Disclaimer: I do not own Peach Girl.
Timeline: Change of Heart, Book 9. It isn't very clear if Toji and Momo had slept together in book 8 but just for added drama, I say they did. This is still Momo/Kiley, it just turns out a different way. Also a bit of Sae/Toji.
"I'm trying to forget you as quickly as I can!" Momo yelled at Kiley. "So quit messing with my feelings!"
Momo's eyes began to tear up. She closed them and turned around. She couldn't even look at him anymore. Why hadn't he come to her that day in Shiranami? Things would be so different. It's too late now.
Kiley couldn't pretend anymore. He still wanted Momo back. He walked to Momo and embraced her from behind.
"No…" muttered Momo. "Stop it! Let me go! Let go! I hate it when you do stuff like this! You don't love me anyway."
Momo turned around, trying to get out of Kiley's embrace but Kiley just embraced her harder.
"Mo, I do love you," Kiley said softly.
Momo was stunned. It was a long time since she heard him say that. It was hard for her to remember the last time Kiley hugged her. Momo wanted to say something but she was at a loss for words. Then over Kiley's shoulder, she saw Toji standing in the doorway. Had he heard her shouting? Kiley loosened his hold on Momo as he and Momo stared back at Toji in surprise.
"Toji," said Momo, stepping back. "Toji!"
Momo started to run to him, but Kiley grabbed hold of her wrist and pulled her back to him, a hand grasping her shoulder and the other on her arm. Kiley wasn't going to lose Momo again. He had already made too many regrets. If only he had made it to Shiranami on time. If only his older brother wasn't such a sleaze. Ryo wouldn't have gotten hurt and Kiley wouldn't have to go with Misao to the hospital. Things would've been so different.
"Hey!" Momo yelled. "I said let me go!"
"No!" Kiley refused, tightening his arms around her.
Toji stepped forward. "Let Momo go."
"No!" Kiley shouted, the same way a little kid would. His voice and face softened and he looked up at Toji. "Toji. I want Momo back!"
Toji was stunned. He couldn't believe it. Momo couldn't either. Her hands were softly grasping Kiley's forearms, tears still shining in her eyes. Kiley looked on at Toji. He looked so pitiful and eyes were pleading. Kiley never showed this side to anyone before.
"What…?" Toji gasped.
"I can't live without Momo!" Kiley declared, pressing his face to Momo's head. "I'll take good care of her this time, so please…Please let me have Momo back!"
"What in the hell are you talking about?" Toji demanded. "She's not a puppy! I can't just give her back. Besides, I thought you were in love with Misao. What's up? Your brother got her first, so now you want to go back to Momo?"
"That's not it!" Kiley yelled. "Momo is the one I truly love!"
"Don't be so selfish!" Toji exclaimed.
"I can't not be selfish!" Kiley cried. "I don't care if I'm being selfish. I'll do or say anything to have Momo come back to me!"
Tears stung Kiley's eyes. He looked away from Toji, his face still pressed to Momo's hair. How he missed the smell. The way she felt in his arms. He had missed her so much.
"Misao was the first person who ever really noticed me," Kiley explained, "and I cherish that. Those feelings haven't changed…but…right now I love Momo!"
Momo remembered the sweet times she had with Kiley. All those times he let her cry on his shoulder. The times he came to visit her after catching a cold. All those gentle kisses. Deep in her heart, she wanted him back too. But it was too late. Wasn't it?
"Let her go," Toji said again, reaching for Kiley's arm.
Kiley looked at Toji and shook his head, that same pitiful look on his face. Didn't Toji get it? Kiley just couldn't give up his true love.
"Let her go!" Toji shouted, hand tightening on Kiley's arm.
"No!" Kiley exclaimed.
"Momo is with me now!" Toji yelled, wrenching Kiley's arm off of Momo. "I'm going to make her happy, not you." He gave Kiley a final, cold look and walked off with Momo. Kiley felt Momo's arm slip out of his fingers. Momo was gone again. His heart was breaking. He stared out in disbelief as Toji exited the room with Momo, his arm around her shoulders.
Toji didn't say anything to Momo as they were walking down the hall. He didn't know what to day. He had never seen Kiley act like that. He always thought of him as a pervert and a nut. Now he looked like a little kid. Toji's hand slid down Momo's arm and he grasped her hand in his. It didn't matter now. He was still with Momo.
Momo couldn't help but remember the times when she saved Kiley from drowning. The first time was at the beach. She didn't know then why he was in the water. She didn't even know who he was. But she remembered a young teenage boy sinking in the water when she was swimming with her friends. She remembered how far she had to go to get him and the very sad look on his face. The second and third time was at the school pool. She had just found him floating face down in the water. She had thought he was just joking around. She still didn't know why he was in the pool. Then, the last time, he wanted to talk to her about Misao. He wanted to explain everything. But she was too mad to speak with him. She just wanted to swim her heart out. She should've known that Kiley would jump in the pool. She had to save him again.
