Overall, Meryl felt that she was doing an excellent job of forgetting Vash. She had stopped looking for a shock of spiky blond hair whenever she walked down the street. She no longer whipped around whenever she saw someone in a red coat. She never tried to pick his voice out of a crowd anymore, and the sound of gun fire no longer made her growl and mutter, "That stupid man," under her breath. Yes, she was doing a fine job of pushing him out of her mind completely. And if a few small reminders still remained, well it was nothing to be worried about.

Every day, on her way to work, Meryl had to pass a bakery. Early in the morning everything was still fresh, and the warm, sweet scent of baking wafted into the street. The bakery sold of all kinds of pastries, but Meryl could always pick out the smell of donuts. In her mind, she could see him, grinning euphorically, like a child with a shiny new toy, hugging a paper bag protectively to his chest.

Most days, Meryl would stop inside the bakery. Milly often forgot her lunch, and she was always ecstatically grateful whenever Meryl gave her something to eat. So, it made sense for Meryl to pick up a bagel, scone, or muffin. Never donuts though. They were unhealthy.

Not long ago, Meryl had found a tear in her cape. Well, obviously that wouldn't do. Since it had been a long time since she had bought herself something that wasn't work related, she decided to get a new cape, rather than simply sew up the tear.

The clothing store wasn't anything fancy, catering to people with rough lives that were tough on their clothes. There was no silk or satin to be found. There was leather though. Plenty of it. Meryl stepped close to the racks, taking in the rich scent. There was something off about the smell, she thought. It was too clean. The should have been dust, and sweat, and...


Meryl nearly jumped a foot in the air when the saleswoman addressed her. She turned around and smiled a bit sheepishly. "Yes?"

"Is there anything that I can help you find?"

Meryl shook her head. "No, thank you. I was just looking." Then she quickly left the store.

Once outside, she shook her head. She would sew up the tear. Buying something new would have just been a waste of money.

Just because Meryl was back at her desk job didn't mean that she had stopped practicing her shooting. Every day, after work, she would go behind her house and fire at cans and bottles that she had lined up. The planet was a dangerous place, and Meryl wanted to be sure that she could defend herself. Besides, she found shooting relaxing. There was a kind of orderliness to it, a rhythm that required a sure eye and a steady hand. And something about about the smell—a mixture of oil, metal, and gunpowder—made her feel... centered. Like things were the way they should be. Which made sense, of course. Meryl wasn't a desk job sort of woman, really. The gun smells reminded her of a more interesting life, that was all. It didn't have anything to do with any one person, she often reassured herself.

Meryl never stayed outside very long once she had those thoughts.

A few weeks after she and Milly had returned to the Bernardelli main office, Karen had invited Meryl out for drinks. "I can't stand to see you looking so down in the dumps," the other woman had said. Meryl had vehemently assured her friend that she was definitely not "down in the dumps," but she had accepted the invitation. Once at the bar, however, all that she could notice was the smell. All of the bars on the planet seemed to have the same mix of scents—sawdust, smoke, alcohol, and the heavy perfume worn by the ladies of the evening. Meryl had grown used to the smell of the bars, having no choice but to follow Vash into so many of them. She almost expected to see him next to her.

She went home early, after apologizing to Karen.

Meryl's life was going perfectly well. Everything was just fine. And, overall, she felt that she was doing an excellent job of forgetting Vash. Really.