Lost Weekend in Kyoto
Lost Weekend in Kyoto
March 1st, 2010.
The Shinkansen pulled up in Kyoto. Tsuzuki held Anna’s hand while excited little chills raced through his body. Felt good to be back, again. The people around them hurried to get on and off the trains. Anna felt someone nudge her on the arm. She looked up to see Tsuzuki smiling at her.
“Happy birthday,” he whispered. Anna felt her heart flutter.
“Thanks,” she said. He kissed her on the cheek.
“Come on,” he said. “We have to get going.” She tilted her head, blinking.
“Where?” the woman asked. He broke into a goofy grin.
“Just come on!” the shinigami said. He tugged her along with him while Anna looked around with a confused look on her face.
“Where are we going?” she asked. Tsuzuki turned to her, winking.
“That’s a secret,” he said. Anna’s expression went blank.
“Okay…” she said. Tsuzuki led her further into the crowd.
They ate at a French café for lunch. Anna enjoyed her fill of the delicacies while Tsuzuki feasted on the sweet crêpes that came to the table. Anna watched him as he ate.
“Remember,” she said. “We still have to pick up my cake.”
“It’s fine!” he brushed off. “I still have room for cake!” Anna stuck out her tongue at him.
“Oh, I forgot,” she said. “You are a bottomless sweet pit, aren’t you?”
“Yep!” Tsuzuki said with a nod. His girl smiled.
“You have some whipped cream on your nose,” she said.
“Huh?” he asked. He reached up to wipe off, but his fiancée took hold of his wrist.
“Here,” she said. “Let me get it for you.” Anna started to pick up her napkin, but then leaned forward and licked the whipped cream off his nose. That little movement alone made him jump.
“Anna-chan!” he said, gasping. “What are you doing? Wait ’til later!” She sat back, smiling.
“Sorry,” Anna said. “You’re just fun to mess with sometimes.” He blinked at her with a blank stare. She giggled at him. Tsuzuki sighed, but smiled. Oh Anna-chan…
Tsuzuki insisted on buying a cake. “The birthday girl needs a cake!” he said. Anna threw up her hands.
“Okay, okay,” she said. “We’ll get a cake.” Her fiancé grinned.
“Thanks!” the shinigami cheered. Anna smiled and shook her head.
“Honestly,” she said. “You’re acting like it’s your birthday.” Tsuzuki bowed his head.
“Sorry,” he said. Anna smiled.
“Silly,” she said. The woman stuck out her tongue. They headed out to search for a bakery. Anna turned to her lover.
“Do you know where you are going?” she asked. Tsuzuki ignored her question and looked around. Anna nudged him on the arm.
“Honey,” she said. “Where are we going?” The shinigami glanced down at her.
“Hm?” he asked.
“Where are we going?” Anna asked again. Her boyfriend grinned at her.
“Secret!” he said. His fiancé tilted her head.
“In other words, you don’t know,” she said.
“Come on, have a little faith in me.”
“Okay…” she said. “What’s the bakery’s name?” Tsuzuki looked around for a bit.
“Well…” he said. His eyes shifted around to the shops on either side of him. Finally, the shinigami spotted his target.
“There!” he said, pointing. Anna turned and looked down the street. She raised an eyebrow at what she saw.
“Fairy Kiss Bakery?” she asked.
“Yeah,” Tsuzuki said. “Let’s go in.” He took hold of Anna’s hand. His fiancée kept a small smile on her face.
“Alright,” she said. Tsuzuki ushered her over to the bakery. The bells jingled like a fairy’s jewels as he opened the door. Anna had to drag him inside after he drooled over the yummy cakes on display in the big shop window. Two girls at the counter looked up.
“Welcome!” they said.
“Hello!” Tsuzuki said. The man turned to his fiancée and whispered in her ear. “Let me talk to them first,” he told her.
“What?” Anna whispered with a strange look on her face. Tsuzuki put up his hand.
“I’ve got it,” he insisted. “Stay there.” Anna drew her mouth closed. Right, Tsuzuki thought. The man walked up to the counter. The girls gave him an odd look. He spent the last ten minutes drooling at the display in the front window, then he was whispering to his ladylove, but now he switched to a more serious attitude.
“Hi,” Tsuzuki said. The older girl blinked at him.
“Can we help you?” she asked.
“I would like to order two cakes today,” the shinigami said, grinning.
“Okay,” she replied. Tsuzuki held up his hand.
“Wait,” he said. “I didn’t finish.” Tsuzuki pointed over at Anna. “Today is her birthday. So, I want the first cake today.” The older girl nodded.
“Okay,” she said. “And the other one?”
“Now the other one,” he began. The shinigami leaned in close to the girls and they did likewise.
“That’s for the wedding tomorrow,” Tsuzuki whispered. The younger girl’s amber eyes lit up.
“Oh, you’re getting married!” she gasped.
“Shhh!” he said. “She doesn’t know it yet.” The sisters nodded, covering their mouths. Anna watched them the whole time. Why are they talking so softly? The girls at the counter understood.
“Alright,” the older girl answered. “Which cake would you like today?” Tsuzuki turned to Anna.
“Honey, come pick out the cake you want,” he said.
“Alright,” she said. They ended up with a strawberry-lemon cake with whipped frosting.
It was love at first sight and she just had to have it.
Tsuzuki and Anna wandered around an old-time shopping district after lunch. She took in the sights and sounds as he plotted out the right stores to come back to. They had just left the bakery after picking up her birthday cake. Tsuzuki turned to his girl.
“Where to next, birthday girl?” he asked.
“Hm, let’s see,” she said. Anna looked around at the various shops. She stopped short at one in particular.
“Oh!” she gasped. Anna wandered across the street.
“Anna-chan?” Tsuzuki asked as he followed her.
“What is it?” he asked. She pointed to the glass in front of her. Tsuzuki looked up and saw a mannequin standing in the window wearing a bridal kimono. The garment looked like a standard wedding kimono at the shoulders, but as the eyes went downwards, the pristine white blended into a hazy cherry blossom pink. The design had a flowery appearance all the way down to the very pink hem. The obi mirrored the blending color of the kimono. Anna’s eyes lit up at such beauty.
“Wow!” she murmured. “I wish I could wear it.” Tsuzuki had already incorporated the kimono in his plans. He embraced Anna in his arms from behind.
“It would look beautiful on you,” he said. His girl frowned.
“Probably can’t afford it anyway,” she complained. Tsuzuki happened to look up at the store door when he noticed the going out of business sign. He nuzzled her ear.
“Hold that thought,” the shinigami said. He grabbed her by the hand and led her into the store. The store owner looked up when he heard the bell ring. Tsuzuki and Anna stood in the doorway. The man turned to the birthday girl.
“Let me deal with him, okay?” he said. Anna gave him a blank stare.
“What?” she asked. Tsuzuki walked up to the counter. The old man eyed him.
“Welcome sir,” he said. “How may I help you today?” Tsuzuki gave him a big smile.
“I noticed your sign at the door,” he said. “Thought I would take a look around.” The old man smiled back at him.
“Ah yes, my health hasn’t been in the best shape lately. So, I’m moving to the countryside for some rest. What can I do for you today?”
“You see, it’s that young lady’s birthday today and I want to get her something special.”
The old man’s eyes lit up. “Anything in particular you want?” he asked.
Tsuzuki looked around. “Well, I’d like that kimono in the shop window.” The old man’s face dimmed.
“You sure you don’t want anything else?” he asked.
“No,” Tsuzuki replied. “Just the kimono.” The old man lowered his head.