Kiley was drowning again. Not in the ocean or a pool, but in a sea of sorrow. A pool of misery. Could she just walk away and let him drown after all they've been through together? She's the only one that could save him. He had tried to kill himself once. Who's to say he won't do it again?
There were also things she had to tell Kiley. She had to tell him what happened between her and Toji that night at Shiranami. He knew it would crush him, but he had to know. He had to know why she got back together with him. Not only that, but she had questions for Kiley too. They hadn't had a chance to really speak things through since school started again---and even at the summer. Why didn't she just call him? Or go to his house even? Why did she wait so long?
Well, no time like the present. She had to speak to him now. Before she exited the doors with Toji, Momo stopped. Toji paused and looked at her. "Momo?"
"I can't do it, Toji," Momo said, "I can't just walk out on Kiley without at least talking with him."
"Do you want to get back together with him?" Toji inquired.
"I'm not sure," Momo replied, "but there are so many things we left in the air. I've got to talk to him."
"Okay," said Toji, "I'll wait for you."
"No, that's okay," Momo shook her head. "Just go home." She slipped her hand out of Toji'sand walked back to class. Toji remained at the same spot, watching Momo walk away. When she turned out of sight, Toji sighed and walked out of school.
He didn't knew what Momo was going to tell Kiley. He didn't know what was going to happen after their chat, but he knew Momo was right. So badly he wanted to talk to Momo and tell her the truth when Sae blackmailed him.
Toji stuck his hands in his pockets as he walked from school grounds. He didn't feel like going home right away so he decided to walk through the park.
Momo found Kiley sitting at a desk in the back, crying into his arms. In his fist he held Momo's picture rightly. Momo walked to him and laid her hand on his arm.
Kiley lifted up his head and through his tears he saw a blurry Momo. "Momo?"
"Can we talk?" Momo asked with a smile.
Kiley smiled back. "I'd like that, Mo."
Momo sat in the seat in front of him. She wasn't sure if she should speak first or let Kiley have his say. Then the words just came out of her mouth.
"I tried waiting for you as long as I could," she said.
"I didn't mean to keep you waiting, Momo," said Kiley, "I got there early so I decided to get you some peach blossoms, that's where I found Misao. She was meeting with Ryo."
"Yeah, she was going to tell him her feelings," Kiley explained. "She bought him roses so I decided to get your roses too; Misao told me they stood for love. Ryo came and then, someone attacked him."
"I'm not sure," Kiley replied, "Someone from his pyramid schemes. The guy hit him with a sword—but it was fake."
Then Momo remembered seeing the ambulance that day. There had been a crowd and she tried asking people what happened. Someone had told her some guy went berserk with a sword. So the person that got hurt was Ryo. At least Kiley wasn't lying to her now.
"I saw you get into a taxi with Misao," said Momo.
"We were going to the hospital," Kiley explained. "
"So, that was the big emergency you said when I called you?" Momo asked. "Why didn't you just tell me Ryo was in an accident? I would've waited longer for you!"
Kiley sighed. "I'm sorry, I didn't think things would be so complicated. I planned on telling you when I got back. The police wanted to speak with us and when I tried calling you but I couldn't get through. Misao told me she'd handle things with the police and said it was important for me to keep my promise to you. I tried to get back in time but you were gone.
"Did you go back to the hospital?" Momo questioned.
"I called a couple of people and then I went to Shiranami."
"How?" Momo asked. "The trains were all out."
"I took a cab for as long as I could go," Kiley explained. "Then I walked the rest of the way."
"You walked all the way there in the typhoon?" Momo mumbled. "Kiley…you dummy! You know how dangerous that was? You could've gotten hurt!"
"It was only thirteen miles and besides I didn't care about that," Kiley said with a shrug. "I just wanted to get to you as soon as I could."
"Did you ever make it to Shiranami?" Momo inquired.
"Yeah, but it was too late," Kiley looked down at his hands. "I got there the next day and I saw you with Toji."
Momo swallowed and rubbed her head. "Toji was waiting for you with me. Then when the storm hit, he came to the hotel with me."
"Yeah, when I called the hotel, someone told me you were already there with a guest."
Momo's heart sunk and things began to get awkward. She put her hands on her knees and cleared her throat. Kiley had walked all the way to Shiranami to be with her and what was she doing? She was with Toji having sex. Momo had to tell him what happened.
"K-Kiley," she mumbled, "there's something, something I should tell you. I don't know how it happened but To--,"
"You don't have to explain anything, Mo," Kiley said.
