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chapter 8


Flashback from the previous episode:

Nazuna finds a note to Soichiro from a girl (Rina), with the words "Thank you for holding me just now." A Hello Kitty is drawn at the bottom of the page. Soichiro comes out of the bathroom to find Nazuna gone. He rushes out to look for her.

Nazuna is standing at the train station. Many trains pass but she doesn't get on. In the meantime, Soichiro takes a taxi to Nazuna's house in the hope that he might find her there. He rings and rings the doorbell but no one answers.

Kuga sent Natsuki home. Haruko asks him if he wants another cup of tea, but he says that he would be leaving after he finished smoking his cigarette. Natsuki tells him thanks for sending her home. Kuga tells her it's not a problem. Natsuki offers him some oranges to take back to the hospital with him because they are good to eat at this time of year.

Soichiro is sitting on the steps outside Nazuna's apartment. He says,"I can't understand why cigarette smoke is white." He rubs his hands together and says that it is cold.

Nazuna went to Soichiro's house. She stands outside, and then turns to leave. A car honks at her and starts backing toward her. It is Kuga. He winds down the window and asks her if she is looking for Soichiro and if so, he isn't home yet. He notices that Nazuna is looking a bit down and asks her what was wrong. They later go for a drink and she tells him about the note. He asks her if there was a picture of a strange cat on the note. Nazuna looks at him, not really comprehending. He explains that it is a character. Nazuna replies there was a picture of Hello Kitty on the bottom right hand corner of the note. Kuga tells her then that the person who wrote it wasn't Natsuki but Rina. He explains to Nazuna about Rina being the high school student whom Soichiro took pictures for. Nazuna remembers the girl. Kuga tells Nazuna that he received a note with a Kitty too and that now she knows and it was all a misunderstanding. Nazuna however, tells him that the fact remained that Soichiro hugged someone. A hug was a hug. She asks Kuga if he remembered telling her once about how she couldn't hope to have everything of her partner in a relationship. Kuga remembers. Nazuna tells him that she wants to have Soichiro's all. She likes him but when she is with him, she always feels insecure, as though her heart is about to explode and she can't concentrate anymore. She says it's despicable but Kuga tells her that it isn't.

While they are talking, Soichiro is still waiting at Nazuna's apartment. He considers leaving Nazuna a note, asking her to call him but he crushes up the note after he writes it.

Nazuna feels that the only way Soichiro would be happy was if she broke up with him. Kuga tells her not to say things like that. Since both of them like each other, they have to work at the relationship. Nazuna tells him that she is tired of trying to get the relationship to work. She's tired of making the first call. She wants to let Soichiro wait for her once in a while. Kuga tells her that guys try hard at getting a relationship to work, although they do it quietly, they are trying too.She asks him if that is really true. He says he thinks that there are guys who are like that.

Soichiro finally goes home. The minute he comes in the door, he exclaims how cold it is and goes to cover himself at the table (those Japanese tables where you sit and there is a blanket and a heater under the table to warm you). Fuyumi complains and asks him not to put his cold feet near her. He purposely prods her with his toes. Natsuki tells him not to fool around and to take off his smelly socks. Haruko was on the phone. When she finally hangs up, she has a dazed look on her face. Natsuki asks her why her phonecall took so long, and Haruko suddenly tells Soichiro that their father is coming home from Paris and is bringing his girlfriend back with him. Fuyumi asks what happened to Paris. Haruko tells her that her father has gotten sick of French food and wants to eat noodles. Natsuki asks if that means that Haruko's father would soon tire of the girl he is with and find another? Haruko tells her she thinks that the girl is still the same. Fuyumi asks Haruko how old the girl is. Haruko answers 19. Soichiro looks a bit worried and asks if that 19 year old girl is gonna become their mother. Haruko tells him that their dad hasn't made that plan yet. Fuyumi and Natsuki get a bit excited that there will now be 6 people living in their house, and they will be like a big family. Haruko bursts their bubble and tells them that they have misunderstood. There is no spare room left. Fuyumi and Natsuki laugh and say they had forgotten that they are "guests" at Haruko's house. Haruko tells them that they have to move out. Fuyumi and Natsuki look to Soichiro for confirmation that Haruko was serious about them moving out. Soichiro says "yes" a bit uncomfortably, but then starts musing about the 19 year old girl. Fuyumi suddenly gets really happy and skips away saying she will go. Soichiro immediately guesses that she intends to move in with a guy. Natsuki immediately asks if it is Endo. Soichiro tells her she guessed right. Natsuki tells Fuyumi she is despicable, but Haruko asks her what is so despicable about that? Natsuki asks Fuyumi why she can make the decision to move in with Endo without his agreement. Fuyumi sits in a chair and says because men are all like that, and treat her like a queen because she is cute. Haruko, Natsuki and Soichiro all take a sip of tea simultaneously, with sick looks on their faces. Later, Natsuki is left alone in the living room.S he spins the LIFE game wheel and then packs up the game and starts taking out boxes.