The store owner fidgeted as he looked at his hands. “Alright, but, I have to tell you one thing.”
“What?” the shinigami asked. The old man leaned in close.
“This was a gift to my daughter before she died,” he said.
“A gift?” Tsuzuki asked.
The store owner nodded. “She was to get married after college, but then, she died in a car accident. Her fiancé’s mother made it just for her. I hadn’t had the heart to keep it or sell it.”
“We’ll treat it well,” Tsuzuki assured him.
“Do I have your word?”
“We’ll take care of it like your daughter would. It’ll stay in good condition for years to come.”
The old man’s eyes filled with tears with a bow. “I thank you!” Anna watched, curious. Tsuzuki switched to whispering and straining to listen proved useless. However in a few moments, she got to try on the kimono. The store owner smiled after she modeled it for him.
“You’re lovely just like my daughter was,” he said. Anna just bowed her head with grace.
“Thank you, sir,” she said. Tsuzuki bought the kimono at a thirty percent discount.
The unsuspecting bride had her kimono and now for the accessories. First, she needed something for her hair. He turned to her in the street.
“Say,” Tsuzuki said. “Would you like a hairpin to go with your kimono?”
“Hm?” Anna asked. Her fiancé grinned at her.
“Come with me,” he whispered. The shinigami took her by the hand led her down the pathway. They happened to come across a hairpin stall a few blocks down. Anna’s eyes lit up amazed at the display.
“Wow!” she whispered. Tsuzuki stood behind her, smiling.
“Pick one out,” he said. She looked up at him with big eyes.
“You mean…” she began to ask.
“Yeah,” he said. Anna looked at the various flowers on the pins on display.
“Oh wow,” she said. “There are so many… Let’s see…” The colors sang to her in the sunlight. She picked up one with white and pink flowers. She held it to her hair.
“How does this look?” Anna asked. Tsuzuki matched the pink and white plum blossoms to her new kimono in his head.
“Is that the one you want?” he asked. Anna turned to a mirror on the stall.
“Hm…” she said. The woman picked up a similar one with cherry and plum blossoms and held it to her head. Next followed a pin with pink and white chrysanthemums. Anna frowned after setting down the third one.
“This is not easy,” she complained. Tsuzuki patted her on the shoulder.
“Take your time if you need to,” he said. Anna glanced back at the pins.
“Okay…” she mumbled. Did they have to be so well made? She finally settled on her first choice. Tsuzuki bought the pin with pink and white plum blossoms. The vender wrapped them in tissue paper and put them in a bag.
“Thank you, come again,” she said. The couple and the vendor bowed. One accessory down, a good number to go, and he had to get his kimono too!
Tsuzuki took a break from his secret wedding shopping to enjoy the afternoon with the birthday girl. He and Anna sat on the bench, watching the people walk by. The shinigami had his arm around her shoulders. She cuddled up in response. Her fiancé couldn’t help but smile.
“Do you like your birthday?” Tsuzuki asked.
“Yes,” she said.
“That’s good,” he said back. They looked out on the crowd. Three high school girls walked into one of the sweet shops. Tsuzuki remembered that he still didn’t know some things about his fiancée.
“Anna-chan,” he spoke up.
“Hm?” she asked.
“I have to know,” her love said. “What was high school in America like?”
Anna looked at the crowd as if in a daze. “I felt dead inside in the beginning.”
Tsuzuki’s eyes filled with pity. “Anna-chan…”
She shook her head. “Much like our beloved Japan, I closed off my heat from the outside world. I was like the walking dead while life swirled around me. I was in another country after Papa’s death. I’m sure there were people helping me adjust, but I just couldn’t connect with them.”
Tsuzuki eyed her with a heavy heart. “I’m so sorry to hear that…” She turned to him, smiling.
“Then in college,” the woman said. “Becky became my Matthew C. Perry and forced me to try and open up.”
“I can see that,” Tsuzuki said. He laughed but paused.
“Then, what does that make me?” he asked. Anna leaned in close to his face.
“My Japan’s future,” she whispered. The woman gave him a little kiss on the tip of his nose. Tsuzuki smiled for he already had that notion in mind.
“Make a wish,” Tsuzuki said. Anna closed her eyes and mumbled something before blowing out the candles. The couple clapped.
“Yay!” Tsuzuki cheered. “So what did you wish for?” Anna turned to him, smiling.
“Secret!” she whispered. Her fiancé pouted.
“Sorry.” Anna kissed him on the nose. Tsuzuki sighed happily.
“Alright,” he said. Anna turned to the cake.
“I suppose you want a piece now, huh?” she asked. The shinigami nodded eagerly.
“Yes!” he said. “Please cut it!” His love gently shushed him.
“Okay, okay,” she said. “Hang on.” Anna picked up the knife and cut the first slice of cake. Tsuzuki waited with an excited heart. I hope your wish comes true, he thought.
Tsuzuki did a little shopping on his own. He had her ring and now to get his. Come to find out, the same jewelry store where he bought Anna’s ring had a chain of stores in Kyoto as well. Tsuzuki smiled at the door and went inside. Lucky!
“Welcome!” the clerk perked up. “How can I help today?” Tsuzuki walked up to the counter.
“How are you this evening?” he asked.
“Good,” the clerk said. “What can I do for you tonight?”
“Here.” Tsuzuki reached into his jacket and pulled out Anna’s ring. “I want mine to compliment this one.”
“You mean… Oh!”
The clerk felt like singing. “Well okay, let me see your hand.” Tsuzuki held out his left hand.
“Ooo! You have such strong hands!” the clerk cooed with bright pink cheeks.
“Thanks,” Tsuzuki said. The woman measured his ring finger and took down the numbers she needed.
“Do you want any engravings in it?” she asked.
“How long will that take?”
“About a week.”
“A week? No, I don’t want an engraving.”
“Okay, I have just the ring.” She reached into the glass counter, pulled out a display of male wedding bands, and picked up the one in the middle. Tsuzuki examined and compared it to Anna’s ring.
“Hm,” he said. “This is the only one?”
“We do have others. Take your time if you need to,” she said. Tsuzuki looked through each ring. He settled on a platinum band that spoke to him.
“I’ll take this one,” he said.
“Would you like that gift-wrapped?” the clerk asked.
“Sure,” the shinigami replied. The clerk boxed up the ring after Tsuzuki made the purchase.
“Have a nice night,” she said.
“You too!” he said back. Tsuzuki was almost done with the preparations. He just needed one more thing…
Tsuzuki had a little shopping to do. Solo shopping for the wedding, that is. He had Anna’s bridal kimono and accessories. He had gotten his clothes and bought the rings. Now, what’s next? Every wedding needed a cake. Tsuzuki already had the perfect place in mind. He purchased Anna’s birthday cake from Fairy Kiss Bakery. The shinigami already knew the girls there. They got along rather well in those short moments together.
Must… go… inside…
“Eat me!” the cakes cried. “Eat me! Eat me!” Drool touched the glass just like last time. The cakes and sticky buns held him hostage where he stood, but, he needed to go inside. I’ve got to go inside, the shinigami thought. I’ve got to. I’ve got to!
Inside, the two ladies watched Tsuzuki drool over the cakes. The younger of the two nudged her sister’s arm.
“Same guy with his fiancée?” she whispered.
“Yep,” her sister said, nodding.
“Shall I go get him?”
“Go ahead.” Her sister walked outside to the sweet-loving man.
