Shoujoai ni Bouken: Adventures of Yuriko

The Story So Far: After a few days leave, Yuriko is getting back into the swing of things at school. As usual, life has moved on without her.

 

Volume 3, Issue 15

"Swing Your Partner"

 

Yuriko looked at the paper with distaste. Sawako sensei had oh-so-helpfully listed all the homework she'd need to make up, and attached the quiz and test that she had missed. As a generous gesture, he had given her until Friday to hand it all in. Nice guy. She had announced that she planned on using the rest of the lunch period to start catching up. Her crowd of admirers had respectfully dissipated, leaving only herself and Aya at their seats. Yuriko noted that Sayaka had wandered off with Sato for a chat.

"Yuriko-kun," Aya asked, hesitating a little. "Would it be alright if I...." she gestured at the portfolio of scripts.

Yuriko nodded. "Sure, if you can stand it. Bear in mind, most of what I get is awful beyond comprehension. Kishi-san - that's my manager - she handles public appearances and commercials and the like, but I've always liked to go through movie and TV scripts myself. Only..." she gestured at her own desk, "this week I'll be too busy to read any of them. If you can stand doing the job, it's yours until you want out."

Aya bit her lip. "Thank you - and for not saying anything about..."

"It's not an issue," Yuriko interrupted. "See if you can do it, first. Just skim the things, then if one of them doesn't sound vile, put it aside. When you're done with them all, give the re-read pile a thorough going through. Don't forget to log how much time you spend doing it. I'm paying you by the hour."

"Do I uh, have to sign something, or anything?" Aya asked, clearly overwhelmed.

Yuriko waved her concern away. "*I'm* hiring you, not the studio or the agency. I do make some money for myself, you know." She laughed at the look on the girl's face.

"I'm sorry - I didn't mean to imply anything..."

"Stop that," Yuriko commanded quietly. "I was only teasing you." She gave the girl a hard look. "You need to get more sleep - and laugh a little more." She didn't say that living with Jun wouldn't be worth much if they couldn't laugh together, but it must have been obvious from her face.

"Jun and I weren't able to see each other this weekend. We're supposed to get together for some...tutoring...this evening." Aya said, color filling her face.

Yuriko laughed and turned around to deal with her homework. "Let me know how the reading goes."

At the end of the period, Sayaka returned to her seat. "Excuse me, Yuriko-kun, it just occurred to me – no one's told you about the dance."

Yuriko looked up, a pencil in her mouth. "Dansh?" she asked.

Sayaka nodded. "The senior dance. We hold it at the end of the school festival. The Dance Committee finally agreed on a date. Will you want to come?"

"Sure, why not? If I'm available."

Sayaka smiled. Lowering her voice a little, she said, "One of the things we discussed at the committee meeting was you, um... bringing a date."

"Was the vote for or against?" Yuriko said evenly.

"For!" Sayaka said emphatically. "It was unanimous. We informed the administration that they should not even consider any censure of your choice."

Yuriko's eyebrows rose. "That was pretty bold of you."

"Not really," Sayaka said, squaring her shoulders proudly. "You're famous for being who you are. The administration can't really complain about not knowing – and," she giggled, "your behavior at school has been exemplary, despite the wishes of portions of the student body."

Yuriko could hear Aya laugh at the comment. She shot a look behind her, then turned towards Sayaka. "In that case – I'd be delighted to come."

"One more thing," Sayaka said, beaming. "The committee agreed that it would be alright if you asked your friend Mariko-san, too."

Yuriko's face was filled with surprise. "That's a really nice gesture – what possessed you?"

"Several of the boys suggested it, actually," came the answer.

Yuriko laughed. "Oh boy, is Mari going to love that! I'll make her come, not that she needs much encouragement to dance. You'll get to meet her fiancée, too – he's a really nice guy."

"Oh – that'll disappoint the boys," Sayaka said. They laughed at that.

Yuriko turned back to Aya. "How's it coming?"

