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chapter 3

Soichiro returns home in the early hours of the morning. When he goes to his room, he finds Natsuki asleep on his bed. When he tries to wake her, she grabs the phone and says "moshi moshi" before dropping the receiver and turning over, all the while fast asleep. Soichiro sighs and then gives a big yawn. But coz Natsuki is in his bed, he has no choice but the sleep on the floor.

Later that morning, Natsuki wakes up and sees someone sleeping on the floor. When she lifts the covers from his face, she sees it is Soichiro. She is relieved that she didn't go to sleep in a strange man's bedroom and says, "Oh, it's only Soichiro." She gets up and stands on the bed, holding the clock. She realizes she has overslept. In shock she drops the clock, directly onto Soichiro's head. He gives a big yell of pain.

Fuyumi and Haruko are having breakfast in the kitchen. Natsuki comes down and smells all the lovely breakfast and decides to stop and have a bite before leaving. Soichiro also comes down to breakfast rubbing his head. He tells Natsuki not to go into other people's room and fall asleep just like that. Natsuki says she was waiting for a phone call and before she knew it, she had fallen asleep. Suddenly Natsuki gives a shout and points a finger at Soichiro, asking him how come he is home when he said he wouldn't be back.

Fuyumi tells her that Soichiro came back early in the morning. Haruko asks him if he did it properly. When Soichiro looks at her, Fuyumi says,"preventive measures". They all assumed that he spent the night with Nazuna. He tells them that his relationship with Nazuna is pure and innocent, and not based on sex. Natsuki laughs and says,"you have no confidence to do it, right?" Soichiro gets angry at her and glares at her. Fuyumi tells her she was very rude. Natsuki apologizes.

Later at the newspaper office, Soichiro is talking to Endo and Kobayashi. He tells them he hasn't done IT in 3 years. Endo asks him if he is waiting for the right one. Soichiro tells them that they should treasure every relationship and not wait for the right one to treasure it. Endo asks what they did all night then, and Soichiro tells him that they talked and played Othello.

Natsuki receives a call at work from Kuga. He tells her he called last night but the phone was engaged. Natsuki scolds Soichiro under her breath and Kuga overhears and asks her who is Soichiro. She lies that it is her dog. Kuga asks her what breed the dog is and she says it is a Dalmatian. She says it was ok that he didn't get to talk to her last night. He tells her he still wants to keep their promise to have a meal together. Natsuki tells him no matter when or where she will fly there and meet him. They meet for dinner that day.

Back at home:

Fuyumi tells Soichiro and Endo, who has come for dinner, that Kuga was Natsuki's teacher in beauty school (I think). They hadn't in 10 years. Soichiro wonders if by asking Natsuki out, Kuga also likes Natsuki.

Just then the doorbell rings. Fuyumi and Haruko wonder who it is. Soichiro says it is Kobayashi and asks Endo to open the door. When Kobayashi comes into the room, Fuyumi gets all fluttery again and jumps up to welcome him.

They continue talking about Natsuki and how she admired Kuga all the time coz he was so kakkoii. Fuyumi tells Kobayashi that he is quite kakkoii too, and tries to give him some crab. Soichiro stops her and tells her that Kobayashi is a man and doesn't need to be served. Endo makes a comment and is told instead by Soichiro, Haruko and Fuyumi to get more beer.

Natsuki and Kuga are walking back after dinner. Natsuki asks Kuga where he lives. She tells him she is staying in Hibisu with friends. Kuga asks her if she is keeping a dog with her friends. Natsuki is puzzled. He then reminds her that she told him she had a Dalmatian at home. He says his daughter keeps pestering him for a dog too. Natsuki is stunned to learn he has a daughter. She asks him whether he is married and he says he was, but has since divorced. He said that he spent too much time at work and not enough time with his family. He tells Natsuki that he didn't celebrate his daughter's 1st birthday. Although his wife told him it was ok and that his daughter wouldn't remember, he said he remembers. Suddenly realizing that he said too much, he apologizes to Natsuki. Natsuki tells him that she saw the ring on his hand when they were eating.

Natsuki sees some cute "crystal" figurines at a road side stall and tells Kuga that his daughter would love it. She told him that she used to collect such things when she was younger. When Kuga asks her to pick, she chooses a dolphin and a cat. Kuga buys both and gives Natsuki the dolphin. Natsuki thanks him. He tells her that he wanted to impress her more on their first date and not tell her about his divorce. He tells her he was afraid that she would think of him as an old uncle. Natsuki tells him that if he is an old uncle, then she is an old aunty. HE says she is beautiful.

