Chapter Thirty-Two: Sakuramochi:

You ask me what I thought about
Before we were lovers.
The answer is easy.
Before I met you
I didn’t have anything to think about.

--“IV” from The Love Poems of Marichiko by Kenneth Rexroth 1978

August 1st, 2009.

Last night’s leftover rain dripped from the leaves in the trees. The morning sun had just started to shine over the little puddles. Tsuzuki and Anna sat on the back porch enjoying the view.

“The rain’s stopped,” he said.

“Yeah,” she replied in a tone that sounded a little sad and distant. Tsuzuki looked at her rather puzzled.

“Aw, why do you say it like that?” he asked. Anna lowered her shoulders and shook her head.

“It’s just… I miss the rain, that’s all,” she murmured. He gave her a kind smile as he softly held her hand.

“Aw,” he said, “It can be much better when the sun is out.” He noticed her face when she didn’t speak.

“Don’t tell me you’re going to bail out on me every time the sun comes out,” the shinigami said sounding rather disappointed. She shook her head.

“No, I’m staying through—no matter what!” Anna declared rather boldly. She held his hand for emphasis. He smiled at her.

“Sounds good to me,” Tsuzuki replied. They looked out at the damp summer morning. Anna couldn’t help but to smile a little.

“Think they’ll ever accept our relationship?” she asked.

“I highly doubt it,” Tsuzuki answered, “But at least we can stay together until… well, you know.”

“Yeah,” his girlfriend said with a sigh. More rainwater dripped from the leaves as she smiled to herself. “You know,” Anna spoke up, “I’m going to enjoy being stuck with you.” He smiled back at her.

“So am I,” Tsuzuki replied.

“I love you, Asato-kun,” Anna said with rosy cheeks.

“I love you too, Anna-chan,” the shinigami said back as his thumb rubbed on her hand. They shared another morning kiss on the porch.

They still are damaged people; love can’t fix them in one day. However, its therapy has only begun for Tsuzuki and Anna. The rain has stopped now and now it’s time to enjoy the warm summer sunshine.