In the Morning, I'll Say Hello - Chapter 12

In the Morning, I'll Say Hello is a yuri comic I wrote. I can't draw, so you'll have to settle for reading the scripts (unless you want to join forces!). Enjoy chapter 12 (of 82).

In the Morning, I'll Say Hello - by Jaime Lustig

Chapter 12

"Rumors - Part 2"

Eriko and Hatsue in her bedroom. They're sitting around a low table in the middle of the room. Hatsue is crying.

                Eriko: " don't have to keep going."

                Hatsue: "I'm sorry, just give me a second."

She wipes her eyes and looks up at Eriko.

                Hatsue: "You probably didn't expect all this, huh?"

                Eriko (to herself): "I don't know what to say to her."

                Eriko: "I...I don't mind."

Hatsue: "I've never told anyone these things, I mean, other than Tetsu."

Eriko: "Why...why me?"

Hatsue: "When you protected me, from the girls, I've never had a friend who did that before."

Eriko (to herself): "Am I her friend?"

Hatsue: "I guess I you."

Eriko (to herself): "If she knew..."

Eriko: " deserve better...than them."

Hatsue (to herself): "I wish I believed that."

She sees the clock on her bed stand, it's getting late.

Hatsue: "Oh, it's so late, I'm sorry I've kept you. You probably need to get home."

Eriko: "Oh, I...I thought...there was more..."

Hatsue: "There is, but..."

She's looking very sad and distant, vacant eyes.

                Eriko: "I'll listen."

(Ed. Note: All the narration should be directly illustrated even if not explicitly described.)

Young (middle-school age) Hatsue comes home with her stockings torn. She's got scratches on her face.

Hatsue (Narration): "Some days I'd come home from school with bruises and dirty clothing. Other days my shoes would go missing and I'd walk home in my slippers. Sometimes they'd tip my lunch onto the floor as I was carrying it and I'd go end up going hungry."

Scenes of her shoes missing in her locker, above.

Hatsue (Narration): “Tetsu and my parents started to notice that I was becoming quieter and spending my time alone, but I couldn't tell them why. I was getting so desperate for answers about why this was all happening to me. Was rejecting his kiss that bad? Did it hurt him so much that he needed to hurt me back? I just couldn’t make it all make sense. I thought that If I could just find Ki-kun to talk this out, maybe it would all go back to the way it was before.”

Scenes of her coming home and going straight to her room. She's crying in her bed. She's not talking at the dinner table. She's locking herself away in her room and not going out. On the weekends she just sits around the house. Combined with more scenes of the bullying from school.

Mom: “She’s always sulking around lately.”

Dad: “That’s just what teenage girls are like.”

Tetsu is having doubts about that. He's watching her and worrying.

                Tetsu (to himself): "Something isn't right."

Scenes of her sitting at her desk, trying to study, throwing the books in anger. Scenes of her just sitting at the window sill thinking, lying in bed crying.

Hatsue (Narration): “Finally, I made up my mind. I had to talk to him, I had to know. So one day I waited by his house for hours until he finally came home.”

Hatsue comes out from behind a wall and grabs at Kiyoshi's shirt from behind. He momentarily sees that it's Hatsue, but then just turns his head back around and keeps walking pulling his shirt away from her hand and not acknowledging her.

Hatsue: “Wait, Ki-kun! Please!”

He just keeps walking. She runs up and stands in front of him. He won’t make eye contact.

Hatsue (Narration):  He wouldn't look at me, he just tried to push past me, but I wouldn't let him."

Hatsue (young): "Please. Please, talk to me, I'm so sorry for whatever I did that hurt you...Ki-kun, I love you, I really love you!"

Kiyoshi slowly looks up but has a cold look in his eyes and speaks coolly to her.

Kiyoshi: "Do you really?"

Hatsue: "Yes, more than anything. I don't care what they say that you said, I don't..."

Kiyoshi: "Wait, what do you mean you don’t care what I said? What do you think is going on here?"

