Author: Diary PM
Re-posted. Mameha reveals something to Nobu. Complete.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Angst - Words: 1,811 - Reviews: 7 - Favs: 13 - Follows: 1 - Published: 07-14-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7181063
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Disclaimer: I do not own Memoirs of a Geisha.
"What brings the Chairman here?" Mameha asks, bowing and pouring him some tea. Sitting down beside him on her small couch, she says nothing about the fact it is two in the morning. "My humble abode is not fit for a man of your stature." She is not merely speaking in rote; Mameha's small, somewhat dingy apartment is an embarrassment to her.
For a minute the Chairman sits quietly, content to sip his tea. Finally, he says, in a kind, painful voice, "You are a fool, Mameha."
Mameha is beyond surprised, but she tries to play it off. "Chairman! That is an unkind thing to say. No woman likes to hear that a man considers her a fool. If you think I am a fool you should offer me advice, explain to me why I am in the wrong."
He simply looks at her, and Mameha knows it is time for another serious conversation between the two. Usually she enjoys such talks, but occasionally, one of them will verbally strip the other down, force the other to face what they are trying to deny or rationalise. Sighing, Mameha pours herself a cup of tea. This going is to be one of those talks.
"You went against your word, Mameha."
The former geisha shakes her head, not bothering to pretend not to know what he means. "Not exactly, Chairman. I had to keep Sayuri away from you while Hatsumomo was still around; Nobu-san was the key to that, but I made sure he didn't get her. A plan you consented to. After that, after the war, you told me that if Sayuri chose him over you, you would let it be." She pauses. "You assumed I would take your side, that I would stop trying to get Nobu as her danna."
"I was foolish to not realise you wouldn't do that once I made it clear I didn't want to take his happiness away from him," he says.
"I do apologise, Chairman. I am not denying that I broke your trust, even if I didn't technically break our agreement. You have been a good friend to me for many years." Mameha feels self-hatred rise in her chest. "All I can do is apologise. Hopefully, one day, you can forgive me. If you can't or won't, I know I'm the only one to blame."
The Chairman looks at her with a mixture of disappointment and sympathy. "I forgave you for what you did to me long before Sayuri became my mistress, Mameha. Nobu is a better man than I will ever be, and I still hate myself for hurting him the way I did." He takes a sip. "You still have my trust. In a some ways, I did want you to do exactly what you did."
A small smile appears on her face. "Thank you, Chairman," she says, quietly bowing her head.
"However," he says, "I have not forgiven you for the pain you caused Nobu."
Mameha feels her heart break. Many years spent mastering her emotions is the one and only thing that keeps her from crying. She keeps her head bowed. "It was never my intention to hurt Nobu-san, Chairman. The whole reason I betrayed your trust was because I didn't want him to be hurt."
He reaches over and cups his hand under her chin. "I know." He gently forces her head up.
She avoids his making eye contact. "All I can do is apologise," she repeats.
"Look me in the eyes, Mameha. If Sayuri can, surely her big sister is capable."
Taking a breath, she forces her eyes to leave the wall and look into his. In a moment, she thinks, years of discipline or not, I will cry. "I've expressed my regret to you," Mameha says, unevenly. "If you wish, I will do the same with Nobu-san. Have you told him?"
"Not everything," he says, his eyes continuing to hold hers. "I told him of my arrangement with you and told him how it changed after the war. I explained my reasons. Now, it is time he heard your reasons. If you lie to him, Mameha, I will never trust again."
"I won't," she whispers.
"Perhaps. Tell me your reasons before you tell him." He lets go of her chin.
Mameha drinks some tea. After her throat is not so dry, she begins. "You asked me to help Sayuri become a geisha. At first, I accepted because you were a friend. Then, I saw a way to use Nobu-san and Sayuri to destroy Hatsumomo. When I realised Nobu-san was falling for Sayuri I tried to both advance Sayuri's career and, at the same time, foil his chances of achieving his goal of becoming intimate with her. After the war, I tried to help him become her danna."
"Yes, all that is true," the Chairman grants. "But Nobu also will want to know your reasons. That is what I think you might lie about."
