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chapter 10

Flashback to the previous episode:

Soichiro calls Natsuki from a public telephone, telling her he isn't the sort of guy to whine about his problems to another person. Natsuki asks him what's wrong and to calm down and tell her what happened. He tells her he was dumped by Nazuna. She asks "What?" and he repeats in a louder voice that he was dumped by Nazuna. Later, Natsuki goes to the train station to pick him up. Soichiro comes down the stairs and sees her standing there holding an umbrella. She smiles and says "Yo!" She holds out an umbrella to him and welcomes him home. He replies:"I'm back." They walk off, sharing an umbrella. He asks her what was for dinner. She says she wanted to make some chicken dish (I think....).

Later back at the house:

Something is bubbling in the hotpot. Natsuki pouts and asks:"Why is it curry? And would you put (some fish thing) into curry?" Fuyumi looks at her and says,"Why not?" Haruko explains that she made curry because they ran out of soya sauce. Just then Soichiro comes in with the newly-bought bottle of soya sauce and places it on the table. He turns to go out but Natsuki calls him. When he turns around, she throws him a towel. He comments that everyone is home. Natsuki tells him that it seems as though they just suddenly came back. Soichiro tells her it is a good thing that they all came back. When Natsuki asks him why, he tells her that if the two of them ended up alone together it wouldn't be a good thing. Natsuki looks at him and goes HUH? He looks down and says it is even snowing... Just then Haruko looks out the window and announces that the snow has stopped. Fuyumi laments that the snow won't pile up that way. Natsuki and Soichiro look at each other and laugh. Soichiro whimsically says,"The snow has stopped too.." He goes up to his room and collapses on the sofa, looking very sad and pensive.

The next day:

Nazuna goes into a bookshop and as she is looking at some books, the person next to her suddenly calls out "Nazuna-chan". She turns and looks surprised. It is Kobayashi.

Later at a bar:

Kobayashi asks her:"What, you're not studying anymore? Going back to Hokkaido?" Nazuna replies that she doesn't really know yet. She wonders how life would be if she took up a job her father got for her without any thought to whether it is what she wants or not. She smiles and tells Kobayashi that she did honors in her university degree too. (I think..this bit might be a bit inaccurate) Kobayashi looks impressed. She then goes on to say that she has been so busy thinking about Soichiro that she never thought or planned for her own future. She realized that she couldn't continue that way and thus wants to stand on her own two feet and make something of herself. Kobayashi tells her she is super. She says it is something anyone would want to do.

Kobayashi takes out a packet of photos from his jacket, and hands them to Nazuna. He tells her that they are the photos from the newspaper office that they used and he had forgotten to give them back to Soichiro. He tells her that it is the pictures that Soichiro took of her. Nazuna opens the packet and takes out a handful of photos. The first one is of her looking out from between two trees. Kobayashi tells her that there are pictures of Soichiro as well. She gives a small laugh and says that she took that picture for Soichiro and that it looked a little blurry. Kobayashi tells her that it doesn't matter and that at least it was taken nicely. She looks at it and says, "That's true. To an outsider the photos are nicely taken." and she gives a smile.

Back at the house:

Soichiro is feeding the terrapin when the phone rings. It is Kuga. He asks to speak to Natsuki but Soichiro tells him that he's sorry but Natsuki isn't home yet. Kuga says, I see. Soichiro asks him,"Why?" Kuga doesn't say anything. Soichiro then asks," You said so before didn't you. That it was a man's job to make a woman feel secure. Are you just going to go off and leave Natsuki behind in Japan?" Kuga tells him that things aren't so simple. Soichiro retorts that even if that is so.... Just then, Natsuki returns home and sees Soichiro on the phone. She asks if he is on the phone but he says no, and holds out the phone to her, telling her that it is Kuga. She takes the phone and says hello.

Natsuki: Hello? Konbanwa.

Kuga: Although it is a bit rushed, I'm going to be leaving Japan next week on the 8th.

Natsuki: Um, I'm sorry, but would you mind if I didn't see you off? I might be working.

Kuga: Oh I see.

Natsuki: Um..Soichiro is waiting to use the phone.

Kuga: I'm sorry.

Natsuki: Bye.

She hangs up and gives a little sigh. Soichiro tells her that she is very thorough. She smiles a little and says "you can't just let it drag on right?" and goes upstairs. In her room, she looks at the calendar and the 8th.

The days pass rapidly and soon it is the 8th. Natsuki is at work and suddenly notices the calendar says that it is the 8th. She looks a little sad and stares into space. Her colleague calls her and she apologizes for dreaming. Her colleague tells her that there is a call for her. It is Fuyumi calling to tell Natsuki that her stomach hurts.

