The next day, I worked a night shift, which was good for two reasons. The first reason was that I was so hung over, there would be no way I would have been able to pull myself out of bed for a morning shift. The second reason was because by the time my shift started, quiet hours would be in affect and I wouldn't have to face Tadayoshi.
I was laying in bed, cursing the sun for rising, when my cell phone started ringing. I thought seriously about tossing it against the wall, but reconsidered. It might have been an important call. Groggily, I answered the phone, "Hello?"
"Shota?" My sister's voice asked loudly in my ear.
"Yeah..." I trailed off, ready to drop the phone. Between my headache and the dread I felt about returning to work, I didn't feel like talking to my sister. Especially because I was still mad about what happened the last time we talked.
"Is there something you want to tell me?" She asked, and I could tell she was excited about something.
"No," I grumbled, ready to hang up. Her cheeriness pissed me off. She knew I was still mad at her, and she acted like nothing had happened. The least she could do was offer an apology. "Bye."
"Wait," she shouted loudly. "I want to talk to you."
"What?" I asked, annoyed. I just wanted to roll over and go back to sleep. Or crawl up and die. Either option would be acceptable.
"Matsumoto-san called last night," She said in a sing-song voice, completely ignoring the irritated tone of my voice.
I groaned, "What did she want?"
"She wanted to know if mom knew about your friend..."
"He's not my friend. He was just a co-worker." I should have known that there was no way I would be able to get off the hook easily. If there was anything in my life that was predictable, it was the nosey women around me who butted into every aspect of my life.
"Who goes grocery shopping in the middle of the day with a co-worker?" She asked, curiously.
"Why are you all being so nosey? It's none of your business who I invite over to my apartment. I can't even have friends without you all sticking your noses into my affairs and misinterpreting everything. Why don't you do me a favor and stay out of my life?" With that I hit the end call button and threw the phone across the room, not caring if it broke into a million pieces.
I rolled over and put the pillow over my head. I didn't need my sister questioning my relationship with Tadayoshi. I already felt guilty enough about the feelings that I had begun to develop for him. On top of all of that guilt, I was also struggling with an overwhelming confusion. I had never been so infatuated with a human being.
Vaguely, looking back, I must have been fooling myself into thinking that it was simply an infatuation. If it was only infatuation, I would be satisfied with watching Tadayoshi from afar. But the fact that he was no longer my patient, and that I might never talk to him again made my stomach churn.
I tried closing my eyes and willing away all thoughts of him, but it was didn't work. Trying to forget Tadayoshi was useless.
When I got to work, I learned that it was Murakami's day off and, luckily, I wouldn't have to face his scrutiny. I was sure that tonight would be a long, difficult night and I really didn't need him watching my every move.
Working the night shift was usually very long and boring. There were no patients around, and I had no counseling sessions scheduled. The only purpose for my being there was to ensure that things ran smoothly and that everything was in order for those who came in to work the morning shift.
There was not enough work to keep everyone on the night shift busy, so I decided that the safest place for me to hide in case Murakami or Tadayoshi showed up was in my office.
Since Tadayoshi would no longer be my patient, I thought it would be a good idea to organize all of his paperwork and the small file I had managed to accumulate.
It was mild torture looking over the scribbled notes I had written about Tadayoshi and the progress we had been making. It was almost painful to hand him over to another therapist when I wanted to be the one to help him. I set the file aside, deciding to just give it to the new attending therapist. It was too hard to forget someone when you were constantly reminded of them.
I had been at work organizing the files in my office for a few hours when there was a soft knock on my door.
Before I had the time to get up and answer it, Tadayoshi had already entered my office and was standing by the door, waiting for some sort of verbal acknowledgment. He was wearing a t-shirt and a baggy pair of sweatpants, and though his bangs were hanging in his face, I could tell that he was staring at me expectantly.
I could say nothing except, "You're not supposed to be here."
Not only was it against the rules for patients to leave their rooms after hours, but I had told Murakami that I would stay away from Tadayoshi. And now he was standing in my office at two o'clock in the morning looking unbearably cute, his clothes wrinkly and his hair messy.
"I saw the light on," he motioned to the lamp on my desk.
I stared at him, not knowing what to say. I knew he was ignoring me and that if I told him to leave, he would probably refuse. A part of me began to panic. If anyone found out that he was in my office, I would probably be fired. The other part of me, however, was happy to see him and excited about being alone in this forbidden situation with him.
The reasonable side of my brain took over and I glanced nervously at my door. "You're not supposed to be here," I said again in a low voice.
"No one saw me," he whispered, and I could hear the very same excitement in his voice that had the adrenaline pumping through my veins.
"Subaru will know you're gone," the logic in my brain was still in charge, but I could feel it dissipating quickly as Tadayoshi crossed the room towards where I was sitting.
