Shoujoai ni Bouken: Adventures of Yuriko
The Story So Far: Yuriko's had a bit of a down day, but a few
minutes with the ever-effervescent Ruriko-sensei has cheered her considerably. She faces
the afternoon with a brighter outlook.
Volume 2, Issue 5
" 'The paper fell from her hand, to lay on the table among the
fallen petals. White paper, white petals. White-hot grief blinded her. She fumbled for
something to hold onto and finding nothing, fell to her knees, sobbing her loneliness into
the rough carpet. The scratchy material felt too much like him, the stubble on his chin in
the morning, the callused hands that would hold her tightly. Muffling her cries in the
floor, she screamed wildly, keening for the loss of her innocence, the waste of her youth,
the death of her heart.' "
The teacher paused and turned to Yuriko, who cringed in
embarrassment. When she had written the essay it had seemed rich and textured, but now,
listening to it being read in front of the class it sounded no better than purple.
"Yuriko-san," the teacher was speaking, "this is a
very strong piece. I notice you prefer using active verbs to adverbs. It's not bad
but," she smiled pleasantly, "the assignment was to use adjectives and adverbs
to set the mood."
Yuriko bowed her head. "I'm sorry. I tried, but it always
sounds so, erm, superficial, to me."
The teacher cocked her head at the blonde. "Why don't you show
the class what you mean?"
Yuriko stood, accepted the chalk from the teacher and stepped up to
the board. "Can someone suggest a sentence?"
Sayaka jumped in with, "The first snowfall of winter makes my
Yuriko smiled and wrote that on the board. The next few minutes was
taken up with an intense grammatical discussion. At last the teacher allowed Yuriko to sit
and she did so with relief.
In between classes, Aya poked Yuriko in the back. "You really
know your stuff, don't you? Why do you pretend to be so, um, uninterested?"
"I'm not uninterested. I'm very interested, especially in
writing." Yuriko turned around in her seat to address the girl.
"Then why do you say you were a bad student?" Sayaka
"Because I was." Yuriko smiled. "I was one of those
obnoxious kids who think that they know more than the teacher...sometimes I even
did." She laughed. "It made me unbearable in class and the teachers resented it.
I resented the fact that they wanted to hold me back and make me do stupid
"How ironic." Sayaka commented. "Now, years later,
you're forced to do it all over again. Maybe there's some karma in there."
Yuriko made a face. "I'm sure there is. But if they had paid me
to do it the first time around, maybe I would have been more dedicated."
Aya gave her a long look. "You're getting paid to play a high
school senior, right?" She said in an unusual tone of voice. "You're not getting
paid to do well, are you?"
Yuriko stared at her. "Well, no - they don't care what my
A crooked smile crossed Aya's face and a sly look crinkled her eyes.
"So you're still an obnoxious student."
Yuriko smiled and nodded. "You're good. You should go into
Yuriko slipped her notebook into her book bag with a feeling of
impending dread. Her stomach had been doing flip-flops all afternoon...what exactly did
Sawako-sensei want with her anyway? She looked around for the cameraman. He nodded at her
wave and came over, his camera resting on his shoulder.
"I need a favor," she said without apology. Her thoughts
were whirling around in her head and she took a deep breath. "Can you just, I don't
know, find a reason to stay in the room while Sawako-sensei tears me a new..."
The sound of a throat clearing stopped her mid-sentence.
Sawako-sensei slid the door closed and entered the classroom. His hands were clasped
behind his back and he seemed, if it were at all possible, at a loss.
Walking over to the pair, Sawako-sensei pinned the cameraman with
his basilisk glare. "Will you please excuse us? This matter isn't relevant to your
television show. It is a private affair between us."
The cameraman glanced at Yuriko who gave the slightest shake of her
head. "I'd prefer he stays," she declared, her voice firmer than she felt.
Sawako-sensei pursed his lips together. "I'm afraid I have to
For a moment, Yuriko and Sawako-sensei locked eyes. She could feel
the enormous force of his will - this was a man who expected to be obeyed and it put her
shoulders up. "No," she said as resolutely as he had.