Natsuki leaves her workplace (incidentally..the name of the salon she works at is 8 1/2 hair-make...just noticed...) and hurries off, but is stopped by a loud car horn. She turns around to see a green cab with Fuyumi leaning out the window, calling her to quickly get in.

Once Natsuki is in the cab, Fuyumi instructs the driver to go to Narita Airport. Natsuki tells her to wait a minute. Fuyumi tells her that Kuga is leaving today on the afternoon flight. When Natsuki asks her how she knows, Fuyumi says, "Soichiro." She asks Natsuki what she wants to do and that she will leave it up to Natsuki. Natsuki sits there a while and then leans forward and says,"Please take us to Narita Airport."

The taxi draws up at Narita. Fuyumi and Natsuki rush in and look frantically around for Kuga. They go up to the second story where they can get a panoramic view of the whole departure hall. Fuyumi finally spots him and points him out to Natsuki. Fuyumi asks who the woman is with him. natsuki tells her that it is Kuga's wife. Fuyumi says," Oh...Kuga's wife and daughter. I'm a little shocked." Natsuki tells her that it's ok and it was she who insisted that they come, not Fuyumi. Fuyumi suddenly grabs her and turns her around, so that her back is facing Kuga. She tells Natsuki that it is better that Natsuki not see Kuga hugging his daughter good bye. Natsuki asks if he was done yet, but Fuyumi tells her that just a while more. She finally turns Natsuki back round and tells her that Kuga's wife has left. They watch as Kuga waves goodbye to his wife. Natsuki tells Fuyumi that Kuga's plane is leaving already and to forget it coz there isn't any more time. Fuyumi tells her there is still time and that Natsuki should run down there and say goodbye. Natsuki tells her she doesn't want to do an embarrassing thing like that and to forget it. Just then, the announcement is made for passengers on Kuga's flight to assemble. Fuyumi tells Natsuki that Kuga will go off soon. She suddenly tells Natsuki that Kuga has spotted her. Natsuki turns around and sees Kuga looking up at her. She asks what she is supposed to do. Fuyumi tells her to say something. Natsuki says," Kuga-san, take care." Fuyumi tells her to speak louder coz there is no way that Kuga can hear her if she doesn't shout. Natsuki is reluctant, but Fuyumi tells her to shout out to Kuga, who is still waiting below, looking up at her. Fuyumi is shaking her arm, telling her to shout out what she's thinking. Natsuki takes a deep breath and finally shouts out:" Congratulations on getting chosen! Ganbatte!" She waves goodbye to Kuga, who waves back. Natsuki continues to wave as she watches Kuga go down the escalator. He turns one last time to wave goodbye as he disappears from sight.

As they leave the airport, Fuyumi asks Natsuki what she is going to do from now on. Natsuki tells her she would like to be alone. Fuyumi says, OK and walks off, leaving Natsuki alone.

Later that night, back at the house:

Soichiro asks Fuyumi why she let Natsuki go off alone. Fuyumi replies because Natsuki told her she wanted to be alone. Soichiro looks at his watch and says,"It;s already 11. Where could she be?" Fuyumi asks him if he's falling in love with Natsuki. Soichiro gets angry and asks Fuyumi if that is all she thinks about. Fuyumi defends herself, saying." Natsuki is an adult too, and so since she wanted to be alone I let her be alone." Soichiro says," How can a person stand being all alone at a time like this? Why did you get to know her?" Fuyumi tells him not to say he knows Natsuki better than her coz she has known Natsuki longer. Soichiro tells her that it is hard to believe that although Fuyumi might have known Natsuki longer she still doesn't understand how Natsuki thinks and feels. Fuyumi asks him what he means by that. Soichiro says he is going out. When Fuyumi asks him where he is going, he says that he is going to look for Natsuki.

Soichiro runs around looking for Natsuki. He goes to all the places Natsuki might have gone, and finally finds her at the playground, sitting there dejectedly. She turns in his direction and finds him standing there, panting and looking at her. He asks her what she thinks she is doing. She doesn't answer so he walks to her and asks her again," What are you doing here?" She replies,"I was with a dog." Soichiro looks at her a bit incredulously and repeats,"A dog?" Natsuki explains that she was playing with a wild dog. Soichiro goes to sit next to her and asks her,"How long?" Natsuki misunderstands and says,"How long? About this long..." and holds her hands apart, showing Soichiro the size of the dog. Soichiro grabs her hands and puts them back in her lap and tells her,"That's not what I meant. I mean how long have you been here?" She asks him not to be angry with her. He tells her he isn't angry, and was just asking.

