled up close to his chest.
â€œMmm, okay,â€ she said, â€œBut you better promise!â€ Tsuzuki smiled at her.
â€œRight,â€ 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 Iâ€™ll talk to him later, Anna thought. He probably wonâ€™t listen, but she at least had to try.
A light sound caught Annaâ€™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.
â€œHey,â€ she whispered with a little wave. Anna gave her a little smile.
â€œHi there,â€ she said back, â€œWhat are you doing up so late?â€ The young mother shrugged her shoulders with the bottle to her chest.
â€œCouldnâ€™t sleep,â€ 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 Rihokoâ€™s back hurt because of them.
â€œAh,â€ she said as she sat down next her. The woman pulled a black band out of her ponytail and shook her auburn hair loose.
â€œDrink?â€ Rihoko offered as she held the bottle out to her. Anna raised an eyebrow at her.
â€œWhat is it?â€ she asked.
â€œPeach wine,â€ the roommate said, â€œI bought it last year and forget I had it until I looked around in the fridge.â€
â€œSure,â€ Anna said with a smile. Rihoko poured the â€œghostâ€ a glass. Anna took a sip and shivered at the taste.
â€œItâ€™s so cold!â€ she said.
â€œLike it?â€ the grad student asked.
â€œItâ€™s good once you get past the cold,â€ her roommate said after she took a second sip. Rihoko smiled a bit.
â€œYeah,â€ she said, â€œThat was my first reaction too. I canâ€™t believe that I had it this long.â€ 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.
â€œI had weird dreams when I was in college,â€ she confessed. The other woman looked at her.
â€œI worry about being a good mother to Yoko-chan,â€ she said back. Anna raised an eyebrow at her.
â€œHuh?â€ she asked, â€œWhat do you mean?â€ Rihoko finished her sip as she became somber.
â€œI messed up my life,â€ she reasoned, â€œMy parents were getting a divorce by the time I started high school. They didnâ€™t pay much attention to me; so, I started looking for love and attention elsewhere.â€ She took another drink. â€œI met this beautiful boy in my sophomore year of high school,â€ Rihoko went on as she turned her glass in her hand, â€œWe dated for almost two years. Needless to say, we moved too fast and I got pregnant at seventeen.â€ She finished off her glass and poured another one. â€œAs the clichÃ© goes,â€ she said, â€œHe left me for another girl at seven months and I had Rihoko in a city clinic.â€ She took another drink and sat back against the couch.
â€œItâ€™s been a struggle ever since,â€ the woman went on, â€œI have to balance school and my daughter. My parents havenâ€™t even called me once to say hi.â€ She sighed aloud and lowered her head. â€œI was just thrown in without a map or a destination,â€ Rihoko said, I donâ€™t think Iâ€™m doing it right.â€ Anna smiled and shook her head.
â€œYouâ€™re a good mother,â€ she said. Rihoko looked at her with big surprised eyes.
â€œYou mean it?â€ she asked. Her roommate nodded.
â€œYoko-chan is happy and healthy. Sheâ€™s a bright child as well,â€ she said, â€œYou did right by her.â€ Rihoko eyed her amazed.
â€œReally?â€ she asked, â€œYou believe all of that.â€
â€œYeah,â€ Anna said. Rihoko sat in disbelief at what she just heard.
â€œWow,â€ she mouthed. Rihoko looked at her roommate.
â€œWhat about your dreams?â€ she asked. Anna blinked at her.
â€œHuh?â€ she asked. The question took a moment to sink in. Anna giggled when she realized what she was talking about.
â€œOh,â€ she said, â€œOh yeah. I had strange dreams in college.â€
â€œAbout?â€ Rihoko asked. Anna swallowed her drink.
â€œDifferent things,â€ she said, â€œOnce there was this nude woman with wings wrapped with red ribbons.â€ Rihoko looked intrigued.
â€œWhat was this about?â€ she asked.
â€œWho knows?â€ Anna replied with a shrug before she took another drink. â€œI donâ€™t think Iâ€™ll ever know,â€ she said. Rihoko smiled as she drank.
â€œSounds silly to me,â€ she said. Anna thought about that statement and laughed.
â€œYeah, I guess,â€ she said, â€œIt does sound silly.â€ 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.
â€œAnna?â€ Rihoko asked as she shook on her friend, â€œAnna, whatâ€™s wrong? You look so pale.â€ It all pounded up in the other womanâ€™s mind and cracked.
â€œJust leave me alone, okay?â€ she cried as she shoved off Rihoko. Anna got up and ran all the way to her room.