Glass Mask, Happy ending

by Adriana Falqueto Lemos

Volume 50

Masumi goes to Shiori's house and explains to her grandfather that they can no longer keep up with the engagement and that he's calling it off. She's no longer in the hospital, but at her grandfather's house. After hearing from Masumi, Mr. Takamiya is angry and says that Masumi is responsible for Shiori's state and that he can't leave her like that. Mr. Takamiya shows Masumi Shiori in her bedroom, talking to herself, tearing down purple roses.

Seeing Shiori in that state, Masumi feels both pity and preoccupation. He worries about what Shiori could do to Maya since he knows she's capable of violent deeds, such as cutting people with scissors. The maid and her grandfather are in pain.
Mr. Takamiya says Shiori asks for purple roses to be delivered daily and that he doesn't know what's the meaning of it, since she doesn't speak about the matter.
Masumi reassures her grandfather that he's going to find a way to help her and leaves the house. Shiori remains tearing off the petals of the roses, and it's evident she's not herself anymore.

Shiori's grandfather closes the door and goes to his room. There, he thinks about his granddaughter and how he failed in many aspects. In her childhood, that weak girl was always so shy and sick that she often spent most of the weeks in her bed. Deep inside his heart, he knew that her sweetness was just a facade. In reality, Shiori had violent emotions and difficulty dealing with rejection. That happened once, he remembers. Once, there was a gardener that worked in the house and the girl spent her time taking care of the flowers and learning with him. Mr. Takamiya has a clear and vivid memory of the day the son of that gardener came to their house, to spend his summer vacation. Since he lived in the countryside, he could only see his father on those occasions.

When Shiori saw the boy, she fell in love and it was crystal clear for everyone in the house. To him, her grandfather, it was seen as a child's play. It wasn't supposed to be taken seriously. Shiori spent her days around the boy and the nights thinking about him. The boy was kind and generous, but when he heard from Shiori that she loved him, he felt unsure on what to do. He was only a boy and he had already started dating a girl from his school. He didn't know he would meet Shiori or that his kindness would be mistaken for love.

Without knowing what to do or how to behave and started to avoid Shiori. Her behavior started to make everyone worried at the house as she tried to follow him everywhere. At some point, her grandfather remembered, she started to talk to herself and to bruise herself in a spiral of self harm. The breaking point came when she saw Mr. Takamiya dismiss the gardener and pay him to go away with his son. Outside of the office's door, Shiori ran to the garden and found the boy working on a flower arrangement his dad had asked him to. Out of her mind, the teenager Shiori hugged the boy while crying and asking him to not go away. In shock, the boy couldn't know how to answer. Her grandfather and the gardener had followed when she ran away from the office. Getting to the garden, Mr. Takamiya shouted at the boy, asking him to get away from Shiori. Shiori shouted at her grandfather, screaming that she wouldn't let go of her love. When her grandfather tried to make her let the boy go, she got the gardener scissors that were close to the boy and stabbed him, screaming:
- I'll never let him go away from me!

Fortunately, the boy was not fatally wounded, but Mr. Takamiya spent some money paying for everyone's discretion, the medical fees and Shiori's mental health treatment.
At that time, the family discovered she suffered from an acute form of anxiety. Mr. Takamiya knew, although, that what Shiori had was a hard time to understand that people weren't her playtime objects.
After spending a year and a half at the sanitarium, she got back home
Mr. Takamiya asks himself, after the dreadful memories come back, if Shiori was really cured or if she should still be taking her medicine.
Breaking the silence in his room, he says to himself:
- I thought I could buy her a husband and a happy life, but unfortunately money can't buy one's happiness. After so long, that hurtful past comes back to life.
A single tear falls from his eyes.

After having met Shiori and her grandfather, Masumi is relieved, but at the same time he's worried about what he can do about the woman. At the state she's now, there isn't much he can do and, at the same time, he can't involve himself anymore. Shiori must understand he's not going back to her and that's for her own wellbeing.

