Chapter Thirteen: You Were Born to Bare a Heavy Load:
Anna glanced at her surroundings in the busy noon city. This is where Asato-kun and Hisoka work, huh? Hours earlier, Anna dropped off the box with Emiko, went home, packed up her things, and headed out to the train station. However, she found herself quick to reason with her doubts.
This is just a surprise visit/, she told herself repeatedly. /I am only here to see Asato-kun for one night and then maybe I'll leave by this afternoon/. Anna looked up at the town clock. Still noon/, she thought./ Gives me time to check in and study Papa's notes./ Anna picked up her luggage and began heading out.
She checked into a nice hotel under the alias of Niwa Midori. Anna got a nice room over-looking the city. Once settled, she looked at her phone. Should I call Asato-kun and tell him I'm here? Her eyes fixed on the number. One little button to strike up a conversation. Anna closed her phone in the end.
I'm supposed to surprise him/, she thought. /Calling him would give it away. The woman put down her phone. "I should study those notes," Anna said to herself. The woman turned to her bag and pulled the notes out. She lied back on the bed and started reading.
Around dinner time, Anna looked at her phone./What do I want to eat? Room service or go out?/
Anna took in the Nagasaki evening air with each step. /It’s so different from Tokyo air for some reason/, she thought. Tonight was a sushi night and so Anna looked around for a cheap place to eat. She found one near her hotel. Anna sat by the window and ate her dinner. As she shoved trout into her mouth, she noticed something outside across the street.
"Hey," Anna spoke up. The guy behind the counter lifted his head.
"Hm?" he asked.
"What is that over there?" the woman asked. The cook looked out the window and saw Kiko's across the street.
"Oh that? That's just Kiko's," he answered.
Anna gave him a rather curious look. "What is it?"
"It's just a student bar."
"A student bar?"
"A juice bar for the students in the city."
Anna nodded after some thought. "I see."
The man chuckled as he cut more fish. "Don't tell me you want to go."
Anna lowered her cup with a smirk. "You know, I just might."
The cook behind the counter looked up at her with eyebrow raised. "Seriously?"
He shrugged at her and got to work on the next round of sushi. "Nothing, it's all you."
Anna bowed her head. "Thank you." She paid her tab and headed out the door.
Loud dance music pounded in her ears. Anna covered them as she observed her surroundings. This place looked like a college bar. /Just like California/, she thought with a frown. She made her way over to the bar and the bar tender gave her an odd look.
"Aren't you a little too old to be here?" he asked. Anna tried to make herself smile. She did feel out of place here; just like she did in any bar in San Diego. She shook her head.
"Nah, I'm just checking things out," she said.
"Ah," he said. "Care for a drink?"
Anna leaned in close with peeked interest. "What do you have?"
"What kind of juice?"
"Apple, mango splash, tomato, sparkling apple, ginger, and the special: wild berry," the bar tender listed off.
"I'll take a sparkling apple, please," Anna said.
"Coming up," he replied. The bar tender got right to work. Anna took a look around as she waited. The high school students all over the place made her feel really old now. Anna shut her eyes and shook her head.
Why am I here? It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now…
Suddenly, Anna noticed someone sitting next to her. The woman looked and saw a skinny kid with big glasses, staring at her. She blinked at him.
"Well, hello," Anna said. "Can I help you?" The boy gave her an excited smile.
"You look nice," he said quickly.
"Thank you…" she said, awkwardly. He scooted in closer to her.
"You doing anything later?" the boy asked rather nervous.
Anna's eyes shifted a bit. "Why?" The boy looked behind him, turned back to his target, and grabbed her hands.
"Date me!" he pleaded. "I think you're hot." Anna looked confused.
"Wait, are you hitting on me?" she asked. The boy's face turned bright red.
"Yeah… uh… no… uh… kind of… I don't know!" he stammered out. The boy lowered his head in disappointment. Anna chuckled at him.
"I'm too old for you and I already have a boyfriend," she replied in an attempt to let him down easily. The boy turned to the bar with his head down.
"Figures," he mumbled. "You wouldn't go out with someone like me. I can't get a date if my life depended on it." Anna looked at him in pity.
"Don't say that," she said. The boy shook his head.
"Oh god," he mumbled. "This was so stupid of me." The boy looked up at Anna.
"I can never get the girl I want," he said. Anna gave him an odd look.
"What do you mean?" she asked.
"I've had a crush on this girl ever since I was twelve," he said. "She never notices me, though. She's one of those popular kids in my school. She's smart, beautiful, and really nice-- almost like you."
"Uh-huh," Anna said, listening in.
"She's here tonight, with a date."
Anna looked around the bar. "Where?" He pointed further down the bar. Anna looked and saw a dark-haired girl with a senior boy. She was laughing and enjoying herself over their drinks as she twirled her locks with her fingers. He kissed the girl on the neck and she giggled again. Anna looked back at the boy with her as he softly sighed to himself.
"She is so pretty," he murmured. The woman blinked at him.
"Okay…" she said. “So, why hit on me if you like her so much?"
The boy shrugged at her. "I don't know, trying to make her jealous or something. Pretty dumb, I know." Anna looked on in pity.
"What is your name?" she asked.
"Jun," the boy said. "Fukuda Jun." The woman smiled at him.
"Midori," Anna lied. "I'm Niwa Midori." Jun took another sip of his drink. Anna picked up her own drink as the bar tender came back with her juice. /This boy needs a little guidance in love/, she thought. She could stay in Nagasaki a little bit longer.
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