Back at home:

Everyone is playing LIFE again. Soichiro is winning. Natsuki returns home, with a dreamy smile on her face. She asks them if they realize that while they are playing the game of LIFE, life is passing them by? (hmm...sounds exactly like what Soichiro said when he got home too...:P) They ask her how her date went and Natsuki is all excited to tell them, but Fuyumi and Haruko suddenly announce they are tired and are off to bed...no one wanted to hear about Natsuki's date. She then shouts that she specially brought back strawberry cake for them all. On hearing that, they all come back to eat the cake. Natsuki notices Kobayashi and is surprised to see a new face.

She shows them the dolphin that Kuga gave her. Fuyumi makes fun of the present saying that it only costs 250 yen and Natsuki fell in love with Kuga so cheaply. Natsuki retorts that since Fuyumi is having an affair with a married man, she would know nothing about innocent love.

They start quarreling with each other. Natsuki accuses Fuyumi of breaking up families and hurting guys just for fun. They fight escalates, and the others just try to carry the furniture out of the way so they don't break anything. Both Fuyumi and Natsuki accuse each other of not being able to fall in love with anyone and that it is all an excuse just because they are getting older. When Soichiro tries to stop them, they ignore him totally and pushes him away. Fuyumi bumps into the table and sends the dolphin that was on it flying. It is lost somewhere in the room. Natsuki is really upset and says, so what? it was only 250 yen and runs off to her room. Fuyumi also leaves in a huff.

The others try to find Natsuki's dolphin. Haruko finds the body and discovers that it has broken. Just then, Soichiro finds the tail of the dolphin. They glue it back for Natsuki.

Soichiro returns to his room and trips over Natsuki, who had fallen asleep in his couch. They start talking. Natsuki asks him if he thought of her as a woman. He told her he didn't and even if she were the last woman in the universe he would not court her or go after her. She asks him if she really has no womanly qualities that are attractive to guys and he tells her no. Soichiro tells her goodnight and switches off the light. Natsuki asks him if he was going to "practice" on her before he did it with Nazuna, and he asks her if she was listening to a word he said and that he wouldn't touch her if she was the last woman on earth. She then says ok then, goodnight and crawls into his bed and falls asleep, leaving Soichiro to spend the night on his couch.

The next morning, Natsuki starts looking for her dolphin. Fuyumi comes downstairs and Natsuki pretends that she wasn't looking for it and goes to the toilet. Fuyumi starts looking for the dolphin but stops when Soichiro comes into the room. Natsuki finds the dolphin all patched up in the bathroom on the shelf.

Later, Soichiro and Fuyumi go for lunch. They come across the same shop that Kuga and Natsuki bought the dolphin from. Fuyumi immediately buys the same dolphin for Natsuki. Soichiro tells her she is really kind to buy a replacement for Natsuki. Fuyumi says she knows that Natsuki is serious about Kuga. She envies Natsuki's happiness a little but is also happy for her coz they are good friends.

At the hospital, Kuga is staring at the other figurine he bought for his daughter. When the nurse asks him what's wrong, he says that his daughter rejected it. He thinks that women are really difficult to understand.

Back at the house:

Haruko and Fuyumi are cooking dinner. Fuyumi asks if Kobayashi is coming. When told no, she looks a little disappointed. Endo then asks Soichiro is Kobayashi is more popular than him among the three girls. Soichiro tells him that Endo is more popular than himself though. Natsuki comes home. Haruko tells her that Fuyumi is cooking Korean style sukiyaki and to go wash her hands. Natsuki sees the dolphin in the bathroom but this time, it had no cracks in it. She is a bit surprised.

After dinner they are all playing LIFE again. Fuyumi rolls the dice and reads out what's written on the square. Then she continues,as though still reading from the boardgame : I'm sorry about yesterday Natsuki. Natsuki makes no response to that and continues her turn. She does the same thing as Fuyumi and says she was in the wrong too. They make up just like that. Soichiro and Endo are amused at their way of making up. Soichiro takes his turn and does the same thing too, saying please don't involve me when you quarrel. Endo thinks that it is a new rule and he has to say something when he rolls the dice. He says he would like to drink some Japanese sake. Everyone looks at him and asks him what he thought he was doing. Haruko suggests that they play for money to make the game more exciting. Fuyumi and Natsuki agree but Endo and Soichiro decline, saying they hadn't received their pay yet. Haruko then says they will still wager, but instead of money, the loser has to play the egg game. Haruko goes upstairs to work on her book.

