Chapter 25 opens with the scene at Narita Airport Terminal 1. A man stretched out his hand to hail for a cab. He got into the cab and his luggage placed in the boot.
It was Shinya that got into the cab. He told the driver to head towards Ebisu (a temple). He changed his mind and called Riko and directed the driver to head towards Fukagawa.
Scene switches to Riko with Aki at Starbucks. Aki's phone rang. It was Shun and Aki excused himself to answer the call. Shun told Aki that he's back from his trip and he bought some gifts for Aki.
Meanwhile, Riko's phone rang. Before Riko could answer, Aki knew it was a call from Shinya. He ended his conversation with Shun. Aki stopped Riko from answering and took away her phone. He confirmed it was Shinya who called.
Aki asked Riko: "What do you think it means for a man to call you immediately after returning from overseas?"
Riko was taken aback and blushed as she thought about Aki's question. Looking at her response, Aki commented that Riko seemed to understand. He went on to tell Riko that he dislike seeing Shinya and Riko together, he dislike Riko singing Shinya's song and dislike the make-up she has on now. (Sigh... this is not going help you score brownie points. A strict no no in any relationship, even when you are hurting, the last thing you should do is to hurt the person you love. Sigh... Aki is so immature...)Upon hearing that Riko teared...
Aki saw Riko's tears streaming down her face and he panicked. He told her that he was just joking about the makeup. He apologized and told her that he actually thought she was very cute in the new make-up. He expressed that he was behaving this way because he was jealous. (At least you have some sense to know that, Ok. I forgive you for hurting Riko)
Riko with tears in her eyes expressed that she had no choice. She did not know what to do.
Aki took out a CD from his bag. With a serious expression, he told her that he wanted her to listen to this. Riko replied no.
Aki persisted that he wrote this song especially for her. Riko was equally insistent that she would not as she did not want others to think of her as someone who became famous because of her relationship with Aki. She noted that most of such singers did not last long in the music industry.
She emphasized that she did not want others to remember her as Aki's girlfriend, thus she would never sing his song.
Aki asked:" Even if we were to break up?" (Oh man! Why did you keep doing that? Just when I am starting to feel a teeny sense of pity for you...)
Riko was speehless. Tears streamed down her face again... Aki immediately apologized and said that he was joking with her.
Aki thought to himself: "I am frightened by my strong desire." (I suppose here it means Aki's desire to have Riko sing his composition.)
Scene switches back to Takagi. Takagi ordered a bottle of champagne. The waiter asked what's the occasion for such celebration. Takagi smiled. He turned to Nagahama and asked what she thought of Riko's lyrics.
Nagahama replied that she thought Riko's lyrics were fantastic and she was puzzled why did Takagi reject it. Takagi expressed that he knew it was great and only a fool would think otherwise but he rejected it because he felt that Riko would be able to write better. Takagi seemed to believe that Riko has great potential to write superb lyrics. (Sigh... I don't understand why Takagi must choose to belittle the person for him/her to be creative? I thought praises work well too? Takagi must have a very sad childhood...)
Takagi ruminated that he must be a fortunate guy as he discovered another talent in Riko. He thought that Shinya fit the bill... One day, Riko would also compose her own music and at this present moment, she needed to sing songs that she could "abuse". Nagahama was puzzled by Takagi's used of word. Nagahama: "Abuse?" (Poor Shinya. To have his existence relegated to a stepping stone for someone, first Aki now Riko)
Takagi explained that as Riko sang Shinya's songs, she would be inspired to change the songs and know what to do to improve on each song. He felt that if Riko was to sing Aki's music, she would be too careful.
Scene changes to Riko's house. Her father was glued to the TV set calling for Riko's mother to see Riko's first TV appearance via the Pepsi commercial.
Scene switches back to Riko and her bandmates. They were leaving the train station when they saw that their faces were plastered on advertistment dotting the train station. All of them felt that their lives seemed to have changed at that moment and things would never be the same again.
Scene switches back to Aki. Aki's thoughts: "I am still as unhappy as I was in the past... In the past, I fought to run away from music. Now, my wish came true and I am still unhappy."
(Scene switches to a poster of Mush & Co with Shinya's name as the composer)...
I like this chapter. To me it is the answer to some questions I have about this manga. I get a picture of each characters' intent and can roughly guess how the story is likely to develop. Nice.
Finally, Aki realized that he cannot run away from his music... How can both he and Riko keep their music, develop their talents and yet stay together?