At his hotel room, he finds himself immersed in his own thoughts while drinking a glass of wine. Smoking a cigarette, he thinks about Maya and about how she was able to change him with so little effort. Love is definitely inside of him after so many years and this very thought makes him smile sweetly.

The old Hayami receives a call. He's lying down and his secretary brings him the phone. His expression changes from calmness to shock, followed by angryness.
- I see, I'm sorry for my son's wrongdoings. Yes, I'll wait and see what he's going to do, he's said to have left our house. Yes.

After the call is over, old Hayami looks at the ceiling and, instinctively, understands something.
He says
-It's his crimson goddess... It's his time.

Volume 51

The time has come for the final rehearsal, the one Tsukikage will watch and decide for the actress who will be the Crimson goddess.
Maya is nervous, since she is going to present before Ayumi. Everything is at stake. When Maya wakes up that morning, she can't have breakfast or anything else since she can't stop thinking this is the most important day of her life up to now. She combs her hair, looking at herself in the mirror and gets lost in the reflection, seeing Akoya.
At the same time, Ayumi looks at the darkness. It's morning in her mansion, but she can't be sure about it. She is more and more aware of her destiny and of her limitations, but she knows she can't give up because that's all her life. She makes the decision of seeing Maya's presentation even if it breaks her apart. She knows she won't be able to actually watch it, but she wants to feel it.
Masumi, on the other hand, is having breakfast alone, as usual.
He looks at the watch and thinks:
- Even if it's just for today, I'll forget about the state of things and I'll see the crimson goddess.

Eisuke asks for help since he has decided to watch Maya's presentation also. He's going as well as all of Maya's friends, Mai, the board of Japan Theatre Association, reporters, Yuu's family and the Onodera troupe. Most people are going out of curiosity, business or friendship but one person. There's one person that's going to see her love story on stage, a dream come true, and that's Tsukikage sensei. As she walks in, the theater awes in surprise. She sits next to Masumi and asks for his fiance. He says that when he went to see Tsukikage sensei to ask about soulmates, he wanted to know if it was true. Tsukikage looks at Masumi, his expression lets her know that he's at peace, but so, who's his soulmate after all? She is puzzled.

At the backstage, everyone is nervous but the girl in front of the mirror.
As the play starts, the hairdresser and the assistant make the final arrangements in Akoya, who looks at herself in the mirror. Maya is the crimson goddess.

At the Takamiya's mansion, the maids are nervous because Shiori is not in her room. The driver enters the kitchen and says one of the cars was taken.
Listening to all of it, Mr. Takamiya runs to his office, opens one of the drawers of his desk and, shocked, says:
- my gun is not here anymore.

Volume 52

The audience is chatting excitedly about the play. Everyone seems to know someone that had watched the play in the past, with Chigusa Tsukikage as the goddess. The expectancy is high and can be felt all around.
At the backstage, the director Kuronuma is tense, while he's not sure about how the play is going to be performed. He's not sure about Sakurakoji's or Maya's feelings. While he's staring blankly at the wall, he smells the scent of plum's flowers. He feels deep in his heart a reassuring feeling and when he turns around, his face gets red since he's seeing a goddess himself.

The play starts with the narrator talking about the tale of the war and the gods that once governed Japan.
All the actors play their parts, Sakurakoji gets on the stage to play Isshin. He's beautiful and amazes the audience. Masumi and Tsukikage are watching side by side. Ayumi is seated with her parents and Hamil, who had insisted on going with them.

At the backstage, Maya has her eyes blank, as she says to herself:
- I can be the Crimson goddess. I understand her, I know who she is in my heart.

And when she appears at the tree, to say that she doesn't understand humans, she is not Maya anymore, nor human. Her face is celestial, her eyes gaze upon the audience as if they were humanity. All the stage is the plum trees valley since her smell is sweet as the flowers that never wither and her movements incarnate all the elements. The water, as the Ryƫjin that is her potent and omnipresent goddess voice. The earth and her maternal gestures and face; the wind and its movements that make the goddess walk inhumanly and the fire that burned passionately inside her heart.