Tsuzuki battled a losing war with his sweet tooth when he felt a tap on his arm. The shinigami leapt up with a yelp. The teenage girl smiled at him.
“Hi,” she said. “Again.” Tsuzuki blinked at her.
“Oh, it’s you,” he said. The girl looked at him curiously, tilting her head. Tsuzuki mimicked the look on her face.
“What?” he asked.
“You’re alone?” she asked.
“Huh?” the shinigami asked. “Oh, why yes. She doesn’t know I’m here, in fact.” His young friend looked intrigued.
“Oh, are you here for the…” she began to ask.
“Yes, I came for the cake for our wedding tomorrow,” Tsuzuki said. “Are you still open?” The younger girl perked up at the word “wedding.”
“Come with me,” she said. Tsuzuki walked into Fairy Kiss Bakery with the sixteen-year-old girl. Her older sister perked up.
“Welcome!” she cheered to him for the second time that day. Tsuzuki smiled and waved at her.
“Hello,” he said. “I’ve come for the cake.” The owner’s brown eyes twinkled for a brief second.
“And have you made your selection?” she asked, handing him a book of cake designs. The shinigami grinned as he flipped open the book to the exact page that he wanted.
“Right here,” he said as he pointed to page eleven. The girls looked at the design in question. Tsuzuki wanted a three-layer white chocolate cake with cherry blossom petals baked inside. The cherry blossom icing decoration made a good match to the cake itself atop of the white frosting. The branch on the side gave the pink flowers a rather cute touch to them. Both sisters looked up with jaws wide open. Tsuzuki gave their facial expression an odd look.
“Is… something wrong?” he asked.
“That’s daddy cake!” the younger girl gasped.
“Daddy’s cake?” Tsuzuki asked.
“He made it for our mother as a present on her twentieth birthday,” the older sister explained. “He used it to propose to her on that evening. He created it on a whim to impress our mother.” The older sister, Momoko, pushed back her black bangs out of her eyes. “When I was really little,” she continued. “He and mama created the recipe to make it better for my sister and me to bake the cake ourselves one day. We haven’t even tried to replicate even after their deaths.” Tsuzuki looked intrigued by this point.
“Why is that?” he asked.
“I’m afraid it won’t turn out like he described it,” the older sister replied. “We aren’t as advanced as our father was. We only started this bakery a month ago and we’ve only done the basics.”
“Let my fiancée and I be your judges,” the shinigami offered. Both sisters looked at him with big eyes.
“What?” Momoko asked. “You’re joking, right?” Tsuzuki gave them a huge grin.
“In fact,” he said. “I’ll make a little bet with you: if it’s good, I’ll pay half price for bring the first to try it. If it’s not good, I’ll pay full price. Are we on?” Both sisters gave him an odd look. Who the hell was this man?
Tsuzuki sat in a bar near the guest house that he and Anna were staying in. He still had one more gift to give her for her birthday. Shinto priests came in abundance in this country and the shinigami needed to find the right one. Tsuzuki looked along the bar to his left. A man near the other end drew his attention. He looked about fifty in his jeans and t-shirt and had just finished his last shot. Go over to him, instinct told Tsuzuki. The shinigami got up and walked over to the man. He looked up to see Tsuzuki smiling at him. He raised an eyebrow at the guy.
“Uh… can I help you?” he asked.
“Mind if I sit down?” Tsuzuki asked. The other man shook his head.
“No, I guess,” he replied.
“Great,” the shinigami said. He took a seat at the stool next to the man. “Excuse me for asking this, but are you a priest by chance?” The man stared at him.
“How did you know?” he asked. Tsuzuki shrugged.
“Just a guess,” he said. He held out his hand. “I’m Tsuzuki Asato, by the way.”
“Himura Kenji,” the priest said. The men shook hands and Tsuzuki held up his hand.
“Bar tender!” he shouted. “Another drink for me and my friend!” The man behind the bar got to work. The shinigami began his plan.
“You’re not from here, are you?” Kenji asked him.
“Nope,” Tsuzuki replied. “I’m on vacation with my fiancée. It’s her birthday today.”
“Oh, I see. Where are you from?”
Kenji gave off a low whistle. “That far?”
Tsuzuki nodded with a huge grin. “Yep.”
“Is your fiancée having a good birthday?”
“Yeah, it’s almost complete.
The priest gave him a funny look. “What do you mean?”
Tsuzuki sat back, smiling. “I still have one more gift to give her. It’ll have to be tomorrow, though.”
“Why is that?” Kenji asked. The shinigami leaned in close.
“Tell me,” Tsuzuki whispered. “How are the shrines here?”
“Good, I guess.”
“How is yours?”
The priest blinked at him. “Why?”
The other man smiled. “That’s part of her present.”
“Huh?” Kenji asked.
“I need you to help me out with something,” the shinigami said.
“What?” his new pal asked.
“Please marry us,” Tsuzuki requested. “I would like to get married tomorrow.”
They had their doors opens because of the heat that night. Anna let the cool breeze beat upon her shapely body. Tsuzuki stroked her cheek.
“Happy birthday,” he whispered. Anna gave him a little smile.
“You know the doll festival is Wednesday, right?” she asked.
“Well on the day before, Papa and I would just celebrate on that day.”
Her lover blinked. “What for?”
Anna rolled onto her back. “My birthday is on the first of March. The doll festival is on the third. So, Papa linked the two days together with a celebration.” Suddenly, Anna frowned. “I lost those days after I moved to America.” Tsuzuki patted her on the head. He resolved to give those days back to her.
March 2nd, 2010.
It’s an all-day rain today. To be specific, it’s going to be an all-day sun shower. Tsuzuki groaned he looked out the doorway.
“What’s the matter, babe?” Anna asked from their futon.
“Look!” her lover complained. Anna lifted her head and looked out the doorway.
“Oh, it’s a sun shower,” she said.
“Exactly,” Tsuzuki groaned. This ruins all of my plans today! Now what am I going to do? The shinigami paused when he heard laughter. He turned to see Anna smiling at him with her head propped up by her elbows.
“You know what that means?” she asked. Tsuzuki tilted his head.
“What?” he asked.
“It’s a kitsune wedding today,” she said. It took Tsuzuki a moment to get what she was saying.
“Oh!” he said. With that a new ironic idea came into his head. His eyes lit up as he put it altogether. That just might work, he thought.
Tsuzuki came by the menswear store to pick up his men’s kimono. Yesterday evening, they took his measurements for the rental. Tsuzuki knocked on the glass doors. The clerk straightened his glasses as he looked up from his newspaper.
“Welcome sir!” he said. “How may I help you today?”
“I came to pick up my kimono for my wedding this evening,” Tsuzuki said. The elder clerk’s face lit up.
“Oh yes, I remember you now,” he said. “Right this way.” Both men walked to the back. The clerk pulled down Tsuzuki’s kimono from the center rack in the storage room.
“Is this it?” the clerk asked him. Tsuzuki inspected the outfit in plastic covering.
“Yes, it is,” he said, smiling. “Can I wear this out of the store?”
“After you pay the fee,” the clerk said.
“Yes sir!” Tsuzuki replied. “I brought more money today.” The clerk had a Cheshire grin on his face.
“Follow me,” he said. They walked back to cashier at the front.
Anna woke up alone in their room in the inn. She glanced around from under the sheets. Asato-kun? Where did you go? Anna looked up and noticed her phone buzzing next to her.
“Hm?” she asked as she picked it up. “A text?” The woman opened the message for a look.
Out for the morning. See you this evening. Just relax until three.
