Thursday, 20 August 2015
Chapter six (segment six), 2016, September, Christina
The evening shot was dragging out. This time she wasn't about to replicate her stupid mistake. Christina asked for a short break, fired up her phone and sent Ulf a short email saying she was going to be late.
She didn't have time to wait for a reply, but at least she didn't just vanish like she had done that time. He still hadn't forgiven her entirely. And it promised to be a fun date to boot. She'd make up for that one as soon as she had time. If she could. Ulf was always the better one at planning their few dates. He had this uncanny ability to draw up new plans with but a moments notice and act on them. Whatever he was doing for a living he was very, very good at it.
I almost never see him any longer. Different classes, her modelling job and now the culture festival planning kept her from their own club room. On top of that her own little secret. A cram school where she concentrated on learning Japanese. She couldn't afford another set of disastrous exams like the last finals, and as with Ulf her Japanese was the worst impediment.
All in all it meant she only saw him during short breaks and possibly when they arrived at school. It was driving her mad.
Those thoughts cost her another set of shots that had to be retaken. Kinoshita-sensei growled and she meekly accepted his admonitions. That last set had been anything but professional. Another fifteen minutes delay and she had effectively burned half an hour. There would be no meeting him tonight neither.
Christina made a renewed effort to focus on her job, and the next hour passed without any major mishaps. There were snide comments though. She rose in fame much faster than anyone else, and with her own photographer this shortly in her career resentment grew all around her.
I don't need this crap. First those idiot seniors at school and now the same treatment here. But it wouldn't go away. She knew from her previous life how lonely this job was. Only the second tier models made good friends, and those came later in their careers when they made safe money but weren't seen as a threat any longer.
After the shot finished she changed clothes. She made sure to check her clothes for needles or anything else that a jealous model could have planted there before she put them on. She sniffed everything she used for removing her make-up for the same reason. Now wasn't a good time to end up with blisters in her face because of some perverted idea of a prank.
When she started out on this road for the first time the dangerous pranks, which were really not pranks, had scared her. This time she took them for granted. Scarring a model's face opened up a chance for someone else.
They might look beautiful, but fashion was an ugly business, and she knew that better than almost anyone else.
She left the studio and entered a late summer's evening. Japan wasn't Sweden. Summer dragged on much longer here. Outside her bike waited with flattened tires, so she brought out the compact pump she always carried with her. At least no one had come up with the idea to slice them open and a couple of minutes pumping was a low price to pay for the career she had ahead of her. After checking that her brakes still worked she pedalled away.
Nothing short of a physical assault scared her much, but since the episode in the locker room that scared her a lot, and now there wouldn't be an Urufu to come to her rescue. That made her treasure his birthday present to her doubly.
But I still want to spend more time with him, she sulked as she took a corner and came up on the streets taking her home. Damn, I shouldn't have stood him up on that date! One way or another it would cost her. She didn't know how, and she didn't know when, but sooner or later there would be a price to pay.
When she came home she fished up her phone. There were three messages. Two from Ulf and one from Ko-chan.
The first was a reply to her earlier email where he hoped she wouldn't be too late and that he'd call her later. The second from Ko-chan asked if it was OK to transfer some of her planning work to Ulf.
The third made her heart jolt. Ulf was coming over and could she please wait for him until she heard him at the door?
Christina dropped her phone to the tatami mats and got out of her baggy clothes faster than she would have thought possible. Seconds later she tore through her wardrobe. He's coming here! Ulf's coming here!
Something nice for him. Not too overdone, but still something to tell him how much she had longed for him.
She had donned a top she knew emphasised her curves and was looking for a skirt to go with it when she heard knocking on the door. She gave that skirt a moments thought before she giggled and ran for the door in her panties.
Just as she opened it her phone rang from where she had dropped it earlier. Funny, that's Ulf's signal, she thought as she opened the door. Who? That's not Ulf.
Two hands pushed her inside and when she fell on her back she heard a roar from outside. Someone was sprinting up the stairs, and the stranger who had pushed her vanished.
What's going on? A head showed in the door opening. “Ulf?”
“Did he hurt you?”
Ulf rushed inside and she found herself caught in a bear hug. “I told you not to open the door before I was here!”
“Is she OK,” another voice said from behind Ulf's back.
What's happening? “Ulf what's going on?”
“Amaya, thanks. We got here in time.”
“Ulf! Tell me what's happening!”