“i’m home!” michiko greeted everyone in the house. they were all seated in the mahjong table.
“perfect timing, daimon-san! we’ve been waiting for you!” michiko smiled at hiromi’s comment and sat at the empty chair reserved for her. she placed the plastic that she bought on the table and akira-san looked at her confusedly.
“i’ve been waiting to play all day!” michiko said and rubbed her hands.
“what is this, michiko?” akira-san asked.
“ah, that’s from hachi. we went to a sushi restaurant and he told me to bring some for you.” everyone’s eyes widen.
“a sushi date?!” michiko shrugged.
the whole game was all about teasing michiko and her “date” with hachi. akira-san was the one who keeps on teasing her while michiko tries to change and drop the topic.
“i heard you and hachisuka have been going out a lot. what is this, michiko? did you finally find your love?” teases and michiko rolled her eyes.
“i only want free food, that’s all!” all of them laughed at her response.
meanwhile hiromi … she was so quiet the entire time. she felt uneasy and she didn’t even understand why.
“jonou-sensei, it’s your turn.” michiko called her. she didn’t even notice that she was zoned out this time.
“oh! sumimasen, i didn’t notice.” hiromi apologized and continued to play the game.
“hiromi, you’re unusually quiet today. is something bothering you?” akira-san asked her and michiko looked at her worriedly.
“nothing at all! i’m just… a little bit tired today.” she replied and michiko pouted.
“well you should go home and rest then.” she nodded at michiko’s offer. she said goodbyes to everyone and left their home.
all she could think about while walking home is michiko. she now knows why she felt so uneasy during their game. it was jealousy.
michiko’s sushi date with hachisuka caught her off guard because it seemed serious. she even looked really happy when she got home. hiromi stopped her tracks as she thinks of-
she likes him, doesn’t she?
thinking of it makes her heart ache. her worst nightmare is about to come, it was watching michiko fall in love with somebody.
not that she doesn’t want her to finally find someone who she could be happy with, it’s just that she wants it to be her. she’s been liking her for so long, how long is she gonna keep it like this?
her heart aches so much. she needs to talk to somebody about this because she barely can’t take it anymore.
she slowly made her way back to akira-san’s house.
hiromi took a deep breath before opening the door. she saw akira-san sitting on the couch with ben casey cuddled up on his hands.
“hiromi?” akira-san looked at her confusedly as he asked. she made her way to the couch.
“i-is daimon-san sleeping already?”
“yeah she is.” he replied and hiromi nodded. perfect. now she can talk to akira-san alone.
“akira-san… i-i want to talk to you about something.” hiromi started. akira-san couldn’t deny it but he started to get nervous because of how serious hiromi sounded.
“i’m all ears, hiromi. tell me about it.”
“but before that.. i bought some beers on walking back my way here.”
after a few cans of beer, hiromi couldn’t take it anymore and told akira-san everything. everything about her feelings to michiko. how it all started, how she’s coping it, literally all the details about her feelings to michiko.
hiromi couldn’t read akira-san’s face. it was so neutral. he seemed like he knows all about it already.
“akira-san.. i’m too late, aren’t i? i’m too late to confess to her about my feelings. she already likes somebody else.”
“it’s never too late. and to be honest… i don’t think michiko likes hachisuka.” hiromi looked at akira-san and her eyes brightened. that’s what she all wanted to hear. a reassurance.
“r-really?” akira-san shrugged and took a sip on the beer.
“i don’t think she would get attached to somebody that quick. but we still can’t be sure about it. michiko is a type of person who keeps her feeling a secret.” hiromi sighed.
“i’ve seen them interact in the hospital a couple of times and michiko seemed to be happy with him. my heart aches so much seeing those little interactions of them.” akira-san looked at hiromi sadly.
“and w-what if she really falls in love with him, you know? i’d rather die seeing that.” akira-san pouted.
“hiromi, don’t say those kinds of things.”
