Monday, 3 August 2015

Chapter five (segment two), 2016, August, Ryu

That had indeed been a lot of leg. But right now Ryu was far too interested in grasping the finer points of what Urufu had to teach to care much about his sleeping habits, or Kuri's for that matter.

They were wrapping he gig, and Urufu ran the last kaizen-workshop. The businessmen had done a retrospective, but Urufu apparently disliked the term. Stupid crutch and semantically imprecise, he had said.

“Well, then we're set for the next one should I get another order like this.” Urufu looked at them. “To be honest I believe it'll mostly be more operative workshops where I bring you one or two at a time.”

“Urufu,” Noriko said. “When do you think we can run our own?” She was waving he hand in the air like a middle schooler.

Urufu smiled. “Good question. There are a few you could run independently right now. I'll see about that.” He dug his hands into a bag. “Candy-time!”

Ryu looked up. This would be interesting.

“I learned that it's common to pay high schoolers in cash, so I'll do the same now that I verified that Nakagawa's contract was a real one.” Urufu looked at them and bent over the table. “Kyoko, great work. I like how you're always observant to minute but sudden changes.” He offered her an envelope with both hands. “Yukio, you're loyal and diligent, but learn a bit from that girl of yours.”

I wonder what he thinks, Ryu thought and looked at Yukio. There was only respect to read in that face. Those two dispensed with all bullshit a long time ago.

Noriko had stopped waving her hands and stood gaping at her envelope. “The brightest of you lot and the only one to see through me,” Urufu said and turned to Ryu. “I'll make you our outward face, but I guess you knew.”

Ryu glanced at the contents in his envelope. Crap! “Urufu, that's more than...”

“And there's a small bonus for each of you. There won't be one every-time though, so don't get used to it.”

Quarter of a million. That's quite a lot even for sis and me.

“Urufu!” Kyoko shouted and gave Yukio a frantic look.

And now she just saw her own pay.

“And get me right. I'll differentiate your salaries, but bonuses are split flat. As I own the company I only get the bonus,” Urufu laughed and dug out five ten thousand yen bills for himself. “I've paid you for sixty hours at a slightly higher pay-grade than agreed on because you had to work weekends and evenings.”

Yukio sat with his face in his hands. He was laughing silently. I forget those two aren't used to money this way. Guess it's more than any of them have had in their hands before.

“Just don't quit your other part time jobs. I can probably only hire you for ten hours or less per month once school starts.”

With that Urufu left the room. Ryu wondered if he had gone in search for Kuri. Absent-mindedly he pocketed his pay, but when he looked around he saw Noriko stare at hers.

“Idiot! Why did I fall in love with an idiot?” There were tears in her eyes as she hugged her envelope close to her chest. She met his eyes and shook her head. “Ryu, I'll go forward from here. I can't keep up with him and if I hurt myself this way I'll lose him as a friend as well.”

What's she talking about? Ryu stared at his sister, but nothing in her face gave him a clue about what she was thinking about. He looked at the other two. Both gave him uncomfortable glances in return. They know we're both still in love, but they pretend not to notice. “It's OK,” he said and shrugged. “I'm not making a move on her. Wouldn't stand a chance now anyway.” Then the absurdity of his own situation got the better of him and he laughed. “Besides they're just so much fun to look at.”

“I'm off for the baths,” Noriko said and rose. “You guys want to join?”

Kyoko blushed beet red and Yukio stared down into the table.

“Don't be that way. I'm not interested in him anyway,” Noriko said and pointed at Yukio. That didn't help Kyoko's colour at all. “Sheesh! It's like Urufu and Kuri said that day. Just relaxing and a good way to chat about nothing.” She went for the door, and just as she was about to exit she turned. “Bring towels if it's awkward.”

Ryu smirked as his sister left them. She was right. It wasn't like that at all, and maybe he had gotten used to seeing Kuri undress like an unruly kid before she shouldered her way under Urufu's covers until he hugged her the way she wanted. Funny, the most beautiful girl in school half naked before my eyes most every night and it's about as exciting to watch as looking at myself in the mirror.

He rose. “I'll have that bath as well. You two join us if you want.”

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