Tsuzuki persuades Anna to spend the morning out with her. Along the way, they get to know each other and Anna asks a question that changes everything.
Chapter Nine: Kompeito Kisses:
Chilling autumn rains
curtain Mount Fuji, then make it
more beautiful to see
The rain stayed soft all morning. Tsuzuki insisted that he and Anna go out for the day. She looked at him oddly at the idea at first.
“But it’s still raining…” she said. The Shinigami nodded.
“Yeah, he said. “You’re not afraid of melting in the rain, are you?” Anna made a face at him.
“Ha-ha!” she said, sarcastically. Then, she playfully hit Tsuzuki on the arm. He winced a little bit.
“But seriously,” he said. “You have to get out more.” Anna looked over at her laptop.
“But…” she said. Tsuzuki turned her face back to him.
“No excuses,” he insisted. “I can’t have you cooped up in here all day because of the rain!” He gave her a cute smile.
“Besides, your laptop will be happy to have a break this morning,” he finished. Anna pouted at him.
“Just a walk?” she asked. Anna pressed her lips together, firmly. Something told her that “no” was not an option. She looked down at his palm.
“O-kay…” Anna surrendered at last.
So here they were, out having a nice little morning walk in the light rain. Anna and Tsuzuki were silent at first. Their emotions for each other had now been brewing tightly for a few days now. Seemed so intense and silent. Anything could make it burst. Anna stopped in her tracks at the entrance of her neighborhood. Tsuzuki stopped with her, confused.
“Anna?” he asked.
“Do you think I’m flawed?” the woman asked. The Shinigami blinked.
“What?” he asked.
“Am I flawed?”
“I wouldn’t know. I still don’t know much about you.” Only the rain drowned out the silence. Anna clinched her fists.
“I think I am.”
“Why?” Anna slowly looked at her wrists.
“The scars on my wrists and back…” Tsuzuki slowly understood as he looked at his right wrist. He hid his own scars he hid under his watch. Tsuzuki thought of himself as “flawed.” “/Anna…/” he thought. The woman turned around to him.
“Never mind,” she said with a smile. “Let’s go. We have a long way to go!” Tsuzuki looked at her, oddly.
“Anna…” he said. She playfully grabbed him by the hands.
“Come on, silly!” Anna said. “Let’s go!” She dragged him out of the neighborhood.
“Whoa Anna!” Tsuzuki cried. “Slow down!”
They walked into the city. The pair came to a flower shop.
“Look Anna, roses!”
“What do you mean ‘bleh’?” Anna made a face at him.
“Roses are so clichéd. People use roses for everything. Weddings, funerals, birthdays, Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, White Day, celebrations. What do they use? Roses. I hate roses. They are used so much that they just meaningless to me. Why not give someone you love gardenias or lotus blossoms? That would impress the hell out of me!”
“I like tulips myself.”
“That’s rather interesting.”
They walked further into Tokyo.
“Hey Anna, you hungry yet?” Tsuzuki asked.
“Hm?” she asked.
“You had breakfast yet?”
“No…” Tsuzuki perked up.
“Great!” he cheered. “I know a café with great sweet pastries. Come on, let’s go!” Tsuzuki dragged her further into the streets.
“Tsuzuki!!!” she yelped. “Slow down, you’re hurting me!” The Shinigami didn’t listen. His stomach was too loud at the moment.
They made it inside, out from the rain. He ordered the food. They took a seat near the window. As they ate, a thought crossed Anna’s mind.
“Tsuzuki,” she spoke up. He stuffed more sweet bread in his mouth.
“Yeah?” he asked.
“Why did you kiss me that night so many years ago?” Tsuzuki looked up in shock.
“You know, when Papa was killed. You stayed with me in our garden shed. Why did you kiss me that night?” Silence for a moment.
“I can’t really remember why anymore.”
“What do you mean?” Tsuzuki only shrugged.
“It was ten years ago. All I know was that it just happened. I’m sorry I can’t give you a better answer.” Anna shook her head, disappointed.
“Oh. No, it’s okay. I was only curious, that’s all.”
“I see.” They ate on in silence after that exchange. The awkward blow seemed to be a painful loss.
He took her to the book store and the music store. Neither one really spoke the whole time. There wasn’t much Anna wanted to buy this morning. They seemed to be holding out for something more. Something more… hard to describe...
By noon, Tsuzuki took Anna home. She turned to him at the door.
“Well, I’ guess I’ll see this evening,” she said. The Shinigami nodded.
“Yeah…” he mumbled. Tsuzuki said, nodding. Should be over from there, right? But as Anna was opening the front door, a memory lit up like fire in Tsuzuki’s mind.
“Anna, wait!” he yelled. The woman paused and turned to him.
“Yes?” she asked. Her guardian looked really excited now.
“I remember!” he exclaimed. “I remember! I remember why I kissed you now!” Anna waited with peeked interest.
“Why?” she asked. He didn’t answer in words. Instead, Tsuzuki quickened his walk over to the woman and took her by the waist. He kissed her right on the lips. Anna was taken-aback at first. She didn’t have time to think. This was just like Halloween night in ’99. No, this was different. That kiss was soft and sympathetic. Tsuzuki was being gentle then. This was not that first kiss.
This kiss was different. This was much more passionate… More intense… More… intimate. Anna found herself breaking down and giving in as she closed her eyes and kissed him back in the same way. She held him close to her as well. Anna felt as if someone had taken that Halloween night kiss and cranked it up times twenty.
After about ten minutes, they let go. Their eyes stayed dead-on each other. Neither one could speak. That kiss wiped away any possible words that could follow. Tsuzuki only bowed his head and disappeared. Anna only stared on in the dim morning. She gently touched her lips with her fingertips. Though she couldn’t explain it then and there, she suddenly felt so cold without Tsuzuki. Cold as the drops dripping from the roof and dropping on the front step below.