Sunday, 5 February 2017
Chapter three, 2017, conflict, segment eight
But Urufu didn’t return to school.
Ryu found out his sister had skipped school together with Urufu and spent the day in the city. He also learned Urufu got suspended for the second time in a short time. For a normal student that was very close to expulsion, but neither Urufu nor Kuri were normal students.
“You should have told me,” he said to Kyoko when he found her waiting for Yukio outside the cafeteria.
“Told you what?”
Ryu looked at her, sun and shadow playing in her face as the wind made the great sails above them bulge. He could see what Yukio found so attractive, especially now when she had lost some weight, but Yukio being Yukio probably hadn’t even noticed she did.
“About Urufu’s suspension.”
Kyoko looked back. “If Urufu wanted you to know he would have told you himself.”
So she knew, which means Yukio knows as well. “Whoa! Why the hostility?”
“Don’t behave like an idiot! It doesn’t suit you.”
You’ve grown. Just half a year ago you’d never dare to tell me off like that. Ryu decided he wanted to test her mettle a little. “It’s not me being aggressive here. I haven’t done anything to upset you.”
The stare he got in return was filled with contempt. “Did you really lose your brains all by yourself, or did Kuri-chan help you?”
“I don’t follow you?” Ryu really didn’t. What did Kuri have to with anything?
“You owe Urufu an apology. Sure, he doesn’t get to decide who Kuri-chan goes out with after she broke up with him, but you still should have told him.”
Ryu thought about it. “Why?” he asked in the end. He had no obligation to report his private life to Urufu. If Kuri broke up with him she could do whatever she wanted without telling him, and that was true to an even greater extent for the one she dated.
“It’s the decent thing to do. It’s only proper.”
That’s the Kyoko I know. Things should still be proper in the end. “No, I disagree.” Ryu thought about it some more. “And so does Urufu.” Because Ryu was certain Urufu did. The man grown teenager came from a culture where women stood on a much more equal basis with men than in Japan. Ryu disliked admitting it, especially when Urufu voiced it in terms of medieval values, but that he was so adamant about it meant it was important enough to be ingrown in his backbone.
Kyoko shot Ryu an angry glare, but she didn’t protest. “It’s only proper of you to do so anyway,” she said at last.
Maybe she was right. “Too late now anyway, and I’m not going to apologise to him now.” Damn it Kuri, this really is your fault. Ryu smiled and combed his hair with his hand. “You know, ask Kuri about it. I can’t make up with Urufu for her. She has to do it herself.” As an afterthought Ryu opened his mouth again. “You’re aware she still loves him?”
Kyoko nodded. Then her eyes showed a disappointed glint. “I don’t understand,” she said. Her voice got silent and she looked up at the sails.
Ryu saw tears competing with anger. He sat down on a ledge and gathered his thoughts. Should he tell Kyoko what had happened or not? It would be kind of unfair to Kuri, and he genuinely liked her, even if his feelings for Ai still were stronger.
From the glass doors he saw Yukio leave the cafeteria and walk towards them.
I’d better say something. “She had to break up with Urufu,” Ryu said.
It said something about how strong their friendship had grown during the last year when Kyoko didn’t flare up.
“Please explain,” she said.
Ryu waved at Yukio and drew breath. “Her job. They’d take her job away if she didn’t.”
Kyoko nodded, sat down beside him and made place for her boyfriend.
“I know that part, but...”
“They tried to force a new boyfriend on her,” Ryu interrupted. He still wasn’t sure it was the right thing to do telling Kyoko about this. “We made an agreement,” he added. Explaining to Kyoko that they were in fact boyfriend and girlfriend rather than pretending would take too long time. She’d believe it was all fake, but it had to do.
Yukio took his place beside Kyoko and gave Ryu a pained smile. No, one filled with resentment.
I can’t explain to him. To Yukio I betrayed Urufu, plain and simple.
“Kyoko, we should go somewhere else.”
Kyoko made to protest, but Ryu waved it away. “You want some time alone with your boyfriend, don’t you? Has to be hard being in different classes.”
Kyoko offered him a grateful look before she took Yukio’s hand and the two of them walked away.
Soon enough Ryu found himself surrounded by girls. They’d stick to him until Kuri arrived, if she did. Sometimes she ate away from school. Her fame rapidly grew into more and more of a problem.
I couldn’t live like you do, Ryu thought and gave the girl closest to him a false smile. I somehow don’t like myself very much right now. Thoughts of Ai came to him, mixed with his growing desire for Kuri. I’m an arse. What kind of pathetic man falls in love with two girls at the same time?
He wanted to ask Urufu, because Urufu probably had something wise to say, but he was also the only person Ryu couldn’t ask for help.
Sis, what the hell are you doing? Because Noriko couldn’t hold her feelings a secret. She always wore them like an overcoat. Had done so for as long as he could remember. Why Urufu?
A sudden warm gust made him look up. It carried with it the first, remote, promises of a summer to come.
There was no answer.