Chapter Twenty-Eight: She Thought of Rain:

Winter rain --
The field stubble
Has blackened.


Anna woke up before the sun even thought of rising. She looked up next to her to see Tsuzuki still peacefully asleep. A warm smile came onto her face. She gently kissed him on the lips before climbing out of her futon. The woman found her lover’s shirt in the dark and slid it on. She crept over to her door and took one peek over her shoulder. Tsuzuki practically slept like the dead. Anna gave him a little smile.

Asato-kun…, she thought. Anna quietly slipped out the door. She crept down the hall past Rihoko, Yoko-chan, and Seita’s rooms. Anna found her way to the back door, slipped outside, and took a seat on the porch. The rain looked nice this morning. A dreamy look flooded Anna’s eyes as her mind drifted into thought.

Tatsumi will be coming in a few hours. Asato-kun and I are ready to face him. I can’t sleep because of it. It feels strange; I’m not scared anymore. I actually… can’t wait for it to happen. I get excited just thinking about it.

Anna shut her eyes and took in a deep breath.

We thought about this. Worst case scenario: the Hell Stone could be taken from me and I die. Best case scenario: By some miracle, Tatsumi has a change of heart and I get to stay with Asato-kun. Then, I still have the other risk factors. Either way, it’s a thin rope to cross. I have my balance at least. I just need to start walking.

Anna took in another deep breath. Asato-kun wants to make this relationship work. He’s been nothing but good to me. I trust him and he trusts me. We will be fine. We are going to be fine!

Anna opened her eyes and clenched her fists. I can feel my own heart pounding. I need to calm down and go back to sleep. This whole “battle” is working up and the sun isn’t up yet. Just take a breath for a few seconds and calm down.

Anna shut her eyes and took in a few slow long breaths. The rain outside played into clearing her head. When her heart rate slowed down to normal, Anna relaxed her fists and opened her eyes. The woman’s head felt empty from her night reflections. With not much else to do, she got up and went back into the house. Once back in her room, Anna took off Tsuzuki’s shirt and crawled back into the futon with him. She kissed her boyfriend on the lips.

“I’m not backing down,” she whispered, “And neither are you.” Anna slid back into his arms and went back to sleep. There is was: No more fears, no more nightmares; just open trust from now on. Only a few more hours to go before they had to commence for battle.