Once out in the main salon, Chiyoko and Sakura keep a close eye on him.
Sakura explains the situation to Miki at the bar that night, and Barkeep explains that Rintaro dated Kasumi for more than 10 years. He thought they'd get married, but then one day they split up and she got married soon after. Miki says it's probably better not to know everything about someone before marriage, then bemoans the fact that she never had a big wedding herself.
Shima walks in and Miki makes an excuse and runs out. Sakura apologizes to Shima and tells her Miki isn't ready yet and then follows Miki out. (Sakura also pays Barkeep, saying "Keep the change," completely ignoring his objections that it's actually not enough. Ha.)
Rintaro comes home and has a serious talk with Kasumi. She explains that she felt trapped in her marriage and told her husband she wanted a divorce. He assumed she had cheated and Rintaro correctly guesses that he hit her. She reassures him that she's okay now, but that's why she had to leave.
After Rintaro bitterly points out that she left him too, she answers that she wanted to always be in love with him, but she didn't want to marry him. She comes up behind him and gives him a backhug. He turns and she reaches up to kiss him. He kisses back.
The ever-subtle Sakura leans out over her balcony trying to spy on them. Miki pulls her to safety and Sakura performs the old glass-on-the-wall trick. But they've gone quiet, and the women giggle thinking about what Rintaro and Kasumi could be up to.
The next morning Sakura finds a delicious breakfast prepared by Miki. Miki says that housework is the only thing she's good for, and Sakura points out how much it helps her family. Miki cries that her skills just helped her husband cheat with her friend, but Sakura interjects that they don't really know anything yet. She quickly and easily makes her laugh by saying Itadaki-mambo (complete with a song and dance), instead of the usual Itadakimasu at the beginning of a meal.
MIL complains that she can't find anything in the kitchen, and Kohei can't find any shirts to wear to work.
Sakura practices sexy ways to welcome someone (Hiroto) to the salon. When he shows up, she exaggeratedly shows him around, walking sexily and flipping her hair. The junior employees gather near Rintaro and exclaim over what a cute couple they are, despite the age difference.
Sakura's a bit nervous to cut the hair of the guy she likes and fumbles a bit getting Hiroto ready. Rintaro is also extra clumsy, dropping his scissors. Hiroto stares at Sakura in the mirror and she teases him for it. They flirt for a bit until two employees beg them to act more professional. Rintaro is so lost in thought that he completely ignores one of the stylists requests for a color check until Sakura intervenes and gets his attention. Hiroto glares after him when he walks by.
Shima meets Kohei to apologize. They play a game of Round Robin Apologies and then bemoan the fact that they still haven't learned to act like responsible adults, as a train of couples pass in front, starting with little kids through adolescence, adulthood, and old age.
Sakura and Hiroto make plans to meet at a hotel in a few days.
Sakura dances around the back and notices Rintaro sighing to himself. She teases him about staying up all night with Kasumi, but he assures her that that's not his problem. He gets word that Chiyoko is waiting for him and Sakura warns him against two-timing. He thinks about Hiroto's warning, and agrees to go to lunch with Chiyoko.
That night, Sakura tries unsuccessfully to get Miki down to the bar, where Shima is waiting to have a talk. Later, Miki and Kohei both have a hard time sleeping. Kohei even cuddles Miki's pillow in his loneliness.
Miki meets her kids on their way home from school. Her daughter asks if they're getting a divorce and she explains that they're not—they've had a big fight that's going to take a while to work out. She decides to have them stay the night with her at Sakura's place.
Hiroto and Chiyoko go shopping for suits together for his big interview with their dad's company. He asks how things are going with Rintaro and she tells him about Kasumi being back in the picture, but vows that she won't let that woman interfere after all her hard work. Hiroto even pays for himself (*gasp*) and warns Chiyoko not to do anything rash.
Rintaro teaches a styling class and he and Sakura get in a fight over how irritable he's been lately. In the middle of their bickering, Kasumi shows up with food for everyone. The guys all fawn over her and her food, while the women gossip and complain. Rintaro keeps shooting daggers at Sakura as she pretends not to care.
Kasumi talks on the phone on the stairs outside and Chiyoko comes behind her and reaches out towards her back. (Sooo creepy!) At the last moment, Sakura grabs her and drags her away for a little talk. Chiyoko says with a creepy smile that she wasn't going to particularly shove Kasumi, she just wanted to talk. Yeah, that whole "particularly" part is what worries me.
Chiyoko tells Sakura that Kasumi is the person who hurt Rintaro until he was ragged. She just wants to warn her away from him. Sakura tells her that if she really loves Rintaro, she needs to just tell him openly. He'd respond so much better that way. Chiyoko snaps back that Sakura has obviously never been hurt, or she wouldn't say such things. (Sakura's expression says otherwise, though, if you ask me.)
