Shoujoai ni Bouken: Adventures of Yuriko

The Story So Far: Despite news of her estranged parents' deaths, Yuriko has decided to go ahead with the interview by the writing club, and the tour of the studio.


Volume 3, Issue 5

"Strength in Numbers"


By the time Yuriko had the last of her makeup removed, most of the crew was gone. Lighting and electricians had long since cleaned up; sound equipment had been packed and returned to the studio. Only the cameramen remained, as Onda ran over the dailies. Yuriko joined them, greeting the Media Club members with a smile. Sayaka and Ogawa stood next to each other, watching the proceedings with interest. Onda was graciously explaining to the students what they were watching, and what would be edited. Yuriko was pleased - initially the producer had seemed resistant to the presence of the students on the set, but he seemed to have slipped into an instructive role easily. Maybe, she thought as she backed out of the crowded space, she could get him to come in and talk to the Journalism and Media Club....

Yuriko bumped into someone and jerked away with an apology. Spinning around to steady the blonde with a hand was Shannon. They stopped and stared at each other for a moment. Shannon's face was unusually serious, making her look closer to her true age than ususal.

"I'm so sorry," Shannon said simply.

Swallowing against a suddenly tight throat, Yuriko thanked her. "I'm not sure what to think yet."

"Do you still want me to come over Sunday?" Shannon asked, taking one of Yuriko's hands in her own and giving it a quick squeeze before she let it go.

"Very much." Yuriko answered, her eyes pleading a little where her voice could or would not.

Shannon gave her a smile. "I'll be there - have breakfast ready. Is nine alright with you?"

"Perfect." Yuriko looked around. "Have you seen Mariko?"

"I just left her in the ladies room. She'll be out in a sec - there she is, in fact."

Yuriko turned to see her friend coming up the hallway. Mariko took a look at the two women and a teasing smile crossed her face. "I'm sorry to interrupt."

Shannon shook her head. "Unfortunately there was nothing to interrupt." She looked at both of them and smiled. "How about a girls' night out?"

Yuriko looked at Mariko, who shrugged. "I'm free," the dark-haired woman said. "Hachi's working late tonight."

Pursing her lips slightly, Yuriko asked, "Would either of you mind if I included one more in the party?"

"Sure!" Shannon said in English. "The more the merrier."

"Wait right here..." Yuriko said and took a few jogging steps down the corridor. "If Sayaka-san or Ogawa-san come out, ask them to wait until I return - I want to thank them."

By the time she rejoined them, the group had grown. Sayaka and Ogawa were standing with the students who had filmed the interview. Thanks were prolonged and profuse. Sayaka asked Yuriko to join them - they were going out for a celebratory ice cream, but the blonde apologized and declined.

As the students were leaving, Yuriko asked Sayaka to get her homework the next day.

Sayaka shot her a concerned look. "Are you alright?" the girl asked quietly.

"I'll tell you later - when I get back to school. I'll be out Monday, too."

"Okay." Sayaka said, looking unhappy. "You'll be at the studio tomorrow, though?"

"I'll be there." Yuriko tried to sound enthusiastic. Changing the subject she asked, "So, did you and Mariko get along?"

Sayaka smiled broadly. "Yes - she's exactly as you described her. But you never told me how beautiful she is..." Sayaka's voice was worshipful and Yuriko laughed at the girl. Sayaka blushed a little, and with a quick "See you later!" she ran off after the other students.

Yuriko turned away from Sayaka to see another figure just joining Mariko and Shannon. With a broad gesture, Yuriko introduced Mariko to Ruriko-sensei and the four women left the school together, chatting amiably.


"The first round is on me." Yuriko pronounced gravely. "I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I have every intention of getting extremely drunk tonight." Three heads nodded in agreement.

Four beers were placed in front of four women and the waitress walked away, leaving them in silence. Yuriko looked around the bar, into the dark interior, where a tiny dance floor was all but rendered invisible by flashing, spinning lights, and at the women who lined the rail, watching the other women on the dance floor. She rarely came here, but she was well known and her privacy was assured. Tonight she was going to let her hair down a little.

She picked up her beer and said, "I'd like to propose a toast." Three more beers were lifted. "To my parents' spirits, wherever they are."

Yuriko drank, as did the others. Mariko mumbled something before she drank, although exactly what was unclear.

"While we're at it," Shannon said. "I'd like to propose one as well." She looked around the table, finishing with a sharp look at the blonde. "To friends - the family that you choose." They drank again.

"What the hell," Ruriko said with a grin. "A toast new friends and to girls' night out." The bottles were over half empty.

"My turn, huh?" Mariko said, looking down at her beer. "Does it have to be something nice?" She grimaced when everyone said it did. "Okay, then, and I want us all to finish this round on this toast." She lifted her bottle and turned to Yuriko. "To Yuriko, a special friend, who makes her friends feel special." They all drank until their bottles were empty and the tears forming in their eyes had disappeared.

"I've got the next round." Ruriko said. "On the condition that I don't have to come up with any more toasts." They all laughed. The second round was followed quickly by rounds three and four, when toasts began to spring up somewhat more spontaneously from their lips.

The night passed in the dark little bar, while four women slowly, but inexorably, drowned their sorrows.

Yuriko had gotten up to go to the bathroom and had passed beyond hearing range, when Mariko turned back to the other two women. She picked up her beer bottle and turned to them. "Here's to her parents' spirits...may they rot in hell." She drank, joined solemnly and ritualistically by Ruriko and Shannon. Nothing more was said of the matter for the rest of the night.