In the Morning, I'll Say Hello - Chapter 14

"In the Morning, I'll Say Hello" is my yuri comic. I can't draw, so you'll have to settle for reading the scripts (unless you want to illustrate it for me!). Enjoy Chapter 14 (of 82)!

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

Chapter 14

"Flowers - Part 2"

We see teenage Suzu hanging up the laundry outside on the balcony. Her face is bruised and cut. She's got a black eye. She's staring out into the evening sky, her eyes vacant. The wind gently blowing the clothes.

There, next to the hanging clothes, are the burnt remnants of the math competition certificate, pinned up to dry on the clothes line.

Young Yuka is curled up in a ball at Suzu's feet, eyes closed, asleep, there is a hint of a small cut on the right side of her neck. Suzu finishes with hanging the laundry to dry. Suzu looks down lovingly at Yuka lying at her feet.

Suzu (to herself): "Did you really abandon her this time, mom?"

Then Suzu lifts Yuka up who wraps her arms and legs around Suzu as she's being carried, she never really wakes. Suzu places her in bed and tucks her in.

Suzu (to herself): “I get the feeling it might just be the two of us for a while... Maybe that won’t be such a bad thing.”

Scenes of teenage Suzu and young Yuka cleaning up the apartment all the next day. Suzu still has her injuries. They are picking up and looking in gross containers. Yuka makes a face at the smell of stale beer in a bottle she picks up. We hear the rattle of bottles in bags. They are sweeping, throwing out bags and bags of garbage and taking them to the incinerator and to the recycling. Trying to make the apartment presentable.

As they are working, Yuka's stomach grumbles.

Suzu: "hahaha, I guess we should stop and get some dinner, huh?"

Yuka just nods 'yes.'

                Suzu (to herself): "She hasn't said anything all day."

                Suzu: "Okay, let's see what we've got."

Suzu looks in the fridge. It's empty, just a bottle of water and some condiments.

Suzu: "We're out of food, but I...I don't think I can go out like this."

She gingerly touches her face. Yuka looks so sad and helpless. But then she steels her face, and goes over to the entry way and starts putting on her shoes.

                Suzu (to herself): "What is she doing?"

Then Yuka stands up and holds out her hand, palm up, expectantly to Suzu.

                Suzu: "You'll get food?"

Yuka nods 'yes' and re-shoves her hand towards Suzu.

                Suzu (to herself): "She really is so amazing."

Suzu takes out her wallet and there's just a few yen in there. She sighs and hands them to Yuka.

Suzu: "Just go to the store on the corner, okay? Do you remember how to get there?"

Yuka nods 'yes,' salutes, and leaves the apartment.

                Suzu: "Maybe you'll be alright without her."

Young Yuka is in the convenience store. She checks the money she has, then picks up a few cheap food items. As she's walking the aisles, she sees someone from behind who looks like her mom. Her eyes light up. She runs up to her and grabs her shirt. The woman turns around. It isn't her mom.

                Woman: "Yes dear? Do you need something? Are you okay?"

Yuka looks disappointed and just shakes her head 'no' softly, let's go of the woman's shirt and goes to another aisle. In that aisle, she sinks down and holds her knees to her chest. Tears form in her eyes.

At home, Suzu is sitting at the table. She's tapping her leg, restless.

Suzu: "Where is she? It shouldn't take that long."

She keeps acting nervous and fidgety for a while. Not able to take it anymore, she gets up and rushes out of the house. As she's walking down the street, she's trying not to look at people. She feels as though people are staring at her, wondering about her hurt face.

                Suzu (to herself): "Where are you, Yuka?"

She's rushing and turning her head away or even covering it with her hands. She passes a young child with her mother.

                Little girl: "Mommy, what's wrong with that girl's face?"

The mom looks horrified that her daughter said anything.

                Mother: "Shhh, don't stare. We need to get home to papa."

Suzu (to herself): "A momma and a papa..."

Suzu enters the store and doesn't see Yuka. She goes up to the clerk. The clerk isn't paying attention at first.

Suzu: "Excuse me, have you seen a little girl here recently?"

The clerk looks up and has a shocked expression on her face. She's trying not to stare.

Clerk: ", maybe a while ago."

The clerk keeps looking at Suzu's injuries, opening and closing her mouth, trying to figure out whether to say anything or not. Suzu turns away and leaves the counter.

                Suzu: "Thanks."

Suzu goes up and down each aisle until she finds Yuka curled up, rocking.