As Tsukikage sees Maya's crimson goddess, she cries happily and remembers all the lessons she gave that girl since she discovered her at that school play.
The Little Women play, the lessons for the festival, small conversations, fights and every opportunity Maya had to thank her or show gratitude, just like she did with her Ichiren Ozaki.
She feels happy, after all, to have been able to give a life opportunity to someone as Ichiren gave her.

Masumi can't say anything and his expression is pure shock. He sticks his hands on his chest, trying to get a hold of his heart, which beats fast. His eyes shine as he sees the goddess herself. It isn't Maya, it's the goddess and he's puzzled as he has never been before. Absolutely in love, he gazes at her and mutters
- I want you, I'll make you mine
Tsukikage is the only one that hears that sentence. It was uttered so silently, but it was enough for her to hear it and to find it funny.
- So that's your soulmate?
She thinks, with a smirk.

All the audience is simply in awe. They were transported to the plum trees valley, they chatted about the smell, the illusion, the feeling, the breathing experience of seeing that stage presence, the storm girl.

Ayumi is broken, as she feels in her skin the impact Maya brought with her to the audience. She can't see anything, but she's witnessing a miracle with all of her other senses.
- It's as if I were again at the plum tree valley...

Hamil and Ayumi's parents are shocked to see the impact Maya provokes on everyone. The audience, the jury members, the crew, the director, everyone is hypnotized.
Sakurakoji's will to be at Maya's level is renewed and his eyes shine. He looks at her and thinks,
- I will be the best partner you'll have, I'll be the best Isshin. That's my dream come true.
The play evolves to the point where Isshin goes to the forbidden place where he loses his memory and is found by Akoya. They interact and the audience is totally drawn by their love story.
Tsukikage is watching attentively, but she notices that Masumi is more absorbed by the play than one could be. He's in a state of shock, as if he had seen something meaningful and dear to him.
In fact, Masumi is having a torrent of emotions since he's seeing the goddess and remembering his mom's sacrifices to save her kimono, his father's only love, and his love, all at the same time.
As the goddess speaks about her love for Isshin, she is looking at Masumi.
Maya sees him for the first time after all the misunderstanding. She remembers Hijiri saying she would meet her purple roses at Izu. Her heart just pours at the gaze of Masumi and then she proceeds with the lines about how their love is, they are soulmates.
Masumi feels his body having the same experience as he had before at the lake, when he saw Maya playing as the goddess.
Maya feels her soul getting in touch with Masumi, while she's playing the scene.
People get emotional and cry over that love that is confessed so sweetly yet profoundly.
Tsukikage feels Ichiren by her side.
Masumi and Maya have their souls tied again. Six shots break in the silence.

Volume 53

As the six shots hit Maya's chest, the audience is in shock without knowing if it is part of the play or not.
Standing in the middle of the corridor, Shiori is still pointing the gun to the stage. People scream in panic, many try to run away from Shiori, while she is standing there.
Tsukikage starts to feel a pain in her chest, her assistant gets desperate about her, calling her name.
Ayumi is nervously taken out of the theater by Hamil and her parents.
Maya is assisted by Sakurakoji, Kuronuma and the staff.
Masumi goes to the stage to see Maya, but people are so in panic that it's difficult to reach out to where she is.
The sound of an ambulance is heard and paramedics get into the place, taking Maya and Tsukikage to the hospital. Shiori, still standing in the middle of the place, only looks at Masumi, who is in shock. When he gets near her, she tries to hug him, and he backs off. He says:
- That's a shame, how could you?