Love you, Asato-kun
: x : x: x
Anna smiled at the message. Asato-kun… However, more questions rose in her mind. Where did he go? Why is he out? Anna sat up and stared at the screen.
“What are you up to?” she asked herself. The kisses at the end of the message only heightened her suspicions.
Tsuzuki waited in the lobby, staring at the clock behind the desk. The bride must have to their room by now. The wedding would take place at six; plenty of enough time for her to get ready. He’s dressed up and ready himself. The bride always takes more time because she is high maintenance on the wedding day. Tsuzuki gave Anna an hour tops.
He followed the Western tradition of not seeing his bride until the wedding. Tsuzuki left early to make the last preparations. He only stopped here to send the maid to Anna’s room to help get her dressed. Just one more text and he was gone again.
Anna came back to her room after her bath and spotted a note taped to the door.
“What’s this?” she asked. The woman took it down to read it. “Number one?” Anna raised an eyebrow at the paper. Okay… What the heck? Anna slid open her door to find a maid waiting inside for her.
“Can I help you?” the guest asked, blinking. The maid perked up.
“Welcome back,” she said. “I’m here to get you dressed.”
“Get me dressed for what?”
“Your wedding, of course!”
Anna stood before a mirror in her kimono. The white and pink looked great on her. She could be on the cover of a bridal magazine. The maid did a splendid job with the transformation. She didn’t usually wear make-up, but today it worked. Anna blinked many times. Is that… me? Even the jewelry Tsuzuki bought her yesterday looked elegant. Wow… She heard a knock on the door. Anna turned to see the maid stood in the doorway.
“Miss,” she said. “It’s time.”
“I’ll be right there,” she said. The maid walked out the door. Anna turned back to the mirror and looked at the back side.
“Right,” the bride said before she left the room.
Outside a Shinto shrine in Kyoto, Tsuzuki and Anna stood looking inside. The man turned to his ladylove.
“You sure you want to do this?” he asked. Anna nodded. Tsuzuki took a moment to admire her facial features in the setting sun behind her. The lighting gave her an immortal youthful glow under her light make-up. Her gold earring flashed in the soft tone on her cheek and jaw.
“You won’t have any second thoughts, will you?” he asked.
“I won’t she said.
“You sure?” Tsuzuki asked.
“Asato-kun,” the woman said sternly. He drew his mouth closed. She gave him a little smile. Tsuzuki drew in a breath.
“I just want to be certain,” the man said.
“I know,” Anna said. She stroked him on the arm. “It’ll be okay.”
“You promise? I just don’t want you getting cold feet at the last minute.”
“I won’t. I promise, anything else?”
Tsuzuki shook his head and looked forward. “Just, we’ve kept them waiting long enough.”
“Huh?” she asked as she looked forward. The priest’s wife looked at them from inside. Tsuzuki put on a serious face.
“Ready to do this?” he asked.
“Yes,” Anna said. He took her by her hand and they walked into the shrine.
The ceremony was a private one. They had the priest’s wife as a witness. Tsuzuki held Anna’s hand from the moment they first walked into the shrine. One piece of paper married them and the priest blessed their marriage. He let them say their vows. Much like everything else, the vows were improvised. Tsuzuki made his short with a sharp point.
“Anna,” he addressed. “I am lazy, childish, and try too much to make people like me, but I do know this. I love you and I will do everything in my power to keep you safe and make you happy every day.” Anna had her own vows too.
“Asato-kun,” she said. “You’re the first person since Papa’s death to reach out to me. Since then, you’ve been so dear to me. We are still damaged people, but I won’t let you break down. I will love and stay with you with all of my being!” The priest’s wife remained silent but drawn in by their words. Tsuzuki and Anna signed the certificate and they were married.
After the wedding, Tsuzuki and Anna returned to the guest house. He took her to the downstairs restaurant. Not many people out tonight, just a few elderly people and a couple of business men. The newlyweds sat in a booth near the big window. Tsuzuki gave his bride a calm smile.
“I’ll get us a special dinner,” he said. “Wait here.” Tsuzuki patted her on the head before going up to the counter. The chef and his wife looked up.
“Yes,” the former asked. Tsuzuki grinned and leaned in towards the older couple.
“You see that young lady sitting by the window over there?” he asked pointing at Anna as she looked at the rain still pouring outside. “It’s our wedding night tonight.” The chef’s wife’s eyes lit up.
“Oh!” she said in a low voice.
“Yes,” Tsuzuki said. “So, I was thinking, do you have something with an aphrodisiac?” The older couple smiled.
“Wait there,” the chef told him. “I have just the thing.” He reached over for the menu. Tsuzuki glanced over at Anna and winked as he waited. She smiled when she saw him. The cook and wife served the newlyweds roast turtle with a little soft crab for the wedding dinner. They even got surprise dumplings at their table. Tsuzuki watched his bride, smiling.
“So tell me,” he said. “What do you think of your present?” Anna lowered her chopsticks.
“Unexpected,” she said. “But I love it.” Her husband gave her a rascal-like smile. Knew you would, he thought. He turned to the kitchen. Next part coming in… three… two… one!
“Look Anna-chan!” he said.
“Hm?” his wife asked as she looked up. The cook’s wife rolled out the cake. Anna’s eyes lit up as her mouth opened wide.
“Whoa!” she gasped. Tsuzuki picked up the knife from the cart.
“Shall we cut it together?” he asked.
“Yes,” Anna said, nodding. The bride stood from the table and took his hand.
“Ready?” he asked.
“Yes,” she replied. The couple slid the knife through the cake. The people in the restaurant watching them be clapped. A couple of businessmen took pictures. Tsuzuki turned to his bride.
“You have the first slice,” he offered. Anna raised an eyebrow at him.
“Okay…” she said.
“It’s fine,” her smile assured told her. His wife took the first piece and he took another after her. They were about to take a bit when someone shouted, “Wait!” The couple looked up to see one of the old women holding up a small, wrinkled hand.
“You didn’t make a toast!” she said. Tsuzuki lowered his fork.
“Fine,” he said. He and everyone raised their cups.
“To a long and happy marriage!” the shinigami said.
“Cheers!” everyone said. They all took a drink as Tsuzuki turned back to his bride.
“Try the cake,” he said eagerly.
“Alright, alright,” she said. Tsuzuki smiled in glee as Anna picked up her fork and took a bite.
“Well?” he asked. Anna looked up at him with surprised eyes.
“What is this?” she asked. Her husband leaned in to her ear.
“Do you like it?” he asked. Anna nodded as she ate.
“Really?” he asked. The husband took a bite himself and automatically saw stars.
“Wow!” he said. Those girls were crazy not to make this more often!
“Are these real petals in this cake?” Anna asked after she took another bite. Tsuzuki chuckled at her question. His wife paused.
“What is it?” she asked. Her husband smiled as he leaned into her ear.
“They used real thawed cherry blossom petals in this cake,” he whispered. Anna turned to him, wide-eyed.
“No…” she gasped. Tsuzuki smiled as he knew he had won the bakery bet.
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.
The wedding night, marriage isn’t complete without it. A man takes his wife to bed and becomes one with her. Tsuzuki already had that idea in mind tonight. The shinigami walked his bride to their room after the wedding dinner. His strong arms embraced her from behind. Anna felt her knees turn to jelly as his hot breath touched her ear lobe.
“I want to treat you like a virgin tonight,” he whispered. The tip of his tongue met with her bare nape. Anna closed her eyes, panting.
“Yes,” she whimpered. Tsuzuki’s heart did a little leap.
