The chapter opens with Chiwa sitting on the couch reading Seiji's letter. The contents of the letter are not fully revealed yet, but Seiji apologizes for pushing everything onto Chiwa out of selfishness. What is revealed is that Hokuto's mother died covering for Hokuto, and that Seiji was unable to tell Hokuto the truth, since Hokuto will blame himself. When Chiwa is about to disclose (to the readers) what will hurt Hokuto more than the fact that his mother was protecting him, she is interrupted by Hokuto's return.
H: It's so cold! Even though it was sunny this afternoon...
C: Welcome back. Finished with everything?
H: Yea. Did anything happen during the day?
C: Not really...
Chiwa cannot bring herself to tell him about the letter, and decides never to.
H: By the way, we'll be going to the Mamiya house soon.
H: The new year's party was canceled, right? It's going to be a family meeting instead. But don't worry, just relax.
Meanwhile Chiwa is thinking whether the culprit behind the scheme twenty years ago will make an appearance as well, since he/she is part of the Mamiya family. Chiwa worries about what to do, her face paling at the thought, until Hokuto leans in and says, "You don't look too good."
C: It's your imagination. I'm fine!
H: All right then.
Hokuto leans in to hold Chiwa while she's desperately trying to hide the letter behind her with both hands. He mutters, "You're so warm. At this rate, I don't even need a heater." Hokuto's hands wander down her back while Chiwa madly tries to think of a way to distract him so he doesn't find the letter. Hastily, she kisses him, which quickly becomes more heated. Hokuto pulls back and looks at a flustered Chiwa, commenting, "We haven't even had dinner yet." Chiwa replies, "Well, I guess I'll go to the bedroom first then." Chiwa doesn't want to keep any more secrets from Hokuto, but she's still hesitant about the letter.
Later that night when they're having sex, Hokuto notices that she doesn't seem to be into it, and wonders if she isn't feeling well after all. Chiwa blames the letter and quickly covers up, "No, it was feeling good..."
H: Well we've done it a couple of times, so I understand.
C: I'm...I'm soo sorry! One...one more time!
H: Don't push yourself, I don't mind. You probably don't feel well...ah...are you pregnant?
C: (blanks out) Eh?! I'm not sure...it's not that time yet...
H: I see...well I heard that pregnant women don't feel well during these times, but whatever it is, take it easy.
At the mention of children, Chiwa is happy that Hokuto can finally see the future. The one thing she doesn't want to do is to draw him back to the past with that letter. She's determined not to let him near the culprit twenty years ago.
H: By the way, is it bad if we do it when you're pregnant?
C: I wonder...
At the Mamiya family meeting, the relatives talk about Hokuto's success with the unprofitable tourism divison, and that according to the chairman, the results are very visible. By this business cycle, the division will be completely healthy again. Chiwa looks to Hokuto for confirmation, having heard about none of this. Hokuto looks somewhat guiltily away, having forgotten about it.
"These results are not something we can ignore. And there's the main thing. There has always been two candidates for the next chairman and after evaluating these results, chances are Hokuto will be..." an uncle comments.
"Now hold on! That means someday we'll be working under him, right?" says one angry cousin.
"Well, yes. It'll probably turn out that way," the uncle replies.
"Don't joke around!! Under this.... It's doubtful whether he's even related to us," the angry cousin retorts back while staring at Hokuto hostilely. Chiwa is shocked speechless at how quickly the atmosphere changed.
"That's fine. The people who don't want to work under me because they don't want to lose can just quit the group. You people are not the capable type I would lower my head to to stop from leaving," Hokuto responds.
"Why you..." the angry cousin tries to hold it in.
"Both of you stop. Hokuto-kun, indeed I do acknowledge your talent, but please do something about your attitude. You're always provoking your cousins," says the uncle.
"I'll be careful from now on," Hokuto says.
Meanwhile Chiwa watches the situation worriedly. She had thought that she would be able to probe who the culprit from twenty years ago is during the meeting, but finds it impossible in the whirling eddies of malice. Just about anyone of them could be it. She sighs inwardly as Hokuto observes her.
In the car, Hokuto asks, "So no comment at all?"
Chiwa starts at the question.
"Well, it's almost certain that I'll be the next chairman. Don't you have anything to say?" Hokuto asks.
"Ah...con-congratulations!" Chiwa says hurriedly.
"It doesn't sound very sincere," sighs Hokuto. "What are you thinking? You've been acting strange lately."
Unable to voice the entirety of her true thoughts, Chiwa says, "I've just been worried."
"They were looking at you with such malice. Like that person who kidnapped me. They look like the type to commit another crime against you because they hate you so much," Chiwa says.