                Suzu: "Oh, Yuka!"

Suzu wraps Yuka in her arms, they both cry, there on the floor of the convenience store.

It’s now late at night. Teenage Suzu tucks young Yuka into bed.

Suzu: “Good night little one, thank you for all your help today. You were very brave."

Suzu bends down and kisses Yuka's forehead.

Suzu: "I love you, more than anything.”

Yuka tries to talk, but nothing comes out. She’s confused and worried. Suzu puts a finger on Yuka's lips.

Suzu: “Shhh, it’s okay, I know, even if you aren’t able to say it.”

Yuka holds her throat.

Suzu: “Give it time, I’m sure it will come back.”

Suzu (to herself): “As long as that’s the only thing that comes back.”

Yuka sits up in bed and gives Suzu a huge hug.

Suzu: “Goodnight, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Teenage Suzu is talking with a woman in a suit at the dining table in their apartment. Yuka is sitting on the couch watching a cartoon on TV. The woman gets up from the dinner table, bows, and leaves the apartment. Suzu goes over to Yuka on the couch.

Suzu: "The landlady agreed to let us out of the lease early in exchange for the furniture."

Yuka looks a bit dejected.

Suzu: "Don't worry, we'll get a nice place just for us and start over."

Yuka nods 'yes' and snuggles into Suzu. Suzu wraps her arms around Yuka.

                Suzu (to herself): "Anything to help you forget."

Teenage Suzu and young Yuka are standing outside the cement apartment building that we know from current day. It's a couple stories with external stairs and landings. It's pretty rundown and minimal. Yuka looks up questioningly at Suzu.

                Suzu: "Don't worry, it'll feel like home soon enough."

We see them inside the small apartment cleaning and setting things up. A mover drops a few boxes off. But overall the apartment is barren. They eat dinner together (cup noodles) on the floor in front of the galley kitchen. They have no furniture. As they're eating, Yuka yawns and is slowly nodding off.

                Suzu: "Let's get you to bed, it's been a long day."

Suzu tucks Yuka in to a futon on the floor of her new empty room.

                Suzu: "Goodnight, I love you."

Yuka gives a sweet little smile and closes her eyes and rolls over.

Suzu (to herself): "Will you promise to always smile that way at me?"

Suzu leaves the bedroom and shuts the door. We see light from the main room coming in through the bottom gap between Yuka's door and the floor in Yuka’s room while Yuka (seemingly) falls asleep. We then move out into the main space where Suzu is sitting at the table working through mail and paperwork.

Suzu: “Okay, so Dad’s life insurance is still coming in, at least mom hasn’t gotten her hands on that, wherever she is. But it isn’t going to be enough. Mom must have had some savings to keep things going. We're going to need more and more now that Yuka’s going into elementary school."

Suzu reflects back on Yuka trying to speak and nothing coming out. The sad look in Yuka's eye.

Suzu: "What's going to happen in school if she never gets her voice back?...I still don't remember what happened that night with’s still so foggy..."

She shakes her head to clear it.

Suzu: "Come on, Suzu, focus. I need to take her to the doctor...that just means more bills. And if her voice never comes back, I’m also going to have to find someone to tutor her. She’s so gifted, but the school won't know how to help... A tutor...ughhh, that’s going to really push our finances over the edge. I better start looking for a job...or two."

She just looks at the pile of bills and tears start coming to her eyes. She straightens up, wipes her eyes, pats her cheeks to pep herself up.

Suzu: “Alright, you can do this! You can be the mother she never was.”

Yuka just rolls over in bed, hugging a stuffed animal. She wasn’t asleep, but was listening to everything Suzu was saying.

Teenage Suzu is getting young Yuka dressed and washed, Yuka is fussing and doesn’t like Suzu cleaning her up.

Suzu: “Stop fussing, the least you can do is be presentable. My senpai at work recommended her. She's doing us a favor by offering to tutor you.”

Yuka is just stamping her foot in protest at the face washing.

Suzu: “I’m not going to let that big beautiful brain of yours go to waste at your stupid school. We can’t afford to send you to a private school, but at least I can do this for you. So be grateful!”

Yuka stops in her tracks, shocked at her own thoughtlessness, and just wraps herself around Suzu in a huge hug. Yuka starts crying.

Suzu: “There, there, I’m sorry, that was too harsh. I know you’re just nervous, but you’ll have a good time. Apparently Okumura-san is in college and really smart. Plus, I hear she has a younger sister your age. Maybe you’ll make a new friend too?”

