As the sports festival drew near each class had to pick a representative. Ryu dodged that bullet and left it to their class representative, thinking that if Urufu had done such a damn good job at it during the cultural festival and loved the limelight so much, he could run this event as well.
Come lunch Ryu met up with his sister in the cafeteria, and she immediately confronted him with the question if he had joined the committee or not.
He stared down at his sister and grinned. “No. That hero of ours can do it himself this time, don’t you agree?”
Between an admiring sigh from a girl returning with her food from the counter, and an angry glare from Noriko, Ryu felt the wave of charisma that announced Jeniferu’s arrival.
The collective gasp of adoration didn’t belong to her fans though. For once Kuri decided to have her lunch in the cafeteria as well, and watching her enter Ryu understood why she drew the attention of students from all three years.
If she had been beautiful during her first year it still lacked in comparison. She looked the same as last year and yet not. He did recall her saying she’d come into the full bloom of her beauty the year she was seventeen, but until now he hadn’t believed it.
“What’s with you Ryu?”
Ryu met his sister’s eyes. “What’s with me? Nothing.”
“Have you become so small a man that taking his girl isn’t enough. You’d belittle his achievements as well?” Noriko drew breath for a second round. “Right now you disgust me.” With those words she took a firm grip of her food and left him. Just before she headed for the exit to the area under the sails Noriko turned and glared behind him. “Kuri, teach him some manners, or I won’t forgive you!”
Ryu stared after the receding backside of his sister’s until he felt Kuri grab his arm.
“What was that about?” Kuri asked.
“I honestly don’t know,” Ryu answered.
Kuri glared at him, very much like Noriko had done just moments earlier. “You know, I think your sister can be a bitchy brat, but lying doesn’t become you.”
For someone with her beauty Kuri sure had a razor tongue. “Sorry, I know why she’s angry, but not why she’s angry.”
With her food in her hands Kuri led them to a table where those seated quickly made place for the two of them.
Ryu followed her knowing she’s make him explain that better. What he just said didn’t even make sense to himself. As he sat down he got one flirty and one shy smile from the girls at the table. The boys just glared at him. Ryu smile when he noticed it was the other way around for Kuri.
“Care to explain,” she said when they said down, just as he had expected.
Ryu flashed his best smile to the shy one and winked at the other. “I understand she’s angry because I don’t share her hero worship of Urufu,” Ryu began. He still exchanged polite looks with the flirt, well aware Kuri wouldn’t care in the least, but at least she’d take less flak if he interacted with other girls in a way that told them Kuri didn’t monopolise him fully. “I just don’t see what right sis has to be angry.”
Kuri looked down at the table and mumbled something.
“Sorry?” Ryu said. He hadn’t heard a word.
“You were the one with a hero worship,” she said. “Noriko was always the more sober of you two.”
I was? Ryu scrutinised his memories. Maybe he had been. He took a bite of his rather tasteless lunch. “Maybe last year,” he said before the silence drew attention from the other at their table.
Kuri mumbled some more.
“You were saying?”
“It isn’t hero worship,” she said.
“Noriko doesn’t worship him, you now.”
“She’s perfectly aware of his flaws, or at least as aware as a kid can be.”
“You know,” Ryu said and looked at Kuri. “I’d appreciate if you didn’t call us kids. Makes being your boyfriend look bad.”
Kuri blanched but returned his stare. “Sorry, my bad.”
“And?” Ryu asked when Kuri didn’t finish what she had started to say.
“She’s in love with him. I didn’t see it before, but I think she never fell out of love.”
“Huh?” What the hell? “But she dated Nao-sempai until he cheated on her.”
Kuri bit her lips. “I wonder.”
Ryu didn’t say anything. He just met her eyes and waited for her to finish.
“I wonder about why he cheated on her. Maybe he saw what I didn’t.” Kuri’s voice was barely audible at the end.
Oh! I understand! “Just like how you’re still in love with Urufu?”
Kuri didn’t say anything.
“You know, I don’t really mind. We’re dating and we’ll just see how it pans out.” Ryu spoke a little faster than he thought. Kuri was clearly in distress, and even though he wasn’t exactly in love with her, Ryu still care enough for her to react when she felt unwell. “So you don’t have to feel guilty about...” Aww, shit! So that was what she meant. He fell silent and palmed his face.
Through his fingers he saw Kuri’s eyes. A bit too shiny, and with a tinge of red in the whites. Damn it Urufu. I’ll beat you senseless!
“So you noticed as well?”
Ryu had, but he hadn’t understood what he noticed. “I’m sorry. I’ll talk with her.”
“Please don’t! I’m jealous but it’s not really Noriko’s fault, and I don’t even have the right, but...”
“… but Urufu should have shrugged her off.” It all fell into place. This time Urufu didn’t mind Noriko clinging to him.
Damn it sis! He’s older than our father. So was Kuri, but that was a thought Ryu rather avoided, and besides, it was different.