Hatsue: "But everyone told me...”

Kiyoshi: “Spit it out already”

Hatsue: “But, it’s embarrassing, I know you wouldn’t those things.”

Kiyoshi: "Tell me."

Hatsue: "The other day, these girls...they said you made a bet with your friends...that you’d...”

Kiyoshi: “That I’d what?”

Hatsue: “Don’t make me keep talking about doesn’t matter.”
Kiyoshi: “That’s just doesn’t matter, does it?”

Hatsue: “That’s right, it doesn’t matter, it’s just a rumor, a lie.”

Kiyoshi: “What’s the rumor then? Say it plainly.”

Hatsue (to herself): "Please don't make me do this."

He turns away to start walking.

                Kiyoshi: "Whatever."

Hatsue: “Wait! They...they said...they said you told them that we...that"

Kiyoshi: "Well, obviously we didn't, did we?"

Hatsue: "Of course not. Why are you being so cold? I know that you'd never lie about me."

Kiyoshi: "But what if I did?"

Hatsue: "You'’d never do that..."

He's just looking past her coldly in silence.

Hatsue: "Did...did you do that?...Why would you...why would you say those things?"

Kiyoshi: "It was you who said it doesn’t matter. I know you don't really care about me anyway."

Hatsue: "No! That's not true, I love you so much!"

Kiyoshi: "Do you really love me?"

Hatsue: "Yes, of course I do, it doesn’t matter what you said. I'm sure you had your reasons. Nothing can change how I feel about you. I trust you."

Kiyoshi still has cold distant eyes but there is a slightly dark feeling about him now.

Kiyoshi: "Do you really trust me?"

Hatsue looks desperate for any sign of hope.

Hatsue: "I do, more than anything, please you have to know that!"

Kiyoshi: "Then show me you love me. Show me you trust me."

Hatsue: "How? What can I do? I'll do anything."

Kiyoshi takes her hands in his.

Kiyoshi: "Is anyone home at your house?"

Hatsue looks at him naively with a quizzical, uncertain expression.

Hatsue: "No, my brother's got a game and my parents are at a work dinner."

Kiyoshi: "Then let's go over to your place."

Hatsue and Kiyoshi walk into her empty house. They're both nervous and not talking. They sit on the edge of the bed, awkwardly. Each of them with their hands in their laps. Silent, his eyes vacant.

Hatsue (Narration): "We went up to my room. I was so relieved that we were together, but it was like he wasn’t really there, he wouldn't look at me. I was so desperate to feel some connection, I took his hand in mine. That's when it happened. He pushed me down on the bed. He got on top of me started kissing me."

Hatsue looks over at him but he doesn't make eye contact. She reaches over and puts her hand over his. Suddenly he pushes her down on the bed, straddling over her, forcefully kissing her. She's struggling a bit.

                Hatsue (young): "Wait..."

Kiyoshi: "Show me that you really love me."

Hatsue (Narration): “I tried to push him away.”

Hatsue (young): "Wait, Stop, I just want to talk...I just want to..."

Hatsue (Narration): “But he kept kissing me harder, he was pinning my hands down. I could feel his weight on top of me. I couldn’t move. I was so scared.”

Kiyoshi rips her shirt and starts to put his hand up her leg.

Hatsue: "Stop!...ughhh., stop, please Ki-kun, please..."

Hatsue is crying, struggling, unable to get out from under Kiyoshi or evade his touches, it appears that he really might force himself on her. She's crying.

                Hatsue: "No...please...please..."

Just then the door flies open and its Tetsu. He pulls Kiyoshi off of her and throws him to the floor. Tetsu looks at Hatsue, totally ignoring Kiyoshi.

Hatsue (Narration): “I'd never seen that look in my brother's eyes before.”

Tetsu turns back to Kiyoshi. He lifts him off the ground and he starts to punch him and knee him and generally beat him.

Hatsue: “No, stop, he wasn’t...”