We get a quick flashback (montage) to the earlier chapters that depict young Yuka showing up at Okumura’s house the first time, meeting young Aiko at the front gate, Aiko being rude and leaving her out there waiting. Shiori smiling and taking her into the giant house. The three of them hanging out doing homework on many occasions, Aiko joining them sometimes.

Young Yuka skips up the street towards the mansion carrying her bag. Yuka rings the doorbell at the main gate.

                Intercom: "Hello, Okumura residence. How may I help you?"

Yuka is standing there silently.

                Intercom: "Hello, Okumura residence."

Yuka is starting to giggle silently.

                Intercom: "Ughhh, is that you Kiyoura-san?"

Yuka is nearly doubled over in glee.

The maid opens the door and sternly walks down to meet Yuka and speaks to her through the metal bars of the gate but without opening it.

House-staff: "You'll have to go home. Shiori-sama is not coming back. She's gone."

In school, Yuka (elementary age). She’s sitting near the window. A student is reading out loud from a text.

Boy: “...So take this cloth to town, and please live happily. Goodbye.” *

(* Ed note: from the story “Tsuru no Ongaeshi”)

Teacher: “Hmm, next will be, no, I suppose not, we’ll move on to....”

Yuka looks down sadly. Suddenly a wad of paper hits her. It bounces on to her desk. She opens it up and it’s a note:

Note: “Can’t read, can’t talk, can’t think, stupid!”

In the afternoon, we see her alone at the shoe lockers while other kids are going home together in groups. She’s walking alone.

The next morning in class. The teacher and the school administrator are in the front of class.

Administrator: "...This is Aiko Okumura-san..."

Scenes of young Aiko and Yuka studying together, hanging out at each other’s houses, including with Suzu at Yuka's place. but also in Aiko's big bedroom. They are growing from elementary to middle school in age during this montage.

During middle school:
A bunch of girls are standing in a circle, we can’t really see who is in the middle. They’re pushing someone around.

Girl 1: “Why don’t you say something? Huh? Just say ‘stop’ and we’ll stop!”

Girl 2: “You think just because your top in the class that you get special treatment?"

Girl 3: "You never have to read out loud, you never have to serve on any committees. We know you can talk. You just think you're better than us don’t you?”

We see that inside the circle it’s middle-school Yuka that’s being pushed around. She’s crying silently, but not saying anything, not making a sound, trying to stand strong despite the pushing and harsh words. She just keeps getting up each time they knock her down.

Girl 1: “Say something Dammit! What’s wrong with you?!"

Middle school aged Aiko comes up behind them with a fierce and dark look in her eyes.

Aiko: “Who the hell do you think you are? Picking on someone half your size who hasn’t done anything to any of you?”

Girl 1: “Why do you care? You’re rich and beautiful, why do you even bother with this little idiot?”

Aiko slaps the girl and then grabs her by the collar. Another girl comes up to try and stop Aiko.

Girl 2: "Hey!"

Aiko grabs her too. She’s now holding both by their collars, one in each hand.

Aiko: “If you ever do anything to her again, I will bring the entire wrath of the Okumura Conglomerate down on your families. Do you understand me?”

The girl can barely speak because she is being chocked by Aiko's grasp of her collar.

Girl 2: “Ughhh, mmmms, smsadgh”

Aiko: “I can’t understand you.”

Girl 3: “We get it, we get it, let them go. Jeez, we were just messing around.”

Aiko lets the other two girls down. She fixes their clothes for them in a condescending way (straightens their collars, etc...) and they quickly run off. Yuka just takes Aiko’s hand from behind, Aiko turns around, and Yuka looks up at her and smiles. Aiko blushes.

Aiko: “What would have happened if I hadn’t shown up?”

Yuka just shrugs. Aiko puts a hand on her head and laughs.

Aiko: “Come on, let’s get you cleaned up at the nurse’s office.”

The phone rings late at night at Yuka and Suzu’s house. Yuka is in the last year of middle school (what would be our 9th grade, so she's age 14ish). Suzu gets up and answers the phone.

Suzu: "Hello, Kiyoura residence."

Aiko is slurring her words, drunk and delirious.

Aiko: “Sssssuzu-san, ish that youuuu?”

Suzu: “Aiko-chan, where are you?”

Aiko: “I can’t goooo hooome, not like this.”

Suzu: “Tell me where you are and I’ll pick you up.”

