Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Chapter one (segment six), 2016, September, Kyoko

What do you mean with ripped?” Kyoko asked.

“Someone broke into our club room and ripped apart the clothes we were supposed to use for the fashion show.”

Kyoko sighed. This started to look just like what had happened to Kuri-chan early January this year. It had been their last term at middle school, and not everyone appreciated how beautiful the tall and skinny girl had become.

“Envious idiots?” Kyoko asked no one in particular. She got no response, not even from Midori-chan who had just reported the vandalism burglary. “OK, I'll have Kuri-chan handle it,” Kyoko said.

Bur first of all she needed to calm down a scared club member. She might look like a gorilla with that awful hairdo, but Midori-chan was just as scared and fragile as any other girl.

Any other person, Urufu and Kuri-chan would have said. They were kind of funny that way refusing to accept the normal differences between men and women. Sometimes she admired them for it. Sometimes they were just a major pain.

Kyoko scrolled up her call history and punched the fifth last number. It should have been either the last or the second one these days. Yukio's normally competed for the other slot, but now things were strained between Kuri-chan and her,.and they hadn't spoken much lately.

She quickly told Kuri-chan what had happened. There was a certain relief in hearing her friends voice, but right now she would have preferred seeing Kuri-chan face to face. After the call Kyoko walked down the stairs to make her way to the gym hall. There had been a rescheduling and for all effective purposes they now had to run the fashion show both days instead of only once.

Some third years with a lot of clout had forced a beauty contest. An embarrassing misunderstanding of the American style prom queen and king, Noriko had said.

Above her she heard running steps. She knew those steps. Kuri-chan must have been running since she got the call. She did a lot of running between the festival planning room and the two events the cultural club was involved in.

At least 3:1 weren't involved with anything that Urufu didn't handle himself with that monstrous planning brain of his. Kyoko wondered how he kept up with it. 6:1 had a play to prepare, the club had both the fashion show and the barbecue area and on top of it all another full twenty stalls from several classes depended on him by now.

She sighed and took a few more steps. More carefully now after she had experienced falling down them. With a bit of guilt Kyoko realised she would have preferred if it had been Yukio's steps running down the stairs from above, but he covered Urufu's back, and Urufu had already gained a hero's aura as a demon organiser. He was being swamped with requests, and thus she and Yukio got very little time for each other during school hours.


Kyoko turned her head upwards and nodded to Kuri-chan as she bounced down the stairs. “Yo!” she greeted her blond friend.

“Yo! That was some time ago.”

It had been. A year or so. Both Kuri-chan's Japanese and English had been littered with stereotypical American slang during their early days of friendship. Friendship. The word made Kyoko's chest constrict.

“Going to the gym?”

“Yeah,” Kyoko said. They really needed to talk.

Kuri-chan suddenly grabbed both her arms. “Ko-chan, about everything. I'm sorry.” Her face was painted with worry and guilt.

“You're an arse.” Kyoko wasn't prepared to forgive her friend just yet.

“I'm sorry.”

“You're an insensitive moron.” And venting her frustration helped a little.

“I'm sorry.”

“You're an arrogant bastard.” But that was also an important part of Kuri-chan, and it had become a part of their friendship.

“I'm sorry.”

“You're my best friend.” Because in the end she really was, no matter what happened between them.

“I'm sorry.”

“What the hell...” Then Kyoko saw the guilty grin splitting her friend's face in two. “You're hopeless,” Kyoko said and shook her head.

“I'm sorry,” Kuri-chan answered and let go of one arm. Only one arm. She hugged the other to herself, and Kyoko found herself escorted through corridor, cafeteria, under the sails and all the way to the gym hall.

It didn't bother her at all. Kuri-chan's stupid antics was a vast improvement over the last day's estrangement between them. But their friendship had changed. It could never again be as innocent as it had been earlier.

“So how do you plan to solve the clothes?” Kyoko asked as they entered.

They had to navigate some props for one of the bands that was going to perform during the festival. And by the scene she saw some freshmen from 6:1 working on the set to their play, but Yukio wasn't among them.

Kuri-chan held her answer while they made their way through the impromptu obstacle course. “I'll handle it with the agency, but there's another solution as well. I'll ask the old goat first,” she said when they were through.

There's only one more student in the school who'd dare to refer to Principal Nakagawa as the old goat, but only Kuri-chan would get away with it. “Ask Principal Nakagawa about what?” Kyoko asked and acknowledged the livestock referral.

“Remember the fashion shoot last month?”

Kyoko pretended to study the students from 6:1. “Yeah.” Not that she had taken much part in those shoots. She didn't have the looks for it, and she knew Kuri-chan would only grow even more beautiful in the years ahead.

“Should be about time for Uniclo to launch that line about now. And the shoot ended up with a high school beach party special.”

Oh, you meant the last one when all of us were invited? “Yeah?”

“All club members are from this school. I think I can get them to sponsor a Himekaizen special, because it would tie in with that last evening.”

The answer confirmed her unspoken question and Kyoko could see why that would need a green light from the headship.

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