Kuga sends Nazuna home. He tells her that if she needs to talk anytime to give him a call. After he leaves, Nazuna starts to look sad again.

Soichiro has the same look on his face. He contemplates the phone, wondering if he should call Nazuna. There is a knock on his door. It is Natsuki looking for masking tape. He asks her what it's for and if she was already sealing her luggage. She tells him that she want's to get started, packing a little at a time. She takes the tape from him and thanks him, and leaves the room. Once the door closes however, Natsuki stands outside looking at the closed door. Soichiro is also looking at the door on the other side. The idea that they won't be able to see each other so often is starting to sink in.

Soichiro brings the developed pictures of Rina to the hospital but learns that Rina has already been discharged. The nurse takes the photos, saying that she would send the pictures to Rina. Soichiro says he feels a bit betrayed coz Rina didn't tell him before she was discharged. The nurse tells him that she heard that Rina can pick up a kendo stick again. Just then Kuga walks by and spots Soichiro. He asks Soichiro if he has eaten yet. When Soichiro tells him that he hasn't, Kuga asks him to have lunch together.

As they get their food, Kuga tells Soichiro about meeting Nazuna. Soichiro asks if Nazuna always tells Kuga stuff like that, about their fight and stuff, but Kuga is quick to tell him that he just happened to bump into Nazuna and that it wasn't safe for a girl to go home so late at night. He asks Soichiro if he would call Nazuna because she was lonely. Soichiro just keeps quiet. As they carry their trays to a table, Kuga asks Soichiro what he thinks a doctor's mission is. Soichiro replies that it is to cure sick people. Kuga tells him that yes, that is the basic thing, but the main thing is to make a patient feel secure. A patient cannot be made to feel insecure with their doctor. He tells Soichiro that relationships are the same, a guy cannot make a girl feel insecure to be with him. Soichiro protests that a relationship between a guy and a girl is different from a doctor and his patient. Kuga tells him that his feelings and Nazuna's feelings are not on an equal level. Nazuna is very sensitive to Soichiro's every action and feeling, and is easily hurt by the things he does. Soichiro just keeps quiet and looks troubled.

Natsuki learns that her boss is going to New York. Her boss asks her if she would become the new shop owner. Natsuki hesitates and her boss tells her that it is a good thing and that she would be able to always continue working. She asks Natsuki why she didn't immediately jump at the chance. She asks if Natsuki is getting married. Natsuki smiles widely and tells her that she wants to support Kuga coz he is so busy. Her boss is surprised that Natsuki has found someone to marry. Natsuki is quick to add that they haven't really finalized anything or talked about it. Her boss is happy for her.

Endo is helping Fuyumi pack her things. He tells her that he doesn't mind her moving in with him and that he is happy to stay with her. He tells her that his apartment is really small and suggests that they go house hunting together.

Natsuki stops by a house rental place, carrying a big bunch of yellow flowers and a plastic bag. As she is reading the notices on the doors, the doors suddenly open and a smily man greets her. Natsuki gets a fright at first when the man asks her if she is planning to live alone. She replies that she wants something under 10000 yen. The man tells her to come in and starts looking for something suitable for her. She comes across a nice house and asks if that one would do. She would like to live in a quiet, bigger place. He looks at her and tells her that the place she wanted was a three -room apartment. She says, what would it matter if two people were living there. The man misunderstands and thinks she is a newlywed. He recommends a lovely, recently built 3- room apartment that has rooms facing the south, automatic door lock system, conveniently located and even had a space to park the car. He asks her when she is getting married and she says if only things would progress in that direction. She realizes that the man is looking at her and she apologizes for letting him think she was a newlywed.

