Do you really celebrate midsummer's day as well in Sweden?”

Ulf looked at Kyoko who had climbed down to the cliffs by the water. “Officially not,” he said. “But if you travel out of the cities, like we've done, it only makes sense to spend the weekend though.”

Kyoko spread her blanket on the rock and waved for Yukio to join her.

You know, I can't get used to this kind of coast,” she said after she had failed to find a comfortable way to lie down.

Ulf shrugged. “I grew up with this. It's how we sunbathe in the archipelago, unless you prefer the crowds on our crappy sandy beaches.”

That's an alternative, but no thanks. I'll take the discomfort together with you guys.”

Thanks Kyoko. You were always a good friend. Ulf smiled but refrained from answering. There really wasn't much to say.

Behind them Yukio got caught in a conversation with James, so Ulf tapped Kyoko's blanket and pointed up the hill. She looked in the direction of his hand and grinned.

Let him. It's been a long time since they last met,” she said. Then she turned serious all of a sudden. “Do you regret it?” she asked.

Regret what?”

Kyoko could be really cryptic sometimes, and more so after a long marriage with Yukio, where they must have learned to communicate telepathically with each other.

She squinted against the sun and drew a deep breath. “Destroying Red Rose Hell,” she finally said.

Ah, of course. “No, not at all. That hell-hole had to go.” Ulf smirked when he realised he hadn't been entirely honest. “I regret what came after,” he admitted silently.

There was something pained in Kyoko's eyes, but Ulf saw how she shook it off before she lay down on the blanket. “Just wondering,” she said. “If you don't mind I'll do like you Swedes and tan in the sun like a moron.”

Be my guest,” Ulf said. I'm so sorry, Kyoko. I'm so sorry.


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