Saiyuu no Ryokou: The Continuing Adventures of Yuriko

Saiyuu no Ryokou: The Continuing Adventures of Yuriko

The Story So Far: Sometimes it's not the darkest secrets that are the most shocking - Yuriko's just learned that Midori likes professional wrestling and she's appalled.

 

Volume 3, Issue 11

"On The Mat"

 

"Tell me you're kidding," Yuriko pleaded. "Anything but professional wrestling!"

Midori shrugged, not at all embarrassed. "I'm sorry, but it's true. I had posters of Tiger Mask and "Thunder" Liger over my bed for years. I was even one of the first supporters of GAEA when it was formed."

"Oh no," Yuriko whined, covering her face with her hands. "I'll never be able to go out in public again if this gets out!"

"Yuriko, darling, I wrote a column on women's wrestling for a year, for a sports magazine - didn't you know?" Midori placed a not very comforting hand on her lover's shoulder. "Under my real name and everything."

"Please," whimpered Yuriko, still hunched over in overly dramatic mortification, "Tell me that you've grown out of it....

The author's only response was laughter.

Hachigoro, who had been fighting off a fit of jealous pique from his fiancée for guessing correctly, grinned and clapped his hands. "That's it!" he cried. "Let's all go out to a wrestling match!" He laughed harder at the looks he received from Mariko and Yuri. "No, really, that would be a perfect 'something fun.'."

Midori nodded enthusiastically. "I agree. My treat, since you guessed correctly."

Mariko sighed melodramatically. "Come on, Yuri, we were defeated fair and square in this tag match. Let's concede graciously like the ladies we are."

"No way!" Yuri stood with a clenched fist. "I demand an immediate rematch! I won't be defeated! I....what on earth am I talking about?" she said suddenly, staring up at her own upraised arm. She looked down at Midori with a lopsided grin. "Apparently, I'm easily manipulated tonight. Fine, wrestling match it is. But *I'm* getting the tickets."

"Oh, why do you say that?"

Yuriko's grin broadened. "Oh, no," she said mysteriously, "you're not the only one who gets to have a secret."

And no amount of importuning by her closest friends would make Yuriko speak anymore on the subject.

 

***

Yuriko flipped the phone closed and stowed it in her pocket as she returned to the living room. "Next Sunday good for everyone?" she asked.

"Sadly, yes," Mariko answered with a scowl.

The idol seated herself next to Midori and picked up her coffee cup with a happy sigh. "Mari, can you teach Midori how to make coffee this good?"

The author slapped Yuriko with a laugh. "Why don't *you* learn to make decent coffee? I don't even *know* how you manage to make such undrinkable filth."

Hachi covered his snort with a cough. "It's a special talent Yuriko has. Has she told you about the time she tried to use an old percolator?"

"No!" Yuriko leapt forward, waving her hands. "Not that...okay, Okay, I give in!" She bowed her upper body low in a gesture of abject supplication. "Please teach me to make better coffee...." she touched her head to the hands upon her knees, then righted herself, rolling her eyes.

"I'm sorry, Yuri, there's no hope for you. I've seen you cook." Mariko leaned forward confidentially towards Midori. "It's all in the blend."

The author nodded. "Send me the recipe, will you?" She glanced at her lover's pouting face. "And if you're a good girl, Yuri, I'll even make it for you, once in a while."

"Hmph," Yuriko hmphed, crossing her arms.

***

The evening passed genially. Yuriko produced invitations to a gala opening and they agreed that it would be a welcome antidote to the wrestling match.

"I'll let Kishi-san to know to keep my schedule free." Yuriko said, then realized that that might not be possible. "I mean, I'll make sure I'm not scheduled for anything...um...that night..." She flailed mentally as she tried to figure out what to do. Call her manager? Call her agency? And would they assign her another manager....? Yuriko's face went blank, as her concerns returned, stronger than before.

Midori seemed to notice her distress. "I guess we'll have to enjoy what time we have together, because soon, we won't have any time at all!"

"Uh, yeah," Yuriko shot her a look. "That's true. Assuming the tour ever happens." She sighed heavily, then jumped back with a hand up for protection, as Mariko launched a pillow at her head.

"That's enough!" Mari announced. "Take your melodrama and go home."