“no.. you don’t get it, akira-san. i loved her for a long time and i never thought it would get to the point like this… w-watching her fall in love with someone else is my biggest nightmare.” she was crying now. she wants to take it out all.
“hiromi…” akira-san sat beside her and rubbed her back while she cries.
she cried her heart out as many thoughts are running around her head, then she thought of the best thing that she could do for herself.
“i.. i think i should go to london and live with mai.” her sudden comment caught akira-san off guard.
“what are you talking about?”
“i just- i just think it’s good for me. so please do me a favor akira-san, find me a hospital that i can work there.” akira-san looked at her worriedly. he felt so sad for her.
“if you think it’s good for yourself, then i won’t stop you. i’ll find you a hospital tomorrow so don’t worry hiromi. i completely understand you.” he assured her and she nodded as more tears streams down her cheeks.
“thank you, akira-san..”
“are you going to tell michiko about this?” akira-san asked and hiromi sighed heavily.
“i don’t think i will. please don’t tell her.”
“if that’s the case then i’m gonna be worried about her.” hiromi looked at him confusedly.
“you leaving her so suddenly would upset her and make her so sad. are you sure you’re not gonna tell her? she needs you.” hiromi smiled sadly.
“daimon michiko never fails. i’m sure she’s okay without me.”
hiromi already managed her flight the day after the night of her confrontation with akira-san. she needs to book a flight immediately before she changes her mind.
she didn’t plan on telling mai because she plans on surprising her. she misses her every day and the thought of living with her and seeing her every day again makes her feel so happy.
she has a week left before she leaves japan. she went to shopping and bought new clothes that would match the fashion in london. while she goes on shopping, she couldn’t help but think of michiko. she could help her pick some clothes to buy since her sense of fashion is amazing.
at the hospital, she tried to avoid seeing michiko during breaks. during surgeries, she acts normally to her and tries her best not to chat with her. seeing her success every of her surgeries effortlessly is one of her favorite things. she’s gonna miss her so much.
she also doesn’t visit akira-san’s place anymore after that night. she uses her time to get ready for her leave instead of playing mahjong. she’s also doing it to avoid seeing michiko. if she gets attached to her again, it’ll be so hard for her to leave.
on the other side, michiko noticed how hiromi was a little distant to them already. she doesn’t really see her around the hospital anymore and in her surgeries too. the most thing that bothered her is how she’s not attending their daily mahjong game anymore. the house somehow feels incomplete without her.
“neh akira-san, why is jonou-sensei not present in our games anymore.” akira-san shrugged at michiko’s question.
“you should ask her herself.” michiko rolled her eyes.
“i barely even see her at the hospital. has she been busy? you should know why because you’re her manager.”
“michiko. i’m sorry.” akira-san said sadly.
“what?” michiko looked at him worriedly.
“it’s because…. RON!”
“what? ugh i keep having bad luck these days! jonou-sensei, come back!” michiko said and fake cried, covering her face with her hands.
akira-san looked at her sadly and cuddled ben casey in his arms.
a week later
“it’s 5pm, i’m going home!” everyone was annoyed at her, as usual, every time she says that. she went to her locker to grab her bag and coat.
but something bothered her. hiromi wasn’t assigned to any of her surgeries today. she performed several surgeries and she never saw hiromi once. she went out of the locker room and decided to ask kaji.
“kaji-sensei,” kaji looked at her annoyingly.
“what now demon?”
“was jonou-sensei assigned to your surgeries today?” kaji furrowed his eyebrows and shook his head.
“ugh, whats with her.”
“huh daimon-sensei, you didn’t know?” hara interfered their conversation out of nowhere.
“know about what?”
“i overheard director hiruma and your manager’s conversation a while ago. kanbara-san said hiromi is going to london and she’s going to stop being a freelancer.” michiko’s eyes widen.
“what?!” michiko said before rushing out of the office. kaji looked at hara.
“was i not supposed to say that?” hara asked and kaji slowly nodded.
