The chapter opens with Asahina asking if he needs to see Chiwa back home from work. Since the stalker incident last time, Hokuto has placed Asahina in charge of guarding Chiwa’s safety. Chiwa reassures that there’s no need to, but Asahina frets that Hokuto may kill him if he fails to protect her. Chiwa asks, “Does Hokuto happen to hold your weakness or something?” Asahina tells her, “Of course not! It’s just that we’re on the same boat now.” As Asahina walks her to the taxi stop, he worries, “You know how I talked about Michelle Hartz’s president Shitara last time? Since she went out of her way to tell me about your situation and instigated other things, I wonder if she has something to do with it. I feel like she has a lot of malice towards you…or I might be over-thinking things. It’s just a possibility. But I wonder why she would hold any ill will torwards you?”
Hesitantly, Chiwa answers, “Well, it’s just that she’s Hokuto’s ex…and she has some opinions about our marriage. She doesn’t think that I’m suited for Hokuto.”
Asahina looks up in understanding. “So that’s what it is…” he continues before remembering he has done something similar in the past. Asahina tells her to be careful returning home and to not try to solve everything by herself. He reminds her to discuss with her husband and wishes her luck with resolving the issue. Chiwa thanks him for his kindness, but she still doesn’t feel that she can discuss with Hokuto. After all, she doesn’t know what Shitara’s presence means to him, and furthermore, he hasn’t been in a merry mood ever since the stalker. The first thing that Hokuto ever says to her when returning home is “So you’re safe today too.” He’s been so worried that he’s been getting dark circles under his eyes. He still thinks that someone from his family is responsible and has already put a tap there, but it’ll take time before he gets any results.
Chiwa interrupts his speech and tells him now is not the time to focus on these things. He needs to turn up some results at work after his promised one year. However, Hokuto continues, “Anyways I already have a plan, since if nothing further happens the police won’t take action. And by then, that would be too late.” Chiwa reproaches, “But there’s nothing we can do beyond this point. That’s why…” Hokuto pats her on the head, “Well, you may be right. We can just sit and wait for them to slip up.” Turning around pissed, he continues, “But I won’t be satisfied with that. I will take them on. And win at that!” Chiwa despairs inwardly that because of this, Hokuto may just fail at work. She had even told Shitara that she won’t be his obstacle in any way. But it seems that Hokuto still hasn’t thought Shitara may be behind any of this. It’s hard to turn doubtful eyes towards one you’ve loved in the past after all. So this may just be her chance to get her move on.
With determination, Chiwa calls Shitara at the office, hoping to meet and talk it out once and for all. But she starts to get cold feet when Shitara changes the meeting place to her flat. Chiwa’s at a loss of what to do, and furthermore, there’s nothing but her gut feeling to support her accusations. She half-wishes that her accusations are false and half wishes that they’re true since after this, her image can only worsen in Shitara’s eyes. Heck, even Hokuto may be affected and she may be sued for defamation. Chiwa closes her eyes and sighs. She thinks, “There’s nothing I can do now since I’ve already took the first step. Let’s get on with it!”
Inside, she explains to Shitara her accusations, but Shitara only smiles that there’s no proof. Chiwa stammers, “But…you do think that it’ld be better if I just disappeared, don’t you. That’s why…”
Shitara cuts in, “Ridiculous! I thought you had something important to say, but what do you think I am? It’s true that I don’t really like you, but you do realize I could sue you for your false accusations, right?”
Chiwa begins to choke up on her words. “But I won’t sue you because it’ll just be troublesome for Hokuto. Now please go home. This has been a waste of my time,” Shitara says coldly.
Just as Chiwa wonders whether she was too rash, someone rings Shitara’s door bell. It turns out to be Hokuto, who has gotten word that his wife had went to her place. Once Shitara lets him in, Chiwa asks Hokuto how he knew she was here, since she hasn’t voiced her thoughts. She’s probably afraid that she’ll look like a jealous and petty wife in front of his eyes. Hokuto ignores her and speaks directly to Shitara instead. He confronts her, “So you were the one who instigated things with Asahina, telling him of our contract marriage.”
Shitara answers, “So he told you, didn’t he.”
Hokuto continues, “So that’s why she(Chiwa) didn’t tell me, probably thinking it’ll just annoy me.”
Shitara asks, “So you doubt me too?”
Hokuto says, “I thought your actions were strange. Purposely telling her of our past, and purposely handing me documents detailing her relationship with Asahina. I didn’t want to think you were that type of woman, but there are just too many things pointing to it. I don’t know what your reasons are, but everything you did just spoke ‘I-want-to-separate-Chiwa-from-you’. So what do you have to say to that?”
Shitara pauses, but admits to Hokuto’s accusation. “That’s right. Things would be better if that girl just disappeared. That’s all, so what?” The couple are taken aback by her blunt words, and Hokuto begins, “What…are you thinking? It’s too late…we’ve split…”
Shitara butts in, “Don’t get the wrong idea! That’s the part I don’t like about you. You’re throwing away your work and walking in so nonchalantly just because of this girl! Why did you become like this? If only she wasn’t here…you…the you I knew…”
We get a flashback of when Shitara was still with Hokuto, discussing his upcoming marriage to Chiwa.
