Shoujoai ni Bouken: Adventures of Yuriko

The Story So Far: Yuriko's week has included bizarre encounters with the basketball team captain, Hachi, and Sawako-sensei and it's only Tuesday. Now she faces dinner with Sayaka's family.

Volume 2, Issue 6

"Home-cooked meal"

Yuriko splashed cold water on her face, toweled it off and slid her glasses back on. Running her fingers through her hair, combing it in front of her eyes, she sighed. She was exhausted. Who knew that school was so hard? She smiled at herself ruefully in the mirror, picked up her bag and threw it over her shoulder.

Parking herself outside the room where the writing club met, Yuriko leaned her head back against the wall and closed her eyes for a few minutes. She could hear Sayaka's voice, crisp and efficient; and answering comments from the rest of the club. After a few moments there was a general scuffing and the door slid open. Yuriko stood up, greeting each student as they exited. Sayaka left the room last and closed the door behind her.

"Sorry to keep you waiting," Sayaka said as she joined the blonde. "We had a little business to clear up about Friday." Gazing up at Yuriko, Sayaka gave her a tired smile. "Hisayama-san gave us a list of rules for the interview."

Yuriko frowned. "Hisayama?"

"Your production assistant?" Sayaka prodded. "You don't know her name?"

"Uh," Yuriko scratched her head in embarrassment, "I tend to forget them quickly. PAs are so...temporary," she ended lamely.

"Temporary?" Sayaka asked.

"Mmm." Yuriko looked off, then seemed to come back to the present. "I forgot to ask you what kind of clothes to wear...I hope this is OK." She held out her arms and pirouetted.

Sayaka took in the lean form in tailored slacks and silk blouse, with a jacket slung over one arm, and felt her cheeks get a little warm. When Yuriko came back around to face her, Sayaka turned away, as if looking down the hall. "You look very nice." She gave Yuriko a glance out of the corner of her eye, but thankfully the blonde did not appear to be watching her. In fact, if anything, she seemed slightly distant.

"How was your meeting with Sawako-sensei, if you don't mind me asking?" The two women headed towards the school entrance together.

"It was...odd." Yuriko prevaricated.

"Did he yell at you?" Sayaka couldn't keep the gleam of curiosity out of her eyes.


"Then that *was* odd." The girl laughed.

"He did reprimand me, though," Yuriko recounted. She seemed to be present once again. "So maybe not so far beyond the pale." They both laughed at that.


Yuriko had asked the driver to take them to Sayaka's house that evening. Hey, she told Sayaka, what's the point in being friends with a famous idol if you can't occasionally get the perks, right?

In the car, Sayaka leaned close and whispered, "I expect my parents to be as embarrassing as possible, so prepare yourself."

Yuriko grinned. "It's parents' god-given right and responsibility to be embarrassing. I think I can manage it." She gave a slightly sarcastic laugh and said, "Anyway - I'm not the one who's going to be embarrassed." Sayaka made a rude noise back at her.

So it was that, thirty minutes later, Yuriko and Sayaka disembarked on a quiet street in a middle-class residential neighborhood. No one seemed to notice them, for which Yuriko was immensely thankful. A quiet dinner she could deal with, but not a neighborhood reception.

Sayaka let them in at the gate of a non-descript house in the middle of the block. Yuriko looked at the front of the house, feeling a wave of unfamiliar tension wash through her. Her stomach, which was having a bad day all around, did a few rolls for good measure. All of a sudden, Yuriko found herself wishing that she had never agreed to this soiree'. She hesitated at the gate, gazing at the warm light that spilled from the windows of the house, smelling the mixed odors of soba, vegetables, something sweet...and it made her want to curl up in a little ball and whine piteously.

Sayaka watched Yuriko in silence, then retraced her steps to the gate. "I'm sorry...I think I should never have suggested this. If you'd like, you can still leave - I'll make up some excuse for my parents."

Yuriko shook her head, as if awakening from a dream. "No!" she said quickly. "It's just been a long day." She looked down to smile reassuringly at Sayaka.

"It's been a long time, too, hasn't it?" The girl asked quietly. "Since you've had a dinner with your family."

Yuriko found her jaw clenching of its own accord. "Yeah," she answered. She took a deep breath and forced herself to smile brightly."But I'm looking forward to meeting yours!' And she began to walk briskly towards the door. Sayaka caught up with her, then let them in the front door with a key.

"I'm home!" Sayaka cried, as she slipped her shoes off.

A middle-aged couple greeted them, standing on the edge of the landing that led into the main area of the house. Yuriko bowed deeply, and waited for Sayaka to introduce her before she spoke. Holding out a small gift-wrapped box, Yuriko bowed and thanked the Akaishi's for having her over for dinner at such short notice.

Sayaka's mother, a very tidy and prim woman, smiled at the blonde and welcomed her to their home. She had a pleasant face and there was a strong sense of calm and intelligent competence that emanated from her. Sayaka seemed to take after her in both looks and temperament. Her father was quiet, but nothing escaped his quick gaze, He seemed content to let his wife and daughter do most of the speaking.

As Mrs. Akaishi led Yuriko towards the family room, she chatted amiably with her guest. "We decided to give you a choice for the evening."

"Oh?" Yuriko asked with some surprise.

"Yes," the older woman practically giggled as she gestured for Yuriko to take a seat on the sofa. "Would you prefer to be treated as a honored guest as in a famous idol gracing our home, or as a honored guest of the schoolmate variety?"

Yuriko looked over at Sayaka, who shrugged in mild confusion.

Yuriko thought it over for a moment. "Well, what are the different rights and responsibilities of each position?"

Sayaka's mother spoke seriously, but her eyes were full of laughter. "As a guest of the famous type, you'll be subject to random requests for autographs from complete strangers who *happen* to drop by for a visit, and insipid questions about your career and life. As one of my daughter's schoolmates, you'll be subject to intrusive and embarrassing questions about your personal life - and be forced to hear childhood stories about our daughter."

Yuriko glanced at Sayaka, who now held her hands to her face in embarrassment. "If I choose the schoolmate option, can I answer the questions with alarming candor?" Sayaka's mother nodded gravely, a small smile gracing her lips. "I think I'll choose the latter, thank you." And she bowed slightly where she sat. "Sayaka has been a fabulous sempai since I came to Mitsukawa High. I really appreciate her assistance."

"We're very glad to hear it." Sayaka's father entered, bearing a bottle of sake'. "Don't let her know it - but we think she's a good girl," he said in a stage whisper. Yuriko nodded sagely, and they all pretended to not hear the whimper coming from Sayaka's direction.