“You will always be my good girl,” he whispered. He gave her a light butterfly kiss on the nape. He took in her trembling in his arms before opening the door and leading her inside.
The wedding night had to be perfectly ideal. So, Tsuzuki decided to go basic. He carried Anna back to their room in the traditional way. Anna slid open the door and her husband kissed on the forehead.
“I love you,” he whispered. Anna nuzzled him on the neck. He carried her to their futon, but he didn’t let go right away.
“Anna-chan,” the groom said. His bride looked up.
“Yes?” she asked. Tsuzuki gave her a small kiss; his lips nearly touched her earlobe.
“I want to treat you like a virgin tonight,” he murmured. She parted her lips to speak, but he lightly shushed her.
“Please?” he whispered. Anna pressed her lips together.
“Alright,” she said. Tsuzuki kissed her forehead.
“Thank you,” he whispered. He kissed her on the lips and laid his bride on the futon. Anna watched as he stood over her.
“Now,” he said. “I’ll be right back. Just going out to get one more little present for you.” The bride tilted her head.
“Another gift?” she asked. Tsuzuki smiled and patted her on the head.
“Now just stay right there,” he said. The shinigami knelt down and gave her a little kiss. Her heart softened to get into the atmosphere. Tsuzuki gently pulled away. The bride watched as he left the room.
Anna lay on the futon, looking at the ceiling. Her heart fluttered as she waited. Last night had been her last night as a single woman. Tonight, she would become one with her lover turned husband. The thought alone made her body quiver.
Her eyes focused on the brightly lit ceiling above. All but one paper lantern had been turned. Tsuzuki would fix that when he returned. Where had he gone anyway? He had to be plotting something to take off like that. Anna tried to guess what it could be.
Moments later, she looked up when she heard the door slide open. Tsuzuki stood in the doorway with a little smile on his face.
“Waiting long?” he asked. Anna shook her head. Her husband smirked, chuckling.
“That’s good to hear,” he said. The groom slid the door closed behind him and latched it. The devilish hunger in his eyes made her gulp.
“Aww,” Tsuzuki cooed. “You look like I’m going to kill you and eat you right there.” Anna’s cheeks pinkened as she looked the other way.
“I’m sorry,” the bride apologized. Tsuzuki chuckled as he crossed the room.
“There, there,” he muttered. The groom let his fingertips caress along his young bride’s chin before gently turning her made-up face to his. One look into those desire-filled eyes made her feel so small under him. His face closed inches to her ear.
“I’ll be really gentle tonight,” he whispered. His hot breath on her skin alone made her heart speed up in her chest.
Tsuzuki gave his “virgin” bride a little smirk. “Oh come on, I won’t hurt you. Relax.” Anna gulped staring at him with big eyes. The shinigami let his thumb stroke her cheek.
“You poor dear,” he cooed. “You’re shaking.” Anna turned her head.
“Forgive me,” she said. Tsuzuki looked at her with loving sympathy in his eyes.
“Poor girl,” he said softly. “I bet you’ve never been kissed either, have you?” Her eyes widened at the question. Tsuzuki chuckled.
“No?” he asked. Fake surprise wished over his face. “A beautiful woman like you never been kissed? I can’t believe that.” He leaned in closer to his bride.
“Well then,” the shinigami whispered. “We’ll just have to fix that, we’ll we?” He closed the distance before she could speak. The sensation he gave her made butterflies spread from her stomach to her chest as Anna felt her husband give her the tiniest peck on the lips. She didn’t seem to know how to react. Tsuzuki gently pulled away and looked her in the eye.
“Feel free to kiss back when you like,” he whispered. Anna pressed her lips together with soft red cheeks. Her husband leaned down for another kiss.
Tsuzuki gently broke off the kiss. His hand went for her headpiece. He set her reddish-brown locks free from all decoration. His bride still looked at with big eyes as Tsuzuki ran his fingers through her hair. He smiled and kissed her forehead.
“I won’t hurt you,” Tsuzuki whispered. His hands moved to her pink and white obi. In one swift move, he pulled the patterned silk and discarded it. Anna’s eyes followed him as he returned to kissing her. His lips moved to her ear.
“I have a little gift for you,” he whispered. The bride glanced up at him as Tsuzuki sat up over her.
“Close your eyes,” he said. The “virgin” bride complied.
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.
His tongue slowly inched towards her soft, plump lips. It didn’t take much for him to gain entry in her mouth. The sudden movement made the bride’s spine jump. His strong touch to her small shoulders eased her heart. Tsuzuki’s hands clung to Anna’s white and pink blended kimono. He waited until she was fully settled underneath him. He took his sweet time removing each part of her bridal kimono. Anna felt the little butterflies dance around in her stomach each time he touched her bare skin. Tsuzuki chuckled in his mind. A tease wouldn’t hurt, would it? The pink and white silk ended up in a heap on the floor.
Tsuzuki knelt down and laid tiny butterfly kisses on Anna’s throat. He took in the soft whimpers that escaped from her lips. Her voice made such a heavenly pleasure-filled sound in these intimate moments between them. His tongue came down for a little lick on her throat. The taste alone awoke his ten inches in his hakama. In his hunger for more, Tsuzuki let his mouth trace back to her ear. Anna’s breathing quickened. Tsuzuki’s eyes glanced up at her.
“I haven’t done anything yet,” he whispered. “Just take it easy.”
“I’m sorry,” Anna murmured. Her husband smiled.
“It’s okay,” he whispered back. He moved down to her neck and planted a deep kiss. Anna closed her eyes and murmured something. Tsuzuki glanced upwards.
“What did you say?” he asked.
“Take me,” his bride begged in a small voice. “Take me, please!” Tsuzuki’s face filled with intrigue.
“Are you sure about that?” he asked. “I don’t want to hurt you.”
“Yes!” Anna whimpered. “Please make me yours!” Tsuzuki’s lips curved into devilish smile.
“If this is what you really want,” he resolved.
“Yes!” Anna said, breathless. “Please!” Tsuzuki licked his lips.
“Alright,” he said. “How can I deny a virginal goddess’ heart’s desire?” He sat up and untied his hakama. Anna gulped as she watched him discard them to the side.
“So big!” her eyes yelped as her boxers followed behind. Tsuzuki smirked and chuckled at her.
“Surprised?” he asked. Anna nodded as a rush of red flooded her cheeks. He only smiled as he heard the aroused blood racing through her body. Just by her dilated pupils, he knew that she wanted this as badly as he did. Well then, he’ll grant her needs right now.
Tsuzuki knelt down and kissed her once more. She grabbed onto the sheets below her. His hands gently slipped behind her back. His fingers fondled the cherry blossom pink silk of her bra. The man wasted no time on unhooking the sexy garment. His touch alone drove her to part her heated thighs. Once the bra came off, Tsuzuki grabbed at his wife’s soaked cherry blossom pink silk panties. The heated siren song of her womanhood drew his hungry member in closer.
Velvet black surrounded the lad as his eyes wandered around for any signs of life. No stars or moon in the sky tonight; just the sound of crickets everywhere. The lad shivered in the cool spring breeze. Why am I cold? He felt along his body and twisted his face into confusion.
“And why am I naked?” he asked. His ears caught a splashing sound. The lad tried to look around in the dark. The splashing grew louder. He found himself walking toward the source. A soft glow became his source of light. He squinted for a better look.
Her face shone like a diamond in the snow. The rest of her body stood out in the black swirling water ahead of him. Curious, the lad walked out to her. The pale girl swam around in the water when she noticed him walking towards her. He froze when his toes touched the surprisingly warm water. Their eyes met and the young man blinked at her.