"But I do!" Momo exclaimed. "I think maybe Toji and I just missed each other and we ended up…doing it. I feel so…so stupid!"
Momo put her hand to her forehead. "Kiley, I'm so sorry! It was wrong. I planned the whole thing for us and I just screwed things up."
"Momo, it's all right," Kiley said, "I know how much Toji meant to you…and what he still means to you. It's not like it wasn't with anyone special."
"Those girls were right," Momo said, "your fan club. They said I don't deserve you. I really don't."
"I'll be the judge of that," Kiley said with a smile as he took her hand.
"You still want to be with me?" Momo inquired. "After the mess I made?"
"Momo, I messed up too," Kiley told her. "I should've just told you what really happened when you called. I should've waited for you."
"But, things are so confusing right now," Momo said, "I'm back with Toji."
"I promise I'll do things right this time," Kiley pledged. "Let's just try it again, all right?" Kiley smiled his famous gorgeous smile but Momo didn't reply. His smile faltered and he looked at Momo. "Momo, you do want to get back together, don't you?"
Momo frowned and looked down. She didn't know what to do anymore.
Sae was so happy that Ryo had called her. He wanted to be with her finally after everything that happened. She knew he'd come around. They were sitting in the park discussing about the baby and about their lives. He still did make any notion that he wanted to be with her or to become a father. He explained how twisted he was since he was younger. The way he was always jealous of his younger brother Kiley and how he made things difficult for him. It was the same for Sae and Momo. Ryo and Sae were very much the same.
Sae took his hand and put it on her stomach. "I'll make a family for you, Ryo. I'll give you a family that loves you so that you'll never be lonely again.
Something struck Ryo. He couldn't believe what was happening. This little girl was so insentient on being with him. She was willing to have his child, knowing his whole story, knowing that she was just a kid. Maybe being with Sae wasn't so bad after all. Maybe he could throw his old pimp lifestyle out the window.
Three young men came up to Ryo and Sae. One guy was wearing a baseball cap on top of his stringy, black hair. E had a small scruff. The blond on his right was wearing a black jacket and shades. A fat man with shades and a bandana on his head wolf-whistled..
"Hey buddy," said the man in the baseball cap. "Hot girlfriend you got there."
Sae twisted around and glared at the weird man.
"Oh don't make a face like that," he said.
Ryo grabbed the man by the shirt and pulled his face to his ear. "Forget the plan," he hissed in his ear. Ryo pushed the man away from him and he put his arm around Sae.
"Let's go," he said to her.
They hadn't walked three steps when the young blond wearing the shades thwacked Ryo in the back of a head with a bat.
"Heeey!" Ryo shouted.
"Ryo!" Sae exclaimed.
"Wh-hat are you doing?" Ryo demanded. His head was hurting, but he managed to get back upon his feet.
"Change of plans," said the blond that had hit Ryo.
"Ryo," said Sae nervously
"Get out of here," Ryo said.
Sae didn't want to leave Ryo alone but he was right. She had to leave and get help. She ran off to the direction of school, grabbing for her cell phone. She prayed that Momo would answer. She was just about to call her when she saw Toji walking toward her, his hands in his pockets and looking like he was doing some serious thinking.
"Toji!" Sae cried.
Sae ran to him and grabbed his arm. "Toji, I need your help. Ryo and I got jumped. You got to help him!"
"What?" Toji mumbled.
Sae pulled Toji over to the spot where she and Ryo were jumped. She pointed to the three men beating Ry. The younger, thinner men were beating him with bats while the fatter man was kicking Ryo.. Toji looked at the scene and his eyes widened in shock.
"I don't know…we just tried walking away from them and they just started attacking him!" Sae cried.
Toji dropped his book bag and proceeded to walk to the three men. "Hey, knock it off!"
A tall woman with blond hair stepped in Toji's way. "Just let them do what they're doing. He's getting what he deserves."
"What?" said Toji
"Morika, what's this all about?" Ryo demanded of her as one of the guys kicked him in the side. "Aaugh!"
"He's such a fool, " said Morika, placing her hand on a tree as she looked on watching the men attack Ryo. "this is what he gets for backstabbing everyone. He needs to understand how much pain he's caused."
"Please stop!" Sae begged. "They'll kill him! Stop them!"
Morika looked at Sae. Ryo is deceiving you. Those guys are employees of Riamasse. Ryo hired them to attack you. Little did he know I bought them out."
"He hired them…to attack Sae?" Toji asked in disbelief and disgust.
"Yeah," she said, nodding at Toji and then looking at Sae. "You're pregnant, right? With Ryo's child. Isn't he awful? He keeps his hands clean by getting others to do his dirty work." Morika folded her arms and leaned against the tree, pleased with herself.
"That's sick," said Toji. "I knew he was a bastard…but why would he hire guys to attack Sae?"