"Hey - I'm not being melodramatic," Yuriko protested, as Midori steered her towards the front door. "I'm a better actress than that, aren't I?" She looked to Hachi for support, but found him smiling, with his arm wrapped around Mariko's waist. "Oh," she said, comprehending. "I guess we'd better go."

"It's late," Midori agreed politely, "and we all have busy days tomorrow."

Taking her jacket from Midori, Yuriko blew melodramatic kisses at her friends, then allowed herself to be dragged out the front door by her lover. Outside, the two women shared a laugh and arm in arm, started on their way home.

***

They picked up a taxi after strolling a mere two blocks in the muggy heat. The cab was frigid; Yuriko shivered as the sweat on her arms and back cooled.

"Me too," Midori agreed with the unspoken comment. After a moment she spoke again, this time keeping her voice purposefully neutral. "Yuri, darling, is there something you're not telling me?" Her eyes were large and dark in the dim cab.

Yuriko looked solemn for a moment. "Yes."

"Can you tell me now?" the author's voice was unusually gentle.

Reaching over and brushing a strand of hair from Midori's face, Yuriko allowed her fingers to brush across her cheek gently. She looked at her lover for a long moment.

"I know it sounded like it was nothing when I said it before but, someone actually did tell my dresser that I was violent. The poor woman has been living in fear of me this whole time. Of everything that's happened, that bothers me the most. I mean - Haru-san *actually* thought I was likely to hit her!"

"Was it some kind of sick joke?"

"It must have been - but Haru-san didn't know the person's name, only that some other dresser told her that. He told her that the rumors were that I had pushed an assistant into a closet, and had punched a PA."

Midori covered Yuriko's hand with her own. "That seems more like Mayumi-san's style, than yours, doesn't it? Maybe it was just all a mix-up."

Yuriko leaned her head on Midori's. "I hadn't thought of that, she said, taking comfort in the thought. "Anyway, Haru-san and I had a long talk and she's decided to stay and be my dresser. I'm not sure I'm happy with that, though - she's been so awful. But I don't want her to lose her job or anything."

"That's my Yuri, always trying to make everyone happy." She blew a breath out. "Does anyone ever try and make you happy?"

"You make me happy." Yuriko murmured.

"I'm glad."

As Yuriko sat there, her nose filled with the fragrance of Midori's hair, and their fingers entwined, she thought briefly of bring up Kishi, but decided against it. She'd mention it later, when they were alone.

***

Traffic had been surprisingly bad and the cab ride had seemed as if it had taken forever. Nonetheless, the two women hadn't complained, even when an accident had closed the road they were on. For them, this was a quiet interlude in otherwise hectic lives. Without further discussion, they just sat in the back seat in silence, holding each other close and drifting in and out of their private thoughts.

Eventually, the taxi pulled up to Midori's apartment building. Reluctantly, they stirred themselves to leave their temporary refuge. Yuriko paid the exorbitant fare without a comment, which left the cab driver speechless.

Still in silence, the two women entered the building together, ignoring the distant flash of a paparrazi's camera. Yuriko entering this particular apartment building was very old news by now.

As soon as the elevator doors had shut them in, Yuriko scooped Midori into her arms, kissing her fiercely, until a sound indicated that they had reached the correct floor. Still hand in hand, they walked down the hall until Midori extricated her hands to unlock her door.

They entered the apartment together, Midori giggling as she attempted to close the door and turn on the light, all while Yuriko's mouth sought her own, and the idol's hands roamed her body.

Eventually, the door was shut behind them, and in the darkness, Yuriko had pulled Midori into a strong embrace. They kissed deeply for a long time in near silence, standing in the dark foyer.

A noise came from the main room which stopped them cold. Their hearts pounding and adrenaline rushing through them, making it hard to breathe, the two women stood as still as possible and listened.

Another noise; a person walking. Yuriko hissed in a breath.

A light came on and a soft, tear-filled voice said, "Midori? 'Nee-san?"

Midori took a step forward, shedding her shoes quickly.

A figure appeared in the hall, silhouetted by the light. "'Nee-san," it said, between sniffs. "Is that you?"

Midori broke from Yuriko's grasp and ran forward to grab the figure that stood there, her body bowed with some pain and her face streaked with tears.

"Ritsuko!" Midori cried, holding her sobbing younger sister in her arms. "What happened?"

 

Continued

Saiyuu no Ryokou, all characters and situations copyright E. Friedman and Yurikon LLC. All Rights Reserved.