In the Morning, I'll Say Hello - Chapter 15

"In the Morning, I'll Say Hello" is my yuri comic. I can't draw, so here are the scripts. (Of course, if you're an artist and want to collaborate, just let me know!). Enjoy Chapter 15 (of 82)!

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

Chapter 15


Morning in school, students arriving into the classroom. Eriko walks in, she looks terrible. Cut up, bruised, rumpled, and just slumps into her desk. Yuka turns around and notices her. She waves and gives Eriko a big smile. Eriko blushes and does a very minimal gesture back before putting her head down on her arms.

                Eriko (to herself): "What did the other day mean?"

Hatsue is talking with a group of girls. They’re looking at fashion magazines.

Chitose: “I can’t wait to hit up that sale at the new mall this weekend. I so need to get this skirt.”

Kaori: “My older sister offered to drive us.”

Satomi: “Ha-chan, are you coming?”

Hatsue looks nervous.

Hatsue: "Oh, umm, sorry, I, uhhh, have plans already.”

Eriko glances at her from under her hair. We can only see her left eye, the rest is covered by her messy hair.

Kaori: “What could be better than shopping?”

Chitose: “I know one thing, and he drives an awfully nice car!”

The girls are giggling.

Satomi (to herself): “Why is that always her excuse?”

Kaori: “I’d give up shopping forever to be with someone like him.”

Chitose: “MMMMM, Tetsu-kun!”

More giggling. Hatsue blushes and tries to change the subject. She points to a magazine they're looking at on her desk.

Hatsue: “Here, show me what you’re going to buy?”

Satomi (to herself): “She’s deflecting again.”

Eriko turns away and sees Yuka writing in her notebook. We see that it’s actually a drawing of a hand touching a flower petal (like they did in the park the other day). However, Eriko can’t see it from where she is, she’s just transfixed by Yuka in general, some loose strands of Yuka's hair highlighted by the backlighting sun from the window, almost a glowing halo.

As Eriko turns her eyes back to her own desk, she looks at her own hand laying across her other elbow and begins studying her own fingers. She thinks back to the last chapter where Yuka took her hand and ran her fingers over the flower petal. She slowly, almost unconsciously, moves to touch her fingers to her own lips. She catches herself mid-motion.

Eriko (to herself): “Wait, what was I about to do?”

Aiko, sitting behind Yuka, sits up in her desk and puts down the novel she’s been reading and looks over Yuka’s shoulder to see what she’s working on.

Aiko: “You’re working awfully hard this early in the morning, Yuka-chan.”

Yuka just takes the notebook and holds it tight against her chest, turns and smiles a big smile at Aiko.

Aiko: “Really? You think you’re just going to distract me with that smile? What are you up to?”

Yuka just shakes her head 'no,' blushing a little, and squeezing her eyes tight. Aiko just laughs lightly.

Aiko: “Fine, fine, I won’t make you show me. At least you seem focused today. Stay that way and you’ll win for sure.”

Eriko looks up a little (still disheveled, and still hair in her face).

Eriko: “Win?”

Aiko (sarcastically): “Oh, Arishima-san, I didn’t see you there."

Eriko: “Whatever.”

And Eriko turns back down onto her arms. Yuka just looks at Aiko with a “come-on” sort of expression. Aiko answers Eriko but without looking or acknowledging her, almost as if she's talking to no one in particular.

Aiko: “The prefectural high-school math competition is Friday. Yuka’s favored again this year.”

Eriko turns to look at Yuka, Yuka nods in confirmation. Eriko first tries to ask Yuka, but then turns to Aiko to ask:

Eriko: “Um, how can you... how can she participate...without talking?”

Aiko: “Oh, were you listening?"

Eriko starts to get angry.

Aiko: "The prefectural championship is all done on paper. It’s the nationals that are tougher. They have an oral speed calculation section. That’s the only thing that’s kept her from winning the national championship too.”

Eriko stands up quickly, slamming her fist against her desk and yelling.

Eriko: “That’s unfair!”

Everyone in the class stops and stares at her for this sudden strong outburst. Eriko blushes, sits down and just goes back to putting her head on her arms on her desk. There’s whispering and laughing from the other students.

Eriko: “Wh...Whatever, nevermind.”

