After Tanihara finally comes to terms with his feelings for Saji, things are getting hot and heavy in the bedroom. But in the midst of their passion, Tanihara wonders how he ever managed to find himself in this position. At one point in his life he had been married, but it was a failure, and before long, it ended in divorce. The idea that he is now dating a man comes as a bit of a shock to him. But while he doesn’t feel any regret about it, there is one problem.
Saji enjoys cuddling after sex. Tanihara on the other hand can’t stand it, and wants to pull away. Saji wonders if his arm is too hard for Tanihara’s head to lie on, and offers to put a pillow on top. However, Tanihara insists that that is NOT what the problem is, and stammers out that it’s sleeping face-to-face that he feels uncomfortable with. A look of relief crosses Tanihara’s face as Saji says he understands, only to be pulled into an embrace from behind instead.
Saji: “Then, how’s this?”
Tanihara: “Ehh? Umm..”
But that’s no good either, and Tanihara uncomfortably brushes Saji off. They’ve had this talk before, and Tanihara wishes Saji would just let it go.
He makes excuses, saying it’s too hot. Saji offers to turn on the AC, but Tanihara tell him not to waste electricity.
“…Then, can I hold your hand?” But Tanihara refuses. “Can I touch your hair?” He refuses again. “Then, how about watching your sleeping face?”
Tanihara throws an arm over his head, telling Saji to cut it out. But after hearing Saji’s laughter behind him, he realizes that he was being teased.
Saji apologizes, saying he couldn’t help it; he found Tanihara’s reaction to be interesting. Tanihara doesn’t get it, but before he can get an explanation out of Saji, Saji interrupts, asking if he can kiss him.
Saji: “Is kissing also not allowed?”
“You…don’t need to explicitly ask permission to do that, you know?” Tanihara immediately gives into the kiss, feeling more comfortable doing something more physical. After a while they slow down.
“You’re so interesting,” Saji tells him. He goes on to remark that even though Tanihara is so bold when it comes to sex, once it’s over he becomes “how should I say…innocent?”
Tanihara’s face flushes, and he rushes out the house, leaving a shocked and forlorn Saji behind. It’s impossible for Tanihara after all; he’s reached his limit.
Back at Tanihara’s shop the next day, Tanihara despairingly reflects on his behavior the night before. Saji sends him a text apologizing for teasing him too much, to which Tanihara replies not to worry about it. He slumps down at the counter, trying to convince himself that it was Saji who was an idiot for trying to cuddle in such hot weather. But he realizes that that isn’t what the issue is at all, and that the real problem lies with himself.
Just then, Tanihara is suddenly shaken out of his stupor as someone enters the shop- and it’s none other than Ryoumei! He’s dropped by to “boost sales” by buying a carton of cigarettes.
Having seen Tanihara slumped over the counter, he wonders if he’s been having trouble sleeping in such humid and hot weather. Tanihara insists that isn’t the case and goes to fetch a box of cigarettes and some tea from the back.
They exchange some small talk, Ryoumei remarking on how he never sees a customer in the shop. Tanihara retorts that Ryoumei just comes at bad times. Ryoumei really wonders if Tanihara’s and his shop will be alright however, but Tanihara just brushes it off with a halfhearted “who knows?”
Regardless, the shop is important to him, and he doesn’t want to ever have to close it down, no matter what happens.
Ryoumei teases Tanihara for always getting into the most difficult of projects, and never giving up on them. “You never change do you?”
Ryoumei: “You’ve always been like that. Once you get attached to something, you just can’t let it go, can you?”
Ryoumei decides to heads out, leaving Tanihara to his thoughts.
It’s true that he never thought of giving up on his shop. He was only able to obtain success with it through hard work. But he still knows how it feels to lose something important.
When he thinks about that in respect to his relationship with Saji… “I’ve completely fallen in love, haven’t I?”
He never wants to see again the expression on Saji’s face when he tried to break up with him before. So then, what should he do to make him happy?
Tanihara: “Sensei, will you give me a hug?”
Saji is floored. Tanihara makes sure to specify that he only wants a hug, not anything sexual. Saji, though confused, slowly complies. The embrace awkwardly lasts only a short while before Tanihara can’t take anymore and flushing, backs away again.
“I give, I give! Sorry, Sensei…I really tried, but I can’t do this after all.” Saji, though, is confused by the confession, responding with a worried, “You have to…try hard…?” He’s more than a little hurt, but Tanihara (still blushing) quickly tells him not to care about that. He just can’t help but feel like running away, when the positions for cuddling are usually the opposite for him, making him feel uneasy.
“Ah, that’s right…I keep forgetting you weren’t gay to begin with, since your body was fine with it. When it comes to sex, you don’t have much of an orientation, do you?”
Tanihara is a but uncomfortable with the turn the conversation has taken. “Ahh, well. I was surprised too, since it felt good…”
But since Saji is Tanihara’s “first man” (a phrase that makes Saji blush), things like being hugged while sleeping and sweet talking makes him feel weird. Saji, trying to understand, asks Tanihara what he did back when he dated women. It as a strange question to ask, and he doesn’t really want to think about it, but he wants to understand why Tanihara feels the way he does.
But when Tanihara says he just did the “usual” thing like giving arm-pillows and lip service, Saji realizes that it’s not that Tanihara hates cuddling… he just doesn’t like it with him.
“I understand,” he says. He won’t do things Tanihara dislikes and will do his best to maintain some distance between them, like they had before they were officially dating.
But Tanihara isn’t satisfied with that. He never wanted things to end up this way…so he decides he just needs to be a little more resourceful. He takes Saji’s glasses off, and calling his name, pulls him towards him.
“It’s not that I don’t want to do this with you, I’m just not used to it. So until then…is this ok?” Tanihara blushes, his face hidden above Saji’s head as he holds him close. Saji smiles and complies. He’s just happy that they are finally able to hug each other.
He laughs, excited that he gets to use Tanihara’s arm as a pillow. He teasingly asks if he’s going to get lip service too. Tanihara hesitates, but Saji threatens to do it instead if Tanihara doesn’t, so he complies.
Tanihara: “I… love you, Sensei… very much.”
Saji: “…Thank you.”
They kiss for a while, before Saji grabs Tanihara’s from behind and asks him if he’s up for some sex, since he had kept himself in check earlier. Tanihara gives in, but not before commenting on how Saji just can’t get enough.
TO BE CONTINUED…