“It was my own decision to accept the procedure. As a matter of fact, I was actually the one who asked for it in the first place.”
“Shiraishi-san, in my opinion, this doesn’t make any sense,” the woman in front of her sighed, her fingers lightly tapped the document under her right hand, “why would you want to be in pain? Are you aware that with this kind of procedure you’re only an inch away from death?”
“Yes, I am aware of that. The project leader herself have told me the whole thing beforehand. But at the moment, this is considerably the most effective thing to lure my feelings to come back. Hence, I am taking the risk.”
“You know Shiraishi-san, this is not the only way. The government is willing to help, we want to find another way for you, yet we can’t because the company doesn’t want to let us join the project.”
For a moment their eyes locked into each other, Shiraishi is trying to read the person in front of her which has an expression that shows sympathy and widening eyes that make her looks trustworthy. Shiraishi averted her gaze to the fancy looking board of the meeting room that she’s currently in.
“That’s Nogizaka decision, I have no control over it.”
Thinking that the subject in front of her is finally contemplating about her condition Akimoto Manatsu put on her best smile before saying, “But you’re still a person, Shiraishi-san. You have a control over yourself. Which is why I offer you a chance to have us- the government to independently work on you.”
Shiraishi is trying her best not to sigh upon the offer because before she even entered the room, Hashimoto has already explained several things to her. Including how the government would be offering to take her case independently and what they are actually going to do if she accepts the offer, “I am sorry but I am saying no.”
“We also have resources and have prepared a special team to handle your case, they have also come up with several methods that might work to improve your condition. You see, we think that maybe what could help you the most is to let you go back to normal human life, while we are still going to put you under observation you could do things that you actually want to do which in my opinion is much better than stuck in a building like how you are right now,” she tried to persuade her.
“It does sound good, it is, but I’m still going to say no. Sorry.”
“May I know why?” the woman smile for a slight second turn into a frown.
“Because Nogizaka is my family company and I trust them. Sorry to say this but I trust them more than I trust any other place- including the government.”
“Shiraishi-san, isn’t your reason a bit biased? Let’s think rationally here, you know that our method is better but you’re still sticking to Nogizaka because it belongs to your family.”
Shiraishi inspected the woman in front of her, she’s still young probably younger than her but the way she tried to persuade her is really something else. The way she talks is similar to something that she used to see in her father business talks. Back then that kind of talking method could easily get on her nerves.
“Akimoto-san, was it?” she waited for the other person to nod in confirmation before continuing, “there’s something that I would like to know. What’s in it for you guys?”
“I’m sorry? I don’t understand what you mean.”
Shiraishi raised her eyebrows, if only her emotion is functioning properly she probably would have laughed by now, “I technically grown up around the world of business so I understand how people works. When it comes to a project like this, there have to be something that you guys wants in return. From the first time we start this talk you haven’t mentioned it even once. I could say that I think you’re trying to hide that from me. I’m sorry but I can’t trust that kind of method.”
The woman in front of her seems to be taken aback upon the explanation, she probably had not expected her to think that far.
“We also want the same thing with this company, we think if we could help your problem we could start saving the others who’s still laying on the bed in a vegetable state. It wasn’t my intention to keep it away from you, I’m sorry if you feel that.”
“If that’s so I’m still not going to accept your offer. Let’s think about this logically, if something as simple as that could be left out from our conversation I doubt your people will inform me everything that I deserves to know in the future,” Shiraishi tried to give the other person a little smile, “I have to say, Akimoto-san, talking with you is pretty exhausting. If I have emotions I would probably have gone mad and started to yell at you but well- if I could feel like a normal person we wouldn’t have this conversation in the first place. Ironic, isn’t it?”
Shiraishi stands up and started to walk around the room before stopping near the glass at the end of the room, she silently observes the huge street below the building that leads to the company front gate, “is there anything else, Akimoto-san? Because I would rather go back to my room than to do nothing here.”
“That’s all. Thank you very much for your time. I’m sorry about what happened, however, please do think about the offer. Have a good day,” she said before bowing for several seconds which Shiraishi replied with a slight nod.
The woman who was dressed in a gray business suit and probably the shortest formal skirt that Shiraishi has ever seen almost stumbled because when she open the door suddenly Takayama rush into the room and basically shoving her aside. The android modeler lips are curling into a big grin.
“That was so amazing, Shiraishi-san.” She said excitedly after the door finally closed.
