Chapter Twenty-Eight: Night Shift:
Tsuzuki and Anna sat on the porch watching the driveway in the late hours of the night. Two days and nothing had happened, but yet there was no time to rest. Yasuo could show up at any moment tonight. Anna was trying to sleep and Tsuzuki was lost in thought. Hotaruâ€™s words had really gotten him. Why was he still keeping Anna alive? Was he actually in love with her? Risking his job for love?
The Shinigami quickly shook his head. Nah, thatâ€™s crazy; right? Tsuzuki looked over at Anna. She had her eyes closed, trying to sleep. The Shinigami couldnâ€™t help but smile. Boy, she looks so peaceful, he thought, It would be wrong to wake herâ€¦
â€œAnna, Anna,â€ he whispered as he tapped her on the shoulder. She began to frown with her eyes shut.
â€œWhat, Tsuzuki?â€ she asked sounding cranky.
â€œTalk to me,â€ he whispered.
â€œNo!â€ the woman hissed, trying to go back to sleep.
â€œWhy not?â€ Tsuzuki asked, pouting.
â€œI want to sleep!â€ Anna complained.
â€œBut if donâ€™t talk to me, Iâ€™ll fall asleep too,â€ he reasoned, sounding like a sweet little kid, â€œThen Yasuo will show up and kill you again. Then, Iâ€™ll be fired and regret not saving you.â€ A plus-cross shape appeared on Annaâ€™s head as she gritted her teeth.
â€œFine!â€ the woman snapped, â€œWhat do you want to talk about?â€ Tsuzuki shrugged.
â€œJust anything, really,â€ he replied with a little pout.
â€œThatâ€™s not good enough,â€ Anna said in a bitter tone, â€œThink of something or Iâ€™m going to sleep.â€
â€œOkay, uhâ€¦ Have Emiko and Hotaru been talking to you lately?â€ the Shinigami asked in desperation to keep her awake. Anna opened her eyes and looked at him on that one.
â€œEmiko has, why?â€ she responded.
â€œI think they are trying to make us into a couple,â€ he said.
â€œYou notice that too?â€ Anna asked staring at him.
â€œYeah,â€ he said, nodding.
â€œBuy why?â€ the woman asked with her eyes narrowed at him, â€œWhat are they up to now?â€ The Shinigami shrugged.
â€œTell me and weâ€™ll both know,â€ he said.
â€œHm,â€ she said in thought. Tsuzuki noticed Annaâ€™s left wrist.
â€œAnna,â€ he spoke up. The woman stared out into the night.
â€œUh-hm?â€ she asked.
â€œWhatâ€™s with your bracelet?â€ the Shinigami asked back. Anna looked down at the jewelry in question.
â€œOh this?â€ she asked, â€œIt belonged to my aunt Kirika. Papa gave it to me years ago.â€
â€œAh,â€ Tsuzuki said, nodding. The woman felt sentimental so suddenly.
â€œHis little soldier,â€ she mumbled to herself, â€œThatâ€™s what he called me; his little soldier.â€
â€œYou and your father sounded like you were really close,â€ Tsuzuki stated.
â€œWe were,â€ Anna murmured. She looked over at the Shinigami.
â€œWhat about you? Were you close to anyone?â€ she asked. Tsuzuki went quiet. Should he talk about her? He was learning about her father each and every day. The man lowered his head.
â€œYes, a sister,â€ he said softly, â€œHer name was Ruka.â€
â€œWere you really close?â€ Anna asked.
â€œYes; sweet girl,â€ the Shinigami answered, â€œShe was the only person in the world that cared about me. I didnâ€™t know what to do without her.â€ Anna understood how he felt.
â€œWhat happened to your sister?â€ she asked. Tsuzuki lower lip trembled.
â€œShe diedâ€¦â€ her murmured. He could feel his heart breaking all over again. Anna herself felt a little bit of his sorrow.
â€œOh, Iâ€™m so sorry,â€ she said softly. Tsuzuki fought hard to smile.
â€œItâ€™s okay,â€ he tried to lie, â€œIâ€™m fine now, really!â€ The look on Annaâ€™s face told him that she didnâ€™t believe him.
â€œYou sound like I did in college,â€ she said sternly. Tsuzuki frowned at her.
â€œAm I that obvious?â€ he asked. Anna didnâ€™t say a word. Tsuzuki looked down at his feet.
â€œOhâ€¦â€ he said quietly. Anna decided to change the subject.
â€œSoâ€¦ slow three days, hasnâ€™t it?â€ she asked in a more chipper voice. The Shinigami looked up and nodded.
â€œYeah,â€ he said trying to really cheer up. Anna shuffled her feet a bit.
â€œSoâ€¦ how are you?â€ she asked.
â€œGood,â€ Tsuzuki answered, â€œYou?â€ The woman nodded and pressed her lips together.
â€œGood,â€ she replied. So hard to find the words after opening old wounds again; yet they both had the same question in their minds. Could they have an intimate relationship together? They had a guess to that answer, but they wanted to hear it out loud. Who would be first to ask? Why couldnâ€™t they word it the way they wanted to say it? The clock ticked loudly in their heads as the pause lengthened on and on. Anna finally opened her mouth to speak when they heard footsteps in the darkness.
â€œYou hear that?â€ Tsuzuki whispered.
â€œYeah,â€ Anna whispered back. The Shinigami drew out his fuda.
â€œStay by me,â€ he whispered to the woman. Anna nodded as the footsteps crept closer and closer. The pair looked up and saw Yasuo standing only six inches away from them, smirking.
â€œOh, Iâ€™m sorry. Am I interrupting anything?â€ he asked sarcastically.