Angela soon became a regular to their house. Yoshiasu had to return to work so he asked his long-time friend to look after Fuyuki. She happily complied; she liked the young artist so she took him under her wings.
She took him out shopping and helped him to buy his own clothes. Yoshiasu was earning well so money was not a problem. Angela also bought colors and all the material he needed for his art and encouraged him to draw and paint. Not surprisingly, Fuyuki’s artworks sold well; though the first buyers were mostly from their close circle of friends, soon the outsiders got to know about his art and liked it too.
It was Angela who introduced the young artist to the world of computers and Internet and she was pleasantly surprised by the quick progresses made by her apprentice. Getting in closer touch with the real world, helped Fuyuki to build up some confidence and a protective wall. He was still very vulnerable on the inside but this was known only by Yoshiasu and Angela. But being so much around them, made Angela aware that tension was building up under the surface in the life of the two young men.
As Fuyuki seemed to become more independent, Yoshiasu was becaming more and more distant and busy. He even refused to go out with the two of them, pretending that he had urgent work to do. This particular change in his behavior hurt and puzzled Fuyuki. Though he did his best not to show, a veil of sadness started to dim the light in his eyes. One day, he finally burst out:
-Angela! Please talk to Yoshiasu! He is constantly avoiding me. I must have done something wrong that he doesn’t want me around…
-You did nothing wrong-she said, trying to comfort him. He is just tired and jumpy because of his work.
-I hope you’re right- he said in a small voice. Because I have no reason to live if he doesn’t want me anymore…
-Fuyuki!-protested Angela but the young man has already shut the bedroom door behind him.
Despite her best efforts to get Yoshiasu to talk to her, things were just not adding up. There were days when Yoshiasu was becoming almost monosyllabic, while Fuyuki was trying to put up a brave face. This went on until one day, when Angela showed up right in the middle of the storm. Looking at them, it became obvious for her that the two men had recently fought over something.
Yoshiasu quickly disappeared in the kitchen. “I’m making a coffee”-he said, while Fuyuki’s eyes were red and his voice broke as he spoke to her.
-He’s angry; help him, please. I’ll be fine…-he said though obviously he wasn’t.
Angela patted him on the shoulder and went to the kitchen where Yoshiasu was fumbling with the coffee pot.
-Why is Fuyuki crying? What have you done to him?-asked Angela.
-Nothing-mumbled the other.
-Yoshiasu, what are you doing?-Angela was getting angry. Why are you pushing him away? It’s so obvious that you’re in love with Fuyuki.
Yoshiasu slammed the pot.
-This is exactly why I don’t want to tie him down to me. I can see that he is getting better and for the first time in his life, he can make a choice for himself. I don’t want him to stay with me simply because I was the one that nurtured him back to life. It wouldn’t be fair to him.
Angela shook her head in disbelief; she then grabbed Yoshiasu by the shoulders, shaking him vigorously.
-My friend, you are a fool! You are an even bigger fool that I’ve expected. I can understand your moral concerns but it didn’t cross your mind that maybe Fuyuki has already made his choice and that is you?!
-How would I know?!-shouted Yoshiasu.
Angela slammed her palm to the table.
-What do you expect from him, a solemn declaration, written down or what? For God’s sake, you don’t even realize how lucky you are! Here is this sophisticated, beautiful young man who sees no one but you and you’re uncertain…About what are you uncertain? Let me tell you something as a good friend: I can vouch for Fuyuki’s feelings. He loves YOU, that’s for sure! But seeing how you treat him I come to doubt YOUR feelings towards him: is this really LOVE as you pretend or just infatuation? Make up your mind, man, before it’s too late! After all he has been through, Fuyuki doesn’t deserve this!
There was a moment of deep silence. Angela poured the coffee in three mugs while Yoshiasu stood there, bent over the kitchen table and head in his palms. There was a soft rustle at the door. As they both turned, they saw a pale and shaken Fuyuki leaning against the door frame.
-Yoshiasu, I cannot tell you if this is love-he said in a soft voice. I have never known love before. All I know is that I don’t want to go on without you. Don’t let me go! Please…
Yoshiasu pushed everything aside and quickly closed the distance between them. He cupped the young man’s face with both hands and looked deep into those beautiful lilac eyes.
-Forgive me-he said in a coarse voice. I love you so much…I’ll never let you go. Never!
As Fuyuki folded in his arms, he buried his face in his hair.
-Hmph…That’s better-coughed amusedly Angela. Now let’s have that coffee and talk about the plans for the winter holidays.
The evening turned up fine and they all agreed in spending Christmas together with their friends at an inn in the nearby mountains.