As she looks at him, crying like a small girl, she tries to mumble something inaudible. Defeated, she looks away from him, since there's not a single sign of empathy in his eyes. She sees his hate on those inexpressive and blank eyes Masumi has.
While he stares at her furiously, Shiori's parents get there with the police. Her parents hug her, and they get on their knees, crying loudly.
The police officers are in silence. One of them takes the gun away from her hand.
Masumi speaks very quietly:
- Your daughter ruined one of our most important and expensive products. Daito company has now lost a huge investment. Your family is responsible for this outrageous event. Our lawyers are going to get in touch.

As he turns his back against them, he hurries to the front door of the theater, where Mizuki waits. She opens the door of the car to him and he gets in. As soon as Mizuki gets in the car and sits by his side, she sees he's crying.
Surprised to see him cry for the first time since she met him, she touches him shoulder firmly.
- She's strong, she's the stage storm, the wolf girl.

Masumi can't say anything, he's just desperately worried.

At the hospital, Tsukikage sensei is taken to the intensive care unit, unconsciously.
On the other side, Maya is unconscious as well. She's taken to a surgery room in order to undergo an operation to take out the bullets. Three of the six bullets hit her chest and her shoulder. Blood is all over the goddess vest, the doctors cut everything to treat the wounds.
Her friends, Sakurakoji and Kuronuma are at the reception. Her friends are crying, Yuu is sick and worried and Kuronuma is smoking a cigarette, frantically.
Some journalists get to the place to try to take photos or interview them, and Kuronuma breaks one of their cameras, starting a fight.
The receptionists make everyone silent, so they start to behave like civilized people again.
The journalists leave after some time, nevertheless they write the story about the brilliant star that shone and fell off the stage.

As the car parks, Masumi tries to get out of the car only to be stopped by Mizuki. She says she can't let him get out of the car now, because he's too nervous. He can't make any mistake in front of the press, and at the end of the day it was his fiance who was responsible for all of that. Masumi feels even more nervous, but at the same time he is frozen on the seat of the car.
- Well, I'll keep playing my part, I can't back off now. Let's go.

As they both enter the reception, all the eyes are on them.
Maya's friends are sobbing inconsolably.
Sakurakoji looks at him and before doing or saying something, he feels his arm has been grabbed by Kuronuma's hand.
- Wait, kiddo.

Kuronuma meets Masumi, who's pretending to not be as desperate as he is, but the director is aware of his feelings since he's been deciphering the situation for some time now.
He just says, quietly and close to Masumi:
- Hey, I know what's going on, don't worry... She's in surgery, three bullets are still inside of her.
Masumi is staring blankly at the wall.
Kuronuma says, sweating:
- That girl is strong, I'm betting all my chips on her.

Masumi can't say anything or express anything spontaneous or truthful without losing face. He doesn't know what to do. He doesn't want to leave, he can't just stay.
Mizuki decides to help him:
- Kuronuma-San, Daito company will take all the measures in order to give your version of the Crimson goddess another opportunity in the competition. Police is already taking care of the criminal, we will...

Kuronuma expressed a sincere smile:
- We just want the girl to be fine, other things are not as important as someone's life. Tsukikage is in critical condition as well... I really don't care about the crimson goddess right now.
Mizuki gets a little nervous, but rapidly saves her face:
- All the costs of their treatment are under Daito's.

Maya's friends sob, while Rei shouts at Mizuki:
- why did that woman shoot Maya?!
Kuronuma answers:
- She was engaged to Masumi-San. That woman is dangerous, she hated Maya.
- But why?!
Asks Rei, sobbing.
- Because I love Maya.
Says Masumi, trying his best to not to cry again.
All the people are shocked.

Another person gets into the emergency directly to the surgery room: Masumi's father.

