Me: (holds sword to Setsuna's neck) "Let me own Angel Sanctuary or he goes!"
Kaori Yuuki: (shakes head) "No."
Me: (runs off carrying Setsuna) "Fine! Then, he goes…with me!"
Sara sat in silence and watched me. I knew something had happened while I wasn't with her.
"Sara, what is it? Tell me."
She thought for some time, and then she stuttered, "I…I found an apartment for us. So, this will be our first and last night here in this motel."
I raised an eyebrow, "Are you sure that's it?"
Giving up, she sighed, "Actually, a lot has happened in the past month."
Fears rose up in my heart.
Slowly, the words rolled off my tongue, "How much has happened?"
Her words flowed together without a pause. "When I went to go look for jobs to pay for a room here, I explained that I needed a job to take care of you, since you were sick. There were men who took pity on me and didn't want me to work to take care of you. So, they offered to take you to their home and nurse you. They promised me a comfortable life, if I went with them."
My face lost its smile, "How many men?"
"Two men offered to marry me to take care of you."
I lowered my voice, so she wouldn't hear my anger.
"Do you know how they plan to "take care" of me? They were planning to…"
Her voice was just above a whisper, "I know they were planning to kill you. Then, they would've told me that you died from your illness. That's why I turned them all down. I've done this much with only you by my side."
I threw my arms around her and buried my face in her shoulders. For the first time, I realized that she has suffered so much to take care of me. Men who promised her a comfortable life over taking care of an invalid brother. There must have been times when she wanted to take them up on their offer. Balling my hand into a fist, I realized that I couldn't even take care of the woman I loved properly! I cursed and hit my fist against the table. Sara, with her white wings, had saved me this time, again. Her words echoed in my mind and were carved in my heart.
I've done this much with only you by my side.
Turning to look at her, I took her hands in my own. My eyes didn't miss the bruises and cuts from hard labour on her hands and her arms. They looked completely different from my clean and untouched hands from sleeping for four weeks. Then I saw her dress on the floor.
"Sara, why are you still wearing the same dress we left together in?"
She smiled shyly, "I had no other dress."
Nuzzling her neck, I breathed her scent in.
"You don't smell bad. When did you shower?"
"Then when did you wash the dress? It doesn't smell, either."
"Last night, too."
Suddenly tears filled her eyes.
Confusion set it, "You took a shower with the dress on?"
"No, I washed my clothes first and then myself."
My eyes widened, "Sara! Did you sleep with a wet dress all night long?"
All the tears she held back released, forcing a steady stream down her pale cheeks.
"Actually….I slept naked."
She was a girl, and girls only needed to have beautiful clothes to change into daily. How could she say she can afford an apartment for a month when she couldn't afford to buy a new dress?
My voice trembled, "Sara…how can I make this up to you?"
From our embrace, she looked up at me, "Setsuna, I don't want to be apart from you anymore."
My heart swelled at the thought that we would now be able to share our lives together. There was no way I would be hearing these words from my little sister's mouth, a month ago. It was then that I confessed to her about my feelings when Mother was sending her to England to be married off to protect her from my impure intentions. But yet here we were, facing each other with all the love glowing in each other's eyes. We knew that this happiness couldn't last long. Our love was forbidden in Heaven and here on Earth. We were breaking every love law to be together. God had abandoned us and nothing has made us happier.
The next morning, I woke up next to Sara. Her face shone in the sunlight. I touched her lips, wondering if last night was a dream. Her eyes fluttered open, catching me watching her sleep. A small sleepy smile broke out. My heart raced at the vision of ethereal beauty she displayed for me. Slowly, she sat up and gave me a good morning hug. Both of us were naked, except that she had a clean outfit to put on, where I didn't. With the key to the room, we headed for the front desk. Now, I was going to be able to help choose our first place together with the woman I love. Though the fact remained that I needed to get a job above all else. At the front desk, we turned in the key and the receptionist asked Sara if this was her last day.
She blushed and held onto my arm, "Yes, Setsuna's here. So, everything's okay now."
Blushing, I looked at Sara and raised my hand to the back of my head gave a goofy smile. The lady at the desk called for my attention and told us that the manager wanted to see us. But Sara seemed nervous. Suddenly, I didn't feel like meeting with the manager. If she didn't want to do this, I was going to walk out.
She looked up at me, "Let's go see her."
Trusting her judgment, I waited with her for the manager to see us. Magically, the door inside the office opened and a tall, professional lady walked out. Her appearance was stiff and rigid, but her handshake was warm and human.
She introduced herself. "I'm the manager, Ms. Kadokawa. You must be Setsuna Mudo. She always talks about you. It's a pleasure to finally meet you. But I'd like to talk to you alone, please."
Startled, I followed her into an office.
"Have a seat, please."
I sat down and waited to hear what she had to say. Her voice was harsh, and monotonous.
"Mr. Mudo, it might not show, but with Sara working here, the hotel's reputation has alleviated. We have customers who stay longer here, because of her. We are also able to raise our rates to accompany her work and suggestions. She is the best thing to happen to us, Mr. Mudo."
I could only blink at her outrageous words, "Are you saying you want Sara to continue to work here?"
Ms. Kadokawa nodded her head, "You see, Sara has no idea that I would like to promote her into a permanent position. I can't even propose to her because she is a minor. Since you are her guardian, I need your permission."
I tried to maintain composure.
"Ms. Kadokawa, I apologize, but I really must talk this over with her before I can allow her this privilege. Thank you, though."
I didn't want Sara to work. I should have been able to provide for her! This woman wanted to clutch her with her claws and work her to the bone. No, I wouldn't let her. Sara was not going to continue to take care of me. When I put my hand on the doorknob, the manager spoke again.
"Mr. Mudo, I believe that this is the best opportunity Sara will ever have. Thus, I shall leave her position open."
Trying to appear calm, I turned back to face her.
More out of curiosity than compromise, I asked, "What exactly has Sara done?"
She warmed up, "Sara is our maid, but she has offered some suggestions that have changed the income of this hotel, all in the past month! We want to offer her a promotion from her work as a maid to the front desk, since she is able to handle the work."
"Thank you for telling me, but I'll talk it over with her. We'll let you know as soon as we can."
"I see. Good day, Mr. Mudo."
"Good day, Ms. Kadokawa."
Outside, I let out a long-held breath. How was I going to keep Sara from working? She walked up to me and asked me if I was okay when I put my hand to my forehead. I sighed and told her that I needed to talk to her. We left the hotel and went to the ice cream store. She had said before that she was working at the motel and at the hospital. What was she doing with two jobs? Each with a scoop of ice cream, we sat down at a table.
I wondered aloud, "Sara, what kind of jobs have you been doing, exactly?"
She licked her scoop and a sense of pain filled her eyes, "I cleaned out the hotel rooms. The manager was very nice and she paid me well. I did that during the day. When I came to see you at night, I worked as a janitor in the hospital. It gave me a reason to be with you longer."
I was horrified.
"Who told you to go and do these things! You let me sleep while you worked so hard?"
Sara replied, "I wanted to take care of you! You have looked after me all this time. I only wanted to help you, too!"
My head fell into my hands.
"How can you ever forgive me, Sara? While I lay asleep, you worked so hard! I can't call myself a man!"
She squeaked, "Setsuna, if I was in your place, and just woke up from a coma, what would I wake up to?"
My eyes narrowed, "What do you mean?"
A dangerous sigh escaped her lips, "If I fell into a coma and woke up a month later, what would I find?"