In the Morning, I'll Say Hello - Chapter 16

"In the Morning, I'll Say Hello" is a yuri comic I wrote. I can't draw, so I'm just publishing the scripts to get it out there. I hope you enjoy (and if you're an artist and want to collaborate, let me know!).

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

Chapter 16

Eriko is at Hatsue’s house, they are in her room. They are doing homework. Eriko is trying to copy some notes but just yells out in frustration and throws her hands up in disgust.

Eriko: “ARGHHHH! What’s the point?!”

Hatsue laughs.

Hatsue (being coy): “Maybe you need a tutor!”

Eriko's head is down on her arms on the table.

Eriko: “Ughhhh...”

Hatsue keeps lovingly provoking her.

Hatsue: “I think you need a very special tutor. Someone who is good at math, maybe? Since you don’t talk much either, maybe a quiet little tutor...?”

Eriko blushes and throws a pillow at Hatsue.

Hatsue laughs while pulling the pillow off her face.

Hatsue: “I like it when you’re relaxed like this. You always seem so tense at school.”

Suddenly the mood gets a bit quieter and solemn, awkward silence.

Eriko: “Hmmm. I guess.”

More silence between them.

Hatsue: “Sorry, I didn’t mean to ruin the mood. How about some snacks?”

Just then, Tetsu comes into the room with a tray with tea and snacks on it.

Tetsu: “Snacks? Did someone say snacks? I thought you might be hungry with all the studying.”

Hatsue: “What are you, a stalker?"

                Tetsu (to herself): "Pushing me away, that's good..."

Tetsu ignores Hatsue and sets out the snacks and pours the tea and joins them.

Tetsu: “Eriko-chan, Ha-chan tells me you moved here recently?”

Eriko: “Ummm...Something like that.”

Tetsu: “Where did you live before?”

Eriko: “It'’s sort of ... hard to talk about.”

Hatsue is a bit exasperated with Tetsu.

Hatsue: “Jeez. Be sensitive, you can’t just ask things like that.”

Eriko (to herself): “It’s weird to hear them talk like this, I’m not sure I’m over the shock of finding out they're brother and sister."

Tetsu addresses Hatsue first, then turns to Eriko.

Tetsu: “How was I supposed to know? Sorry Eriko-chan, I didn’t mean to pry. We’re just glad you’re here now, right Ha-chan?”

Hatsue: “Yeah. It’s nice to have someone else I don’t have to pretend around.”

Eriko: “I...I wish I could pretend.”

Hatsue: “What do you mean?”

Eriko: “I...I think you have to ... know know, to pretend to be someone else.”

Tetsu: “Wow! Eriko-sensei, how profound!”

Hatsue throws the pillow at Tetsu that Eriko had thrown earlier. They’re all laughing now.

Hatsue: “I know! Eriko-chan, do you want to stay over tonight?”

Eriko gets a shocked, wide-eyed, frightened look on her face.

Eriko (to herself): “But what if it happens while I'm here? What if she finds out?"

Eriko: “I...I don’t think I should.”

Hatsue: “No, no...I’m sorry, it's too soon, isn't it? It’s just...”

Eriko (to herself): “just?”

Hatsue: “I’m just so happy to have found you!”

Eriko blushes and Hatsue blushes.

Hatsue: “I can’t believe I just said that.”

Eriko: “I’m...I’m happy.”

Tetsu: “I’ll leave you two love-birds.”

                Hatsue: "Shut up and go."

Tetsu leaves.

                Tetsu (to himself): "I'm relieved for you Ha-chan."

                Hatsue: "So, what do you think?"

                Eriko: " guardian...he doesn't know I'm here."

                Hatsue (to herself): "Guardian?"

                Hatsue: "That's okay, we'll just call him."

                Eriko: "I...I don't have a phone."

                Hatsue: "Just use mine!"

Eriko (to herself): “She won't let me say 'no.'"

