Shoujoai ni Bouken: Adventures of Yuriko

The Story So Far: Almost two weeks have passed since Yuriko has been back to Mitsukawa High School. The day of the school festival has arrived and Yuriko has promised many people she'd be there. She has every intention of honoring that promise.

Volume 5, Issue 12

"Matsuri"


Yuriko rolled over, throwing one arm out and jumping nearly out of her skin as a curse was barked practically in her ear.

"Sorry!" she cried out, as Midori continued to grumble, rubbing the cheek that Yuriko had smacked.

"Ish alrigh." Midori muttered, and rolled over, falling asleep no more than a second later. Yuriko however, lay there listening to her lover's breathing in the darkness, for some time.

It felt strange knowing that, if she wanted to, she could sleep with this same woman night after night, as long as - or maybe even longer than - she could imagine. The same face, morning after morning, the same smile, the same voice. Yuriko felt something in her chest ache, as if her ribs weren't big enough to contain the emotion she felt.

She reached out carefully and tangled her fingers in the luxurious hair that lay all around Midori's sleeping form. She took a strand and brought it to her face, smelling traces of honeysuckle on it. Smiling, Yuriko snuggled herself into Midori and fell asleep once again.

***

Yuriko glanced over Midori's head into the mirror. She let the other woman finish tying her tie, then straightened her own collar and brushed the hair over her right eye. She looked down and asked, "Well? How do I look?"

Midori put her hands on Yuriko's shoulders and leaned upward to kiss her lightly. "Magnificent," she said. "If you hadn't promised to go, I'd spend the next hour taking it all off again."

Yuriko kissed Midori back with evident enjoyment. "But I did promise, so we'd better go." She paused as she put on her overcoat, then continued, "and later you can have the pleasure of undressing me."

Midori laughed as she threaded her arm into Yuriko's. "Have you always been this fastidious about clothes?"

Yuriko shrugged. "Ever since I had the money to buy the right clothes, yes. It's hard to be fastidious about jeans and tee shirts."

Midori gripped Yuriko's arm with both hands. "Next time you go shopping, I want to come with you."

"I dunno," Yuriko grinned down at the writer, "Mariko guards that responsibility pretty jealousy. You'll have to take it up with her."

"Then we'll all go – that sounds like fun," Midori decided gleefully. Yuriko just groaned at the idea, as visions of Mariko and Midori using her as their personal mannequin leapt into her mind.

***

The day was clear and bright and, despite the crispness in the air, not too cold. A good day, Yuriko thought, for a festival.

As if reading her mind, Midori said, "It's beautiful out. But you know, I was thinking – most schools hold their festivals in the spring or summer. I wonder why they do theirs in the autumn – and so late, too?"

"I asked Sayaka-sempai about that as a matter of fact." Yuriko answered. "It seems that they do a regular festival in the spring too. The dance is another thing that's kind of odd – it's not usual for a school to hold a formal dance. But the Principal apparently studied in America for a while, and he decided it would be a good thing to do."

"I'm glad," Mariko commented. "I think it's nice to have something to look forward to as the days get grayer and colder." She looked out of the window, gesturing. "Although today isn't grey or cold."

"We're here," Yuri said unnecessarily, as the car pulled up to the curb. Midori glanced at Yuriko, whose voice had become suddenly thin and unsure.

"Are you alright?" Midori asked.

Yuriko gave her a small, unconvincing smile. "I'm fine."

The two women left the car and walked the remainder of the block, as Yuriko had done every morning that she attended the school. She found herself noting every detail, as if she had never seen the area before – or as if she might never come this way again.

"Did you ever notice..." Yuriko began, then stopped abruptly midsentence. They had just come around the corner and were standing in the gateway of the path that led to the school. Along the front of the school building was strung an immense banner that read "Welcome Back, Yuriko-kun!" The entire student body stood in front of the school and at the two women's appearance had bowed and was now greeting her in unison.

Midori watched the blonde with calm concern as Yuriko simply gaped for a moment then, carefully and deliberately, removed her glasses, pulled the handkerchief from her pocket and wiped away the tears that spilled quietly from her eyes.

She took a few steps, then stopped again, clearly at a loss for words. Midori took her arm and led the actress towards the school until she stood directly in front of the beaming Principal. Yuriko looked around, noting how many of the faces were more than just familiar – she had genuinely missed these people over the past few hectic days. She could see Namba, the cameraman, filming the momentous occasion, so she shot him and his camera a watery smile.

Yuriko pulled herself together at last and with a final dab at her eyes, bowed deeply.

"Tadaima," she began, but anything else she might have said was completely obliterated in the rousing cheer that met her simple word, while the camera rolled unceasingly on.

***

The festival got off to a great start. The Principal kept his opening speech short and the theater and dance clubs put on a production of traditional Japanese dance. When that was finished, everyone left the auditorium to man their various booths and tables, or to wander between them, playing games, eating food and sharing ideas.

Yuriko found herself scooped up by the writing club and dragged off to put in some time at their booth. Midori waved at the blonde’s retreating form, calling out that she’d catch up later.

Sayaka was waiting for her with a disapproving frown as the blonde was deposited in front of the club president. "You're late," Sayaka snapped. "We have customers here, Yuriko-kun! Get to work!" She couldn’t keep the severe face though, and laughed as Yuriko stood at attention and gave the girl a sharp salute.

"Yes sir, president sir!" the blonde shouted, then grinned impudently as her fellow club members giggled at her antics.

Yuriko and Sayaka spent a few moments catching up on trivia, before they had to attend to the business at hand.

“What have you been doing with all that free time?” Sayaka teased.

“Free time?” Yuriko looked puzzled. “I’ve heard of that…I don’t recall ever having any.” She smiled down at the girl. “The usual, half a dozen interviews, a week in the studio…yes,” she nodded in answer to the
obvious question, “I’m doing the opening and closing themes of the show, and no, I won’t sing them for you – you’ll have to wait like everyone else. What else? Oh, some post-production stuff, voiceovers, fill-ins, that kind of thing.” Yuriko sighed heavily. “An idol’s work is never done.”

Sayaka giggled happily. “We’re very glad to have you here today,” she effervesced. “But,” she said nodding towards the passing students, “it’s time to get to work.” She accompanied the idol to the table covered with miniature scrolls. Yuriko picked up one of the small scrolls and scrutinized it critically.

"Not bad," she commented generously. The verses were mostly classics, with a few originals by the writing club, and the calligraphy nice, if not spectacular. She determined to sell every one she could. When the blonde looked up from the scroll, she could see a few of the junior girls from the basketball team walking past.

"Get your red hot calligraphy here!" she called out. The girls turned, and giggling loudly, came running up.

"Did you write this?" one of the girls asked, cooing over a scroll.

"Or did you do the calligraphy?" another clutched a particularly garish scroll in her hand.

"Um, neither," Yuriko admitted, wincing under Sayaka's glare.

"Oh," the girls said, disappointed. Then one perked up and asked coyly, "Well, will you autograph them?"

Yuriko looked at Sayaka who nodded solemnly. "Sure!" the blonde said to the now-growing crowd.

"Then I want this one!" the first girl shouted, while the girl with the scroll already in her hand thrust it forward saying, "I'll take this one."

In seconds, a crowd of hands were reaching towards the idol, each with a scroll of it's own. "Please sign this one, Yuriko-kun!" "This too - can you make it out to Asako?" "I want this one! Can you sign it 'to my number one fan'?"

Yuriko took one of the scrolls and the brush one of the writing club members handed her with a huge grin. Under the smirks of Sayaka- sempai, Yuriko began to autograph the little verses.

Continued