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Last Summer Before Life

Chapter Nineteen – Consulting Miss Emily

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Kirun sat on the couch in the livingroom, holding his head in his hands. Daniel was still in the hospital. It had been almost two hours, and Daniel hadn't called. The dog didn't have a phone, true, but he could have borrowed someone else's. Kirun was starting to feel anxious. Had he hurt Daniel that bad? Was the pet forced to stay at the hospital over the night? What if something had happened on the way there?

...What if Daniel wanted to stay with that floral dress woman?

No, surely his pet would understand to come back to him. At least Kirun hoped he would.

Feeling restless, Kirun went to bed. He sat up everytime he heard any sound, always hoping it would be Daniel. Usually it was only a squirrel, a bird, a neighbour coming home, someone tossing and turning in their sleep. Kirun tried to close his eyes and force the sleep to come. It would be better than waiting for Daniel who apparently wouldn't come.

It took Kirun some time to understand that waking up meant that he had fallen asleep at some point. He remembered looking at the clock and seeing the digital numbers glowing 03.40. He turned and glanced at the window. There was light shining through the curtains and when his gaze moved to the clock he found out that it was already almost half past ten in the morning. He felt tired and, since he had already been late from three first lessons, he was in no hurry. He could easily play hooky for the rest of the day, too. He would just have to remember to go to work later.

First Kirun intended to laze in bed most of the day, but after half an hour he couldn't take it anymore. He got up and decided to take Daniel out for a walk. They hadn't walked much after Kirun had discovered Daniel's secret and now he felt bad because of it. He didn't want to ponder whether it would be necessary. The truth had always been that walking with Daniel calmed his nerves.

"Daniel!" Kirun yelled when emerging from his room. "Daniel! Let's go out!"

"Daniel, I want to walk!" he shouted when no answer seemed to be forthcoming. He hoped the dog was moping and refusing to talk because the other option was even worse. Daniel had to be home already.

He walked around in the house, trying to find either the brown Labrador retriever or the man wearing a cloak. He found neither. Daniel! You...! Kirun cursed his pet in his mind. Where is he?

After staring at the empty house for a moment, Kirun decided that if Daniel bothered to come home, the dog wouldn't find him sulking in the apartment like a dumped highschool girl. He took his keys and wallet and locked the door behind himself.

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Kirun pushed the sturdy door open. He hoped that it was the right door, because if it wasn't, he would have hard time explaining his actions. He peered around it and sighed in relief when the room looked exactly like he remembered. The wooden pillars were still there and so were the cozy tables. He smiled gently and inhaled deeply through his nose. His sense of smell would be nothing compared to Daniel's, he suspected, but even he could smell the bread and buns baked a mere moment ago.

Trying to appear confident, Kirun stepped fully in and closed the door. The café was almost empty; there were only two people besides the waitress – Ellen? Emily? Elizabeth? – behind the counter. One was a middle-aged woman drinking his coffee and the other was an Asian looking man sitting on a bar stool near the counter and chatting with the waitress. Kirun decided to go to order something and then try to start a conversation with the woman. Possibly when she was giving him whatever he had ordered.

Kirun took himself a stool and let his gaze roam the menu. Blueberry pie seemed a good choice, he decided and was about to voice his order when the man talked to him: "You look like you were going to ask her out, you know."

Surprised, Kirun whirled around to look at the man, who had dark sharp eyes, he noticed. He realized that the waitress was nowhere to be seen.

"Ah, no. I'm a friend's friend..." Kirun mumbled. Let's hope he isn't the violent boyfriend type. "Where did she go?"

The man nodded towards an inconspicuous door behind the counter. Kirun understood, although he had to ask when she would be back. The man shrugged.

"If not to ask out for a date, then why do you seek her?"

"I have a problem and I believe she can help," Kirun answered vaguely.

"You are a human, so I guess your pet is causing you trouble," the man stated. Kirun stared at him before managing to find his voice, "Am I that obvious?"

"No, not at all. I just have plenty of experience with troubled humans," the man said with a smirk. Kirun couldn't help but get the impression that it was usually the man who caused the trouble in the first place. He shuddered involuntarily and eyed the man with caution.

"You... The way you repeat the word 'human' – Are you a pet yourself?" Kirun inquired.

