This time she made sure to fire up her smart phone immediately after the shots were done. Once was more than enough, and Christina didn't plan to exemplify some concept of stupid Swedes, if one existed in Japan.
There was nothing major in the string of messages sent to her. She had missed out on today's festival planning, but it might run late. If it did Ulf could still be there so she decided to chance it and head for school.
It was, she admitted, a mistake to email Midori-chan rather than Ulf, but she had known he would be late as well. Christina was the club president after all, so someone already inside the school should know. Still, maybe emailing Ulf as well would have been the good thing to do. Or text as he said when he started rambling about how Japan needed to join the twenty first century when it came to digital infrastructure. That was kind of funny since everyone used Line these days. Well, he was a geek, and she didn't understand half of it, but apparently something irked him. He did have almost all of his electronic gear imported, so apparently something was wrong with what could be bought in Japan.
Her studio wasn't too far away from the school. At least not with her new bike, and after she had changed into the all too hot but properly baggy set of clothes she used for avoiding being recognised, she made good speed on partially empty streets.
It had been a good day. Good shots and crowned by the message that Kinoshita-sensei was transferring studios on the condition he could work exclusively with her, or at least prioritise her whenever she was available. The two younger photographers in the studio were ecstatic at the news, but the oldest not so much. Probably because he just had his position as the most senior usurped.
Less than half an hour, about the same time as she would have used riding trains, it took her to get to Himekaizen. She locked her bike to the stands and made her way into the school. By the shoe lockers she realised she had forgotten her slippers, but she decided to risk it and climbed the stairs to their new club room barefoot. Midori-chan had told her where to find it.
Christina arrived with her shoes in her hand. If her feet hurt to much she'd break the rules and use them anyway. She slid the door open and looked inside. It wasn't empty, but there was no sign of Ulf, so she made a polite round and signed a few papers concerning the upcoming cultural festival after she confirmed that the club would only apply for running a few food stalls.
In the end she was coerced into following Ryu and some of the less sane members of their fan club to the roof where they fired off a few very illicit fireworks. It was all very stupid, a little fun and it probably strengthened her reputation as the daredevil beauty of Himekaizen.
After that she left the school feeling a bit disappointed. Should she call Ulf? Maybe not. He was probably angry by now, and she was tired and didn't want to risk a quarrel over the phone when the only thing she wanted was to hug him close to her and just cling to him forever.
Slowly riding her bike back home she still wavered between calling him or not. Her headset poured music into her ears, his name was on her favourite short list, so there should be no traffic dangers involved. Well, unless they got into some kind of stupid shouting match.
In the end a compromise won. By a red light she jumped off her bike, dragged it into one of the microscopic parks sprinkled all over Tokyo; in this case a few bushes and one tree accompanied by a few benches. An email, at least, she owed him. She had the next day off. She wrote a short message with her phone in one hand and her bike in the other. Ten am by the statue they had used for their first date, Christina suggested. That small square had become important to her. Stupid and childish, she knew, but that was how it was.
As she was riding home she felt her phone vibrate, and when she made a quick stop in another park there was a new email for her from Ulf. Ten am was perfect and did she want to go to the cinemas?
This park was larger and came with a playing ground. Three sides were flanked by trees and the one she came through by railings and an entrance. Christina left her bike and sat down on a swing. She was far too tall for it, and her heels dug into the sand even though she didn't even attempt to swing. Safely seated she dug up her phone again.
Yes, the cinemas would be fun, and did he have time to make it a full day's date with their bikes? She stared at her screen holding her breath and waited for Ulf to respond.
It buzzed in her hand and she clicked open the message. He did have time. And he longed for it. And Christina felt her heart jolt when she read that email. He wanted to be together with her. Alone with her, and he longed for the time they shared.
She sat there a bit longer than she had planned. Crying silently, but these were tears of joy. Slowly she started to accept just how important his words were to her. This last email would take her through another lonely night smiling. She couldn't understand how easily she had allowed herself to become spellbound by him, but it didn't matter. She felt happy in a way she almost couldn't remember ever being before. Those years with her first boyfriend lay in her true first youth with fears and anxiety overshadowing her joy, and they were so far ago she suspected she remembered memories of memories. Ulf was different. He was here right now. If she reached out with her hands she could touch him. That made all the difference.
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