Volume 54

Masumi sees Eisuke entering the surgery room in very bad shape. Eisuke is not unconscious, and painfully he cries out for Masumi. He's forbidden to enter the surgery room but some nurses, and a doctor come to talk to him and the others that are in the reception. The doctor says that they took out the three bullets that were in Maya and that the next 48 hours are critical. Tsukikage is in intensive care as well, but recovering. They say Eisuke is crazily asking for his son to be by his side, but that they need to try to calm him down in order to treat him.
Everyone is in shock. Rei and the others are looking at Masumi, puzzled.
Sakurakoji says that he trusts Masumi and that he knows how much Masumi loves Maya and how much she loves him as well. Sadly, he says it was hard to face it, but that's the truth. He offers his hand to Masumi, saying that he hopes Masumi takes good care of Maya, and that he's leaving her in his care. He says to Kuronuma that he's going to take some time to heal from all the pain he has gone through, so he'll be off the stage for some time. Saying farewell to all of the people there in the reception, he heads outside and walks away, sobbing, yet proudly happy of his achievement and courage.
He says:
- I did everything I could and never backed off. For me, being authentic to myself is my goal and... Even though I'm really sorry for not having had Maya even for a day, I did what my heart told me to.
We see images of him and Maya playing together, walking, having desserts,etc. He looks at the moon and smiles gladly, while tears come out of his eyes.

Volume 55

The reception is empty except for Masami and the faithful Kenzo, who are seated. Some people get into the hospital for information in the background. Rei gets there and sees Masumi in his seat, she goes to him and starts talking.
- Masumi-San, how's your father doing?
- He's not well. Tsukikage too is not good, Maya is still in critical condition as well.
Rei just sits beside him to think about what she heard.
- Don't worry, she's going to be alright.
Masumi smiles faintly, looking at Rei. They spend some time quietly, waiting for something to happen, when a doctor comes to talk to them.
- You two are waiting for news about those three patients that came here two days ago, on the same night, right?
- Yes!
Rei says in a hurry.

- They're in different conditions. The one called Eisuke Hayami wants to talk to his son. The woman you refer to as Chigusa Tsukikage wants to see Kenzo. Maya is still in a coma.
Masumi and Rei look at each other, Kenzo just walks towards the doctor, being followed after by Masumi.
At the mansion, Shiori is seated on her knees, head down, while her parents and her grandfather are around her.
Her father says:
- Shiori, you have brought disgrace to our family. How come a high society person like you go so low? To shoot at people in front of everyone, to be caught by the police officers, taken to the police department, it's a shame!
- Shiori, I can't believe what you have done!
Her mother says, sobbing.
- You're our little girl!
Her father says.
- Enough!, shouts Shiori's grandfather. You two have spoiled this woman to the point she's grown up with the idea that she can force people to make what she wants! That's enough! That's absurd! You can't comprehend the amount of pain you three have brought to my heart since you have started to live as if you were the owners of everything. Enough! I've had enough of you all.
Shiori listens to everyone silently. Suddenly, she speaks.
- I'm sorry, that's all my fault... I've become so infatuated that...
- That's enough, girl!
The grandfather simply shouted.
- Grampa...
- I have told you many times that if something like what happened with the gardener happened again, I'd send you to an overseas treatment, I can't deal with this kind of drama anymore!
- Yes, you had said that before.
Sobbed Shiori.
- But father...
Her mother tried to intervene.
- I said what I said! She's going in a week!
The family was heartbroken. Even so, Shiori was calming down as she started to think about the situation. She started to feel ashamed.
- Excuse me, please.
She left the room hurriedly and ran to a phone. She dialed a number, being answered by Mizuki.
- Hello? Masumi Hayami's office.
- Hi, is Masumi there?
- Hi, Shiori. Masumi is at the hospital with his father.
- Oh, dear..., Shiori expressed her worriedness. I am going to travel overseas... Could you please send a message to Masumi-San?
- Yes...?
- Say to him that I'm sorry, and goodbye.
- Alright, I'll let him know. Do you want me to ask him anything?
- No, that's fine, thank you. Farewell, Mizuki-san.
- Farewell.
Mizuki put the phone down and smiled happily.
At the hospital, Masumi enters his father's room. He's in critical condition, being monitored by machines. The doctor says he'll leave both alone.
Masumi gets near his father and looks at him. Then, Eisuke sees him.
- You don't look much different than when you were a boy.
- I do, father. I have changed a lot.
- I know you changed drastically after the kidnapping.
- So you have noticed it.
Said Masumi after the initial shock of discovering his father knew all along.
- I'm sorry I couldn't love anyone really... I couldn't say I loved Chigusa either, since I caused her so much pain. I've been miserable all my life.
Masumi just let Eisuke talk, but the old man started to feel bad while speaking.
- Forgive me, please.
- My mom died without treatment after risking her life on that fire because of the Crimson goddess kimono.
- I'm so very sorry, Masumi... Forgive me, please.
The man had tears in his eyes.
- I wanted to take the crimson goddess for myself and make you suffer.
Said Masumi, coldly.
- But you have already taken it away, you have gotten it, Masumi...
- What did you say? I didn't take the rights or...
- That girl on the stage, that girl is your crimson goddess, and you have her love, I saw her on the stage...
Eisuke started to feel really bad, so the doctor and two nurses entered the room hurriedly.
- What?
Masumi is confused, as he's pushed away from Eisuke.
- Forgive me! Just forgive me, please!
Eisuke sobs in pain.
The doctor and the nurses work fastly to reestablish Eisuke's condition, but he's agitated. Masumi is nervous and doesn't know what to do. With his back on the wall, he sees his life in flashbacks. All his pain, the miserable life, the kidnapping, his cousins, his mother's death...
- I... I forgive you.
- I'm sorry, Masumi!
- I forgive you, father.
He says, finally letting some tears roll on his face.
- You're the only son that I had.
Eisuke dies.

