Chapter Thirty-Six: Algolagna:
March 2nd, 2010.
Tsuzuki wandered the gift strip near the guest house he and his bride were staying. He needed to get Anna a small gift before he could properly devour her. The shinigami looked at the many stalls still open at this time of night. Last night while Anna slept, he went down and toured the alley down on the street below. He had the exact stall in mind he wanted to visit. The shinigami came over to the exact stall that he wanted. The lady in charge waited behind the jewelry stand.
"Good evening, sir," she greeted him. "Welcome and how can I help you today?" Tsuzuki waved at her.
"Hey," he said. "Just here to do little last-minute shopping."
"Anything in particular?" she asked. Tsuzuki looked at all of the charm necklaces on display. He finally settled on one in the dead center. This charm looked cross-shaped with many square holes in the brown marble. The style itself made Tsuzuki curious enough for a second look. The clerk eyed his selection.
"Oh, that one," she said. "I got it from an old friend before she moved in with her son and daughter-in-law. It looks rather odd to me." The groom looked up.
"I'll take it," he said. The old lady had an intrigued look on her face.
"Do you want it gift-wrapped?" she asked. Tsuzuki shook his head.
"No, it's fine," he said.
"You know," the clerk went on as she picked up the charm by its black satin chain. "Not many ask about this particular charm. They glance over it and pick something else. I wonder why."
"Can't tell you," Tsuzuki replied.
"500¥, please," she said after totaling up the price. Tsuzuki paid for the necklace.
"Keep the change," he said. They bowed and he headed up back to his room.
Tsuzuki reached into his gi and pulled out the necklace. Anna looked at the charm, curiously.
"For me?" she asked.
"It's a little charm to keep evil spirits from the marriage bed," her husband ad-libbed. Anna smirked at him, out of character.
"Well, that's too late for that," she said. Tsuzuki frowned, narrowing his eyes.
"Huh?" he asked. "What do you mean?"
"I'm looking at an evil spirit right now!" she declared. Her husband pretended to be stunned.
"Me?" he asked. "But I'm not an evil spirit!"
"But you're going to ravish me!" she cried. Tsuzuki gave her a naughty smile and clasped the charm necklace around her neck.
"I'm a gentleman," he protested as he did so. "Do I look like I'm capable of such monstrous acts?" Anna slipped back into character for their night.
"But…" she began. Tsuzuki smirked as he untied his gi. Anna's cheeks turned a rosy pink as he tossed it aside.
"Believe me now?" he asked. In that moment, Anna lost the ability to speak. Tsuzuki didn't even let her as he closed the gap with an overwhelming, live-giving kiss.
April 22nd, 2010.
Tsuzuki and Anna sat in the hotel room waiting for their therapy session to begin. He noticed that his wife wore the charm that he bought her on their wedding night. The cross-shaped charm rested at her breasts. Seeing it brought some relief to him, yet it wasn't doing much for him. He wanted to say something, but didn't have the words. She didn't even look in his direction. Her trembling wrists told him how she's taking the Gesshin situation. Finally, the door opened with a room key. Husband and wife looked up to see Tana walk inside.
"I'm sorry about that," she said. "The line took longer than expected." The woman set down her tea on the desk. She pulled up a chair in front of the sofa they sat on. "Okay, let's get started." She reached into her bag and pulled out her tape recorder. "Mind if I record this session?" The couple shook their heads and Tana hit record.
"Good morning. It is now April twenty-second, 2010at 11:00 a.m. I am Fujimoto Tana-sensei and I am here with Tsuzuki-san and his wife." She turned to the couple. "How is your progress so far?"
"Awful!" Tsuzuki complained. "Can't we have sex again?"
"No," the shrink said as she shook her head.
"Why not?" the shinigami asked. Tana pressed her hands together.
"Because you will be focused on the lust of the relationship," she said. "Sex and romantic love alone can't hold up a marriage. Turning to sex becomes too easy for coping emotionally. Pretty soon, you won't need to talk."
Tsuzuki stared at her blankly. "Coping emotionally?"
"I read your files," Tana admitted. The shinigami's face grew pale.
"You what?!" he yelped.
"I had to," she said. "I need to study my patients to help them." Her eyes turned to the wife. "Have you talked about when you burned your aunt to death during the last battle with your family, Kimoto-san?" Anna looked away as she pressed her lips together. Tana sat back in her chair.
"This is what I am talking about," she said. "Until you can take to the first step to fix yourselves, sex is out of the question." Tsuzuki sat pouting while Anna looked at her lap. Tana made some quick notes for herself.
"Tsuzuki-san," she said. "How have you been dealing with the temptation on this case?" The man froze. He couldn't fully tell Anna and Tana the extent of Gesshin or Asmodeus' "game" just yet. He turned to Tana with his eyes.
"Not so well," he mumbled. Tana raised an eyebrow at him.
"How exactly do you mean?" she asked. Tsuzuki bit his lower lip. He leaned in and whispered the truth to the therapist. She turned to him with concern in her eyes.
"What can't you say it here?" she asked. He whispered in her ear again. Tana frowned at him.
"Well, she has to know!" she whispered back.
"Know what?" Anna asked. Tana and Tsuzuki turned to her. Her husband gave her a nervous smile.
"I can't tell you right now," he said, calmly. "I have to talk to Tana-sensei first." Anna gave him a puzzled look.
"But why?" she asked. Tana studied the atmosphere as they talked. She remembered the other point that needed to be said. Maybe, Tsuzuki's suggestion might work in this case. Tana cleared her throat. The couple glanced up as she rose to her feet.
"It looks like I need to speak with you both individually for this session," she said. "So why don't we take a moment and I will call you in one at a time to talk, sound good?" Tana really didn't need an answer. "Right, you are temporarily dismissed until 11:15." Tsuzuki and Anna nodded, uncertain of what just happened here. Tana drew in a breath.
"Okay then," she said. "Go on and get a drink or something. Go on! Move it!" The couple quietly walked out of the room. Tana hit "stop" on the tape recorder.