The man was quiet for a moment, obviously thinking the answer carefully. "You could say that I was a pet to a woman, but that now a man thinks me as his pet."

"Really?" Kirun said disinterestedly. The Asian man apparently wanted to sound mysterious and thus spoke in riddles. "You are not satisfied with your recent owner?" Kirun asked insecurely. He wasn't sure what people usually talked about with unfamiliar pets. The weather seemed a good guess, but he didn't find a way to change the topic to that, so gossiping about owners would have to do.

"He is... He knows what he wants and usually when he gets it, he doesn't have a clear idea what to do with it."

"Oh." Kirun glanced at the door and hoped the waitress would just come already, so he could order the damned pie and start asking her questions. He didn't feel very comfortable with the man looking at him with his dark eyes. "Do you like him, as a person, you know what I mean?"

"As a person? That's a tricky question," the man mumbled, looking thoughtful. "I like the possibilities his existence offers, but I'm not sure if I like him as a... person."

"Really?"

"I'm not actually even sure if he can be considered 'a person'," the man added with a wink. Kirun forced a smile on his face. It didn't take a rocket scientist to notice that the man had realized how uncomfortable Kirun was.

"Katori! Stop hassling my customers," an amused voice remarked. Kirun turned to look and sighed in relief when seeing the waitress. He didn't pay attention to the Asian man protesting the word 'hassling' but said he would like to have a slice of blueberry pie.

"Emily, this typical teenaged boy has trouble with his pet and wants you to offer him a piece of advice," the Asian man remarked before Kirun could take the second step of his plan. He gave the man a glare, but smiled at the waitress and prayed that she would listen.

"Of course I'll try to help you, sweetie. Katori, could you disappear somewhere? I think you make him nervous?"

"As mylady wishes," the man replied with a mocking bow. Kirun was sure that if the man had happened to have a cape it would have been flowing in wind when he walked to the door. Don't be stupid. Like it even could be windy inside...

"Now that he isn't here to flood our ears with his riddles," the waitress began, "What kind of problem did you have? You're Daniel's owner, aren't you?"

"Yes, and Daniel is the problem. Did you know that he has a girlfriend?" Kirun inquired. He tried to sound indifferent, but suspected that he wasn't succeeding in the least. He hoped he didn't wear his most authentic kicked puppy look. Though judging from the 'awwwwz' look in the waitress' eyes, he did.

"Yes, everyone knows Danny and Miriam are together. They have been... for almost a year, I think." The waitress' answer made Kirun feel surprisingly defeated. "Miriam is a good girl. Sensible, kind..."

"Just perfect for Daniel, huh?" Kirun muttered sulkily. The waitress gave him an apologetic smile. Kirun sighed and wondered if he had ever even had a chance. "Are there any cases with a pet dating a human?" he asked.

"Yes, of course. Not many marriages though. We live for only from ten to seventeen years after all. Doesn't really encourage to get children that live longer than you do."

"What does it matter? Daniel said you'll just reincarnate and even look the same."

"Yes, but we can't decide where we happen to be born. It's not really easy to get from one continent to another," the waitress explained. "Trust me, I know. I founded this café some thirty years ago. I have been reborn twice after it. First I found myself in Canada and, well, it wasn't overly hard to travel from there to here. However, the second time I was in Turkey. It took me a few years to get over the Atlantic."

"Mm, and your café? How did it survive with it's owner dead?" Kirun inquired, curious despite himself.

"That man, Kindaiichi Katori, had someone to watch over it and pay the bills," the waitress told him with a tender smile. "He is a good guy."

Kirun just nodded, although secretly he disagreed. The man had seemed more annoying and sneaky than 'good'. He stared at his helf-eaten pie for a moment before deciding that the waitress hardly could tell him any more about Daniel and that wench of his. Especially if the waitress was only going to gloat how 'perfect a couple' they were.

"Sorry, I think I have to go now. The pie was delicious," Kirun muttered while rising up. He pushed the plate towards the waitress and thanked her once again. He wished Daniel would be waiting for him in their apartment.


Unidentified Rambling

Probably no one is surprised that it took me this long to update... It seems to take longer and longer every time. I try to get the next chapter out sooner than this one was posted.