Natsuki: About 30 minutes.....no, an hour.....I don't know.

Soichiro:You're sure to catch cold if you have been out here that long.

He takes off his jacket and puts it around Natsuki.

Natsuki: Although I wanted to find somewhere warm to go to, I didn't want to go alone. Even if I went home, there was sure to be someone there.

Soichiro: Is it ok that I'm here?

Natsuki turns to look at him and says Soichiro is ok because Soichiro isn't a person. Soichiro gives a laugh of disbelief and then turns to her and says:" What do you mean by that? Is this about the Dalmatian thing?" They both laugh and Natsuki tells him that's not what she meant.

Natsuki: Soichiro is....like a part of me. Very close....it's ok.

Soichiro: I don't quite get it. Never mind.

Natsuki:It's ok if you don't understand. You managed to find me here....that's good enough. (She starts to cry) Humans are so stubborn, but something like this...they can't take it....but tears are warm!

She leans her head on Soichiro's shoulders and sobs a little. Soichiro puts his head against hers and asks her what she can't stand. She tells him that she can't stand it...suddenly being all alone. All by herself. Soichiro consoles her and puts his arm around her, saying,"You know that's not right. Let's go home."

Later at Endo's house:

The phone rings. Endo and Fuyumi are playing video games. Endo answers the phone. It is Soichiro calling to tell Fuyumi that Natsuki has been found. Endo tells Fuyumi that Soichiro found Natsuki and asks her if she wants to talk to Soichiro but Fuyumi says there is no need. Endo tells Soichiro that Fuyumi is probably gonna stay over with him tonight. He hangs up a while later.

Fuyumi asks him what Soichiro said. Endo tells her that Soichiro found Natsuki in the park. Fuyumi starts thinking out loud:" That's kind of different. When a girl's loneliness is seen and when a guy's loneliness is seen, it is different. True loneliness might be able to save a guy. What's that?" (ok, this bit I am not too sure coz I can't understand the translation either.....sorry!)

Back at the house:

Soichiro is just putting down the phone. The house is in darkness. natsuki asks him where Fuyumi is. Soichiro tells her that Fuyumi is spending the night at Endo's. Natsuki asks what about Haruko? Soichiro tells her Haruko said that she will be working the whole night. Natsuki says,"hmm......."When Soichiro asks her what's wrong, she says nothing is wrong and turns on the television. Soichiro is making tea in the kitchen. Natsuki watches tv and ponders, "Didn't do anything...." Soichiro has to call her twice before she hears him. She turns and he holds out a cup of tea. She smiles and turns off the television and tells him thank you, as she accepts the mug of tea. He sits down next to her as she takes a sip. She suddenly goes,"It's hot!" and covers her mouth. Soichiro laughs and tells her to be careful.

Natsuki: Soichiro, I kind of like it when you call me 'Natsuki', it's nice.

Soichiro: Hai?

Natsuki: Like milk in the winter....like a match in the darkness....makes me feel secure.

Soichiro: What on earth was that?

Natsuki:.....mm....secure.

She reaches out and holds onto Soichiro's shirt sleeve. He looks at her and reaches out and hugs her to him. She presses her face into his shoulder. After a long while, Soichiro releases her and looks at her, before lowering his head to kiss her. She suddenly says,"Uso!(um...either a lie..you got to be kidding......that sort of meaning...) Are we going to kiss?" Soichiro just stops there, inches away from her mouth as she apologizes to him. He stays that way a while and then he suddenly releases her totally and seems to shake himself out of the moment. She apologizes again but he gives a small laugh and shakes his head. He says,"well then....good night." He gets up and goes off to his room. Just before he goes up the stairs, he turns back and warns her that it is cold upstairs. He then goes on up, leaving Natsuki alone downstairs.

A lot of time passes (you can hear the ticking of a clock as the scene shifts between Natsuki and Soichiro). Soichiro is tossing on his bed, looking frustrated, while Natsuki is sitting downstairs, looking deep in thought. Suddenly she puts down her mug, as though she has made a decision. Up in his room, Soichiro suddenly hears a knock on his door. He opens it to find Natsuki standing there. She walks to him and hugs him to her. He hugs her back and then looks her in the eye a while and then he bends to kiss her. They kiss.......and kiss....etc etc.....the scene shifts to a shot of Tokyo Tower by night and then later of a sunrise over Tokyo.

The next morning:

Soichiro and Natsuki are in bed together.

Soichiro: IF we don't get up....

