In the Morning, I'll Say Hello - Chapter 27

"In the Morning, I'll Say Hello" is my original yuri comic. However, I can't draw, so you'll have to settle for reading the script instead. Enjoy chapter 27!

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

Chapter 27
"How Do I Face You Now?"

Monday (note: list the days – including in flashbacks to help keep the timeline of this chapter clear)

The classroom.

Teacher: “Kiyoura-san, will you come up and show the class how to complete this problem?”

Yuka is staring out the window, not paying attention.

Teacher: “Kiyoura-san?”

Snickers and stifled laughs from the class. Yuka is completely oblivious to everything, staring out the window. Aiko looks at her from her desk behind, and is about to reach out to tap her, but pulls her hand back. The teacher comes over to Yuka’s desk.

Teacher: “Kiyoura-san, are you okay?”

Yuka looks up at him dreamily, not really focused on the world, a vacant, far-away look in her eyes. Eriko, from under her hair (because she has her head down on her arms like normal), looks at Yuka. She notices the back of the necklace chain poking out of the collar of Yuka’s uniform. Heart beat sound effects.

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

Eriko (to herself): “She’s wearing it, she’s really wearing it...I’m so...happy.

Teacher: “Will you show the class how to do this problem?”

Yuka gets up and goes up to the board, she starts solving it, but she’s not really paying attention, the chalk sort of trails off...and she’s just standing there, not really focused on anything, the chalk drops out of her hand and hits the ground.

Teacher (to herself): “Hmm, that’s unlike her, to not know the answer.

Teacher: "Can someone else come up and finish this?”

Yuka walks back to her desk, again not really focused, in the background her classmates are whispering:

Girl: “what’s wrong with Kiyoura-san?”

Girl 2: “She never gets anything wrong.”

Girl 3: “Is she sick?”

Yuka sits down at her desk, she stares out the window some more.

Eriko (to herself): "Something's wrong with her. Did something happen? Is she upset about that night?”

A tear starts forming in Yuka’s eye. From where her head is turned out the window, only Aiko, behind her, can see it. Aiko is shocked, and suddenly raises her hand.

Aiko: “Sensei, I think Kiyoura-san isn’t feeling well, can I walk her to the nurse’s office?”

Teacher: “Oh, yes, of course, that makes sense, please help her.”

Yuka stands up (almost lifelessly, like a rote motion) and starts walking out of the room not even waiting for Aiko, who hurriedly gets up and follows after her. Hatsue turns and makes eye contact with Eriko. Eriko closes her eyes and lays her head sideways on her arms looking to the left at where Yuka’s empty desk is.

Eriko (to herself): “Why couldn’t I be the one to help you? Did I do something to make you feel this way?”

Yuka and Aiko walking down the hall to the nurse’s office. It’s awkward between them. Yuka is looking down. She’s not close to Aiko’s side like normal. Aiko is very quiet as well. They walk in complete silence to the nurse’s office. When they get there, Yuka stands with her head down, not making eye contact with the nurse.

Aiko: “Sensei, Kiyoura-san isn’t feeling well, can she lie down for a while?”

Nurse: “Of course, make yourself comfortable. Are you sick, do you need any medicine?”

Yuka slightly shakes her head ‘no’ and walks over to the bed. She gets in, rolls over, away from everyone.

Nurse (to Aiko): “Will you be staying here with her?”

Aiko: “No, I should get back to class. Thank you.”

Nurse: “Okay, thank you for bringing her down, Okumura-san.”

Aiko (to Yuka): “I’ll check in on you later.”

Yuka pulls up the blankets a bit tighter.

Aiko is walking down the empty halls on the way back to class. She stares out the window a bit at her own reflection.

Yuka’s party last Saturday.

Hatsue is sitting, but with her arm on Aiko’s arm as Aiko has stood up to go after Yuka who has just left (from last chapter)

Hatsue: “...You have some explaining to do.”

Aiko turns back to Hatsue, throws Hatsue’s arm off hers and says,

Aiko: “I have nothing to explain to you. I’m going after her.”