Endo and Fuyumi are a bit drunk and Fuyumi suddenly hugs Endo. Endo is sniffing as he says it must be quite difficult to be in the midst of an affair. Fuyumi is surprised that he is willing to cry with her about it, but he says it was just because he drank too much beer so his nose get a bit runny.

Suddenly, Haruko runs down again, looking worried. She is holding her book draft in her hand. They ask her what's wrong and she tells them that she sent the wrong draft to enter the competition. She sent her first draft that hadn't been amended. The closing date was that very day and it was already nighttime. She looks at hopefully.

Soichiro and Natsuki take the draft to the office building on Soichiro's motorbike. Natsuki tells him she hopes it isn't his first time riding a bike. He tells her it is and when she starts to get mad, he says I'm joking.

When they reach the building, they find the main lobby doors locked. They have to climb the maintenance stairs to the right of the building. It is a long way up, and Natsuki complains every step of the way. Halfway up, Soichiro tells her to pass him the draft and the torchlight and he would go up and told her to wait for him on the landing. He climbs up about three flights before Natsuki starts shouting for him, and asking him to come back. She is afraid of the dark and decides to follow him after all.

The man in charge of the competition allows them to change the draft but they have to find it themselves from the hundreds of entries that were sent in. They finally find it after many hours.

On the way home they stop by the convenience store to buy groceries back. They have a drink and a snack at the nearby playground. They start talking about dreams and how the further away they are, the more shining they seem to be, just like the stars. Natsuki asks Soichiro who used super glue to fix her dolphin and he tells her Haruko. When she asks who bought the new dolphin, he tells her it is a secret but she guesses it was Fuyumi. She wonders how come Soichiro knows about it, and he tells her that he went with Fuyumi to buy it.

Soichiro asks her if she wants to play the egg game now. She says HUH? and Soichiro reminds her that they lost at the LIFE game, so they were supposed to play the egg game as punishment. They have a lot of fun playing together.

NOTE: The egg game:

You need: one fresh, uncooked egg.

Object: Throw the egg to each other without breaking the egg. If it breaks you lose and you get egg all over you.

The next morning, Fuyumi and Haruko find Soichiro and Natsuki fast asleep together on Soichiro's bed. Fuyumi jokes to Harukot hat maybe they had a night of sex. She peeks under the covers, and gasps. Haruko looks at her but she says, I'm kidding. Fuyumi says that watching Soichiro and Natsuki sleeping together like that reminded her of her childhood. Haruko tells her she too sued to sleep like that with Soichiro when they were kids but not any more. Fuyumi says that when Soichiro and Natsuki are together, they return to their childhood. She is a little envious that Natsuki and Soichiro have such a good relationship and can behave like when they were kids and she wishes that she could return to her childhood too. Haruko thinks her words are poetic and wants to write it down to use in her new book. Natsuki and Soichiro wake up then and greet each other, as though it is the most natural thing in the world. Soichiro is surprised to see Fuyumi and Haruko in his room too.

Later, Soichiro meets NAzuna for tea. They get to talking about photography and Soichiro tells her he wants to take warm pictures and pictures that have meaning. HE tells her that he has found something he wants to take. She asks him if it's Natsuki. He tells her no, and that although Natsuki is a woman, he sees a lot of his own feelings in her...they share the same ideas about things and he can connect with her like that. He tells Nazuna that the person he wants to take pictures of is her. Nazuna is surprised and pleased that he wants to take her picture.

Later that night, Fuyumi is out on a date with the guy she's having an affair with. After dinner, he tells her that he has to get home. She is a bit upset but says ok, then let's just go walking a bit. He tells her that he doesn't want people from his company to see her holding onto his arm the way she was doing. They pass the dolphin stall again and Fuyumi bends down and picks up one of the crystal figurines and exclaims how cute it is. However, the guy doesn't take the hint and stands around looking bored. When she lifts it up to show him, he tells her he will call a cab. Fuyumi is disappointed and hurt.

Soichiro is walking Nazuna to the station. She grabs his arm and tells him she doesn't want to let him return home, to the place where he is so happy coz she is worried. Soichiro gives a small laugh, and doesn't know what to say.

Natsuki goes to see if Soichiro is in his room the minute she gets home but he isn't in yet. She goes to the kitchen and drinks a cup of tea. Haruko comes downstairs and turns on the light, and asks Natsuki if Soichiro was back yet. Natsuki tells her she feels hungry and looks in the fridge for something to eat. She finds one of the eggs that they bought from the convenience store and decides to cook it. As she cooks it however, she thinks of Soichiro and the game they were playing the other night.

Soichiro and Nazuna are still walking. They stop and look at each other and laugh. The scene shifts to Tokyo Tower in the background.

End of episode three.