Tetsu (to kiyoshi): “She’s trying to save you...but I know your kind. This is the only thing that will get through to you.”

Tetsu continues to punch him in the stomach and face. Finally, Kiyoshi is on the ground. Tetsu hasn’t even broken a sweat, this was cold, calculated and in control. Kiyoshi is trying to leave the room.

Tetsu: "Go, crawl on out of here and never come back. If I see you go anywhere near Ha-chan again, I swear crawling is all you'll ever be able to do!"

Hatsue (Narration): "That night I cried, I cried like I had never cried before. Everything had been ripped away from me. Tetsu just held me until I was calm and put me to bed. I was so sick the next morning, I couldn’t get out of bed, I had a fever, I couldn’t eat."

Hatsue (Narration): "When I was awake I just cried and cried, but mostly I slept. Days went by, but by the time I felt better, I still couldn't bring myself to go to school. The thought of seeing him again, of seeing anyone again was too much."

Scenes of her parents knocking on her door. Leaving food in front of it. Shaking their heads not knowing what to do. She finally opens the door for Tetsu one day. They sit and talk.

Tetsu: "You can't stay locked up forever. It's breaking my heart to see you like this."

Hatsue (crying): "I...I can't...I just can't."

He's holding her and rocking her.

                Tetsu: "Please, for me. I'll be there for you every step."

Hatsue (Narration): "Finally, after a week, Tetsu convinced me to give it a try. I got on the train like I always did, but everything was different. It felt like everyone was staring at me with lust-filled eyes, like they could see through my clothes. It was suffocating, I couldn't breathe, my heart was racing. By the time I got to school I was soaked in sweat and a nervous wreck."

Scenes on the train. She's imagining lascivious eyes from the strangers on the train, they've got leering eyes and sharp teeth, they're staring straight into her.

Hatsue (Narration): "It only got worse from there. I thought the bullying was bad before. It was ten times worse now.”

She’s at her shoe locker, when someone grabs her from behind, spins her around and pins her up against the lockers.

Random girl: "So you go and sleep with Ijiri-kun and then get him in trouble?"

Hatsue: "What do you mean?"

Girl: "Like you don't know, he's been kicked out of school because of you"

Hatsue (Narration): It turns out Tetsu had gone to the school and told them what had happened.”

Scene of the meeting between Tetsu and the principal. Then Kiyoshi and his parents in the principal's office. His parents screaming at him.

Hatsue (Narration): “But everyone blamed me for him getting kicked out. Ki-kun's friends had been telling everyone that I had seduced him and then blamed him we were caught. They said I was just embarrassed that I had gone that far. They said I let him take the fall."

More scenes of her getting picked on, being bullied, beaten up, more “slut” and "whore" written on things, being ostracized, hit by balls in gym, uniform dumped in toilet when she’s in gym, etc...

Hatsue (Narration): "They kept up the bullying. But that was nothing. What was worse was flinching every time I passed a boy. I was certain that each one was out to hurt me. If I was alone in the library or the hall, I was sure someone was lurking behind me, just waiting to get me alone. Every stranger on the train, every student in the school, every person I passed on the street.”

Scenes depicting her fear of men and of being attacked, her paranoia, her rising heart rate, her sweating, her panic, in all the examples she mentions above.

Hatsue (Narration): It finally became too much and one day I collapsed. Tetsu came to pick me up.”

She collapses in the hallway of school during a bout of panic when she is seeing dangerous boys all around her, she's spinning, certain that everyone is watching her, ready to hurt her, lusting after her. She wakes up in the nurses office. As she opens her eyes, Tetsu is sitting next to her, holding her hand. She just begins sobbing.

Hatsue (Narration): “There was no way I could go back to school. I stayed home, day after day, pretending to be sick. I refused to leave my room, even for dinner.”

We see her locked in her room, awake in her bed. Her mom knocks on her door.

Mom: “I’m running to the market, do you need anything?”

