“And they're quite angry with us now,” Kyoko said.
Yukio looked at her. “Why?”
“Well, the cafés all went to the second and third years, and 4:2 got the haunted house.”
He shrugged. “Same here,” he said. “Class was a bit miffed about the café.”
“But you at least got the play.”
“Only because the club had the fashion show approved.” Yukio heard how hollow that argument sounded. A day earlier a roar of jubilation rushed out of their club room when both their applications won approval from the student council.
“I know, I know. At least 8:1 had their Himekaizen history approved.” And that was the only freshman class to get full access to a classroom for the entire festival. A full six freshman classes were assigned to food stalls and other booths, apart from the students involved with club activities.
And then there was the Himekaizen Cultural Exchange Club, with Principal Nakagawa as advisor, who got a main event approved plus what only initially looked like a food stall. The large area set aside for the barbecue wasn't lost on anyone.
“They're jealous much?” Yukio asked.
“You ask me. It's 3:1. We're used to being the centre of attention, and I don't think my classmates ever saw this let-down coming.”
They should have. Ryu had even said as much. But Yukio didn't say that aloud. 6:1 had one out of two major events allocated to freshman classes. The reaction hadn't exactly been ecstatic, but after lunch when the freshmen were able to compare notes his classmates started to understand how lucky they had been. In a way it was a good thing that 3:1 had drawn blank, but he wasn't about to say that to Kyoko.
Yukio tightened his grip on her hand. They were heading to cram school. For once he had managed to get his parents to agree on something, and they paid half each for his cram school. For his extended time together with Kyoko if he wanted to be honest with himself.
It meant a few missed club hours, but time together with Kyoko was more important than the club. Sure, he'd have to show some results or his parents would pull the plug.
It was the old route he walked. The one he had walked with Urufu during spring term, but they almost never spent their Friday evenings at their old mall these days.
“I miss it in a strange way,” Kyoko said when they rounded the last corner and saw the mall ahead of them. It was as if she had read his mind.
Yukio stared ahead of him, and when he looked over his shoulder he saw Kyoko's eyes searching the same empty spot. Urufu's gaudy bike wasn't locked to the stand. It wouldn't be; Yukio had known that from the start, but it was Friday and old habits were hard to forget.
“So do I,” he admitted. “He's going to Haven Café after club hours.”
“You met here before?”
“Before high school I mean.”
“Yeah, I know. That you meant middle school. We did, even after he was expelled.” In fact we started meeting here long after he was expelled, but that's too complicated to explain. “He had this stupid stunt where he pretended he didn't know they waited tables there.” Yukio started walking in a wide circle.
“Yes, exactly like that,” Kyoko said and giggled. “And he'd come almost to the counter before he returned. Did you always take the same table?”
Yukio nodded. “If it was free, but it almost always was.” Second term and we're already talking memories. So much happened.
“I wonder how she's doing.” Kyoko's voice had gone silent.
He didn't answer and they walked hand in hand until they reached the mall and turned left. From now on they wouldn't have to part ways here, and Yukio intended to enjoy the most of it.
Cram school wasn't exactly fun, but being with Kyoko was.
“I wonder as well. They're so tied up now,” Yukio said and continued the conversation that had died a few minutes earlier. He liked how they had grown together enough for him to be able to do that.
“I worry a little. She doesn't exactly have good grades, and now she's juggling both her modelling job and the club.”
Yukio grimaced. He knew the feeling all too well, and Urufu had it a lot easier than Kuri. “I'll ask him to take more responsibility for the culture festival.”
“Is that fair?” Kyoko asked.
They were coming up to their cram school, and climbing the stairs gave Yukio a few more moments to mull over her question. “It's not a matter of fair any longer, is it? We have to make sure the club does a good job, and there's only Urufu to lead us now.” That wasn't entirely true. Ryu had shown what kind of man he would grow up to become during the workshops at the resort.
“I'll ask Noriko,” Kyoko said and verified what he had just thought.