Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Chapter one (segment eight), 2016, September, Christina

It was abusing her position, but with so little time left she had no choice. A call to the old goat secured the approval of involving Uniclo in the fashion show. Christina didn't tell him she'd call her agency as well. He didn't need to know that.

That was her second planned phone call, but before she could make it her phone rang.

Amaya? “Christina here.”

“Hello, there's something I need to talk with you about.”

What's up now? I don't like that voice. “Yes. I'm a bit busy right now.”

“I'll make it short. Could you please not invite Urufu over to your place any more.”

What the fuck! “Eh, I don't understand.” Christina felt panic rising in her. She's supposed to be on our side.

“I'd really prefer if you broke up with him, but I understand you wouldn't listen to that anyway. So I'm placing a curfew on Urufu instead.”

Christina stared at her phone. The call was off. She had punched it off without thinking. We have so little time together already, and now this. Why? Why would you want to hurt us this way?

Tears came to her eyes. They did so easily, and they would as long as she was still a teen if she could believe that doctor whom Nakagawa had brought to the beach. There was little reason to believe anything else. She had been something of a crybaby when she was a teenager the first time.

Still, that call had been blunt to the degree of idiocy. A frontal assault like that was guaranteed to be met by resistance, so why hadn't Amaya been more sly instead of behaving like a pre-teen bully?

It was an important question, but it was one she just didn't have the time to handle right now. Later she'd talk with Ko-chan and maybe cry a little more, but now she needed to get a fashion show running from scratch with only hours to play with.

Then her phone rang again. Unknown number? “Ageruman Kuritina,” she said in the Japanese way.

“My name is Alice Kerringer. I'm calling from Uniclo concerning our autumn launch,” a voice said in English.


“We're going live today. We've been in contact with your agency, but they told us to call you directly. We're interested in an event, but as you're still a high school student we got the impression there might be some scheduling issues.”

For the second time in a day Christina stared at her phone. Now that's what I call superb timing. “Yes, but I was just about to call you about a problem we have.” She sat down on the floor uncaring that her skirt would probably be stained from her doing so.

“Yes?” Now it was the other side's turn to ask that question.

“Ms Kerringer, our cultural festival is about to start, and some jerks destroyed our props for a fashion show.”

“Yes?” Christina could hear the rise in interest through the phone.

“I've cleared with our principal, and I was just about to call you to see if you had any interest in sponsoring us. Thinking how close it was for the launch and all that.”

“Ah, but we wouldn't want to seem partial to one school.”

Now that's just haggling, and a poor start to boot. “Ah, ms Kerringer, the finishing shoot was with students from here, so it would fit in rather well. If I may say so.”

There was a short delay. “If I understand those kind of events only run for a few minutes. It's a lot of work for us for so small an audience.”

Got you now! “There are two events. The second one is a beauty contest, and that one should attract the interest of everyone for the duration of both days.”

Once more there was a delay of hesitation. The Kerringer person probably spoke with someone else right now. This was the final part of negotiations, and anyone downplaying Christina Agerman when it came to negotiations usually didn't last long in business. Or hadn't in her previous life.

“Unless we can have a camera crew there I don't see the use for us.”

You're way too easy to read. “That's cleared as well,” Christina lied. “The original plan was for my agency to sponsor the event with stock clothing, but I understand why they asked you to call me directly now.”

And that was about as far from the truth as possible, but Christina knew her agency would prostrate themselves and cry hallelujah, or whatever people in Japan cried, at the opportunity for a public display together with a local behemoth like Uniclo.

“We're not paying any fees.”

“Of course not. This is a school event after all. I'm doing this in my role as club president, but we would really like to be able to display your autumn line before it's in the stores.”

And that was another lie. Uniclo sold clothes about as sexy as Chag had done the last years, which was to say cheap and not sexy at all. Maybe not entirely a lie after all. It would be clothes that weren't available at the shops yet, and that counted for a lot.

Christina sealed the deal over the phone, and after that she quickly placed a call to her agency. She almost heard the hallelujah cries over the phone, and with that their show was on track again.

Now it was the matter of scheduling her models. All of them. Especially the one who didn't have a clue he'd be forced on-stage.

While her fame was about to explode, she had already experienced it once. Whether she would become a national icon again or not was uncertain, but for the coming three months she'd become one of the most famous faces in Japan.

Ulf however didn't understand how fast his own fame was rising. Sure it was contained to Himekaizen only, but for all practical purposes their school was their world, and Christina planned to make her claim on him very, very, very public. Public enough to make certain it wouldn't be contained to their school any longer.

Amaya's call scared her, and it angered her, and it made her decide to put Ulf on the stage together with her. No one had the right to break them up. If their relationship broke down it should because of their own faults.

With new determination Christina punched Ko-chan's number. Amaya's call still made her need to cry a little.

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