Natsuki: If we don't wash our face....(she rubs her eyes) what's the time?

Soichiro: 7 am

Natsuki: How....did this happen?

Downstairs, Fuyumi is reading the papers. She looks up and gives a giggle. Haruko comes home from work. Fuyumi offers her coffee but Haruko says no thanks and that she's hungry. Just then both Soichiro and Natsuki come downstairs. Haruko asks why they are together and Natsuki gets defensive and says," What together? We didn't do anything..." Fuyumi just laughs and says,"So silly." Soichiro tells them that he won't have any coffee as he is late. Natsuki realizes that all Haruko was saying was that they came downstairs together. Fuyumi tells her it is too late and Haruko looks at Natsuki, making her feel uncomfortable.

Later over coffee, Natsuki explains that she was emotionally weak at the time, as though she was the only person in the world. Haruko makes a face and says, that's kind of disgusting. Natsuki turns to her and says,"Is it really? Just as I thought.." Haruko tells her that she isn't Fuyumi and to think more about her own character. Fuyumi says forget about all that, what happened next? Haruko chips in and says, yes, what happened and what's going to happen now? Natsuki suddenly bows and says to Haruko,"Please let me call you elder sister from now on." Haruko asks her if she means that, and Natsuki admits that she wasn't being serious. Fuyumi laughs at Natsuki for being embarrassed. Natsuki defends herself, saying that the previous night was very emotional and intense and it would be difficult if they had hurt each other.(not too sure of the translation here) Fuyumi comments that Natsuki has become a third party. Natsuki accuses the two of them of being happy about her plight. Fuyumi ignores that and asks her "what next?" Natsuki tells them that she woke up the next morning feeling unsettled. Fuyumi says,"So having sex with that guy was a big mistake?" Natsuki says," Well, I wouldn't say that. I believe that a kiss leads to sex, which leads to marriage. I really believe that." Fuyumi tells her that only a secondary school student from the countryside would think that way anymore. Fuyumi asks Natsuki if she was just looking for a way to vent her frustrations at being dumped by Kuga, and that she doesn't really love Soichiro. Natsuki asks," Do you think so?" Haruko chips in and says,"Soichiro also doesn't really love Natsuki does he?" Natsuki says she feels like she's been given a double blow and thanks the two of them for treating her that way.

Later at work:

Natsuki is teaching a kohai how to cut hair. She starts thinking and laments that she doesn't want to go home.

Soichiro is taking photographs for an assignment. He asks the model to smile a little more. He wraps up the shoot just as his employer comes in. His employer asks if Soichiro would be willing to receive his pay at the end of the month. Soichiro says no problem, and to just accumulate what he is owed. His employer says,"That's a relief. Thanks for understanding." Soichiro looks at his watch and seems reluctant to go home too.

Fuyumi is at home looking at a pregnancy test. When Natsuki comes through the door, she quickly hides it. Natsuki asks where Soichiro is, and Fuyumi tells her that he hasn't come back yet. Fuyumi tells Natsuki that there was a fax for her and that cheap accommodation had been found for her and that Natsuki needed to decide quickly and give her reply. Natsuki takes the fax up to her room. There is a knock on her door. It is Fuyumi, who tells her that she has a phone call. Natsuki asks who it is and Fuyumi replies "Soichiro". Natsuki asks what does that tone of voice mean? and goes to answer the phone.

Natsuki: Hello?

Soichiro: It's me....

Natsuki: What's up?

Soichiro: Is anyone there with you?

Natsuki: Yes...

Soichiro: Then go up to my room.

Natsuki: Huh what's that? Are you looking for something?

Soichiro: No, that's not it. I would just like to talk things over slowly and properly.

Natsuki: Ah...I understand.

She transfers the call and before going upstairs, looks at Fuyumi, who innocently says, "I won't listen in. Can't listen to your conversation."

Up in Soichiro's room:

Natsuki: Hello?

Soichiro: How is it?

Natsuki: What about? There's no one else here....I can see Tokyo Tower.

Soichiro:Um..do you remember about last night?

Natsuki: Of course I do!!

Soichiro: You don't have to sound like you want to pick a fight!

Natsuki: I want to quarrel with you.

Soichiro: Why?

Natsuki: Because I am confused.

There is a period of silence.

Soichiro:Um....what are we going to do?

Natsuki: What are we going to do?

Soichiro: I think it would be better if I came back and we talked.

Natsuki:??

Soichiro: We should talk face-to-face.

Natsuki: What's that all about?

Soichiro: Um..well, if things go on the way they are going now....pretending as though nothing happened...