"Subaru doesn't care," Tadayoshi whispered, now standing on the other side of my desk.
"But..." I began, trying to think up more excuses as he came around the desk to my side and sat on the edge of it.
"What happened?" he asked, concern crossing his face. "You don't want to be my therapist anymore?"
I knew the easiest answer would be to tell Tadayoshi that I did not want to be to tell Tadayoshi that I didn't want to be his therapist before. I couldn't say that though. The look on his face then was heartbreaking enough. "Its not that I don't want to. I just can't help you..."
"I don't care," he interrupted. "I thought we were friends."
"I'm not your friend. I'm supposed to be your therapist," I replied calmly, trying to keep my emotions in check.
"What does it matter?" his voice raised in anger, causing me to glance anxiously at the door.
"It does matter. My job is to help you, and I am doing a horrible job so its time for you to get a new counselor."
"I don't want a new counselor. Is this because I told you to forget about the chef thing?" his voice was quiet again and I could hear the sadness leaking into it.
Outside in the hall, I could hear voices, reminding me of the seriousness of the situation we had found ourselves in. "I think you should leave," I suggested, but Tadayoshi made no indication that he planned on listening to me. "Your new therapist is really great. She's cute, too. All of her patients really like her..." I suggested, hoping that he would just accept it and leave.
"I don't care about her or what her patients think of her," he stood up then. "I don't want any other therapist."
"You have to give her a chance," I stated, standing up and putting my hands on his shoulders in an effort to calm him down.
He removed my hands from his shoulders, holding them tight in his own. "I like you, Yasuda."
His words were heavy and we both understood exactly what he meant by them.
I removed my hands from his and took a step back, increasing the distance between us. "Tadayoshi," I began, "This is wrong."
My heart was beating fast in my chest and I was torn between multiple emotions. His confession made me happy and a wave of relief rushed over me as I realized that he returned the feelings I had developed for him. But with this happiness there was an overpowering sense of fear. Fear at getting caught. Fear of Tadayoshi changing his mind. But mostly, the fear of what people would say about me if I became involved in this type of relationship. Not only because he was a patient and underage, but because he was another man.
"It doesn't matter," he said confidently. "It's no one's business."
"It is," I could feel my voice raising, the tension in the room increasing. Tadayoshi's reasoning was childish and it irritated me that he couldn't understand the ramifications of what he had just said. "I could get fired. Or arrested. You're underage and..."
Before I could finish the thought, Tadayoshi grabbed me by the hips and pulled me against his chest. The shock of his actions caused my train of thought to come to a screeching halt. He moved his hands and rested them on the small of my back, sending shivers through my entire body.
Looking down at my face he whispered, "You worry too much."
I gulped nervously. His face was so close to mine that I could feel his hot breath against my lips, causing them to tingle in anticipation. I tried, nervously, to back away, but his hands held me in place and before I had the chance to protest, he had already lowered his lips to my own.
The moment his lips touched mine, suddenly I felt warmth spread through my entire body. His plump lips felt so soft and warm against my own, causing every nerve in my body to go into overdrive.
My hands rested awkwardly at my sides, trapped underneath Tadayoshi's and I doubt I would have none what to do with them if I they weren't. He loosened his grip on me, perhaps curious to see if I would push him away. When I didn't, he brought them up to cradle my face gently, intent to deepen the kiss.
There was a knock on my door then and I pushed Tadayoshi away roughly, "Who is it?" I called, hoping that whoever it was would leave.
"It's Maruyama," he called through the door, and I could hear him twisting the handle to enter. "Nishikido is causing problems again and we need some help."
Before Tadayoshi could hide, the door was open and Maruyama was staring at us in shock, as if he had witnessed everything that had just happened.
"I can explain..." I started. Panicking, I tried to put as much distance between Tadayoshi and myself as possible.
Maru just continued to stare back and forth between us, and I could only imagine what kind of thoughts were busy running through his head.
"Its my fault," Tadayoshi stepped forward. "I came to him. I wanted to ask him why he requested not to be my therapist anymore."
Maru nodded, listening but apparently still in shock over the situation.
"Please don't tell Murakami about this," I pleaded with the nurse.
"What do I do?" Maru wondered out loud. His brow wrinkled in confusion. "Yasuda is my friend, so I should keep it secret. But then, it's against the rules. And Shingo is my boyfriend so I can't really lie to him. But then if Yasuda is in love, who am I to stand in his way? Especially because he is supporting Shin-chan and me." He seemed to have reached a conclusion, and pounded his fist
into his palm. "I understand. I won't tell Shingo."
I sighed, relieved. And Tadayoshi smiled, and standing next to me, he grabbed my hand.
I yanked it away. "Stop," My head was about to explode, it was so full of conflicting thoughts. "Whatever just happened, forget about it."
"But," Tadayoshi began.
