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chapter 4

Soichiro and Nazuna are playing Othello in Nazuna's house. Nazuna seems to be winning. Soichiro suggests that they gamble. Nazuna tells him that she wants the most precious thing he has. Soichiro says it is his camera. Nazuna tells him, no that's not it. She wants his heart. Soichiro continues playing but as he turns the pieces he says, If it is my heart you want, it is already yours. Nazuna is taken by surprise. Both of them give little laughs and the whole scene suddenly seems a bit strained for a while. Nazuna thought it was quite funny but Soichiro told her not to laugh. He was serious.

The next morning, Soichiro is trying to figure out how to greet Natsuki and company coz he spent the night at Nazuna's. Just as he is about to open the door, Natsuki opens it, on her way to get the paper. They both get a shock and in the end, Natsuki says "Okaeri" and Soichiro just replies "Tadaima". Natsuki tells him to go get the newspaper. She keeps giving him knowing looks. In the house, she turns to him and says, hmm...home in the morning. He looks at her and tells her she's strange. Natsuki just giggles and says, "nothing, nothing."

Everyone is at the table eating breakfast except Fuyumi. Haruko wonders why Fuyumi isn't down yet coz Fuyumi will be late for work. Natsuki asks how come Fuyumi has to work on Sundays. Haruko looks at Natsuki. Natsuki sighs resignedly and goes upstairs to call Fuyumi. Soichiro and Haruko continue eating breakfast, when suddenly Natsuki screams loudly. Both of them rush up to see what happened. They find Fuyumi in bed, with her wrists slashed.

All of them panic. Haruko starts shaking Fuyumi but Natsuki tells her not to. Soichiro tells them to call a car. Natsuki says ambulance but can't remember if the number is 111 or 119. Soichiro tells her it is 119. Suddenly, Fuyumi stirs and says, Don't call the ambulance. Call Shiroyama. She sits up and gives them the phone number. Natsuki decides to call Kuga to come. Fuyumi just keeps saying call Shiroyama. Both Haruko and Natsuki rush out to make the calls. Soichiro tells her that her wounds are more important. Fuyumi however, is behaving strangely. Soichiro grabs her wrist and looks at it, then asks her where is her wound. He tastes some of the "blood" and declares that it is sweet. He confronts Fuyumi and asks her why her "blood" is sweet.

Just then Natsuki and Haruko return, Natsuki saying that Kuga was on his way. Shiroyama is also on the way. Soichiro tells them that it isn't blood, coz it tastes sweet. When Natsuki tastes some too, she says it is hot. Fuyumi explains that coz she ran out of ketchup, she had to use tabasco sauce. She just wanted to scare Shiroyama. Natsuki asks her what she wants to do because both Kuga and Shiroyama are rushing over. Fuyumi is happy that Shiroyama is coming. When Natsuki asks her what to do about Kuga, Fuyumi says it isn't any of her business coz she wasn't the one who asked for him. She tells Natsuki to "cancel" with Kuga. Natsuki gets angry and tells her that Kuga is not a hotel. She stomps off to call Kuga and tell him it was all just a joke.

The phone rings. It is Shiroyama. Fuyumi asks what he wants and Natsuki tells her that Shiroyama has some matters to attend to and if it is nothing serious then he won't be coming over. Fuyumi grabs the phone from Natsuki and tells Shiroyama that he has to come over no matter what and to tell his wife the truth. Natsuki, Soichiro and Haruko back away and sit on the steps listening to her. Fuyumi takes one look at them and carries the phone away. Natsuki comments that she could never do something like this. Soichiro comments that she hasn't seen Kuga recently, and she tells him not to rub it in just because he is happily dating Nazuna. Haruko tells them not to quarrel. Fuyumi breaks up with Shiroyama. She goes to wash off the stains from her pajamas. After putting the clothes in the washing machine she breaks down.

