By the time I made it back to my apartment, I was nearly hyperventilating, my head dizzy and my breathing heavy. I wondered if Tadayoshi had made it home too, and how things were going with his father.
After meeting Ohkura Hideo personally, I was familiar with what type of human being he was. The chances of him letting Tadayoshi come back to me were slim. To him, Tadayoshi was not someone who deserved to be loved and treasured, but a toy to assert control over. I did not like Tadayoshi's father, and he had made it perfectly clear that he didn't care for me much either. Even if he realized how happy I made his son, he wouldn't care.
I kept the lights off as I entered my apartment, preferring to sit alone in the dark. I had no appetite and though I was mentally exhausted, there was no way I would be able to sleep until I knew that Tadayoshi was safe.
By the next day, the situation between Tadayoshi and me would be clear. He would either, by some act of God, be back here with me or I would not see him again.
If it was the latter, I hoped that he would be able to remember our promise. He was still well over a year away from being able to legally leave home and although I knew that I could wait that long, I wondered if he would be able to.
A year was a long time to be apart from someone you loved, and I worried that he would forget about me or the time we spent together. The more I thought about the situation, the more I came to the realization that it was probably over between the two of us.
I tried my hardest to stay to positive until I knew for sure what would happen the next day. It was hard to stay positive though, when I felt so lonely and the only company I had were my dark thoughts.
I woke up at around five in the morning, and I couldn't remember when I had fallen asleep. I must have drifted off sometime in the middle of the night. I sat up, noticing that I had left the television on all night. My thought drifted away from this however, and I wondered where Tadayoshi was at that moment. I wondered if he was sleeping soundly, if he would be back with me in a few hours.
My thoughts drifted back to him and our current situation, and again, I found myself on the edge of a panic attack. I took a few deep breaths and chanced a look at the clock. An hour had quickly passed since I had woken up, and I knew that I would have to get ready for work soon.
I sat up, grimacing at the pain that shot through my body. Rubbing at my lower back I pulled myself off of the sofa. Immediately, my thoughts drifted back to Tadayoshi and the state he was currently in. The desperateness I felt at not knowing how he was seemed to only be increasing and I wondered how I would possibly get through the entire day.
I was simultaneously dreading and looking forward to that night. I dreaded it because I knew that Tadayoshi would not return and that I would be alone. On the other hand, I looked forward to it because I was sick of feeling the faint flashes of hope when I knew that it was not going to end well for us. More than anything, I wanted to get the inevitable heartbreak over with.
I don't know how I managed it, but I was able to shower and get dressed in record time. My thoughts were, of course, on Tadayoshi from the moment I woke up, to when I got dressed, when I walked out the door, when I stepped onto the train, until I made it to the clinic.
“Good morning.” Yokoyama greeted cheerfully from his usual spot near the coffee pot.
I nodded in reply, barely paying attention to my surroundings as I headed towards my office. I did not, however, miss the raised voices I heard coming from Murakami's office.
Hesitantly, I moved closer to the door, desperate for anything that would take my mind off of Tadayoshi and the coming night.
“Are you sure about this?” I heard Murakami's voice fill with emotion, cracking as the words left his mouth.
“Yes.” I heard Maruyama answer calmly.
“Okay, then.” The emotion that had previously saturated his voice was gone, and what was left was an odd monotone, completely devoid of any emotion.
I heard footsteps come closer to the door and quickly turned, pretending I had heard nothing. The door opened and closed quickly, and I chanced a look over my shoulder.
Maruyama was standing with his back to the wall, a hand covering his face as his shoulders shook. He was crying.
I stepped a bit closer to him and, not wanting to sound pushy, tentatively asked, “Maru, are you okay?”
He drew in a shaky breath and when he dropped his hand from his face, I could see that his eyes were red and watery. He nodded.
I stood in front of him then, looking into his face. “Are you sure?”
He sobbed out loud then and wrapped his arms around me, wailing in my ear, not loud enough for Shingo to hear, but loud enough to make my ears ring.
“What happened?” I asked, patting his back.
“I just gave my two weeks notice,” he mumbled miserably into my shoulder.
I stood there for a moment, letting the information sink in. Finally, I found my tongue. “You're leaving?”
I felt him nod against my shoulder. “I can't stay here. It's too hard being around Shin-chan everyday.”
I hugged him tighter, wondering to myself why people weren't allowed to be happy. Yoko and Subaru, Shingo and Maru, even Nishikido and Uchi could not be together. And my thoughts drifted back to Tadayoshi as I wondered what the point of falling in love was if it always seemed to end in miserable heartbreak.
