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chapter 6

Haruko, Natsuki and Fuyumi are having breakfast. Fuyumi is talking dreamily about how love is like butterflies in spring. How you catch them but can't hold them too tight or they will die. ( sounds a bit like Natsuki when she first started going out with Kuga!) Natsuki breaks her reverie and asks her what was going on? Just a few days ago she was moaning over Shiroyama and even tried to commit suicide over him and broke up with him. Now she was talking about butterflies and love. Fuyumi just gives a dreamy giggle and asks Haruko if her lips were swollen and Haruko tells her they are a little. Natsuki asked her if she scalded herself but Fuyumi tells them that when you just start kissing and falling in love, your lips will swell a little the next day. Haruko and Natsuki are a little dumbfounded at this piece of information.

Later at work, Natsuki ponders over what Fuyumi said. She wonders who Fuyumi kissed that made her lips swell and to what degree the kissing was. Just then, her colleague tells her that there is someone to see her. It is Kuga. Natsuki is pleased to see him. They go for a drive but the atmosphere in the car is not too comfortable. At a stoplight, both of them stare straight ahead without speaking. Kuga fiddles a little with the radio but there's nothing good on. Suddenly Natsuki blurts out," Have you everkissed someone and had your lips swell the next day?" Kuga has a befuddled look, and after a while, he finally answers no. Natsuki tells him she hasn't had that experience either. Kuga is puzzled and both of them look like they want to say something but the light changes to green.

Natsuki has a couple of beers later that night at home, waiting for Soichiro to come out of the bathroom and talk to her. When he finally appears he asks her what she is doing. She tells him she has been waiting a long time for him to come out of the bathroom and would he please stop to listen to her. She tells him that she had a date with Kuga earlier in the day and it felt very "tired" and not the usual comfortable feeling she got with Kuga. Soichiro puts some loose change in her hand and tells her to go buy some beer back first and then he would listen to her. Natsuki happily goes off to buy the beer and some snacks.

A while later, Natsuki is telling Soichiro that she likes Kuga to the point of not being able to stand it and that their relationship doesn't seem to be progressing smoothly. Soichiro asks her how that can be and he thought everything was going well and they went on a date today too. Natsuki disagrees,saying that if that was the case she wouldn't be home at this hour, eating snacks with Soichiro. Soichiro just looks at her and she apologizes for not thinking before she spoke. After a period of silence, Natsuki suddenly blurts out the same question to Soichiro," Have your lips ever swelled after kissing someone? Soichiro says,"HUH?" She repeats it and he says no, never and that sort of thing doesn't happen to anyone. He guesses that it is only Fuyumi who has this sort of experience and asks if it has anything to do with the last time Kuga and Fuyumi kissed. Natsuki tells him that she always feels like she is anticipating a kiss when she goes out with Kuga. She tells him that earlier she though Kuga was gonna kiss her when actually he was just putting his arm on her seat so that he could reverse the car. Soichiro just looks at her a little confused and he doesn't quite know what to say. Natsuki feels like she doesn't know what to do and she doesn't like only knowing half of everything. She feels better if she knows what Kuga is doing when he's not with her. Soichiro tells her that is what Love is. Natsuki tells him if that is love it is a bit sickening. Soichiro tells her that that is love and it is that way. Natsuki asks him how come he sounds so knowledgeable at 25 and he rebuts her saying she has no hope at 30. Just then the phone rings.

Both of them stare at it. Natsuki tells Soichiro the phone is ringing and he tells her he knows, he can hear it. Natsuki bumps him and he says, who,me? He finally gets up to answer the phone. It is Nazuna. She was calling him while she waited for the train. She asks him whether he was alone or not and he tells her that he is alone arranging his photographs. Her train comes and she hangs up. Natsuki observes that Nazuna seems very concerned for Soichiro and Soichiro tells Natsuki that he and Nazuna have had a couple of problems too. She asks him why he lied and said he was alone when he wasn't. He looks a little uncomfortable. He tells her he was meaning to tell her that they shouldn't sleep on the same bed at night anymore because he didn't want Nazuna thinking too much and getting the wrong idea. He tells Natsuki that Kuga might also get the wrong idea about them. Natsuki says she has no idea how Kuga thinks and she hasn't got the right to call him her boyfriend. Soichiro tells her that one day she will understand Kuga, and she can't do it right away coz it takes time. Natsuki tells him it is great talking with him. She says Good night and leaves the room. She gets back to her own room and finds it cold. She looks out the window and says that although this room is good, she can't see Tokyo Tower, unlike in Soichiro's room.