Suzu: “Aiko-chan, please, calm down. I really don’t know what’s going on, but lets all go out to look for her together.”

Aiko: “Do what you want. I’ll call you when I find her.”

Aiko is walking alone on the dark streets illuminated only by the street lamps.

Aiko (to herself): “Did you really want to see her that badly? What is it about her?”

She comes up to the park and from a distance sees Yuka and Eriko sitting next to each other on the bench, Yuka’s head is against Eriko’s arm.

Aiko (to herself): “I drove her right into your arms, didn’t I? Just like dad did to...”

Aiko's cell phone rings. She turns around and starts to head back, answering the phone.

Aiko: “Hello....yes, I found her...she’s at the park near the train station....She’s fine. I’m sure she’ll come back soon.....I’m going home....why don’t you go home too and meet her back there?, no, I’ve done enough, just call me when she gets back.....Suzu-san, I’m...nevermind.”
                [Flashback ends]

In the present. Aiko in the hallway of school, looking at her reflection in the window. She sighs and walks back to class.

Aiko (to herself): “She’ll forgive me, right? I was only trying to protect her. Someday she’ll understand that I had no choice. I just hope it’s not too late by then; I hope she realizes it before she gets her heart broken by that person.”

Lunchtime, students are dispersing, some are eating at their desks, others are discussing getting bread from the school cafeteria. Hatsue comes up to Eriko.

Hatsue: “Where do you want to eat lunch today?”

Eriko: “ummm, anywhere I guess...but, I brought...”

She lifts out a bento that she made for Yuka.

Hatsue: “Oh Eriko-chan! You have to take that to her, she’s probably starving.”

Eriko: “I...I can’t do that. Not today.”

Eriko (to herself): “She’s probably upset at me...she probably thought about that night...she must have realized how I feel...she must be disgusted and not want to be near me.”

Hatsue: “Why on earth not?”

Eriko: “It’s...I can’t now.”

Hatsue: “When she came back that night, Kiyoura-chan wouldn’t tell us what happened between you two. But from the look in her eyes, I got the feeling that it was something pretty good. Don’t waste this chance.”

Hatsue (to herself): “Do I have to do everything for you?”

Hatsue: “Come on!”

Hatsue starts tugging Eriko out of her desk by her arm.

Eriko: “Wait, wait...”

Next we see Eriko knock on the nurse’s office door, open the door, and walk into the nurse’s office, Hatsue is peeking around the corner of the door watching what happens.

Eriko: “Excuse me, is Kiyou....”

But Eriko stops herself when she sees Aiko sitting reading a book next to Yuka’s bedside. Aiko puts the book down slowly, places a bookmark in it, closes it (all very deliberately), then turns her head to look at Eriko, Aiko sees that Eriko is carrying a lunch. Aiko stands, and silently walks past Eriko and out the door and past Hatsue. Aiko gives Hatsue a death stare.

Hatsue (to Aiko): “What?”

Aiko: “Nothing.”

Aiko walks away from Hatsue and the nurse’s office down the hall. Hatsue closes the door and goes on down the hall herself.

Hatsue (to herself): “Good luck Eriko-chan!”

Eriko sits down in the chair where Aiko was sitting. She sets the bento on the edge of the bed and starts unwrapping it.

Eriko (to herself): “Is this really okay?”

Eriko: “Ki...Kiyoura-san? I...I thought...I thought you might be hungry.”

Yuka is silent, just lying under the blankets, still facing away from the chair, but her face is blushing.

Eriko: “Oh, umm, maybe you’re sleeping...”

Eriko (to herself): “Or maybe, you’re upset at me?”

