Shoujoai ni Bouken: Adventures of Yuriko
The Story so Far: Mysteriously appearing lunches, an abusive
math teacher and an icy basketball team captain are giving Yuriko a headache. An off-hand
remark seems to have upset a friend all out of proportion.
Volume 1, Issue 16
"Love and Death"
Yuriko found Aya sitting alone on the hill that overlooked the
school's playing fields. The girl was hugging her knees and staring off into the distance.
Yuriko cleared her throat as she approached. Aya looked up, but when she saw who it was
she turned her head away.
Bowing deeply, Yuriko offered a sincere apology. "I am very
sorry for offending you by my irresponsible remark." She kept her head down until Aya
impatiently accepted her apology.
"Do you want to talk about it?" Yuriko asked, approaching
the girl slowly.
Aya shrugged. "Not really." She leaned her forehead
against her knees. "I'm sorry," she said, her voice muffled against her legs.
"I didn't mean to react so strongly."
Yuriko sat herself on the grass, keeping her distance. Pulling her
own knees up, she leaned on them, staring out at the fields.
"Where's your tail?" Aya asked, a bit sharply.
"I asked him to go take a cigarette break." Yuriko knew
exactly whom Aya meant. "The show is supposed to be about me and my coping skills,
not about my friends and their private woes."
Aya sighed. "It's really nothing."
Yuriko turned towards her slightly. "I'm willing to listen
Aya looked up, her eyes red-rimmed, but dry. "I had an older
sister," she said with the slightest stress on the word "had."
"Oh." Yuriko said quietly.
"She died a little less than a year ago." The girl looked
away again. "She was pregnant with her lover's child - it died too."
"Oh." Yuriko said again, feeling very stupid and
inconsiderate. She remembered Sayaka saying something about this. "I'm sorry."
"When you said...what you said, it made me think of some of the
things my parents used to say about her. It's not your fault - you couldn't have
"Your parents?" Yuriko asked.
Aya sighed. "We're an old, prestigious family - or so my
parents keep insisting. She fell in love below her station. They blamed her lover for
seducing her, deceiving her.
"When she returned home pregnant, they nearly imprisoned her in
the house. They wouldn't let him see her or talk to her...even though she said she wanted
to marry him," the girl fell silent.
"Aya - I'm so sorry."
"No, let me finish, because I owe you an apology, as well. When
Aika - my sister - died, my parents sent her lover no notice. He was never told. When he
found out, he tried to visit her grave, but my parents had him kept out of the cemetery.
He went mad with grief and ran away. No one's seen him since. My family blames him - his
family blames mine."
Aya stood quickly and bowed. "I apologize for my rude behavior.
You didn't know - couldn't have known."
Yuriko accepted the apology and waved the girl back to her seat on
the ground. "I offended you unintentionally, and you overreacted - I think we're
They sat without speaking for a long time, until the bell for class
rang. They stood and walked together back towards the school. Yuriko paused, her hands in
"Yamazaki-kun's brother...he was Aika's lover, wasn't he?"
she said, at last.
Aya paled. "How did you know that?" she hissed. "Did
he tell you?"
Yuriko shook her head. "It was a guess. I'm sorry - I'm being
nosey, but I saw they way you two freeze each other out and I just put it together."
Aya began to shake a little, and hugged herself as she walked.
"I don't know whether to be relieved or upset, now that someone else knows about
Yuriko stopped her and looked down into Aya's face. "A burden
shared is a burden halved. It's a platitude, but I believe in it. I won't tell anyone, but
if you ever need to talk..."
The girl nodded and shivered again. Yuriko smiled. "C'mon,
let's get back to class." She unbuttoned her jacket and took it off, draping it over
the girl's shoulders. "Wear this until we get back inside," she said
nonchalantly and began walking again.
Aya watched her walk away. Her cheeks pinked as she jogged to catch
up to the long-legged blonde.
The bell rang, and Yuriko closed her science book with a sigh. She
glanced at the teacher, who nodded and she rose. As she headed for the door, Abe-sensei
intercepted her. She stopped to face him.
"I know you have an interview right now, but..." he
murmured, "if you have a moment, before you leave today, I'd like a word with
Surprised, Yuriko nodded. Abe-sensei gestured for her to precede him
through the door. She stepped through and almost ran into the Principal. He beamed at her
and steadied her as she pulled back.
"Good, good. I was just coming to get you!" He looked past
her shoulder at Abe-sensei, "And you as well, Abe-sensei. I was hoping that you could
come to my office for a moment."
Yuriko could see the teacher's haggard face blanch. "Of course,
of course," he stuttered.
Yuriko and the PA followed the two men down the hall. She nodded as
the PA rattled on about the next interview, but kept her eye on her homeroom teacher.
Yuriko gave her tie a last tug, checked herself in the mirror and
opened the front door.
"Am I late?"
"Not at all," Yuriko said. "Let me just grab my coat
and we can go."
"I really appreciate this. I've looked around for a while, but
I had no idea where to go."
"Oh, no," Yuriko smiled. "It's my great pleasure to
assist such a beautiful lady."
"Oh! Aren't you the charmer!"
"Not at all. Just being honest. Well, shall we go," she
held the door open, "Ruriko-sensei?"