Suddenly, she hears the doorbell ringing. Thinking that it is Shiroyama, she rushes out and opens the door, to find Kuga standing there. He asks if Natsuki is around. Natsuki comes to the door and Kuga asks her what's the matter. Natsuki introduces Soichiro, who is standing next to her, to Kuga. Kuga is surprised and asks,"I thought Soichiro was a Dalmatian." Soichiro is also puzzled and he says What? Kuga says Soichiro is the name of the Dalmatian. Soichiro tells him he made a mistake. Still a bit puzzled, Kuga comes in and asks where the patient is.

The doorbell rings again. Fuyumi rushes to answer it again but it is the pizza delivery boy. Soichiro comes to collect the pizza, saying he hadn't eaten yet.

Later, Haruko and Natsuki apologize to Kuga for the false alarm. Kuga is just glad that nothing serious happened. Haruko asks him if he would like a slice of pizza, then asks if he would prefer cake. Natsuki tells him that the cake shop around the corner from their house is really good and that she would go buy some. Soichiro offers to go. As he turns to leave, Kuga tells them that it's ok, he doesn't need to eat cake. He asks Soichiro if he is a student or something. Soichiro replies that he is a Dalmatian. Kuga is a bit taken aback. Haruko is also puzzled and asks Natsuki what was going on. Natsuki tells her that a Dalmatian is a breed of dog. They start talking about the cartoon 101 Dalmatians and are getting really excited, when they suddenly hear Fuyumi telling them that lately whenever she talks to Shiroyama she is always trying to please him. Natsuki goes to her and tells her saying such things are a bit rude when meeting someone (Kuga) for the first time. Kuga tells them not to worry and that he doesn't mind.

Fuyumi tells them that she knows that what she is doing is unnatural and wrong but she can't help it. She used to laugh about Shiroyama when she talked about her affair, but lately she spends more time crying and whenever she asks Shiroyama if he loves her, she knows he isn't serious when he replies that he does. As she talks she starts to cry again. Kuga notices that her right wrist has a plaster on it. He goes to her and offers to treat her wound for her.

Later in Fuyumi's room:

Kuga tells Fuyumi that it isn't a serious cut. Fuyumi tells him that she tried to kill herself but had no guts. She got frightened when she saw just that little bit of blood. Kuga tells her that many people are very grateful that she didn't have the guts to kill herself. She tells him that there aren't people who care about her like that. He tells her she is wrong about that.

Natsuki is in the kitchen, getting worried. She says it seems like Kuga and Fuyumi are very intimate. Haruko tells Natsuki not to worry and to "lend" Kuga to Fuyumi for a while coz Fuyumi needs comforting. Soicihro pipes in that Fuyumi might borrow Kuga and not return him. Natsuki smacks him on the head and asks him how he could say such a thing. Haruko says that Kuga is really a very good man, and Natsuki starts smiling in that lovesick kind of way. When Soichiro seems a bit skeptical about that statement, Natsuki tells him he is jealous. Soichiro rebuts that he thinks Kuga and Fuyumi make a good couple. Natsuki looks at him and gets really quiet. Haruko tells him to stop trying to make a joke like that because it isn't at all funny.

In Fuyumi's room:

Fuyumi tells Kuga that she thinks she probably won't ever fall in love with anyone again. Kuga tells her not to be too sure and just let things happen naturally. He tells her that even though he has been divorced for 5 years, he still thinks he can love another person again. Fuyumi asks him if that person was Natsuki and he says Yes. He tells her that life is much longer than just five years and anything can happen. He tells Fuyumi to get some rest and starts to leave the room. Fuyumi asks him if instead of giving her the sleeping tablets, he would just hold her hand a while until she fell asleep. He agrees.

Later that day, Fuyumi wakes up to find herself still holding someone's hand. But it is not Kuga's hand, but Natsuki's. Fuyumi tells her she had a dream. She dreamt that she was a child again, walking with her mother hand in hand. Her mother's hand was warm and big compared to her little hand. She felt that she never wanted to let go, never wanted to be parted. She releases Natsuki hand after giving it a squeeze and says, "It was actually NAtsuki's hand..." Natsuki tells her that three hours ago it was Kuga's hand. Fuyumi says she is thirsty. Natsuki goes downstairs to make her some tea.

