Shoujoai ni Bouken: Adventures of Yuriko

The Story So Far: Yuriko is finishing off a stressful day with dinner at Sayaka's house. Her parents are slightly quirkier than Yuriko expected.

Volume 2, Issue 7

"Twenty Questions"

Dinner was exquisite. Akaishi Miyuki, Sayaka's mother, had been an assistant on a TV cooking show when she was younger.

"It was a part-time job all the way through college," Miyuki confided. "Although it paid poorly, it gave me many free meals - which was much more important at the time." Now she was a freelance researcher, working from home.

Sayaka's father was a middle manager at a biochemical manufacturing plant. "They can't mutate me any further, so I'm up for retirement soon," was his only comment. Sayaka rolled her eyes.

Miyuki brought tea and Kyuusuke poured sake for himself and Yuriko.

After Miyuki poured herself and Sayaka some tea, she gave Yuriko a beatific smile. "And now comes the entertainment portion of the program," she said with a laugh.

"Let's see," Yuriko pondered out loud, "if Sayaka-sempai played an instrument, you'd force her to perform right about *don't* play an instrument, I suppose?" The blonde asked the girl.

"No," Sayaka assured her. "Nor do I sing, recite, paint, sculpt, reap or sow."

Yuriko laughed. "Well, that's a relief."

Miyuki joined her laugh with Yuriko's. "No, I meant *our* entertainment."

Yuriko raised an eyebrow. "Oh, so this is the part where you ask me intrusive and embarrassing personal questions?"

"Exactly." Miyuki joked. "Let's start with something easy, shall we - we'll work our way into really intrusive and embarrassing."

Yuriko sat up straighter and pulled her jacket collar straight. Taking a sip of sake', she pronounced that she was as fortified as she was going to be.

"Something easy," Miyuki pondered. "Well, how is it that you became an actress? Was it something you always wanted to do?" She sat back on her heels and sipped at her tea.

Yuriko eyed the woman. "Well, for an easy question, that's rather complex." She sipped some sake' and glanced at Sayaka, who gave the tiniest shake of her head. "It was sheer dumb luck and no, I had never considered it as an option."

Miyuki raised an eyebrow. "Don't tell me that you were discovered in a corner soba shop?"

Yuriko grinned. "No, not at all. I was discovered, but not in a noodle shop. It was one of those impossible things, really. I had no place to live, no money, no anything. I got into a fight with a salesclerk over a few yen and was thrown out of a store, when this guy - a total slimeball, you know the kind - asked me if I wanted to be on a TV show."

Yuriko tugged on her hair as she thought back to the time. "Of course I didn't trust him, but I was hungry and angry and thought..." she laughed self-deprecatingly, "well, I thought maybe I could get a meal out of him and run."

Miyuki placed her cup on the table and watched Yuriko intently.

"So, I got in his car - I knew it was stupid, but like I said, I was in a bit of a bind - and the next thing I know, I'm at a studio, being shown off to some photographer. By this time I was pretty sure it had to be pornography, or slave trading or something, because the operation was huge, wasn't. The guy was a real agent and he really did want me for a TV show, go figure!"

When Yuriko looked at her audience she found three faces with mouths slightly open in astonishment. "Too much information?" she asked, looking around at the Akaishi family.

Sayaka, who was most used to Yuriko's bluntness, recovered first. "Not really - it just seems, so, fantastic."

"I see you've had the proverbial interesting life." Kyuusuke said, draining off his own sake.

Miyuki unclasped her hands from her lap. "I'm sorry," she said. "That was supposed to be the easy question."

Yuriko grinned. "That *was* an easy question!" They laughed.

Miyuki refreshed her tea and sat back once again. "Maybe this is deplorable, but I did promise to be was it that you found yourself with nowhere to live?"

"Mother!" Sayaka was mortified.

"Don't worry," Yuriko reassured the girl. "I get worse than this in most of my interviews." Turning to Miyuki, she slipped her glasses off and began to clean them as she spoke. "I guess Sayaka hasn't told you much about me, then?"

Kyuusuke and Miyuki exchanged glances and shook their heads. Kyuusuke refilled Yuriko's sake cup and said, "We know what is public information - so you don't have to repeat the obvious."

Yuriko was impressed. "Intrusive, yet delicate." She slipped her glasses back on and sipped from her sake cup. "Let's just say it was a disagreement with my family regarding my worldview."

"Ah." Miyuki said, understanding. She stood and began clearing the table. "Why don't we sit in the living room while we chat? I think it's more comfortable there, don't you?"

While Sayaka and Miyuki cleared up, Yuriko and Kyuusuke sat in amiable silence. Sayaka's father had bright eyes that seemed to read her carefully, taking in every detail. Yuriko was comforted by the fact that he seemed to approve of what he saw - and she wondered why it mattered to her.

"So," Kyuusuke said after the silence had gone on for some time. "How do you like high school this time around?" His face was serious, but there was laughter behind the question.

"It's certainly different." Yuriko nodded. "I don't remember it being quite this...histrionic."

"You should see it from *my* perspective," Kyuusuke confided. "It's all histrionics."

Yuriko furrowed her brows. "Sayaka-san doesn't seem the hysterical type to me."

"I wasn't talking about *her.*" Kyuusuke's laugh was throaty. "You should see me when the women aren't around. Do you know how *expensive* university is these days?"

Yuriko managed to stop smirking by the time the women joined them. She bowed slightly towards Miyuki and said she was ready for the next intrusive question. To Sayaka's horror, her mother looked perfectly ready to ask something. Sayaka protested.

"Mother! Don't you think you've asked enough personal questions?"

"No, no," Yuriko said. "It was part of the agreement.'d prefer me having to listen to embarrassing baby stories about you?" The blonde winked surreptiously at Sayaka's father.

He leaned forward, "Oh, wait, I think I even have slides of her as an infant..."

"No!" Yuriko cried out, covering Sayaka's horrified outburst. "Anything but that!" She gestured melodramatically.

They all laughed at the girl, who muttered something under her breath, but didn't move from her place on the sofa.