In Tsukikage's room, Kenzo is at the door, looking at her. So pale, thin and frail, she's but a shadow of the powerful woman she had been. She opens her eyes and looks at him.
- Come here, my old friend.
Kenzo is already crying when he gets close to her. He's miserable.
- Don't cry, this is a very happy day, I'm going to be together with my soulmate, forever.
- Madam...
- Kenzo..., She says calmly. I have left my will at the bank. I have chosen the next Crimson goddess some time ago, and I just want you to go there and take the documents and give them to Masumi Hayami.
- He is a monster!
- He's not...,She smiles. He's not like his father, he has changed so much, that boy... But, I will take my last words to say these words to you: Thank you, faithful old friend.
- Oh, Madam!
He sobbed harder.
- Say farewell to all my boys and girls. Farewell, Kenzo.
Tsukikage died peacefully, leaving Kenzo crying on her lap.

Volume 56

A huge commotion started at the hospital since two important people died that day. Reporters went crazy with the news.
Rei and all of Tsukikage's students got terribly sad, even those who didn't like her like Onodera felt sad.
There were pages and pages about her life in the newspapers. At the same time, the Daito company mourned his founder.
People at the offices of his enterprises were sad, confused and didn't know what would happen.
At the news, the history of that great man was on all day long.
Their funerals took place in different locations, Masumi could only send flowers and pay for Tsukikage's ceremony, since he couldn't attend both.
At Tsukikage's funeral, everyone was sad.
At Eisuke's, only Masumi was somehow sad. Shiori's parents and grandfather got in to express their condolences, and Masumi greeted them.
- I'm sorry I couldn't do anything about Shiori-san, I had to stay with my father and couldn't...
The family looked seriously at him, and her parents gave him their back.
Takamiya-San just said:
- Shiori is about to travel overseas to treat herself in a good health institute.
- Yes, my secretary said she called and left a message saying that.
- We're done, and we don't want to have anything to do with you anymore.
Masumi didn't answer anything, he just lit a cigarette and left the place for some time.
Outside, the wind blew up his hair. Mizuki was there waiting too.
- Shiori's history is over now.
He said.
- It seems that's the end of it for sure. I hope you don't need anything from the Takamiyas in the future.
- I won't, nevertheless... I couldn't say I'm worried about anything else other than Maya.
- That's fair. She said. They said she's expected to come back in a few days. She's still in a coma, but they are going to induce her to come back.
- I'll stay there, I'll leave the funeral and get back there as soon as I can.
- Attaboy.
Mizuki smiled happily at Masumi.
- Eisuke's will is going to be read. The lawyer has already gone in.
- I don't care...
Said Masumi.
- You don't care? How come the workaholic doesn't care about his career?
- I couldn't care less... That old man didn't like me, I have no idea what he thought about me.
- We never know.
As Masumi finished his cigarette, they got in the building. Eisuke's brothers and nephews were there, and a lawyer announced he would start to read the will.
- Excuse me. Ladies, sirs, this is Eisuke's will... He registered it a few months ago.
Chatting started to take place in the room. People were excited.
- It says that...
The lawyer started to announce.
All the people froze, waiting for the next lines.
- ... all of his assets are left to his only son, Masumi Hayami.
The sound in the room just escalated to the roof, people started to complain loudly, shouting that Masumi was not Eisuke's biological son. Masumi looked at those people coldly and as soon as everyone noticed that he was looking at them, they got quiet.
Masumi left the room and went to the hospital to see Maya.
Tsukikage's will was read by Kenzo at a press conference, after her funeral. He was unconsolable, sobbing constantly. He opened the envelope and read it by the microphone.
- This is Chigusa Tsukikage's will. In this will, she left the crimson goddess's play rights to one of her students. And her name... is Maya Kitajima.
Onodera, in the crowd, gets furious. Ayumi cries with her mother. All of Maya's friends are sobbing, but get a little happy with the news. Rei says that Tsukikage's dream came true when she finally could find her heiress.