“you messed up.” kaji tapped hara’s shoulders before walking away from him.
michiko was furious. she was panicking on the way home. how could they both keep this a secret from her? why didn’t akira-san tell her? she didn’t even get to say a proper goodbye to her.
as she arrived home, she opened the door and found akira-san cooking something for dinner. she walked inside and threw her bag on the couch.
“did jonou-sensei leave already?” michiko asked, her voice almost breaking.
“you know already? jeez, the gossip around the hospital really does spread fast..”
“answer me.” akira-san looked at michiko. her eyes were tearing up.
“yes, she already did. she told me not to tell you.” michiko sighed heavily and threw herself in the couch.
“what is going on akira-san… why are all of this so sudden. both of you even kept this a secret from me.”
“i was caught off guard of her decision too.” akira-san placed the dish on the table.
“what was the reason? she must have a reason for this sudden decision.” akira-san sighed heavily.
“michiko, why don’t we eat first? i know you’re hungry.” michiko sighed heavily and nodded.
their dinner was quiet. michiko couldn’t even think straight as she eats because of hiromi. how could she not tell her about leaving the country for good? how could she not tell her partner?
“michiko. hiromi told me to give you this.” akira-san lent her an envelope. michiko stared at it before looking back to akira-san.
“what’s this?” michiko asked and akira-san shrugged.
“open it to find out i guess…..” akira-san replied and walked away from the table to go to the kitchen. michiko bit her lips nervously and opened the envelope.
it was a folded paper inside. it must be a letter to explain things why she left, michiko thought. she unfolded the paper and saw a long paragraph that she believed was written by hiromi.
daimon-san! you found me!
you must be surprised with my sudden decision on quitting as a freelance surgeon and moving to london with mai. i’m sorry, daimon-san. things are going hard and i think this is the best for mai and especially for myself.
you must be wondering what are these things that are going hard for me. to tell you the truth, all of these are because of my feelings for you. i know it’s hard to believe, but it’s always been here daimon-san. ever since i first saw you in that operating room and performed a great surgery that i was in complete awestruck, i already knew that i felt something for you.
the day when you asked me to become a freelancer like you and told me that we would make a great team, i knew you were right about that. i refused your offer that time because i was so mad at you and worried about what will happen to me and to mai because of the scandal that you caused.
signing up as a freelance anesthesiologist to this referral agency was probably the best decision that i’ve ever made in my life. i met amazing friends in the agency, i met akira-san who is so kind to me and mai, and of course, i met you. you who is such an amazing surgeon, an amazing partner, and an amazing friend. watching you do surgeries and save many patients everyday is my favorite thing to watch. you are so special to me, daimon-san.
but i guess it all ends here. as i saw you and him hang out, i couldn’t help but think that there wouldn’t be any chance for us anymore. i somehow can’t tell you how i feel because i was too scared. i tried many times to tell you but i had no courage to. i was too scared on how you might react and too scared that i might lose the partnership that we have. but now i can tell you this because i’m already far. you couldn’t see how my face would be full of tears if i were actually telling you this in real life. i’ve loved you for a long time, daimon-san.
i flew to london right away because i wouldn’t survive watching you fall in love with someone else, so this decision is the best for me. i know this is so selfish but i hope you understand me, daimon-san. i’m gonna miss our surgeries, gossips, quarrels, onsens, and every bond that we have. please take care of yourself and akira-san, and save many more patients. let’s work together soon again.
and .. i love you.
“jonouchi…” michiko whispered while her voice was breaking after reading the letter. there were teardrops that fell onto the paper that smudged the ink.
akira-san looked at michiko from the kitchen, she was already sobbing. it was a hard time for both of them. he went to michiko and sat in front of her.
“i tried convincing her to tell you.” akira-san explained.
“i need to go see her.”
“what? not now, michiko.”
“before it’s too late, akira-san! i need to tell her what i feel too. what if she finds somebody else there?!” akira-san sighed.
