Urufu was a born leader. At least that was what Yukio had once believed. Now he suspected that was too simple an explanation. Grown into a leader during longs years of adulthood was more likely.
“You know, about Urufu,” Yukio started as they stood in the cramped ryokan reception.
Like most non tourists he would have preferred a western style hotel, but Urufu paid, and Urufu preferred the old fashioned futon, hard and uncomfortable as it was. Or at least he said he did.
Kyoko met Yukio’s stare and smiled. He saw how she knew what he was going to say, but out of respect she didn’t interrupt him this time, and he loved her all the more for it.
“He’s rather socially awkward for being, well...”
“Uhum,” Kyoko said.
“You know, for being Urufu.”
Kyoko’s smiled widened into a grin.
“He’s a little, how should I put it, disjointed,” Yukio tried.
Black hair swirled around her face as she tilted her head backwards and nodded. She had let it grow since winter.
She let her tongue play over her lips and gave him an encouraging smile. He took the opportunity and stole a short kiss.
“You noticed as well?” she said after they separated.
He nodded. “Partly, I think, because I’m growing up.”
“We’re getting older. A year now.”
They were. A year older together. Together. He tasted the word in his mind and decided he liked it very much. He liked most everything with Kyoko.
As he glanced past her face he saw Noriko and Urufu carrying what little luggage they had from the taxi and up the stairs. Yukio booked the rooms, but it was still Urufu’s money. Or at least Yukio pretended he booked the extra room, because both rooms were booked since yesterday.
How Urufu believed that Kyoko suddenly ‘discovered’ a typhoon was about to hit Ise early evening was beyond Yukio. In difference from manga you didn’t get caught by surprise since all typhoons were announced days in advance. Well, unless you were Urufu and blithely ignored watching weather reports in August, which bordered on idiocy if you lived in Japan.
Yukio made certain Urufu and Noriko vanished up the stairs. “Disjointed from reality,” he said and continued his earlier line of thought.
“Sometimes, only sometimes,” Kyoko said. “Sometimes he really does pay attention. Like whenever someone feels hurt or is in need.”
“Sometimes, huh. Unless he’s involved himself. Then he turns blind.”
Kyoko’s smile turned into a smirk. “Kuri-chan is my best friend, but she’s still an idiot.”
“Urufu’s mine, and he’s a moron as well,” Yukio agreed.
“I’m going to root for Noriko. It doesn’t matter that Kuri-chan is my most important friend. I’m sick and tired of watching those two hurt each other.”
Yukio didn’t say anything. Instead he nodded, by now secure Kyoko read him correctly agreeing with her from his expression.
“You think she’ll fall in love with Ryu?” Because that would pretty much solve everything by ending the entire situation.
“I think she already has. At least a little,” Kyoko said. “Ryu’s not the school prince for nothing, and I think he has the kind of personality Kuri-chan needs now.”
Yukio took Kyoko’s hand and nudged her in the direction of the stairs.
Two rooms rather than the one large one Urufu wanted. There weren’t any large rooms free. A lie and a truth. Yesterday there had been, when Yukio booked two rooms. No longer though. Not with the typhoon inbound and train services down for security reasons.
Ise was a hotspot for tourists from all over the world. Tourists, in difference from Urufu, didn’t live in Japan. Quite a few of them had been caught off guard, just like Kuri’s grandfather had told them would happen when the three of them planned the deception.
He was, just as Yukio and Kyoko, dead tired of watching Urufu tearing apart his granddaughter’s heart, with her pouring petrol on the flames to make absolutely certain whatever they once shared burned to cinders.
And yet they both failed. Even an idiot when it came to romance like Yukio could see that. Every glance Urufu shot her, every time Yukio caught her staring after Urufu’s back, every time the two of them exchanged words, or looks, or smiles. Every damn time the love they felt for each other shone through enough to blind everyone around them.
It was painful to watch. It was also obvious enough for anyone to suspect that Kuri and Ryu being an item was a scam. It was, both Yukio and Kyoko had decided, time for their best friends to move on. It didn’t matter if that love couldn’t be entirely quenched. As it was now they were ripping each other apart.
So Noriko got enlisted, and rather unsurprisingly she giddily agreed to play the victim. Anything to haul Urufu in.
“She’s the best part of the two of them,” Kyoko suddenly said halfway up the stairs.
Yukio stared at her back. Mind reader! He didn’t care. If Kyoko read his mind or just guessed. As long as she was right it was fine. “I hope she knows what she’s heading into.”
“She does. That’s what makes Noriko the best of them.”
Them. Urufu and Kuri. It was a shame that Noriko should be the best for the both of them.
“I hope Ryu makes the best of the opportunity,” Yukio said.
Because, just like Urufu had been duped to stay the night with Noriko, Ryu and Kuri were alone back at the resort, and her grandfather made just as certain he behaved like the idiot Urufu was, and got caught in Nagoya with no way to head south to the resort.
In other words transparent enough for anyone with at least a partially working brain to see through.
But then you could always trust Urufu and Kuri to lack even that much when it came to understand these things.