Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Chapter three (segment three), 2016, October, Noriko

“I don't know where he is,” Noriko lied to the council president.

By her side Nao grinned knowingly and she gripped his hand harder. The council president looked at what had to be Himekaizen's most mismatched couple and smirked.

“Think he's still here?”

“Maybe. Somewhere with Kyoko,” Noriko said and added some emphasis to 'Kyoko'. Can't you just accept he already has a girlfriend? One of her best friends at that. She wasn't going to assist the third year girl in any way.

“It's been a long day. Maybe they went on a date,” Nao suggested.

Thank you. Noriko squeezed his hand again to show she appreciated his help. More than his good looks his quick wits and ever present consideration attracted her. She grew fonder of him for each day since they started dating.

“Quite a catch you got there,” the president said with just a tinge of envy in her voice.

What's with you and other girls' boyfriends?

“I know. I'm happy I got her before anyone else did,” Nao said as if the comment had been directed at him.

Noriko squeezed hard a third time. I could fall even more in love with you for that. Thank you! She felt her cheeks heat up but she didn't care. The council president could watch her flare red for all she cared.

A chair scraped against the floor and Urufu's face popped into existence from their office area. “President, could I have your attention for a while?”


Just before the council president turned to face him Noriko saw him wink at her. Then his face blanked. “I managed to borrow another six com units, so I'm thinking of making hot links between the three rooms we use.”

“Huh?” the council president said.

“You see, if we pair three sets of walkie talkies on dedicated channels we could...” Urufu grabbed her hands and led her around the bookcase to the desks in the office area.

Noriko listened to his voice fade and turned her attention to her surroundings.

Jirou-sempai and Sango-chan were busy loading the fridge with bottled drinks. Tomorrow they'd start the day with enough to drink for the entire crew.

Sho-kun and Hiroyuki-kun dropped two cases with drinks on the floor and left the club room for more. They met Kichirou-kun in the door when he arrived with a third case.

“Put it on top of those,” Noriko instructed. “Nao, could you call Aika-chan and Fumiko-chan?”

“For you I'll call anyone,” he teased.

She stuck out her tongue at him.

Nao grinned back before he waved her to silence when his call got through.

She opened up a document on her laptop.

On the streets shopping patrols in four cars methodically emptied shop after shop in an attempt to stave of disaster the next day. Noriko doubted it would be enough, but Urufu said even extending the time before they ran dry should help some.

“Can I help you?”

Noriko looked up from her laptop. The student council treasurer arrived with a notebook. He held a pen in his other hand.

“Eh? Yeah,” a sudden thought struck her, “you could tell me your name, and the president's.”

He stared back. “Murakami Kenshin, pleased to meet you.” His voice was heavy with irony.

“Wakayama Noriko.” What else could she do?

“My colleague is Tamura Rie.” He smiled. “Guess we've been too busy for common courtesy.”

Common courtesy, heh. We're in our club room where everyone is on a first name basis despite the fact that we really don't know each other that well. Noriko shrugged the thought away. Our club room, our rules.

“Noriko, Aika-chan is still in the store, but Fumiko-chan is on her way back.”

She looked around and searched for his voice. Nao stood by the windows looking out.

“Kenshin-sempai, you had some friends shopping for tomorrow as well,” Noriko said. She still looked at Nao's tall frame. “Could you write down what they bought so we have a better idea of our supplies?”

A pointless task. Whatever they brought back tomorrow would still see them running out of just about everything, but if it made him feel more useful. The feeling of being needed was important according to Urufu.

“I'll keep you updated with the supplies we bring in,” Noriko heard the treasurer say.

She nodded at him before turning her attention to Nao again. “Thank you Nao. What are you looking at?” Noriko walked up beside him and looked out as well.

“The bike stand,” he said. He never turned around. “I heard that's where you usually… I mean in this school.”

With a scowl she looked up at his face. “I'm not usual,” she said surprised at her own words.

“I know. That's what caught my attention.” With a huge grin on his face he grabbed her hand. “And you're cute as well.”

Too much flattery. You have it way too easy saying those things. “You're unusual as well,” she said suddenly at a loss for words.

He didn't answer, just stood there looking out. Behind her back she heard club members arrive with more supplies. Then those sounds faded as Nao's presence took up more and more of her mind.

Soon she needed to make Urufu fire up the grills one last time to prepare dinner for everyone who stayed through the evening helping out, but right now she only wanted to stand beside Nao.

Warm hands, you have warm hands, she thought and tightened her grip.

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