Saturday, 22 July 2017

Chapter six, 2017, friends from far, segment one

There was, Yukio decided for himself, a certain perverted satisfaction in watching Himekaizen descending to hell while he was doing the watching from the outside.

He never told Kyoko. Even lovers held secrets from each other. Total honesty hurt more than it provided. In her case doubly so since her best friend, and his, both were stuck in that hellhole. She’d be angry with him for being so callous about what Kuri had to live through, and she’d be aghast he held the same attitude towards Urufu’s fate.

Thing was, Yukio couldn’t care any longer. No matter what atrocities the madman playing at being principal threw after their best friends, it didn’t even come close to what they inflicted on each other.

This was the reversal of his and Kyoko’s drawn out shyness from last summer, one that bordered on idiocy. One that kept then from becoming a couple for a full two months during which they each knew their feelings were mutual, and still none of them made a move.

In Urufu’s and Kuri’s case it was a shared love they both decided to destroy, and in doing so they kept hurting each other and those closest to them. In the end Yukio grew sick of watching the horror show.

He’d been on the verge of cutting contact with his best friend when suddenly the lunatic five from Sweden arrived and made everything interesting again. Ai’s big brother Jun who chased after skirt a continent away, and the love chain trio. The chased after skirt was here as well, and despite being a bubbly ball of never ending happy energy Jenny-sempai was by a wide margin the most sane of the bunch.

Secretly Yukio doubted if the honorific ‘sempai’ should be applied to the insane, but they were fun to watch, and something in how they talked and reacted made Yukio suspect that each of them would easily have made it into a prestigious university had they been Tokyoites.

The cut-off was four point three for my year, Urufu had once told him. A high school where the weakest admitted student averaged above four on a scale from one to five was scary. With perfect grades when he graduated, Urufu had merely been one of almost half a dozen in his class, and classes were apparently smaller in Sweden than in Japan.

Scariest of all, while Yukio could accept that Urufu’s English was better than Jeniferu-chan’s, despite her being from the US, that both Jenny-sempai and Alexander-sempai matched her was beyond the pale. English was still a foreign language in Sweden, just as it was in Japan.

At the moment he tested his own English out.

Surprisingly good for a Japanese,” Rika-sempai commented, as she had done several times before. Not only to him, but to just about every junior I the club.

I had a good teacher,” Yukio said and turned to Alexander-sempai to continue the conversation Rika-sempai had just interrupted.

It was fun, and very cool,” Alexander-sempai said, but Yukio felt the graduate had his attention fixed on the girl he was infatuated with.

Why don’t you just move on. She rejected you. But Yukio suspected it wasn’t all that easy.

They stood waiting for the water bus to arrive and take most of the club and the lunatic five to the beach out in the Tokyo bay. With finals looming closer this was probably the last chance they had to spend time together for two weeks.

So,” Yukio started, “hot springs in this weather made sense after all?”

Alexander-sempai nodded, and from the corner of his eye Yukio saw Rika-sempai do the same.

Most of the other students hung around the ice cream parlour a bit away; hardly surprising as it was Kuri’s treat. For once she made them company, which meant the entire place was packed with body guards and Vogue employees.

They’d have a shoot at the beach, and for that reason Vogue paid for everyone’s fares. Kuri must have forced the issue one way or another.

Sorry?” Yukio said when he realised he hadn’t listened to Rika-sempai’s question.

Those two, who are they?”

Yukio looked at Kuri and Ryu holding hands surrounded by people from Vogue, but he knew the question wasn’t about Ryu. “Kuri and Nao. They’re models and students at Himekaizen,” Yukio said.

I think I’ve seen them before.”

They’re plastered to the walls all over Tokyo. Of course you’ve seen them. “They’re kind of famous here,” he said instead. At least that was true for Kuri. She was the foreign teenage femme fatale, which made her a lot more interesting than the well behaved Takado Nao. Cute was the last thing Kuri tried to be.

Funny,” Alexander-sempai said, “she’s got a professional make up. I could have sworn they didn’t know how to do Europeans here.”

We can’t. She had to teach them if what she told me last year is true.

And she actually looks good in that school uniform. That tall she really should look like a scare crow,” Rika-sempai unhelpfully added.

Yukio looked at Kuri again. He didn’t know fashion at all, but in his eyes Kuri had always looked a little like a scarecrow. He set his eyes on Kyoko from the very start after all.

He let his eyes wander across the pier. By the rails Jun-sempai and Jenny-sempai looked very much like the cute couple they were. Almost by their side, but not close enough to be a disturbance, Ai-chan kept her distance from Ryu while keeping an eye on her older brother.

An occasional gust of wind mitigated the oppressive heat, and Yukio followed a small piece of paper as it danced all the way to where Emma-sempai stood with her ice-cream in her hand and for once seemed to have forgotten all about Alexander-sempai. A second year club member from Irishima High made an insincere attempt to hit on her, but she just laughed him away in a way that told Yukio she didn’t mind being friends with the younger student.

You lunatic five, you’re just another side of Urufu. Have you come here to change us a little, to make us more like Urufu himself? Yukio didn’t know from where the question came, but he committed it to memory anyway. It could come in handy later.

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