Sunday, 1 November 2015

Chapter two (segment nine), 2016, October, Noriko

“I don't care if you'll have problems later. Nakagawa promised he'd cover your back and now you'd better man up!”

“Why do you always trust the old goat?” Urufu was visibly sulking.

Noriko didn't care. She didn't even long for him any longer and that reduced him to a useful tool. The most important tool on two legs on the school grounds. “Shut up and make it work! If you want me in your fan club you'd damn better deserve it.”

The student council treasurer sat across the desks and watched them with stunned incomprehension.

“You certain you can't provide the funding?” Urufu asked him again. Another poor attempt at crawling out of the trap Noriko just sprung on him.

The treasurer finally found air enough to speak. “Three million yen? Are you crazy? Where the hell do you expect me to get that kind of money on short notice?”

“Fuck!” Urufu said.

“Language!” Noriko said and glared at him. She needed him to back down. “Look, you can dock my pay if it doesn't work out,” she suggested, and with that Urufu's secret was out in the open.

“Screw you!”

Thank all gods I mostly fell out of love with you earlier! That wasn't entirely true, but most of her feelings lay elsewhere now. “Thank you but no thank you. Nao maybe, but it's too early yet.” I'm unfair, but it can't be helped. You'd work me over the same way. “Make it happen!”

What she demanded of Urufu was beyond the pale, and she'd have what she needed or she'd see the festival crumble within a few hours. She locked eyes with him.

“Bah! No wonder I pay you two the most,” he said and admitted defeat.

“Pay?” the council treasurer said from his chair.

“Shut up!” both Noriko and Urufu said in unison.

“Fine! Get me someone with a motorcycle and an extra helmet. I'll need coordinates as well.”

Noriko sank back in her seat. She'd apologise later. “I love you, you know. Not the way I love Nao, but still. I'll get your ride.” She would. One of the thugs in 9:1 rode one.

She wasn't supposed to know, but he adored everything Wakayama from the moment they stood their ground against the bullying at Red Rose Hell. Since last night Urufu was included in his hero worship, because Noriko told him why Urufu was expelled.

“What's going on?” the treasurer asked and broke Noriko's memories.

She threw him a dark look. “If the student council can't fund the cultural festival Hamarugen-sama will do so in your stead.” Urufu deserved that much at least. She forced him to put his company on the line based on pure speculation. In return she could at least refer to him with the utmost respect.

She dug up her smart phone and dialled a number. The call took less than twenty seconds. On pure speculation, but you knew you could fund it if things went south, didn't you? Four cars with students unable to pay for the supplies they were ordered to buy had already hit the road. Urufu has some serious catching up to do, and she hoped the thug knew his bike.

“Big words coming from you. Where the hell did you arrive at three million yen?” It seemed the treasurer didn't intend to give up.

“You really don't know?” You can't be that clueless, can you?

“Know what?”

He could, and when she thought about it maybe clueless was too harsh. “Our friend, Ageruman-san,” she chose the polite reference, because he probably wouldn't know who Kuri was, “is a part time model.”


Noriko turned her computer to him so he could watch the videos. Kuri's face was plastered to every major billboard around Tokyo since the day before.

Noriko hardly listened to Urufu leaving the room. Instead she slammed both hands to her desk. “Now listen closely. Best case, absolutely best case, we estimate five thousand guests here tomorrow.”

He stared back at her with his face pale and lifeless. The numbers simply didn't agree with him. She could as well kill any remaining hopes of understanding he had.

“Worst case we'll have upwards to twenty thousand people trying to get in. There's no way in hell we can handle that.”

“Where did you get those numbers,” he asked and repeated his prior question in a new way.

She couldn't tell him. Those weren't merely estimates from their friend Kuri; those were from the billion dollar empress. Noriko had absolutely no reason to doubt over thirty years' worth of professional experience from the fashion industry, but she couldn't tell him. Sixteen year old girls didn't have that kind of experience.

“It's a wild guess,” she lied and tried to make it sound like she admitted that she had no clue. Twelve to fifteen thousand, unless something unexpected happens, Kuri had said. Eight thousand and not a soul more, Urufu had responded when asked about how many guests the school could handle with the help of a shoehorn.

We're so screwed! She growled and when the treasurer winced she shook her hands. She wasn't angry with him. She had forced Urufu to empty his accounts, but that only covered supplies for five thousand guests.

I'll bleed Kuri dry as well and it still won't be enough. She already had. One million yen, Kuri's entire fortune, transferred to Urufu half an hour earlier. He didn't know yet. He also didn't know she held lingering feelings for him despite going out with Nao. Enough to join him in the madness.

“Excuse me, I need to make a call.” Noriko rose and left the room.

In the corridor outside she dialled another contact and waited for the answer.

“Dad, I need access to my university funds.”

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