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Please Mr. Postman

Chapter 8: Letter

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The sun hurt the next morning. Sometime earlier Ran had registered Shinichi at her door informing her that after checking in at the news office they would all go over to where her parents were staying.

She blinked her eyes several times and went into her small private bathroom. It wasn't long after that she heard Eisuke knocking.

"Come in!"

Eisuke was quietly embarrassed at first but relaxed once he saw that she was in her usual clothes.

"Ran-chan, are you all right?" noticing the puffiness around her eyes.

"O-Of course, I just tossed and turned too much last night. Don't worry about it Eisuke-kun. Is Shinichi... kun back yet?"

"Not yet. I'm sure we'll hear Kudo-kun's mother as soon as he is."

Ran brushed her hair lazily. What had occurred the night before still felt too fresh. She needed something that would speed up this process of letting go.

"Eisuke-kun, please inform Shinichi-kun's mother and father that I will be going on ahead so that they will be welcomed formally. They only received my telegram the day we left. It would be rude not to give them at least an extra hour to prepare. You will escort me but after we reach the house you will come back here and accompany them with Shinichi-kun when he returns. Is that understood?"

"Yes Ran-chan."

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Sunday, October 31st, 1943

Last night, I was so forward with Shinichi.

He made no denial of my suspicions about his feelings.

He confessed that he was worried that I might not have yet noticed.

He only argued on one point: That I am still in love with Kurosawa Jin.

But then again, with me being so forward, it must have been just that he be the same way. He told me that he never saw a person so starved for companionship and friends. He supposed that Jin was my first love but that time had dulled it like the paint on a house.

He rejected the idea that I had no feelings for him though I said so several times.

But he would no further confirm that he cared for me, even when I pressed him.

We were so close then, huddled in the corner furthest away from the door, next to the window. His fingers were tangled with my hair, let down, on my shoulders and neck. Mine, I write with trepidation now, were around his waist.

Confused, I asked him why he would not say it aloud that he really did love me.

He could only rasp into my ear that he would not, not until I would no longer say that I was in love with Kurosawa-kun.

"So long as you still say that, I will not say it. I do not fight battles that are already half lost."

"Then why are you holding me so... Shinichi?"

When he suddenly kissed me, I could feel his frustration bleed through. I wanted to bind it and throw it away.

But that would mean reciprocating.

He let go not a moment later and opened the window to leave.

"I won't see you like this anymore. I'm sure Eisuke-kun, and the Kurosawas, will be relieved."

After that, and Eisuke-kun's interruption, I cried myself to sleep overcome with such a feeling of loss.

Now, I am here with my mother and she is concerned. She has realized I have eaten nothing all day. She maintains I did the right thing when I told her the story, leaving out certain details.

At first she maintained a negative view of him, but that changed after his family arrived. Being new to the neighborhood, she was only familiar with the name Kudo as belonging to a former statesman of the Imperial Diet in the House of Peers.

"They've been disgraced for being unpatriotic," she commented before they arrived.

She and my father were quickly charmed by Shinichi's mother. By the end of the visit they were talking as if they were old friends.

Shinichi talked amicably with my father, asking questions about what he knew of the current situation of the war and did not even seem to notice me...

Shinichi's mother suggested I stay the night here with my mother and father. She said that I must feel home sick for being away from them for so long.

Eisuke-kun will keep my place at the Kudo house, of course, as I am expected back there tomorrow. It seems the matriarchs have already created plans of what to do and see here in the city all week.

The house my mother and father are in is actually very nice. It appears to be my grandfather's house. It was being looked after by my father's friends, Megure and his wife, but most of the rooms were full of dust when they arrived. It took them a full week until it was all clean. Megure and his wife joined the get together when they arrived later and will also be joining us on our outings.

It's almost as if no one has anything important to do...

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October 27th, 1943

I am sorry I can add no opening to this letter as I am being rushed. I am currently on Wake Island but am being placed on reserve for the next few months until I leave for the Kure Naval District. I was given a recommendation for a promotion and will be training the recruits there. When I return, you will marry me Ran. Too often I have worried about you being alone. That won't be the case anymore.

-Kurosawa Jin

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November 5th, 1943

You are leaving tomorrow. That is the most direct statement I have been able to make after several rewrites due to sudden thoughts becoming words on the page. Let me see if I can do so again.

I love you. -Now isn't that honest?

I've been very stupid. -Is this what you call progress?

Can you forgive me for ignoring you? Can you forgive me for kissing you? Will you please stay?

I don't care about your romantic feelings anymore. I need you to stay. If this is too selfish, believe me, I know. However, what love isn't? What love isn't full of hunger and fear?

I would not say I love you, because I was a coward. Though you were adamant that you did not love me, your constant denials made it all too clear that you did. I pressed you on Kurosawa-kun because I thought you had realized the truth already.

As someone who has grown to know you so well in these past few weeks, I could not understand why you had not come to the same conclusion I have. What kind of person is Kurosawa-kun that he still has this hold on you after years apart and scant letters in between?

I forgot to consider that you really do love him, much to my disappointment. I'm sorry.

If you wish to speak to me, just open the window before turning out the candle.

If not, I hope you have a safe trip home and enjoy your reunion with Kurosawa-kun. Please forward my parent's and my congratulations to his father on your nuptials.

Your Postman,

Kudo Shinichi

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Slowly, Ran read the letter over and over again after it was slipped through her door.

Quietly, she tore the letter into pieces and burned it.

Finally, noticing her tears in the mirror, she could bear it no more and opened the window wide and turned the candle out.

There was only a half moon out, barely casting any light through the magnificent garden outside.

She sat down and waited for the dark figure that would close the window behind him.

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Saturday, November 6th, 1943

I left early, before Shinichi awoke beside me.

My bags were already packed and at the landing with Eisuke-kun's save for my necessities bag.

Eisuke-kun was ready within minutes and we left together, catching an earlier train than planned.

I'm sorry I could not say good-bye to his parents properly, but if I stayed to, I might have never left.

Forgive me Shinichi.

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AN: Well this story just became a lot heavier. I hope all the grown-ups caught on to what happened. This was a particularly hard chapter to write because I had to draw on so many different feelings and perspectives. I decided I didn't want to leave it on a cliffhanger but there's still so much that has to happen. Will Ran marry Jin? Will Shinichi stay in the capital? And when are all those other side characters going to pop up? That and more, next time! Thank you for reading! Please review!