I didn’t expect them to make out like that. Kyoko felt a little guilty. She was, after all, the one who pushed Noriko to be a little more greedy.
“Sorry, no, nothing.” She put away the touchpad. The waterproof touchpad she had requested Urufu acquire well over a month ago.
He complied, and by now she did some of their planning and analysis together with Yukio in the family bath.
“Yukio, could you cut another fifteen percent?”
He moved over to her side, and she revelled in his naked body. Despite everything Urufu and Kuri-chan said she very much appreciated watching Yukio whenever they shared a bath.
“Ten or twelve,” he said after checking the screen. “Doesn’t need trimming to be honest.” He looked at her. “That’s my girl.” He smiled. “Seeing that we could cut it down even more, that is.”
A little of his ability must have rubbed off then. “This part,” she said. “It’s a little process centric, but I want to keep it that way.”
“Well, you know how Urufu wants us to be product centric, but this just rubs me the wrong way.”
Yukio stared at her with more interest in his eyes. “Elaborate,” he said, copying one of Urufu’s favourite expressions whenever he went into teaching mode.
“Well,” Kyoko started. “They’re delivering a service.” Despite having trouble finding the words she knew where she wanted to go with this one. “If you reduce it to the tangible components then who’s going to take responsibility for it?”
Yukio grinned. “You’d call an outdoor spa a component?”
Kyoko nodded so hard she splashed water all over the touchpad. “Definitely! They’re not selling spas in the first place. You can’t buy one without at least a one year service agreement.”
Yukio put the edge of both his thumbs in his mouth. He was adorably cute like that. “I’m listening.”
“A spa’s basically a bathtub. They’re selling a bathing experience, and that’s a lot more.” Words were really the hard part. “Look, Yukio, a bathtub can’t have a goal.” No that wasn’t right. “Those making a bathtub can have a goal, but not those servicing it.”
She knew she was being unclear. “I want someone being responsible for the entire sale, and I want everyone involved actually being involved in the entire sale. And involvement is process rather than product.”
“Are you saying...”
“Yes, I’m saying Urufu is wrong about this. He’s got it backwards, at least here. They’re not selling off the shelf software.”
Kyoko looked up at the voice. Urufu walking with a towel in his hand and Noriko tagging along just behind him. They just got together. Guess she’s still conscious of being naked around him.
“Urufu, have a look at my suggestion. If you like it you can sprinkle all those fancy words around.”
Urufu read through what she had written. “So you want to drop the product centric approach?”
“You know it’s kind of built into the very backbone of agile development.”
“Then there’s an error in that backbone,” she stubbornly persisted.
“Look, Urufu,” she was getting agitated now, “people who can’t say why they’re doing something should just stop doing it.”
He met her stare with eyes wide in surprise. “And from a high schooler!” Then he shook his head. “Fine, we’ll do it your way then.”
“Just like that?”
“Just like that.”
“Because my gut feeling tells me to. Because I’ll cut your analysis to shreds and probably understand why it’s the right thing to do, and then find the flaws in your presentation, and then have Yukio cut them away.”
Kyoko high fived Urufu. “Hear that, Yukio?”
“They should, but they should know why,” Noriko suddenly said.
Kyoko stared at her. “Huh?”
“Look, what you’re doing might be a good thing, but if you don’t understand why then then there’s something wrong with the doing, not with the what.”
“Huh?” This time all three of them stared at Noriko.
“I guess it’s the difference between having a purpose for doing something and the goal for that something.”
Something clicked in Kyoko’s brain. “You wonderful, fantastic girl! I love you!”
She looked at the entrance. Oh oh. Well, can’t avoid it forever.
“You keep working even in this place,” Ryu asked from where he stood beside Kuri-chan.
Kyoko nodded at the two newcomers. You’re not setting the pace for this, you’re not! “And a good thing it is. Noriko just solved the entire problem.”
Kyoko laughed. “She did. I’ll rewrite before you get it, Urufu. OK?”
He grinned and sat down in the water. “I think I see where you’ll be going. Yeah, we’ll definitely run with your idea.” The water rippled around him. “Noriko, I’m wrong. It’s fine to be close here.”
Noriko smiled and took a seat just by his side. “Heh, then I’ll be just that,” she said and leaned into him.
You can’t possibly even pretend you’re not feeling Kuri-chan standing behind you! Crap, you could cut slices out of the tension here.
“You’re close to each other.” Kuri-chan’s words bounced off the water and vanished into the night one by one.
Maybe it was better this way.
“I just heard it was fine being close to my boyfriend.”
Kyoko waited for the explosion.
Urufu tilted his head backwards, and through the surface Kyoko saw how Noriko’s hand gripped his like a claw. That must hurt, even to you.
“Yeah, we’re a couple now, Christina.”
“Oh, I didn’t know,” she answered and walked into the pool. Long legs rippled the water just like Urufu’s had done earlier. While her voice was strained Kyoko heard no anger.
Behind Urufu and Noriko Ryu stood frozen in place.
“He’s a good man,” Kuri-chan said after lying down in the water. “Care for him, will you?”
“He’s a great man, and yes, I will.”
“Do you love her?”
This time Kyoko felt pain spreading in her throat. Of all questions she hadn’t expected that one. Kuri-chan, I’m so sorry!
“Yes, yes I love Noriko.”
Kyoko stared at Urufu and Kuri-chan. Silence and pain spread around her until it was almost unbearable.
“I’m happy you found someone to love.”
Please Kuri-chan, don’t sound that bitter! You knew how much he loved you. But Kyoko also knew how much the tall girl needed to hear those words, and now she had, for someone else’s sake.
“I’m not. Not him. I’ll never agree to it.”