As Chiyoko leaves in a huff, Shima comes in and discusses with Sakura how to explain things to Miki. She admits that she wants to reconcile the unhappy couple, even if it means the end of her friendship with Miki. She asks Sakura why she hasn't said anything about seeing her with Kohei, and Sakura wisely says that she's not getting involved there.
Shima gives Sakura a present for her big hotel date, and Sakura unwraps the sexy lingerie there at the bar. Hilariously, in the background, a man cranes his neck and stares as she holds it up, and his girlfriend/wife grabs his face and turns it away.
Sakura models her dress for Miki and Miki comments on how rejuvenated she's been since meeting Hiroto. Hiroto waits outside the hotel and they marvel at how nice the other looks (passing a Philly Love sculpture on their way).
Inside on the stairs, Sakura realizes it's where they met and Hiroto kneels and calls her Cinderella. She wipes the drool off her chin and they head up to the room.
It's also the room they first stayed in, and Hiroto put in a lot of effort to make it special for her first birthday they're celebrating together, even strewing the bed with roses. They flirt and take pictures, each one sneaking kisses at the last moment.
Kasumi chatters with Rintaro about having a date on his next day off, and he responds by drinking more. (He sure drinks a lot when Kasumi is around.) She tries the backhug seduction method again, but he's unresponsive. She leaves. He almost follows her, but his heart's not in it.
Kohei brings flowers to Sakura's place and begs Miki for forgiveness over the 'com, but she doesn't answer.
Despite his earlier rule that they not get drunk, Hiroto's well on his way. Sakura tries desperately to get him interested in something other than the wine and cheese, pulling her bathrobe off her shoulders, posing "sexily" on the bed, even dropping her cheese in her bra, but he doesn't even look at her and keeps asking for a refill.
He turns maudlin and confesses to injuring a girl once. He explains that his parents divorced when he was young. Shortly thereafter, his mother died and he went to live with his father, who had remarried a woman with a daughter a year younger than him. One day when their parents were gone he tried to make donuts, but the pan spilled and the oil burned down her back. He was too scared to do anything and waited until their parents got home. Sakura points out that this was an accident, and he agrees, but says that he was jealous that the girl was so beloved by their parents, and especially his dad, and hoped something would happen to her. So, he feels that he's just as guilty as if he'd done it intentionally.
That poor girl will always have that scar, and has even told him that she's never been able to let anyone else see it. Now they're doomed to a warped relationship for all eternity. Sakura pulls his head onto her shoulder and cradles it, wiping away his tears. I think someone needs lessons on How to MakeYour Girlfriend's Birthday Not all About You. (Although I'm also sure Sakura is more mature than I am and is just grateful he opened up to her.)
Hiroto wakes up in the morning and gets upset that he kinda messed things up. He tears at his bathrobe and says "Then let's do it now!" (Wow, such a romantic.) Sakura informs him that she has to go to work and reminds him that they can make those memories any time. She thanks him for making her birthday special and for confiding in her and he wrestles her a bit, trying to get her to have sex. (Yeah, still not romantic, buddy. Your game needs some serious work.)
At work, Sakura gets teased by her client about how happy she's been lately. Rintaro is pensive. Shima is distracted at her work, too. Kohei seems to have indigestion, and Miki sadly watches kids play. Chiyoko tries on a new dress and stares at her scar in the mirror.
Hiroto heads to his interview, but gets a text on the way. It's from Naked Girl, telling him "I'm going to heaven with the child inside me." He dashes to her house and finds her lounging on her bed. She laughs that he believed her and asks why he's so dressed up.
He kneels and thanks her for everything she's done, but tells her it can't go forward. He asks her to break up, and she screams at him that he's foolish to be with that old woman. It will never work out. He replies that that may be true, but when he's with her, he feels like he can be a good person and he's never felt this way about anyone before. She yells at him to get out and cries when he's gone. (Please be the last we see of your craziness, Naked Girl.)
Kasumi chatters about old times with Barkeep as Rintaro sits, disengaged from the conversation. She says that they should all hang out and make new memories. Chiyoko comes and says that she was hoping to see Rintaro, since she felt sorry for herself at a friend's engagement party. Rintaro introduces her to Kasumi, and Chiyoko points out that she's a married woman. She remembers meeting a long time ago, and how happy Kasumi was to get married.
Kasumi politely apologizes for not remembering Chiyoko and Chiyoko asks if she's still happy. Kasumi answers that she is, but she's getting divorced. Chiyoko asks if that's why she came sniffing around Rintaro again and then asks him if Kasumi is so wonderful that he hasn't let her go. She yells that she doesn't want to see him like this and runs out. Kasumi urges him to go after her and says she'll be fine. He leaves but can't find Chiyoko.
Rintaro goes to the batting cages, where his game is really off, and Sakura corrects his stance from the next cage. It's a cute reversal of their earlier meeting there.
