That was a bad memory. The memory of Ulf's body shaking with tears and loss still occupied her mind whenever she wondered if she had the ability to solve a problem. And that was a bad problem in itself. Never before had she allowed herself to become dependent on anyone else this way.
She wondered. He never said he loved her, but he always acted with love. Still she needed those words. 'Ulf, are you so afraid of losing me that you don't dare having me?'
Something was breaking apart inside of her. The love she felt consumed her. It burned from the inside, and if he didn't speak soon, if he didn't provide that fuel, the fire would take her love and twist it into something she didn't want so see.
'I can't compete with your memories.'
That knowledge was what finally made Christina make up her mind. As soon as Ulf was discharged from the hospital she'd make certain he spent the night with her, and not just sleeping together with her like they had done before. She wasn't sure it would be enough, but sharing her body with him should bind them closer together, and after watching him grieve in the hospital she was desperate to make him hers alone.
She shook her head and forced herself back to reality. Make-up exams weren't exactly the most fun way to spend her time, but flunking four out of five exams gave her little choice.
'Math, I always hated math.' She bent over her paper and attacked the next question as if it had been an especially disgusting bug.
Half an hour later she was done and left for the toilets. With a bit of luck she had managed a passing grade. Next lesson was English, and even if her spelling and grammar was poor she had enough professional experience from using the language to avoid doing the same mistake twice in a short span of time. That make-up exam ought to be a breeze.
When the day was over Christina left school with just one exam she needed to retake for the second time. With problems of a normal degree of importance she'd go home and study, but right now smearing Red Rose left and right took precedence.
She arrived at Stockholm Haven café and immediately went inside the inner room. Inside she sat down by the large table, fired up her laptop and placed her smart-phone beside it on the table. James having installed Wi-Fi and a decent internet-connection helped a lot.
'Let's see how much damage we've done this far,' she thought and started browsing through the latest communities she had seeded with partially truthful accusations.
'Superb!' Anxious mothers joining a weekly digital gathering for preschool parents embellished the seeds she had sown. 'Now it'll start spreading by word of mouth. Another week and I'll accept Nakagawa's promised help to pour fuel on the rumours among their husbands.'
"Water of coffee?" James' voice said from the door.
"Coffee," Christina replied. "Make it strong!"
"Any news on your boyfriend?"
"Day after tomorrow. I'll be there when he's discharged."
"Does he know what you're doing?" James asked and made no move whatsoever to make her coffee.
Christina looked up from her laptop and stared at him across the table. "Doing?"
"Yes, all of you kids, including those who really are kids."
The café had to be all but empty with not a single guest sitting close to the counter, or James would never have dared voice that aloud. Still it made Christina uncomfortable hearing it spoken in a clearly audible voice by anyone else than her closest friends.
"Was it that easy to trace?" Christina said. She didn't like the implications it carried.
"That photographer of yours come here from time to time." James tilted his head, goading her to respond.
Christina didn't bite. "Yes?" A counter question should do the work.
"Says he was a big-shot at a major newspaper back in the days. He recognised an organised smear campaign," James replied and smirked.
It was all too easy to forget he held an academic degree himself, even though one from another world. Then what James had implied grew in Christina's mind. 'He would, wouldn't he? Well, he's a pro so it's not that bad. Forgot he was with a big newspaper back in the days.'
"You know that people with money and status to lose also know professionals in the media?" James continued relentlessly.
Pushing her laptop aside Christina gave James the attention he so obviously wanted. "What are you trying to say?"
He stepped inside and closed the door. "I'm saying that whatever you're doing is going to backfire big-time."
"That we're screwed?"
"No, but that it'll cost you. Even if you win this war you'll pay. Are you ready to go through with it anyway?"
What a strange question. It was far too late to back out now. "Any suggestions?" Christina said.
James grimaced and looked down. "Not really. You two are out of my league anyway, but I wanted to warn you."
Christina nodded at him. "I'm grateful for the warning," she said. "Strong, did I say I wanted my coffee strong?"
"You did," James answered and left the room.
With a flick of her wrist Christina brought her laptop back into vision. Maybe she should be a little bit more careful and not steam-roll the communities with her rumours? Her experience came from marketing fashion, and discreet didn't really come to her mind when she planned her campaigns.
'Can I hide it by being glaringly obvious? I've done that before.' But before she continued that line of thinking she shook her head. Guerrilla marketing had never been her strong side, and now that was exactly what she was involved in. 'Maybe I should have told Ulf before I started.'
She grimaced much like James had done just short moments earlier. 'Maybe I should have thought before I started.' But then thinking in excess wasn't her style neither. She acted and conquered. Possibly not the smartest course of action when applying anything with the word 'guerrilla' in it.
With a smirk Christina pushed her laptop aside and picked up her phone. Maybe 'guerrilla' wasn't the only way to go. There were other, more public channels to abuse.
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