Hatsue smiles to herself while facing her friends with her back to Eriko, but still having overheard the whole thing.

                Hatsue (to herself): "You're so cute, Eriko-chan!"

Chitose: “What a freak.”

Satomi: “Who’d want to spend time with that mess?”

Satomi gives a look at Hatsue. Hatsue keeps looking down at the magazine, embarrassed and angry that she isn't defending Eriko.

Aiko: “Don’t worry Yuka-chan, you’ll do so well on the written section this year that the oral section won’t matter at all.”

Yuka is just nodding “no” back and forth slowly, like "that’s not the problem."

Aiko: “You’re not thinking about that asshole from last year are you?”

Yuka turns away defiantly in confirmation with a little sideways pursed lip expression. Sort of cutely petulant, like a little kid. Eriko still has her head down, covered in her hair when she asks:

Eriko: “Who...who are you talking about?”

Aiko: “I thought you had lost interest in this conversation?”

Eriko forcefully turns her head away from Aiko, fuming. Yuka pokes Aiko.

Aiko: “If you must know, the asshole is Yuka’s rival Isei Yoshikawa-san. Not only did he win last year, but…”

Aiko is getting more and more intense as she speaks. Yuka cuts her off with a hand on her arm and shakes her head 'no' (silently indicating that “there is no need to talk about someone that way, I make my own decisions and live by my own accomplishments”).

Aiko: “Alright, alright, If you’re not upset, I shouldn’t be upset either. I get it. Thank you Yuka-chan.”

Aiko sits back into a more proper and composed posture.

                Aiko: "Anyway, I know you'll do great!"

Yuka smiles brightly at her.

The teacher walks in. A student states “Stand, bow…” and the students do so and the class begins.

Eriko is secretly looking at Yuka as she is diligently taking notes during the lecture. Yuka gests distracted by a bug flitting by the window before going back to her notes. As if sensing Eriko's eyes on her, Yuka shows Eriko that she hasn’t really been taking notes, but instead shows her a drawing of Aiko breathing fire. Eriko tries to stifle herself but just bursts out laughing, the whole class turns to look at her.

Teacher: “Arishima-san, did you have something you wanted to say?”

Eriko: “ it’s...nothing...sorry.”

Teacher: “Well, since you’re so eager to participate today for a change, why don’t you read the next passage?”

Eriko grumbles. She stands up to start to read and brushes back the hair from her eyes, her right eye is all black and swollen with a big cut on her forehead that’s bleeding a little bit, the blood has actually been wiped onto her hand from brushing her hair away. We hadn't seen this cut before because her hair had always been over her face obscuring most of it. Before she can start reading, the teacher stops her. There's more whispering from students.

                Students: "What's wrong with her?"

Students: "I bet it was another gang fight."

Teacher: “Arishima-san! You’re bleeding! Okumura-san, please walk her down to the nurse.”

Aiko is shocked, dismayed, but then resigns herself.

Aiko: “huh, me? ... (sigh) yes, sensei.”

Eriko: “Why...?
Aiko: “Yuka! Yuka! Yukaaaa! Wait! Wait up!”
Eriko blushes and shoots him an evil look.

Aiko and Eriko are walking to the nurse’s office. They walk down the hall in silence.

Eriko: “I’m fine. You can go.”

Aiko: “I take my responsibilities seriously. I’ll leave once you get there safely. I don’t want whatever happened to you to come back on me.”

Eriko speaks quietly almost to herself.

Eriko: “What did happen to me?”

Aiko: “What was that? Did you say something.”

Eriko: “No. Nothing.”

They turn into the nurses office, but it’s empty, no nurse in sight.

Aiko: “The nurse isn’t here. Sit down. I’ll clean you up.”

Eriko: “I can do it.”

Aiko: “Shut it and sit down.”

Aiko goes about getting supplies out to clean her up. Eriko sits down in a chair. Aiko joins her and sits in the nurse’s chair in front of Eriko. Aiko takes some peroxide, or similar, out of a bottle onto a piece of gauze.

Aiko: “This might sting a bit”

Eriko (to herself): “I’m sure you’ll enjoy that.”

Aiko (to herself): “I might enjoy this.”

Aiko brushes back Eriko’s hair form her face. Eriko winces. Eriko turns to look to her left (the injury is above her right eye) she’s avoiding making eye contact with Aiko who is close now.