Silence fell as two forceful personalities dueled for supremacy. In
an unexpected move, Sawako-sensei withdrew. Shrugging, he addressed the cameraman.
"Stay. But do not film us - and do not interrupt us." He gave his conditions
briskly, and Yuriko wondered if he had been in the military, or just wished he had.
Yuriko nodded at the cameraman, this time obviously, to let
Sawako-sensei know who was in charge. The teacher did not appear to notice - or care if he
had. The cameraman stepped to the far side of the room, placed the camera on a desk and
sat himself down, pulling a magazine out of his back pocket. In moments he was apparently
Yuriko turned back to the teacher who now faced the chalkboard, his
hands clasped behind his back. His bearing was strong and upright. Yuriko gave extra
points to her ex-military guess. She decided to take control of this meeting, just to let
him know she wasn't afraid of him.
"So, Sawako-sensei, just what is it that you needed to see me
about?" Her voice was casual, maybe just slightly *too* casual. She didn't want to
give him anything to run with.
"Your performance in my class," the teacher spun on his
heel and addressed her abruptly, "is abominable." His voice was loud,
Yuriko blinked in surprise at the assault. Well, sure, yeah, but who
cares, she thought. The teacher didn't give her time to broach her opinion on the subject
"It was not my idea to allow you into my class under such
preposterous circumstances in the first place, but as neither of us seem to have control
over the situation, I expect to see an effort from you that equals my own."
Yuriko reeled back. What? "As great as your own?" The
words slipped from her lips before she had a chance to stop herself.
"Of course." Sawako-sensei said, with some acerbity.
"I am a high school teacher. Each day tests my skills to their limits. At no time do
I give less than everything I have to fulfill my duty. I expect no less of you."
"What?" Yuriko asked in some surprise. "I mean
why?" She put her hands on the chair back in front of her, took a deep breath and
tried once again. "I mean, with no intended disrespect, what *are* you talking
"I am talking about the youth of today."
Sawako-sensei said portentously. "Are you as unaware of your status among the student
body as you are about calculus?"
Yuriko blinked as she digested the intent of the teacher's
comment. "Are you saying that I'm popular?" Yuriko shrugged eloquently.
"I'm an idol, it's part of the job description."
Sawako-sensei whirled, slamming his hand onto a desk loudly.
"Young lady!" The teacher's voice filled the room and Yuriko jumped despite
herself. "Are you truly that self-absorbed? You have a duty, a responsibility to
these children - as I do. You, by setting an example, as I set lessons."
Yuriko could feel her heart beating hard in her chest. She
looked a little wildly at the cameraman, who watched them openly, no longer even
pretending to read his magazine.
"S...Sensei," Yuriko began, but she stopped again as the
thick man took several steps in her direction.
"Yuriko-san," the math teacher appeared to grind the words
out from between unwilling lips, "I need you to not just do well in my class, but to
appear interested. These students are impressionable. If you hate math, they will follow
your example." He drew himself upright, his hands held stiffly at his side. "If
you enjoy math, so will they."
Yuriko watched him warily, the meaning of his words at last
becoming clear. Sawako might be a pompous old fart, but he wasn't stupid or malicious, as
she had assumed.
"I understand," she said shortly, giving him a precisely
The teacher appeared to relax marginally. With a rictus-like
grin, the teacher gave her a return bow. He shot the blonde a hard look, nodded, then
said, "That is all. Thank you for your time." Turning smartly on his heel,
Sawako-sensei turned and left the room without a backward glance.
When the door of the classroom closed, Yuriko and the
cameraman both let out loud breaths.
"Phew," said the cameraman, as he shouldered his
burden, "I thought the old guy was going to lose his top, for a sec."
"Did you?" Yuriko gave him a weak grin. "I'm
beginning to think that nothing that man does is without a reason..." And with that,
both actress and cameraman left the room.