                Eriko: "Sigh...Oh...okay."

Hatsue: “Does that mean you’ll stay over? I didn't mean to pressure you.”

Eriko (to herself): "I’ll just have to try and stay up, not fall asleep so it doesn’t happen.”

Eriko: “Is it really okay?”

Hatsue takes Eriko's hands in hers and smiles brightly.

                Hatsue: "It's more than okay!"

Evening, they’re lying in bed (Hatsue in her bed, Eriko on a futon on the ground). We see the moonlight coming through the window, casting shadows and highlighting others. Eriko is lying awake, staring up at the ceiling.

Eriko (to herself): “You can do this Eriko, just don’t fall asleep.”

She rolls over a few times. Hatsue shifts in bed, is barely awake, bleary.

Hatsue: “Eriko-chan, can’t sleep?”

Eriko: “Oh um, did I wake you? I’m sorry.”

Hatsue: “It’s okay.”

Eriko: “Th...Thank you...for letting me stay.”

Hatsue turns to her, opens her eyes and smiles kindly.

Hatsue: “I’m so glad, I was worried you wouldn’t.”

Eriko: “mmm”

Hatsue: “Are you thinking about something?”

Eriko (to herself): “I really feel like she can see right through me.”

Eriko: “This morning... when you were talking to those girls...”

Hatsue: “What about them?”

Eriko: “Well, why didn’t you go with them?”

Hatsue: “It’s okay when Tetsu drives me to one of their houses, but it’s still impossible for me to go out in public.”

Eriko: “Are you you worry...I mean, that they’ll find out?”

Hatsue: “I worry about that every day. I don’t know what’s worse, my fear of men or my fear of people finding out who I really am, what I’m really like.”

Eriko: “I...I shouldn't have asked.”

Hatsue has a distant, glazed-over look in her eyes.

Hatsue: “I feel like I’m always teetering on the edge between pretending to be this strong, confident person and the real me, the scared me, the scarred me, the me that is so afraid of the world. It’s hard being this afraid but keeping it hidden from everyone. I don't want to go back to being bullied and having no friends, but I don’t really like pretending either.”

Eriko (to herself): “I know that feeling, I wish I could tell you...”

Eriko: “The lies...they...hurt worse.”

Hatsue: “Maybe you're right. It hurts each time I speak to someone, each time I’m afraid my secret will come out, that I’ll be pushed away again.”

Eriko (softly and embarrassed): “I won’t push you away.”

Hatsue: “Oh Eriko-chan! I’m so glad we met! I’m so happy I finally have someone to be honest around, someone who knows me.”

Eriko: “I...I can’t believe I said that.”

Hatsue: “Don’t worry, I won’t ruin your delinquent image by telling everyone you’re really a softy. Besides, don’t let Kiyoura-san hear you talking like that to me or you’ll make her jealous!”

Eriko: “Ki-Kiyoura-san?”

Eriko (to herself): "Why'd she bring her up?"

Hatsue: “That’s right, that’s right, we’re still pretending there isn’t anything between you two.”

Eriko (to herself): “Something between us? Is that what I want? I don’t even know what that means.”

Eriko is staring up at the ceiling, thinking. Noticing this, Hatsue pushes a little bit.

Hatsue: “Wait, so has there been any progress with Kiyoura-san?”

Eriko (blushing and stammering): “Huh?! Wha..what do you mean?”

Hatsue (laughing): “It’s only fair, you got to ask me lots of personal questions already, and it is a sleep over, so now it’s my turn!”

Eriko is silent, but Hatsue is staring at her, imploring, refusing to give up.

Eriko: “I...I don’t know...We...We’re just...friends...I think.”

Hatsue: “You think?”

Eriko (looking downcast): “But, maybe not, after today.”

Hatsue: “What do you mean?”

Eriko: “I was Okumura-san and said some things I shouldn’t have...things I didn’t really mean.”