Soichiro and Nazuna are having coffee. Nazuna tells him that she was thinking that if Soichiro were to call her, she would let it ring 5 times before picking it up. But in the end, it only rang 3 times before she picked it up. Soichiro just smokes his cigarette and doesn't know quite what to say. They sit in silence, both sipping their own drinks. Nazuna starts to say something, but when Soichiro looks at her, she says she doesn't know what she wants to say. She tells Soichiro that the air around them seems very heavy and the atmosphere is terrible. She feels it is like they have already broken up or something. Soichiro looks at her and tells her that he never thought of breaking up with her. Nazuna looks at him and says that to hear him say that made her happy. Then she starts to cry. She tells Soichiro that she is afraid to trust any of Soichiro's feelings. She is especially afraid of asking him if he likes her. He tells her "Suki dayo (I like you.)" She just keeps sniffing and crying. He puts his handkerchief on the table for her to use and sips his coffee while she continues sobbing. She finally picks up his hankie and dabs at her face, then says," Kaede-kun, you are so kind and warm to a lot of people. Rina, and maybe even Natsuki, lots of people. But the more you are warm and kind to them, the further you seem from me." Soichiro has no answer to that. She tells him that maybe she is being immature, but it was ironically his kindness towards her, when she knew nothing about him except that he covered her leg when she was injured, that attracted her to him. She tells him that now she finds that dating him and being with him is painful and difficult.

Later Soichiro and Nazuna are walking along the road, both saying nothing. They stop at a bridge and stand there, looking out at the water. Nazuna asks how things turned out that way and that they were so happy at first and that they had happy moments too. Now they both had a sad air about them. (The camera pans to show a shot of their backs, and although they are not standing very far from each other, you can actually sense the huge gap between them). Soichiro suggests that they not see each other for a while. Nazuna looks a bit upset and says yes, she thinks it is better that way too, but she doesn't really look like she means it (like she wants to break up, but at the same time, she doesn't. she is just getting Soichiro to say the words). Now she is facing one direction and Soichiro, the other. Seems like a representative of the fact that they are going different ways. Both look very sad.

Later, Soichiro reaches home. Haruko, who is sitting in the living room, greets him and asks him whether he has eaten dinner but he just storms up to his room without a word. When he opens his door, he finds Natsuki there, waiting for him. She greets him happily, but he asks her why she came into his room without his permission. She tells him she wanted to talk with him and starts telling him about the proposal her boss made to her today about the shop. He suddenly shouts at her,"Stop coming into people's room without permission!" Natsuki is shocked and stunned, and looks at Soichiro. She apologizes slowly. Soichiro tells her to get out. Natsuki nods her head and leaves the room, feeling hurt.

Nazuna is also back home. As she reaches into her pocket to take her keys out, Soichiro's handkerchief falls out of her pocket. She stoops to pick it up and presses it to her face, sobbing slightly. She takes a deep breath and tries to stop crying. She notices a crumpled ball of paper and picks it up. It is the note that Soichiro left the day before, telling her to call him. She starts to cry in earnest.

Natsuki and Kuga are out on a date. They walk and talk about the lovely dinner they had. Kuga suddenly looks at his watch and tells Natsuki that he has to be getting back to the hospital. He apologizes that he can't send her home. She tells him she understands. He asks her what it was that she wanted to talk to him about but she tells him that since he is in a rush, it can wait. Kuga apologizes again for not being able to see her home and gets in a cab. Natsuki makes her way home, but she feels as though she is being followed.