The phone rings in the middle of the night. Natsuki is woken up and mumbling and groaning at the person calling, she goes down to answer it. As she reaches the bottom of the stairs, Soichiro comes out of the bathroom. She gets a shock and tells him to answer the phone. Haruko also appears then and picks up the phone. It is Fuyumi. She tells them she is not coming back tonight. Natsuki asks Haruko to ask Fuyumi who she is with. Did she get back with Shiroyama? Haruko tells them that Fuyumi is talking with whoever she is with and hears the name Kazuya. Natsuki asks who on earth is Kazuya. Soichiro finds that name very familiar and after a while suddenly realizes that Kazuya is Endo. He gets a bit worked up and grabs the phone from Haruko and demands to speak to Endo. He tells Endo not to rush it but Endo hangs up on him. Haruko and Natsuki are surprised that it is Endo because he is very young and compared to them, just a child.

The next morning at the breakfast table, Natsuki is wondering how Endo and Fuyumi got together. Her theory is that Fuyumi must have called Endo to talk and get his support and later fell in love with him and made him fall in love with her. The line between friends and lover was rubbed away. Soichiro tells her not to target him coz they talk very often. She tells him that it is two different things. Fuyumi, having been out of love, became thinner, with the "heartbroken' look and hence more beautiful and attractive to guys. Natsuki and Haruko admire Fuyumi's skill in love and that she found someone to rely on and at the same time she also found someone whom she can talk to and love. They lament that they are unable to get the same results. Soichiro chips in and asks them if it is just because they aren't popular with guys. They both agree.

As Soichiro is leaving the house, Natsuki calls him. She tells him that Kuga wanted Soichiro to do something for him, sort of as a part time job. She was going to tell him last night but she forgot.

Turns out that his job is to take a graduation photo for Kamiya Rina (the girl who is in the wheelchair from the previous episode). When Kuga introduces them, Rina asks if Soichiro is there to take nude pictures of her. Soichiro is a bit shocked and looks at Kuga, who hurriedly explains that it is for her graduation album at school. She then tells them not to bother. She rudely tells Soichiro to leave. Soichiro is a bit taken aback and looks at Kuga and asks him if Rina was talking to him. Kuga lectures Rina on being rude to people older than her.

Later in the hospital cafeteria, Kuga explains to Soichiro that Rina is actually able to walk but she doesn't want to. She wants to go through rehabilitation but everything is stupid to her. Kuga tells Soichiro that he feels that he really is stupid to have to deal with such patients on a daily basis. Soichiro finds Rina familiar, and he remembers that he once saw her picture in a sports magazine. Kuga tells him that Rina used to be a kendo champion, and had won third place in the Nationals. Soichiro tells Kuga that he will come back another day to take Rina's photo.

Soichiro goes to the newspaper office to look for an article on Rina. After searching the computer he finally finds an article with her picture. He goes to the file, which is actually a scrapbook of the photos taken by different photographers. Soichiro has a scrapbook too and he finds it. He brings both back home and shows them to Natsuki. Natsuki flips through his scrapbook and admires the pictures he has taken. She is particularly drawn to one picture of two small children holding hands. She asks Soichiro what is so good about taking pictures from behind. Soichiro tells her that there are many ways to look at something and that taking one's back removes all barriers and pretenses. It is defenseless and hence rather innocent and pure. (I think....although I understand what he was saying, it's a bit hard to translate it properly....sorry!) Natsuki remembers that Soichiro once told her that you can look at the same thing in many ways and have different impressions of it. Natsuki suddenly says she hates pigeons (? not sure.....foreign Chinese word...sorry!) and something about rearing another kind of bird when she was younger and that bird killed the pigeon (or the pigeon killed her pet...I dunno which.....). One day she saw the retreating form of a pigeon on the highway and found its walking action miraculous and funny but cute at the same time. She suddenly asks if she said something strange. Soichiro tells her that he understands what she's trying to say. He hits upon the idea of doing a photobook of behind images of different things. Natsuki tells him that's a great idea and he should publish a photobook about it. She goes to get a book and tells Soichiro that for the title, "ushiro" means "from behind" in English and also gave him the meaning in French, "Do dole ale" (? I don't speak French.....). She asks him to put "For Natsuki" on either the first page or last page. He tells her he really would like to publish something like that and she tells him that he definitely will be able to. Soichiro remembers that Kuga told him to tell Natsuki that Kuga will meet her at OVERTIME the next day at 8.