"It's true that they aren't talented, but they're not as idiotic as you think," Hokuto replies. "Listen, that idiot Kiyohiko already did it once. If they tried something like that on us again, they'll be found out immediately. And gramps won't be silent again if that happens. They can't do anything without the shield of the Mamiya name. They don't have enough guts. But...I'm thankful for your concern."
Chiwa looks at him in concern. Her worries are not limited to that, but to the person who wasn't able to acheive his/her goal twenty years ago. The present Hokuto who's trying so hard to become the next chairman may not think of that incident. Chiwa wants to protect him from that past, but what can she do alone when she feels so powerless?
The next day Hokuto calls Chiwa telling her he will be late. Customers have been canceling their tours in succession, and the stock price is dropping. He wonders if it was the result of that false rumor, and he'll have to stay behind to clean up the mess.
"I see. Well if there's anything I can help you with, like bring a change of clothes or dinner, tell me. Take care of yourself," Chiwa says.
"I'll be alright. Everything is under control, and this won't be a problem," Hokuto replies.
After hanging up, Chiwa sighs to herself that those relatives will always be the same, no matter how many results they see from Hokuto. And that these things will probably continue until Hokuto officially becomes the chairman. A colleague hands Chiwa a letter as she walks past, and Chiwa curiously opens it up. In simple print inside, 'Leave Mamiya Hokuto. Otherwise I can't guarantee your father's safety' is written.
Chiwa drops the letter in fright and rushes past Asahina. She runs to her father's home, worried sick when her father has nothing to do with any of this. She slams open the door, only to find her father calmly tending to the plants.
"You alright? Aren't you supposed to be working?" he asks.
Chiwa starts crying in relief, shocking her father.
"What's wrong? Are you hurt somewhere?" he frets.
"No...that's not it," she sniffles.
"Keep one thing in mind, I'm not reliable," he comments.
Chiwa stops crying momentarily, wondering what he can be spewing about.
"You had a big roll with your husband, right? But you can't come crying to your dad like this," he continues.
"I won't be able to do anything for you."
"No matter how big your fight was, the two of you should talk it out and overcome it. You're family now. Ah...I've said something fatherly today."
"You're not very convicing for a man whose wife ran away," Chiwa says with a hint of smile now.
"But you're right. Sorry dad. I'm going back to work now. Try not to go out too much."
"All right," her father grins.
Meanwhile he's left wondering what on earth his daughter came for.
Later that night, Chiwa decides to do as her father said, to share her problems with Hokuto. She tells Hokuto about the threatening letter, but doesn't go so far as to say anything about Seiji's last letter.
"Why would they threaten you? I don't get it," Hokuto mulls over in bed.
"I would understand if they do things to me to prevent me from becoming chairman, but what merit is there to harm you?"
"Now that you say it..."
"And even if they pulled you away from me, I would still become the chairman. If you haven't done something hateful..."
"It may...may be Shitara-san or..." Chiwa blurts out. Seeing Hokuto's stony expression, she quickly apologizes.
"Sorry, of course nothing she does now will matter," she concedes.
"Well I understand why you would be suspicious. If you're still unsettled, I'll just attach some bodyguards to your father just to be safe," Hokuto says.
"Just to be safe, how much do you think they cost?" Chiwa says in despair.
"It's not something you have to worry about. Let's sleep," Hokuto replies, turning over the sheets.
"They are expensive then..." Chiwa mumbles.
After Hokuto lies down, Chiwa says, "Sorry."
"If you say any more nonsense, I might just have to rape you," he comments nonchalantly.
Chiwa pales, and hurriedly lies down. "You're so scary, I'm going to sleep."
"When I said sorry, it's for something else. I know this is the best choice right now, but if it was the past me, I wouldn't and couldn't burden you with something like this. But to be by your side all the time now, I'm taking every advantage of your good will. I guess I've changed...anyways, that was all. Good night!" Chiwa says.
Hokuto turns around and pulls her into a tight embrace.
"Eh...but this is not nonsense....right?" she flusters.
"Nope, but you must really like me!" he grins.
"You knew from the start, what are you saying," Chiwa blushes.
"What a change. The first time I met you, you were barking cutely like a puppy wanting to be acknowledged, but now you're clinging on to me, saying you never want to leave. But you know, the one who's been tamed is me. Whatever tricks you use, I'll be the one who doesn't want to leave you. So you're not the only one who feels that way," Hokuto finishes off sweetly.
"Since when did I ever bark like that?"
"Don't you remember? Like that time when you splashed the drink in my face, or when you threw your resignation letter on the desk. Of course, you bark now in a completely different manner."
"And you were unexpectedly sullen back then," Chiwa retorts.
