Chapter five, 2016, falling in love

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"What kind of job?"

Kuri-chan sat down. "Hostess, part time."


"Not so loud please. James knows. He's paying her share. I leave the money here."

So that was what that phone call the first time here had been about. "Is it really worth it?" Now Noriko did feel worried.

Kuri-chan sipped her drink and shrugged again. "Quarter of a million yen in a good month. A hundred and fifty in a bad one. Pays my living here and I can save a little."

That was a lot of money. I bet Kyoko-chan knows. It still sounded dangerous though.

"I know what you think. Don't forget I'm fifty. If I get into trouble it doesn't matter if my body is sixteen, twenty six or thirty six. So it's a matter about not getting into trouble, and that's where being an adult comes into the picture."

Noriko shook her head. "I'm not going to copy you. Our family is rich. I don't need a part time job." I still don't like it. "How?" she asked.

"After my swimming training."

That made sense in a perverted way. No one would ask questions about a girl applying make-up and dressing up in a locker room. "Just curious. How old do you look, you know, when..."

"I can push it to a bit over twenty. It's pretty dark after all and I've only done this since February." Then Kuri-chan looked scared for the first time. "Please don't tell Ulf. I know you like him, but..."

"I won't. If I steal him from you I do it by my own merits." Noriko felt her cheeks heat up. "I don't think I could keep him otherwise." I don't think I can compete with you. I always forget you're both adults inside, and I'm still a kid.

Kuri-chan looked at her for a long time. "You're more dangerous than I gave you credit for."

That gave her a start. Dangerous? How?

Kuri-chan waved to James who had started to accept orders from the tables since the club made the café their usual hangout. He nodded and after a while he came out with a caramel coloured soft drink.

Noriko made her orders as he delivered Kuri-chan's.

It was almost dusk outside when the home-grown brothers arrived together with Sho-kun. Noriko still had a bit of a problem thinking of the club members in terms of first names, but both Kuri-chan and Urufu-kun had been adamant on that part.

Soon Sango-chan would arrive together with Jirou-sempai. There was a standing bet on who would be seen first hand in hand, they or Yu-kun and Kyoko-chan, and when that event would occur. The winner would be treated to their planned field trip during summer break.

Noriko hoisted her bag and spilled her homework onto the table. She had gotten permission from her mother to sleep over at Kuri-chan's home. Kyoko-chan would join them as well. Your own little rebellion, Noriko thought. Neither her parents nor Kyoko-chan's knew that Kuri-chan lived on her own.

"Let's start with maths," Noriko suggested and waved the three newcomers to their table.

The boys wouldn't come tonight. It was the last Friday in May, and Fridays were sacrosanct to Urufu-kun and Yu-kun for some reason. Her idiot brother had chosen to join them.

At least they wouldn't have to listen to Urufu-kun's atrocious choice of music. He liked his music foreign, which was OK. He also liked his music ancient, which was not.

Behind her the bell jingled again, and Sango-chan entered with Jirou-sempai. Noriko threw a glance at their hands. The bet was still up.

They split to two tables and started cramming math for all that they were worth. Come Saturday they would study English. Both Urufu-kun and Kuri-chan had promised to join them, but both were otherwise occupied during Sunday.

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