“I was just saying the truth,” Shiraishi’s logic couldn’t understand which part of her conversation that the younger woman considers as amazing.
“You handled her really good. Seriously,” she gave Shiraishi a pat on her back, “come on, let’s go back. Maybe we should celebrate that with something tonight, I mean, aren’t you bored with your usual meal?”
Shiraishi only nodded and let the other person excitedly lead her out from the room. Takayama started talking again but she wasn’t really paying attention since she was preoccupied with observing her surroundings. They’re in a round open space that has several see-through doors on the wall, each door leads to a meeting room. From outside see could see what’s happening inside each of these rooms through their glass door.
The room on her right is occupied with the one who leads her project, Akimoto Manatsu, and several other people that she can’t recognize but she guess that they belong to the same place with the latter. She halted and observes the activity of the room.
However, the one who grabbed her attention is none of the above, instead, she’s staring at another person- a girl that despite her mature and formal gesture is clearly much younger than any other person inside the room. Her long hair that used to reach over her back is has been cut short until it’s barely reaching her shoulder, her left hand is rubbing her temple while her eyes are focused on the document in front of her.
“Shiraishi-san, let’s go, is there anything else that you-” Takayama's voice trailed away when her eyes found the cause of Shiraishi’s sudden freeze.
As if she could somehow sense the two people that are looking at her she averted her gaze from the papers and look straight ahead, her eyes met Shiraishi as her expression turned into a surprised one.
She would probably stare back without doing anything all day if it isn’t for Hashimoto who realized what’s going on with the young director and the subject that’s standing outside the door. The project leader stands up and walked out from the room, blocking the young woman presence from Takayama and Shiraishi vision.
“You should go back to your room, Shiraishi-san. Takayama-san is the one that’s supposed to bring you back to your room so there’s no need to wait. I’ll be there after I am finished with the meeting,” she looked more towards Takayama than the subject.
“Right, I’m really sorry if I interrupt your meeting, Hashimoto-san. We’re going back now,” Takayama apologized and tugged Shiraishi’s hand to give her a sign that they should be walking back.
But instead of responding to Takayama silent order she asked, “Is that Ikuta Erika?”
“Yes. It is her,” it took Hashimoto several seconds before finally decided that there’s no point in hiding it from the subject anyway, “go back to your room, Shiraishi-san. Your drugs should start taking effect in less than an hour, it’s not safe for you to be wandering outside this time.”
As much as she wanted to argue and say something else to be able to meet her step sister she realized that the young woman is still in the middle of meeting and she shouldn’t be disturbing her, so she tried to tell herself that she should be grateful enough to see her doing well and do what they told her to.
“Okay. I’m sorry for disturbing you, Hashimoto-san.” She said as she let Takayama lead her by the hand towards the elevator.
Since they’re practically still in the same part of building with where the research division is, they only need to take the elevator to go up to be able to reach the place but still there are 3 men who were tasked to escort them back. Shiraishi wondered whether something happened or whether they think she would try to run away from the building because back before she got into the accident usually she only got one person to escort her around the building.
Nevertheless, she keep her silence throughout their short walks and tried to give the men a polite smile following Takayama simple thanks for their assistance before opening the door towards the observation room.
“Is everything okay?” A voice suddenly heard before Shiraishi could even step inside the room, her eyes met with a pair of worried ones.
“I guess it is. Right, Takayama-san?” she asked the other person who’s closing the door behind her.
“It’s more than okay, it went really smooth,” Takayama replied with a big grin, Shiraishi could tell that the android modeler excitement starting to build up once more.
“See? There’s nothing to be worried about,” Shiraishi tried to ease the girl anxiety as she put both of her hands in each of her shoulders and gave her an assuring smile, “Nanase, should you be at work this time?”
She remembered that the night before the once again her girlfriend had mentioned that she needs to go the animation studio today and would visit her later on the evening but right now it’s an hour passed midday and she’s already present.
“Turns out the meeting ended up to be quicker than it usually is. Come on, let’s get you back to your room,” she said as she shrugged the other girl’s hand from her shoulder, taking her hand with her, and lead her to the door in the corner of the room.
“You guys go on first, I’ll be waiting for Fukagawa-san first,” Takayama said when she realized that her childhood friend is waiting for her to come along.
Nishino only nodded and put her visitor card into the scanner machine in order to open the door, she lets Shiraishi enter the room first before she follows suit. She went straight to the sofa, her eyes never leaving the subject until she disappeared into the bathroom.
