Shoujoai ni Bouken: Adventures of Yuriko
The Story So Far: While Yuriko learns more about the students
around her, she finds herself increasingly uncomfortable in her role. To add to her
feeling of unreality, mysterious lunches appear every day in her locker, along with the
love letters that arrive daily.
Volume 1, Issue 14
"It was the weirdest thing," Yuriko sipped at her coffee
and sat back in her chair. Mariko had the world's largest collection of comfortable chairs
in her apartment.
"So, what exactly happened?" Mari inquired.
"Well, I told you about Abe-sensei, right? My homeroom and
science teacher? He looks kind of rumpled, like a shirt that was left under a pile of
other clothes for a long time." Both women grinned at the image. "But this week
he hasn't been rumpled - he's been fraying at the edges. He looks as if he hasn't gotten
any sleep at all. And I swear, every time I look up he's staring at me with this hungry
look. It was really creeping me out."
"But I thought you said you thought he was..." Mari said.
"I did think so, but now I wonder." Yuriko sipped her
coffee again. "Mmm, this is really good. Just what I needed, thanks."
Mari preened. "Always glad to provide what's needed."
Yuriko raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. Mari poked her in the
arm to get her talking again.
"So this morning, when he comes in, he looks like hell. I
thought he might keel over in homeroom, he looked so bad." Yuriko paused. "I
really felt bad for him, but the weird thing was..." she tapered off.
"That's twice now you've said that and stopped," Mari
insisted. "*What* was the weird thing?"
"Well...I seem to be the only one who noticed," Yuriko
said. "None of the kids even looked at him strangely. And Sayaka, who seems to have a
good head on her shoulders, when I asked her if he'd been acting funny, she just
"Maybe he's a drinker and this is just another binge."
Mariko suggested, as she stood to pour more coffee. Yuri handed her cup over eagerly.
"Maybe," Yuriko admitted. "So, anyway, come science
class, Abe-sensei is late, then very late and at last, almost 30 minutes into the class,
the principal walks in and says that Abe-sensei has had an emergency at home and had to
"Maybe," Yuriko repeated. "I don't know,
The two women sat in silence for a while. Mari watched her friend
with some concern. Usually a natty dresser, she had come over in a worn sweatshirt, and
her face looked a little drawn. Mariko put her cup down.
"Yuri - you're not looking so well yourself. It's nice that you
are working hard at this assignment, but..." Mariko wasn't sure exactly what it was
that she was worried about.
Yuriko grinned. "I'm fine, really. I came straight here from
basketball practice. I'm just tired."
"Oh, how is basketball practice?" Mariko asked, her
eyebrow lifted suggestively.
Yuriko waved away the implication. "If they were five years
older, it'd be a whole different story. I feel like I'm working out with younger
cousins." She laughed. "Only they treat me like I'm their junior, which in a
sense I am - it makes for a strange dynamic."
"Any warming on the cold front?"
"You mean Yamamoto Kaori-buchou?" Yuriko asked. "No.
Icy as ever. Luckily for me one Noda Mikan is the vice-captain and she's in charge of my
training. Nice kid, bluff, strong, treats me like an equal. She's probably going to figure
out she's gay in three years, spend 10 in bad relationships and resign herself to a life
of coaching sports and living with her cats."
Mariko choked on her coffee. "Yuri!" she laughed,
"Well, it's the truth," the blonde said unrepentantly. She
set her empty coffee cup down. "So tell me, hows Hachi?"
Something odd passed through Maris eyes for a second, but she
smiled brightly. "Oh, hes just fine. Busy." She waved her hand vaguely.
Yuriko looked at her stonily. "Hayashi Mariko, dont try
to pull one over on me. Whats up?"
Mari waved her concern away flightily. "Its really
nothing - hes just been busy this week, with that new account. We havent had
much of a chance to talk, thats all."
Yuriko sat back again, nodding. "Feeling lonely?" She
stretched out in the chair, extending her long legs in front of her. "I can
understand that. So does Hachi. Just make sure he makes up for it, with interest,"
Mari returned the smile easily. "Oh! I forgot to tell you. I
was in the ice cream parlor - you know, the one around the corner from the studio - and I
saw a few girls from your school. They were talking about you."
Yuriko groaned. "What now?"
"No, no, nothing like that. One girl was praising you to the
heavens. How gorgeous you are, how polite and funny - and that you write exceptional
Yuriko rolled her eyes. "About this tall?" She held her
hand at mid-chest level. "Short, dark hair in a bob? Big eyes with stars in
Mari nodded. "You know her?"
Yuriko rolled her eyes again. "Ohhhh, yes. Her name is Mie,
she's in the writing club
and she has an enormous fangirl crush." Yuriko rubbed
her face in frustration. "I just hope she doesn't make any trouble."
"She didn't look like much. Is she that bad?"
"Probably not." Yuriko admitted. "But there's
something about her - some special quality of insipidity that really worries me."
Mariko smirked. "Start working on your polite rejection speech
Yuriko nodded. "Exactly."
Mariko checked her watch, then stood. "And now Im kicking
you out. You have school tomorrow." She gave Yuriko a goofy grin. "And Im
sure you have homework to do."
Yuriko rose a little stiffly. "Ohhhh! All this sports activity
is killing me." Mari laughed at her moans and unsympathetically hustled her to the
"Be careful, Yuri." Mariko said as her friend opened the
door. "These kids have real feelings, you know."
"I do know." Yuriko insisted. "I wonder if they
realize that about me."
Mari closed the door behind the blonde, and thought about that last
comment for a long time.