Shoujoai ni Bouken: Adventures of Yuriko

The Story So Far: Midori and Yuriko have decided that life is too short to just have fun together - they'll have fun with their friends, too.

Volume 5, Issue 11

"The Worm Turns"

"A few people?" a stunned Yuriko asked.

"Well, you know Mariko-san better than I do."

"Yes," Yuriko agreed with mock resignation, "I do."

At least twenty people sat at the table including, Yuriko noted happily, Ruriko-sensei and her fiancée. Mariko and Hachi presided as regents until Yuriko and Midori arrived. Then, graciously and artfully, she welcomed them and stood aside for them as King and Queen of this momentous occasion - her exact words.

Yuriko rolled her eyes. "Mari, you are clearly a gay man in a straight woman's body."

Mari laughed, delighted. "Look, I've spent the past few days wondering if you were halfway to a lifetime in jail, or dead on the street, so I deserve this - even if you don't!"

Yuriko grinned at her friend and the women joined the table for a raucous, and extremely celebratory dinner.

It was getting late when the last few guests left. Yuriko had been gratified to see so many of her friends from the studio, but she made a special effort to have a word with Ruriko-sensei.

"I'm very glad to hear the whole story at last," Ruriko-sensei said, after introducing her fiancée to Yuriko and Midori. "You can imagine the rumors that have been circulating..."

Yuriko nodded. "According to Sayaka-sempai, they aren't that far off the truth, either. Funny how that is."

"I'm sorry to hear that you won't be returning to school, though," the coach commented. "I won't be the only one - you've made quite a few friends among the student body - and in the faculty."


Ruriko wore a distinct "I know something you don't know" smile on her face. "Oh, most definitely." Then her expression cleared. "You will be coming to the festival next week, though? I know that everyone was really looking forward to seeing you there."

Yuriko looked down at Midori, then back at the coach. "I'll be there - with bells on."

Ruriko laughed. "I think the kids are expecting a tux."


Yuriko opened the door to her apartment and flicked on the light. Mariko, Hachi and Midori entered, and proceeded to make themselves comfortable. Yuriko found the phone cord and plugged it back in, then hit the light on the answering machine she had turned off - a long time ago, it seemed.

"Do I have permission to yell at you now?" Mariko asked, after Yuriko rerecorded a short message.

"I completely deserve it, so sure." Yuriko was prepared to take her licks like an adult. She bowed her head contritely; ready for whatever Mariko threw her way. She wasn't expecting a pillow to the head, however.

"What were you thinking?" Mariko snapped at the blonde. "You disconnect the phone and disappear in the middle of something like this? Really Yuri - you can be so inconsiderate sometimes." She laughed at her own outrage. "I don't know how you got so lucky to have a such a dedicated, good and patient friend like me."

Yuriko put her hands up in surrender. "I concede the point. But in my own defense, I was a little preoccupied..."

Hachigoro thanked Midori, who had brought in coffee for them all. "Next time you're preoccupied, would you please have the courtesy to leave an answering machine message stating that you're too busy navel-staring to answer your phone?" His good-natured face crinkled up with a laugh. "In your defense, Yuriko - Mari's exaggerating. We were able to hazard a good guess as to where you were."

"So if I ever really piss you off." Yuriko took the coffee that Midori handed her with a smile, "then you can always make a few extra bucks by selling my secrets to the press."

Midori laughed. "Mariko-san, you'd better not quit your day job, then -Yuri's secrets are terribly dull."

"You don't have to tell *me* that!" Mariko joked. "I've been there for the few exciting stories."

"Speaking of which," Yuriko spoke up. "I saw Takeshi yesterday - was it only yesterday?" She glanced at Midori who nodded in agreement. "My gods, it seems like weeks ago now."

Mariko had put her cup down and watched her friend carefully. "How was it?"

Yuriko smiled reassuringly. "He hasn't changed a bit. Although now he's working on some really bizarre project...I didn't understand half of what he was telling me."

"He's working on a natural language recognition program as part of an artificial intelligence project. I was very impressed by the result." Everyone turned to look at Midori as she spoke. She laughed at the looks on their faces. "It interests me - I'd like to go back and talk to him about it some more."

Yuriko grinned. "Be my guest. He'll be thrilled that someone actually understands him. I never could."

"But he understands you." Midori said enigmatically.

"That's true - he always did." Mariko agreed. Glancing at Yuriko, she asked, "What about your sister?"

Shaking her head, Yuriko said, "No. I can't. Not yet." She looked away from her friends for a moment, then turned back. "Honestly? I'm scared. I don't want to move backwards, back to who I was then - and I don't think Fumie will let me be who I am now."

There was a moment of quiet, then Hachi said, "I think you underestimate her."

"Possibly," Yuriko agreed. "And maybe one day soon I'll be able to move past it - but right now," she took a deep breath, "I have family again, a brother. And that's more than I really ever expected. I want to take some time to get used to that." Yuriko smiled at Midori, who had laid a hand on her arm in support.

"Wait," said the writer cheerfully, "my family is big enough for both of us!"

"How big are we talking about?" Yuriko asked warily.

"Big." Midori laughed. "I'm one of seven. I have four brothers, two sisters and most of them are married with kids."

Hachi grinned evilly. "Parents, grandparents?"

"Yes - the requisite number of each."

Yuriko groaned piteously. "And tell me, my lady, when exactly am I going to have to brave this pack of Yumis?"

"I figured I'd bring you to the next big get-together and show you off as a trophy idol." Turning to Mariko and Hachi, Midori confided, "Several of my nieces don't believe I run in the same circles as their favorite singer...they want to see for real."

Yuriko's voice was small and wary. "When *is* the 'next big get- together'?"

Midori winked at a grinning Mariko, then said happily, "not for a few weeks, so you have some time to get used to the idea."

They all laughed as Yuriko buried her face in her hands and whined.