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The chapter opens with Chiwa driving Hokuto to work, which now happens to be right next to Chiwa’s workplace. But since Hokuto was being his usual self, he didn’t deem it important enough to tell her beforehand. At home, Hokuto asks Chiwa if she was working overtime, since he saw that her workplace’s floor’s lights were still on late into the night, but she answers that it was only Asahina and Sakuraba. Excited, Chiwa asks if he always looks at her building, but he says only from time to time. Chiwa feels happy that they work so close together now. With him nearby, she feels more motivated to work harder.
The next day, Chiwa goes shopping with a coworker. However, as they walk along, an ominous bicyclist from behind crashes into Chiwa, pushing her to the floor. He speeds away without apologizing. Her coworker is anxious, but Chiwa says that it was her fault since she was in the middle of the road. Her coworker says that it looks more like that he was aiming for her. She helps Chiwa up to get her treated back at work.
Chiwa informs Hokuto that night, to which he asks, “Again?” It seems that Chiwa was almost run over by a car earlier too (though this scene was not explicitly shown). He looks worried and distressed, but Chiwa assures him that it was only a scratch and it was probably her fault anyways for blocking the bicyclist. Hokuto angrily tells her to be more careful from now on. A little surprised, Chiwa apologizes. Hokuto realizes he said too much and apologizes. He tells her, “I had wanted to say that I’m glad you’re unhurt.” Chiwa looks a bit crestfallen, since she has once again made Hokuto worry about her.
The next day, Chiwa walks hurriedly through the streets, stopping to hide behind a wall. She turns back and looks around to see who’s following her. Seeing no one though, she thinks it’s probably her imagination. However, the mysterious man continues to follow her once she walks away. Later in the day, Sakuraba tells her that she can leave once she finishes up. As she’s leaving, she looks back behind her and thinks, “Hokuto’s probably still at work. I’ll return home first. Do your best!” Chiwa rushes down towards the stairs at the metro station, but suddenly, a hand pushes her down. She skids a bit, but manages to land safely. Bewildered, she turns around to see who it was, but could find no one. Immediately, she flashes back to the time when she was kidnapped and wonders if someone really is targeting her. She returns to the office and asks Sakuraba if she could stay there even if there’s no overtime work. Sakuraba hesitantly agrees and Asahina looks worried and confused. She waits by Hokuto’s car until he gets off from work. Hokuto’s a bit surprised to see her, but she lies that she was working overtime, since their company have just entered a hectic period. She asks him if he wants to go eat somewhere, since it’s the first time they’ve gotten off work together. Hokuto answers, “That’s alright, but I prefer your home-cooking.” Chiwa blushes at his sweet words, and tells him that she’ll start tomorrow.
To get home early to start cooking the next day, Chiwa has to return alone. She’s still scared, and wishes she can skip from door to door. Any door is fine, as long as she’s safe. She lights up when she spots a taxi. However, she freezes when she has to pay the fare. It amounts to 3150 yen (approx. 41 USD), and she realizes it isn’t a very economical way to get home. So the next day, she waits by Hokuto’s car again and lies that there was overtime. Hokuto fires back, “Overtime? What are you saying? I saw that your floor’s lights were all turned off at 9 pm. What exactly are you doing? I don’t like it when people lie to me.” Flustered, Chiwa says, “I just wanted to go home together since we work so close. Can’t we even do a small thing like this?” Hokuto dismisses her childish reason and tells her to properly return home by herself tomorrow. Chiwa doesn’t want to lie to Hokuto, but she also doesn’t want to cause him further unnecessary trouble.
The next day, Asahina tells Chiwa and Yoshioka (coworker) to go home early. A big typhoon is heading north, and it’ll probably hit during rush hour and stop the trains. Still rattled by the earlier incidents, Chiwa doesn’t want to go home early. She tries to make a lame excuse by saying that she can’t possibly leave when Asahina and the others are still working hard. Asahina reassures her that he and the others can still stay a night somewhere even when the trains have stopped. (Translator’s Note: Asahina probably refers to capsule hotels, which are literally small enclosed capsule spaces people can stay the night after they miss the last train [usually because they’ve stayed out partying too long or are really drunk]. While these hotels cater to both men and women, generally more men stay in them. Some can be located in more seedy areas, and women may not feel as safe. Look it up on Google. :D) Sakuraba also tells her to go home early, since it’ll be troublesome for her if the trains stop. Dejected and unable to refuse their kindness, Chiwa can only head home. Asahina looks worriedly at Chiwa for her strange actions. Chiwa calls Hokuto from a phonebox, informing him that Sakuraba gave her permission to return home early because of the typhoon. Hokuto tells her to be careful on the way back. Chiwa tries to gather the courage to tell Hokuto what’s bothering her, but she loses steam and also tells Hokuto to be careful. After she hangs up, Hokuto looks worriedly at his phone.
