Monday, 24 August 2015
Chapter six (segment ten), 2016, September, Christina
This was a fight she had lost from the beginning. The moment she betrayed her best friend she lost, and for Christina there was no way of undoing it.
Ko-chan wasn't badly hurt, but their friendship was strained to the point where Ko-chan refused to attend school until Yukio left hospital and they could go to school together.
It's my fault Yukio got hurt. Knowing more of what had occurred didn't help at all. Ulf called Yukio to warn him at the same time I refused Ko-chan's call. Damn, there was someone stalking her in the dark and I told her to hang up. I'm rotten!
Christina went through he usual routine of checking that nothing dangerous had been hidden in her her clothes, got her baggy set on and left the studio. Outside a bodyguard her handle had forced onto her stood waiting. It echoed eerily of her previous life, but at least it was something she had been used to.
“Where to?” he asked.
“Home,” she answered and watched him pull out his bike. He looked like an idiot with his earpiece, dark suit and grandmother bike. His entire being shouted: 'I don't belong here and I look really funny and out of place.'
She didn't care in the least. If she had a bodyguard shoved down her throat he made a lot more sense if he stood out like a clown on a funeral. At least he was professional to understand that any normal thugs would stay away from anyone with an overdressed bully tailing her on pedals.
It helped that he avoided conversations as well, but she still preferred the thought of Ulf on his bike beside her. According to some overblown rumours he knew how to fight as well.
Christina plugged her headset to her ears and dialled him before she brought her bike to speed. Behind her the bodyguard frantically tried to keep up speed on his inadequate cycle.
Her heart jumped at his voice. It always did, and more so now when they had so little time to see each other. Especially after her betrayal of Ko-chan.
I'm losing him. Can he forgive me? She coughed away the lump in her throat. “U-kun?”
“Finished for today?”
“Yes. I'm on my way home.” She'd rather be on her way to Haven Café where she knew most of their club had retreated when school closed down for the evening. “What are you up to?”
“Just back from a walking talking session,” he said. “Right now we're running workshops on presentations. The kids don't even know how to work with standard software.”
So typical of her Ulf. Two hours of intensive mind gymnastics followed by even more schooling. “How are they doing?” Talking about the club was safer than the other, darker topic.
She rounded a corner and stopped for a red-light. Behind her the bodyguard finally caught up with her as she waited for the light to turn green.
She heard Ulf calling out instructions to the club members over the phone. “Learning slowly,” he said. “Christina, we need to talk.”
No! Please call me Ina! “Yes?” She felt panic rising in her.
The light turned green and she numbly pushed down a pedal and crossed the street. Is he going to break up?
“It's about Noriko. I don't want Kyoko to know.”
Huh, Noriko? “OK, when and where?”
“It's going to be long. Look… eh...”
Ulf, I can hear you blushing on the phone. What's up? “I'm still here,” she said when he remained silent.
“Look, I've spoken with Amaya. She says it's OK if you're fine with it.”
What on earth are you talking about. Amaya allowed you to exactly what? Oh. Oh! “I don't understand,” Christina said, but she was bubbling with joy. There was only one reason for Ulf to sound that uncomfortable.
“Eh, I won't be able to see you and get home. It's too late.”
She wanted to tell him to spit it out, but it was kinda cute the way he avoided the topic. And I'm not going to suggest a taxi. “Want to meet somewhere?” she teased.
She could picture him fidgeting with his phone as she made her way uphill. If he didn't say anything she'd lead him on when she rolled downhill after the crest.
“Is it OK… I mean… would you agree to me...”
You're really dense sometimes. Ulf, don't you understand I want to? “I can't hear you. Could you say again?”
“Can I come over to your place?”
Finally! Her heart took a giant jump and she had to clear her throat. “This late?” she asked, more to force a confirmation than anything else.
“Yeah,” he said. It sounded as if he was choking, “about that. I won't be able to go home, and… no, maybe it's better if I...”
Oh no, you don't! “Come home to me now!” Christina shouted. When she looked behind her the bodyguard stared at her from atop his bike. Thank all gods I spoke Swedish!
She could hear Ulf running, and there were muted shouts of surprise in the background. “I have to go,” she heard him saying to someone where he was. “I'm on my way,” he said to her in Swedish.
Real smooth Ulf. Just start talking in Swedish to make sure no one understands you're going to the only other Swede in school. Idiot! My precious idiot. Christina kicked up speed. Now she only wanted to get back to her apartment as fast as possible.
He's staying over! I can make this work again. I can make you stay by my side. Ulf, I love you!
With her heart filled with joy she pushed her bike to it's limit. She'd been given another chance at the love she valued so much it hurt her every evening she spent restarting the only career she knew she could master.
It was a strange feeling loving this strongly. It was stranger still that she managed to spend so much time apart from him, but tonight she would have him all to herself. A chance to give their relationship a transition and restart.