“Sorry!” Maimi said, grabbing an apple from the dining table as she saw Tezuka was ready in his black suits. It was Monday morning and they needed to get back to work but it was Maimi’s first time. Like Grandpa To had said, Maimi was going to be Tezuka’s little manager even though she did not know anything about business.
Maimi wore light pink woman’s suits and white high heels. Grandma Megu arranged all that for her a day before the wedding. They arrived at the company before 8 a.m. Maimi followed her husband towards his office. Everyone bowed and congratulated them all the way to the sixth floor, to his office. Tezuka postponed their honeymoon due to an urgent meeting with the arriving of the important clients from China.
“Your office is next to mine. I need to go for a meeting now. Behave yourself,” Tezuka told Maimi before he got into his office. The other workers stared at her. Whispers began to hunt the floor. Maimi was not sure what to do.
She entered her office room and closed the door. “That’s scary!”
“Here, sir,” Ayaka handed Tezuka a folio of their shares right when he came into the meeting room. Some of the clients were not there yet and that relaxed him a bit. He was wondering what that old miss was doing right now. After a few minutes went by, all the clients were ready.
Tezuka began his speech. Ayaka kept quiet at the corner of the room and took a secret look at her boss. She remembered her good-looking boss yesterday. With his hair was back-combed and he wore contact lenses. He looked better without glasses. Her heart beat faster. She loved his boss so much.
After an hour of speech and presentation, Tezuka ended the meeting. One of the clients, Mr. Chang was not satisfied. He looked through the paperwork triple times but he detected there was something wrong with the numbers. “I don’t approve this. There’s something wrong with the numbers.”
Tezuka stopped. He knew that would happen. “I know.”
“I can’t invest into your company if the paperwork fails. I’ll fly back to China in a few more days and I don’t wanna waste my time here without any improvement or anything to invest. I’ve wasted my money on the ticket!” Mr. Change declared.
Tezuka looked down. “I’m sorry. Please give us one more day, and we’ll correct it.” Mr. Chang took a deep breath and got up followed by the others. “Very well, son. Let’s call it a day for now. I wanna take fresh air.”
They bowed to each other and Tezuka walked the clients’ out. Mr. Chang stopped, “Oh, I almost forgot. Congratulations for your marriage. I’m totally sorry for not coming to your wedding yesterday.”
Tezuka nodded. “Thanks.”
“May I know, who’s the bride?” Mr. Chang asked, raising an eyebrow. The other clients were curious too.
“Sure. This way,” Tezuka said.
Maimi studied the plant in her office room at the corner. She did that for an hour ago despite that she was bored. There was nothing she could do. She had browsed the room over and over again. She got bored.
“So boring!” she shouted and sat on a sofa bench by the windows. She realized that she could see the scenery from up there. It was stunning! She bent down to see further with her heels on the sofa. “Wow!”
The door was opened. Tezuka and the clients came in. Everyone gasped. They saw Maimi was bending with butt showed straight at their eyes. She did not realize there were people. She kept looking at the windows.
Tezuka was in trouble. He cleared his throat. Maimi heard it and turned around. “Oh!” She quickly got down of the sofa and straightened her suits. “Yes?”
Mr. Chang bowed along with the other commoners. Maimi bowed too. Tezuka began, “This is my clients from China. He wants to meet you. Mr. Chang, this is my wife, Maimi.”
Mr. Chang nodded. “Maimi. Such a cute name. She’s so pretty.”
Tezuka was startled a bit by his words. Maimi smiled coyly, “Thanks. It’s nice to meet you.”
Mr. Chang laughed. “Me too. Let’s have dinner sometime together.” He said while facing Tezuka. “I’m sure my wife will like to see your wife.”
“Sure, call me anytime,” Tezuka responded. He looked at Maimi who was smiling broadly at him. This old miss’s crazy!
As Tezuka brought out the clients, Maimi saw some paperwork on her desk. She wondered how did those can be there? Anyway, she sat down by her desk and took a look through the papers. There were many numbers and tables. She checked the profits, the incomes and the totals for each day. She could not understand anything about those.