No answer from Hatsue, her mom sighs and leaves. At dinner, the family is eating without her, her chair is empty. It’s dark in her room, she’s still under the covers. There is a plate of food outside her door. She's looking thinner and thinner with dark circles under her eyes, her hair a mess, she's not taking care of herself.

Hatsue (Narration): “I didn't go outside, no friends came to visit. I just shut myself in my room. Finally, my mother came to me.”

The mom enters the room, she sits on the bed, pulls the covers back a little, runs her hand over Hatsue’s hair, pulling it back off her face.

Mom: "Tetsu told me everything.”

Hatsue just rolls over into her mom’s lap and sobs fiercely.

Hatsue (Narration): "It was decided then that I would study at home the rest of the year and then I'd go to an all-girls high-school. But that wasn't going to be enough to fix what had been broken."

Scene depicting her and the mom in the new school office signing the forms. Hatsue looks forlorn and withdrawn.

Hatsue (Narration): "It was so bad that I couldn't even go out in public anymore. Every train, every store, every cafe scared me. We'd pass people on the street and I knew what they really wanted. I could feel their thoughts reaching under my clothes. Even sleeping at night, no matter how hot it got, I couldn't keep my window open. I was so sure someone would come in to hurt me. I was losing my mind. I needed some way to protect myself from the world.”

Scenes depicting her ongoing panic attacks, fainting, screaming and running from random people she encounters, being helped back home by her family. Her parents apologizing for the scenes she’s making. She just stays in the house. She doesn’t leave when the family is going out. She’s become a shut in. Tetsu is watching all of this in a mixture of sorrow and anger.

Hatsue (Narration): “But Tetsu wouldn't let me stay locked inside. He wouldn't let me give up. So that's when he started driving me everywhere, even if it was just to get groceries. He was my protector. I felt safe with him, I saw the way people looked at me, but their look would change when they saw him by my side."

Scenes of them going out together, in public, she’s tentative, almost hiding behind him. When guys see them together they quickly avert their glances away from her. Tetsu gives them evil looks too. But when girls see them together in public:

Girl: “Is that the model Tetsu-kun?”

Girl 2: “I don’t know, it looks like him?”

Girl: “Whose that with him, is that his girl friend?”

Hatsue (Narration): "I really wasn’t sure I could handle school again. But no one knew me here. On that first day, when we pulled up, it was like there was an immediate firestorm. Everyone ran up to look at the car, to fawn over Tetsu.”

Hatsue is hiding timidly near Tetsu. Some girls come up talk to them.

Kaori: "I'm Kaori, are you a first year too?"

Chitose: "Who's your hot boyfriend?"

Hatsue: "He's not my..."

She looks up at Tetsu, Tetsu bows his head slightly to tell her it’s alright to go with the misunderstanding.

Hatsue: "...His name is Tetsu-kun"

Chitose: "AHHHHHH!! So cute, and he's so hot!"

Satomi: "What's your name?" 

Hatsue: "I’m Fujimaki...Hatsue Fujimaki, pleased to meet you."

Chitose: "Hatsue-chan, can I call you that? Come with us, we HAVE to talk about him!"

She gets pulled away by the girls who are swarming her, fawning over her hair and touching her and laughing. She looks back in amazement at Tetsu who just salutes and sends her off.

Hatsue (Narration): “And just like that I was embraced by the popular girls here. I just decided to be one of them, to pretend if that’s what it took, to keep them from ever finding out how scared I was.”

Scenes in class with her three friends, Satomi, Kaori, and Chitose. Scene’s of getting dropped off and picked up by Tetsu. Each time she's looking more and more made-up and glamorous, her idol look is forming. Each time more and more people greet them and we see the begins of her fan squads that carry over to 2nd year (when we met her earlier).

Hatsue (Narration): “Tetsu would drive all of us to one of their houses in the afternoons and they'd dress me up and show me how to do make-up. He would just drive around in the car until I was done. It was just so easy to let them think I had this amazing boyfriend.”