At the hospital, Masumi watched the tv when Tsukikage's will was broadcasted. He was surprised and a bittersweet feeling invaded his heart. When he was about to lit his cigarette, the nurse said:
- Mr. Hayami?
- Yes.
He answered, putting his cigarette down.
- Maya woke up and since there is no one else here with her, I assumed I should ask you to come and see her. Is it alright?
Masumi couldn't even breathe, he was shocked with what the nurse had just said.
It had been his dream since all this madness had started and he just stood up and headed to the door. The nurse just interrupted him and said:
- Calm down, you have to follow me.
They went to a long corridor after the double doors and headed to the elevator. Inside, the nurse pressed the 3rd floor. Masumi was absolutely tense and started to sweat all over his face, his eyes startled. The door opened and the nurse conducted him through another corridor. Patients in wheelchairs were taken to places by nurses, but he couldn't really see anything since he was numb. When they got to room 310, she knocked on the door and asked if they could get in. The voice from a doctor came from the inside, saying it was ok.
Masumi entered with the nurse by his side, Maya was looking at the doctor when she suddenly saw him over there.
She immediately started to cry and offered her arms to him. Masumi ran to her just like a little boy and amid tears he just wanted to say he was very sorry for what had happened.
- Don't be sorry, it's ok...
Maya said.
- I am sorry... If it weren't for my lack of resolve, it wouldn't go this far. Shiori wouldn't fall for me and she wouldn't get mad or have shot you.
- Masumi, it's not your fault she fell in love with you.
- Who couldn't fall in love with me, Maya, even you couldn't!
Masumi started to laugh being followed by the nurse and the doctor as well.
Maya started to get angry, but she just let it be because she was feeling like she had always been, but happier, blissful. She felt like all of her problems simply didn't exist anymore since Masumi was there with her... And that she could be playful with him.
- Doctor, could you leave us alone just for a couple of minutes please?
Said Masumi.
Yes, we'll be back in a few.
Both the professionals left the room. Masumi waited for them to close the door and sat on the bed alongside Maya. As he looked on her eyes, he said:
- I love you. I love you more and more everytime I see you, and I have loved you for a long time now.
- Oh my gosh...
Maya felt her heart explode with love.
- You make me feel like a boy and like a man at the same time, I can't explain it... But let me tell you, He said, taking her hand on his I'll never let you go again. I'll marry you, I'll make you mine.
- Masumi... I love you too.
Masumi just reached her lips with his and they kissed so tenderly that his heart melted. It was a very sincere kiss. Soon he couldn't deny his passion and he just embraced her passionately. She just leaned in his embrace.
- Maya... I love you very much.
- Me too, Masumi.
- I really love you and I want to take care of you, that's why I need to tell you something that is not really good, but it's something I'll help you deal with.
- What's it?!
Maya got desperate and her heartbeat accelerated.
- I'm here with you... Please, Don't worry.
- Yes, but what happened?!
- Maya... , Masumi looked at her eyes to say that very carefully. When you got shot, lots of people got nervous because of the shooting itself. My father got very ill and died.
- Oh, God, I'm so sorry Maya put her hands over her mouth and started to cry.
- But Maya, that's not what got us really sad...Your sensei Tsukikage finally ended her act.
- Oh no!
Maya just hugged Masumi as strong as she could, but she was very weak from being in bed for that long so it was just as much as she could. He hugged her carefully and with love.
- I know, Maya... And she left the Crimson Goddess rights with you. You're the heiress.
- Oh my Goodness, I'm going to pass out, I'm feeling bad.
- I'll call the doctors, I guess you have had too much for today.
- Oh God, no...
Maya hugged him. She felt so impotent and sad as she had lost one of the most important persons in her life, yet again.
- I won't leave your side ever, I'll be here and I'll help you recover.
- Masumi... - Maya just looked at him, there was a crazy fire in her eyes.
- Yes.
- I... I want to honor sensei Tsukikage. Please, do something for me.
- I'll do anything for you.