She sighed. Then, she studied again the numbers. Just then, she found something. There was a total written on a page. She looked at the profits plus the incomes equals to the total. “Huh?” she shouted. She frowned and looked again. She made the calculation in her mind and gasped. Reaching for a pencil beside her, she crossed the typed total and wrote the correct one. “There. How come they calculated these wrongly?”
Then, she corrected all fifteen paperwork using pencil. She giggled. “At least I had fun!”
The door was knocked. Maimi was shocked. “Come in!”
Ayaka opened the door and entered. She took the pile of paperwork and bowed. “I’ll just take these. Sorry.”
Maimi nodded, “It’s okay.” Ayaka nodded and exited the room.
It was lunch time. Usually Ayaka and Tezuka would have lunch together at a restaurant while having discussion about work but despite that he already had a wife, everything changed and it was a bit awkward.
“Nezumi-chan, let’s have lunch! I’m hungry,” Maimi said childishly, standing in front of Tezuka’s desk. “Let’s eat sushi?”
Tezuka looked up. “I’m going with Ayaka.”
“Huh? But-but-I thought we’re going to have lunch together as a newly-wed!”Maimi said out loud. Tezuka sighed, “We’re going to talk about business and she’s my important assistant.”
Maimi pouted. She turned back. “I’m going with you.” Tezuka hissed. He grabbed his cellphone and walked out, ignoring her.
Lastly, both of them had lunch with Ayaka at Italian restaurant. The waiter gave them the menu books and waited next to Maimi. Tezuka opened it for a while and closed it back. “Bring me French Pepper Beef, roasted mushroom soup and cheesecake.” The waiter jotted down the orders. He turned at Maimi.
Maimi was frustrated, looking at the menu. She could not understand English. “Um...I want....ch-chi-chic-“
Tezuka rolled his eyes. Ayase smiled, “Bring me the same as Tezuka-san’s.”
The waiter took the menu back and nodded. Then, he waited for Maimi’s turn. She could not do anything. She looked at her right and her left. She leaned forward at Tezuka and covered her face with the menu book and whispered, “Um...Nezumi-chan? I don’t understand a word in this menu.”
Tezuka sighed hardly. He grabbed the menu book and gave it to the waiter, “The same.” The waiter received it and nodded then left. Maimi let out a breath. Ayaak scuffed softly. Tezuka drank the red wine. Ayaka did the same as the appetizer. Maimi gulped. That was the most expensive wine and she had never touched any wine since birth. She hesitantly took the glass and drank it. Suddenly, she chocked.
Tezuka and Ayaka glanced at her. Maimi shook her head, “I’m fine! Sorry!”
Both of them sighed and began a business conversation. Maimi did not know anything about that and she just watched them talking. Tezuka seemed serious while Ayaka looked stunning with her red hair. Maimi noticed there was a small bowl of chestnuts. She reached for some and crunched it. It produced a crack sound and it was loud. Tezuka and Ayaka looked again at her, frowning. The other customers did the same.
Maimi covered her mouth and chewed it softly. Later on, Tezuka continued the discussion. Maimi sighed. She dreamed of having a discussion about having a baby with her husband but Ayaka was there. And they were busy and serious. She felt bored.
The waiter came back with the three meals. He served cautiously in front of each one of them. Maimi gasped. The steak was huge and hot. BBQ sauce and black pepper carpeted the steak well and along with it, a bowl of hot roasted mushroom soup. She smiled and inhaled the aroma of the dish. She grabbed a fork and quickly chopped the steak. A squeaky sound irritated everyone. Tezuka whispered angrily at her about the wrong way she was using. Maimi shrugged, “I don’t know how to use fork and knife.”
Ayaka kept on eating. Tezuka glared at her, “We’re rushing. So please have that meal as fast as you could.”
“Yeah, but I don’t know how,” Maimi told him. Tezuka stared back at her and said, “Watch me.”
“Yeah, and she’s so short. Her head is the same height as Tezuka-san’s shoulder,” one of Tezuka’s office workers at the same floor were chatting about Maimi in a group with the others. “Yes! Yes! And you know what? She first came here with that ‘clown’ costumes!” They laughed histerically. “Even Ayaka is suitable with Tezuka-san. She’s tall, pretty and mature.”