Eriko: “ummm, can I...can I ask you a question?”

Aiko remains focused on cleaning the injury.

Aiko: “If you must.”

Eriko: “ long have you known Kiyoura-san?”

Aiko continues tending to the wound.

Aiko: “Longer than you ever will.”
Eriko looks down, emotional, hurt.

Aiko: “Why what?”

Eriko: “Why...why do you talk to me that way? What have I ever done to you?”

Aiko, a bit shocked by Eriko seeming so hurt and actually saying it out loud.

Aiko: (to herself): “I don’t think I’ve ever heard her say so much at one time so clearly.”

Aiko responds simply and quietly.

Aiko: “Yuka is very precious to me.”

Eriko (to herself): “I think she’s starting to become precious to me too.”

Aiko continues, becoming more direct.

Aiko: “I don’t know who you are or why you’ve come into our lives, but I’m not going to let you get in her way.”

Eriko: “Get in her way?”

Aiko: “She can go so far, accomplish so much.”

Aiko (to herself): “Despite everything she’s been through”

Eriko: "I...I know."

Aiko: "No. You don't."

Eriko: “What do you...get...out of playing hero?”

Aiko: “I'm not playing and I'm not doing it for my sake.”

Eriko: “You don't get a thrill out of controlling her?"

Aiko: “Are you really that twisted? I’m not using Yuka. What we have is real and if that’s how you think, you’ll never know friendship.”

Eriko: “How can I? won’t let my friend.”

Aiko: “She can be friends with anyone she wants, even you for all I care. But know this, I will protect her! I won’t let you hurt her! I won’t let you corrupt her or drag her down!”

Eriko (to herself): “I know, I worry about the same things, about getting her mixed up in whatever is going on, but...”

Eriko (a bit sheepishly): “I...I can protect her...too.”

Aiko is really emotional and visibly upset.

Aiko: “Protect her? You!? Ha! Don’t make me laugh. You don’t know anything about what she’s been through! You don’t know anything about her! Don’t talk like you do.”

Eriko: “And you do?"

Aiko: “How dare you? You have no idea. What gives you the right to judge me!?”

Eriko: “All you’ve done...all you’ve done is judge me!”

Aiko: “Maybe I have, but I’ve got good reason to. Whatever you’re into, whatever causes all these injuries you have every day, it isn’t something that I’ll allow into Yuka’s life. She’s been through enough!”

Eriko: “That you’ll allow?”

Aiko: “You think you can just waltz into our lives and just do whatever you want? You think she gives a damn about you? You think you’re anything other than a curiosity for her? I’ll be in her life long after you’ve gone. Long after she’s forgotten what your sorry face looks like. Long after you’ve realized you’re nothing to her!”

Eriko is really yelling back with a fierce, scary look in her eyes.

Eriko: “What makes you think I want her in my life anyway?!”

Right then Eriko and Aiko turn and notice that Yuka has been standing in the doorway. She’s somewhat dumbfounded and a single tear starts to form in her eye. She closes the door. Aiko gets up to follow her, turning her head back to Eriko:

Aiko: “See?! I knew that you’d hurt her. All you’ll do is keep hurting her. Stay away from her!”

Aiko runs out after Yuka. Eriko sits in the chair, head drooped.

Eriko (to herself): “I know I’m no good for her. I know I just keep hurting her. So why can’t I stop looking at her? Why can’t I stop thinking about her? Why can’t I stop wanting to know her?”

She looks back up at the empty door, she pictures the times she's hurt Yuka and now made her cry.

Eriko (to herself): “How can I possibly face her again, when I’ve just proven Okumura-san right?”

Eriko sighs. She gets up slowly and walks to the front entrance of the school. She gets her shoes on and leaves the building.

Aiko is running down the hall after Yuka.

Yuka stops with her back to Aiko. She puts an arm over her eyes to hide her tears, her back still to Aiko. Aiko comes up behind her, turns her around, lowers Yuka’s arm away from her eyes. Sees the tears, and just hugs her close in. She kisses the top of her head.

Aiko: “Everything’s okay, it’ll all be okay. I’m here and I’m not going anywhere. Just forget about her. She’s not worth it. You see what she’s like.”

