Chapter Four: Strawberry Pocky:

The sun's way:
hollyhocks turn toward it
through all the rains of May.


Today looked like another all-day rain while Anna and Tsuzuki were stuck on a confusing path. Emiko and Hotaru set them that way and that was it. No maps, no directions; just stuck them in the middle of nowhere. It’s just all wandering in the darkness.


Am I really attracted to Tsuzuki? I had a crush on him ten years ago. She paused at her laptop with that thought. Is that coming back again? It feels so strange to think about it like that. Would it be okay if…?

Anna slipped her right hand down to her panties. It wouldn’t really hurt. I have come close to having sex before. I’ve heard different people say that they’ve enjoyed it. She sat back in her chair and looked up at the white ceiling. I wonder what it’s like.

Anna bit her lip at the thought. His hands all over me like that… She gently touched her lips. We have kissed before. I wouldn’t mind having another one. However, the glow died from her face as another question crossed her mind. Does even he want the same? And would he mind my…

The woman looked at her back and wrists. She could hear her life ticking away as she shuddered. Maybe, I should take it all slow first. Take it slow and see where it goes from there.

Anna touched her lips again and felt that rosy glow rising in her chest. I do want him to kiss me again at least. The woman found herself unable to control her smile.


Emiko and Hotaru are right. I do want Anna; I want to be close to her. I want to get to know her very well. She really does find me attractive? Now that I think about it, Anna has turned out pretty cute over the years.

Tsuzuki paused over his strawberry shortcake. But, I feel so dirty when I think of her like that. I’m older than her. Plus, every time I see her face, I see that scared, helpless little sixteen-year-old girl that just lost her dad on that night. Even if we do end up sleeping together, I’ll feel like a pervert afterwards.

Tsuzuki took another bite and started on the paperwork again. Why am I worried about age for? We’re both twenty-six, at least I look twenty-six and Anna’s not a child anymore. So a sexual relationship between us should be okay, right…

Tsuzuki paused again and shuddered with the pen in his hand. I’m already in trouble for bringing her back from the dead. They would have my head if they found that Anna and I got into a relationship. Tatsumi and the chief would force me to end it and take the Hell Stone from her; Eda-Kimoto case or not. The shinigami tightly shut his eyes as he envisioned how that scenario would play out. I just… I just… I can’t lose her again. I’ve already done that twice and I’m not doing that again!

Tsuzuki sighed and lowered his pen. But what can I do? I want Anna, but I don’t want to lose my job. The man sighed and dropped his head. I guess I’ll try to keep things innocent between us for a while and then tell her how I feel… one day.

These thoughts were only the top of the high stakes against Tsuzuki and Anna. They haven’t even begun to dig into the faulty Hell Stone itself and her family. However, the rain gives people time to think.