"He doesn't want her to have the baby," Morika explained. "They were to just knock her out and then doctors will do an abortion on her."
Toji looked at her, sure that he hadn't heard her right. "Abort the baby?"
"I know," said Morika. "He doesn't care about anyone but himself.
Sae looked at Toji and grabbed his arm. "Toji, help him, please!"
Toji didn't move. In all honesty, he felt like joining the three men beating the crap out of Ryo. He had done enough to Sae enough. He allowed her to sell herself on dates with strange men for money. He set her up in a porn video. He got her pregnant and now he was wiling to get her hurt so she would lose the baby. It was true that Toji knew that Sae was a copy cat and she set Toji and Momo up herself. Shehad blackmailed Toji to go out with her. She had done horrible things to Momo, Toji and tons of other people. Still, Toji pitied Sae. He still considered her a friend—a very mixed up friend—but a friend nonetheless. Toji stood there, watching the guys kick and punch and knock Ryo over and over with baseball bats.
"Toji…" Sae begged. "Do something!"
"I'm sorry, Sae," Toji said. "I can't. He hired those guys to hurt you."
"If you won't help Ryo, I will!" Sae yelled and she started running at the guys.
"Sae, wait!" Toji called after her.
"Stop it!" Sae yelled. "Stop! Stop hitting him!"
Sae jumped in front of Ryo and as a result, was hit in the side. She cried out and grabbed herself.
"SAE!" shouted Ryo.
"Oh man, this is bad!" the man with bleached hair and sunglasses said.
"She just jumped in my way all of a sudden," said the man who had hit her.
"I'm getting out of here!" yelled the bigger man.
Suddenly, Toji regretted not breaking up the fight. As the men ran for it, he ran after the one who had hit Sae.
"Hold it!" Toji shouted, grabbing him by the arm, forcing him around and punching the man in the face. He followed with a punch to the stomach.
"I'm sorry—I didn't mean to!" the man cried.
"Hold on Sae!" begged Ryo and Toji glanced over his shoulder to find Ryo holding Sae in his arms. Toji looked back at the man who had hit saw and let him go roughly.
"Get lost," said Toji and the man took off. Toji walked over to Sae and crouched down. Ryo glared at him.
"Don't just stand there, you idiot!" he said. "Call an ambulance!"
Toji took out his phone and dialed 911 immediately. He explained the emergency and gave the location of the park. When he hung up, he told Ryo that they were on their way. Toji looked to where the girl had been standing but she had already gone.
"Did you really plan this whole thing?" Toji asked Ryo. "You were going to have Sae get knocked out so you can have her baby aborted without her knowledge?"
"I know—it was a mistake," Ryo muttered, focusing on Sae. "Sae, wake up!"
Toji started pacing, making nervous glances at Sae. He somehow felt responsible Sae needed help. She had come to him. She begged him to stop the fight. He just stood there. If anything happened to her baby, he'd never forgive himself. Ryo was trying to keep Sae calm. She kept mumbling about the baby. Ryo kept apologizing about what he did.
"This is all my fault," said Ryo, "I should've known something like this would happen."
It seemed like a decade for the ambulance to arrive. They heard the sirens and Toji turned. "The ambulance is here!"
"Finally," said Ryo.
Toji ran to the ambulance, waving his arm. The paramedics came out of the van and Toji told them more about what happened. Ryo stepped back to give the paramedics room.
"Is my baby going to be all right?" Sae inquired.
"We'll find out as soon as we can make an ecograph," said one of the paramedics.
The paramedics loaded her onto a stretcher and placed her into the ambulance. Ryo climbed into the back of the ambulance with the paramedics. Toji attempted to get in himself but a paramedic stopped him.
"I'm sorry, only room enough for him," said the paramedic, indicating Ryo. "And he's injured."
"But…she's my friend…" the words came out of Toji's mouth before he realized he was saying them.
"You will be able to visit her in the hospital," said the other paramedic as he shut the door.
Toji peered though the window to look at Sae. He put his hand on the window and mouthed, "I'm sorry."
The ambulance pulled away. Toji stood there, feeling miserable. Things had just gotten worse. His relationship with Momo was unclear. He didn't know if she wanted to stay with him or get back together with Kiley. Now Sae was probably going to lose her baby. He felt like such an idiot. Why was he concerned about his relationship with Momo when Sae was facing worse trouble? Toji took out his phone and found Momo's number. He held his thumb on the call button but didn't' press it. Was calling Momo now a good idea? What if she was still talking with Kiley? Shouldn't Kiley know about what happened to his brother? They might be still at school. If he left now, maybe he could catch them. He put his phone back into his pocket and started walking back to school. He was nearly there when he remembered Sae pleading him to help. If he were to tell Momo and Kiley what happened, and they rushed to the hospital and found out if Sae's child hadn't survived. Did he really want to be sitting in the hospital with the two of them? Toji groaned and rubbed his head. He felt that he should be with Sae. He'd call Momo and Kiley after he found out how Sae and Ryo were recuperating. Frustrated, Toji went to the street, hailed a cab and got to the hospital.