It doesn’t take long until Nishino heard some movement coming towards her and she turns her head to look at the girl who has changed from her white metallic dress to a simple plain white tee with matching knee-length pants.
“Your hands is getting cold,” Nishino marked as she holds the girl's hand and gently pulled her to sit right next to her.
“I had my meds earlier this morning, the effect should start kicking in around this time,” Shiraishi explained.
5 days hasn’t even passed since the time Shiraishi asked to start over, but being physically closer to the girl has made Nishino noticed several things that she didn’t before. Like, how the other girl is actually less talkative than how she used to be but seems to be paying more attention to her surroundings, or when the meds is out of her system Shiraishi got easily interested in something even though she’d get over it as quickly as she get into it in the first place because of her lack of capability to truly enjoy something.
Nishino also noticed that Shiraishi’s body temperature would decrease whenever the meds started to kick in, there was a time where this will be followed by a really bad tremor but over the last two days, the scientists have been able to get this particular side effect under control.
She touched Shiraishi cheek with the back of her hand, waited a little bit before moving her hand to the girl's forehead, concern started to grow inside her, “I think you should be laying on the bed.”
However, the other girl shook her head in refusal before she leans her head towards Nishino’s shoulder, her forehead is touching the girl’s right shoulder blade. Shiraishi clearly heard her girlfriend sighing upon her stubbornness. Nishino doesn’t want to admit it out loud but she thinks that Shiraishi will get another breakdown soon, which in worst case would lead the girl to scream in pain, more likely to the extent where the scientists would decide to doze her off.
Nishino feel relieved when she heard the soft sounds of the door slide opened followed by the sound of footsteps approaching them. It was Fukagawa and Takayama, the former silently sit next to Shiraishi and touched the girl’s back of the neck, “Shiraishi-san, do you feel any pain?”
“Just a bit dizzy, I’ll be fine,” the subject replied between her inconsistent breathing.
“Shall we get her back to the bed?” Takayama asked.
“Can I just- stay like this? On the bed… it’s uncomfortable.”
Takayama and Nishino look at Fukagawa, knowing that the older woman is the one who is more suitable to make the decision, “fine. I’ll get you some aspirins.”
Despite how Shiraishi has been able to feel something with the help of the drugs, her state is still far from okay because the most prominent emotions that she has shown are sadness, anger, and fear. Sakurai theorized that this is most likely the reason for Shiraishi to unconsciously blocked out her emotions once the drugs wear off, her mind is merely doing self-defense from those painful feeling.
A might be possible solution for this problem is to have her experience a great impact of positive emotion so her unconsciousness could realize that it’s okay to feel but it’s even much harder than how it sounds because no matter what they did to make Shiraishi happy the despair will still be there and waited for the moment it could finally take its turn to bring Shiraishi down.
Nishino could only watch as her girlfriend obediently gulped down the painkiller. Several seconds after that the girl lay back to the sofa and lean her head to the side where Nishino’s shoulder is. Takayama passed Nishino a blanket, which without needing any explanation she knows that it meant for the one besides her.
“I don’t get it,” Shiraishi gripped the blanket tightly as if she felt cold.
“Maiyan, what’s wrong?” Nishino carefully asked.
“Why would Erika bother with me after what happened?” It doesn’t take long until she could finally hear a faint sob coming from Shiraishi, “I mean she doesn’t even want to talk with me, but she also bothers herself with this project.”
Nishino directed her gaze to Takayama, her gut feelings were right, something has happened. Takayama silently mouthed an apology for not telling her about the matter.
“Well, I’m sure that Ikuta-san actually wants to talk with you but still thinking of a proper way to do that. From my time working for her, I can say that she’s much more mature than her age. Since she’s well aware of your conditions. That’s why perhaps she’s worried that talking with Shiraishi-san will only add an unneeded pressure, considering what had happened between the two of you,” Fukagawa tried to speak her mind while hoping that the subject will understand.
“I miss her,” Shiraishi took a deep breath, “I still haven’t talked to her after that.”
“I- I’ll try to speak with Erika-chan about this. In the meantime, do not think about that and focus on getting better, okay?” Nishino tried to calm the other girl down, her hands reached for hers and hold it gently.
She had asked Sakurai so many questions about Shiraishi has learned that the girl is blaming herself for things that have happened. What makes it a problem is that despite having such thoughts in her mind Shiraishi couldn’t express it properly, which is why once her emotion started to work her brain would overwork itself to let everything out all at once.