"I said forget it," I turned away from him then. I walked over to Maruyama and pulled him out of the room, "Let's go calm Nishikido down."
I glanced back briefly at Tadayoshi, expecting to see a crushed expression, but instead, he was staring back at me with a mixture of anger and determination.
When we arrived at Nishikido's room, it looked like a storm had just passed through it. The sheets had been ripped off the bed, the curtains torn from the windows and every drawer, garbage can and box in the room had been dumped onto the floor, the contents spread everywhere.
"What's going on, Ryo?" I asked as I entered the room.
"Someone stole my stuff!" he shouted at me, as if I was the one who had done it.
"Let's calm down for a minute and think about it," I approached him cautiously. Although his arm was broken, it certainly hadn't stopped him from ripping apart an entire room in record speed. Usually, he took his anger out on inanimate objects, but it wouldn't surprise me if he tried to take a swing at a person one of these days. "Are you sure you didn't lose it somewhere?"
He glared at me, "I would have found it by now if I had just misplaced it." He waved his good-hand around the room, indicating that he had clearly already looked for it.
"When was the last time you saw it?"
"I got up to use the bathroom a half hour ago, and when I came back, my bag was on my bed and there was something missing from it," he plopped down on the bed, a distressed look crossing his face. In the weeks since he had arrived, I had never witnessed him in such a vulnerable moment.
I motioned to Maruyama to leave us alone. Ryo seemed to have cooled down, and I felt confident that I could handle the situation. The nurse nodded his head in understanding, shutting the door behind him after he had left the room.
"What is missing?"
He sighed, "Its a photo album I've had since a kid. The only thing I own that has any sentimental value." He looked at me, desperate. "I have to get it back."
I patted his shoulder, and for once, he let me give him emotional support. Although the circumstances were less than ideal, I felt that I was on the urge of a breakthrough with the young man.
His shoulders started shaking with dry sobs. "Who would take it?"
I didn't have an answer. "I don't know. It's after hours. The only people awake around here are the staff members," I lied. Tadayoshi had been wandering around, but that was because he had come to see me, so it was best left unmentioned. Besides, what would Tadayoshi want with Ryo's photo album?
"My life is so fucked up," Ryo mumbled, putting his face in his hands. "That album was full of the only good memories I have."
I rubbed Ryo's back. I wasn't positive that it had been stolen, and I didn't have the authorization to do so, but I promised Ryo that as soon as quiet hours were over, we would conduct an exhaustive room search in order to find the missing album. "No one will have the chance to take it out of the clinic. We'll find it," I assured him, and he nodded.
With Ryo calmed down, and back in his bed, I returned to my office. As I opened the door, I half expected Tadayoshi to still be there, and felt slightly disappointed that he wasn't.
I kept my office door open now, in case the young man tried coming back. In the past twenty-four hours I had come to terms with the fact that I had romantic feelings for a patient, vowed to stay away from him, and then screw it all up by kissing him. I sighed, rubbing my temples. I could feel another one of my headaches coming on.
There was a knock on my door, and I glanced up, glad to see that it was Maruyama and not the recent cause of my headache. "Wanna talk?" he asked.
I shook my head, hoping that he would get the hint and leave me alone to sulk. But that wasn't Maru's style, so he entered the room anyway, his high heals clicking behind him. He sat down in a chair, leaning his elbows against the table and resting his chin in his hands.
After a few moments of silence, he reached across the desk and poked my cheek with his finger and murmured something that clearly was not a real word. "Ya-su!" he finished in a sing-song voice. I could feel a smile tugging at my lips as he poked my other cheek.
"How do you always manage to do that?" I asked, finally cracking a smile.
"Do what?" he asked cluelessly, clearly not aware of his ability to lighten the mood.
I rolled my eyes, and put the folder away, sighing. "I really don't want to talk about it."
"Talk about what?"
"Tadayoshi," I replied, knowing that I had fallen into the older man's trap, and that we would indeed be talking about it.
"Ah," he said. "I really didn't know you were one of us, Shota."
"One of 'us'?" I questioned, raising an eyebrow.
"You know..." he lifted his hand and wiggled it daintily, "gay."
"That's because I'm not," I replied haughtily, sick of other people's concern with my love life.
"Shingo has trouble with admitting it too, you know. That's usually the trait of a seme," he winked at me and I stared in horror.
"We all know you guys are an item, but I didn't need to know who is the attacker and who is the receiver," I made a disgusted face, but the truth is that I wasn't very disturbed by the information.
"So," he began, clearly done with the jokes. "You and Tadayoshi..."
I shook my head, not wanting to even think about it, let alone talk about it. "There is no Tadayoshi and me."
"Really? Then why was he in your office at two in the morning? And why is your shirt un-tucked? And why do you look so guilty?"
"What happened tonight will never happen again," I replied, while I re-tucked my shirt into my pants.
