K and I were together again at dinner. K seemed lost in his own thoughts. Unaware, he in no way regarded me with suspicion. Okusan, also unaware, was in higher spirits than usual. I alone knew everything. My dinner went down like lead. On that occasion, the daughter didn't join us at the table as usual. When Okusan called her, she would only answer from the next room that she was coming. K seemed to find their exchange curious. He finally asked Okusan if something was amiss. Okusan, with a glance my way, answered that her daughter must be feeling abashed. K found this all the more curious, and proceeded to ask what had made her feel abashed. Okusan looked my way with a grin.
On my arrival at the table, I could surmise from Okusan's expression how things had gone. However, having her tell K, by way of explanation, with me there present, would have been excruciating. Okusan was not a woman to mince words, and I didn't put it past her to do so, so I sat there on pins and needles. Fortunately, K reverted to his previous reticence. Okusan, though in a cheerful mood, in the end refrained from offering up the discussion I so dreaded. I returned to my room with a sigh of relief. However, I was compelled to wrestle with the problem of how to deal with K going forward. In my heart, I conjured up myriad justifications to defend myself before him, but none seemed adequate. Spineless as I was, I grew loath to explain myself at all.