Toji went to the front desk. "My friend was just brought here, Sae Kashiwagi."
"She's being worked on," said the nurse.
"Worked on?" Toji asked. "W-what do you mean?"
"Please have a seat."
Toji went to the waiting room but he was too anxious to sit down. The door to the ER opened and Ryo stepped out with a doctor helping him to a chair.
"You really should rest," said the doctor.
"I'll be fine," Ryo said roughly. He had bandages around his face and his arm was in a sling. The doctor left and Ryo sat down. Toji walked over to him.
"Had they said anything about Sae?" he asked.
"No," Ryo said, "they're still treating her."
Toji sat down, looking coldly at Ryo. As he looked at his bruised, bloody and bandaged face, Toji found it hard to believe that Sae had left him for a loser like Ryo Okayasu. Toji and Sae knew the reason why they were dating. Toji was just trying to protect Momo. She had blackmailed him into dating her. If he hadn't, then Momo might have had to switch schools. Toji didn't want to break up with Momo. Things were just starting to get good. But he had no choice. Shortly after breaking up with Momo, he started dating Sae. They didn't act like a real couple. They only kissed when Momo was around or when they were around other classmates. Eventually Sae had gotten bored of Toji. She had gotten her revenge and Momo began to become happy with Kiley. Being with Toji didn't matter. Believing that Sae would do something to Momo, Toji followed Sae around to keep an eye on her. She couldn't be trusted even after she had what she wanted. But protecting Momo wasn't the only reason why he stayed with Sae. He did it to protect her as well. He didn't want her to get caught up in some mess. But when she broke up with him, there was nothing he could do. Somehow he wished they were still together. He hardly liked Sae, but he worried about her and he pitied her. After all, even though she was doing it just to get him, she was always so sweet and nice to him. When he was in the hospital with appendicitis, she was the only one who visited him…of course…Sae had made sure that Momo didn't even know about his condition.
"What?" Ryo muttered, sick of the look Toji was giving him.
"I used to date Sae, you know," Toji told him.
"Yeah, I was there when she broke up with you," said Ryo.
"I don't like the way you've been treating her," Toji said, "you let her go on dates with those strange men. They could've hurt her."
"I didn't care how she made the money."
"When I was dating her," said Toji, "I did a search on you and I learned about the schemes you did."
Ryo forced a laugh. "What are you, some kind of detective?"
"She's just a kid," Toji continued. "You set her up on that porn video."
"She knew what it really was about."
"She thought it was a video game promo!" barked Toji. "If we hadn't gotten to her in time…"
"You did, so drop it," said Ryo.
"If she loses the baby," Toji said, "I'll never forgive you."
"Shut up, all right?" Ryo demanded.
They sat there glaring at one another and then the doctor came. Toji jumped to his feet. "Is Sae all right?"
"She's stable," said the doctor. "Are there any family members present?"
To Toji's surprise, Ryo got to his feet and revealed himself. "I am the father of her child."
"Come with me please," the doctor said softly.
Ryo followed him into a room. Toji waited for a while and then decided he should try and reach Sae's parents.
He went to the payphone and flipped through the pages for "Kashiwagi." Once he found it, he took a deep breath and began to dial the number. The phone was answered on the fourth ring.
"Hello?" said a woman's voice a lot like Sae's.
"Hello, is this Mrs. Kashiwagi? Sae's mother?"
"It is. Who is this?"
"My name is Kazuya Tojikamori," said Toji, "I'm a friend of Sae's. Sae has been in an accident."
"What happened?" Sae's mother asked, a little panicky. "Is she hurt?"
"She's okay," said Toji, half truthfully. He didn't want to get into it on the phone. "She is in the hospital. I thought I should call."
"Honey!" yelled Sae's mother, nearly killing Toji's eardrum. "We need to get to the hospital. Sae's hurt!"
"What'd she do this time?" demanded Mr. Kashiwagi in the background.
"I don't know," said Mrs. Kashiwagi. "She's always getting in trouble." She hung up the phone while arguing with her husband. Toji groaned and hung up the payphone. A second later, nurses brought Sae out of the treatment room on a wheelie bed.
"Sae!" he rushed to her side. "Sae, are you all right?"
