Saiyuu no Ryouko: The Continuing Adventures of Yuriko
The Story So Far: Yuriko and Midori's heart-to-heart talk about her situation with Mayumi was happily interrupted by Midori's niece Sakura. Time continues to tick down; the tour looms ever closer.
Volume 5, Issue 4
"On the Radio"
"Thank you for coming today." Yuriko said brightly.
"Good morning," Sakura looked a little flustered. "Thank you for inviting me." She swiveled her head back and forth. "I mean, it's cool. But why am I over here? And not on the other side?" She gestured to the thick glass ahead over her, where a number of strangers were speaking, and a few people were discussing something with intensity.
"This is her idea of a practical joke," Midori commented acerbically.
"It is not," Yuri replied. She gestured to the headphones. "Put those on."
"Ah....um." Sakura was looking a little panicked now. "What am I supposed to do?"
"Listen." She tapped her own headphones, and watched as the other two woman lifted theirs unsurely, setting them in place. "Just listen." She nodded at both, then gave the guys behind the glass the thumbs up. Immediately music started up in her ears.
She looked at Midori with a grin, then nudged Sakura, as if letting them in on the joke. "Cool, huh?" she mouthed, but the girl was concentrating too hard to respond.
The music wasn't complex, with a pleasant upbeat feel. Yuriko helpfully followed the notes with her finger on the sheet music. Sakura nodded a few times, as the song progressed and soon was taping her foot to the music.
When the song faded in their ears, Yuri pulled the earphones off. "Got it?"
"Got what?" Midori laughed.
Yuriko snapped her finger against the paper. "This." She pointed to the chorus. "You'll kick in here. It's only a few words, so you ought to get the hang of it after a quick rehearsal."
"You're not seriously saying that we're singing on this." Incredulity filled Midori's face.
"I am. For one thing, it's *your* niece and *your* cousin this song is for. And for another, all you brilliant Yumi's have quite decent voices. You can't tell me you don't, because I heard you sing karaoke and..."
"This isn't like karaoke though!"
"Sakura-chan, don't panic. We'll just call the authorities and have her taken away gently," Midori leaned past the blonde to speak to her niece.
"Ha ha. Come on. I'm asking you to sing," Yuriko counted quickly, "six words." She looked back and forth between them. "It's a present. Just," she blew her breath out quickly. "Just do it."
Sakura looked thoughtful, then nodded "I'll do my best."
"Then I guess I have no choice," Midori caved. "But I make no promises."
"None needed." Yuriko nodded. "I'm going to sing this time, along with the music. When we get here," she pointed to a line, "get ready. You'll hear me, so just join in, like you might if we're just sitting around together. Don't be nervous. This is only practice. Nothing's recording. Okay?"
They nodded. Okay. Yuriko made the thumbs up sign again, and once again the music started. Yuriko took a deep breath and began to sing.
"That was fantastic!"
Yuriko laughed, as she waved a swivel stick at the girl. "Two hours ago you were terrified." She grinned at her assistant, who pretended to not be amused.
"I'm still terrified - when Misono-chan finds out, she'll kill me." Sakura grinned.
Midori joined them at the table carrying three wrapped roll cakes. "Chocolate for me, you can fight over the other three." She put them down on the table and seated herself. "Well, that's a credit I never expected to have on my CV."
"Wasn't it great though? I mean, it was totally fantastic." Sakura stopped in the middle of opening her strawberry roll cake, her eyes shining. "It's a total buzz."
Yuriko smiled at her lover. "Looks like we might have a career shift in progress."
"Whatever Sakura-chan chooses to do, she'll be a success, I'm sure." Midori replied confidently.
"I'm not going to be a singer." Sakura giggled. "But it was just really cool. When I heard what we sounded like, I thought, 'that's me?' It was like it was someone else."
"You haven't heard it after they mix it. Sometimes I'm amazed that that it's ever my voice at all. Which reminds me." She pulled out her phone and checked the time. She turned to her assistant. "Take a note to talk to Tsukiyama about the song."
"If I just remind you 'about the song,' will you remember what you mean?"
