Title: Beside You

Word Count: 614

"No…It can't be!" Matsuda said, dropping his head onto the steering wheel—until the horn started to sound. He jerked up so fast that he thought he almost gave himself whiplash. The person in the car in front of him turned to glare.

Matsuda waved and tried to give a friendly smile, but the person had already turned back around.

Matsuda dropped the smile and rolled his eyes. He pulled the map back into his lap. He wasn't sure exactly how it had happened, but he had taken a wrong turn. About five intersections ago.

He threw the map back into the passenger seat, unfolded. He had never been good at refolding maps.

He followed the road, watching as the sun set. He passed a sign proclaiming that he should enjoy his stay in nowhere land.

"Yeah, right," he said, "My one week of vacation and I take a wrong turn to the city. And end up in hickville."

Even so, he wasn't a fan of driving in the dark. He hoped that a hotel wasn't too modern for this town. He pulled his car into a small diner, killed the engine and headed inside.

There were only a couple people inside. One drinking coffee in the corner (Matsuda thought that he looked slightly suspicious), a couple holding hands and gazing into each others eyes, their tea having gone cold. Either they were secret spies trying to throw people off their path, or they really were lovesick birds.

Matsuda sat at the table where he had a clear view of his car. Just in case.

He was pretty sure he wasn't going to leave a tip for the ten minute wait, but finally a waitress came out. She had slick, straight black hair pulled into a ponytail and a nice body…Why did she look familiar?

"Do I know you?" He asked as soon as she got to his table.

The girl didn't look up; instead she stared at her little notepad. "Probably not. I've lived here the last four years." She still hadn't looked up. But now he realized her voice sounded familiar too…

"Sayu?" He said, leaning forward, trying to get a look at her face.

She back stepped, finally lifting her head up. Matsuda was surprised by the drawn appearance of her face.

"…Matsuda?" She said, "What are you doing here?"

"Well, ah, admittedly, I'm lost." He tried to give her a lopsided grin, but she didn't return any smile. Matsuda hoped she hadn't forgotten how to…

"Oh. Well, welcome," she held her hand posed on the notepad, waiting.

Matsuda wasn't sure what he had been expecting her to say. At least now he knew why he had recognized the name of the town, he remembered the Chief telling him…

A surge of guilt flooded over him, knowing that Sayu didn't know anything about how her brother had really died. About how Matsuda had practically killed him…

"Coffee," Matsuda said, dropping his head.

Sayu stayed an extra minute to see if he requested anything else, when he didn't say anything, she headed to the kitchen.

Matsuda pulled out his wallet and grabbed a tip. Placing it on the table, he left the diner.

When Sayu came out with his coffee cup in her hand, she was surprised to see Matsuda gone. Walking up to the table, she saw a tip that was ten times the amount of the coffee on the surface.



Matsuda tapped his fingers on the steering wheel. I should go back in…

He finally started his car and pulled out of the parking lot, going to find a hotel.

Hopefully he regained his calm by breakfast tomorrow morning.