Despite everything she had promised herself, calling Ulf still made her heart race.
Christina stared at her phone after their minuscule conversation. Well, conversation in as much as a couple of phrases counted as one.
You’re the one with the magic problem solving skills. That thought was a false hope. She knew that, but Ulf really had managed to come through one way or another. Touch and go a few times, and twice he scared the living daylight out of her.
“What do we do now?”
Christina looked over her shoulder. It was Kichirou who had asked the question. “Well, school doesn’t require us students to pick a club.”
“But club activities go into the report,” Fumiko said.
There was that, and Christina moved her gaze from Kichirou to the girl who made their problem clear. “I can’t help you with that. For me, personally, I’ll officially join the go home club.”
“Officially?” Hideo’s voice carried more than a little concern in it.
“Yeah,” Christina said. She downed the last of her coffee. “I don’t have any plans to drop the cultural exchange club. School can’t even take away our club room, because it’s here in the Haven.”
“But Ashiga-san might not want to support us now when we’ve been dissolved.” That was, what was his name again? Seiichi Imai, yes, that was it. One of the last to join before they created 9:1 out of the blue.
Christina looked at James. She already knew what he would say, but the rest of the members didn’t know anything about arrivals and that other world.
“Ashiga-san will continue to support the club,” James said with a dry smile.
Christina nodded at him. Like the rest of them, or at least every club member present, they were all crammed inside the inner room. For the first time it became apparent that their old classroom was in fact a lot larger.
Well, I guess it was bound to happen. And it sure seemed Kareyoshi’s finally had it. Maybe as a result of her taped interview last night. She had given the green light to send him a copy before it aired tonight. Not that he could stop the broadcast. By now a few million people should have heard how Himekaizen was run by a misogynist racist who condoned bullying.
“I’ll stay on as president for another year,” Christina said, but her thoughts were elsewhere. I’ll destroy you!
She even made certain he was properly named. Anything to bait him into dragging her to court for slander. If he did she’d throw in libel for small change as well. By now she had enough dirt on him that if he went public she’d drag him down to hell.
“Don’t you think defying the principal is dangerous?”
“Principal?” Christina said. “Wasn’t it the student council that pulled the plug?” Officially it was, but everyone knew Kareyoshi had the council in a tight leash. I’m starting to understand why you wanted the two of us to run for the council last autumn, Nakagawa. Not doing so turned out an expensive mistake. Well, with her work schedule she’d be unable to do her duties as a council member anyway.
“I’m out,” Saki said.
The Kyoto girl with an ego more overblown than me. Good riddance!
“Me as well,” Sho added.
Both students left the room, and Christina watched the door shut after them.
We’ll lose more of them. They’re afraid. “Anyone else?” she said. Making it into a dare game should keep them from dropping out immediately.
The door opened.
“If it’s unofficial then it’s not affiliated with Himekaizen, is it?”
Christina stared at the girl who had entered. She wore an Irishima High uniform. Ai’s friend?
“No, no I guess it isn’t,” Christina said when the silence became oppressive.
The girl’s face split up in a grin. “Then we’re joining. I heard two spots opened up anyway.”
Another faced peered inside.
Oh! Yeah, Ai’s friend.
“And you would be?”
Jirou grinned and very dramatically opened up a laptop. “Then I’ll add her to the club, president?”
“Eh, yeah, do so,” Christina answered.
Around her the room was stirring with the sound of surprised murmur.
“We, you said ‘we’,” Jirou said, and Christina silently thanked the senior.
“Hasegawa Ai, 4 – 2, Irishima High.”
“Good girl. Class and school and everything,” Jirou said. Irony twinkled in his eyes.
No wonder Sango fell for you, Jirou. You never showed that side before.
“Nana’s my classmate,” Ai said. “For your record I mean.”
Jirou grinned. “Sango would be angry with me it it really was for my record,” he said.
“I didn’t mean it that way, senpai.”
“You do know we only use first names in the club?” Christina broke in. One of the good things Ulf had enforced. Sure, most still added an honorific from time to time, but last names were a distant memory.
“No, but that’s not a problem. We’re not that formal among friends anyway.” This time it was Ai who spoke.
Good to see some of that spunk returning. I hated watching you grow so small after you broke up with Ryu. “But Ryu’s mine, just saying,” Christina said. That test was important. Ai wouldn’t be able to spend time with them if that topic was taboo.
The girl flinched, but not much. “Keep him until I want him back. Then I’ll take him from you,” she returned.
Nice one! “You can try.”
“Was that just a declaration of war?” Hiroyuki wondered.
How do I handle this one? “No, rather...”
“War? Over a boy? Don’t be silly!” Ai interrupted Christina.
It’s all acting, but it’s damned good acting. I respect you. And Christina felt she did. Stupid, why did you let Ryu go? Do you even understand how good for him you were?
“So, club activities?” Nana said and broke the stalemate.
Christina stared at the girl. Yeah, I should have guessed you got that kind of friend. “Walking talking,” she said.
“Sounds fun, what is it?”
Christina answered the question.