“don’t act like you don’t know hiromi. she’s a type of girl who doesn’t move on easily. you know that!” michiko gulped nervously.
“you also need to give her some time, michiko. it must be hard for her adjusting to her new environment so don’t bother her. give it some months, then you can go see her and talk to her.” akira-san continued and left michiko speechless.
she couldn’t wait a month to see her again because she already misses her so much. michiko wiped the tears on her face and looked at the paper on her hand once again. she sighed heavily and kept it back to the envelope.
10 months later
michiko was walking in the big street in the city and she was lost again for 10 times now. she had no idea where she is because she wasn’t familiar of the place, it’s her first time coming to london.
“excuse me, do you know where this hospital is?” she asked some stranger and showed her the address that akira-san gave to her. the stranger told her to get a cab and drop to a specific location and she thanked her.
she got on a cab and told the driver the specific location. after waiting for enough time, she finally decided to visit her here to see her again. she was nervous, but she waited for this moment.
the country was big and she was always lost everywhere. but thank god to her excellent english skills, it was easier to ask the citizens some questions. she was thankful that people here are kind.
as she looked at the window, she saw the beautiful city and it’s views. hiromi must love it here, and of course it’s because she’s with mai. she wonders if is she happy now.
their cab arrived to the destination and dropped her off. she looked at the hospital. it was big, just like toutei hospital. she wonders what are university hospital like in here. she walked inside and the place is huge. she walked to the reception area and asked,
“is there an anesthesiologist that is named hiromi jonouchi that works here?” she asked the nurse and nodded.
“can i call for her?” the nurse nodded and dialed on her telephone.
“she’s still on surgery, she’ll see you once she’s done. what’s your name?” michiko couldn’t help but smile at the thought of her on doing surgery.
“i… prefer not to say. tell her i’ll be waiting here in the lobby.” the nurse nodded.
she sat on the chair in front of the reception as she waited for her. she observed the hospital quietly by looking at the doctors walking around. she hoped this hospital isn’t like the university hospital in japan that is just full of corrupt doctors that only cares about their reputation than their patients.
as she was staring at the hallway, a familiar figure caught her eyes. it was her. she looked exactly the same, it was just her uniform that changed. she saw how her body froze as she saw her.
“d-daimon-san…” hiromi whispered as she walked to her slowly.
“how was the surgery?” michiko asked casually and hiromi was just staring at her with her breaths heavy.
“jonou-sensei.. how was the surgery?” michiko asked once again.
“i-it was fine… what are you doing here?” michiko smiled before answering her question.
“some rich businesses man called me to do his surgery here in london. i suddenly remembered that you are here so i asked akira-san for the hospital that you are working and decided to visit you.” michiko explained and hiromi nodded.
“hiromi, you look tensed. are you okay? are you sure the surgery went well?” hiromi couldn’t tell if she was being serious asking or she was just teasing her.
“it went well. i just can’t believe you are here….” michiko blushed.
“when does your shift end? do you want to go get dinner together?”
“that was my last surgery for today.” michiko’s eyebrows raised and look at her watch. she didn’t realize that it was already 7 pm. she waited really long for her.
“well, it’s perfect for dinner. do you want to go get dinner with me?” hiromi smiled and nodded.
michiko waited for her in the lobby while hiromi gets her things to leave. after waiting, she saw her with her casual outfit and can’t help but blush. her outfit is amazing, she could tell it was inspired by the fashion of people here in london.
they were walking on their way to the restaurant. it was already night time and strolling around the city with the crowd is great. their walk was silent and awkward, but michiko decided to break the tension.
“how is mai-chan?” she asked.
“she’s doing amazing in ballet. she’s in dorms so i only get to see her in weekends.” hiromi explained. michiko thought she was living with her.
“so you live alone in your apartment?” hiromi was stunned at her question.
