Saiyuu no Ryokou: The Continuing Adventures of Yuriko

Saiyuu no Ryokou: The Continuing Adventures of Yuriko

The Story So Far: Ritsuko and Midori seem to have settled their issues for now, which makes Yuriko hopeful for the coming day. After a week of wretchedness, she fears nothing but her own despair.


Volume 3, Issue 14

"Wheel of Fortune"


True to her word, Ritsuko was up early. With the resilience of youth, she had straightened up the living room and made coffee and breakfast for three by the time Yuriko had awakened. When Yuriko dragged her ancient-feeling carcass into the kitchen, she was able to simply stand still and allow caffeine to resurrect her, while the younger woman bustled about inefficiently. Watching her with suspicion, Yuri decided that it was nervous, not morning, energy. For that, Ritsuko could be forgiven.

"Hey, your coffee is terrible!" Yuriko said cheerfully, after she had finished a second cup.

"I know," Ritsuko ran her hands through her hair, spiking it up and out. "I figure that someone as talented and good-looking as myself shouldn't have to cook well, too."

Yuriko laughed. "That's a great line – may I use it? Everyone is always picking on me about my limited culinary skills."

"Please," the young woman replied with a grin. "I borrowed it from Midori."

The two were laughing together when the aforementioned author entered, scowling. "Don't even try to explain," she said preemptively, holding up a hand in warning.

"Wouldn't dream of it!" Yuriko polished her glasses with a corner of her blouse, squinted through them, then cleaned them again. "I have to get going – I've got a morning TV program appearance before rehearsal today. Can I give you a lift anywhere. Ritsuko-san?"

"That'd be great!" Ritsuko stood up straighter, but a second later, she slumped back into a half-hunched position. "Um...but I don't want to inconvenience you."

Yuriko noticed Midori glaring balefully at her sister, and interposed herself between the two. "It's no inconvenience to me - and I pay the driver. Come on."

Ritsuko smiled thankfully, while Yuriko shot a reproachful look at her lover. After the younger woman had escaped from the room, Yuriko shook her head.

"Don't be so harsh – she's just a kid."

"Don't be so easy-going, she'll start to presume." Midori shot back. "No, really. She's the baby of the family – she's always been spoiled." Midori made a face. "I'm as guilty of spoiling her as anyone else, I guess."

Yuriko smiled as she wrapped her arms around the author, leaning her chin on Midori's head "Speaking as a youngest who wishes she'd been spoiled – thank you." She kissed the other woman on top of the head. "You are so beautiful when you scowl disapprovingly, did you know that?"

Midori laughed and pushed Yuriko away. "Yes, as a matter of fact. I've been told many, many times. I suppose that means that I scowl a lot."

"Yes," Yuriko agreed pleasantly. "That's what I love about you – your disapproving nature." Seeing the look on Midori's face, Yuriko apologized quickly.

Midori shook her head. "No, it's not that. I was just thinking about something she said last night. I guess I am pretty judgmental." She shrugged. "It's much too early to be philosophic about my nature. What's for breakfast?"

"Overcooked eggs, cold toast and bad coffee," Yuriko grinned. "Pretend I made it and be gracious."

"They are not overcooked!" Ritsuko had reentered the kitchen. "Don't tell me that you're one of those people who likes their eggs all runny and gooey....ewww. Midori – how could you? That would be as bad as...taking up with a morning person."

Midori just smiled at her sister's outrage, as she seated herself at the table with a plate of food and a cup of coffee.

"Well, I'm not a morning person, but I do have to get going. Are you ready?" Yuriko gestured for Ritsuko to precede her out into the living room. They retrieved their coats, while Midori watched them from the table.

"Remember, Yuri – I've got that interview this evening. I won't be home until late."

"Right – I'll just go back to my place. Then I'll see you," the singer made a quick calculation in her head. "Saturday? That long? Oh well." While Ritsuko was heading out the door, Yuriko blew a silent kiss in Midori's direction, then followed the other woman into the hallway.

"You two seem really happy together," Ritsuko commented once they were in the elevator.

Yuriko nodded. "So far. And there's no one more surprised about it than we are."

Both women lapsed into silence as the elevator carried them down to the lobby.

The elevator stopped, and the doors opened. With a snap of her fingers, as if she had just remembered something, the singer paused slightly. "Oh, hey, before we leave, there's something you'd better know..." She resumed walking across the foyer, with the young artist in tow.

"What's that?"

Yuriko nodded to the doorman as they passed, which he returned with a salute and a friendly bow.

"You're about to have your picture taken," Yuriko quipped, with a crooked smile.

"What?" Ritsuko stared at her for a second, then followed her through the front door.

There was a noise like nothing Ritsuko had ever heard. The sky wasn't fully light, but the air was already heavy with moisture and heat. Flashing lights blinded her, and voices clamoring for attention slammed into her from several directions. She stopped, stunned by the commotion, but Yuriko took the girl firmly in hand, and steered her towards the waiting car. She helped Ritsuko into the back seat, then turned and waved to the cameras, smiling and shooting off a few bland phrases of greeting. After a moment or two, Yuriko seated herself and closed the door against the noise of the paparazzi, then let out an audible sigh.

"I don't know how they know..." Yuriko muttered, "But they always do..."

Staring out the window, Ritsuko could see that the "crowd" had, in fact been only a very few people, but her retinas still burned with the flashes and her ears rung with questions.

The tall blonde turned towards the girl seated next to her, smiling at the familiar dazed look in her eyes.

"You're famous now," she said with a cynical laugh.

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