Tsuzuki and Anna sit down with Stella's parents and talk about her death.
Chapter Fourteen: Funeral Dinner:
February 11th, 2010. Queens, New York.
Tick. Tick. Tick. Mr. Craig ate his dinner over the silence. Bethany stared at her plate. Tsuzuki and Anna stared at the big man as he ate his steak.
“This is real good,” he said. “You keep getting better with the steak, dear.”
“Thanks, “his wife mumbled.
“Uh…” Anna spoke up. Mr. Craig glared at her. The woman quickly closed her mouth. Tsuzuki held her hand under the table. Tick. Tick. Tick.
Mr. Craig put down his fork. “How did she die?”
Anna looked up at him. “Huh?”
“How did she die? I bet that jerk ass vampire did her in! I always knew he would!”
The woman shook her head. “No.”
He blinked at her. “Then how?”
Anna lowered her fork. “She died saving me.” He didn’t respond at first.
“Is that so?” he asked.
“That’s right,” Anna replied. Tick. Tick. Tick. Mr. Craig snorted.
“Unbelievable!” he said. Anna raised an eyebrow at him.
“How?” she asked. He folded his arms across his chest.
“She betrayed her own kind.”
“I’m not following.”
“She just fell in love,” Bethany said.
“More like fell in stupid love!” her husband barked. He turned back to Anna.
“A vampire! She has to fall for a vampire of all things!” the man snapped. Tsuzuki looked confused. They all spoke English the whole time. He looked to Anna for translation. She whispered the shortened version to him under her breath.
“It’s not natural!” Mr. Craig went on. “A she-wolf with a vampire!”
“Well, you can’t help who you fall in love with,” Anna replied. Mr. Craig snorted.
“Ridiculous,” he said.
“I don’t think so.”
“She could’ve stayed here in New York. Married a decent guy and actually gotten a job. But no! She had to run off to Japan with a vampire! No offense to you people about Japan, but a vampire? In the marines, no less! Disgraceful!” He snorted again. Tsuzuki quietly ate up. Mr. Craig turned his attention to the Shinigami.
“And what about you?” he asked. “What do you think?”
“Dear!” Bethany whispered. Her husband brushed her off. Tsuzuki blinked at him.
“My English not very good,” he said in broken English.
“I have to translate for him sometimes,” Anna cut in. Mr. Craig turned back to Tsuzuki.
“This true?” he asked. Anna translated the question to the Shinigami. He nodded quietly. The other man sat back.
“Sad,” he said. “I pity you.” Tsuzuki nervously laughed. Tick. Tick. Tick.
“We brought her ashes with us,” Anna spoke up.
“Her ashes?” Mr. Craig asked.
“Yes sir,” she replied. “I figured that she should be brought home to her family.” He sat back with a frown.
“That was not necessary,” he said.
“But sir,” she said.
“She’s been dead to me for years,” the big man said. “She made a poor choice and now she paid for it.”
Anna gave him a cold look. She tightened her hands into fists. “Even so, Stella was your daughter! Parents are supposed to love their kids no matter what! She regretted her relationship with that vampire marine. I didn’t get to know her that well, but I’m sure she loved you both and her sisters dearly and would want her ashes to come back to you!” Tsuzuki squeezed her hand to calm her down. Mr. Craig frowned as he said nothing. He got up and walked out of the kitchen/dining room. The couple watched on with unfolding worry. Bethany gave them a small smile.
“It’s okay,” she told them. “You told him what he needed to hear.” Anna and Tsuzuki looked at her.
“You mean…” she said. Stella’s mother nodded.
“Just leave the urn on the coffee table,” she said. Anna bowed her head at her.
“Thank you, ma’am,” she said. She felt her heart settle into ease. Somehow, Stella would finally have the peace she needed in death.