Shoujoai ni Bouken: Adventures of Yuriko

The Story So Far: Just as Yuriko was settling back into a schedule, the media poses a threat to her career that must be dealt with. On the whole she's more concerned with her friend than herself.
 

Volume 3, Issue 17

"Pop Goes the Media"


"So, Yuriko, tell us about your new girlfriend!" The voice rang out over the rest of the crowd. Yuriko smiled, and the click and whirr of still and video cameras was both blinding and deafening.

Yuriko gave a low chuckle and shot the cameras a playful grin. "Sorry boys - there's nothing to say."

"But you have been seen with this woman several times over the past few weeks - who is she and what is your relationship with her?" The woman's voice was nasal, dissatisfied, maybe even jealous.

"Come on guys! Give me a break!" Yuriko laughed again. "I'm pretty sure that the Spanish Inquisition ended a long time ago." That seemed to puzzle a few of the media vultures.

"So she's not your new girlfriend?" A guy she knew from a slightly- less-sleazy tabloid gave her a lead-in.

"I wish!" Yuriko said with great emphasis. A few of the reporters laughed. "Sorry to disappoint you, she's just a friend. A regular friend, nothing more."

"Is she someone you met working on your most recent series?"

Damn, Yuriko thought. The studio didn't want her talking too much about it. They had gone to great lengths to hide the nature of the project - and the school it was being filmed at. She blew her cheeks out in frustration. If Mitsukawa High School got into the news, that would pretty much be the end of the show.

"Nah, she's a civilian." Yuriko prevaricated. She stood up straight and leaned forward slightly, dropping her voice so the reporters had to be quiet to listen. "I'll tell you what," she purred, "as soon as I get involved with someone serious - you'll be the first to know." She backed away and waved, signaling an end to the interview and began moving back into the apartment building. Behind her, several voices spoke over one another trying to get a last question or two, but they didn't sound as if their hearts were really in it.

OK, she thought to herself, that fixes that from this end - if only handling the school administration is half that easy.

***

By the time Yuriko reached the school, it was just after noon. There was a small contingent of media across the street from the school and they pressed forward, shouting their questions, looking for photo opportunities, as she left the car with her PR man trailing behind her. He stalled the press with vague promises of information later to come, while Yuriko headed towards the school.

Leaning on the far wall, Yuriko passed two figures having a smoke. She paused, looked over her shoulder towards the street, then back at the slumped figures.

"Hey!" she hissed quickly. "Give me a second, okay?" She waved for them to follow her and entered the school. Just inside the doors, out of sight of the street, she waited a few moments. She tapped her foot impatiently as time stretched, until at last the door opened. Slouching, moving infuriatingly slowly, Ni-ru and Heiji finally joined her.

"Hey," Ni-ru said, flashing his broken smile.

"Hey," she answered ritually.

"Got into some trouble we hear," Heiji grinned.

"Yeah, but that's not why I wanted a word," Yuriko shrugged. "Where's Togai-kun?" Her tone was sharper than she intended and Ni-ru stiffened.

"We told him we didn't want him hanging around us anymore," Heiji said laconically.

"Yeah - he was too good for us, always showin' off stuff he knew." Ni-ru narrowed his eyes. "Kinda like you, blondie."

Yuriko looked the tall boy in the eyes, not letting her gaze waver. "You're a good friend. I bet Uto-san appreciates what you're doing for his brother."

Ni-ru's glare slipped into a lopsided grin, but he said nothing. The doors opened and Taro, the publicity guy entered. Yuriko waved him over and gestured for him to be quiet in one motion. Yuriko looked from Heiji to Ni-ru. "You guys got a way to contact him?" She didn't need to name names, they knew who she meant.

"Maybe." Ni-ru had obviously taken over as gang leader, or at least spokesman. "Why?"

Yuriko shoved her hands in her pockets and shrugged insouciantly. "I need a bit of backup, that's all. Thought it might be up his alley."

"Yeah? Like what?" Ni-ru asked.

Yuriko laughed. "Like keeping those bastards away from the school." She gestured with her shoulders towards the street.

Heiji and Ni-ru exchanged looks. "Yeah, I think maybe we can arrange for something, but..." Ni-ru said casually.

Yuriko pulled one hand from her pocket and examined her nails. "I won't insult you with an offer of money..." she looked up at the two delinquents, "but I could owe you a damn big favor."

"We'll take care of it, Yuri-chan," Heiji said, clapping a hand on her shoulder. They turned away, waving at her. "Take it easy."

"Thanks," she said. Gesturing for Taro to follow her, she strode quickly down the hallway towards the Principal's office.

"Did you just do what I think you did?" Taro panted as he practically ran to keep pace with her.

"Yup." Yuriko didn't slow down. "We kind of owe each other favors."

Taro shook his head. "I don't think Kishi-san will appreciate this..."

"Kishi-san is a smart lady - and she knows how to handle crises. I trust her. You'll have to trust me." Yuriko came to a halt in front of the Principal's office. Taro practically tripped trying to stop his motion.

Yuriko smiled reassuringly down at the PR man. He looked far too young to be jaded enough for the job. "Everything will be just fine," she lied. She took a breath, knocked and slid the door open.

Continued

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