“And Shingo was fine with it?” I asked, remembering the way our boss' voice had sounded earlier.
Maru looked up at me and a dark look crossed his face, making me wonder if the question was out of line. “It doesn't matter. He's my employer. I am sure if there is any reason he wants me to stay, its because he doesn't want to lose an employee.”
I shook my head. “That's not true. You know he cares about you.”
“I have to get back to work now,” Maruyama changed the subject, standing up straight and running his hands nervously over his wrinkled scrubs.
“Maru,” I began.
He cut me off, “I know you're trying to help and I appreciate it, but I don't want to hear it. It'll never work out between us and I need to move on. I can't do that if I'm around him all the time. So as a friend, please support my decision.”
I nodded, feeling scolded. I said nothing more as Maruyama turned around and left me standing alone in the hallway, a disgusting feeling of despair washing over me.
I had wanted a distraction from my Tadayoshi-centric thoughts, and although my meeting with Maruyama had served that purpose, I was left feeling more helpless than before. A pain had filled my chest and I wondered if this was the beginning of heartbreak.
I didn't want to be alone in my office, knowing exactly where my thoughts would lead. I set my briefcase in my office and didn't even bother turning the lights on before leaving again. I needed something to distract me and anything would do.
I was half-tempted to go to Murakami and make him talk Maru into staying. But, Maruyama had supported my relationship with Tadayoshi all this time and I owed him. Even if I could not agree with his feelings or even support them, I would respect his wishes and not interfere in his relationship anymore.
I found myself in the reception area, where Maruyama was making a fresh pot of coffee while Yokoyama chattered on about something. I joined them, smiling brightly at Maruyama when our eyes met. A look of gratitude crossed his face briefly before he handed me a cup of coffee.
“Good morning,” I returned Yokoyama's earlier greeting.
“Yasuda!” He clapped a hand on his shoulder. “Feeling better? How was your weekend?”
I nodded, “My weekend was nice.”
Our conversation was interrupted as the doors to the clinic burst open and the man I recognized as Ryo's father charged in. I stood up, straightening myself, “I told you that you aren't welcomed in here.”
“I have a court order,” he held a document in front of my face.
“Go get Murakami,” I said and Maru nodded, quickly leaving.
“Let me see my son,” He gritted out, and his fists balled up.
Suddenly, I felt a little worried for my safety and was thankful as Yokoyama stepped forward, unsnapping his holster and pulling out his gun. “Calm down, sir.”
“I have permission from the court to see him, so go get him,” he growled at me.
I looked to Yoko for help and he leaned forward, whispering in my ear. “This guy is a yakuza boss. Go get Ryo.”
I nodded and hurried off to get Nishikido. I couldn't agree with doing this, though I knew I had no choice. Ryo had accused his father of shooting him and his father had basically admitted it. He was a dangerous man and I did not want him around my patient. Yoko must have been right about him being a high up member of the yakuza. He clearly had the power to convince a judge to let him see his son.
I threw open Ryo's door without knocking. “Ryo,” I was out of breath when he looked up at me from his spot on the bed.
“What do you want?” He shot me an annoyed look and I knew that he was in a bad mood that day.
“Your dad is here?”
He paled considerably before standing up and throwing the manga he had been reading in my direction. I dodged it. “I don't want to see him.”
“You don't have a choice,” I answered, feeling a little frightened as he balled up his fists the same way his father had.
“You're my therapist. You know what an asshole he is so do your fucking job and make him leave.”
“He has an order from the court to see you. There is nothing I can do.”
“I ain't going.” He answered, sitting back down on his bed and crossing his arms angrily over his chest.
Murakami and Maruyama joined me then. “What's going on?” The older of the two asked, clearly out of breath.
“Ryo's dad is here.” I pointed to our patient, “And Ryo won't go see him. His dad has a court order.”
“What is the problem? Why won't he see his father?” Murakami usually stayed out of the mental health treatment of our patients, focusing mainly on running the clinic and making sure they were physically well.
“His father is the one that shot him,” I answered.
Murakami made a choking sound and looked over at Ryo who returned the doctor's awestricken gaze with one of defiance. “Well...” Murakami began, clearly not sure what to say.
“I'm not going,” Ryo reiterated.
“Ryo,” I pleaded. “If you don't go see him now I am afraid that he will go back to the judge and get an order to take you out of here.”