Soichiro is watching tv. He asks after Fuyumi and Natsuki tells him that she has woken up and would like some tea. Soichiro offers to boil it. As he puts the water on to boil, Natsuki asks him if Fuyumi was really thinking about killing herself. Soichiro tells her he thinks so and that everyone feels like that sometimes. Natsuki is a bit surprised and asks Soichiro if he ever thought about killing himself. He tells her that he thought about it once when he was in high school. He had been dumped by a girl and he was feeling so depressed, and felt that life would just be like this over and over, and he might as well just jump off a building. But he didn't really do anything and used logic to snap himself out of that mood.

Natsuki asks him why she didn't know. Fuyumi is her friend but she didn't know she was suicidal and she didn't do anything. Soichiro tells her that just being by her side is enough.

Just then the doorbell rings. It is Shiroyama. Natsuki tells him to wait a moment and closes the door on him. She asks Soichiro what to do. Fuyumi, who has come downstairs, tells them not to let him in and to tell him that she doesn't want to see him anymore. Natsuki tells Shiroyama that Fuyumi doesn't want to see him. When Shiroyama asks to just see her once, Soichiro tells him rudely that she won't see him and to leave. Shiroyama refuses and a pushing fight ensues. Shiroyama asks Soichiro if he is Fuyumi's new boyfriend. Soichiro is insulted and asks Shiroyama if he realizes that having an affair is wrong. He tells Shiroyama that everything is a lie and that he lied to come to see Fuyumi. Natsuki admonishes him and tells him he is behaving like a schoolboy. Fuyumi suddenly appears in the doorway. Natsuki and Soichiro leave them alone to talk. Fuyumi and Shiroyama take a walk together.

Soichiro and Natsuki sit in the kitchen talking. Soichiro tells her that even though she thought his actions were childish, he felt that a man must always protect a woman. He thinks that if someone wants to get into a relationship, he must be serious about it and not hurt the other party. Sochiro tells Natsuki that he will always think about the other person before himself. Natsuki tells him she feels the same way. She wonders if they can say such things because they have never truly been loved like that before. Soichiro tells her he has no confidence in these things. They decide to go out to eat.

Later that night, Fuyumi comes home. Natsuki is in the bath. Fuyumi goes to the door and tells Natsuki that she broke up with Shiroyama. She tells Natsuki that she made 7 anonymous phone calls to Shiroyama's wife, but never said anything. Fuyumi is tired of sneaking around and having an affair. She thus decided to give up and end her life, but she didn't because she felt that there was one thing worth living for. Her pride. Not pride at not losing out to Shiroyama's wife, but pride as a human being. Natsuki is really touched by her story and her tears start rolling down her face but she doesn't want Fuyumi to know she is crying so she tries to sound normal when answering Fuyumi. She tells Fuyumi that not all people have such pride but Fuyumi has it. Fuyumi tells her she doesn't want to lose her pride as a human being, and to live on, whether in good times or bad, with Natsuki and Haruko. Natsuki tells her to add Soichiro too because he was really worried about her. Fuyumi says she feels better after a good cry and she decides to take a bath too. She opens the door and tells Natsuki that she will join her in the bath. They start playing like little girls.

Some days later:

In honor of Fuyumi coming to her senses, everyone gathers at OVERTIME, a bar, to celebrate. Natsuki is meeting Kuga. When she arrives at Overtime, Haruko, Fuyumi, Endo and Kobayashi are the only ones already there. Fuyumi asks Natsuki where Kuga is. Natsuki tells her that he has to work late and would be coming later.

Soichiro and Nazuna are walking towards Overtime. Soichiro tells Nazuna that it is a party for Fuyumi. Nazuna doesn't seem very interested and tells Soichiro that she's worried that she won't have anything in common with Fuyumi or Natsuki. But she goes along anyway.