"She's still somewhat sedated," said one of the nurses. "We need to take her to her room now." Toji followed them to her room and waited for the nurses to leave. Once they left, Toji walked over to her bedside, looking over her in guilt and pity. Why. Why didn't he help Ryo when she asked him to? Why didn't he call the police? Why did he just stand there and let those three men beat the hell out of Ryo? Toji was a pretty tough guy, he could've at least taken one of the men. And why didn't Ryo defend himself? Toji paced bit, turning his back on Sae's sleeping form. He didn't like to see his friend lying there. He started to wish he had called Momo.
"Ughnn," came a soft groan from Sae. "Toji?"
Toji turned back around, forcing a smile. Finally Sae had woken up.
"Sae, how do you feel?" he asked.
She didn not answer. "Where's Ryo?"
"With the doctor," he replied.
Sae's brown eyes began to tear up and she turned to her side.
"What's wrong, Sae?" Toji asked, leaning over her and touching her shoulder. "Does it hurt?"
"I've lost the baby," she answered.
Toji felt as if someone had grabbed his insides. "It's gone?"
"The doctor told me he couldn't find it on the ecograph," said Sae. "Then they said a bunch of other things but I lost consciousness."
Sae's screwed her eyes shut as fresh tears came. "Ryo's baby…is dead!"
"Sae—I'm so—I'm so sorry," Toji mumbled and he felt like he was going to cry too. "I'm sorry. I should've helped Ryo like you asked me to."
The door opened and Ryo walked into the room. His face grim, Ryo walked over to Sae's bed.
"I'm sorry," she apologized, "I'm sorry. I lost your baby."
"There wasn't any baby," Ryo told her. "There was never one to begin with. It was all in your imagination."
More tears welled up in Sae's eyes as she sat up, staring at him in disbelief.
"The bleeding had nothing to do with the miscarriage," Ryo explained, "It was just your period coming late."
"No! That's not true!" Sae exclaimed. "I did a pregnancy test! It was positive! I had morning sickness and everything!"
"You never had a formal test at a hospital, right?" Ryo asked her. "Sometimes, home pregnancy tests are inaccurate."
After giving her this information, Ryo didn't console her or anything. He just turned and walked out. Toji looked after him in surprise. He was just going to leave her alone like this? But of course…Ryo didn't want her to have the baby in the first place. He didn't care that Sae was distraught.
Sae put her hands on her stomach. "I'm such a fool. I imagined that I was pregnant?" Sae said, and it looked unclear as if she was crying or smiling. "What a joke. I told Ryo that I would make a family for him. I'm sooo stupid. And there was never even a baby."
"Sae," said Toji.
"I'm so stupid," Sae mumbled. "I'm so…stupid."
"No," Toji told her, "no you're not."
Because Ryo hadn't stayed to console Sae, Toji did. He sat on the bed with her and put his arms around her. He never showed much kindness to Sae since he'd known her. At this time he couldn't seem to help himself. He didn't want to leave her alone this way. Someone had to be there for her.
"I'm sure this happens all the time," Toji said, "it's not your fault."
Sae grasped Toji's arm. "Toji…I feel like I deserve this. After all the terrible things I've done. Now I'm getting what I deserve."
"No, Sae," said Toji. "You don't deserve to go through this. No one does."
"Wh-what's wrong with me?" Sae demanded. "What'd I do wrong?"
"I don't know…I don't know…we all just make mistakes," Toji said. "Things happen that we have no control over."
"What am I going to do?" Sae asked him.
"I'm afraid I can't answer that for you, Sae," Toji said, "but you really need to look deep inside yourself and ask yourself some questions. You need to think of how you were living your life. Maybe you need to change."
"I'm trying to change," Sae insisted. "Really, I am."
"I know," said Toji, "I know you're trying."
Toji held Sae for a few moments and let her cry on his shoulder. Somehow he felt relieved that there was no baby. If there had been a baby and if Sae had lost it, Toji wouldn't know what he'd do.
"Toji," said Sae indifferently. "Thank you for being here, but can you just leave me alone?"
"You're sure?" he asked, releasing her.
"Yeah," said Sae, "please?"
"Okay," Toji said softly. "I just called your parents…I'll wait for them until they get here and I'll go home."
"You called my parents?" Sae asked, pausing form her sobbing.
"Yes," Toji answered. "The doctor wanted to speak to some family members so I contacted them."
"Oh…that's right," said Sae, "they're going to be so furious with me."
"I'm sorry," said Toji.
Sae gave a small apathetic laugh. "Don't be. You had nothing to do with this."
"I just, feel bad about what happened," Toji said sadly and he left the room.
Toji waited in the waiting room until Sae's parents arrived. When they came to inquire at the desk, Toji went to greet them.
"Mr. and Mrs. Kashiwagi?" he said.
"Yes, we're Sae's parents," said Mrs. Kashiwagi. "You're the one who called us?"
He shook their hands. "Yes, I did."
"You're a friend of Sae's?" Mrs. Kashiwagi said. "What was your name again? Kazuya Tojkikamori? Sae's never mentioned you."
