In my memory of Rina Sato.
Anna sat down quietly behind the counter inside the dimly lit café. Johan, their head waiter, had just told her the bad news. For a few minutes her mind was blank until the same words repeated themselves to her.
Not only was she Anna's boss, but she was Anna's sempai, a ray of hope, an understanding heart, a person who accepted you not for what you do, or how much you earn but who you really are. And now, those thoughts slowly withered away.
Anna remained silent, clenching her fists and grasping the apron of her black maid's dress. Her mind reeled memories of how she even got into this job, on how she was forced to be clad in a short maid's outfit, on how she was forced to work countless hours inside the café while the others attempted to recruit employees to serve under the great Annabelle Lee… No, that wasn't it.
It was to find friends to rely once Rina Sato was gone.
And that time has finally come.
Anna looked up, seeing Char close the door to the meeting room parallel to her. She jingled the keys in one hand, and had a crumpled piece of paper clenched in the other. She approached Anna and sat on the chair beside her.
"Are you planning to stay here or head home and call it a day?" Char asked her quietly.
Anna turned to her, "Do I have a choice?" she asked, the usual question she would ask her previous superior.
To her surprise, Char chuckled, "Now you do," she said to the younger girl, "But, as you know, I am and will never be as cruel as Annabelle Lee. However," she paused and looked out the glass panes across the room where people attempted to peer into their café, "I don't want anything to change... You see, Rina was different – even for us. I know that Saito's told you this time and again but here, even if you're a serial killer or a robber, you'd be accepted because we don't care what you are or what you want… It's who you are. And usually, that's something that never changes…"
Anna felt tears brimming in her eyes.
Char turned to her with a comforting smile. "You wish it wasn't so, don't you?"
The younger girl didn't reply. Instead, Anna found herself crying on Char's shoulder, while memories of the first time she worked flooded her head.
"It's okay… Rina will always be with us," Char said to her in a low voice, "She said so herself, remember?"
Anna sat up and brushed away her tears. "Yeah," she croaked. Finally, she smiled, "Thanks Char,"
"It's nothing," replied the older girl, "C'mon, Saito wants everyone home before we close the café for today,"
"Oh, okay then," Anna began, hopping off her chair, "I'm just going back to the lockers to change,"
The new manager nodded at her, "Hurry up,"
Seven year old Anna:
"Cherry? What's the matter?"
The little Chinese girl smiled cheerfully at Anna and gave her a small invitation, "Here," she said, "It's my birthday this Saturday… You'll come, right?"
Anna nodded. "Of course,"
Smiling wider than ever, the other girl smiled and ran back to where her car was waiting.
Anna stared at the invitation. Cherry Li was one of the richest girls in her class, and a really close friend to her, almost like a sister. However, her mother loathed Anna, for she was not picky, she didn't show any sign of wanting to stand out, although she was from a well-known family, and not she very intelligent like every other child who surrounded Cherry.
"So you know Cherry Li?"
The voice made Anna spin around to find a fourth grader looking down at her with her brilliant blue eyes. Adding to Anna's amazement was the fact that the girl had vivid violet hair.
"Yeah," Anna choked out, trembling.
"Oi, don't be so scared, I ain't gonna eat you up!" she scolded. After a while, she grinned, "My name is Rina Sato, class 3-C…" and she held out her right hand for Anna to shake.
Still trembling, Anna shook the hand, "Anna Arato,"
Rina chuckled and then stared at the car that had sped away, "So you're friends with that little runt?" she demanded, putting a hand on her waist.
Anna nodded, her black eyes still pouring with fear.
Rina chuckled again. "I'm gonna warn you, her folks ain't that nice," she said to the little girl.
"I know," Anna said, to Rina's surprise, "Her mother hates me… But she's my best friend! I don't want that to get in the way of our friendship!"
And for a reason Anna didn't know at that time, Rina smiled. "You're pretty loyal there, Anna," she began. "You know, I wish it comes back to you…
But you know, if she leaves you and never return, then friendship was just never meant for you. Things like that are sometimes just inevitable,"
Anna walked down the street behind Saito and Johan. All the employees of Annabelle Lee had walked out of the back door and parted ways for the day. Anna found herself wishing quietly that the owner would just come back, no matter how harsh, how wicked, how blood-thirsty or how crazy she just is.
"Oi, Anna, are you coming?!"
Johan shouted at her from across the street where the green light for the pedestrian began blinking.
"Oh, sorry," and she ran towards the other two on the opposite side of the road.
"Sheesh, Anna, what's your problem?" demanded the feisty red-head, Johan, as they began walking side by side once more, "I mean this is the first time I've ever seen you like this!"
"Oh, give her some space, moron," scolded Saito, "She's bummed about our loss of Rina, alright?"
Johan chuckled, "Well, it saves me that Rina's gone," he began, "But still… Life was hell livelier back when she was here…" Then, his eyes gleamed, "Oh! Do you remember when we first took you in?" he suddenly asked Anna.
"It's engraved in my memory."
"C'mon, baby… Let's have a drink!"
"No, come with me and we'll go to a karaoke bar!"
"Save it, you losers she's going with me to a hotel tonight!"
Sixteen year old Anna:
Anna slowly took little steps back to find herself against a brick wall. She gulped, looking at the three drunk men before her with mad smirks smeared on their faces.
"C'mon here, cutie!" And one of them grabbed Anna by the wrist.
"No! Let go of me!"
"What do you bastards think your doing to that poor girl?!"
All of a sudden, a girl walked into the alley the drunkards had cornered her in and chuckled.
Anna gaped when she saw the girl's vivid violet hair, Wait… Is this-?
"What, you dumb asses just gonna stare or what?!" the girl demanded. Then, a smirk prowled onto her face, "If you ain't gonna move, then get out of my way!"