“Uh… who are you?” he asked.
“Tell me who you are,” she said. The lad found himself moving closer to her.
“I don’t have a name,” he said. “What about you?” The glow of her naked body drew him in closer. The warm, black water came up to his hips.
“What do you desire?” the girl in the water asked. Only two words came to his mind.
“White Rabbit…” The pale girl smiled and giggled. The lad gave her a blank stare.
“What?” he began. The girl only pushed him under the black waters below. He ended up washed away in a stream of light bubbles. Moments later, he awoke in the warming blue light. The lad sat up and looked around when he heard singing.
Where is that coming from? The naked lad paused when he heard footsteps. There was his White Rabbit in all of her shimmering glory. He noticed that she wore a wedding dress of tattered, old lace. Her veil and fingerless gloves looked just as old and wore. The lad kept his eyes on her now skinny frame.
“My love,” he breathed. “What happened to you?” She looked at him with lifeless, glass eyes.
“She missed you dearly,” a lavender-like voiced filled his ears. The young man looked up to see a girl close to his age sat on a salted-rock. Her simple tan dress, Sunday hat, and bare, full breasts blended in with the rock she sat on. The girl gave him a sweet smile.
“Welcome!” she greeted him. The lad stared at this nymph-like angel.
“And who might you be?” he asked.
“I am the priestess of the dark waters,” the girl said.
“Okay…” he said. “And who’s that girl above?”
“My angel,” the priestess in brown said. “I sent her up to bring you here.” The lad rose to his feet.
“Why?” he asked. The nymphet in brown giggled.
“The wedding, of course!” she cheered. His eyes widened at her words.
“What?!” he yelped. The priestess rose to her feet with elegance. She didn’t mind if the hem of her dress got wet. She came over to the frail White Rabbit.
“You see,” the priestess said as she stroked her on the back. “You chased her around for a long time, but alas her body can’t keep up. Like all rabbits in this world, she must settle down and wed. It is lucky that she has chosen you to be her mate.”
“What happens if she doesn’t marry?” the groom asked.
“The rabbit will die and disappear into snow,” she said.
“And if we marry?” he asked.
“She will be reborn,” the priestess told him. “Her fate is based on your decision.” He didn’t need to think.
“I’ll do it,” the lad said. “What do I need to do?”
“Take her hand,” the priestess said. The lad took the bride’s delicate hand.
“Now, say these words,” she said. “I vow to love you with all of my being. I will protect you and take care of you. If I fail to do these things, may my heart be cut out and crushed before my eyes.”
“I vow to love you with all of my being. I will protect you and take care of you. If I fail to do these things, may my heart be cut out and crushed before my eyes,” he said. The priestess turned to the frail bride.
“And now you say it,” she said.
“I vow to love you with all of my being. I will protect you and take care of you. If I fail to do these things, may my heart be cut out and crushed before my eyes,” the bride said. The priestess clapped her hands.
“You are now married,” she said. “You may now kiss the bride.” The lad leaned and gave his bride a kiss on the lips. Just a little peck, really. Yet, that was all it took for the transformation. They pulled away and the bride took a step back. The priestess leaned down to the groom’s ear.
“Witness,” she whispered. “Here is where your White Rabbit is reborn.” The bride rabbit held out her skinny, graceful arms. Bright lights of white and faded green formed at her wrists. The lad looked around as the velvet black surrounding them blended into a silky purple.
“What is…?” he began to ask. The priestess only shushed him.
“Just watch,” she whispered. The lights grew and swallowed the bride’s arms. The white and green consumed her stick-like body in one gulp. Suddenly the light burst into tiny stars in the endless purple. His bride floated up from the explosion. Her old lace gown became brand new silk. Her curves and color to her skin returned. The lad blushed as he could’ve sworn he saw two great shimmering wings blossom from her back. In that instant, he fell into an endless flood of rapture for his wife.
The rabbit bride floated off of the damp ground of tunnel and up through the opening hole to the full moon in the sky. Her husband raced after her. He too went through the hole in the sky and disappeared to above ground.
Tsuzuki just let his head rest on Anna’s breasts as they slept.
The angels are spying tonight. These aren’t ordinary angels, mind you. They are really fox angels watching the lovers this morning. They too have their own wedding. For Kyoto would get its first sun shower in years.
March 3rd, 2010.
Tsuzuki let his fingertips trace along the scars on Anna’s back. He had all of her now, to have and to hold, and in sickness and in health. He kissed her on the cheek.
“I love you,” Tsuzuki whispered. He cuddled up close to her body and went back to sleep. The scent of her carried him off to sleep.
Anna pretended to be asleep as she took in her husband’s gentle touch. Her heart rolled in her chest dressed up in marital bliss. Last night unlocked new heights of ecstasy. Her eyes fell upon her white-pink wedding kimono as it lay slumped over in the chair in the corner. Tsuzuki called it her wrapping paper last night.
“You are my present,” he whispered after they consummated their marriage. Anna’s mind settled back in bliss as her husband rested his arm around her. He rested his chin on her shoulder. She happily closed her eyes. I don’t want this feeling to end, she thought. The sun would be up soon.
Today was the doll festival. Last night, the employees of the guest house set up the displays in the room. Tsuzuki rubbed Anna’s lower back.
“Think they were watching us last night?” he asked. Anna frowned as she eyed the emperor and empress on the top layer.
“I hope not!” she said. Tsuzuki chuckled.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Could be kind of hot.” She hit him in the thigh.
“Ow,” he said. “I’m joking.”
“Okay, okay.” He kissed her on the cheek. “I love you.” Anna smiled and rolled over on her back. She pulled him on top and gave him an open-mouthed kiss. Tsuzuki kissed back and angled himself between her thighs.
The young man awoke to the warm sun on his face. He felt a small shiver down his back. Last night… Wow! Could anything come close to being better than Heaven? He couldn’t get the colors out of his head.
The distant sound of splashing brought the young man back to reality. He sat up in the wispy, tall yellow grass around him. The cool blue of the lake ahead of him delivered a soft siren song to his ears. The coolness stirred his heart. Yet, the sight of ginger-brown haired nymphs bathing awoke an old fire in his belly. Such perfection had to be an illusion. They made the lake look so inviting.
Suddenly, one of those lasses looked up and saw him. The lad froze in the moss. She can see me! What do I do? What do I do? The nymph watched him, curious.
“Do you want anything?” she asked. The lad’s expression on his face went blank. The other six nymphs stared at him now. The playfully flowers in their hair made his heart bounce in little notes. He probably should walk away now. He leaned over the bank. Their fresh combined vanilla scent made him twitch. A nymph with her reddish-brown locks intricately woven with white lilies reached out to touch his cheek. She looked into his deep amethyst eyes.
“You’re looking for someone, are you?” she asked. The young man felt his cheeks redden. He nodded for he could not answer in words. The nymph’s milky lips curved into a smile.
“I know where she is,” she whispered. The lad trained his attention upon her.
“Where?” he asked. She leaned in and kissed him on the lips. He gave in without the thought of resistance. As he drew his eyes close, her bird-like voice floated through his mind. Complete me!
The lad opened his eyes to find himself floating around in blackened waters again. His nymphs vanished and he found himself alone. The scent lavender brought back so many memories of the moments he made love to his White Rabbit. Her hair smelt just like this very water. The young man’s thoughts ran loose in his head. He noticed a small, pale hand beckoning him. His eyes followed it to a harmful of irises resting on reddish brown locks. The lad felt his head stir. White Rabbit? His body floated over to see.
