Friday, 17 July 2015
Chapter three (segment seven), 2016, August, Yukio
Yukio wondered how Urufu was doing, but he admitted that working with Kyoko was a pleasure.
“Noriko's mom is at the walkway with tea and fruit. Help me?” she asked before she made for the road.
She didn't have to. Yukio grinned at his girlfriend, my girlfriend, I love that expression, and nodded. “Sure. We'll be off to get you a small meal,” he shouted to a nearby team and ran after Kyoko. He barely noticed how they waved understanding.
“They're all looking at Kuri-chan,” she said when he caught up with her.
“Uhum,” he agreed. “A nice view during your next break. So that's what Ryu meant when he gave that promise.”
Kyoko laughed and grabbed his hand.
She looked great, filling out her clothes in a way neither Kuri nor Noriko did. Not that he was going to tell. Not yet at least. “You're beautiful,” he said instead.
She stopped for a moment and looked at him. “Do you really think so?” There was something vulnerable in her eyes, and he could see her looking down at the beach where Kuri showed off one otherworldly stance of female perfection after another.
Yukio looked at Kyoko, studied her carefully for some time before saying anything. Now was not the time to give a wrong answer.
A gust of wind blew life into Kyoko's hair, and glimmers of sunshine traced paths between strands of hair and caressed her face. They mixed with pearls of sweat and reflected back on eyelashes and cheekbone. How can you possibly doubt your beauty. You shine with life and you allow me to bask in it. “Yes, I really think so. From the moment I saw you walking beside Kuri I had my eyes on you.”
He felt Kyoko pull his hand around her and grab his other hand in an embrace. “That early?”
“You should know,” he teased. “You tried to make me confess to Kuri you know, that day when I made a fool of myself in your classroom.”
“Unfair,” she whispered into his chest. “Don't make me remember. I'm still ashamed about that.”
It had been the right thing to say. Doubly so, because he felt the truth of his own words echo throughout himself. I love you. You're perfect. “It's still what I feel,” he said and buried his nose into her hair.
They stood like that for a long time. Yukio knew they should run to the road and fetch the bags waiting for them there, but right now he didn't want to let go. A moment of perfect happiness, and he was graced with the fortune to share it with the girl he loved. In the end Kyoko showed the responsibility he chose to lack.
“Yukio, Noriko's mom is over there.”
He felt Kyoko's face peeping out under his arm and dared to look around. Noriko's mother did indeed stand beside her car, tapping her fingers on its roof, but she smiled at them. “Mmm, guess you're right.”
They let go of their embrace and walked to the car, but Yukio made sure not to let go of the hand he held. Kyoko's fingers hugged his and with every second step she squeezed just a little. You wanted to stay there as well. Thank you!
“Green bottles are tea. The others water. Thermos coffee,” Noriko's mother greeted them with a business like voice that belied her huge grin.
I wish my mother was like that. Then he felt ashamed of himself. His parents tried as hard as they could. They just couldn't stand each other, but none of them had ever allowed that antagonism to disrupt his life. Despite their feelings of mutual dislike they always made sure to pretend they were still a team whenever he was involved. And now I'm lying again. Whenever I'm involved they don't just pretend. Give them the respect they deserve!
“Backpack for me and bags for Yukio?” Kyoko asked.
Her question brought him back to the work ahead. “Yeah, heavy bags for the man so I can be all manly and all that.”
“You? Man?” That one came in tandem from both Noriko's mother and Kyoko. “You wish!” they shouted and laughed.
Guess I deserved that. “Me man, me carry,” he said and flexed some muscles he didn't have.
Kyoko rolled her eyes and shouldered her backpack. “You man, you carry. Now move on before our customers lose their patience.”
Yukio waved to Noriko's mother before grabbing his bags. As they walked back to the beach he felt a pang of regret they prevented him from holding hands with Kyoko, but she made an effort to walk close to him and they touched hands she eventually grabbed his pretending to share his burden.
On the beach he saw Kuri running ankle deep in the sea splashing salt water that had to play havoc with the clothes she wore. Yukio wondered a bit about it. None of her clothes made any sense to be worn outdoors, and no girl he knew would have worn anything that heavy for summer. It looked a little like the manga style fantasies he read, and watched whenever they got animated.
That he used to read and watch. He stole a glance at Kyoko. She knew about his preferences when it came to fiction, but he didn't know if she wanted to share them with him, and spending time with her was far more important than the 2D world he liked.
When they came back with drinks and fruit Noriko gave him a look with equal measures of disdain and approval. He just smiled back and started to distribute the contents in his bags in accordance with what their customers wanted. Customers, never thought this kind of people would be my customers. He smiled and handed out yet another bottle of tea.
They'll keep staring at that model shot for a while longer. Guess I should use the time to see what Ryu's up to. Yukio swung his almost empty bags over his shoulder and walked over to Ryu. “I have tea and a few oranges. Water's out.”
Ryu looked up from his touch-pad and smiled. “Thanks,” he said and accepted Yukio's last bottle. “She's fine with this?” Ryu asked and looked at where Kyoko stood pouring coffee from a thermos.
Yukio looked at his girlfriend while he peeled an orange. Let his eyes linger on her if he was to be honest with himself. “Yeah, we're both fine.” He turned to face Ryu. “When we've learned more we'll want to be more active with the workshops, OK?”
“Sure,” Ryu answered and dove into his tablet again.
Yukio could see Ruy was rapidly running out of ideas, and as he had no qualms about asking Noriko for help he did so in Ryu's stead. She just shook her head before she headed for her brother. Yukio and Kyoko cleaned up after the break and with a wave to Noriko and Ryu they left with the trash and to prepare the next station that Noriko had planned.