Shoujoai ni Bouken: Adventures of Yuriko
The Story So Far: Yuriko feels confident that the
"scandal" involving herself and Ruriko-sensei will blow over quickly. Or at
least, she desperately hopes so.
Volume 3, Issue 18
"In the Gilded Cage"
Yuriko stood. "Well, if that's all..." she began to take her leave, but the
Principal shook his head, stopping her midsentence. He looked at her a moment longer and
she resumed her seat.
"I'm afraid," he began, "that we are not done here." He stood,
clasping his hands behind his back. "As I said, I am confident that no serious breach
of etiquette has occurred and I am going to argue forcefully that no censure be
"You are going to argue...?" Ruriko-sensei asked in a tiny voice.
The Principal cleared his throat. "Yes - before the Board of Governors, this evening.
I doubt that any recriminations will be made, however, we must take steps to protect
ourselves..." He bowed slightly in Ruriko-sensei's direction. Her face pale, she
stood and returned the bow.
"Of course, I understand." She looked at Yuriko quickly. "Principal, may I
have a word with Yuriko-san - privately - before I leave? I don't think there is anywhere
else I can..."
Yuriko looked from one to the other in some confusion. Leave?
The Principal nodded. "I'll just have a word with Oda-sensei." He turned to
leave, then turned back. "Yuriko-san, when you two are done, I'd appreciate it if
you'd remain here until I return." He gestured for Taro to accompany him and the
young PR man jumped up from his
When he slid the door open, the hall was full of students, worried faces pressing together
to get a glimpse into the office. The Principal commanded the students to move on and
closed the door precipitously behind the publicity agent.
Yuriko looked back at the coach, worried. "What do you mean, leave? Where are you
"Home." Ruriko-sensei said simply, "I'm suspended until this blows
"What?" Yuriko launched herself to her feet. "They can't do that to
Ruriko laughed harshly. "Of course they can. But they didn't. I took a voluntary
suspension, until I feel more comfortable about the situation." She turned away from
the blonde, the handkerchief still clutched tightly in her hand. "This is all my
fault, I didn't think it through. You're so friendly and open; it's easy to forget that
you're famous. I never even thought of the consequences..."
Yuriko was so upset she couldn't speak. She could feel the blood rush to her face.
"But...you didn't *do* anything! The Principal even said so!"
Ruriko-sensei turned, an uncharacteristically bitter smile on her face. "You don't
understand at all, do you? I coach girls - young women. Young women who are in the prime
of their lives - some say the sexual prime. Who might be, who are, influenced by my
behavior. I'm not concerned about my actions here - but about their reactions."
Yuriko shook her head in confusion. "You're right - I don't understand."
Ruriko sighed, but said nothing. After a moment she said, "My boyfriend called me
this morning and broke up with me." Tears slipped from her eyes and fell silently to
Yuriko took a step closer to the woman, but held herself back. "Because you went
dancing with me?" Her voice was tense.
"Because my name was in the papers. Because I am now notable, infamous, marked,
however you'd like to put it. Because..." Ruriko-sensei dabbed her eyes with the
handkerchief, "because I'm different, now. I stand out."
"But you told him that you were just trying to learn to dance for him, right?"
Yuriko's voice rose, pleading for Ruriko-sensei to make sense.
"I did. Right before he suggested we not see each other for a while. Don't you see?
It's alright for you - you're so different that it would be ridiculous for you to try and
be the same as everyone else! I'm not - I'm just a high school coach, and I have to be
just the same as every other high school basketball coach in the country. It's imperative
I don't stand out."
Yuriko gaped at the teacher, horror at her words apparent upon her face. "You can't
be serious?" she asked, shocked.
"I am serious. The Principal will tell the Board tonight that I'm fit to be a
teacher. And then, over the next few days, he will tell every single parent of every
single girl I coach the very same thing. And if he's persuasive enough, I may be able to
show my face at this school again soon." Ruriko-sensei stood stiffly, her arms at her
side. "Please don't blame yourself, Yuriko-san. This has all been my fault." She
bowed tightly, then turned to leave the room. As she passed Yuriko she paused. "I
really did have a lot of fun dancing with you." And she slid the door open.
Instead of stepping through it, Ruriko-sensei took a step backwards into the room.
The Principal entered, followed by a small crowd. As they stepped past the bewildered
coach, a few of them shot her looks of support, smiles or, from one or two, a soft word of
encouragement. When they had filled the small room to near bursting, Yuriko watched as a
tall, dark-haired girl with a commanding presence stepped forward and announced herself
and her intentions.
"Yamamoto Kaori, Senior, Class 1-B, Captain of the Girl's Basketball team." She
gave a perfunctory bow, which was aped by the other twenty girls in the room. "We're
here," she gestured to her companions, "to say a word on behalf of
Matsumori-sensei and Yuriko-san."
Yuriko found her eyebrows rising with surprise, as Kaori continued to speak.
"When we found out about the what the newspapers were saying this morning, we had a
team meeting, and have spent the morning contacting our parents, letting them know that
our coach is nothing less than the most upstanding individual we've ever met." Kaori
stood straight and tall as she spoke. "They've agreed not to cause any undue fuss
over this matter." Yuriko could hear a choking noise from across the room, but could
not see the gym teacher's face.
"In addition, we'd like to make the formal statement that Yuriko-san has never, in
her time with us, acted in any way that could be at all construed as inappropriate or
questionable. And," the girl's rigid face softened the tiniest bit, "we think
we've been in a position to
know." She concluded her remarkable statement with another bow and stood as if at
The Principal pursed his lips for a moment, opened his mouth then shut it. Looking around
the crowded room, he returned his gaze to Kaori. "You all spoke to your
"Yes sir." Twenty voices answered.
"And you say that none of them have the slightest doubt whatsoever about the conduct
of your coach?"
"No sir." Kaori answered. "We have all gotten their unconditional support
Would you be willing to repeat that statement in front of the Board of Governors?"
"Yes, sir." Kaori responded promptly.
"Fine, be here in my office immediately after practice tonight." He looked
around once again, this time including Yuriko and Ruriko-sensei. "You've made your
point, ladies. I think we can consider this matter closed. You may return to your
The girls didn't move. Kaori, her eyes still staring directly in front of her, ventured a
A small smile graced the Principal's lips. "You may all return to your
classrooms." He stressed the third word ever so slightly.
A beat passed and suddenly the office was filled the sounds of exultation. Yuriko watched
as the team completely surrounded their
coach and escorted her out the door - making enough noise for twice their number.
Yuriko turned back to the Principal with a deep, and sincere bow. "Thank you sir. I'm
very sorry to have been the source of any difficulties."
Yuriko stood and faced the Principal, who looked pointedly towards the doorway. In the
door stood Kaori, Mikan and several of the other seniors, waiting for Yuriko to join them.
"I don't think this has been that much of an inconvenience," the Principal said,
and waved her away. He sat down and picked up a piece of paper. Without looking up, he
said, "7:00, ladies. Do not be late."
"No sir." Both Yuriko and Kaori answered.