Yuka is just shrugging her head back and forth “no” over and over vigorously (as if denying what Aiko is saying about Eriko not being worth it, and Eriko being a bad person).

Aiko: “I don’t understand. Why do you care about her? What is it about her? What can she do for you that I can’t? Why...why aren’t I enough?”

Aiko catches herself and puts a hand over her own mouth in horror at this statement.

Yuka looks up at her, eyes still very moist. Yuka puts a hand on Aiko’s cheek, gets on her tip toes, pulls Aiko's head lower, and kisses Aiko’s forehead very gently. Aiko blushes.

Yuka then opens Aiko's hand and takes the bandage out of it (the one intended for Eriko). Aiko is shocked she was still carrying it. Yuka motions to her forehead (where Eriko's cut was) and gives a questioning look.

Aiko: “Even after what she said, you’re still worried about her?”

Yuka nods 'yes' very softly.

Aiko: “She doesn’t deserve your attention. I don’t know what’s going on in her life, but it isn’t good and you shouldn’t get tangled up with it. She's just going to cause you more pain. Look at you now, crying in the hallway because of her.”

Yuka takes the bandage and holds it on her own right cheek like how a young child brings a special blanket up to their face when they’re sad. She gently closes her eyes. Aiko wipes the tears from Yuka’s face with her hand.

Aiko (sighing and resigned): “You never cease to amaze me. You’re going to get hurt... you know that but you won’t give up, will you?”

Aiko (to herself): “I guess I have no choice but to follow you to the end. Because when she hurts you so bad you don’t want to get back up, I’ll be the one to carry you.”

Yuka just smiles sadly up at Aiko.

Aiko: “No. I know you won’t give up, you never do.”

Aiko (to herself): “Why does it have to be her?"

Aiko leans back against the windows in the hallway. Yuka is watching her, bemused a bit. Aiko turns away to avoid eye contact.

Aiko: "I'm sorry."

Yuka tips her head to the side in question, confused by the apology.

Aiko: "She...she only said what she did because I provoked her. I think she wants to be your friend too.”

Yuka hugs Aiko tightly.

                Aiko: "I can't believe you made me say that."

Yuka laughs (silently) at her.

Aiko: (sigh) “Let’s get back to class. She’ll be fine and you can make up with her later.”

Eriko is walking down the streets in the afternoon. Wandering aimlessly, not really focusing on people. She's so unfocused she's running into some people, little kids are dodging her, a person on a bike skids to a stop to keep from running her over. She’s around others but completely isolated in her own head. A black aura surrounds her. She has a fierce, scary expression on her face. Some people are moving to the other side of the street to avoid her. Tetsu's sports car pulls up and the window rolls down.

Hatsue: “Eriko-chan!”

Eriko's eyes come back to focus.

Eriko: “Ha...Hatsu…chan?”

Hatsue: “I've been looking all over for you. I was worried when you didn’t come back to class. Okumura-san wouldn't say anything either. Are you okay?”

Eriko: “I...I’m sorry I worried you...I’m fine.”

Hatsue is smiling in relief.

Hatsue: “What are you doing now? Want to come over? I’ll let you copy the notes from the day so you don’t fall behind.”

Eriko: “It’s okay...don’t worry about it...I...I’m not sure I could get any more behind, anyway.”

She gives a little, tiny, smile at her own joke. Tetsu leans across Hatsue and says:

Tetsu: “Eriko-chan, no need to be shy. Come over for dinner.”

Hatsue: “I promise no more surprises like the last time!”

Eriko lets out a little laugh, somewhat unwittingly.

Tetsu: “There she is.”

Eriko blushes and shoots him an evil look.

            Tetsu: "Hahahaha."

Hatsue: “Just ignore him. He's really an idiot."

Hatsue turning to Tetsu.

Hatsue: "This is why I never introduced you to people."

Tetsu: "Oh, Ha-chan, you're so mean."

Hatsue ignores him totally and goes back to Eriko.

Hatsue: "Seriously, come on over and you can rely on me the way I relied on you.”

She gives Eriko an imploring look.

                Eriko (to herself): "She relied...on me?"

Eriko (sighing) “A...alright, I mean...if it won’t trouble you.”

Hatsue: "You can't trouble a friend."

(to be continued...)

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