Friday, 18 December 2015

Chapter four (segment two), 2016, October, Ryu

Ryu heard how his sister got things more and more under control, and by now both student council and festival committee were firmly dedicated to finish the festival in good style.

He decided to spend the last hour and half together with the girl from Irishima High who hooked up with him a little earlier. According to her they had met before summer break, and he owned her a goukon.

Ryu did have a vague recollection of bantering with a group of girls on his way to the old mall, and when she insisted they had already exchanged email-addresses he put her to the test.

That event took place just before he decided to spend the afternoon with her, led to him spending it with her if he was honest with himself. Ten seconds it took until his phone flagged an incoming mail. Ryu's weakness for girls who dared him and won got the better of him.

She had an older brother here, or had had if he understood her correctly. The brother of hers transferred abroad, to their sister school in Sweden of all places.

There was an interesting tale involving a girl to be told, and Ryu made a mental note to himself to check it out later, but right now he wanted to get to know the tomboy by his side better.

He turned in the direction she wanted when yet another slap smarted in his lower back; her very special way of getting his attention in the noisy bedlam around them.

“You know I'll have bruises there if you keep at it?” he said to her.

“Sorry about that Wakayama-san,” she said with a toothy grin that revealed exactly how sorry she was.

Ruy pretended to growl and pulled her to the stall she pointed at. “Something to eat together with the ramonade Ai-chan?”

She shook her head. “Someone's behaves pretty familiar with me,” she said.

“Prefer Hasegawa-san?” Ryu countered and exchanged some coins for two glass bottles. The girl in the stall gave him a long look and Ai-chan an even longer.

Ai-chan shook her head. “First name is fine.”

“Then call me Ryu like everyone else please.”

The girl in the stall gave him another stare. 'Everyone else' didn't include those outside 3:1, their club or the remains of his fan-club, but he wasn't about to say that.

He had to shield her back from the crowd when they fled indoors, but as they climbed the stairs to the topmost floors the mass of people thinned out. When they reached the last flight to the rooftop he found them ample space beneath the windows to sit down and share a meal.

“Meat-bun?” Ryu asked and picked up some of his bounty from his bag.

Ai-chan gave him a pair of big eyes before accepting. “When?”

Ryu unpeeled the paper wrapping and grinned back at her. “Your third or fourth slap. When we rounded the corner to the main street.” He put his teeth into the food and waited for her to say something.

“Our cultural festival was nothing like this,” she said.

“Missed it. We were busy planning our own.”

Ai-chan nodded. “Juniors told us we never get many guests from Himekaizen. Sucks.”

She joined him in attacking the food, and they ate in silence only broken by two pops when Ryu pushed down the glass beads sealing their ramonade bottles.

Before they ran out of drink he produced two paper wraps with bean paste cake.

“Second last slap,” Ryu said before Ai-chan had the chance to ask.

She grinned sheepishly and downed the cake together with what little soda she had left.

“So how come you have time for me,” Ai-chan asked and pointed at the armband hastily prepared the evening before.

Ryu got to his feet and looked out through the window. He didn't have that time to be honest, but he also didn't care all that much any longer. “Something came up.”

Ai-chan joined him by the window. “Something came up and you got more spare time?”

Student council finally got their heads out of their arses, he thought, but I can't say that. “Yeah. A matter of getting your priorities straight,” Ryu said instead. You're our guest and you don't need to know the one who managed this madness got jumped by those Red Rose bastards.

Ai-chan wiped her trousers clean. In Yukio's 2D world anything female spent every day all year round in short skirts, but in reality the girls were a lot more sensible than that.

During the walk here Ryu had made an effort to remember her. If she was the one he recalled from summer she had filled out a bit in the chest area since, as well as grown her hair some. And wasn't it dyed that time?

“What do you want to do next?”

She looked at him and smiled. “I'd like to visit that famous club of yours.”

Of all things she could have said that was about the last he had expected, but it made sense in a way. Her brother attended the school on the other end after all.

Ryu dragged her all through the main building corridor to the left wing, past one classroom turned café and another displaying whatever the literary club found interesting or produced themselves. The next door was their club room.

“Sorry if it's a bit chaotic, but we're running the festival from here,” Ryu said before he even realised it came out as boasting.

Ai-chan grabbed his arm before he pulled the door open. “The cultural exchange club runs the festival? What about your student council?”

“We're helping,” Ryu said. The truth wasn't something he should tell an outsider. With that he peeled her hand from his arm and opened the door.

Noriko sat inside and looked up at him when he entered. Then Noriko's eyes wandered to Ai-chan and back to him again. Ryu smirked and shrugged. What could he do? Ai-chan interested him, there was no denying that.

“So, this is where we sit,” he said.

Ai-chan looked at the recharging rack with walkie talkies loading and stared at him. “What on earth?”

“We borrowed some,” Ryu said. Then he noticed the over-abundance of armbands present. He let his eyes walk over three festival committee members and student council treasurer who shared the office area with Noriko. “We help each other,” he added. Because you usually have four members of the festival committee sitting in your club room. Way to make an arse of yourself, Ryu.

A concerto of snores from the lounge area told him Midori-chan and Sho-kun took a break from the madness, and at Ryu's side Ai-chan bent forward to be able to see who produced the impressive sound.

Superb timing guys.

“Nothing more interesting to show your guest?” Noriko asked.

Ryu grimaced. “Most of the festival should be more interesting than this, but she wanted to see our clubroom,” he said and nodded at Ai-chan.

Noriko's eyebrows rose.

“Her brother transferred to Sweden,” Ryu said.

Noriko's eyebrows rose some more.

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