"I go by Toji," Toji explained.
"How well do you know her?"
"Well, we used to date once," Toji said a little nervously.
"Well you seem like a nice young man," said Mrs. Kashiwagi, "why didn't she keep dating you."
"It's complicated," Toji sighed. "She started seeing someone else…and I think that's when things went bad for her."
"What happened to Sae?" Mr. Kashiwagi asked.
"she was in the park with…her boyfriend…Ryo over there," Toji looked at Ryo and then back to Sae's parents. "and some people attacked them."
Seeing how bad Ryo looked, Mrs. Kashiwagi gasped. "What about Sae?"
"Sae just got hit in the stomach," explained Toji. "I think she'll be okay. Er…"
"Is there something you're not telling us?" Mr. Kashiwagi demanded.
Toji paused before replying. Sae had been sleeping with that man over there. For a while she thought she was pregnant."
"What?" Mr. and Mrs. Kashiwagi gasped and Mr. Kashiwagi looked like he was going to add a few bruises to Ryo's face. To Toji's relief, the doctor came.
"Oh are you the young lady's parents?" the doctor inquired.
"Yes, we are," replied Mrs. Kashwagi. "Is it true that she was pregnant?"
"Please, come with me," said the doctor. "I'll explain everything."
Toji heaved a sigh of relief as Sae's parents followed the doctor. Seeing that he was no longer needed, he left the hospital and decided to speak to Momo in person. Now he and needed to have words with her.
Kiley and Momo continued their conversation as Kiley walked her home. When they reached Momo's house, Momo turned to Kiley.
"Maybe I just need time to think things though before I make a decision," Momo said. "There's a holiday coming up and I guess I'll do what you did—take a long walk and just think."
"Hey, I know!" Kiley exclaimed. "You can go to the same place I did. There's a soba restaurant you can stay at."
"Really?" said Momo.
"Yeah, it's a great place," said Kiley, "and the owners are really friendly…well the chef is pretty scary."
"What do you mean?" Momo inquired.
"Well, my wallet was stolen," Kiley explained, "so I couldn't pay. The chef went after me with his knife and hit me in the head with his shoe. I thought he was going to kill me."
"And you want me to stay there?" Momo questioned, raising her eyebrows.
Kiley laughed. He folded his arms and closed his eyes for a moment. "They're good people, Momo, the owners. They gave me some good advice about love. I guess they helped me decide that I wanted to be with you."
"The chef told me about a National Soba Appreciation Society that gives rewards to Japan's number one soba," Kiley explained, "right before he gave me some…but the soba he gave me was expired storebought soba. It was gross."
Momo chuckled into her hand. Kiley frowned. "Hey…"
"Sorry..but why did he do that?" Momo inquired. "Weren't you working hard enough?"
"Of course I was," Kiley said with a playful glare. "He worked me like a dog. He used the soba as a love analgy. I told them how I was dating you, but inlvoe with Misao. The chef explained that if you make someone in your mind wonderful but you don't really know anything about them, it can't be real love. You have through see all the sides of that person and go through the rough stuff for it to be called love." Kiley smiled. "And then I thought about all the things we've been through, Momo. I know your good and bad sides. I know more about you than Misao. I got to taste you…a couple of times." Kiley grinned and Momo looked away, blushing.
"He helped me realize that you were the most important girl in my life," Kiley said.
"I know you're the one I want to be with," Kiley added, "my mind's made up. Now you're the one who needs to make a decision, and I'm the one who has to wait."
"Yeah, yeah, you're right," Momo said.
"I'll call the owners and let them know you're coming down," said Kiley, "they asked me to keep in touch."
"Okay, thanks Kiley," said Momo.
Kiley reached for Momo and then Toji came up behind them. He looked as if he ran all the way to Momo's.
"Hey, Kiley," said Toji. "Momo.
"Toji," said Momo.
"What?" said Kiley.
"I've got some bad news," said Toji, walking up to them. "It's about Sae…and that brother of yours." He added, looking at Kiley.
"What's he done now?" Kiley asked with a groan.
"One of his pyramid schemes," Toji explained. "He and Sae were jumped in the park. Ryo's hurt pretty bad."
"What about Sae?" Momo inquired.
"She's upset," Toji answered, "she's not really hurt, but…her pregnancy wasn't real. She only thought it was."
"We should go see her," Momo said.
"No, I just left the hospital," said Toji, "and her parents are with her now. She wants to be alone, so it's best to visit her later. But if you want to see Ryo, I guess you can do that."
"I'd better see him," Kiley said, "I'll see you guys later."
Kiley ran passed Toji, taking out his cell phone as he did so. He had to contact Misao and let her know what happened. Why did his brother always get himself in these messes?