“Don’t you guys have anything else to do?” Tezuka admonished them in a stern voice. Ayaka and Maimi came behind him. They had just got home from lunch. The workers gasped and immediately got back to work. Tezuka glared at them. “Come, Ayaka.”
Ayaka followed her boss eagerly, smirking. They had work to be done before tomorrow. Maimi was disappointed that she was not invited. As both of them got into Tezuka’s office, Maimi turned back at the workers place and greeted a lady near her. “Hi.”
The lady looked up and smiled weakly. “Hi.”Then, back on typing. Maimi frowned. She figured something out. “What are you doing?”
“Uh...um...typing?” the lady answered. Maimi nodded. She cleared her throat, “You know what? I love to play Shoot the Stick game.”
The lady stopped. He eyes widened. “Shoot the Stick? I’m good at that!”
“You do? Me too!”
Time reached the evening. It was almost 6 p.m. Tezuka had just finished his work with Ayaka and they went out. Tezuka froze. Ayaka did the same. They saw Maimi was eating a muffin while talking with the workers there, talking about the game.
Tezuka could not believe his eyes. Maimi kept on talking, “Then, if you blink your eyes even for a second, the enemy will catch you.” The workers nodded eagerly.
Tezuka cleared his throat. Everyone got back to work. Maimi turned around. “Nezumi-chan! Finish?”
He rolled his eyes then glared at her. “What’re you up too?”
“I talked to them about Shoot the Stick game. They love the game and I’m good at it-“
“Tell me when we head home,” Tezuka cut her sarcastically. Maimi kept quiet. She reached for her handbag and ran after him towards the lift. Ayaka curved a sly smile.
“You should do something useful not chatting with the workers!” Tezuka scolded Maimi as they arrived home. She looked down and played with her fingers, “I’m sorry. It’s just that...I don’t know what to do.”
“Learn and read about my company! That’s the thing that you should do!”
“But...I can’t find one-“
“There are so many counter girls at my company and you didn’t even ask a thing?” Tezuka hit her back. Maimi was going to cry. She could easily cry and she knew she could not hold it.
“I’m sorry, Nezumi-chan. I-I-“
“Don’t call me Nezumi! I have a name and it’s Tezuka. TEZUKA!”
Maimi sat on the leather couch in shock. She never thought that their first day as a married couple would be like this. She loved him but he was so hard on her and did not have any feelings at her.
“You should respect me. I’m older than you,” Maimi told him, tears running down her cheeks. Tezuka shot her a mad face. He nodded, “Yes, you’re older than me. You’re an old miss. I never ask for a blind date and don’t blame me for not falling for you.”
Maimi sobbed, watching her husband left for his bedroom. She sat back on the couch and wiped her tears slowly. She reached for the phone and tried to dial Peppei but then, she knew it would get worse if her family knew about the first fight. She put back the receiver and breathed in. She closed her eyes slowly.
After an hour went by, Tezuka got out of his room to search for food. He glanced at the couch and saw the old miss was sleeping. He sighed. Suddenly, he felt bad for scolding her who was older than him.
Tezuka walked towards her. His eyes locked at the old miss’s face. She had dry tears on her cheeks and she was frowning a little. Tezuka cleared his throat, “Old miss.”
Maimi did not move. Tezuka tried again, “Old miss.”
This time, she woke up. Her eyes were half-opened. Tezuka looked at her and said, “Go to sleep in your room.”
Maimi rubbed her eyes and yawned. “What time is it?”
“Just go to sleep,” Tezuka demanded then left for the kitchen. He heard her walking heavily towards the bathroom.
Maimi yawned in front of the mirror while waiting for the shower to be a bit hot. She let it opened. She was wrapped in a towel, still half asleep. “Why do I feel so tired? Uh, what did happen just now?”
She seemed to forget what had happened just now. She forgot when does she fall asleep. Anyway, she let it go and stretched her arms and walked towards the falling shower. Unfortunately, the floor was slippery and caused her to fall on the floor with a thud. Her knocked on the tiled floor made her numb at the neck. Her towel was unwrapped accidentally as she fell down. In nude.
“Nezumi....Nezumi....Nezumi-chan,” she called but her voice was too weak. She was standing the pain. She swallowed and continued. “Nezumi-chan....”