“yeah, i sent my parents back to japan when i came here since i can look out for mai already.” michiko nodded.
they arrived to the japanese restaurant and made their orders as they get to their tables. they were facing each other and made the tension even more awkward. hiromi kept on avoiding eye contacts with her and wouldn’t even dare to start a conversation with her by asking her questions. it broke her heart.
“how is your new workplace? is the hospital the same?” michiko asked.
“much better than toutei. the doctors aren’t greedy like the doctors there. but their health system is messy. i feel bad for the poor people.”
“oh really? what about the doctors that you work with? are they okay?” hiromi nodded with a sly smile and didn’t answer the question.
they went quiet again for a while. michiko couldn’t think of anything to talk about already. she’s here to see her and talk about the letter that she gave to her 10 months ago, but it’s too early to break the ice.
“jonou-sensei, you don’t look well. are you not happy to see me?” hiromi looked at her and apologized.
“don’t worry. i will be leaving soon so you probably won't have to see my face again,” michiko replied with an attitude.
“don’t say that. okay….. i’m sorry.”
“it’s alright. sorry if i made you uncomfortable.”
“you are not making me uncomfortable, daimon-san.”
“then why won’t you talk to me like you used to before?”
“it’s just–“ their heated argument was interrupted by the waiter.
“here’s your order.” michiko’s mouth was already watering when she saw the dish.
after not seeing each other for 10 months, the first thing they did is argue. they are unbelievable.
“ittadakimasu.” michiko said before eating. hiromi looked at her and smiled. she never changed, still so crazy when it comes to food.
they both ate their food silently. hiromi could tell that michiko’s attitude was now ruined. she was so smiley and happy a while ago but now her cold face is all that she could see.
they finished their food and waited for the bill to be given. michiko said she will pay since it’s her treat tonight. hiromi took a glance at her and her heart fluttered. she now realizes how much she misses her beautiful face.
“when are you leaving?” hiromi asked her.
“tomorrow.” she felt her heart ache as she heard her reply. how could she leave too soon?
“you can stay in my apartment today. it has two rooms and i can stay in mai’s room while you sleep in mine.”she offered. michiko smiled and shook her head.
“thank you for your offer. but i am currently staying in a hotel.”
“oh… okay.” the waiter arrived to distribute the bill and michiko paid. they went out of the restaurant and strolled for a little bit before they part ways.
“where is your hotel located, daimon-san?” hiromi asked and michiko shrugged.
“it’s near the airport, i really couldn’t recall the address.” hiromi laughed at her.
“this city is very huge, do you not get lost?” michiko asked her and hiromi nodded.
“well, my first two months here was really hard. my english isn’t that good and people criticized me a lot.”
“oh that’s horrible… i’m sorry.” hiromi smiled at her.
“it’s alright. slowly, i finally got to adjust and learned more english. i managed to not get lost on the cities, mai taught me a lot.”
“mai-chan… akira-san misses her a lot.”
“we really miss him too. how is he?”
“he’s doing fine. i’m taking good care of him especially because he’s getting older.” hiromi nodded. she misses that old man so much.
“and how about you, daimon-san? how are you doing?” michiko’s heart fluttered and looked at hiromi who was also looking at her.
“me? i’m doing just fine.”
“that’s good to hear. how are you and hachisuka? are you guys getting married?” michiko was caught off guard by her question. she stopped at her tracks and made her way in front of hiromi.
“hachi? that… that infection baka guy? what are you talking about?” hiromi scoffed.
“i thought you liked him? you guys went to several dates.” michiko scoffed at her ridiculous comment.
“don’t be stupid! i don’t like him and i never did.” hiromi’s eyes widen.
it was already getting late. it was time for michiko to go back to her hotel since she was also feeling exhausted already. when she was about to get on the cab, hiromi grabbed her arm.