Soichiro goes to visit Rina again. She is less than pleased to see him. He asks her why she didn't go for her rehabilitation and she replies that there is no reason. He asks her if it is because she thinks that she doesn't want to be brought outside where people can see her when she isn't looking her best. She keeps quiet and he asks her if he has guessed right. He tells her he saw her picture in the newspaper and that she was as beautiful as a swan in first flight. She tells him that it is none of his business. He asks her to try to walk in a place where there is no one around if she is afraid of people seeing her. She tells him that he will be around. He laughs a little and finds it ironic that she who doesn't care about anyone would care about what people think.

Rina sees Soichiro's camera and tells him that it looks fantastic and to let her see it. He lets her have it and she looks at it before dropping it on the floor. The camera lens breaks. Soichiro rushes to her, but instead of picking up his camera and scolding her, he grabs her hand and tells her that she got cut. He finds a plaster and wraps the cut for her. She looks at him and rather guiltily asks him why he isn't angry and is the camera not very expensive? He tells her that it is expensive to him but he could understand her feelings for wanting to do what she did. She was once very popular and good at kendo and thus, having to relearn how to walk and take rehabilitation was just too frustrating for her. She thus took it out on Soichiro and spoilt his camera.She defends herself, saying she didn't do it on purpose, it dropped. He tells her that even if his camera had broken into many pieces, he still wouldn't be angry with her. When she asks why, he tells her it is because he can see her loneliness and that she is so cold, she would naturally treat people the same way. He asks her why she isn't getting angry at what he is saying, and she replies that she seems to have forgotten that she should be angry.

Natsuki is painting her nails, preparing for her date with Kuga. Fuyumi comes out from the shower and offers to help her. Fuyumi teases Natsuki about getting dolled up now that she has a boyfriend. They start talking and Fuyumi tells Natsuki that she is tired of all this dating stuff, it is just an endless cycle of dates and promises. Instead of worrying everyday, and waiting a whole week for that one date, she would rather her mind be set at ease every day. Natsuki asks her if she means marriage. Fuyumi answers in the affirmative and tells Natsuki that this time she will get properly married. Natsuki mutters under her breath that Endo doesn't know what he's in for.

The phone rings and it is Nazuna looking for Soichiro. When Natsuki picks up the phone, Nazuna is hesitant to talk to her, but finally tells Natsuki who she was and asked if Soichiro was home. Natsuki tells her that he is probably at work at the hospital, taking pictures for Rina. Nazuna seems a bit downcast upon hearing that news.

Nazuna hangs up the phone. She turns to go back to her table and bumps into Kuga. Turns out she is in OVERTIME, and Kuga is there to meet Natsuki. Kuga and Nazuna end up talking. Kuga tells her about the job Soichiro is doing and that it must have been difficult for him to have to stop working at the newspaper office and become a freelancer. Nazuna tells Kuga about Soichiro not confiding in her about losing his job, but that he told Natsuki. Kuga tells her that Soichiro probably wanted to look good in front of her which was why he didn't tell her. She keeps quiet and he asks her what was wrong. She replies that that was what Soichiro said too. Kuga observes that she is still not too happy with Soichiro's actions. She explains that she is envious that Soichiro and Natsuki can talk so easily about so many things and such an important thing as losing his job. She suddenly realizes who she is talking to and apologizes for making Kuga worried about Soichiro and Natsuki's relationship. Kuga tells her that he is not worried at all because he trusts Natsuki. Nazuna is surprised when he tells her that someone to love and someone to talk to are two different things entirely. If a person had only a lover, he would probably die. Nazuna asks him if he never thought about making a person see only his partner and no one else. Kuga tells her he is not too sure what she is getting at, and that he never assumed, nor wanted, to become Natsuki's all, and that as long as she has support from somewhere that's all he needs to know. Nazuna tells him he is really mature. He explains that it is because he failed at love and marriage once before. He is a little envious that Nazuna is talking about a love that wants all, and not just some. They joke a little. Just then, Natsuki arrives to find Kuga and Nazuna sitting at the same table. When she sees Natsuki, Nazuna jumps up and says no wonder Kuga is here, he is waiting for Natsuki. Natsuki looks a bit suspicious.

Later, Natsuki and Kuga are walking along the street. Natsuki tells Kuga about what Fuyumi was saying about wanting to feel secure everyday. She asks Kuga his opinion. He tells her that although everyday is a good thing, but he wonders if too much will make you sick of it after a while. Natsuki is a crestfallen. Kuga suddenly asks where they should go to eat. Natsuki suggests Italian at the same time that Kuga suggests Steamboat.

