“I realized it after I started my job. I couldn’t work properly and was always in low spirits everyday… I realized how foolish I was. Things were great when we were together.” Hide recalled with a very nostalgic tone.
“I really enjoyed spending time in your house. You worked so hard for me. You took care of everything – the food, laundry and cleaning. But it’s that, you know! You gave off this motherly vibe. I just played the guitar but you were all happy and content with that. To me, you were nice and convenient to have since you were low-maintenance.”
The words “I can’t see you as a woman anymore” he had said when they broke up rang in Hina’s ears. Instead of feeling sad, she felt her anger flare up. Thinking back to how devoted she was to such a man, she felt sorry for herself.
Hina desperately tried to wriggle out of his grasp but to no avail. She then stepped on his foot with her heel.
His hold finally loosened so Hina pushed him away and managed to create some distance between them. Her shoes were low-heeled so it didn’t have as much power as stiletto heels, but it still inflicted pain on Hide, enough to make his face turn red in anger, with tears on his eyes.
“AHHHHHH!!!!” Hina ran out and screamed as loud as she could. However, she got caught soon after.
Her right arm was grabbed and as she tried to get away, she pulled out the crime prevention buzzer attached to her bag. She threw it immediately at Hide’s face.
A loud noise rang. The oval-shaped crime prevention buzzer issued SOS signals at timed intervals.
“Shit!” Hide stomped on the buzzer in annoyance. It went silent after two or three stomps.
“No way…” Hina muttered in disbelief. She wanted to cry. She wanted to raise her voice and scream for help. However, she was so overcome with fear that no voice came out of her mouth.
Her arm was still caught. His hold became stronger and more painful.
“What the hell! Do you hate it that much? I just want us to get back together!”
“Don’t think about anything! Just be with me!” He suddenly yelled against her ears and she felt like her eardrums burst. With her arm still in his grasp, Hina shook her head desperately.
“Stop it! Please…”
Before she could say more, Hina’s mouth was blocked by his lips.
Their overlapped lips felt uncomfortable and unbearable. When she bit his tongue that has slipped through her mouth, Hide knocked her away. There was a loud thud as Hina’s back bounced back against the concrete wall.
“Ugh…” Hide wiped the blood at the corner of his mouth.
Hina dashed away as fast as she could. She couldn’t help but get scared. She had no idea what he’d do next. She moved her feet desperately while wiping her blurry eyes.
Someone! Someone! Someone!
Hina desperately called out for help. There was no sound coming out of her mouth but in her heart, she desperately called for help.
“Hasegawa…” She uttered aloud unconsciously. She had called for someone who can’t come to her aid.
It was her who put at end to their relationship. She can’t she him in the future anymore. Even so, she still sought him selfishly.
“Hase…ga…wa…” Her voice seemed to fade away now. She couldn’t breathe anymore. An unintelligible sound escaped her throat. Her heart was beating so rapidly she wondered if it would break.
She heard Hide’s footsteps come closer and Hina braced herself to get caught.
Behind her, she heard a dull thump akin to the sound of someone kicking a sandbag.
She looked back slowly as her body trembled in fright and spotted Hasegawa. He was breathing raggedly and anger flashed across his face.
Hasegawa was biting his lips with an expression far different from his iron mask demeanor. Behind him, she could see the figure of Hide as he clutched his belly, curling up in a ball.
When Hasegawa saw Hina, he immediately ran towards her. Then he hugged her tight.
“Are you okay?”
Feeling relieved in his arms, Hina’s body shook uncontrollably. Her vision blurred. Tears overflowed from her eyes, like a broken dam.
“It’s alright now.”
Her face was hot. Her nose and throat hurt. Even so, she continued sobbing tremendously.
Hasegawa pulled out his phone and contacted the police right away. As he was briefing them with the situation, Hide rose to his feet. His face contorted with anger, irritability and shame.
But instead of letting his anger control him, it seemed he was more worried and concerned about getting caught by the police. Hide ran away and disappeared into the dark night.
Not long after they arrived, the police caught the fleeing Hide. He was accidentally caught near the river as he was running away.
Hina was interrogated regarding the situation and was released thereafter. Hasegawa had accompanied her as he supported her shoulders.
“Thank you very much.” Hina told Hasegawa with eyes swollen from crying. They were standing in between the elevator door and Hasegawa’s room.
Hasegawa peered at Hina while strengthening the hold on her shoulders.
“Shall we stay together tonight?”
“No, it’s fine…” She steeled herself so she wouldn’t cry and said with a heavy heart.
She really wanted to stay by his side. She wanted to lay beside him on the bed and let him comfort her.
But she has no right.
In his room, there’s someone waiting for him to return. She shouldn’t involve them in her affairs any longer.
Hina’s hand were shaking as she removed Hasegawa’s hand on her shoulders.
“You really saved me today. Thank you again.”
Hasegawa said with an exasperated tone. He probably realized that she was forcing herself. He also looked a bit angry.
“Let me stay with you today. I’m worried about you and I won’t be able to sleep well.”
Hina thought he was being unfair. He’s not even aware of her feelings so he should stop showering her with kindness. She might misunderstand again that he likes her.
“But you have to go home…”
“Why are you asking me? You should know.”
How cruel, she thought. She let out a wry laugh. How far does he intend to push her?
“There’s someone waiting for you at home, right?”
“Why do you…” His eyes went wide. When Hina said she met her this morning, Hasegawa noted, “I see. I’ll introduce you again properly next time.”
His words depressed her. It had meant that there was something he hasn’t told her about their relationship.
She wanted to go home right away and cry. She wanted to sit on her bed and cry as loud as she can.
She turned her heel and headed towards her room. But Hasegawa stopped her and grabbed her arm.
“But why can’t I stay with you? I can just leave that person alone.”
“Stupid Hasegawa!” Hina was yelling before she realized it. She was annoyed that he couldn’t understand her feelings at all.
“I like you! You may not feel anything for me anymore and have moved on but I can’t change my feelings that fast!”
“If we stay in the same room, I’ll get my hopes up! I’d want you to touch me, kiss me… you know! But that would trouble you, right?”
She immediately regretted after saying it. She knew it would only bother Hasegawa.
Even if he didn’t like her anymore, she didn’t want to be hated either. Those were her true feelings.
However, he’d definitely think negatively of her now that he heard those words.
As if to confirm her thoughts, Hasegawa furrowed his brows as his face turned grim and sullen.
“That’s how it is. Now, if you’ll excuse me.” Hina turned her back again. She felt so distressed she wanted to disappear.
“I understand. If that’s the case…” Hasegawa said sternly and pulled Hina back. The two headed towards his room.
Hasegawa opened his room and pushed Hina inside. He followed closely behind and locked the door.
“Ehh?? Big brother! You brought home a woman even knowing I was here? …Ms. Uzuki?!”
Hina and Rin’s loud voices overlapped across the room.
Just like Hina thought, Rin was there. However, she looked completely different from when she was at the office.
She was wearing a jumpsuit and her bangs were sloppily tied by a hairband. She held a can of beer in her hand with shiny pink lacquered nails.
“Rin, stay at the hotel in front of the station today. I’ll shoulder the expenses.”
“What? Really? How lucky! Big brother, you’re generous today! But why? Are you gonna use your room now? Eh, could it be the two of you…?!”
Hina was dumbfounded as Rin looked at her, whose face contorted in surprise.
Without checking Hina’s expression, Hasegawa introduced Rin in his usual deadpan tone.
“Hina, I know you’ve met her but let me introduce again. This is Rin Katayama, my real sister.”
Hina’s mind went blank.