"Mei: Even tough I didn't manage to win, everyone gave me a huge boost of confidence. I keep thinking... I'm so glad I took part."
This volume starts with the most unpleasant event so far, Megumi / Yamato date. Megumi was overjoyed because of it, Yamato went along because he considered it his duty. The date itself was very plain - lunch, shopping, taking a walk... and talking. Yamato was there but with every gesture and every thought he was with Mei. Mei, on the other hand, had plans with Asami to help her survive the anxiety of that day but unfortunately Asami had to work in the morning so Mei was left on her own. She decided to visit and thank Daichi, Yamato's older (28 year old) brother who looks awfully like Yamato. There she met his assistant, Kyouko-san. Kyouko seemed to like her since, later on, she texted Mei a lot.
Yamato and Megumi soon parted ways when Megumi realized how much Yamato loves Mei (about bloody time too). They took a picture together, made some fun of it and left. Immediately after, Yamato called Mei out and reassured her of his love.
The rest of the volume is about Daichi. He was once engaged to be married to a woman named Suzu. Suzu was a little overweight and extremely unsure of herself and that was always holding her back. She never fully gave herself to Daichi because she was ashamed.
"Suzu: Why does it have to be me? There's no way that a guy like you would even consider a girl like me.
Suzu: You have the nerve to trample on other people's feelings!
Daichi: I'm trying to tell you that I love you, okay? "
Daichi loved everything about her though. Her beautiful sparkly hair, her chubbiness, her smile and enjoyment in life. He proved it to her over and over again how crazy he was about her. And then he proposed.
"Hey... Suzu... Let's get married.
I've barely started my career and I know that I don't have much to offer. I know that there's still a long way to go before I can say I'll be able to give you everything you need.
I'm sorry but... I need to be with you.
(I've spent three summers with you. But... Each time it felt like I was seeing you for the first time. I wanted you to see me change as much as I love seeing you change. So... If there was a way I'd be able to erase your doubt... I 'd like for us to find it together.)"
Just as things were about to go in the right direction, she was killed in a drunk driver car accident. He never forgave himself for it. He was cutting her hair just before she left and he always thought what if he didn't, is she got on a different train or didn't rush home to him, she would still be here. Then he made a promise to himself never to cut the hair of a woman most precious to him in the future.
That brings us to Kyouko, his assistant. Kyouko had a crush on Daichi for a while now. She always begs him to cut her hair but he never does. He always refuses her without explanation. After yet another refusal, Kyouko contacted Mei to see how she got him to cut her hair. Mei exchanges a couple of messages with Kyouko and then decides to speak with Daichi in person. She visits him in the salon and asks him about Kyouko and Suzu. She is very straightforward and Daichi opens up to her. He tells her all about Suzu and his guilt of conscience. Mei tells him about Kyouko's messages and how he should reconsider his role in Kyouko's life.
Mei's visit did the trick as did a man interested in Kyouko. Daichi came to realize that he was so stubborn so far because he couldn't let go of the memory of Suzu and accept his new feelings towards Kyouko.
The final dream he had of Suzu was one of goodbye...
"Suzu: Your heart belongs to someone else now.
Daichi: That's not true. No way!
Suzu: Daichi, the years I've spent with you have been so very special to me. I'm forever grateful to you. That's never going to change. Ever. But you see, we can no longer make new memories together. You've always been thinking about me and avoided your reality. You can't keep holding on to this dream forever.
This isn't fair for you, or for me. It's time to let go..."
It is a really touching story that made me sad.... Suzu was such a likeable woman and the way she ended up and the grief Daichi experienced was so palpable. I understand his feelings. Despite everything she did he loved her completely. He did her hair, said goodbye and the next time he saw her was in the morgue. Just as they were about to embark on a new journey together. :'(
But now he got a new chance to start over. With a different kind of girl. Noisy, sweet girl with short hair and straightforward attitude. Good for him and best of luck.