Shoujoai ni Bouken: Adventures of Yuriko

The Story So Far: Yuriko is facing crises on several fronts, but young love takes precedence over adult problems. Sayaka turns to Yuriko for some advice, from one love-struck girl to another.


Volume 5, Issue 7

"Feeding the Fish"


"So it's love, is it?" Yuriko smiled, genuinely happy for the girl. "I'm glad to hear it."

"Well," Sayaka admitted, "I keep getting hot flashes and heart palpitations, so it's either love or I'm coming down with something serious." They both laughed. As Yuriko laughed, she felt something release inside her and for a moment, she relaxed.

Yuriko stood. "Excuse me a moment." She moved quickly out of the room, returning in a few moments, her tailored blouse changed for a loose t-shirt and her feet covered in her slippers. She made more tea for Sayaka and herself, then rejoined the girl in the living room.

Sayaka stared at Yuriko's feet with a smirk. "Fluffy pink slippers? I'd never have believed it if you told me."

Yuriko shrugged. "It's kind of an old joke I never let go of. Anyway, they're comfortable. So," she continued, "tell me about you and Sato-san. I need some good news right now." She grinned impishly.

Sayaka glared at the blonde. "Only if you'll tell me about you and Yumi-san."

Yuriko considered. "Girl-girl talk? Hmmm, can I trust you?"

Sayaka made a gesture of ingenuous surprise. "Trust me? To not tell anyone? Of course!" she said with a laugh. "Don't notice the fingers I'm crossing, okay?"

"Fair enough," Yuriko laughed. "Me first. Have you kissed him yet?" She leaned forward eagerly, watching the distinct emotions that passed across the younger woman's face with an anticipatory - and predatory - smile.

"Yes," Sayaka confirmed at last. "But not more, so don't ask, alright?" Her face was red, but her eyes were bright with stars.

Yuriko held up a pacifying hand. "Agreed."

"So...." Sayaka led. "What about you and Yumi-san?"

Yuriko sighed. "I'd like to say it's love, but to be honest I don't know what it is. Yet."

"You're kidding! Have you seen yourself looking at her?" Sayaka snorted in open derision.

"I'm not saying that it couldn't be love - I'm just not sure that it *is.* Yet."

"You keep saying that." Sayaka drank some tea and nibbled on one of the chocolate cookies that Yuriko had added to the platter this round. "You have been in love before, right? Doesn't it feel the same?"

"Once...and no. I was, well, about your age, and it felt like heaven and hell all rolled up together. This time," Yuriko drank some tea. "there's so much in the way of it, I'm not sure if what I feel is what she feels or even what I feel, or it's just all the stuff around us that's making me feel this way."

"I'm sorry," Sayaka sympathized. "I guess life is like that sometimes, huh?"

"More often than not," Yuriko agreed. "The last time I was in love, it didn't end well."

Sayaka looked up sharply. "Was that when you were..." she tapered off, as if afraid to utter the words.

"Thrown out? Yes, that was it." Yuriko kept her voice bland. "Don't worry about upsetting me - I'm over it. I had a lot of time to deal with it."

"Can I ask you a hideously personal question?" Sayaka asked.

"Taking after your mother?" Yuriko laughed. "Sure. Although I may not answer it." Yuriko shifted in her seat, and steepled her fingers together, awaiting the question.

"Could it be," Sayaka hesitated, trying to choose her words carefully, "do you think that maybe that's why you're not allowing yourself to be in love this time?"

Yuriko closed her eyes. "Ah. Ouch. You found the sore point."

"I'm sorry - don't answer if you..."

"No, no. It's alright. I'd have to be pretty stupid if I hadn't at least considered it." Yuriko shrugged, sat forward and rolled her shoulders to release tension. "But what with what's happening..." She lifted her shoulders dramatically and dropped them.

"Where is Yumi-san?" Sayaka asked suddenly, looking around. "I don't know, I kind of expected to see her here."

"I left her at her apartment," Yuriko said with a breathy sigh.

"Oh?"

"Yeah. I had to come home and feed the fish."

"You don't own fish, do you?" Sayaka looked around her once more, as if she might have missed an aquarium in the room.

Yuriko made a rude noise. "It's a phrase I have, that Mariko and I have, for getting ready to face the press. You know - piranhas, barracudas..."

"I see," Sayaka said, nodding. She was silent for a minute. "Since we're being candid, and talking girl to girl, can I say something?"

Yuriko gestured for her to continue.

"I think," Sayaka said, then paused. "I think you should go back to Yumi-san." She looked at Yuriko, meeting her eyes evenly. "If you love her, you should be with her now. I know that if Hiroyuki-kun needed me, I'd rather he be with me than anywhere else. Maybe I'm being impertinent and nosy, but I think she would rather you be with her. And I think," she finished firmly, "that you would rather be with her, but don't want to admit it, not even to yourself." She stuck her chin out, challenging Yuriko to deny what she had said.

The blonde simply sat, one leg hanging over the chair's arm, calmly regarding her "sempai." She pulled her leg off the arm of the chair and sat back, her eyes half-lidded and shadowed.

"I guess I should be going," the girl said softly. "I'm sorry to be so rude."

Yuriko stood, kicking her slippers off. "Me too. I mean, I should be going too." She gave the girl a radiant smile. "You know - you're the best sempai a student could ask for."

Sayaka blushed deeply and bowed. "You're not too bad a kohai, either," she said with an answering smile.

Continued