Friday, 24 July 2015
Chapter four (segment four), 2016, August, Yukio
The feeling of Kyoko's embrace lingered in his mind long after he had changed for the evening. Their long, long embrace on a narrow street with fireworks and bottles spilling out on the tarmac with neither of them caring in the least.
Yukio enjoyed the feeling of falling more and more in love with her, but it scared him a little as well. The emotions were so much stronger than any he had felt before. Sure he'd crushed on a couple of girls, but there was no comparison. Together with Kyoko he felt at home. They had only spent a couple of weeks as a pair, but added together with the months as awkward friends it was as if he had known her his entire life.
Rolling a paper thin wind-stopper Urufu had given him as a gift into a ball he slid the door to their room open and entered the corridor. He pushed the ball of cloth into a leg pocket and stretched his shoulders. Most of the club were already on the beach, but he wasn't in any hurry.
When he arrived at the lobby he noticed how a small group of the models living in the hotel made ready to join the evening festivities. They were all a few years older than him, and normally his rival alarm would have screeched at full volume, but Kuri's earlier phone-call calmed him down a bit.
“You running that club?” one of them asked him?
He smiled back. “No, Kuri's the president.”
Love it when they prepare a home-run for the home team. “Yeah, she's been modelling with you the last days, but she's with us normally.” The words slipped easily from his mouth, even though it had been Kuri who had instructed him how to answer should any opportunity occur.
“Damn, the kid's on a first name basis with her. Awesome!”
Thank you Kuri! You sure knew how the guys would react. “We're not that formal in the club. But yes, she's our president.” She's played the crap out of you since you arrived here. It was time for the last favour she had asked of him. “She asked me to introduce you to our club. But would you mind waiting for Urufu first?”
He should come down soon. Yukio hadn't hidden both his pair of shoes where it would take too long to find them. Another one of Kuri's nasty suggestions.
“Urufu?” The voice showed consternation both at the foreign name as well as the lack of titles.
Yukio looked up at the asking face. Damn they're a tall bunch! Well, time to nail the coffin shut. “Man, haven't you met her boyfriend yet? I'll have you shake paws with with him when he comes down.” Yukio plastered a fake smile onto his face. “He's our vice president. I'm sure you'll like the guy”
“Fuck, Koji-kun said something about a boyfriend.” The smile that met Yukio was equally false. “Well, can't be much of a competition if he's a high school kid, can he?”
Yukio glared back at the model. You're in for a bad one. Kuri belongs to Urufu and not some porcelain doll like you. “Competition. I didn't know he had any?” Kyoko was the most important person in his life now, but that didn't change that Urufu was his best friend, and Yukio felt adrenaline surge through him as it always did whenever someone challenged Urufu. Calm down, Kuri has it all planned. Trust her the way you trust Urufu.
“Yukio you bastard! Was it you or Ryu who came up with this brain-dead prank?”
And here he comes.
And here he came. It wasn't a happy Urufu who descended the stairs in the tailor-made suit Kuri had coerced Principal Nakagawa to order when she sent him out to buy swimming trunks for the management people. Yukio had hanged it where his friend couldn't possibly fail to see it, but the rest of Urufu's clothes were stashed together with Kyoko's luggage.
It wasn't an Urufu Yukio had seen before. What came down the stairs wasn't his classmate at all, but a corporate leader who lived in his life in expensive business suits, and one who for once was severely pissed off when more casual clothes were nowhere to be found.
“Yukio! Not fun at all!” Urufu said and pointed a finger at Yukio.
“You're late man. Some kids here want to meet you,” Yukio said and thumbed the closest model as nonchalantly as he could.
“What the fuck are you calling us?” the thumbed model growled.
“Shut it Shoji-kun! That's some serious money up there,” another said.
Outward appearance, Kuri had said. Those who live skin deep will only see skin deep, she had explained. But Urufu wasn't just skin deep. For the first time Yukio saw the man Kuri had been smitten with before she fell in love with him. Shit, Noriko, I feel bad for you, but he's out of your league. He knew Urufu was older, but he hadn't understood the sheer magnitude of difference that experience carried with it.
Urufu walked down the stairs. “What do you want?” he asked the closest model. Just like Kuri he had that scary ability to look down on someone ten centimetres taller than him.
It was at that time Yukio understood that Urufu would be sitting in the sand in the horribly expensive suit later, because it probably was casual clothing to him. Game set and match, Kuri. I know he's an awesome friend, but that's one hell of a boyfriend you got. Yukio studied the short conversation between Urufu and the models and tried to remember as much as possible for future references.
“No, I'm afraid you're mistaken. She's not mine. She doesn't belong to anyone,” Urufu said in a tone that clearly stated that the talk was over.
The guy who had been called Shoji-kun apparently had less brains than the rest. He grabbed Urufu's shoulder and bent his close closer than what could possibly be considered polite. “So you don't mind if I'm hitting on her later?”
“Fuck it Shoji-kun! Don't be like that. Just leave her alone will you?”
Urufu smiled and waved his rescuer aside. “Shoji-kun, is it? Do what you want, but don't come for my shoulder when you want to cry.” That earned him a few smiles from the other models. He turned to them after giving Yukio a sly wink. “You guys mingling with us down at the beach?”
“Yeah, Ageruman-san invited us.”
What now? “Yes?” Damn it, man, you're playing along like you planned this with Kuri from the start. But he knew Urufu shouldn't have a clue about what was going on.
“The guys here are a bit older than the rest of us. Have you talked with Principal Nakagawa about some beer or wine for them?”
“Ah,” what the hell, “I think that's taken care of,” he stammered. Worst case it was a lie, but he hoped Kuri had thought about that. He stared out the door opening where it was darkening quickly. They had to go down soon.
“Then let's join the others,” Urufu said and tried to shake lose the grip on his shoulder. Shoji-kun didn't let go. “You're stuck or something?”
“You cocky little shit!” the model said and threw back his other hand for a punch.
Poor sod, was everything Yukio had time to think. He saw the other models move to intercept their friend, but it was too late. A fist came rushing for Urufu's face. It never connected.
Urufu's feet moved across the floor as he somehow moved aside and behind his assaulter. Grabbing the hand on his shoulder he slid in, pushed the grabbing arm upwards and pushed down.
Shoji-kun would have crashed face first into the stairs hadn't Urufu suddenly pulled back. Instead the model landed hard on his bottom. “Careful there. The floor is slippery, and we wouldn't want any accidents, would we?”
So that's aikido? I wonder if expelling him from Red Rose wasn't justified after all. The rapists had been horribly maimed, and Yukio realised they had never stood a chance to begin with.
Shoji-kun gurgled something and rose for a second round. This time his friends grabbed him and one of them even twisted his arm. “I think you should thank Hamarugen-san for saving you, OK?” he said and twisted harder.
“What the fuck...”
“Magic word, now!” he said and twisted some more.
“Fuck, it hurts! OK! Thank you, you...”
There was yet another twist, and the last word never left Shoji-kun's mouth.
“He says he's very grateful.”
“I heard,” Urufu said. “Tell him it's no big deal,” he continued as if Shoji-kun wasn't standing directly in front of him.