“daimon-san… will you please stay at my apartment? just for tonight since you will be leaving tomorrow already…” hiromi asked her as she stared at her deep eyes. michiko’s heart as beating loud that she could almost hear it. she nodded and opened the cab door for her.
they were both silent in the cab but their bodies were so close to each other. michiko looked at hiromi’s hand that was placed near to her lap. she wanted to hold her hand but she’s afraid that it might make her uncomfortable.
they arrived to her apartment and michiko followed hiromi like a lost dog. as they got in the place, michiko was amazed on how beautiful her place is. it was a minimalistic apartment that definitely matches hiromi’s style. it was really big too, yet she lives alone.
“do you want anything to drink?” hiromi asked her.
“a beer would be great.” hiromi went her way to the kitchen and opened the door fridge to grab them both a beer. she gave her a can and guided her to the balcony.
they stood at the balcony admiring the beautiful city view as they drank their beers together.
“this apartment looks expensive. you have a really great taste.” michiko commented and hiromi laughed.
“thank you. the hospital pays me great that it makes me afford apartments like these.” michiko smiled at her.
“but you know, no matter how great my status is here in london, i will always love japan. it’s been so lonely here in my apartment since all i do is eat and sleep. i also only get to see mai in weekends, but at least i’m already near her.” hiromi continued. michiko was staring at her as she explained.
“and eventually i got used to it.” hiromi said before taking a sip of her beer while michiko was just staring at her.
“i’ve read the letter.” michiko stated and observed hiromi’s reaction. she looked nervous but still managed to smile.
“h-how was it?” hiromi asked michiko.
michiko walked closer to hiromi. she stared at her eyes for a while and tucked her hair on her ear. she held her face with her hand and caressed her cheek.
hiromi was stunned by her actions. since when did michiko ever learn to flirt like this? they were both staring onto each others eyes until their faces slowly moved closer to each other.
until their lips met. their lips were moving against each other. it didn’t even take a minute for their lips to move against each other. it was a soft yet passionate kiss and hiromi could already tell this was the best kiss she ever had. they kissed each other like they wanted to do this for a long time. they kissed each other like there’s no tomorrow.
they broke the kiss as they started to lost their breaths. they rest their forehead onto each other and smiled.
“i love you, hiromi. i always have.” michiko confessed.
“i love you too, michiko.” hiromi replied and pulled her into a hug.
they embrace each other for a while. hiromi didn’t notice that she was already crying. there were tears stain on michiko’s shoulder.
“hiromi, listen…” michiko broke their hug to see hiromi’s face again.
“what is it?”
“i want to stay here with you.” michiko confessed.
“what? are you sure-“
“yes…. i want to live here with you and work on the same hospital with you. let’s work together again, hiromi…” michiko said while admiring her face, caressing her cheeks softly.
“daimon-san…” as hiromi says this, tears were already forming in her eyes.
michiko pulled her into a hug once again. hiromi cried in her arms, it was tears of joy. she just couldn’t believe what she dreamed of is happening.
living with michiko in london with mai? she saw this in her dreams a lot of times. and now, it’s all real. it’s all happening. she’s finally with the girl she loves.
as for michiko, she felt the same. she never felt this kind of happiness ever in her life. she held her so tight in her arms that she wish they could stay like this forever.
while they embrace each other, they thought of all of the bonds they shared for 10 years. they now realize that every single bond that they shared was love. the trust during surgeries, the childish quarrels, the quality time every after work, the meals together at the agency, and every other bond that they had was love.
this is what they want, to be together forever. the surgeon and the anesthesiologist met once again and is about to face the new chapter of their life.
“please don’t go away like that again. you had no idea how hard it was without you.” michiko whispered while caressing hiromi’s hair. hiromi’s head was resting on michiko’s shoulder, their bodies still embracing each other.
it was hard for the both of them. there was no day that goes by where they don’t think of each other. they always wished they were together to do the surgeries easier and quicker like they always have. they always wished they were together to keep the company of each other every after after work. these are the moments on how they share their love.
“i promise, i’ll stay by your side forever. not only as your partner, but also as your lover.” hiromi replied, hugging her even tighter.
they held onto one other, not wanting to let go of each other once again.