Sitting on the bed, Shitara asked, “Marriage?”
Hokuto replied, “Yea, with some girl I’ve never met before. It’s grandpa’s whim. He told me that if I didn’t accept, I’ll be forced to resign from my position. What does he think I am…”
Shitara: So you’re going to accept?
Hokuto: Of course. I don’t know what kind of girl she is, but I give her enough money, she probably wouldn’t complain. To not give her any unnecessary excuses, I won’t cheat on her either. At any rate, I’ll be a good husband.
Shitara: Haha, you mean a convenient one.
Hokuto: I suppose.
Shitara: Then that means we have to end our relationship, don’t we. If it’s you, it’ll be alright.
The flashback ends here, and Shitara says somewhat emotionally, “I accepted it. If you continued to be as you were then…but after marrying this girl…Please return back to the way you were! Don’t negate what you were, what I knew.” Tears start flowing from Shitara.
Suddenly Chiwa asks, “Then why did you split up with him? You love him as much as I do, right? Of course if you didn’t, we wouldn’t be married. But I don’t understand why you split up.” Chiwa’s outburst gives Shitara a pause, but she answers back, “What…are you saying? I had to pull back to open up Hokuto’s path. Even if that unexpectedly helped you. See, unlike you I understand Hokuto the best. I didn’t want to become his burden and I didn’t. Don’t even try to compare yourself to me.”
“No, we’re the same,” says Chiwa. With more confidence now, “I love Hokuto, and that’s why I want to become his strength. I always think that, even if things don’t go well. Isn’t that what you thought too? That’s why we’re the same.”
Shitara retorts angrily and moves in to slap Chiwa, “As if you knew anything about…”
Hokuto covers for her and gets hit instead. Blood starts flowing freely from his cheek after Shitara’s nails grazed him. Hokuto tells her that if she still wants to harm someone, to harm him instead since Chiwa has nothing to do with it.
Defeated and crying once more, Shitara says, “How easily you say this now. I had no choice back then. If I had said I didn’t want to break up, what would have happened? At that time, he would have just thrown me aside. But that was the him that I loved. I won’t hate him for it because I wanted him to be that way. It’s just…I don’t like sappy breakups. That’s why I broke away smoothly.”
Chiwa looks down somewhat ashamedly. Shitara continues, “If you want to contact the police, go ahead. I won’t run or hide. I understand that you won’t change now, even if I removed her.”
Without contacting the police, the couple leave quietly. Hokuto tells Chiwa he’s going to return to the company, but Chiwa tells him to wait. She slaps on a cute bandage filled with hearts on his cheek, before Hokuto pulls it off saying he can’t wear something so lame. She tries to follow him back, making excuses that her company is next to his. Chiwa feels that she shouldn’t leave him alone, now of all times. She calls his name out one more time. He turns, and plants a kiss on her before leaning over her tiredly. He explains, “It was easy.”
Hokuto: Unlike you, she knew when I wanted to be left alone. Even if we didn’t meet because of work, she wouldn’t cause any trouble. We had known each other for a long time. She knew what I wanted to do and understood me. She was my ally. But today was the first time I saw her tears. I never knew that she can even cry over something. In the end, I was the one who didn’t understand her. Even if I tried, I failed to. Just me…
Chiwa looks away from his confession and tells him, “I…I may be annoying and unable to read your feelings, and it’s not easy to be with me, but I still want to stay by your side.” Everything is warm and heartfelt until Chiwa tacks on, “Furthermore, you’re a pretty troublesome guy.”
Hokuto pulls back, “How can you say something like that at this time?”
Chiwa apologizes, “Ah, sorry, it just slipped out.”
Hokuto reprimands, “Try to read the situation a bit! I see…so you’re saying that an annoying you fits perfectly with an annoying me, aren’t you.”
Chiwa blushes and stammers, “Eh? Ah…no, wait…”
Hokuto walks away, sighing, “Whatever, I’m going to buy myself a proper band-aid”, leaving Chiwa to chase after him.
Chapter 33 end.
Whisperpuppies's commentary: I’m so glad that this chapter is different from the previous one…or the one before that. It gives me hope that this story isn’t just a regurgitation of the same event over and over again. I love the fact that Chiwa has finally taken the initiative to confront Shitara, and that things have begun to air out and resolve with the rivals. Yet somehow I think it would be more fun if Hokuto hadn’t interrupted the confrontation. Chiwa should put in her share of the effort to make this marriage work without Hokuto always acting the hero to save the day. Of course, I suppose that without Hokuto entering, we wouldn’t have seen that Shitara is not a one-faceted cold-hearted bitch that she was in the previous chapters. In fact, I’m starting to hate her less and sympathizing with her. I don’t agree with her actions, but I get where she’s coming from. I just wish that the author would give Chiwa just a bit more character development. It’s getting there, and she’s being more open about her feelings, but there just needs to be an extra push. Hokuto on the other hand, is always developing. Now, if only they would just pop that baby I was mentioned beforehand, or dig into Hokuto’s mother’s death…