Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Chapter six (segment three), twenty four years earlier, June/July, main cast

June slid towards July, and with the new month approaching came an end to the remorseless raining. And the next thing just had to be a thunderstorm. Sometimes I just hate this place.

Christina stared out the entrance. Umbrella or not wouldn't matter. This was worse than the downpour that heralded Ulf's disastrous midsummer's party.

I knew it could rain like this. It did last summer but I still just can't believe it.

Outside water literally roared down from the sky. Within hours the tamed rivers would become gurgling chaos of brown water thundering to the ocean. But for Christina the here and now was more important.

It was as if an unruly water-god mischievously flicked a switch on and off. Ten minutes glaring sunshine, five minutes staggering thunder followed by the skies dumping drops the size of a swimming pool over anyone stupid enough to be caught outside.

Then a drizzle and after that maybe a quarter of an hour with murderous sunshine boiling the water on the ground. Steam rose and turned the outside into a sauna and the next you knew another round of thunder rolled in and it started all over again.

Three hours she had waited. She wasn't alone. Three hours.


Three hours he had waited. He wasn't alone. Three hours.

But Urufu never showed.

Yukio ordered his third round and looked at Ryu-kun. The latter shrugged and ordered as well.

It was Friday evening and Ryu had joined him in anticipation of meeting Urufu here at their mall.

The two of them spent the time recounting what had occurred at Red Rose Hell close to a year ago. Ryu-kun looked relieved that the girls had decided to go shopping and then sleep over with Noriko-chan.

Yukio could understand that. There were things you didn't talk about with your sister. Especially not those things.

He filled Ryu-kun in on what Urufu had said. How they were forced to wait and how it was likely that any repercussions would wait until after summer break ended.

They talked about what the right wing loonies could possibly do. They weighed the risk of a physical attack. They made a few contingency plans. They built trust and friendship, and they dropped the honorifics.

And they spoke about how there was a fourth one.

One that had to be found. One that he didn't want found.


One that had to be found. One that he didn't want found.

Even though Ulf had pressured Yukio into service he never planned to drag his friend into a disgraceful deed. Some things were the right things to do but the right things to do weren't always graceful.

And Yukio never wanted to find the fourth assailant, the ogre. As far as Yukio was concerned three of the guys had ceased to exist never to resurface. That Nakagawa had managed to get two of them expelled was a nice bonus but even that was distasteful. Going after the fourth personally was tantamount to dirtying yourself and your family. Ulf knew that Yukio truly believed that.

So Ulf passed on their Friday evening for the first time in several months. Unless you counted that unmitigated disaster of a midsummer's party.

The other five could have a friendly chat on their own. It would have been nice to spend some time with Christina but finding the fourth was more important right now.

That was why Ulf used most of his weekend searching for a former Red Rose Hell student. The remaining hours he trained karate and aikido. Saturday afternoon had seen him coaching a middle management team in how to bridge the gap between corporate management and production teams.

He drew blank. He had to find another way.


He drew blank. He had to find another way.

A frontal declaration of love wasn't how to steal Kuri-chan from Urufu-kun. Ryu needed to be more subtle about it.

There was an unbalance to the two of them. It was obvious to him. Kuri-chan had fallen heads over heels in love with her tall boyfriend. She was effectively untouchable for months to come.

For a week Ryu had studied the two of them. And by now he knew.

Urufu-kun twisted and squirmed and he was even cute towards Kuri-chan from time to time. But where she proudly declared her affection for him he only answered with a watered down declaration of overly strong friendship.

Yes they held hands and kissed and at those times Ryu could see how deeply Urufu-kun really loved Kuri-chan.

But the guy probably didn't even admit that to himself, and what was worse, Kuri-chan was a girl who always listened to what was there to be heard. Ryu had never heard Urufu-kun give her unambiguous words of love. And those two definitely weren't the kind of people who beat around the bushes when it came to show affection.

Whatever Ryu saw was most likely what there was to be seen.

Bide your time. Wait and see. He'll do the job for you.


Bide your time. Wait and see. He'll do the job for you.

Kyoko felt more and more certain that Yu-kun found her attractive. If that was the same as liking her was a different question but at least she wasn't displeasing to his eyes.

Kyoko also felt like an idiot. He confessed to you you moron! Of course he was disgusted by the sight of you from the start, because that makes for a good reason to confess to begin with!

So in all fairness it was her turn to return the favour. But she was gutless. The thought of rejection scared her. More so now when they shared a solid friendship. What they had she didn't want to lose.

Those were the reasons they sat together all alone during one of the first really hot days of the summer. A popsicle each and one bottle of water like two children who had known each other since forever.

It was, she reflected, interesting how none of them were concerned with indirect kisses in the least. A common enough manga trope, Yu-kun assured her.

Now while no one in their right mind cared the least, him bringing the topic up suddenly made what had been natural until just moments earlier slightly embarrassing. She sipped her water knowing and he looked at her knowing that she knew.

It was brutally hot and only marginally cooler in the shade.


It was brutally hot and only marginally cooler in the shade.

While Noriko approved of Urufu-kun's walking talking sessions in general, now was just too hot.

His reputation had taken a turn for the worse since that day. There were still herring-jokes flying around. That he relentlessly had stuck to their two hour walks the first week of blazing sun didn't help.

But there was reason to his madness. She found the questions he posed during the walks oddly tantalising. Why finding a root cause to a problem was important and his insistence that analysis was problematic unless you applied synthesis. She hadn't thought in such terms before. Hadn't reflected over if the sum of the parts really constituted the whole or not.

Urufu-kun was adamant it didn't. But his insistence that there seldom were right answers and wrong ones made her question his statement. If he was right it meant he was wrong, and that was no paradox at all. It just made sense.

Academically she was growing at a rate neither she nor her parents would have thought possible.

July had established itself and left June as a wet and rainy memory behind it.

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