When she gets home, she learns from Haruko that Soichiro has gone drinking again. Haruko complains that he';s been like that the past few days and no one knows what's wrong with him. Fuyumi says that he is unsuccessful in both his job and in love, and that his life was over. She said that she feels like hugging him coz he looks so sad all the time. Natsuki tells her that Soichiro is the kind of person who will keep all his sorrows and anger to himself and not the kind who would need to hug someone to feel better. Haruko agrees and tells them that he's been that way since he was a child. He would never hold someone's hand, but would wait for someone to grab his hand and hold it. Haruko feels that it is cowardly. Natsuki disagrees and says that that is Soichiro's strong point. He wouldn't tell anyone because he doesn't want to hurt anyone. Fuyumi asks how hugging someone would hurt them. Natsuki replies that that could happen, you never know. She tells them that Soichiro is the kind who slowly likes a girl and who has to slowly let her go and he has to work through it himself. Fuyumi adds that Nazuna sure changed her mind quick though. Haruko tells her she is the same way. Fuyumi counters that if you wait too long, you will lose your love.

Soichiro is having a drink with Kobayashi. Kobayashi tells him that not seeing each other for a while is the same as breaking up. Soichiro tells him that he had no choice because Nazuna seemed so unhappy when she was with him. Kobayashi tells him that wasn't it and that Soichiro should try to understand Nazuna's feelings. Soichiro asks Kobayashi if he came to lecture him. Kobayashi tells him that it is because Soichiro is different from Kobayashi, and has had very few relationships with girls. As such, when he really likes a person it is a good thing. Kobayashi tells Soichiro that the problem probably lies in that fact that Soichiro is always thinking about others' feelings and not his own. Soichiro complains that he doesn't want to hear Kobayashi lecturing him anymore. Kobayashi then says since that is the case he wouldn't give Soichiro the assignment he brought but would give it to someone else. Soichiro grabs the envelope from him and says that the job he will do. He suddenly pauses a moment to marvel at where his self confidence was coming from. His handphone rings and he gets up to answer it. It is Natsuki telling him that Kuga just called her.

Soichiro and Natsuki rush to the hospital. Kuga meets them there and tells them that Nazuna hadn't eaten or slept well for a few days. He asks to speak to Soichiro alone. He asks if Soichiro told Nazuna that they should not see each other for a while, and if so, that Nazuna was the extremely lonely, dependent type, and by telling her that, she couldn't take it. Soichiro tells him that it is none of his business. Kuga tells him that it is because Nazuna called him. Soichiro accuses him of liking Nazuna, since Kuga knows so much about someone else's girlfriend. Kuga is a bit surprised and asks,"me and Nazuna?" He gets angry too and tells Soichiro that he thought that Soichiro would be more grown up than that. They both walk off in different directions. Natsuki calls after Soichiro but he ignores her.

Soichiro goes in to see Nazuna. He apologizes for waking her up. He asks her why she didn't call him. She tells him that she is tired of being nervous and calling him would only make her feel nervous and so she didn't call. She tries to cover her face with the covers and tells him that she doesn't want to be seen by him like this. He looks at her a moment then turns away from her. He tells her that he will stay with her but she tells him not to bother with her and that he is too forward. Soichiro is hurt by that but tells Nazuna that he will wait, no matter how long, he will wait until Nazuna is ok again. He tells her to call him when she is ok again. He takes a deep breath and leaves. Natsuki is waiting for him outside. He walks off, and she follows at a distance. He finally stops walking and Natsuki stops too. He turns around and looks at her. He doesn't say anything but lets her know that he would rather be alone right now and that she can leave him coz he was ok. He apologizes to her. She smiles at him and watches him walk away.

Natsuki goes home and Haruko tells her that she has a visitor. Natsuki is surprised. It turns out her visitor is Kuga's daughter. She tells Natsuki that she wants Natsuki to give Kuga back to her and that she is waiting for her father to come back and her mother is sick too.

When Soichiro reaches home, he sees Fuyumi sending off a little girl. He asks who the girl is and Fuyumi tells him that it is Kuga's daughter. She adds that Natsuki is having problems too.

Soichiro goes to talk to Natsuki. He comments that Kuga has quite a big daughter. When she looks at him, he tells her that Fuyumi filled him in.Natsuki says that she is cute and her mother is probably very beautiful too. Soichiro starts to tell her,"about last time..." Natsuki asks him what it is and if it is a long chat then they should sit down. He tells her that he is sorry about getting angry and shouting at her the last time. She tells him that he doesn't have to apologize. He tells her it was because of things happening. Natsuki agrees that there are so many things happening to them now. Soichiro says good night and goes into his room. He comes out a few seconds later and calls Natsuki's name. She turns around and he tells her to pick up her spirits and cheer up. She tells him to do likewise. He smiles and goes back into his room, leaving Natsuki outside, on the verge of breaking into tears.

