Tuesday, 13 October 2015

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

Kyoko stared at the bulletin board. Is this a joke?

Signed by the student council the short list for the beauty contest sat neatly nailed to the official slot only the council could use.

During the last days' worth of frantic planning she recalled voting for Kuri, and mostly out of loyalty for Yukio as well. She felt some heat rising to her cheeks. In her world he deserved a spot among the five, but she also preferred having him to herself without any competition.

She read the list of girls again. Kuri-chan first with close to a third of all votes, but that was expected. That she'd end up the winner was a given. After her name Kyoko read a second year unknown to her. Hitomi-chan's name after that wasn't exactly a great surprise, and after their show of strength ending the bullying attempt, neither was Noriko's. The last name, however was a major surprise.

Why the hell am I on that list?

There had to be something wrong and she hoped it would be cleared up soon. As an afterthought she threw a look at the boys' list as well.

Ryu first with over ten percent of all votes and after him, with almost as many, Nao-sempai's name looked down at her. So far no surprises. Urufu at third place would have been an impossibility a few months earlier, but given his rising fame the last weeks Kyoko wasn't really all that surprised to find his name there.

The list petered out with two third years as unfamiliar to her as the second year girl.

I just have to find the joker who put my name on that list tomorrow morning before the real voting starts. But first she needed to join the rest of the club.

An hour of negotiation earlier that evening between headship, student council and the club saw Urufu in charge of patrolling the school grounds in addition to his other chores.

Kyoko remembered watching the first real quarrel between Kuri-chan and Urufu before she left for home to wash and collect some clothes in a bag before returning to school.

Her parents scowled, but the signed slip from Principal Nakagawa was enough to silence their protests, and now she was back in school with the underwear and toiletry needed for two nights on a hard floor.

After making her way up the stairs she walked through the empty corridor and slid open the door to their club room.

What on earth?

The lounge area had given way to a sea of futons, air mats and closed foam pads.

“When did this happen?” she asked into the air.

“Dunno, but I know Hamarugen-san is who happened,” a voice answered. There was a tinge of awe in it.

Kyoko turned in the direction of the voice. A freshman she couldn't remember seeing before sat by a desk in their office area. An enormous freshman with spiky, orange hair, irregular school uniform and an armband in his hands. She wasn't certain but it looked like the kanji for 'security' on it.

“Who are you?” she asked, too perplex to be afraid.

He rose so quickly he almost overturned his chair. Then he gave her the most formal bow she had received in her live. “My name is Goto Daisuke. I apologise for my unseemly appearance Takeida-san.” His choice of words changed to the extreme formal as well.

He's sure got the build for it, Kyoko thought and shot the hulking frame an amused stare. Wait a minute, why does he know my name?

“You're not a club member, so why are you in our club room?” She really wanted to fish for an answer to her earlier question, but she couldn't think of a polite way to do so.

He slowly rose to his full length. “Matsumoto-san told me to lay out the beds.

Kyoko looked at the lounge turned sleeping area and nodded. Urufu placed a few phone calls and this stuff magically appeared here. She shook her head as pieces of a puzzle slowly came to place in her head. One question would confirm her theory.

“You're 9:1?”

“Yes. I'm honoured that Takeida-san knows me,” the giant said and bowed deep again.

Confirmed, but I don't really know you. I only guessed. Kyoko chose not to phrase that in spoken words. There was no point in insulting him. So the rumours about the former Red Rose thugs were true after all. She should have known, but 9:1 had their home room in the left wing and she had little to no reason visiting them during school hours.

Behind her the door slid open and a few club members arrived. They must have come with the same train. Another half an hour and she expected to see the club room alive with its usual club hours chaos even though it was far later than and club hours.

They'd take turns patrolling the school grounds twenty four hours a day until the end of the cultural festival. For most of the club members two nights sleepover at school would be an adventure.

While she understood Urufu irritation at being saddled with yet another responsibility she also trusted him to calm down in the end. To make sure of that she sent Kuri-chan an email ordering her to apologise to her boyfriend and make up with him.

After all Kyoko guessed she was the only one allowed to slap her tall friend around in that manner. She suspected not even Urufu dared doing so, but allowed to or not he was still the one paying with additional work for Kuri-chan's request to get the clothes provided by Uniclo secured. They couldn't afford another sabotage.

When Yukio finally returned from his father's home with a large backpack she only allowed him to dump it in the club room before she led him upstairs by his arm.

Below them almost half of 9:1 had joined the club members for the overnight stay and three pairs with flash lights and radio were already patrolling the school.

Kyoko didn't care. She'd team up with Yukio in two hours, and she didn't plan to sleep until then. Not with the bribe in her pocket. The rooftop key she received from the student council president in return for nudging Kuri-chan to request added security. Kyoko almost felt a bit guilty on Urufu's behalf. Almost, but two blankets in one arm, Yukio in her other and the prospect of two dark hours alone with him quickly brushed away any concerns.

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