Sunday, 20 December 2015
Chapter four (segment three), 2016, October, Yukio
An hour earlier he pulled open the doors to their clubroom to swap radios and almost smashed into a girl standing by Ryu.
Yukio did swap radios in the end, but he also swapped places with Ryu. Thus it was he found himself on the ground helping guests leave through the service gates with Kyoko holding his hand with one hand and waving frenetically to the rooftop where Ryu and that girl stood looking down.
The festival was all but over. The gym closed for the day and the guests inside poured out onto the school grounds. Left inside half a dozen students prepared it for the closing ceremony while Uniclo personnel dismantled their equipment.
This last rush with guests leaving the school was exactly what he needed to stop thinking of Urufu. To keep busy.
“Thinning out?” he asked Kyoko. Stupid question. She couldn't see anything more than he.
“No, I don't think so,” she said. Somehow she must have known he needed to keep the conversation running.
“Fine, I'll call it in.” Yukio did so for the umpteenth time and only received a tired 'OK' and 'over and out' from Noriko for his efforts.
Also with them were Rie-sempai, the student council president, who insisted on being on a first name basis with him. She stood a bit further away. The assault on Urufu shook her back to a reality where she no longer played the parody part of a love triangle, and she once more behaved like a person he could respect.
With most of the insanity a memory belonging to the past two days the remaining work was of a kind the festival committee had planned thoroughly before the festival. With the help of the rooftop surveyors they closed off section after section of the school grounds as the mass of guests thinned out.
On the other side of the gym Yukio saw students carrying chairs and tables. Probably the food plaza being dismantled.
That was what he saw but not what he thought of. Only the presence of Kyoko by his side prevented him from running to wherever Urufu had been taken.
She pulled at his arm and he moved with her. A few steps later they came up to Rie-sempai and together the three of them helped the security detail through the worst of the exodus.
Then the mass of people suddenly thinned out, and the school loudspeakers blared that the 2016 Himekaizen cultural festival was at an end and all remaining guests should head for the gates. Last came the mandatory 'we hope you enjoyed your stay and welcome back next year' line that was empty of meaning just because it had to be said.
Yukio sighed and left the gates. Security could handle the last guests leaving through the back entrance and close the gates when they were done. At the moment more people were needed for dismantling the outdoors café before the finishing ceremony, and after that classes and clubs gathered together for a short self-congratulatory celebration until the traditional folk dance around the bonfire.
With the exception of the Himekaizen Cultural Exchange Club. He doubted there would be much in the way of celebration for them, which was grossly unfair.
“Yukio, we're done here,” Kyoko said.
She led him to the main school yard, en route the confession stands which made him grimace a little and her fidget, and they took up positions by the main entrance and directed people to the main gates.
In less than half an hour only students milled around taking down parts of the stalls and everything inside. The festival committee finally had a chance to shine and Yukio could focus on cleaning out the food plaza.
The grills would have to cool down before they could dismantle them, but stalls, tents, tables and chairs mad their way indoors with stunning speed.
They were more or less done when a loud blare announced that both Uniclo trucks were ready to depart. Yukio called for the main gates to open again, and shortly afterwards he heard the heavy engines roar to life. Above the remaining stalls he saw the glittering trucks leave the school.
Yukio grabbed four chairs and watched Kyoko take another two.
“Let's get inside,” he said.
She nodded and followed him through the main entrance. Inside a festival committee member checked off six chairs on a list and told them to head for 5:1.
Yukio doubted that was coincidence. 5:1 was next door to their club room, and he suspected they were both deliberately let off a bit easier. A silent way to thank members of the club for doing work the last two days that in all fairness belonged to the student council and its attached festival committee.
Kyoko only nodded and carried her chairs to the left wing stairwell and started climbing the stairs. Yukio followed her a few steps below. He could see her up and ahead of him and admired the view to the fullest.
“Perv,” she said without turning as she turned the corner to the last half flight to the third floor.
“Indeed,” he answered. “Want me to stop peeking?”
Kyoko entered the floor and turned. “Don't you even dare. Peek at me, and me only!” With that she danced the first steps towards 5:1 so that her skirts lifted a bit.
Nice view, he thought and laughed. “Yeah, I'll peek.”
You're less flustered these days. “Cute.”
“No. You're supposed to say sexy.”
“Fine, cute and sexy,” Yukio said. That August field trip sure got us closer. “I love you.”
Kyoko stopped and turned. The colour in her face wasn't as much a blush as a sign of anticipation. “How much?”
He didn't say anything, but when he came up beside her he let go of his chairs and pulled her face to him. The taste of kissing you. I'll never get enough. There was no need telling her. The way she met his kiss he understood she knew.