Volume 57

The tickets were being sold out and there was a frisson in the air. Television wanted to broadcast it, avid play fans came from all over Japan just to see it. Drama critics, writers, actors and actresses, they were all there.
The night was hot and everyone was nervous besides one person: Ayumi. Sakurakoji starts to play his part and everyone is mesmerized when they see Ayumi. They gasp in awe. Kuronuma is directing everything at the back, behind the curtains, and he smiles with a happy expression.
She's the other crimson Goddess, and it's good to have two in the world. That must be a lucky charm to me. - And he puts his hand in his pocket to check how much money he has to play after work.
Sakurakoji is happy playing his part as is Ayumi. Hamil, her mother and her father are there looking at her. When she sees Hamil, she gets out of the character for a bit for the first time in her life, causing her parents and Hamil to giggle. She and Hamil are in love.
At the seats, Daito's company boss is watching the play with his fiance Maya by his side. Their hands are tied together and she looks beautiful. Maya's eyes can't even blink as she, as usual, gets hypnotized by the play.
- It was very generous of you to let the Crimson Goddess be played by Ayumi, dear.
- Yes, you picky!!
- Ouch! - Said Masumi laughing as Maya just had pinched him on his arm.
- I want to honor Tsukikage and make Japan remember her now that she has just passed away. She was brilliant and I don't want her to be forgotten. Ayumi dreamed about the play as well, and we are not competing anymore, we are colleagues.
- Yes, yes...
Said Masumi giggling.
- Take me seriously!
- I just love you entirely.
Maya blushed in a lovely and clumsy way.
- You know... - She said, changing the subject - Ayumi is going to recover well, I guess, she just needs a little more time.
- Yes, I guess so as well.
- And in the future we can exchange the roles, we can play together, I don't know... I just want Tsukikage to be honored now that she just passed away so recently.
- I understand you, she was incredible. I think you're right.
- Yes... I think I am, I think I am... And Maya felt, deep in her heart, for the first time ever, a self recognition that would repeat itself more and more within the years. Something that would say to her: Yes, you're right, you can do it, you're worth it, you're capable of it, you're good, don't worry.
- Chibi-chan. - Masumi just kissed her forehead. - Love you.

The end