Shoujoai ni Bouken: Adventures of Yuriko
The Story So Far: Yuriko is experiencing severely mixed feelings
at the discovery of her parents' death. Unfortunately...or perhaps fortunately, she
doesn't have the luxury of time in which to wallow in self-pity.
Volume 3, Issue 4
Who Are You?"
"Yes, of course. I understand. Mmm-hmm. Right. Yes, I do. I'm
sure you will. I trust you implicitly." Yuriko leaned towards the phone cradle, then
paused. "Thank you," she said. "Thank you very much." She hung the
phone up and turned to look over her shoulder.
"What did she say?" Mariko asked. The woman stood in the
foyer, coat buttoned against the cold wet wind that blew that day.
Yuriko shrugged her overcoat on with a quick glance in the mirror.
She straightened her jacket collar and joined her friend. "She says that she'll make
Mariko turned away slightly, then back. "Are you sure that that
is a good idea?"
Yuriko stopped with her shoe half on. "No, I'm pretty sure it's
a terrible idea - but I have to do it."
"I guess we should get through one thing at a time, right
now," Mariko said realistically.
Yuriko grinned a little at that. "You make it sound like we're
a married couple." Taking Mari's arm in her own, Yuriko escorted her friend out the
door. "C'mon, wife."
"You should get so lucky." Mariko said dryly.
It was late afternoon before they arrived at the school. Yuriko had
already spoken to the principal about taking a few days' absence from school. He was very
accommodating and placating, expressing great surprise when Yuriko insisted on going
through with the interview that afternoon. She had assured him that she would be there and
had rung off rather abruptly.
It would be better, Yuriko explained to Mari, if she kept busy right
now. There would be time a little later to deal with what had to be dealt with. In fact,
she thought to herself with just a little bitterness, she'd have her whole life to deal
with it. Right now, she had commitments to honor.
They arrived in the middle of hubbub and chaos - the usual state of
affairs when filming was taking place. Cameras and lighting crews jostled for room; her PA
ran hectically from one person to another, checking that all was in place. The producer
caught her eye and waved Yuriko over.
"We heard." Onda said shortly. "I'm sorry."
Yuriko nodded in thanks and by mutual unspoken consent, they dropped the subject.
"Where's that girl?" Onda bellowed. The PA came running up accompanied by
Sayaka, who looked a little overwhelmed.
Onda beamed down at Sayaka. "So," he began as if he was
continuing a conversation that had been interrupted, "we're agreed. Your camera crew
will stay off to the side to film the entire proceedings, right?"
Sayaka's face darkened slightly, and she dropped her eyes. Yuriko
stepped a little closer and spoke up. "I believe it was the other way around,
Onda-san," she suggested gently, The Mitsukawa crew is supposed to film the interview
and you," she stressed the word very slightly, will film the making of the
"Right, right." Onda agreed distractedly. "That was
it." Yuriko glanced at the PA who nodded and made an "I've got it covered"
gesture. "So, young lady," Onda addressed Sayaka once more. "This must be
very exciting for you, eh?"
Sayaka assured him that it was, but kept shooting Yuriko little
questioning looks. Yuriko gave the tiniest shake of her head and mouthed,
"later" at the girl. Sayaka turned her attention to the producer and spent the
better part of the next ten minutes listening to him rattle off completely irrelevant
information. Yuriko took pity of her friend and extricated her from the producer's orbit.
"Come with me," the blonde said, as she steered the girl
away from the still-talking producer. "I have someone I want you to meet."
"At last!" Mariko said, when she was introduced to Sayaka.
"I've heard so much about you, I feel as if we have already known each other for
Sayaka agreed. "Yuriko-kun speaks of you all the time. It's a
great pleasure finally meeting you."
Yuriko turned to the two women and excused herself. "I need to
speak to Ogawa-san, and get made up. Can I trust you two together?"
Mariko waved her away. "Absolutely. Now go away so we can talk
about you." Sayaka giggled at the exchange.
Yuriko gave them a wave and proceeded to cross the room, where she
found the PA dressing down Ogawa as a makeup woman applied base to the bewildered boy's
Ogawa gave her a slightly wide-eyed welcome. She patted him on the
shoulder and greeted him. "It's a bit overwhelming, isn't it?"