Hatsue: “About Kiyoura-san?”

Eriko nods 'yes' and says solemnly:

Eriko: “I think she overheard.”

Hatsue: “Oh, is that why you didn’t come back to class? I was worried it was something worse.”

Eriko (to herself): “Worse than hurting Kiyoura-san?”

Eriko: “I...I think I hurt her."

Hatsue: “I don’t know Kiyoura-san very well, but she seems pretty understanding. I bet she knows you were just angry with Okumura-san."

Eriko: “ think so?”

Hatsue: “You already know the answer to that, don’t you?”

Eriko (to herself): “Does...does she know I didn't mean it? That I do want...what do I want from her exactly?"

Eriko: “I don’t...I don’t really know what to think...”

Hatsue: “About her? Easy. I’ve seen the way you look at her, you can’t take your eyes off of her.”

Eriko blushes fiercely.

Eriko: “That’s not tr...”

Hatsue: “Shhhh, it’s okay, it’s not a bad thing.”

Eriko: “Do I really?”

Hatsue shakes her head 'yes.'

Eriko: “But I...I don’t know why...I keep watching her.”

Hatsue: “It’s simple. Because you love her.”

Eriko blushes and is shocked and waves her hands in front of her face.

Eriko: “Lo…lo…love her?”

Eriko (to herself): “But she’s a girl and I’m a girl and I’ve never even been in love before and I don’t know who I am or why I’m here or what’s going on...”

Hatsue can tell Eriko's head is spinning.

Hatsue: “It’s okay. Calm down. You don’t get to pick who you love. At least, that’s what I believe, because then...”

Hatsue (to herself): “...because then maybe it wouldn’t be my fault.”

Hatsue: “Anyway...”

Eriko is still spinning and not even really listening to Hatsue.

Eriko: “L...Love? I don’t think I know what that is.”

Hatsue (to herself): "She's not even listening, poor thing."

Hatsue: “I’m sure you do. Everyone has at least one moment in their lives where they’ve been loved. It’s from those moments of being loved that you learn how to love others.”

Eriko (to herself): “But what if I can’t remember ever being loved? How do I know if I ever was loved when I don’t know anything about myself? How can I love someone else when there isn’t anything inside me?”

Eriko rolls over in her bed, stares out a bit. Hatsue, looking at her thinks:

Hatsue (to herself): "“I hope I didn’t push too much.”

Hatsue: "Goodnight."

Hatsue rolls over and goes to sleep.

Eriko (to herself): “Kiyoura-san...”

Eriko is drifting to sleep, her eyes getting heavy, she unwittingly closes her eyes.

We see the black panels with the bright white lights of Kami-sama and Eriko’s mother (both still unnamed).

Kami-sama: “There is a need for her again tonight.”

Eriko’s mother: “Let her be, she did her work for you yesterday and look what it brought her.”

Kami-sama: “Did it bring her pain? Did it bring her suffering? Or did it move her one step closer to her goal?”

Eriko’s mother: “Either way, let her rest tonight with her new friend. You have others who can do this work."

Kami-sama: “That is most certainly not the point. But, I suppose, this will all be over soon enough. What is one more night, what is another few months, what is a year compared to eternity for us?”

Light is streaming into the windows of Hatsue’s room and across the resting face of Eriko. All of a sudden, she wakes up with a start, almost gasping.

Eriko (to herself): “Oh no! I fell asleep!”

She’s patting herself down, looking for signs of new wounds or fresh blood.

Eriko (to herself): “Did anything happen last night? Did Ha-chan find out? Stupid Eriko! The one thing you couldn't let happen!”

She doesn't notice anything wrong.

                Eriko (to herself): "I...I'm okay...?"

Eriko looks over and sees that Hatsue’s bed is empty.

Eriko: “Oh no, she's gone? Wha...what did I do?”

We next see Hatsue cooking in the kitchen. Eriko enters the room quietly, almost lurking in the doorway, not wanting to be seen.