"Why not?" He asked, a slight disappointment to his voice.
"Because I told Murakami that I would stay away from Tadayoshi," I started.
"No," Maru countered. "You promised that you wouldn't be his therapist anymore. You never said anything about leaving Tadayoshi alone altogether."
"We both know what he meant. And I agree with him. It's wrong and unprofessional to get involved with Tadayoshi. Even if he wasn't a patient, he's still underage and..."
"A man?" Maru finished for me. "Who cares?"
"I care..." I was starting to get mad.
"For a gay guy, you're a bit of a homophobe," Maru continued. "But it must be hard living your whole life thinking you're straight only to find out that you're a homo."
"I am not a homosexual," I ground out, clenching my teeth.
"What are you then? Tadayoshi-sexual?" He joked.
My headache had my entire head throbbing in pain, and I covered my eyes with my hands, rubbing at my eyelids roughly. "I really don't want to talk about this."
Maru reached across the desk and pulled my hands away from my face. "You're my friend, Shota. I want you to be happy, so I will stand by your side and support you. Don't let this job or Shingo stop you."
"Its not that easy," and I knew I was whining. Even if I did want to be with Tadayoshi, there was no way I would admit it.
"It is. You like him, he likes you. See how easy it is?"
I knew that this was an argument that I would never win, so I begrudgingly promised Shota that I would not close the door entirely on my relationship with Tadayoshi. Of course, I had no intention of ever upholding that promise.
The sun was beginning to rise, and Shingo, addicted to work was the first to arrive for the morning shift, bright and early. "How was your night?" he asked as Maru handed him a mug that said 'World's Greatest Doctor', filling it with coffee.
"Eventful," Maru piped up, probably trying to keep me from spilling any details about what had happened between myself and our newest patient. "Nishikido had a temper tantrum last night."
I turned to Murakami then, "He's convinced that someone stole something from his room."
"What do you think?" Murakami asked me.
"Well, it happened during quiet hours, so I don't know who could have done it. But he was really upset about it. It was something very meaningful to him. I don't think its a matter of just misplacing it," I concluded.
"I see. What is the plan of action then?" Murakami asked me.
"I think that we should conduct a room search," I suggested.
"Okay." Murakami walked over to the the microphone on the desk, pressing the intercom button so that his voice came out in a loud boom over the loud speakers. "Good morning staff and patients. This morning we will be conducting a room search. Any unauthorized items will be confiscated, and if we find that any rules have been broken, you will be subjected to punishment."
"I can stay and help," I offered as Murakami put the microphone down on the desk.
"Are you sure?" he asked and I nodded my head in reply. "What are we looking for?"
"A photo album," I replied, describe it to Murakami.
"We'll start here on the bottom floor, then. Are you staying too, Ryuhei?"
Maruyama nodded in reply and went to stand next to his lover. "Let's search together, Shin-chan."
Murakami glanced briefly at me, and I could see him blushing. "Let's go," he grabbed Maru's hand. "Yasuda, you check the rooms on the right side of the hall. We'll get the left side." And with that he was knocking on the first door, announcing his entrance.
"Yasuda!" I heard someone call, and looked up to see Subaru heading towards me. When he reached me, he asked in a low voice, "What's going on?"
"Something was stolen from a patient's room last night..." I answered in a low voice. I knew I probably shouldn't be telling patients this kind of information, but I think that Subaru was a soft spot for all of us. He was like the clinic's pet or mascot, and held in higher regard and admiration than any other patient.
"Its been a few months since something this exciting has happened," Subaru smiled, rubbing his hands together. "But if they are doing a search, I should probably hide my stash of dirty magazines."
Although I knew about the magazines, I also knew that they probably shouldn't have been in Subaru's possession. Some of the staff would argue that it was counter-productive to his rehabilitation.
"Wait," I called after him, remembering that there was something I wanted to talk to him about. "Have you talked to Yokoyama lately?" I asked.
A flash of some unknown emotion crossed his face, and he turned away from me before I could properly scrutinize it. "No."
He began walking away from me, and I called out to him, "Subaru!"
He turned to me again, fixing his face with a very fake looking smile. "Yeah?"
"Did something happen?" I questioned.
He shook his head, the fake smile still plastered to his face. "No."
But I didn't believe him, and as he turned and walked back to his room, I wondered what had happened. I didn't have time to think about it though, as the door opened and Murakami and Maruyama reemerged from the room they had been searching.
"You're still just standing around?" the doctor scolded me. "Get to work!"
I sighed and let out a large exhale, opening the door to the first room, my head still pounding a bit.
A/N: Again, the comments totally made my day. It really sucks going to school full time and then coming home to a full-time job every night. I always look forward to reading your comments and replying to them (even uchikins spazztastic ones xD). Thanks, and I hope you enjoyed this chapter. The next one is on its way!