The young man swam over to the hand. His body went through a huge bubble wall. The lad softly landed on his feet. The ground felt rocky as blue and green waves floated around him. Sure, he was still underwater, but yet not at the same time. That lavender scent drew his attention and his feet slowly began to move forward. The rocks made him step up and down. When the scent grew stronger, he found her. She stood near a big rock, watching a small waterfall. The hem of her long blue and red dress caressed the wet rocks under foot. A soft breeze played with her wispy reddish-brown locks. The lad’s heart danced as his eyes lit up.
“White Rabbit?” he asked. The woman turned to face him and held a dainty hand to him. Her husband gulped.
“May I?” he asked. The woman gave him permission with her olive eyes. The young man gasped. Whoa, he thought. Okay… He reached forward to her hand, paused. No longer hunter and prey, but he was returning home. That little feeling warmed his chest as he latched onto her hand. A wave of light blue washed over them both.
The young man awoke on land. The high sun shone dimly overhead. That lavender scent faded into lotuses now. He looked down to see his White Rabbit lying underneath him. Her dress changed from blue to white in the mossy grass. She smiled softer than the meadow of flowers around them. She reached up and touched his cheek. He tried to lick her fingertips.
“Don’t ever leave me,” he murmured. She looked at him with those big angelic olive eyes of hers.
“Stay with me,” she said in a low gentle voice. He leaned down for a life-giving, lingering kiss as his word. His White Rabbit took him into a loving embrace as she accepted.
Tsuzuki lay on top of Anna, panting. Neither one wanted to get up.
“Shall we go down for brunch?”
She shook her head. “I want to stay in today.”
He tilted his head. “All day?”
“But what about lunch and dinner?”
“We’ll order room service.”
“Room, service, huh?”
He thought about this as he held her to his body. “Alright then, we’ll order room service. We should we do after that?”
“Lay around and do nothing.”
“But what about for bath time?”
She looked him in the eye and smiled. “Then, we’ll take a bath and go to bed.”
“Okay then, we’ll stay in.”
She kissed him on the nose. “I love you.”
He smiled, softly chuckling. “I must be doing something right.” She only giggled.
The newlyweds shared tea and sweets together. Tsuzuki marveled at Anna’s clothing choice today. She looked like a traditional wife in her bright green kimono with pink flowers print. Looking at her made him feel out of place with his own clothes. His own suit didn’t really fit with her kimono. His wife drank her tea.
“Mmm,” she said. “I almost forgot what traditional tea tastes like.” Tsuzuki only nodded. The dolls sat in the background, watching them. The shinigami glanced at the emperor and empress on the top row. Anna noticed the look on his face.
“What is it?” she asked. He pointed to the dolls.
“That’s us at the top!” Tsuzuki said. Anna looked and saw the emperor and empress dolls. She couldn’t help but to smile.
“And what about the rest?” the woman asked. Tsuzuki pondered her question.
“Our friends, I guess,” he said at last. Anna handed him the tray.
“Another dango?” she offered. Tsuzuki’s eyes lit up brighter than the sun.
“Of course!” he said. Her husband took a skewer and had a bite.
“Delicious!” he cheered. Anna smiled as her new husband ate up more sweets. Could every day be like this? The bamboo fountain clanked outside.
He went to Fairy Kiss Bakery on their break. Tsuzuki slipped out of the inn while Anna took a nap after lunch. He had to keep his end of the bet up. Good thing he still had enough money to pay. (Tatsumi might have to kill him later it he found out what the money was being used for.) He made his way back to the bakery. Again, the display stopped him. The many mini-cakes teased him with their toppings and color. Tsuzuki swallowed back his drool and shook his head. No! Must… go… inside! Yet, his feet wouldn’t give.
“Eat me! Eat me!” he heard the cakes cry. Must… get… inside… Inside, the younger girl nudged her sister in the arm.
“It’s him again,” she whispered.
“Yep,” the older sister said.
“Shall I fetch him?”
“Remember what we agreed on.”
“Right.” The younger baker walked over to the door. Tsuzuki got lost in the sweetness in front of him. He came close to losing again.
“Hello there!” someone greeted him. The shinigami leapt up at the sound. He looked to see the younger sister, smiling at him.
“Hi,” he said.
“Want to come in?” she asked.
“Yes!” he yelped, nodding. “I mean, yes. Yes, I would.” The girl smiled and shook her head. You… The older sister looked up when the bell rang. She put on her best smile.
“Welcome!” she chirped. “How was the wedding?”
“Great,” he said.
“What can I do for you today?” the older sister asked. The shinigami grinned as he pulled out his money and placed it on the counter.
“What’s this?” she asked.
“Count it,” he bragged. The older sister gave him an odd face as she picked up the money. He waited as she counted up the total.
“Well?” Tsuzuki asked. She looked up at him, puzzled.
“What’s this for?”
“Our wedding cake!”
“But…” The older sister looked at the menu. Her eyes widened at the cake of choice and recounted the money. “But this is only half of the price!”
“Exactly,” Tsuzuki said. Her jaw dropped.
“You mean…” she began to say.
“Yes,” the shinigami said, nodding. “She and I loved it.” He leaned in, smiling. “Looks like… I won.”
“No way!” the younger girl gasped. Tsuzuki turned to walk away but stopped at the door.
“You girls should bake that cake more often,” he told them. “Your father created such a tasty treasure.”
Do nothing days, they are the best kind with lovers like this. Tsuzuki and Anna knew this well. They lay on the guest house porch, enjoying the warm afternoon. She wore her charm necklace from last night. Tsuzuki caressed the silk of her kimono and kissed her on the head.
“My wife,” he murmured. She cuddled in his arms.
“We have to go home tomorrow,” Anna murmured.
“Yes, I know,” Tsuzuki said. Another thought crossed his head. “Don’t you like the dress I bought you?”
Anna nodded as she forced herself to smile. “I do, but…” She pressed her lips together. Her husband frowned.
“It shows your back?” he asked. She remembered the whip scars on her back. They didn’t tick away her life anymore. She dodged that bullet in October. Now, her scars just scream at her. She wasn’t comfortable with showing off her back to anyone—not even her own husband. Tsuzuki kissed her shoulder.
“All of you is beautiful,” he said. “I mean that.” His wife looked away.
“When will we tell the others?” she asked.
“What do you mean?” Tsuzuki asked.
“We have to tell them we got married.”
Tsuzuki’s eye twitched at those words. “Do we have to?”
“Yes! Keeping our relationship a secret doesn’t work! We have to tell them!”
Her husband sighed. “Fine. We’ll tell them… eventually.” Anna nudged him in the ribs.
“Ow,” he murmured.
“Promise?” she asked.
“Yes, yes!” he insisted. “I promise!” Anna turned to him and kissed him on the throat.
“I love you,” she murmured. Tsuzuki patted her on the head.
“I love you too,” he said back. “I love you too.”
Anna awoke to see Tsuzuki smiling at her.
“Hey,” he whispered. His wife smiled.
“Were you watching me sleep the whole time?” she asked.
“Yes,” Tsuzuki lied. He lightly caressed her cheek. She didn’t need to know about the bet. A thought crossed his mind.
“Oh,” he said. “I have to add you to the family registry now!” Anna lifted her head.
“Oh that’s right,” she said. He held her hands.
“What shall I put your name down as?” Tsuzuki asked. “Tsuzuki Anna Elizabeth?”
