Title: Hot Gimmick #10
Author: Miki Aihara
Forcing Hatsumi to choose between him or her family, Ryoki suggests they run away together. Unsure what to do, Hatsumi reluctantly goes to Izu with him, worrying the whole time about Shinogu and his decision to sever ties with the Narita family. Ryoki’s mother goes postal when she learns that her precious son has gone off with Hatsumi, and she’s on the warpath against the Naritas. When Ryoki’s father shows up, he sends Shinogu off to convince Ryoki and Hatsumi to come home.
At the suite in Izu, Hatsumi finds a picture of Azusa’s mother and Ryoki’s father. Ryoki admits that it was his father, not Hatsumi’s, who was having an affair with Miho Odagiri. Shocked, Hatsumi demands to know why he didn’t let her know earlier. Hurt, she leaves the hotel, telling him she can no longer be his girlfriend.
Outside the hotel, Shinogu arrives to take her home. When Hatsumi doesn’t want to go back to the family apartment for fear of seeing Ryoki, he suggests she stay as his place for a while. Once there, Shinogu confesses his love for her, but can Hatsumi ever see him as anything other than her brother?
Though I have been enjoying Hot Gimmick, this volume made me irritated. Hatsumi is so spineless, it’s annoying. She hasn’t grown at all over the past 10 volumes of the story. Ryoki hasn’t changed much, either. He’s still the spoiled, selfish person he was in the first volume. I don’t understand how Hatsumi could prefer him to Shinogu, even considering the "ick" factor. At least Shinogu takes care of her and treats her with respect.