Shoujoai ni Bouken: Adventures of Yuriko

The Story So Far: Ruriko-sensei seems to have had a happy ending to her personal story - or at least a happy beginning. Yuriko's home seems to be the focus of several surprise visits tonight.

Volume 4, Issue 4


"Kaori-kun!" Ruriko-sensei's voice was sharp with shock.

"Kaori-buchou!" Yuriko took her arm from around Ruriko-sensei's waist and stepped away slightly.

"Good evening," the young woman said dryly. "I didn't mean to disturb you - the doorman tried the intercom twice, then told me to come up. He seemed to think you were having a party."

Yuriko hemmed a little, trying to reassure the girl that she hadn't been disturbing them, but it seemed a little ridiculous in the face of what she had seen.

"Would you like to come in?" Yuriko said at last, her own voice rather thin in her ears. Ruriko-sensei had turned away, her face red and was refilling her glass with champagne. "I can offer you some champa.... We're celebrating Ruriko-sensei's engagement," she explained lamely.

"Thank you, but I don't think drinking on a school night is a good idea." Kaori's voice was cool and emotionless as ever. She stood without apparent awkwardness, nodding as Yuriko gestured her to a seat. "Congratulations, Ruriko-sensei." The teacher thanked the girl, somewhat nervously.

The blonde hustled over to the kitchen and made some tea, placing it in front of her guest, then stood behind the sofa, at a loss for words. "So, Kaori-buchou, what brings you here?"

Kaori took a polite sip from the teacup, then returned it to the table. "I wanted to have a word with you." Her eyes strayed to the coach, who sat thin-lipped across the table from the young woman. "About you, Ruriko-sensei." The teacher started slightly, blushing.

"About me?" Ruriko asked incredulously.

"Yes." Kaori didn't seem inclined to expand on the statement.

Blessedly, Mariko chose that moment to arrive. The door opened, and the brunette popped her head in with a cheery "Good evening everyone! Mariko is here - you can start the party now!"

Yuriko greeted her friend with great relief. "Mariko, come on in."

Mariko shed her shoes and stepped into the living room, noting the decidedly un-party-like atmosphere. She greeted Ruriko with a bow and a hug, then turned to Kaori. Yuriko hastened to make introductions before Mariko could say anything horribly embarrassing. She could just imagine her sarcastic friend starting off with, "Who's this lovely girl, Yuri? Isn't she a little young for you?"

Kaori stood and introduced herself. After mutual greetings had been made, Mariko lifted up a bag of cookies and bottle of wine she had brought. "I'll just go put these on a platter," she said.

"I'll help!" Ruriko stood with alacrity and they walked over to the kitchen area together.

Kaori remained standing. "I'm sorry for interrupting your party, Yuriko-san."

"No, no, you're fine. Um..." she wasn't sure how to ask the girl to come out with it.

Kaori seemed to understand her and walked with the blonde towards the door. "You have a very nice apartment."

"Thank you. I'm sorry it's such a mess, I haven't been home much..."

They had reached the door. "I just wanted to tell you," Kaori said, rather abruptly, "that Ruriko-sensei was going to need all her friends and that if you had any integrity, you wouldn't let her down." The young woman looked over towards the kitchen, her face softening with affection as she watched her coach. "But I see that I don't have to tell you that." With the same curtness as always, she bowed deeply to Yuriko. "Take care of her." Calling out a polite farewell, Kaori slipped her shoes back on, and left the apartment.

Immediately Yuriko let out a great gasping breath of air. An answering sigh was heard from Ruriko-sensei.

"My goodness, that girl had you both tied in knots!" Mariko commented as she brought out the plate of cookies. Ruriko sipped at her champagne and nodded.

"That's what I've been trying to tell you!" Yuriko protested. "There's something about her that's unnerving."

"I'd never noticed before - she's always been so light-hearted around me," Ruriko drank a little more. "But if this is what you've been facing every day from her - you're stronger than I am."

"I can't imagine that one ever being light-hearted." Mariko said.

"But she is! She's a good kid - very intense on the court, very competitive, but professional."

Mariko raised an eyebrow. "So, she's only like that when competing with a rival team?"

Ruriko looked from Yuriko to Mariko. Nodding slowly she said, "I guess that's it."

Yuriko groaned. But she kept her conversation with Kaori to herself - at least until she figured out what the girl had meant.