Natsuki: I understand....I will wait for you.

Soichiro hangs up and turns around to look at Tokyo Tower, its lights shining brightly in the background.

Back at the house:

Fuyumi is in the bathroom with her pregnancy test. She looks at the result and realizes that it is positive. She is pregnant. Just then Natsuki comes in. Fuyumi hurriedly tries to hide the pregnancy test. Fuyumi asks Natsuki what she is doing. Natsuki tells her she just wanted to cool herself and let herself calm down. She washes her face and turns to Fuyumi and asks her if her face looks alright and what sort of expression she had. Fuyumi encourages her and says she looks good. Natsuki comments that she has no choice but to try her best...Fuyumi asks her what she means. Natsuki tells her she isn't quite sure but there are a lot of trials in a person's life. Fuyumi agrees with her. Natsuki looks at Fuyumi a bit surprised. Fuyumi tells Natsuki that she's going out for a while. Natsuki asks her,"Now?" and Fuyumi nods and leaves the room.

Natsuki is waiting for Soichiro. She goes to the bathroom again to look at herself, and hears the door. Thinking that Soichiro is back she rushes out, only to find that it is Haruko. She asks, "Why is it you?" Haruko asks why she can't come back to her own home without someone asking why is it you? Just then, Soichiro comes home. He looks at natsuki and then at Haruko, and asks Haruko if she would mind leaving him and Natsuki alone for a while. Haruko looks at them and then says,"No problem...I will go to Overtime.How long will you take? The normal resting time is 2 hours.." Soichiro tells her they are not going to do anything. Haruko tells them to have a good chat then and leaves the two of them alone.

Soichiro: Um....that.....I....don't regret anything. About yesterday....I have no regrets.

Natsuki: So-chan, thank you. Thank you for being with me yesterday. And today....thank you for not avoiding me.

Soichiro: Did you think I would?

Natsuki: I feel as though I have no confidence in myself. I never thought I would be loved by Kuga....I think I underestimated myself....and yesterday, you were so warm and caring....no,no...not only yesterday....you are always always warm and caring....and that's why I love this house.

Soichiro sees Natsuki start crying and gets up to bring her some tissue. He pulls out a few sheets and hands them to her.

Natsuki: You even give me tissue this way all the time.....

Soichiro: What is that for?

Natsuki: I usually just hand someone the box if they need tissue.....

Soichiro: That's because you are straightforward..

Natsuki: I'm sorry.

Soichiro: Bring out your self-confidence. You are so tall and beautiful...

Natsuki: Beautiful?

Soichiro:And you have a face that makes people feel secure. Although your voice is a little low.....

Natsuki: I'm sorry.

Soichiro: But, compared to anything, it is still the same. That's what I like about you. Even though I'm not sure if we are friends, lovers, or just my sister's good friend...I....Natsuki is important to me. Because you are important....

Natsuki: So-chan....let's shake hands. ON the phone, I thought you were saying strange things because you were about to go somewhere far away...now I know that's not the case, I feel relieved. It's good that we had a talk face-to-face. I too...think that you are very important to me.

She puts out her hand. Soichiro takes it and they both laugh a little. Natsuki says she feels a bit embarrassed. Soichiro tells her she was the one who suggested it. Natsuki tells Soichiro that she will go get Haruko back. She leaves to go to Overtime. Soichiro is left sitting on the couch, and he doesn't look too happy. HE goes back to his room and finds the fax that Natsuki received. He looks at it and says," Aren't you the one who is going to go somewhere else?"

Natsuki is standing outside the house, looking up at Soichiro's window. She looks sad too. As she turns to walk off, Kuga's voice can be heard...

"Natsuki, how are you? Please forgive me for telling you something very important in this manner. In truth, I have always been with my ex-wife. My daughter is going into secondary school, and has to take the placement tests, so my wife said we should get back together for her sake. I thought about it long and hard, whether it will be good for my daughter. But I told my wife that I had already fallen in love with Natsuki. I spent a lot of time trying to make my wife and daughter understand. I considered that it would be better to tell you about it all but I couldn't do it. The only way was to settle it all myself, and then tell you about everything clearly. This may seem selfish, but it was a long fight to be able to finally be with you properly. I have failed once, and even though I tried to garner up the courage to try again, it took some time. Now I am asking you to give me another chance. Let's start over. This could even be a long overdue proposal. I am waiting for your reply."

The scene shows Natsuki playing with a dog in the park, and then pans to Soichiro at home, taking out an egg from the refrigerator and throwing it in the air before catching it.....

End of Episode 10.