Chapter Seventeen: Parallel Lines:

A tour group was walking around Kyoto. Anna's American friends stood out in the group. Clare's idea, really; she had taken control in the city. The rest of the girls were tired by this point. Heck, even Angie begged for a rest. Clare wouldn't hear it.

"We have to keep Becky busy enough to get her mind off of Anna," she reasoned many times. The other girls groaned as they knew this plan was bound to fail again. Becky still thought about her friend as she looked at the sites. This investigation got nowhere; even some of the girls were losing hope. Becky sighed as she looked at another temple. If I could just see some sort of a sign that she's fine… she thought.

The tour group came to Kyoto University next. The upbeat tour guide turned to the people as they started taking pictures.

"And here is the University of Kyoto!" she chirped. As the tour guide got lost in her useless facts, Becky let her mind wander off. Anna… she thought.

Suddenly, a flash of auburn caught her eye. Becky blinked hard under the warm sun. Am I seeing things? she thought. She squinted for a closer look. A woman walked out of the psychology building across the street. Her shoulder-length auburn hair bounced as she moved. Becky’s eyes shot bigger.

That's Anna! she thought. Becky took a quick look around at her tour group. Her former club still listened to the tour guide talk on and on. Becky counted to three in her head and quietly crept away to the university. The woman trailed her friend to the back way. Anna came to the glass doors to find Tsuzuki waiting for her. Becky hid behind a tree and studied Tsuzuki for a long second.

I've seen him before, she thought. Tsuzuki looked up at Anna.

"Well?" he asked.

"There is a connection," she said.

"Just as we thought," Tsuzuki said as he pieced together what he learned so far.

"Now what?" his girlfriend asked.

"We find the doctor and work from there," he told her.

"Good, good," Anna said as she shuffled her feet. Tsuzuki noticed her changed body language.

"What's wrong?" he asked in a soft voice. Anna lowered her fists and shook her head. He lightly touched her shoulder.

"Come on, you can tell me," Tsuzuki murmured. Anna sighed as she glanced up at him.

"It's just..." she began to say.

"Just?" the shinigami asked.

"This is all getting to my head,” she told him, “I don't know how much more I can take. It just keeps ripping at me." He lightly shushed her as he took her into his arms.

"It's okay, we'll work through this, I promise," Tsuzuki assured her.

"It's the waiting that's getting to me," Anna murmured.

"When we find the doctor, everything will get moving again," her boyfriend assured her. Anna looked him straight in the eye.

"You promise?" she asked. Tsuzuki patted her on the head.

"Yes, yes," he assured her. Anna began to loosen up and smile.

"Alright, I'll trust your judgment on this one," she said in confidence.

"Good, ready to do this?" Tsuzuki asked.

"I suppose," she replied.

Becky watched with her own horrified theories as they walked into the building together. Anna's been tricked into prostitution and drug trafficking! she thought, And that guy's her pimp! I have to save her and bring her home! Becky took a picture of them before they went into the university.

I have to tell the girls! she thought. Becky hurried to catch up with the tour group. She whipped out her phone again and wrote a text to the former photo club.

"I found Anna! She's being sold like a whore and trafficking drugs. I saw her with her pimp! We have to save her quick!" Becky wrote. No sooner did she send the picture and message, the former photo club president remembered.

I was talking to that guy months ago! She cringed at the thought. And I told him about Anna too? He probably had her then too! Oh, I screwed up big time there! With that, she ran faster to find her other friends.