"Well," the girl said, "I've just read a few of them, but this is my favorite so far." She picked up one of the scripts and handed it to Sayaka. "In this story, you'd play a twin brother and sister who fall in love with the same man."

Yuriko blinked for a moment. "Wait let me guess..." she held up one hand. "In reality, I'm playing sisters, and the one that cross-dresses as a guy is a lesbian, who murders the man out of jealousy for her sister."

Aya looked impressed. "You are SO close."

"Great. Another movie about a lesbian murderer. Just what the world needs."

"Hey," said Aya with mock seriousness, as she put the scripts away, "you can never have too many."

***

Science class passed unremarkably, except for the note that Abe-sensei passed her at the beginning of the period. Apparently Shannon, having been told of her dismissal, had accepted the series offer she had received. Before she left, she had jotted a quick note to Yuriko and slipped it into the science class lesson plan.

While Abe-sensei got himself caught up to where the students were, Yuriko took a moment to open the note. The first few lines were enough to make her entire face flame red, so she quickly folded the note away to be read more privately. Sayaka said nothing, but the smirk she didn't quite hide was eloquent and Yuriko stuck her tongue out briefly at the girl.

***

Loud, girlish laughter sounded from behind the door. Yuriko could make out a few distinct voices. She checked her watch. Her writing club meeting had gone on a little long this time, basketball practice must just be ending. She leaned against the doorjamb and listened to the conversation from the locker room.

"You're pathetic - everyone knows you like him!"

"Yeah, except Kentaro-kun himself." More laughter.

"Yeah, well, at least I have someone special, not like some people." The voice was a little nasty, but immediately shouted down.

"Whatever." Mikan's voice cut through the general din. "Like it's some measure of personal worth to have someone you fawn all over, Furiko-chan? If so, I'd rather stay by myself, thanks."

Yuriko grinned. Gotta love those baby dykes...

"Well, it's not like we all don't know who *you* like, Mikan-sempai."

At which point, the conversation split into too many threads to follow. Yuriko could hear someone ask, "How about you, Kaori-buchou? Is there someone you like?"

Mikan's laugh was loud. "She's got her pick of the school - of course there is!" Several voices laughed.

"No, really, Kaori-buchou? Anyone special?"

The answer was unintelligible. Yuriko could hear the girl's low voice, but not make out the words.

"See?" Mikan said. "Someone as cool as our captain has to have at least three guys on the side." Kaori's voice said something else undistinguishable, answered by a general laugh.

"So, who is it?"

"She's not going to tell, dummy! It's probably an older man anyway."

Kaori laughed at this and this time Yuriko could hear her voice clearly, as the girls moved towards the exit. "Definitely older."

She stood aside as the basketball team exited. Yuriko greeted everyone, and was rewarded by a chorus of "good afternoons." When the doorway was clear, Yuriko entered the locker room on her way to Ruriko-sensei's office.

She was about to enter the hallway that led to the coach's office when something caught her eye. A small slip of paper decorated with a hand-drawn sakura blossom had fallen on the floor in front of one of the team lockers.

Yuriko picked it up and stared at the locker. The name Noda Mikan was drawn in bold strokes on the handwritten nametag. Yuriko blinked a few times and slapped herself mentally. Hadn't she pegged the girl herself? Stuffing the note into her pocket, she thought about the situation. It made sense but...why would Mikan lie when asked straight out? She didn't seem the shy, retiring type. And then there was the skill with which the lunches had been made. Yuriko had seen Mikan's own lunches and they didn't look anything like the ones she was getting. Yuriko shook her head, adding one more question to the mental list.

She dismissed these thoughts as she reached Ruriko-sensei's office, knocked and entered. The teacher was just giving a few last strokes to her hair with a brush. Leaving it down, she grabbed her coat and smiled at the blonde.

"Ready?" Yuriko asked.

"Absolutely. Let's go!" Threading her arm through Yuriko's, the coach shut the door behind her and the two women walked down the hall together.

Continued

Shoujoai ni Bouken, all characters and situations copyright E. Friedman and Yurikon LLC. All Rights Reserved.