Aiko: “I...I think I’mmmm at the cooorner of XXX and XXX.”

Suzu: “Stay there, I know where it is. I’ll call your parents to let them know you're staying over here.”

Time passes, Yuka is doing homework, watching TV, etc...eventually she brushes her teeth and gets into bed. Suzu opens the door with a drunk Aiko draped over her and being propped up from the side. She’s somewhat getting dragged into the house by Suzu as she can't really walk straight. Suzu helps her get cleaned up and changed into pajamas, and put into bed with Yuka. Yuka starts to stir, rolls over and sees Aiko. Yuka brushes the hair out of Aiko’s face. They are face to face, inches apart. Aiko blushes and Yuka just curls up into her.

Aiko (to herself): “So warm...where were you earlier?”

Entrance ceremony for high school. Scenes of the class president and the school chairman speaking. Aiko and Yuka are sitting next to each other. Aiko puts her hand on Yuka’s hand and leans in to whisper lightly to her:

Aiko: “It’ll be a fresh start here. No one knows either of us from before.”

Yuka just squeezes Aiko’s hand and leans her head against Aiko’s arm. Aiko blushes.

Scenes of them in class together. Yuka writing formulas on the board. Aiko reading out loud in class. Scenes in science class doing labs together. Scene’s eating lunch together. Etc…

Scenes of Yuka in the local math competition, writing furiously on the written part of the competition. The award ceremony, (she didn't win, but placed highly) taking the picture (the picture Eriko saw in the hallway of school). Going out to dinner with Suzu and Aiko to celebrate. The three are laughing and having a good time.

We see a bright morning sun. Yuka is squatting playing in the garden at school. Suddenly we see legs coming up from the side and someone trips over Yuka knocking her over. Crouching overtop of her is Eriko, her long blond hair falling over them both.

                Eriko: "What the hell?!"

Yuka is stunned by her beauty. Yuka reaches up to brush the hair back from Eriko's face. Eriko appears shocked and falls backwards on to her hands, no longer over Yuka.

Eriko: " were in my way!"

She studies Eriko's face, noticing the cuts and bruises. Yuka goes to touch a cut on Eriko's face. Eriko knocks her hand away.

                Eriko: "Don't...don't touch it."

Eriko gets up in a huff and storms off. Yuka is just staring after her.

                Sound effect: "Ba-dump, Ba-dump"

(Ed note: this is all from the first chapter, we’re just seeing it from Yuka’s perspective this time)

We are back in the present. Aiko, Hatsue, Yuka and Eriko are on the fieldtrip in the park. Yuka is still laying on the ground fingering the purple flower, her eyes are closed. Eriko is sitting near her but looking out into the distance, her hands are out behind her propping her up.

Yuka slowly opens her eyes and turns her head towards the flower she has been touching and sees that Eriko’s hand is close to hers. She studies Eriko's long fingers. She reaches out and lightly touches Eriko's hand. Eriko turns, snapped back to the moment, eyes wide and blushing.

Yuka takes Eriko’s hand in hers and brings it over to the flower. Eriko is in shock at the touch, her eyes wide, but doesn’t pull back.

                Eriko (to herself): "Wha...what is she...?"

Yuka uncurls Eriko’s fingers and guides Eriko’s pointer and middle finger over the edges and textures of the flower.

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

Then she take’s Eriko’s hand into hers and holds it. Eriko is just speechless and stunned. We have the heart thumping sound effects.

                Sound effects: "Ba-dump, Ba-dump."

                Eriko (to herself): "What does she...? Why do I feel...?"

Aiko and Hatsue come over to them. Eriko jerks her hand away from Yuka, still blushing. Aiko gives her a dirty look.

Aiko: "Don't worry, we got the assignment done while you two were relaxing."

                Eriko: "Oh, um..."

Hatsue: (laughing) “HAHAHA, now now children, don't fight. Let’s eat, I’m starving.”

They take out their bento and set up a little picnic lunch in the field. We see them eating, sharing food, the camera keeps panning back to almost a bird’s eye (more like an isometric) view, pulling back and back as they get smaller and we see the scope of the field and surrounding forests with them sitting, tiny, in the huge beautiful field.

Black panels with the white lights of Kami-sama and Eriko's mother.

Eriko's mother: “Is it holding?”

Kami-sama: “Memories can only be buried, never surrendered.”

Eriko's mother: “What will happen to the contract if her memories return?”

Kami-sama: “That will be for them to decide.”

(to be continued...)

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