Chapter Four: House Call:
Queens, New York.
Tsuzuki gasped as he looked around. “Wow! It’s been so long since I’ve been in New York.”
“Calm down,” Anna said. “We’re not here for sight-seeing. We have work to do.”
Her fiancé frowned. He leaned his chin on her shoulder. “Aww, come on, Anna-chan. Can’t we do a little bit? Please? Please?”
Anna pushed him off. “We’ll see. Right now, we have work to do.”
Tsuzuki pouted. “Fine. Promise me!”
“Alright, I’ll hold you to it!”
“Yeah, yeah.” Anna pulled out the address and read over it. “Let’s see. 710 Mangrove Apartments.”
“Where is that?” the Shinigami asked.
“Let me see,” she said. “We turn here. Then go straight. Pass Sal’s. Go right. Turn left. Cross the street. Walk three more blocks. And there is the building.”
“Let’s go,” he said. Tsuzuki took her by the waist and teleported away.
They appeared in front of the right apartment. Anna looked at the address.
“We’re here,” she said. Tsuzuki stood beside her.
“Ready to do this?” he asked.
“Yeah,” she said with a nod. He grasped her hand and walked with her to the gate. Anna pressed the button. The intercom buzzed on.
“Hello?” a woman asked on the other line.
“Hi,” Anna said in English. “This is Anna Kimoto. We spoke on the phone about Stella.” A moment of silence passed.
“Okay, come up,” the woman replied. The gate slid open beside them. The couple walked through.
They came to the front door in a minute. Anna rang the buzzer.
“Just a minutes,” the woman said on the other line. Tsuzuki squeezed his fiancée’s hand.
“I can wait outside if you want,” he whispered. Anna shook her head.
“No?” he asked.
“Stay,” she whispered. “Come in with me.”
The door opened in front of them. The couple looked up. A woman in her early fifties greeted them. Her face looked thirty, but worn out. She dried her hands with a dishrag. Anna cleared her throat.
“Hello ma’am,” she said. “I’m Anna. This is my fiancé, Asato.” He gave the older woman a little wave.
“May we come in?” Anna asked. The woman nodded.
“Of course,” she said. She moved aside to let them in.
“My husband’s not in right now,” Stella’s mother explained. “He’ll be home soon.”
“I see,” Anna said. She looked around the living room.
“You have a nice place,” she said.
“Thank you,” the mother said. “Can I get you anything?” Anna repeated everything back to Tsuzuki in Japanese. He shook his head at the question.
“We’re good,” Anna said in English.
“Alright,” Stella’s mother replied. She continued to clean the kitchen. Anna felt her stomach turn.
Why am I here?/, she thought. /I don’t even have close ties to her daughter. I know this’ll hurt her, but why am I uneasy about this?
Anna shuddered at such a thought. Suddenly, she felt someone squeeze her hand. She looked up to see Tsuzuki calmly looking at her.
“It’s okay,” his eyes told her. “You have me here with you.” Anna felt the weight in her heart lighten. She nodded at him.
Right… They still had a long wait for Stella’s father to get home.
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