Eriko (to herself): “It smells so good. Maybe nothing happened? Maybe everything is fine?”

Eriko rubs her eyes while she walks out to the breakfast table in Hatsue’s house. She sits down but isn’t making eye contact yet. Hatsue tries to make eye contact but Eriko just keeps looking away in different directions (almost a little comedic moment of Hatsue trying to make eye contact and Eriko avoiding it – Hatsue is almost playing with her).

Eriko (to herself): "I don't know how to face her after last night."

Hatsue: “I really never thought of you as the shy one, but I’m seeing it more now. It’s sort of cute.”

Eriko: “C...cute? Me?”

Hatsue: “Yeah! You’re pretty cute when you’ve just woken up.”

Eriko (to herself): "She seems normal."

Eriko: “S...shut up!”

Eriko has a faint smile.

Hatsue: “Did you sleep okay?”

Eriko: “Ummm...I think I said some really embarrassing things last night.”

Hatsue: “Eriko-chan, you’ve been so good to me, keeping my secret. I’m your friend and I won’t repeat anything you said to me.

Eriko: "Thanks."

Hatsue: "Although if you keep letting me in, I might not be able to stop from pushing you along!”

Eriko: “P...Pushing me?”

Hatsue: “Well, nevermind that, it's obvious what you're feeling. What matters next is what she’s feeling. Will you talk to Kiyoura-san today? Clear things up?”

Eriko: “Do...Do you think she’ll... forgive me?”

Hatsue: “Just be sincere. Your feelings will come through. She’ll be able to tell.”

Eriko: “You think so?”

Hatsue: “I know so!”

Eriko: “I...I’m glad...your my friend.”

Hatsue gives her a big hug, which surprises Eriko.

Hatsue: “Wah! I’m so glad we’re friends too!”

Eriko: “I...don't think...that I've ever had one before.”

Hatsue: “What do you mean? You must have had friends back home, someone you grew up with...”

Eriko: “For some reason I don’t think so.”

Hatsue: “You don’t think? You mean, you don’t know if you’ve had friends or you aren’t sure that people you were friends with really cared for you?

Eriko: “The...the first one.”

Hatsue: “I don't get it, how can you not know?”

Eriko: “Well, the truth is..."

Hatsue: "What is it? What's wrong?"

Eriko (to herself): "Should I tell her?"

Eriko: "I...I can’t exactly remember anything ...before the past few weeks.”

Hatsue: “Wait! You mean like amnesia?! Like you can’t remember ANYTHING?!”

Eriko: “I...I guess...sometimes I get a small feeling...or something.”

Hatsue: “But that’s all?”

Eriko: "Not even my name."

Hatsue (to herself): "What do I say?"

Hatsue: "Eriko-chan..."

Eriko: “I don’t think...I’ve never done something like this before... just talking...with someone who cared...”

Tears just start dripping from Eriko’s eyes. Eriko is shocked at herself.

Eriko (to herself): “What am I doing, in front of someone I just met?!”

Eriko: “I’m sorry, I’m sorry...”

Hatsue reaches out and hugs her again.

Hatsue: “Oh Eriko-chan! It’ll be okay, you’re okay, you have me now, you have all of us now.”

Eriko: “Please, don’t say them.”

Hatsue: “Of course. You have a reputation to protect after all!"

They laugh together at this.

Hatsue: "But I don’t see why you need to keep this a secret. Kiyoura-san won’t think any less of you if she knew.”

Eriko gets loud and demonstrative.

Eriko: “But, I don’t know who I am or what I might’ve done!”

Hatsue (to herself): "Done?"

Eriko is a bit calmer and subdued.

Eriko: “What if it’s like Okumura-san says...and I end up hurting Kiyoura-san?”

