Exhausted from his day with Tanihara and Chisuzu at the beach, Saji reflects on the strangeness–a welcome strangeness–of seeing Tanihara in his role as a father rather than as Saji’s lover.
But he was also made to bear witness to Tanihara in his role as an “ex-husband” as well, which was an altogether different sort of strangeness. He’s known for some time that Tanihara still speaks to his ex-wife and that because of Chisuzu, they’ll likely interact more like this for some time yet…but it’s still a reminder that he’s an outsider.
He wonders absently what Tanihara’s wife is like–it’s a different sort of weight from dealing with someone’s ex-girlfriends or boyfriends. He’s gay, and honestly the concept of marriage doesn’t really hit home with him, but at some point there had been a person who’d chosen to spend their life with Tanihara …
His phone buzzes with an incoming call–it’s Tanihara, calling to thank Saji again for coming along to the beach with them. While he’s at it, though, he apologizes awkwardly for the phonecall in the car–in other words, for forcing Saji to listen to him speak with his ex-wife. He’d been worried that Saji had felt equally awkward hearing the conversation.
Saji reminds him that they had Chisuzu with them–it would have been strange to ignore the call, so it couldn’t be helped. He’s perfectly fine.
Tanihara seems convinced, and they hang up–but Saji isn’t quite as ‘fine’ as he’d like to pretend. He knows how Tanihara feels about him–Chisuzu has even realized that her father no longer loves her mother more than anyone else–but he can’t manage to be happy with what he has.
Saji: ‘When I let my guard down in the slightest…greed rears its ugly head. I can’t be satisfied with the happiness I have right now. Greedy desire…for his past and future.’
Saji drops in for a visit to his grandfather at the hospital–where he runs into Yukihisa.
Yukihisa: “It’s been ages since I’ve seen you around here~!”
When Saji mentions he’d given his regards to the professors here at the university hospital, Yukihisa asks if this means he’s considering coming back to work here, but Saji turns him down. He really wants to succeed his grandfather and continue working at the clinic he’s at now–but the man simply won’t allow it.
Yukihisa urges him to just give up and come back to work at the hospital, but Saji maintains it’s not for him. But if he can’t somehow manage to convince his grandfather to give in and allow him to succeed the clinic…
Yukihisa’s beeper goes off as he’s called away, and he tells Saji to consult him if he needs any advice–which Saji agrees to do, albeit only after reminding Yukihisa that he still has a debt to repay and advice won’t cut it.
Yukihisa: “Ooh, but I’ll be happy to throw in some relationship advice too!”
Saji: “Thanks, but no thanks.”
It turns out the “help” that Tanihara’s ex desperately needed was waitstaff, and Tanihara is dressed to the nines and passing out wine and hors d’oevres to guests.
Eri: “Great work today! Thanks so much for helping out, Shuuji.”
Tanihara is rather put-out that he’s been called here for something like this, but Eri maintains that he knows the ropes–so he’s a lot more reliable than asking a newbie to fill in, which Tanihara can’t refute.
But it wasn’t just the job she needed him here for–she wanted to talk. About what? Chisuzu of course! When Tanihara asks if she’s finished getting everything ready to take in Chisuzu, she replies that she’s been ready since the very beginning–it had only been Chisuzu’s tearful begging that prompted her to allow Tanihara to keep her.
Eri admits that it was better for them all, as she’s always put work ahead of everything else, but they mutually agree that things have settled down now, and everything will probably work out if Chisuzu goes with her now.
They converse about Chisuzu, and when Eri mentions wanting to take her on a trip somewhere the next long vacation, Tanihara brings up the beach outing. Eri is shocked that Tanihara of all people would go to the beach, but he whips out his cellphone and shows her a picture of him and Chisuzu in bathing suits as proof.
Eri: “Wait, who…took this picture?”
She teases Tanihara for having a girlfriend, which he denies outright, but before Eri can wrangle the truth from him, a new face enters–Tsutsui, the club owner and Eri’s current man.
Eri takes her leave to see to a few rowdy customers, and Tsutsui settles in to have a rather awkward conversation with Tanihara.
Tsutsui explains that he’s always wanted to meet Tanihara–mostly to apologize, for he feels that he has “stolen” Eri from Tanihara, but Tanihara assures him he and Eri have already hashed everything out and moved on. Tsutsui is rather low-key and soft-spoken, nothing like what Tanihara would have expected of a cabaret club owner, and his serious, honest mien reminds Tanihara of Saji.
They chat about Eri for a bit, and Tsutsui asks to see a picture of Chisuzu, as he’s never seen her before. Tanihara watches him fawn over the picture, going on about how cute she is and how he wants to take her to an amusement park, and smiles fondly.
At his home, Saji is hunched over his laptop, recalling Yukihisa’s words from earlier.
Yukihisa: /”What’re you gonna do if you can’t convince him to let you succeed him?”/
Saji: “What, indeed…”
The screen before him advertises support…for doctors hoping to open their own private clinics.
TO BE CONTINUED…