Scenes of her with her friends at their houses, but never out in public doing anything, always indoors in a home.

Hatsue (Narration): “It might have all been a lie, but then there was no pressure, no excuses to make. They just ate it all up, and I just fell into the role. It became easier and easier to lie because letting them think that I was dating Tetsu kept them at a distance. They never had to know anything about me or what happened in middle-school. But I worried that if they ever found out, they'd all leave me again.”

Scenes of her confidence rising at school. She’s starting to appear to bask in the glow of her adoration. She’s becoming the leader of her group and of her groupies. She’s also avoiding questions that lead to her past.

Chitose: “....and then she said that, can you believe it?”

Kaori: “Sounds like your middle school was intense! Mine was so boring.”

Satomi: “What about you Ha-chan? Where’d you go to middle school again?”

Hatsue: “Oh, my middle school was so boring, thank god I found Tetsu-kun.”

Chitose: “Sigh...Tetsu-kun!”

Kaori: “Jeez Chi-chan, it’s not like you’re dating him.”

Hatsue (Narration): “But it didn't really fix anything. I still can't even go out in public unless he's with me. I have to keep turning those girls down every time they want to do something out in public. I just lie and say that it's because I'm spending time with Tetsu. But I'm so afraid unless he's with me”

Scenes of her getting asked out to karaoke and having to decline.

Satomi: “Ha-chan, let’s go Karaoke after school. I'm so tired of spending time at home. We never go ANYwhere!”

Hatsue: “Oh, um, sorry Sa-chan, Tetsu-kun and I have plans."

Satomi (to herself): “hmmm, she always has plans with him when we want to go somewhere...”

Images of Hatsue studying, reading, crying alone in her room.

Hatsue (Narration): “Sometimes I just don't feel like I can keep it up. I'm so afraid that they'll find out the lie and it will all come crashing down. And I'm still so scared...of boys...of men...of losing my friends again..."

Back in Hatsue's room in the present with Eriko. Hatsue's looking off to the side, still squeezing the stuffed animal that Eriko had thrown at her in the prior chapter and that she held throughout the story. Eriko is looking down.

Hatsue: "I'm so sorry I lied to you about who I am."

Eriko: " didn't lie..."

Hatsue: "Maybe...maybe not to you..."

Eriko: "They don't...if they can't''re so strong."

Hatsue: "But I’m not strong. I'm stupid and weak and scared and...”

Eriko: "NO, you're not! aren't any of those things.”

Eriko reaches out and grabs Hatsue's hand impulsively and then blushes when she realized she wasn’t as reserved as she usually is and let's it go quickly.

Hatsue: (laughing) "Thank you Eriko-chan, for feels good to have someone know. But now that you do...”

Eriko: “Stop. I...I like you...even've always been my...friend?"

Hatsue blushes.

Hatsue: "It's not a question. I am your friend...even if you don’t want to be mine anymore.”

Eriko (to herself): " sounds so...strange..."

Eriko: "I...I DO! But...I don’t really know how."

Hatsue: "Yes you do...I knew it as soon as I met you that you don’t really want to be all alone.”

Eriko (to herself): “Alone...Have I always been alone?”

Eriko: "So when I asked you"

Hatsue: “HA! Now you see why I can't help you with your question. I really don't know what love is. I thought I did once, but I was wrong. But, watching you lately, I think you might know more about it than me."

Eriko blushes.

Eriko (to herself): "How could I know anything, I'm the last person anyone could love?"

Eriko: "What?!... I don't know anything! I...I don't even know why I'm’s not important anyway...and it made you...remember...things"

Hatsue: "I’m really glad you asked. I might have carried this secret forever. But you listened and you're still here. Thank you for not running away."

Hatsue looks at her with a big warm smile mixed with sad eyes.

Eriko: “I...I guess...that’s”

Hatsue nods and takes Eriko's hands in hers.

Hatsue: “Friends.”

(to be continued...)

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