Ryo stared down at the floor, clenching his jaw, in thought.
“We both know he can pay off any judge until he gets what he wants,” I continued. “So lets just go see what he wants. We won't leave you alone with him.”
Ryo stood up, knowing that he had no choice. We both understood that a man who would shoot his own son would stop at nothing to get what he wanted. He walked slowly to the door, following us from the room.
Out in the hallway, Subaru joined us. He seemed to have a knack for knowing when something exciting was happening. “What's going on?” he asked as he followed us to the front area of the clinic.
I shook my head in reply, too concerned with the current situation to answer him. He seemed to understand the gravity of the situation, but it did not stop him from continuing to follow us.
In the lobby, Yokoyama was trying to calm down Nishikido, with very little success. I felt Subaru stiffen next to me and when I looked over at him, his eyes were focused on Yoko's hand, which was hovering over his holster.
I rushed forward, pulling Ryo along with me and when his father saw him he calmed down considerably. Ryo clenched his jaw in silence and turned his nose up at his father defiantly.
“Ryo,” he smiled a strange, wicked smile and I felt a chill go down my spine.
“What do you want?” Ryo ground out.
His father grabbed his arm roughly. “I want you to come back to Tokyo with me.”
Ryo winced in pain and his father let go of his arm before Yoko had a chance to say or do something to stop him. “You always were so weak,” he laughed.
The door opened again and everyone turned, focused on the out of breath young man standing in the doorway. Uchi Hiroki stomped forward, grabbing Nishikido's father and pushing him away. “I told you not to come here again.”
“Get out of my way,” He pushed Uchi aside and stepped towards his son.
“Don't forget who you work for,” Uchi ground out, his voice sounding dangerous.
Ryo's father turned around, facing Uchi once more. “I haven't. I work for your old man, not you.” He turned his attention back to Ryo, grabbing the young man by the collar of his shirt.
Before Yokoyama had a chance to pull his gun from the holster, Uchi was already standing next to Ryo's father, a pistol pressed against the old man's temple. “Let go of him,” He ground out, his finger curling tightly around the trigger.
A silence fell over the room as everyone watched, with bated breath, at the scene transpiring in front of them. Yokoyama pulled his gun from his holster, pointing it at Uchi. “Drop the gun.”
Uchi's finger wound tighter around the trigger and he said in an even, calm voice, “I said let go of Ryo.”
The older man clenched his jaw, easing his hold on Ryo, but still not letting go. Ryo's eyes were clenched tightly shut, a small voice escaping his lips as he whispered, “Hiro, please don't. Just drop the gun. I hate this. I hate you like this.”
Uchi turned his attention from Ryo's father to Ryo. He lowered the gun, “I'm done with this.” His voice sounded serene. “I'm done with this lifestyle, and I am done with you,” he said to the older of the two Nishikido men.
Ryo's father laughed, “You want to be weak like Ryo now?”
Uchi set the gun on the floor and kicked it towards Yokoyama, who bent over quickly picking it up. “Ryo isn't weak. You're the weak one and I am too. But that's over now. I don't want you in my life anymore.”
“That's not your choice to make,” Ryo's father said in reply, letting go of his son and stepping closer to Uchi.
“It is my choice. This is my life, and I don't want you to be a part of it anymore. I don't care what my old man says, I don't need protection from the Yakuza.”
“Fine. I'll just take Ryo and leave.” He turned back to Ryo.
“Ryo isn't going anywhere,” Uchi said, his voice filling the room.
“I am not working for you anymore. You can't order me around.”
Uchi stepped forward, “You don't work for me, but don't forget that my dad is the one who funds your little organization,” he spat out. “You'll leave Ryo alone if you want to keep it that way.”
Ryo's father turned back to his son and said one final, “This isn't over,” before storming out of the clinic.
Silence filled the room once more before, “You idiot!” Ryo shouted at Uchi.
For a moment Uchi stood in shock, and then a slow smile spread across his face and he said sheepishly, “What?”
Tears sprang from Ryo's eyes and he wiped at them furiously, not wanting anyone to see his weak moment. “What were you thinking bringing a gun here?”
Uchi looked ashamed then. “I wasn't thinking. I just blew it when I figured out where your dad was. I'm sorry Ryo. I know I don't deserve your forgiveness, but I'm sorry. I know it won't mean anything to you, but I meant it when I said I am done with that kind of lifestyle.”