While clinging onto her umbrella as the cold rain whips around her, Chiwa reassures herself that everything will be alright. Even a stalker wouldn’t take action in such weather, and she’s probably just over anxious about things. But suddenly, a man in a dark cloak approaches her from behind, causing Chiwa to freeze up. “Excuse me, but could you tell me some directions? If you could please turn around…” he says. Chiwa realizes that this is it. It may only be her intuition, but this is it and she needs to run. She ignores him. He continues, “Umm, hello? Why are you so weary? Don’t be rude…” Chiwa turns pale with fright and drops her umbrella as he reaches out for her. She wonders why she’s being targeted and starts running. But just then, Hokuto kicks the man and rushes towards Chiwa. Asahina beats the stalker comically with his umbrella over and over again. However, the stalker runs away. Chiwa is surprised to see Asahina in such a place with her husband. Asahina tells her, “I thought you were acting strange, seeing as you didn’t want to go home. This happened earlier too, so I wanted to contact the president.” Hokuto starts, “So this also happened earlier. That’s why you were waiting for me. You dummy! Why didn’t you tell me the truth?” Teary-eyed, Chiwa mutters insensible things.
Hokuto: I can’t hear you! Speak up!
Chiwa: I didn’t want to worry you unnecessarily!
Speechless, Hokuto stares at her.
Chiwa: It’ll be so annoying if something like that happens again. Just like that time…I don’t want to hold you back…
Hokuto slaps her soundly. Meanwhile, Asahina watches in shock. Chiwa is bewildered, until Hokuto drops to his knees and holds her, burying his head in her waist.
Hokuto: Why do you still not understand? If something had happened to you, I probably won’t be able to live with myself.
Hokuto is trembling with fright, and most likely relief also. Chiwa apologizes. What she thought was best for Hokuto always ends up hurting him. Asahina starts explaining to Chiwa, “I understand your feelings, but you should discuss matters with the president more. Even if it’s a big responsibility, the president had told me that he lost someone close to him in an accident. It’s not strange that he’s more sensitive about your safety than others.” Hokuto looks annoyed at his words. It’s ok if he says this himself, but being told by others is irritating. Ignoring Asahina completely, Hokuto turns to Chiwa and tells her, “That’s right. There’s no one else who’s more worried about you than me.” Embarrassed for being ignored, Asahina excuses himself by saying that there’s still more work to do in the office. Chiwa thanks him for everything, and Asahina waves goodbye. Hokuto is a little dismayed that he now owes Asahina another favor. He asks Chiwa, “Did that stalker say anything? Like that customer from when you were still in the cabaret club?” Chiwa shakes her head. Hokuto continues, “I thought for a moment that it may be related to someone in my family again. Like that stupid cousin of mine. But I guess there isn’t anyone now who would be happy to hurt you or me.” Chiwa looks down on the floor and thinks of Shitara. She thinks to herself, “There’s only one person, only one name that floats up as to who wants to hurt me. To be more exact, wants to put me far away from Hokuto. But if I tell Hokuto, he’ll…”
Hokuto tells Chiwa they should go back home before they catch a cold. He grabs her hand and tells her, “It’ll be alright. I won’t let you be in any more danger.” However, Chiwa looks far away as she thinks, “Hokuto’s sharp. So he probably already knows what I’m thinking.” Chiwa nods absently at his words, and they return home together. She looks more dejected than ever though, and Hokuto probably doesn’t realize.
/End chapter 32
Short Commentary: I’m beginning to wonder how long the author is trying to drag out this story. I mean, I love this series (what with the pretty art and more mature themes than shoujo manga) , especially the start, but lately the chapters are a bit repetitive. It’s always Chiwa who’s getting into trouble and waiting for Hokuto to save her. She doesn’t really stand up for herself either, not to Hokuto nor the other characters who’s trying to wreck her relationship. Of course, she’s done it a few times, and I was bloody excited when she told Shitara to back off from Hokuto at the hospital, but she’s retreating time and time again. Every time she reaches an epiphany that they should be honest with each other at the end of one chapter, she goes back to being a timid mouse at the start of the next. Be more gutsy girl! Or I might completely turn off on you and your marriage struggles. On the other hand, I feel like the author hasn’t dug much into the juicier parts of the story, like Hokuto’s mother’s death. She’s thrown it out there since the very beginning, but seemed to have forgotten all about it. Please, please let us know what happened, if only a silver of the truth. I think it’s about time since we’ve gone at least 10 chapters not touching on the subject. It’ll make things a whole lot more interesting. Oh, and pop a baby too. Surely they must have created one by now, considering all the sex… I wonder how Hokuto will be as a father..hehe, probably not a very good one. I don’t really mind long stories, and the author can write 50+ chapters if she wants. I’m in for the ride as long as it’s captivating.