Tezuka was reading his paperwork in the living and he was wondering why did the old miss take a shower for such a long time? It will waste the water. He sighed and adjusted his glasses. Just then, he heard a small, weak voice calling for Nezumi. His unofficial nickname. He thought he was dreaming despite that he was too tired.
Tezuka frowned and looked at the bathroom. Was there something wrong? He wondered. But he ignored it. Maybe Maimi was dreaming of seducing him with that voice.
Again. This time it was a bit louder but still weak. He decided to check it out by walking towards the bathroom. “Hey, old miss. Cut it out. You annoyed me.”
Tezuka felt weird. Suddenly, something came to his mind. The old miss probably drown in the bathtub. Maybe not. Or perhaps she chocked her own toothbrush?
A pain voice was heard. Tezuka was nervous. He never felt that nervous because he knew that old miss had an accident in the bathroom. Even the shower did not stop. He leaned against the door and heard a weak voice standing a pain. “Hey, old miss! Are you okay in there?”
Okay, she was in trouble. Tezuka backed away and thought of what to do. He leaned against the door for the second time and asked, “Can you open the door?!”
He turned around. All he knew was that to barge in and break the door. If the old miss could not open it, she probably was having an accident. Finally, he decided to break the door. He squatted down his left elbow and gained some energy with his six packs body and knocked the door. It did not work. He did for the second time and the door was broken. He got in and the room was steamed by the shower. He could not see until he turned off the shower.
Tezuka turned back and widened his eyes. Maimi was seen lying on the floor, frozen and in nude! He gulped and turned back. “What are you doing!”
Tezuka breathed in and knew he needed to help her. Maybe she fell down. He got out for a while and took a new towel out from the old miss’s closet and came back to the bathroom. He quickly wrapped Maimi’s body.
“Ouch! Ouch!”she shouted as Tezuka did that too fast. Her neck became worst. She started to cry in pain. “It hurts~”
Tezuka wrapped her body softly and carried her up. Maimi cried even louder when she was carried. “Itta!!!”
“Be patient!” he said. He put her on the leather couch and grabbed his car keys and cellphone along with his wallet. He stopped as he watched Maimi in pain. She was not joking. She was really in pain. “Hold on,”he said.
He could not do it alone. He dialled for a doctor. “Hello? Excuse me, may I talk to any doctor there? This is an emergency. My wife fell down in the bathroom and she sprained her neck. Okay. Okay. Please hurry. It is the only expensive apartment in Tokyo. Sukuda’s Apartment. Me? I’m Tezuka Fujimoto. Okay. Okay. Thanks.”
He closed his cellphone and got towards Maimi. Her eyes were closed, standing the pain. She was wet and wrapped with a towel. She looked miserable. Tezuka felt bad for scolding her just now.
“Nezumi....,” she called. Tezuka nodded. “It hurts.”
Tezuka sighed. “I know. The doctor is on his way. Hold on.”
He just stared at her.
“Thanks,” she smiled weakly. Tezuka’s heart was touched. The old miss could smile even though she was in pain. He turned back and waited at the door.
“How’s she?” Tezuka asked Dr. Kim when the old man finished his treatment. Maimi was lying in Tezuka’s bed with the neck supporter. She was still in towel. The doctor packed his things and nodded, “She’s fine. Her neck was sprained and seeing her in towel, you would need to help her wear her clothes.”
Tezuka sighed a relief. “Oh. Thank you, doctor.”
“You’re welcome. Congratulations for your marriage,” the doctor said and went home. Tezuka went to see his wife. Maimi was resting.
“Oh, Nezumi! Thanks! I feel much better with this thing,” she said with a smile. Tezuka scuffed. He neared her. “Don’t ever think I’m gonna let you sleep here. Go back to your room.”
“Huh? What? I’m sick here but you chasing me out? No way! I wanna you to take care of me tonight. Besides, I’m gonna wear this in case you feel like hugging me? Haha!”
Tezuka’s mouth was half-opened. He grunted. “Get out of here. I mean it.”
“I won’t. My neck is hurt. I can’t move.”
“Yes, you can, old miss,” he said and grabbed her arm. Maimi was shocked. She held her towel as she was pushed outside of the room. Again, the door was slammed like yesterday. Maimi pouted. “Ouch!”