"I won't," she says with a little bit of her former, quiet poise. "I did it to help a friend. I did it to destroy an enemy. I did it to try and prevent another friend from an affliction that I had inadvertently set in motion."
The Chairman sighs. "I am disappointed in you, Mameha. Even now, you will not admit the real reasons. You are a fool in more ways than one."
"I am being truthful," Mameha says, a little more of her dignity returning.
He stands up. "Partially. Do what you want, Mameha." His tone is resigned, defeated.
The Chairman starts to walk towards the door but stops and turns. "Nobu thinks he isn't man enough to please a woman. Yet, that isn't true, is it? He can please one woman without even a touch, can't he, Mameha?"
Mameha stands up, not saying anything. She doesn't bother trying to control or hide her red face. "You've known?"
A pitying look is her answer. "Goodbye, Mameha. I am not angry. If still want it, I give you my forgiveness for hurting Nobu. Let me just say, though, that only two people know the truth, now. I won't ever bring it up, again, but it will come up. You can't destroy it. No matter how much you try, no matter how many more years you attempt to." He puts on his coat and kisses her cheek, and then he walks out of the door and closes it.
Mameha numbly locks the door and slides her robe off.
She goes to bed and dreams of nothing.
She doesn't dream of the first time she met the scarred, condescending President Nobu.
She doesn't dream of the conversations they've had over the years.
She doesn't dream of the way he gruffly put a hand on her shoulder after the last two times she had an abortion and told her she should find a different danna. According to him, any man who would force a woman to either give birth or to have an abortion against her wishes was a man without honour.
She doesn't dream about the first time her heart speed up when he laughed at a joke she had told and how warm it had felt when his fingers had brushed across hers as he accepted a cup of tea from her.
All the things she doesn't dream of certainly don't wake her up, unnaturally warm and aching, with his name on her lips.
"Mameha, what are you doing here?"
The former geisha stays kneeling, her head bowed. "Forgive me my trespass, Nobu-san. The Chairman let me into your office. I also apologise for appearing so late, but I thought it would be better to talk to you after you were done with your work, rather than before."
"You're welcome here," he says, brusquely. "That being said, what are you doing here?"
She takes a breath. "I came to apologise for actions regarding you, my little sister, and the Chairman."
"Stand up, Mameha," he orders. "And go home. I forgive you. I've forgiven Sayuri and the Chairman as best I can. Now, I'll do the same for you."
Mameha does stand but doesn't leave. She raises her head, too. "You would make a good husband or danna, Nobu-san. You are too honourable to be both, but why don't you be at least one? There are other women besides Sayuri."
"Leave." The word is sharp and terse. It is obvious he is getting angry.
The sensible part of her is tempted.
"I apologise, Nobu-san," she says, quietly. "That was both rude and inappropriate. I have some information I feel you should know, will you permit me to share it?"
"Do it quickly," the scarred man says. "I am not above calling security, Mameha."
She takes a deep breath. "Nobu-san was in the army," she says. "He knows the difference between a pulse racing with disgust and one racing with desire."
Mameha moves quickly before he can call security and grabs his one arm. He flinches, and she knows that he almost hit her, not out of malice but pure instinct. Carefully, she wraps his fingers around her wrist.
"Please, look me in the eyes, Nobu-san," she says, feeling her palms start to sweat.
Startled, he does.
"I see you," Mameha tells him.
"You," she empathises.
His breath catches.
"I see your face, and it makes me sad and angry with the men who make war, but it doesn't disgust me." By now, her heart is beating too fast.
"I see your one-arm and five fingers. It makes sad, too, but I've had many dreams that no respectable woman should have about what your one arm and five fingers could do to me."
"I see the man who is coldly polite to everyone unless they refuse to leave him alone, then, he is very cruel." Hesitating, she, knowing their friendship is over, adds, "I see the man who would never manipulate a woman carrying his child into any decision. You'd make certain she was very sure, and then, you'd support her."
A look enters his eyes, and Mameha knows this is the point that he realises she's serious and not joking or mocking or any other rationalisation he might try to make. "If looking at you can make me react like this, it can to some other woman," she concludes.
Whether he answers or not, Mameha can't say. She's running out of the office, out of the building, with tears streaming down her face.