Nishino understands well about Ikuta’s reason for not wanting to talk to her sister. A lot has happened from the moment Shiraishi got into the accident, some of them would only make Shiraishi blame herself even more, which is something that Ikuta doesn’t want to ever happen. Nishino unconsciously tugged her long sleeved stripe shirt until it covers half of her palm. From the way, Shiraishi slowly calms down and how she’s struggling to keep her eyes open Nishino realized that Fukagawa had given the girl a pretty strong sleeping pills instead of the normal painkillers.
“Nanase, talk to me,” Shiraishi demanded as she again managed to vent herself from falling asleep.
“About what?” the girl asked looking to her side and meet the subject watery eyes, “Are you sure you don’t want to go back to the bed? Isn’t sitting like this more uncomfortable?”
“I spent more than half of my time on the bed. I’m sick of it. Do I make you uncomfortable?”
Nishino raised her eyebrows doesn’t really understand why would the other girl make her uncomfortable.
“I mean with me leaning on your shoulder. Is it uncomfortable for you?” Shiraishi explained.
“No.” Nishino simply replied with the truth. She wouldn’t admit it but she did miss Shiraishi a lot so a part of her is really happy that the girl prefers the position where they are closer to each other.
“I’m glad you’re not,” Shiraishi said, “I really do feel it. I mean I can really feel gratefulness. I’m not just saying that out of logic.”
“Good then,” Nishino looked to her side and their eyes met, “I’m also glad that you’re getting better.”
Shiraishi made a slight humming sound as she averted her eyes away and bit one side of her bottom lip. Despite not looking at her, the other girl is keeping her posture facing Nishino, which makes Nishino wonder about what the girl is currently thinking of. Shiraishi took a deep breath and directed her vision is back to the girl beside her, her gaze lingers on the girl’s lips much longer than it should be.
Before Nishino could comprehend the other girl intention the gap between the two of them has become nonexistent as she feels soft yet cold lips touching hers.
It was too sudden to the point that Nishino’s hands which somehow had found Shiraishi's shoulders moved forward in order to push the girl away.
Nishino looked at the other two persons that are also present in the room. Both Takayama and Fukagawa eyes are glued into each of their tablets, they are so immersed in their work and show no sign of being aware of what just happened.
“I’m really sorry, I shouldn’t have done that,” Shiraishi quickly regretted her action, “You see, I... had a talk with Sakurai-san and she told me to try doing that.”
Nishino is still trying to sort her thoughts after the kiss could only nod, a part of her feel a bit sad to hear the reason behind the other girl action yet she can’t blame the girl or Sakurai because it’s something that might help the girl condition and having Shiraishi back to normal is her top priority.
“I’m going to the bed, I can’t think clearly,” the girl sighed, thinking that it's the most appropriate thing to do because Nishino is not going to say something else about the matter and the situation is getting more awkward which is making her uncomfortable.
Once she started to walk the dizziness that she thought had left her came back once more, almost causing her loose her balance if it’s not for Nishino who is following her from behind noticed her struggle with balance and became her support.
“Is the headache back?” Nishino asked as she leads her back to the bed.
“It’s not bad, I can still handle it,” she said the truth and tried to add something in order to make the Nishino stop worrying too much, “I’ll be fine after laying down, I guess.”
She took off her warm slippers before getting on the pretty rigid mattress, closing her eyes as soon as her head touched the soft fabric of the white sheet.
“Thanks,” she said when Nishino helped her to pull the blanket up. The girl gave her a little smile in return and proceed to pull a chair to the bedside.
“Tell me if you need anything, okay?”
Shiraishi smiled and nodded in return, “the way you said that it’s pretty similar with people who’s working on me.”
“Maybe I should send an application to work here,” Nishino chuckled. Her hand reached for Shiraishi’s that’s hidden beneath the blanket, the older girl intertwined their fingers as she smiled along.
“Umm…. Maiyan, about before.”
“I know I sh-“ she didn't continue her words because she's kind of lost her voice when she noticed that Nishino is leaning closer to her.
It was just a simple peck on her cheek that probably last a little bit longer than their last kiss that she had regretted deeply.
When Nishino finally leaned back Shiraishi noticed that the girl is smiling, the kind of smile where her lips are closed to form a balanced curved line. She locked her eyes with the girl in front of her who seems to be in a flabbergasted state because of her little action.