From behind her she threw a wine bottle that missed the nearest man by inches.
She walked to the parallel wall and broke the bottom of another wine bottom, leaving a large, sharp, crooked end.
"Leave her alone, or else!"
They didn't need telling twice: the three drunkards fled for their lives, leaving Anna and the violet haired girl alone.
"T-thank you…" Anna began, still trembling because of her encounter.
The girl sighed, "Why is it that whenever I see you, you're always shaking because of something?" she demanded from Anna.
Anna's eyes widened, "Rina-sempai!" she shouted with glee. The girl nodded, throwing the broken wine bottle she held in her hand.
Rina looked around, "What happened to the girl who was always with you back then?" she asked.
Anna grimaced, "Cherry? We've been severed since fourth grade…" she began explaining, "Turns out she was like her mother after all…"
Rina chuckled, "C'mon, let's get going…" she said to Anna as they began walking out of the alley, "Why did those guys come after you anyway? I mean, did you do something bad to anger them?"
"Well, I just came from my part-time job," Anna began explaining, "I work as an assistant to a pediatrician in a nearby hospital… He was kind enough to walk me to the block nearby but while we were walking, we passed by those creeps. He got angry that they were wolf-whistling at me so he pushed them into an alley, and we ran off. But, when they saw me alone, they tried to… Yeah, that's plainly it…"
"I see," said Rina, "But why did you want to go here? Don't you live in the village near the school?"
Anna sighed, "Yes, but I said I'll live on my own." She began, "I don't like how my father is always telling me what to do, it's crazy. So, I was looking for a job, at the same time an apartment…"
"You are?" asked Rina, a grin formed on her face, "Well, two of my guy friends live alone and… Well, you know how trashy a place gets without a girl there, right? And, well, they work in the same company that took I work in… If you want, I can ask them to take you in…"
"No, I can't-"
"And if you want, you can work with me."
Anna stopped arguing. "With you?"
"Yeah," Rina began, "You see, Whorl is a big company-"
"You work for Whorl, Rina-sempai?!" Anna cut her explanation.
Rina blinked twice at her, "Yes," she finally said. Then, she chuckled, "Ah, yes. Your older brother, Akira, works as one of our models, right?"
Anna nodded, "If I work for you, what job will I work?" she asked her sempai, "I mean, I really only know simple tasks, a little bit of writing and singing…"
"Then you're hired!" Rina exclaimed, "Whorl doesn't specify your work. When we need you for something we know you can do, we'll take you…"
"But don't worry," added Rina, stopping before a small café, "I have a contract in this café. You'll work here, if you want…"
She opened the door, and let Anna in. It was dimly lit, but the scent of freshly brewed coffee and sweet delicacies filled the air.
"Oi, Johan, get Saito and come here!"
Rina sat on one of the chairs in the corner of the room and asked Anna to sit beside her.
"What the hell do you want now, Rina?" demanded a feisty red-headed teen.
"Yeah, I've got lots to do too, y'know," added a man with spiky black hair, and seemingly blond tips.
"Shut up and sit down." Ordered Rina. The other two grunted but did as they were told.
Anna was appalled, What are they, servant and master?
"This is Anna Arato, the younger sister of Akira," began Rina, "He told me to watch over her." With that, Anna gasped, "She's being too pressured, and compared to her brother. She's going to work here but she needs a place to stay. You guys have a two roomed apartment, right?"
"Okay then, she's staying with you." Prompted Rina, not considering the other two's arguments, "You guys need a female in your house anyway. It looks like a dump…"
And she stood up and went behind the counter.
Anna was left to stare at the pair before her.
"She does look a lot like Akira, ne?" said the red head, "Johan McDowell." And he stretched out a hand.
"Saito Yuki," the other stretched his as well.
Anna smiled at the pair of them. This is going to be home, soon.
Anna was cooking dinner when Char barged into their apartment, screaming.
"Oh my God, oh my God!"
"Oi, what's the matter with you?!" demanded Johan, coming out of the bathroom, rubbing his dripping wet hair with a towel.
"Its Annabelle – I mean, Rina!" and Char threw an opened envelope onto the dining table before Anna.
Anna turned off the stove as they all surrounded Saito who sat down, holding the letter.
"Here goes," and he took out the contents. First was a picture of a pretty petite girl with vivid violet hair holding a teacup in her hand, and the second was a letter in Rina's familiar handwriting:
Hello my little Slaves Bumgorfs,
Probably wondering why I'm here in jolly good England? Not telling, well not telling now. And to tell you the truth, I will be here for quite a while, but not that long a while as a long while neither is it a short one either... I will be here.
Anyways, I just came to check here from time to time, so one better get ready when they see me or hear from me! Ill be watching every single move you do, so you better not tarnish my name! Oh yeah, Lee Roy, I am not gone! Never will I be gone, and you guys wont be gone either!
I will personally FedEx myself into your front door step and slaughter you until you say "YOU'RE STILL HERE!"
Annabelle Lee PS: Can someone
please feed Riba in the dungeon once a while, if I were you, do my
special Roanne pie (just put all the leftovers into a baking sheet
and place pie crust on top, the drink would be Pepto-Bismol... :D)
Sending lots of zorkaberries,
PS: Can someone please feed Riba in the dungeon once a while, if I were you, do my special Roanne pie (just put all the leftovers into a baking sheet and place pie crust on top, the drink would be Pepto-Bismol... :D)
Anna felt tears brimming in her eyes.
For the past few hours, she had been acting like Rina Sato was dead. But she isn't. And she was not gone, either. She proved to all of them that she was one thing, though, besides the fact that she was not Annabelle Lee but Annabelle Lee was she…
She was inevitable.