Hatsue: “Maybe she gets hurt, maybe she doesn’t. That’s just life, I guess. If it does happen, it won’t be because you did it on purpose. Besides, she has a say in this too. Okumura-san shouldn’t make decisions for Kiyoura-san just like she can’t make decisions for you. Kiyoura-san gets to decide what she wants.”

Eriko (to herself): "She's like a philosopher today!"

Eriko: “What she wants...”

Eriko (to herself): “But what exactly is it that I want to happen anyway?”

Hatsue (slyly smiling): “Besides, I get the feeling none of us should underestimate what your little friend can handle. She seems a lot stronger than anyone wants to give her credit for.”

Eriko: "I...I think so...too."

Hatsue smiling, mostly to herself.

Hatsue: "Eat up, we don't want to be late."

The sun is out, Hatsue and Eriko are sitting on a bench outside of the school. In the distance, Yuka is coming up, brushing her hand along the grasses and other plants in the garden, running her fingers through the leaves, little butterflies and other bugs are flitting about her. She’s sparkly and fresh.

Hatsue notices Yuka arriving and gets up to go.

Hatsue: “I promised someone I’d meet them before class. See you inside.”

Eriko (shocked): “Wait, you’re leaving? I’ll come with you.”

Hatsue takes Eriko's head and points it towards Yuka.

Hatsue: “Don’t miss your chance.”

Hatsue walks away from Eriko. Eriko flails after Hatsue to stop her but she’s out of reach. Hatsue sticks her tongue out at Eriko and winks. Eriko turns to see Yuka closing in. She catches Yuka’s eye. Both turn away in shyness/worry. Yuka crouches down where she's at and starts playing in the garden instead of walking any closer to where Eriko is sitting. Eriko just hangs her head.

Eriko (to herself): “She really must hate me. How can I talk to her now?”

Eriko is looking down and Yuka is looking at the flowers, but both peek up at each other only to turn away quickly after catching the other’s eyes. Heart beating sound effect.

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

They’re both blushing a bit each time this covert eye contact happens. After several repeats, Eriko lets her arms collapse and her head fall into her own lap. She has a gentle smile on her face. She lets out a big sigh.

Eriko (to herself): "She keeps looking at me. makes me happy. What do I do?"

She thinks of Hatsue saying (from the scene above): “Kiyoura-san gets to decide what she wants.”

                Eriko (to herself): "I...I get to decide, too...right?"

Eriko gets up and walks up beside Yuka and squats down next to her. Eriko starts to turn over a leaf between her fingers. They’re side by side, but not interacting with each other. Eriko speaks without making eye contact.

Eriko: “I...I’m sorry...for what I said...I didn’t mean it that’s just that...stupid Okumura-san...she pisses me off...she keeps saying’s not what I wanted to say...I mean...I mean, want to be...friends...with you.”

By the end of this, Eriko is heavily blushing. Suddenly, Yuka throws herself onto Eriko’s arm, hugging it, with a huge smile on her face, but does so with enough force to topple them both over. As a result, Yuka is on top of Eriko and her face is very close to Eriko’s, they blush, heart beat sounds, they scramble to separate and get back up, particularly Eriko.

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

They sit there, on their haunches, looking at each other.

Eriko: “ you want to be...friends...too?”

Yuka reaches out to take Eriko’s hand in hers but Aiko comes up behind them interrupting the gesture. Eriko pulls back as does Yuka.

Aiko: “It's too early for this."

Aiko turns to Yuka.

Aiko: “Time for class Yuka.”

Aiko helps up Yuka into a standing position and starts walking off with her hand-in-hand. Yuka turns her head and uses her other hand (outside hand) to point back to Eriko (from over her other arm, the one that’s hand in hand with Aiko).

Aiko: “She’ll come in if she wants.”

Eriko gets up, dusts herself off, and starts following behind them. Yuka smiles and turns back forward with Aiko. Eriko sees this, blushes, gently turns her head to the side. There is a hint of a closed eye smile from Eriko.

(to be continued...)

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