They sit and talk about their relationships. Rintaro digs around about Sakura's birthday date at the hotel and ribs her about her non-physical relationship. She asks about his relationship with Kasumi, and he admits that he doesn't love her like he thought he did. "Though I said I wouldn't forget her, it seems the only thing I couldn't forget was the grudge I thought I had abandoned." (Wise words.) He calls himself pathetic, and gets annoyed when she doesn't reassure him.
He asks her if she's going to get married, but she says she doesn't think that's what she wants this late in life. But she does want a child. Rintaro asks if she's told Hiroto, but she reminds him that Hiroto has his whole future ahead of him, and it's not something she can just bring up out of the blue. Plus, although he has dreams and plans for his future, her desires are all about having a child, and Hiroto would say he just wants to be together.
Rintaro says it's not good to use your partner's feelings. He used to think having tension was a good thing in a relationship, but now he just wants to be with someone he could be married to for the rest of his life. (Whoa, who is this guy, and what happened to the Rintaro who just wanted kids without marriage?)
Sakura says that tension can turn into love and he wonders if it could be a trigger. They ponder that for a moment, before their minds turn to their accidental kiss. They pointedly avoid looking at each other.
They go back to the cages and Sakura asks about his intentions with Chiyoko. He tells her he doesn't know yet, after some bickering about interfering in each others' romances. They go back to being friendly and laughing together.
The next day, Kasumi asks about Chiyoko being in love with Rintaro and tells him that she loves him too. But she's decided to give up gracefully so he can be happy with Sakura. He nods and then realizes what name she said. "Eh?!?" She points out that he's happier around Sakura than he is with her and that Sakura is so beautiful and that she's been jealous of her this whole time. Even when they were living together, he was distant, and she realizes it's because he wanted to be with Sakura even then.
She tells him that she just wants him to be happy, even if it means that she won't be okay for a while. But she also warns him that he needs to be clear with Chiyoko.
Sakura talks with Miki about her kids and asks when she's going to confront Shima and Kohei. Miki remembers a time in high school when their senior Shima stood up for her with a boy, and thinks that Shima probably wouldn't do something to ruin their friendship. She decides that it's time to talk to the two of them.
The doorbell rings, and Sakura runs to let the "delivery guy" in. It's Shima, though, there according to plan. However, Sakura's joy is dampened when she sees Rintaro peeking over Shima's shoulder.
MIL complains about the kitchen and Miki taking off. Kohei weakly tries to stop her and takes some pills. Finally, their daughter can't take it and screams at MIL about her treatment of Miki and blames all the family's problems on MIL. (Finally, SOMEONE stands up to MIL.) Kohei tries to step in, but falls to the ground clutching his stomach.
Miki gets a call to head to the hospital, and she and Sakura rush out, dragging Shima along. Sakura pauses long enough to tell Rintaro to take their pizzas inside. He does so, and is upset when he sees the pictures of Sakura and Hiroto that are everywhere.
Sorry it's taken so long to get this one out, everybody. It's been a crazy few weeks, and blogging just fell behind. Plus, the longer I waited to watch more than 5 minutes of this episode, the less desire I felt to get back into it.
But I'm glad I did. This episode is really moving things along in a good way. Last episode I was annoyed that they were bringing in the first love so late in the game. I'm just glad that she was only around for one episode, and she actually played a part in the overall story.
Firstly, and most importantly, she brought out even more of Chiyoko's psychotic side. (I'm a little sad they didn't actually let Chiyoko kill her, but whatevs, she still had more work to do.)
Secondly, she pointed out to Rintaro some facts he really needs to face. I mean, he's come to terms with loving Sakura, but I think he needed to know that his love actually makes him happy. He's been wallowing far too long in denial and gentlemanly restraint, but he seriously needs to step up his game. Now, if only Kasumi could have convinced him that Sakura's happiness is tied up in him, as well. That would be real progress.
And, lastly, Kasumi confirmed my suspicions from all the way back in the first episode that Rintaro has been carrying a torch for Sakura for a very long time. I find it very gratifying to get that confirmation.
I'm also glad that this episode finally dealt with the big burn scar mystery. That probably should have been coming out little by little over the course of the series, but at least now Sakura is aware of the toxic relationship Hiroto has, even if she's oblivious that the sister is Chiyoko.
I do hope that the next few episodes throw some tension between Sakura and Hiroto. Even though I don't particularly like him, I'm feeling less violently opposed to his relationship with Sakura. And I don't see any real reason, from Sakura's perspective, to give up the relationship she has with Hiroto for the infinitely more amazing Rintaro. I mean, they're just using the accidental kiss as her only incentive to even think about him that way. Which just makes me hate that scene even more. Because it's such a clumsy and silly plot device that doesn't really mean anything.