Ryo didn't say anything, still wiping at his face. I was suddenly aware that the room was much too crowded and I turned to the two young men, “Why don't we talk about this in my office?”
Ryo nodded, and the pair followed me to my office. I turned around, watching as Ryo grabbed Uchi's hand, holding it tightly, and for the first time that day, my heart was filled with hope. I thought, perhaps, that everything had a way of working out itself in the end.
Silence filled my office as both Ryo and Uchi sat awkwardly in my office. I thought for a moment that it would be best to leave the two alone to discuss things. I knew I was showing sympathy for the pair. My own relationship had reached a critical point and I wasn't sure whether it would survive or not. As a result, I knew that I was rooting the pair on because I wanted to think that love could conquer everything else.
But I was also Ryo's therapist, and I had to think about his well-being. I didn't know if Uchi, or even a romantic relationship, would be good for a struggling drug addict with an anger management problem. I had to think about what was best for him, not what would ease the tension I was currently feeling over Tadayoshi.
I sighed in to the silence before saying, “Why don't we start from the beginning?”
Uchi looked over at Ryo and when it was clear that the older man wasn't going to say anything. “Well, I suppose it started a long time ago. As far back as I can remember, Ryo was always with me. Our parents both worked for Ohkura Hideo.”
I nodded. I had a pretty good idea how the beginning of the story went.
“He was my best friend all through childhood. He was the only person there for me when my mom died, when I found out Hideo was my dad, and he even moved with me to Tokyo. And slowly, the feelings of friendship we had turned into something more.” He blushed, and Ryo looked away, as though this was the first time these thoughts and feelings had ever been expressed out loud.
“I didn't know then what his father was. I was too young to understand,” Uchi continued. “My whole life felt like it was falling apart. Ryo and I were going to different schools. He was making new friends and I felt like I had nothing. I had become so angry about everything in my life and Ryo was the only person who was ever there for me. Suddenly it felt like I was losing him.
“I spent more time around the house, more time around Ryo's dad, and slowly I began to see how powerful he was. He seemed to have money, people respected him, he got what he wanted when he wanted it. And I thought that it was a perfect way to live. If I could be more like him, I could have Ohkura Hideo's life. I could get back at Tadayoshi. I could keep Ryo by my side forever.”
I looked over at Ryo, and he was staring at his lap, listening intently. I realized that this was, in fact, the first time Uchi Hiroki had honestly spoken about his feelings.
Uchi continued, “Ryo's dad wanted Ryo to follow in his foot steps and take over the family business. He seemed to think that I had some kind of power over Ryo, that I could make him do whatever I wanted. And it wasn't long before I realized that he was right. I told Ryo to stop hanging around with his friends, that I was the only friend he needed, and he stopped. I told him to drop out of school, and he dropped out. I was the one who gave him his first taste of drugs, I was the one who involved him in the yakuza.” He hung his head in shame.
I sat back in my chair. “Ryo?”
My patient said nothing, still focusing intently on the floor.
“Its okay. I don't expect him to say anything. I ruined his life. I don't deserve to even apologize to him.”
Ryo shook his head, “Thank you for apologizing. I know that its sincere. But I am not ready to forgive you. All these years, I've loved you and would have been willing to do anything for you. But I need to be on my own for now. One day when I am better, I will be able to forgive you. ”
Uchi nodded, standing up. “I understand.”
Ryo stood up too, and I looked back and forth between the pair. “I'll see you again when I am ready to forgive you.”
Uchi nodded and watched as Ryo left the room. He then glanced at me, a panic stricken look crossing his face. “I should go,” he headed towards the door.
I wondered what would make him look at me that way, and then suddenly I realized that he must have seen Tadayoshi if he is staying at Hideo's house while he is in town. “Wait,” I called.
Uchi paused and I heard him swear under his breath. “Yeah?” he asked, turning back to me.
“Did you see Tadayoshi?” I asked.
He sighed, nodding. “I saw him.”
“And?” I asked, wondering if he knew what was going on.
“Is he safe? Is he coming back? Will I see him again?” The questions came spilling out in one breath.
“He's fine. That's as much as I know. I'm sorry.” He turned and quickly left the room.
I had the feeling, based on the look he had cast me and the quick escape he had made, that Uchi knew more than he was saying. And based on his reaction, the knowledge he had did not seem like something I would like to hear.
I knew that I had my answer. Tadayoshi was not coming back.
This chapter turned out to be too long for LJ, so click the link below for part two.
Chapter 16 - Part 2