Friday, 31 July 2015

Chapter four (segment eight), 2016, August, Christina

She owed them big-time. No, that wasn't true. She owed Noriko big-time. You're my rival and yet you saved my sorry arse. And you've got one hell of a good looking admirer there.

But good looking wasn't the same as good. He was the youngest of the modelling crew by a far margin, and the most inexperienced. Christina didn't know much of him more than that she had had to help him a few times during the shots.

Christina helped her club members with taking their picks of the seemingly endless supply of clothes. The Uniclo crew were as professional as any representatives of a large scale retailer chain could hope to be, but they weren't Chag. It wasn't surprising. This was a company big in one country rather than the multinational monster she had once shaped, and the difference in size was staggering. Chag had been five times the size, and even the Swedish replacement in this world was four or five times larger.

She thought of that for a while. H&M hadn't been able to match her aggressive stance in that other world, but here they were just as efficient as Chag had been.

“Hiroyuki, not blue. You should wear red. Better with your complexion.” Moving from student to student she quickly assessed their ability to pick clothes that would make the photographers happy. Too many of them chose things they personally liked rather than what would make them look good in a night shot.

At the fireworks models mingled with awestruck students and made the shots both a welcome laugh and a nightmare for the crew.

It was time for a good old northern style illusion. Christina gathered a few students and called the professional models to her side.

“I want the sea in the background. Can you rig the lights to make it look like moonshine from over the mountains?”

“I'll handle it,” the journalist turned fashion photographer shouted back at her.

He was an absolute marvel to work with, and as the evening proceeded she took command over more and more of the event. A shot with amateurs needed feeling and she used every ounce of her knowledge to make it happen.

She was working in tandem with her number one photographer now, but as she glanced up at the walkway she saw the producers looking down at the beach and taking notes. Am I overdoing this? Screw that, just make it a good shot!

“Kuri, are these OK?”

She looked at Sango-chan who still sat bundled together with Jirou-kun. “Perfect!” They're so cute together! Wish I could sit like that with Ulf, but he's busy with the barbecue.

A team intruded on their privacy, and even if Sango-chan looked happy Jirou-kun showed signs of discomfort. Something is missing. 
“Shoji-kun, get over here!” She disliked the conceited model, but he was the best for this part. “We'll be the background couple.”

“Shoji-kun,” her photographer said. He hugged his stomach tightly and guffawed. “Ageruman-san, he's at least five years older than you, and you call him 'kun'.”

Oops, forgot that. Well, can't be helped. “He behaves like a spoiled brat, so why not?”

“I'll couple with you anywhere,” Shoji-kun grinned.


“Not much in the way of boobs, but down there I guess...”

“I'd advice against sexually harassing a minor.

“Kinoshita-sensei?” Shoji-kun quickly turned to Christina. 

“Ageruman-san, I apologise. I was out of line.”

She looked at her photographer. So that's your name. “Kinoshita-sensei,” she said as if tasting the name. “Should we get some lights rigged further down the wall? I think it's possible to make it look like it's lit up by a fire.”

“I'm not entirely certain I understand what you're after,” he answered. He gave a look that was as much question as a test.

She was up to that challenge. “It's a typical scene from Sweden. Late evening, camp fire by the beach and the gang having a great time together. Our fantasy dream of how we spend out summers.”

Kinoshita-sensei scratched his chin. “And you want to see if we can build that kind of appeal here as well?”

Christina nodded in reply. “If it doesn't pan out it's just once scene anyway.”

It was rigged, and they got the shots, and Sango-chan was adorably cute sitting in Jirou-kun's lap. At least after they finally got him to stop blushing. And Shoji-kun groped her exactly as the shots were taken and she couldn't move away.

She slapped him, but it was still her who had to drag Ulf away from meeting out retribution. After that Kinoshita-sensei sent Shoji-kun back to the hotel.

The evening flew by. Ulf kept grilling and she worked herself silly with the shots, and when all was done and over she realised she hadn't spent as much as a minute alone with Ulf. There was a pang of regret, but most of sadness. With less than two weeks left of summer break there wouldn't be many more opportunities, and with the changed schedule she wouldn't even have the luxury of spending time together with him during summer school.

She watched his back as he picked up his shirt, jacket and tie. What's the point in being young again if you can't spend the time with the one you love? “Ulf, wait a moment please.”

He looked over his shoulder and met her eyes. “For you Ina, I'll wait forever,” he said and gave her one of those wolfish grins that always made her heart jump a little extra. “I'm the cheesiest.”

“Moron. Yeah, moron-sama. Noriko was right from the start, you know that?” But it didn't stop her from walking up to his back and hug him.

Still looking over his shoulder he kissed her, and then he turned in her arms and met her embrace.

The last of the crew dragged a few boxes away from the beach. She could hear the sound of the ocean breathing behind her, but most of all she felt Ulf's skin close to her, held him under her hands and shared a kiss that lasted an eternity.

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