She shook her head. “Kimoto-Tsuzuki Anna Elizabeth.”
He narrowed his eyes. “Why keep your maiden name?”
“Just want to keep a little bit of Papa, I suppose.”
“But you have his tapes.”
“Yes.” She lowered her shoulders, sighing. “Just… Please let me keep the name.”
Tsuzuki patted her on the head. “Alright, you will officially be Kimoto-Tsuzuki Anna Elizabeth.” His wife bowed her head.
“Thank you,” she murmured. She rested her head on his chest.
After dinner came bath time. The newlyweds got a private bath tonight as part of the packaged deal for their room. They walked hand-in-hand to the bath house. Anna turned to her husband.
“Shall I wash your back tonight?” she asked. Tsuzuki squealed in his mind. Yay! My dream is coming true! My wife wants to wash my back! I’m so happy! However, he had to play calm for it. The man cleared his throat.
“If you want to,” he said.
“I want to!” Anna said. He patted her on the head.
“Alright then,” he said. “You can wash my back.” They got to the changing rooms to undress. The wife pulled her obi loose. She let her kimono fall to the ground.
“Hey Anna!” she heard her husband call.
“Yes?” she asked.
“I could wash your back if you want,” Tsuzuki said. Anna trembled as she shook her head.
“Uh… no!” she said quickly. “I’m good!”
“I’ll go slowly,” Tsuzuki insisted.
“It’s okay,” Anna replied. “I just want to wash your back tonight.”
“You sure?” he asked.
“Yeah,” Anna replied. “It’s what a wife is supposed to do for her husband!”
“Okay!” he replied. “Some other time for you then?”
“Yeah,” she lied. “Of course.”
“I’m heading out now,” her husband replied.
“Yes,” Anna said. She waited until he was gone to breathe out in relief. She glanced at her back. Strange; Anna thought she would be over that insecurity by now. No, not to be. She still couldn’t show him her back. Sure, he had seen it once, but only once. She had vowed to never show him those ugly scars again. That all changed now that they were married. Anna sighed. I knew this would be a problem, she thought. But, might as well try to cope. Anna closed her eyes. My husband is waiting, she thought. She opened her eyes and nodded. Right, the woman thought. Anna joined her husband in the bath.
“Ah, yes!” Tsuzuki moaned. “That’s good! A little bit lower! Yes, there!” Anna gently scrubbed his back. Her husband closed his eyes.
“Mmm,” he said. “You’re so good.”
“You think so?” she asked. He moaned in response. The wife felt warm in her chest as her cheeks pinkened. She moved down to his lower back.
“Ah!” Tsuzuki moaned. He glanced over his shoulder. “You sure you don’t want me to wash your back?”
“I’m fine,” Anna mumbled.
“You sure?” he asked. “I’ll go slowly.”
“Please,” Anna said with clenched teeth. Tsuzuki frowned.
“Anna…” he murmured. His wife took a deep breath.
“I’m sorry,” she said. Anna quietly picked up the washcloth and went back to work. Tsuzuki didn’t need to ask. She’s still uneasy about her back, he thought. The man decided to help her work through that problem too. She wasn’t alone; he needed work as well. The marriage could be a form of therapy or maybe even more. Steam caressed their skin as they soaked in the bath.
“This is nice.”
“Yes.” Silence played the best music as she laid her head on her shoulder.
“Can we do this more often?”
“You mean it?”
“Every night if you wish.”
His finger traced up her thigh. “You have really soft skin.” His hand slowly moved upwards, but she playfully slapped it away.
“Is that all you think about?” Her giggles filled the steamy air. He gave her a goofy grin.
“Forgive me, but you make me like this sometimes.”
"I make you like this?”
“So you admit it?” Splashes echo through the heated air. His laughter followed suit. “It’s the truth. I remember when you were sixteen years old.” She made a snorting sound. He gave her a puzzled look.
“Oh lord, here we go again.”
“No, no. Just listen.” His hand found her thigh again. “When you were sixteen, you were skinner.” She opened her mouth to speak, but he stopped her. “But now…” His hand moved between her thighs. “You’ve grown more womanly. So beautiful and nicely curved. Your boobs have even gotten bigger.”
“There are larger portions to eat in America.”
“So it is true!”
“Yep.” Her lips trembled as his hand moved between her thighs. “Please.”
“It’s okay. Just relax. I’m only going to tease you bit for now.” She trembled in response to his words. Steam caressed their skin as they soaked in the bath.
Anna stretched out her arms. “Mmm, that was a good bath.” She turned to her husband. “You know what I want now?” Tsuzuki smiled and shook his head.
“What?” he asked. His wife’s face came within inches of his own.
“Milk,” she said. Tsuzuki blinked.
“Huh?” he asked.
“What else?” she asked. Her husband pouted.
“I just thought…” he mumbled. Anna narrowed her eyes at him.
“What?” she asked. Tsuzuki shrugged as his wife frowned.
Anna stuck out her tongue. “Pervert!”
Her husband’s eyes widened. “Why do you say that?”
“That was on your mind moments ago!”
“But not now!”
His wife smirked at him. “Then what were you thinking?”
“Cuddling… and stuff like that…” He lowered his eyes, mumbling. Anna laughed as Tsuzuki puffed up his pinkened cheeks.
“What?!” he asked. She nuzzled his cheek.
“That’s fine,” she said.
“Huh?” he asked. Anna gently held his hands.
“If you want to cuddle, then we will,” she whispered. Tsuzuki sighed. She just put him through the mental teasing game again. Did she have to pull that one again? A sweat drop rolled down the side of his head as he lowered it.
Bedtime settled in Kyoto. Anna looked so sweet sleeping next to him. He wondered what she was dreaming about. Tsuzuki reached down and brushed some bangs from her sleeping face. Tomorrow is going to suck. Still, he had tonight to enjoy. The chirping crickets reminded him of this. His thumb brushed against her chin. My wife… Sleep didn’t let him join her just yet.
Anna nuzzled Tsuzuki’s chest in bed. “I don’t want to leave.”
Her husband patted her on the back of the head. “But we must.”
“I know.” She laid her head on his chest. “I just don’t want to leave.”
He smiled, closing his eyes. “I can understand the feeling.” He wrapped his arm around her curved body. She could feel his heart beating against her cheek. The strong, gentle rhythm put her at ease. Anna gave him a small kiss on the chest. He stroked her on her back. It would be nice to stay, but he had to work. Tsuzuki sighed and thought, Best to enjoy this until morning. He leaned down and kissed her on the head.
“Sleep well, my love,” he whispered. He followed her into his dreams.
March 4th, 2010.
Tsuzuki checked him and Anna out that morning.
“Can’t we stay in longer?” Anna asked. Her husband pulled her into his arms.
“I have to work,” he said. His wife pouted and he patted her on the head.
“Don’t worry,” he said. “We’ll be together this evening.” Anna looked at him with big eyes.
“You mean it?” she asked.
“Yes,” Tsuzuki said. His wife rested her head on his arm.
“Fine,” she said. Tsuzuki kissed her atop her head. He let her sleep on the train on the way home.
Tsuzuki carried Anna to the front door of their apartment. His wife looked him in the eye.
“You know,” she said. “You didn’t have to do this. I can walk by myself.”
“I know,” he said. “I wanted to do this.” Anna smiled as she unlocked the door.
“We’re home,” Tsuzuki whispered.
“Welcome back,” his wife said. Anna giggled as the shinigami nuzzled her on the cheek. It feels good this way, she thought.
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