After Kiley was gone, Momo turned to Toji. "Sae wasn't really pregnant?"
"Yeah," Toji told her. "Her home pregnancy said it was positive, but it really wasn't. I think she was really hoping to have the baby."
"How did Sae get into this?" Momo inquired. "You said they were jumped in the park."
"Yeah, Ryo arranged it," Toji said, "he hired some guys to attack her so doctors can abort the pregnancy."
"No!" Momo gasped. "He wouldn't' do something like that, would he?"
"I was there when it happened," Toji confirmed. "Sae found me in the park and she asked me to help her. But…then this woman stopped us and told us that she bought the guys out to teach Ryo a lesson. She told us that Ryo has always used people to do his dirty work."
"What woman?" Momo inquired.
Toji shrugged. "I think her name was Morika."
Momo gasped. "Kiley used to date her! Ryo stole her from him!"
"You know here?" Toji inquired in surprise.
"Yeah, it was a bit of a mess," said Momo, "I thought she was trying to get back together with Kiley, but she was trying to get to Ryo. I saw her try to kill him with a knife…so she hired the attackers to hurt Ryo instead?"
Toji nodded, folding his arms. "Sae begged her to make them stop hurting Sae. She told me again to help Ryo…but I couldn't."
Toji turned around and rested his arms on the brick post. "I was mad at him for what he did to Sae…all those twisted things he's done. I just couldn't bring myself to stop the fight."
When Momo didn't comment on this, Toji looked at her. "Momo, was I wrong? Was I wrong to just stand there and let those guys beat the crap out of him? Because Sae begged me to help him and when I wouldn't do it, she tried to protect him and got hurt herself."
Momo paused before answering and then looked up at him. "No, Toji…I don't think it was wrong. He did some bad things. Not just to Sae, but many people. Even me."
"What do you mean?" Toji asked her.
"Well, Ryo tried to make things difficult for Kiley and me," Momo answered, "I thought he was really nice at first, but that was all an act. Kiley tried telling me he was just trying get close to me so he could take me from him…and Ryo tried to rape me."
"What?" Toji gasped.
"But I was able to get away," Momo said quickly, regretting telling Toji this information. "I got away and Kiley found me in time. After that, Kiley gave me some pepper spray…just incase Ryo tried anything else. Then I realized what kind of man Ryo was—but I never would've thought he'd try to kill Sae's child….his child."
"Yeah, I know," said Toji, "I was afraid she had really lost the baby at first. I was relieved to find out that it was just a false pregnancy. If Sae had lost the baby, I don't think I would be able to forgive myself."
"Yes, I'm relieved too, for Sae," Momo said, "I'm sure she'll be all right soon, when this is all over. I'm glad you were there for her. Thanks for letting me know."
"Well, when I left the hospital," Toji said, "I thought I should let you and Kiley know."
"So, did you work things out with Kiley?" Toji said, deciding to change the subject. Now knowing that Sae was going to be all right, Toji needed to know where things stood between him and Momo.
"Well, we got some things out in the open," Momo said. "And his reason for being late really was an important emergency…Ryo was attacked."
Toji gave a dry laugh. "Everyone's trying to attack him."
"I know," said Momo. "So Kiley had to take care of some police stuff…and that's why he was late. Then he walked all the way to Shiranami to try to see me."
"He didn't," said Toji in disbelief.
"Yes, he did," Momo said, "and he saw us together, Toji. It really must've hurt him." Momo took in a breath and she felt tightness in her chest. "I think it's best if we break up for now, Toji. I really need to sort some things through. It's not fair to you or to Kiley if we stay together and my heart's not in the right place."
"I understand," said Toji, "you have a decision to make, Momo. You have to decide if you want to be with me or Kiley."
Momo looked at him, speechless. He was so right. It amazed her how he could be so truthful sometimes.
Toji gave a sad smile. "Maybe, we moved too quickly that night. I guess I just missed you too much."
"I…missed you too," Momo admitted.
"Take all the time you need," Toji told her. "We've all got some thinking to do."
Momo nodded in agreement.
"It's getting late," said Toji. "You should get inside."
"Yes, thank you, Toji," said Momo. "Thank you, for understanding."
"No problem," said Toji. He initiated their secret "I love you," sign, which she returned. He wished her goodnight and he walked away. Momo walked into her house, changed out of her clothes and took a bath to think about the days' events. She confessed her sleeping with Toji to Kiley. Kiley explained why he was late. Sae, Momo's best friend/rival was in the hospital and so was Kiley's twisted brother. Momo couldn't believe that she had so much stuff on her mind that it didn't cause her brain to explode. How was she going to deal with all this? All she wanted was to be with the one she loved. But at the moment, she was in love with two guys. How was Momo ever going to chose?
TO BE CONTINUED