"Yes, thanks. Have a roll cake for your efforts." Yuriko handed over one of the remaining two roll cakes and took the last for herself.
They toasted with cups of luke-warm tea, and ate their packaged roll cakes like women who had done a good day's work and knew it.
"Are you going home today, Sakura-san?" Nami asked the girl politely.
Sakura blushed prettily, nodding."I told my parents that I'd be home for dinner, so I'll have to catch the train soon. But I'll definitely come again. Only, next time I'll have to bring Misono. Or she'll be really angry."
"Ahah!" Yuriko cried, as if discovering an important clue to a mystery."I knew there was something I'd forgotten. It's been bothering me all morning."
Midori chuckled."Would it have to do with the fact that you wanted to make sure Sakura-chan and Misono-chan get backstage passes?""
"Yes. It does. How did you know?" Yuriko peered closely at her suddenly psychic lover.
"You left a note to yourself in the kitchen. And the bedroom. And in your jacket pocket." Midori reached over and pulled out the scrap of paper and handed it to Nami, whose palm was already uplifted to receive it."
"I'm on it," Nami saluted with the paper. She opened her notebook and pulled out the pen."Just give me the proper spellings."
As Midori did so, Sakura watched wide-eyed.
"What are you looking so surprised at?" Yuriko winked at the girl."I told you that you could come back stage."
"Yeah, but that was like months ago and the tour is in a couple of weeks now. It's more like something real."
Midori laid a hand on the girl's arm."As long as it's all right with your parents," she said firmly,"you and Misono-chan can stay at my apartment." She squeezed the arm in response to the girl's yelped affirmative."The first show is on a Thursday night, so I mean it – only if your parents say yes." Midori smiled."I'll call them myself, so don't bother answering for them." She patted Sakura's arm, then turned to the blonde."After party too?"
"I don't know…what do you think?" Yuriko looked meaningfully at her lover.
"I think," Nami emphasized the pronoun,"I'd like it if they could keep me company at the party. This whole tour thing is a bit new and overwhelming to me. I think we'd have a lot of fun, don't you?" This last was direct at Sakura, who nodded, appreciation apparent in her expression.
Yuriko though about it for a moment. After parties were pretty notorious for excess – not all of it pretty. Or legal. She had been known to drink pretty heavily herself, although with the tour continuing the very next day, she had been planning on keeping herself under control this time. But that was hardly the same as having two young, attractive women who were nonetheless not yet 18 in her retinue and being responsible for them.
Nami's offer worked on several levels. The assistant wasn't that many years older than the other two. The gap wasn't so wide that two mature 17-year olds and a fun-loving 20-year old might not be able to be friends. And if things got out of hand, Nami could take Sakura and Misono home.
Yuri was still looking at Midori, who was clearly considering the options. With a short nod, she came to a decision.
"Providing your parents agree," she said once more, to Sakura's eye-rolling,"the after-party, as long as you stick with Nami-san. But no after-after party even if you think you're not tired. I will not be responsible for your parents waking up to find pictures of their little angels dancing on the tables of some club half-dressed or something equally appalling."
"Auntie Midori!" Sakura screeched with scandalized laughter."What kind of person do you think I am?"
Midori sighed heavily."I think you are the young kind." She shook her head.
Yuriko leaned past the writer, bringing herself within whispering distance."Don't tell her I told you, but she once told me that if she ever had children, she'd lock them in their rooms until they turned 18."
"Are you two planning on children?" Sakura grabbed on to the digression with both hands, ignoring the strained awkwardness that flashed across all the adults' faces at the question.
"Ah. Um, look at the time!" Yuriko tried to divert the conversation,"you've got a train to catch."
But Midori stood and said,"No. And look at the time. We'd better get you to the train station." She shot a pointed look at her neice.
"You're right," Sakura chimed in quickly, addressing everyone generally."It is getting late." She hurriedly stood alongside her aunt, and grabbed up her bag.
"We'll take you to the train station," Midori smiled at the girl, taking the edge off her rising battle aura."Come on, we'll see you off."
To Be Continued
Saiyuu no Ryokou, all characters and situations copyright E. Friedman and Yurikon LLC. All Rights Reserved.