Later that night, Natsuki is in Soichiro's room again, eating snacks and chatting. She tells him that in the end she and Kuga came to a compromise and ate Chinese food. She tells Soichiro that she was feeling a bit disgusted with herself and the way she smiled at Kuga, in a rather sweetly sick fashion. She blames it on having seen Kuga and Nazuna together. Soichiro asks her when she saw Nazuna. She tells him that they met at OVERTIME. Natsuki continues to complain to Soichiro that she doesn't know how to act cute because she doesn't usually do it. So when she tries, she feels really unnatural. She realizes that Soichiro is not really listening to her and looks at him. She asks if he is thinking about Nazuna.

Natsuki asks Soichiro if he would like her or see her as a possible girlfriend if she didn't have Kuga and he didn't have Nazuna. He immediately tells her that even if a hundred years go by, he would never think of her in that way. He does not see her as a woman. She moans that he is tearing her poor heart to shreds but he stops her and asks her if she ever thought of him as a guy. She admits that she never considered him as a guy. He says "There you have it." Natsuki then says that she is already thinking of children's names. Soichiro gets up suddenly and moves away from her. She tells him that it is not his baby she is thinking of, but Kuga's. Soichiro tells her he knows that but she shouldn't tell Kuga this coz he will freeze up and turn cold on her. Nastuki asks Soichiro to guess the name she picked if it is a boy. Soichiro is more interested in watching television.

There is an ad for a vampire movie on television. They both discover that they love watching such shows. They ask each other if they will go with Kuga or Nazuna. Natsuki says wanting to watch such shows is an eternal secret and Kuga wouldn't be interested at all. Soichiro agrees that normal people wouldn't watch such stuff. They decide to go together. Natsuki asks Soichiro what he would do if he knew Nazuna was also thinking of bay's names. He tells her that he wouldn't mind it, and might even be happy. Natsuki envies that he loves Nazuna like that and asks him to give her some ofthat love. He tells her to get it from Kuga and leaves the room. She protests that she was joking.

The next day, Soichiro and Nazuna are deciding which movie to watch. Soichiro asks Nazuna what she talked to Kuga about. She tells him how she just kept Kuga company while he was waiting for Natsuki, since Nazuna had gone to look for Soichiro but he wasn't in. Nazuna picks a movie and it turns out to be the same vampire show that Soichiro and Natsuki planned to watch. He tries to talk her out of it, but she tells him that she is interested in the show. He finally tells her he planned to watch it with a friend. Nazuna tells him it is ok then and looks to pick another show. Soichiro watches her a while and then tells her he would go make a phonecall and they can see after all. He gets up to call. Nazuna suddenly realizes who he was going with and looks a bit upset.

Soichiro calls home. Natsuki picks up and tells him she is eating a meat bun and asks him where the mustard (?) is. He tells her where in the refrigerator it is. While she looks, he broaches the subject of the vampire movie. He explains that Nazuna wanted to watch it. Natsuki tells him that she actually already watched it because her friend wanted to watch it badly. Soichiro is a bit upset that she said she would go buy the tickets and everything. She starts teasing him about how he can comfort Nazuna during the scary bits. He tells her he only put 10 yen in and she stops talking. He hangs up. Natsuki is a little upset that he wouldn't put another 10 yen in to talk to her. She takes out two tickets to Vampire. She lied to Soichiro about having gone earlier. She wonders what she is going to do with the tickets.

When Soichiro returns to the table to tell Nazuna that he can watch the show with her, Nazuna asks him who the friend he was going out with was. He lies and says it is a guy friend. Nazuna doesn't believe him and guesses that it is Natsuki. She asks why Soichiro lied to her. He apologizes, but she says she has had enough and runs out of the restaurant. Soichiro chases after her. He finally catches up to her and tells her not to be angry. HE tries to explain that he and Natsuki agreed to go together because they thought no one else would watch the show. Nazuna tells him that she doesn't know anything about him. He tells Natsuki all the important things but Nazuna is left in the dark. She reminds him that he once told her that his heart was already hers. She accuses him of lying and that lately, the person closest to his heart was not her, but Natsuki. Soichiro tells her that Natsuki is his treasured and important friend, but she tells him that a guy and a girl cannot be that sort of friends. She starts crying and runs off again, leaving Soichiro standing there alone.

End of Episode 6.