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Mornings were cold in Sweden. Summer or not didn’t matter at all.

Noriko smiled and stretched her feet. They reached all the way into the sea, and she wiggled her toes underwater.

Behind her Kyoko and Kuri had run a silent conversation, and now Noriko could hear footsteps coming closer.

So many memories surfacing again. Guess she wants to share another one with me. They were friends. Strained friends, but friends still. If this strange vacation could mend what had been broken Noriko would welcome it.

The footsteps reached her, and Noriko watched Kuri take a seat on the rock beside her. Long legs touched the surface and went under.

Noriko, I owe you an apology.”

You owe me more than one. “Sorry?” Noriko said and pretended she had no idea what was going on.

To be honest this is just one of several,” Kuri said and agreed with what Noriko had just thought. “I’m sorry I slept with Ulf that time. Or rather I’m sorry I hurt you doing so.”

So it was about the end of their second summer.

I wasn’t ashamed at that time, and I apologise for that as well. Especially since you decided to help me later.”

Noriko shook her head. Her memories of what what had happened might a be a little shaky now, but she was certain the anger and pain faded long before those two girls were assaulted.

More importantly, without Kuri she’d never have won Urufu over.

It’s fine,” Noriko said. “I don’t think there’s all that much to apologise for, but I’m grateful you did anyway.”

And yet Kuri really hadn’t understood at all. A girl in love sleeping with the boy she wanted wasn’t a reason for an apology, but Kuri had dragged Urufu into an ugly game with human lives. Noriko didn’t know if she could forgive Kuri for that even if an apology came, because Noriko didn’t know if she could forgive herself.

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