Friday, 13 January 2017
Chapter three, 2017, conflict, segment three
“He lied?” A few sentences earlier Urufu had shaken her world, and Noriko decided that this was one of the very few occasions that merited skipping class.
Urufu nodded and kicked at a stone on the pavement.
The day was pleasantly warm, and something in the air held a promise of the summer that was to come.
“Noriko, dinner, my treat?”
“Sure,” Noriko answered numbly. “He lied?”
“My place?” Urufu asked. “We could stop at some places I know and I’ll buy what’s needed.” He grinned. “I’ll even cook it for you.”
“Yeah, fine,” Noriko said. He lied? Then, slowly, very slowly, their minuscule conversation finally registered in her brain. “Eh? What about your mum?”
“Working I guess. Not at home anyway, so she won’t disturb us.”
Won’t disturb us. You insensitive moron! Then Noriko admitted she was being unfair. I’m in love with you all over again, and you just invited me to spend the afternoon alone with you at your home. But there was one problem. Urufu should have absolutely no idea about how she felt this time. For one she was a year older, with the recent memory of being betrayed clear in her mind.
He lied? She surprised herself by thinking of what Urufu had said earlier rather than being shocked by his outrageous proposal.
“I know it can be hard to take in. Anyway, we’ll talk about it over dinner. It’s the kind of topic that doesn’t go well with an empty stomach.”
Urufu stared up at the sky and shrugged. Then he slouched a little, the way only he did when he was troubled. Noriko had learned his expressions by heart last summer.
She slowed her steps and allowed him to get a little ahead. Watching his back she noticed how he had become a little more solid over the year, but there was also something forlorn in how he moved. I wonder if Kuri will ever stop hurting in you. Why, why did you have to break up when you love each other so much? The thought saddened her. Being in love with him didn’t matter. She preferred the Urufu who was madly in love with Kuri to the broken man who walked ahead of her.
Do I keep him in the dark or not? It only made sense Urufu still believed her being broken hearted over Nao. Especially as in a way she still was. Love was strange that way. Another strange thought, and one that told her she had matured the last year.
“Urufu, we’ll have that dinner on one condition,” Noriko said and rushed to his side.
He hadn’t even noticed how she fell behind.
“We’ll talk about me, but you have to promise we talk about you as well.”
“Yes, you, Hamarugen Urufu,” Noriko said. He could be infuriatingly dense sometimes, but for her that had become one of his endearing sides, one that kept him as an important friend in her heart when she tried to cope with Kuri stealing him in front of her eyes.
“Not much of a topic,” he murmured. He probably thought she hadn’t caught up on that.
That part of him, his way of belittling himself when he was hurt, wasn’t endearing at all. Noriko thoroughly hated it. “Shut up, you oaf! Don’t you think that’s for me to decide?” Crap, that’s a little too close to a confession!
Urufu was an adult after all, or at least an adult to some peculiar degree Noriko didn’t fully understand. Despite being an insensitive moron all too often, he still picked up things by merit of experience.
Instead he shrugged. “Sorry,” he said. “Sure, we’ll talk about me as well.”
You could at least pretend to be interested. Noriko muttered silently and swore under her breath.
“Pardon?” Urufu said.
“Nothing,” Noriko replied.
“I don’t play with myself that way,” Urufu said.
Noriko cringed and blushed. So much for him not listening to me. That was the obnoxious part of Urufu. She never knew when he paid attention or not. It didn’t really show in his face.
“You’ll miss out on the sports festival,” Noriko said to change the subject.
Urufu didn’t answer. He just took a few more steps and muttered under his breath.
Fighting the urge to grab his arm Noriko followed in his footsteps. They passed the Stockholm Haven café and continued to the train station. Urufu’s bike still stood locked at the school.
Just as they entered a train Noriko’s phone came alive.
Ryu? “Yes, what is it?”
“Where are you? Your home room teacher came to our classroom looking for you.”
Noriko watched Urufu, who pretended not to listen to her call. “Train. Can’t you hear that?”
“Train, what the hell? You have class right now.”
You don’t have to tell me that. She move a little closer to Urufu on the seat. “Skipping. You’ve done that before.” Noriko tried not to notice the admonishing glances both of them received from other passengers. By this time of the day none of them had any business riding a train.
“You’re with Urufu, aren’t you?”
There was no point denying that. “Yeah, so what?”
“You should stay away from him.”
Noriko moved the phone from her head and stared at it in her hand. You have some nerve! “I’ve had it with your hypocrisy,” she said into the phone and killed the call.
When she pocketed her phone she saw Urufu glance in her direction.
“Idiot bro,” Noriko explained. As if she had to explain anything. Urufu just got himself suspended for the second time in short time. If anyone had something to explain it was he.
“We’re getting off three stations from here,” Urufu said with a voice that made it clear he wasn’t going to inquire any deeper.
“Shopping?” Noriko asked. She knew they were, but anything to change the subject again.
Urufu nodded and dug up his own phone. “Just checking the route from the station. Hang on.”
Noriko leaned back in the seat and waited for him to finish. Later that evening she’d get her face handed to her by her parents, but that was later. For now she intended to enjoy skipping school for the first time in her life.