Shoujoai ni Bouken: Adventures of Yuriko

The Story So Far: Yuriko's night on the town with Midori went well - very well. Unfortunately, Yuriko promised Aya to do better in school, and ended up cutting the evening short to go home and get a night of rest before tackling her homework. Responsibility has a bitter taste this morning.

Volume 4, Issue 11

"Stranger than Fiction"

Yuriko slammed the cabinet closed. Inevitably, it popped open. With an annoyed grunt, she slapped the offending door shut once more, then stomped into the living area. Dropping the plate roughly onto the table, she practically threw her book bag against the wall.

"Damn it!" Yuriko shouted to the room in general. She glared at the bag; damning school, damning acting, fame and other suspect abstractions. She threw herself down onto the sofa, prepared to sulk palpably for a while. Closing her eyes, she put her arm across her forehead and laid back, thinking about last night. Despite her mood, a smile formed on her lips.

Dancing with Midori had been electric. Her body moved beautifully - not something one would expect from a writer. The woman had captivated Yuriko; they had been so enrapt in each other that they nearly closed the club. Madogawa had been extremely sorry to bother them.

Yuriko now grinned as she thought of the little word she had had with the club owner, and the outcome she expected from it. Sometimes, she thought smugly, fame had its uses. She laughed out loud. "And its price." She opened her eyes and sat up, looking around for her school bag and its life-sucking assignments. Time to get to work.

She was in deep concentration over a science project when a noise at the front door made her sit up in surprise. The lock turned and the door opened, admitting Ryo. Yuriko glanced at the clock in some surprise, noting that she'd been working for several hours. She stretched and yawned, waving at the young man.

"Sorry to intrude," he said, as he stepped up into the hallway.

"C'mon in - I need a break anyway." Yuriko said as she stood up. "Want some tea?"

"Sure." Ryo dropped a small bundle of neatly tied papers onto the side table. "Here's your letters. It's not as bad as it used to be."

"Yeah - I guess everyone is used to me now. I'm old news." Yuriko laughed.

Ryo followed her into the kitchen and tut-tutted at the stove. "You tried to cook again, I see," he commented, as he ran a finger along a greasy streak.

"Why does everyone say that?" Yuriko whined, "'Tried' to cook. No, I cooked, thank you very much. Geez, you'd think I was culinarily impaired or something."

"I brought some sushi for lunch - have you eaten?" Ryo intelligently changed the subject.

"No, and," Yuriko realized all of a sudden, "I'm hungry."

"Unagi okay with you?"

"Love it. Thanks."

The apartment grew quiet - feeding time at the zoo, Yuriko joked to herself - as they indulged in their lunch. After they had cleaned up, Yuriko excused herself to finish her homework and Ryo started in on straightening the apartment.


Yuriko frowned down at her keyboard. The final few paragraphs of her paper seemed weak, but she was done. She saved the file, rolled her head in a few circles and shut down the computer. Done. Aya would be pleased. Yuriko smiled. She had thought Kishi was a harsh taskmaster, until she had met her tutor.

"Yo, Ryo!" she called out. The boy had been his usual efficient self today, going about his business quietly. He came out of her bedroom, bandanna holding his hair off his face.


"I'm ordering out for dinner - are you staying?"

"Well..." he prevaricated.

"I wish you would. You keep feeding me - I feel like I should feed you at least once."

Ryo smiled. "Sure, why not?"

Yuriko called out for Chinese to be delivered and ordered the boy to relax until dinner arrived. In any case, she wanted a word with him.

"I've wanted to ask you this for a while now," she said casually, "but haven't had the chance." Yuriko glanced at him out of the side of her eyes. She could see him stiffen slightly, but attempt to hide it.

"Did you, by any chance, send me that newspaper clipping?" Yuriko poured out more tea and set the cup and saucer in front of him.

Ryo didn't answer, but Yuriko could feel the tension in the room thicken.

"Why'd you do it, Ryo-kun?" she asked softly, keeping her voice even and non-accusatory.

"Do you remember," Ryo spoke after a long pause, "a teacher in your high school named Kentaro?"

Yuriko thought back, shaking her head in denial. "No...not off hand."

"A new teacher, young, taught math, hated your guts?"

"Oh, sure!" Yuriko laughed. "I remember that little prick. He was a jerk. Why?"

"He's my older brother."

"Eh?" Yuriko was surprised, but couldn't for the life of her figure out where this was leading. "Well, it's a small world, I guess," she laughed a little nervously.

"He came home every night and talked about you."

Yuriko gaped at the boy. "He did?"

"Ken was obsessed with you. Probably not in a good way, I guess. When you left school he never stopped talking about you. It was kinda creepy. I was about twelve years old when he started collecting all the new stories about the idol called Yuriko. He always knew it was you."

"Oookkkaay." Yuriko said, uncomfortably. "But what does this have to do with..."

"I was living in San Diego, with our mother and father - that's where I grew up. But Ken used to write me and tell me all about you. I didn't understand what being an otaku was, then - I mean, I was a kid. I played video games and skateboarded. But he'd always send me clips, like it was important that I know what was up with you.

"I moved back to Japan last year. My parents are still in America, but I wanted to live here for a while. I moved in with Ken."

Yuriko was beginning to see where the connection lay.

"So, I uh, knew, when...the accident happened. It was in the local paper. Ken wanted to put the clipping in his scrap book, but I thought it was gross, so I took it." Ryo shrugged. "Ken's a weird guy - I moved out a little while later, transferred schools and then, about three months later you showed up at school. It was really strange. I didn't tell Ken, because I thought that the last thing you needed was that kind of weirdness from me - but I felt like I knew you, since I'd been hearing about you so long.

"Anyway, I was cleaning out my desk last month and came across the clipping. And after all I'd heard and what you'd said, it dawned on me that you didn't know. And I thought that was wrong. So I sent it."

Yuriko's voice was thick. "And you called to warn me."

"But I chickened out and didn't say anything important."

"You knew when it came."

"I saw the envelopes in the mail slot - so I called Mariko-san."

Yuriko picked up her tea and sipped it. It was cold. "I'm not sure if I'm angry at you or not," she admitted.

"I thought you should know." Ryo said, jutting his chin out unrepentantly.

There was a knock on the door. "Wong's Wok!" a muffled voice called out.

Yuriko sighed and stood. "Go get some plates," she said, "dinner's here."