Kuga finally arrives at the bar. Natsuki and Fuyumi get up to say hi. Fuyumi thanks Kuga for his help the last time. Natsuki is about to ask Kuga to sit next to her when Fuyumi sits him down next to herself instead. Natsuki is a bit upset as Fuyumi seems to be doing what she did the last time during the matchmaking date. But she doesn't say anything. In the end, Natsuki is left alone while the rest of them talk happily. She gets frustrated and gets up as if to leave. When haruko asks her where she's going, she tells Haruko that she's going to the toilet. Haruko is the only one who notices she leaves. Haruko decides to follow Natsuki to the loo. On her way, she meets Soichiro and Nazuna coming into the bar.

In the toilet:

Haruko tells Natsuki that Fuyumi is just playing around and is trying to get reaffirmation that she can still flirt and attract a man, and that Fuyumi doesn't really mean anything by it. When Natsuki still contemplates, Haruko tells her that she's going back first and tells Natsuki to make her lips redder so as not to lose out to Fuyumi. Natsuki mutters that Fuyumi is already wearing an off the shoulder blouse and that she has lost already.

When Natsuki goes back to the table she has a shock. Fuyumi and Kuga are kissing. She rushes up and pulls them apart and asks them what they are doing. Fuyumi tries to kiss her too, but she pushes Fuyumi away. Nazuna stands up and tells her that it wasn't what she thought and that Fuyumi ahd gone around the table kissing people, everyone got kissed. Natsuki has a very frightening expression on her face. She looks at Nazuna and asks her who she is. Soichiro introduces Nazuna. All Natsuki says is "Soichiro, you brought her eh?" and after a small pause, she tells them that she is leaving. She grabs her bag and runs out. Soichiro makes to go after her, but Kuga stops him and tells him that he will go.

Kuga chases after Natsuki. He apologizes for the kiss and explains that Fuyumi was kissing everyone, even the people at the next table. She didn't mean anything by it. It wasn't a serious kiss, just a game. Natsuki tells Kuga that she doesn't want to hear such words coming from him. He grabs her by the arm and makes her stop walking. He tells her that it really didn't mean anything. It was like shaking hands. No matter who you kiss, your heart won't change. Natsuki asks him if it was a false kiss then and if so, what was a real one like? Kuga hugs Natsuki to him and kisses her. They share a passionate kiss with Tokyo Tower in the background.

Soichiro and Nazuna are walking back after the party. Soichiro apologizes for taking her, but Nazuna tells him she ahd a good time, even if they were strange people. She tells Soichiro that she sees Natsuki as a sort of threat to her, as she sees similarities between Soichiro and Natsuki. Soichiro gives a little laugh. He asks Nazuna what she wants to do now, and Nazuna tells him she wants to go home. He walks her to the station and they part ways.

Fuyumi and Haruko return home to find that Natsuki hasn't come back yet. Fuyumi is drunk and doesn't realize that Natsuki is mad at her for kissing Kuga. When it finally sinks into Fuyumi's head, she gets all pouty and slumps on the table.

Soichiro buys back some warm snacks, intending to share with everyone. However, when he reaches home he finds that everyone is asleep. He thinks that Natsuki is in his room and goes to surprise her. He finds no one in. The phone rings. It is Natsuki, telling him that she won't be coming back tonight. Soichiro asks her if she is with Kuga. She tells him she is. Soichiro tells her that from his window, Tokyo Tower is as long as his finger. Natsuki looks up at Tokyo Tower from the phone box she's in and smiles. She asks Soichiro if he also kissed Fuyumi but there is a sudden loud traffic noise and her question is drowned out. Soichiro asks her what she said, but she told him it didn't matter. She hangs up.

Soichiro looks out his window at Tokyo Tower, just as the lights go out. He says,"It's another day."

End of Episode Four.