The next day, Natsuki tells Kuga about his daughter, Yuka, coming to visit her. He apologizes for his daughter's brashness. Natsuki asks about his wife and he tells her that although his wife is sick, she has been for a long time and it isn't very serious. Natsuki tells him that she knew that she would one day meet his wife and child and that he would inevitably have to meet up with them. She will try hard to get used to that idea. Kuga tells her that his wife and child are his business and won't bother her in any way. She tells him that she is all right with it. He gets uncomfortable and tells her that that wasn't it. He wonders how to say it..he apologizes to Natsuki for making her misunderstand his intentions. He asks Natsuki if she was thinking of marrying him and that she had reached the age where women get a little anxious about getting married. He suddenly realizes how that sounds and apologizes again at implying that she was old. She tells him that it was ok, and asks what he was going to say after that. He tells her that since he failed once, he had no intention of marrying again. Natsuki looks heartbroken, but asks Kuga if she had any hope of shaking his resolve. He just apologizes to her.

When Natsuki gets home again, she starts packing up her stuff, but runs out of masking tape. She knocks on Soichiro's door. Getting no answer she turns to go back to her room, when the door suddenly opens. She says, "So you are in!" He asks her to come into his room to see the pictures that he spent the day developing. Soichiro tells Natsuki that the pictures were the ones Natsuki took when Soichiro took Natsuki up in his plane. Natsuki remembers and comments that the pictures were nicely taken. She suddenly sits down and says those times were better, going for an arranged marriage meeting, getting rejected and going up in a small plane with Soichiro. Soichiro asks her what she was talking about. She tells him that she got a good talking to from Kuga and that he told her he had no intention of remarrying. Soichiro doesn't know quite what to say, so he changes the subject and says,"You were looking for masking tape rite? masking tape..." and goes to look for some. Natsuki looks out the window at Tokyo Tower and wonders if she will have to part with it soon. Soichiro asks her what she was doing and she asks him if he remembers saying once that from his room, Tokyo Tower was only as big as his index finger. She stretches out her finger and says, fingers are so long. She suddenly changes and says Love is so painful. He asks her what she's saying. She repeats that love is painful. He tells her not to speak like a "character". He hands her the masking tape. She takes it and says that although she has dated, she hasn't been happy. Hurting others and hurting herself is also a common occurrence. Soichiro tells her he feels the same way.

Natsuki: There are a lot of times when you get more warm and caring too....

Soichiro: You feel secure saying anything, and even if you say nothing it is still all right...

Natsuki: Just like Tokyo Tower, shutting off its lights at midnight every day.

Soichiro: But at the evening of the next day, the lights will come back on without fail.

Natsuki: And as a result, you feel secure and content.

Both of them sit there contemplating a while, and then Soichiro asks who they were talking about. They look into each other's eyes and Soichiro starts to move towards Natsuki, and they are just about to kiss when Endo walks into the room, looking for masking tape. Soichiro pauses, inches away from Natsuki's face and looks around at a very uncomfortable Endo who is lamenting that he came to a place he shouldn't have come and that he was going to go. Soichiro asked him what he wanted, and he finally said masking tape. Soichiro immediately starts looking for another role to give Endo. He finds it and gives it to Endo, who backs out of the room, telling them to take their time and carry on with whatever they were doing. The door shuts. Natsuki and Soichiro look at each other a bit uncomfortably and Natsuki thanks Soichiro for the masking tape and goes back to her room.

Meanwhile, Endo tells Fuyumi that he thinks that no matter which way you look at it Soichiro and Natsuki were kissing. Fuyumi is happy and says that they are starting a family. Endo is a bit puzzled so Fuyumi explains that since Natsuki is moving out soon and they wouldn't get much chance to see each other, they were making a family then.

Natsuki and Soichiro are in their respective rooms, thinking about what just happened between them......

End of Episode 8