Things Left Unsaid

Author's Note: I was rereading the previous chapters and an idea popped into my head. Here is my token of appreciation for your support. :)

Disclaimer: I do not own Itazura na Kiss.

Kotoko's face paled when she saw those two words. Fingers trembling, she let the book slip out of her hands and it fell to the floor with a thud.


No answer.

"This is so not funny. As if seeing your ancestor wasn't enough…," Kotoko muttered under her breath, her voice trailing off as a wave of relief washed over her. She huffed, wiped her hands on her dress and hesitantly bent down to pick up the diary once more. She eyed the book, eager to uncover Naoki's deepest thoughts yet uncertain of what lay within. Her brows narrowed, mentally gathering her courage, and flipped the diary open. It read:

This is stupid. Normally, I wouldn't write a diary, let alone keep one, but my mother insisted on it. So I assume she found it and read it, then hid it somewhere easier for you to find it again. If you did not find this book in a safe with your birth date as the number code, then my assumptions were right.

Then, below that was a bold scrawl:

You're welcome, Nao-kun.

"Oh my word… did Mrs. Irie actually write that?" Kotoko blurted, a grin spilling onto her face, her free hand instinctively covering her mouth to hide her embarrassment, despite no one being around to see it. She paused at a thought, then reread a line.

with your birth date as the number code

"Irie-kun…," Kotoko said, a spark of delight grew within her till she felt a little lightheaded, surprised that he could even be this remotely clichéd. "I would have figured that out. Eventually," she added with a hint of annoyance. She read on.

Since this is supposed to be my secret diary, I would appreciate it if that someone would keep her nose out of this, because I trust that you would have been able to find this on your own.

Too late for that.

At this, Kotoko could not contain her emotions and clutched her sides, half choking on laughter and tears. She did not know whether to laugh or cry, so she did both. Tears splattered on the pages, ugly damp patches spreading across them, leaving behind traces of wrinkles. "Oh no," Kotoko gasped, quickly grabbing a piece of her clothing and dabbing the pages. Thankfully, the ink did not smudge despite the damp unevenness of the pages left behind.

At dinnertime, Mr. and Mrs. Irie took Kotoko and Kotomi to Papa's restaurant. They ate together like always, commenting on the new Soba and Ramen noodle dishes with various concocted combinations of toppings. Papa and the Iries praised little Kotomi when she handled her tiny chopsticks like a pro, and she replied with a sunshine smile on her face.

However, they found it odd that Kotomi did not finish any of her bowls. She would slurp up her noodles till mid-bowl, then move on to the next one.

"Mi-chan, finish up your bowl first, okay?" Kotoko said.

"But I want to save some for papa."

Incredulous eyes turned towards Kotoko.

"You didn't tell her…?"

"Papa, I couldn't do it."

"Can we talk for a moment outsi-?"

"-No, let me," Mrs. Irie interjected.

The moment the two stepped outside the restaurant and turned at a corner, Kotoko burst out, "Mrs. Irie, it was my responsibility but I didn't know the best way to tell her. I'm sorry."

"Don't be. It has been tough for all of us. It will be harder on Mi-chan," Mrs. Irie soothed, wrapping her arm around Kotoko's shoulders to give her a tight squeeze.

After several cries and protests, Kotomi reluctantly crawled into bed as her mother rested next to her, cradling her head with her arms. Lying in the darkness, the little girl was filled with noisy restless thoughts but said nothing, relinquishing them to the silent, empty night.