He started to nod, but the makeup girl glowered, so he stopped.
"This seems so completely over the top for a simple school interview."
"But it's pretty small-scale chaos for a regular television
production." Yuriko said as she seated herself in a chair next to Ogawa. "You
get used to it."
"You do?" he asked skeptically.
"Not really," Yuriko replied. "I was just trying to
make you feel better. After all, you want to work in television, right?"
"Yes, but..." he sighed. "I guess I have to get past
the fright part if I want to do it."
"Once the cameras are rolling, you'll never even think about
it." Yuriko said, as she closed her eyes. The cool, wet swipe of a sponge made her
close her mouth and she let the familiar sensation soothe her.
Despite the commotion and chaos, it was no more than thirty minutes
later that Yuriko and Ogawa found themselves seated on a small raised stage, with the heat
of the stage lights beating down upon them. Sound checks and lighting checks had taken
place earlier, and they were given the ten-minute warning. Yuriko smiled at the young man.
"Ready?" she inquired.
"As I'll ever be."
Quiet on the set was demanded, and given. Yuriko could see Sayaka
and Mariko together and see them give her the Victory sign. There was a countdown and the
camera's red lights went on. Ogawa took a deep breath and turned to Yuriko, as if he'd
done this a thousand times.
"On behalf of the Writing Club, the Journalism and Media Club
and OHN Productions, we'd like to welcome you, Yuriko, to Mitsukawa High School."
"Thank you, Ogawa-san. It's a real pleasure to be here."
Yuriko put on her most open and pleasant smile. Ogawa gave her one in return and turned to
the notes on his lap.
The interview went along smoothly. Between them, Mari and Yuriko had
picked several questions that would do well. Ogawa and Sayaka had refined the interview
questions, narrowing them down to the eight most interesting. So Yuriko knew what was
coming, which had a downside. Many of the questions were stock and her answers practiced.
This gave her time to allow her mind to wander; she had to fiercely rein it in once or
twice, as she slipped into a distracting reverie.
Ogawa glanced at his notes once again. Turning slightly towards the
camera, he asked Yuriko, "Can you tell us, what was a defining moment in your
life?" Yuriko brought her mind back from the dark path upon which it had begun to
wander again. She put on her best smile, and faced the camera, as if there was nothing on
her mind except this interview. But in the depths of her chest, Yuriko felt very close to
She sat forward a little to heighten the intensity of her answer.
"This is probably my earliest defining moment. I was about, oh say, 6 or 7 years old
and I had just started at a new school. On the way home one day, I heard shouting and
scuffling from ahead and being the inquisitive child that I was, I walked around the
corner to see what was up. There were a bunch of the bigger kids, about four of them, and
they were picking on this little girl. I've never had an ounce of common sense, so of
course I marched up to them and demanded to know what was going on. They were so
surprised, one kid actually told me. Apparently, one of the bigger kids liked the girl and
wanted to be her boyfriend - but she wasn't having any. Mind you, we were what? Seven? You
know boys at that age...
"Anyway, the girl pulled her arm away from one of the boys and
told them in no uncertain terms to leave her alone. I don't know what came over me, but I
walked over to her - I didn't even know her name - and I took her hand in mine. Turning to
the biggest kid, I said, "She can't be your girlfriend, 'cause she's mine." And
the girl, with this look that could have knocked a person flat said, "Yeah! I'm her
girlfriend!" took my arm, and we walked out of there with our chins in the air like
we were royalty. The boys were so stunned that they just let us go.
"We got around the corner and fled. I mean, we ran so hard our
legs hurt for days afterwards, but we got as far away from those bullies as we could.
While we stood there panting, we finally introduced ourselves to each other. And that's
how I met my best friend in the world."
Ogawa's eyebrows dropped slowly from the heights as he asked,
"And are you still in touch with her? Where is that best friend these days?"
"Oh sure!" Yuriko said, "She's standing right over
there." She gestured at Mariko, who waved giddily at everyone who turned to look at
her. Sayaka had her hand over her mouth, laughing silently.