Chapter Forty-Three: Partialism:

March 3rd, 2010.

3:32 p.m.

Anna awoke to see Tsuzuki smiling at her.

"Hey," he whispered. His wife smiled.

"Were you watching me sleep the whole time?" she asked.

 "Yes," Tsuzuki lied. He lightly caressed her cheek. She didn't need to know about the bet. A thought crossed his mind.

"Oh," he said. "I have to add you to the family registry now!" Anna lifted her head.

"Oh that's right," she said. He held her hands.

"What shall I put your name down as?" Tsuzuki asked. "Tsuzuki Anna Elizabeth?"

She shook her head. "Kimoto-Tsuzuki Anna Elizabeth."

He narrowed his eyes. "Why keep your maiden name?"

"Just want to keep a little bit of Papa, I suppose."

"But you have his tapes."

"Yes." She lowered her shoulders, sighing. "Just� Please let me keep the name."

Tsuzuki patted her on the head. "Alright, you will officially be Kimoto-Tsuzuki Anna Elizabeth." His wife bowed her head.

"Thank you," she murmured. She rested her head on his chest.


April 23rd, 2010.

9:16 p.m.

Tsuzuki insisted on sitting in the passenger seat.

"I will not sit with her!" he declared.

"Why?" Gesshin asked. "She won't bite."

"I'm married," the shinigami hissed. "That's why!" The host waved him off.

"Yes, we know," he said. "Just get in." Tsuzuki frowned. Like I have a choice� The girl got in the back while the shinigami sat up front. His little female "friend" lowered her head.

"I'm sorry," she murmured. Gesshin glanced at her in the rear view mirror.

"That's okay, darling," he said. "You got him in the cab like I wanted." She kept her head as she pressed her lips together. Tsuzuki gritted his teeth. I knew it! She was a trap! His eyes turned to the driver.

"What do you mean 'do I give up yet?'" he asked. They rounded the corner. Gesshin smirked behind the wheel.

"Do you?" he asked.

"Why?" Tsuzuki asked.

"Oh, you look a little stuck."

"Do I now?"

"Are you?"

"And what if I was?" The streetlights passed over them in the cab. The girl kept her head down the whole time. Tsuzuki looked out the window.

"No," he said.

"No, what?" Gesshin asked.

"I'm not giving up," the shinigami said. "I have to keep going."

"You sure?" the host asked.

"Yes!" Tsuzuki said. The driver held up his hand.

"Shhh," he said. "Keep your voice down." The shinigami drew his mouth closed as Gesshin sat back.

"In that case�" he said. They pulled up at a red light. The girl looked out the window. Gesshin turned to his male passenger.

"Ready for the next clue?" he asked. Tsuzuki turned to the back seat.

"What about her?" he asked. Gesshin glanced behind him.

"What about her?" he asked.

"What are you going to do with her?" the shinigami asked.

"What else?" the male geisha asked. "Take her home." Tsuzuki gave him an odd look.

"Huh?" he asked. The other man laughed.

"Oh come on now, shinigami-kun," he said. "I'm more of a gentleman for the ladies. My master is the one kills and eats them." He turned to the other passenger.

"Could you give me directions to your home?" the driver asked. The girl nodded as the light changed green. Gesshin grinned.

"That's a good girl," he said. Within forty-five minutes, they came to her house. Gesshin watched as the girl climbed out of the cab.

"Oh, princess," he said. The girl turned around. The male geisha gave her the look of a concerned older brother.

"You shouldn't be out this late picking up men," he said. "It was lucky this gentleman picked you up. Focus on your future, okay?"

"Okay," the girl said. She climbed out and walked up to the house. The host didn't drive off until she went inside.

"Touching," Tsuzuki muttered under his breath. Gesshin pulled away and drove out of the neighborhood. His face changed to one of mischievous delight.

"Ready for your clue?" he asked. The shinigami looked up.

"Huh?" he asked. They stopped at the intersection. Gesshin turned to him, grinning.

"Building up courage," he said. Tsuzuki blinked.

"What does that mean?" he asked. The male geisha shook his head.

"That's all for now," he said. "Shall I drive you to your hotel now?" The man pulled off before Tsuzuki could answer. Tsuzuki reflected that charm and annoyance didn't work well together.