"My bad. I'm super sexy though. Go to bed," he pulls Chiwa in closer. [Urgh, cheeky bastard!] "However much you change, I'll always love you deep down."
Feeling more assured after placing bodyguards on her father, Chiwa walks down the street with confidence. She really doesn't want to act as the threatener ordered, though she had always thought that going after someone's life was something that happened only in dramas or movies. She sees Shitara walking down the street, and before she knows it, calls out Shitara's name. Shitara asks somewhat unpolitely what Chiwa wants, and Chiwa asks to talk to her.
In the cafe, Shitara denies doing anything of the sort.
"I didn't do it. Sorry for ruining your expectations," she says.
"No, that's that it," Chiwa explains.
"You may not believe me, but I really don't want to be involved in your matters anymore. It's probably because your knowledge ot the matter inconveniences some others," Shitara comments.
Chiwa believes that it was not Shitara, even without evidence, but is surprised by what she says next.
"You think that Hokuto's mother died covering for Hokuto, right?" Shitara says.
"How...how do you know that?" Chiwa asks.
"That's because I heard. You said it during your visit to Mamiya-san in the hospital. I'm just guessing, but you're probably right."
Chiwa thinks back to the hospital visit, although that's the only time she voiced her thoughts. She certainly hasn't shown the letter to anyone.
Shitara continues, "I also thought the same thing once, but like you, I couldn't tell him. Anyways, that's all I'll say. I have an appointment and I must hurry."
Chiwa is left sitting in the cafe, wondering where Shitara got that idea. And if Shitara was right, then the person who threatened her might be the culprit from twenty years ago. He/she probably also knows that Chiwa has the letter. In the end, everything ties back to the letter. This is not something she can get over herself, but something she has to discuss with Hokuto. But then she would have to show him the letter. She would have to gouge the truth from him... But she thinks back to his words, on how he has spent longer time with her than he has with his family. And that no matter what happens, he'll never want to leave her. She wonders if she can take on this gamble, a gamble with Hokuto who can finally move forward in life. The Hokuto who won't be drawn back into the dark by his past or hatred.
Determined, Chiwa calls him.
"You wanted to talk? What is it now? Did something happen? I didn't receive any bad reports concerning your father," Hokuto says.
"It's something different. Even a little time would work, and if you can, as soon as possible," Chiwa says.
"Even if you say so, tonight's a bit tight."
"Then I'll just go to a place near your office. If you find a chance, please come by."
"I think I can manage."
"Then I'll see you in the restaurant in front of your office!"
Chiwa sits tensely in the restaurant waiting for Hokuto. The letter is placed in front of her on the table. She had hidden it at work, since it seemed like he would find it at home. It's something she truely doesn't want Hokuto to know, but if she doesn't tell him, she can't solve the problem. She inwardly apologizes to Seiji. She knows it will hurt Hokuto, but she believes that he'll be able to handle it. A text from Hokuto draws her out of his thoughts, as he's finally able to make some time. He's heading to the shop now.
Without thinking, Chiwa grabs the letter and leaves the shop, walking to meet him. She looks around for a bit and finally sees him.
"I thought you told me to go to the restaurant," he says.
"Ah, but it was a bit noisy there," she smiles tightly. Her pauses, her eyes suddenly alight. Behind Hokuto is a man with a hoodie over his head and sunglasses holding a knife. She reaches for Hokuto, startling him for a bit...and the scene pulls back. Spectators turn around and gasp, and a scream is heard ringing out through the streets.
Commentary: Wow! I'm so excited to see what happens next! So there was nothing about the letter at all...which is a disappointment, since the author keeps making roundabouts. References to a culprit twenty years ago, someone in the family, etc. etc. I wonder who it could be, and how it will hurt Hokuto so much. If it turns out to be just a hateful relative, that wouldn't be very exciting though, because I doubt Hokuto will be hurt emotionally by someone he doesn't care about. It has to be a character we're associated with and someone who actually has a relationship with Hokuto...though having said that, I can't imagine gramps doing it, or that nice cousin whose name I forgot (not to mention he would have been a kid or hardly a teenager at the time if he's older than Hokuto). Please let it be someone good. And please don't let it be Souma. I LOVE Souma! She's so sweet and supportive...and she has age-defying looks, haha. I kind of want to know who gets stabbed too, whether it's Hokuto or Chiwa, since it's vague and we don't see actual stabbing. For all I know the scream fould be some random spectator or Chiwa...What do you guys think? Chiwa or Hokuto? I'm personally hoping for Chiwa though, since...well, she hasn't done much in the front of physically protecting Hokuto. I don't have anything against her, and we all know how much she loves him, but...oh, I don't know, things would be more interesting.