“Maiyan, about what you did before, you actually don’t need to be sorry about that.”
~To Be Continued~
Another longer than usual update and yes I'm talking about both the word count and working time. Over the last 3 chap I kept having a problem with where to end the chapter, I hope it's good enough
I also haven't really checked the chapter thoroughly, I'm probably going to do it later
Erika and Maiyan reunion will take place on either the next chap or the chap after that, please look forward to it
However, I can't promise a quick update because of school projects
This will be the last chapter of the year, see you in 2017
let's hope the next year will be better than this year because imo it's quite hellish Replieswakaten:
So nanamai already be together 3 years now huh...
somehow i want to know how maiyan get into accident.. i want to know ikuchan's reaction and how Naachan take it as maiyan was away from japan..
Damn her father!!!!! I hate him for making maiyan into this...
By those pictures and the man and with maiyan say she even dared to pulled strings from behind does thats mean she is doing something not appropriate??? No mai!!!!!!!
Sorry i'm too emotional right now.. let me crying for several days... because this is too much. Please update soon finiarel-san..
Thank you very much for reading the story, I am happy that you love it
About how Maiyan get into accident it will be explained eventually, I'm planning a chapter about people reaction on her accident, so look forward to it
It was my intention to write what Maiyan did ambiguously, but yeah she did it.
Thanks for the reply ミサキ:
seems maiyan's life is complicated.. her father is never look at mai's condition. mai can't be like erika who's smart and can manage her hobby and study, she only can focused on 1 thing and sacrifice the other. why didn't he just let mai do what she wants?
mai is lucky, has nanase that always by her side and keep supporting her^^
please make a naachan's story too
I think most parents want the best for their children and sometimes what they consider as the best is different than what the child wants...
Yeah Mai is really lucky to have Nanase, sometimes I wonder will I ever find someone like her to support myself irl www
It's definitely will happen, just be patient because there's a time and place for everything
Thanks for the reply wakasama__:
hm.. did you skip a lovely part about nanamai? I meant when they were become a couple for the first time or maybe I forgot that you had been mention it but don't mind I'm just asking
I want to know more what has happened..
The part about nanamai as a couple flashback will be included in Naachan chapter, it'll talk mostly about NanaMai and Naachan more about Naachan own problem
I assure you that there are still several flashback that will come
Thanks for the reply weirdasspotatoe:
I swear this gets super duper interesting haha.
It's really sad to hear Maiyan's story and it is sadder to see her condition now. If only her father would as much as appreciate what she wants to pursue. Thank you for the update author-san! In the meantime I would be patiently waiting for the next update and it would be nice to see a bit of a MaiNana flashback before this accident somewhere in the future chapters haha. Keep up the awesome work!
I'm glad that you feel so
And about NanaMai flashback I assure you that there will be, but be patient okay
Thanks for the reply C:
Softball Maiyan never gets old
I can understand her jealousy, Iku-chan really is something else.
IkuMai sisters supporting each other is
Softball + Maiyan is essential
IkuMai sisters are
Ikuchan is really amazing, I am also jealous
I had a feeling Maiyan’s past gonna be like this. Poor Maiyan, she’s just trying to find herself and where she belongs.
Why do I get the feeling her father was the one who sabotaged the whole thing so Maiyan can’t get the role?
I suppose what made everything worsen was she was doing everything by herself even though she has Naachan by her side. But I doubt with her personality/stubbornness she would ask anyone for help let alone her own girlfriend.
I feel like a total sadist to write that kind of story for my oshi
I was trying to imply that her father is the saboteur, so your feeling wasn't wrong
Maiyan is not someone who will ask for others help because she doesn't want to burden them so you're right about her
I’m blaming all this mess on Maiyan’s father!! (Not really) But in a way, I can see some Maiyan in him. Like how both of them decided what’s best for the other without actually talking to others involved who will directly/indirectly be impacted by their decision. Her father wanted her to follow his lead for a better life, while Maiyan kept everything to herself for not wanting to drag anyone down with her. All good intentions with bad results, sigh…
Blame Maiyan father for passing his personality genes on her
But it's true that his intention is actually good, it's just that he doesn't actually understand his own daughter enough to make her understand
I do hope she learned from the past because right now she has so many people who care for her.
And now Maiyan also got what she wished for, no feelings
But it's getting better now, in a way....
Anyway, important question: where can I get a gf like Naachan?
I wonder about that too... she is totally my type
Thanks for replying