Eriko stands up and is about to leave, but she sees Yuka’s ear poking out from the bedsheets. The ear is blushing. Involuntarily, Eriko moves closer to the bedside, starts looking over at Yuka, she moves in a little closer still as if drawn in unconsciously to kiss Yuka. Suddenly Yuka turns and their faces are right by each other. Each blushes really quickly and Eriko backs off in a hurry and trips and falls over the chair and onto the ground spilling the food along the way. Yuka clambers to the edge of the bed and looks over the edge at Eriko on the ground and the spilled bento. She lets out a small, shy smile and silent giggle. The necklace slips out from the front of her blouse and dangles down. Eriko sees it, she starts to reach out for it. Catches herself, and pulls her arm back.

Eriko: “I...I’m sorry...I must have done make you sad.”

Yuka just nods her head slowly ‘no’ as in “it wasn’t you” and gives a little reassuring smile.

Eriko (to herself): “Can I really believe that you're not disgusted with me?"

Eriko: “Oh, that’s....good then...ummm, I was...worried about you.”

Yuka smiles a bit bigger and gets down from the bed, they’re picking up the pieces of the bento and cleaning up. It’s silent between them. When they’re done, they’re sitting next to each other on the floor. Both looking sort of sheepish and shy. Suddenly the nurse comes in.

Nurse: “OH! Did you come to check on Kiyoura-san?”

Eriko: “Ummm...Yes...and...lunch.”

Nurse: “Well Kiyoura-san, if you’re feeling well enough to eat, what about going back to class?”

Yuka nods ‘yes,’ gets up and grabs Eriko’s hand and leads her out of the nurse’s office. Eriko is focused on her hand in Yuka’s. Her face is blushing.

The nurse looks at them leave, then down at the garbage can and notices all the food thrown away in there and sighs.

In the hallway, Yuka and Eriko run into Aiko. Aiko looks at Yuka’s face then at them holding hands. Eriko drops Yuka’s hand a bit forcefully.

Eriko: “I’m going back.”

Eriko walks away back towards the classroom leaving just Aiko and Yuka. Yuka reaches out almost imperceptibly towards the departing Eriko, but then notices Aiko. She looks up at her, Aiko has trouble making eye contact, Yuka drops her eyes to the ground. Yuka and Aiko walk back together, separate, quiet, and awkward.

Dinner with Suzu and Yuka. It’s quiet.

Suzu: “Are you ready for this weekend?”

Yuka is pushing food around on her plate, not really eating.

Suzu: “I’m so excited to see Tokyo again! What do you want to do with our time after the competition is over?”

Yuka is not really paying attention, just sort of sitting with her head looking down.

Suzu: “Come on Yuka, Is this still about your party? I know what Aiko-chan did was wrong, but she loves you so much. She would die if she knew she was getting in the way of this weekend.”

Yuka puts her chopsticks down, gets up from the seat, collects her dishes, puts them in the sink, and goes into her room, without ever really making eye contact or acknowledging Suzu.

Suzu: (to herself): “Oh, Yuka. I hope you can forgive Aiko-chan. Seeing you get closer to Eriko-chan has to be really hard for her. But, it’s sort of sweet actually, almost like they’re fighting over you. I wonder what type of feelings you have for Eriko-chan? Are you ready for all that would mean?"

In Yuka’s room. Yuka is sitting at her desk, her homework open. She’s trying to concentrate, but just keeps crossing things out, erasing, and ripping up and balling up paper.

The night of the party (last Saturday).

Suzu and Hatsue are back in the apartment after having searched for Yuka, cleaning up dishes and the mess in the main living space.

Hatsue: “Should we be worried that Kiyoura-chan hasn’t come back yet?”

Suzu: “Aiko-chan said she was okay, she wouldn’t lie about that. Let’s give Yuka a little more time."

Hatsue: "Hmmm..."

Suzu: "Thank you for all your help cleaning up, but you don’t have to stay. I’ll call you when she gets back.”

Hatsue: “That’s okay, I don’t mind. Besides, I’m sorta curious about what happened. Do you think Kiyoura-chan found Eriko-chan?”

Right then the door opens in the background (we hear the sound effect of a door opening and closing). Suzu runs out of the kitchen to see.

Suzu: “Yuka, is that you!? Are you all right? I was so worried!”

Yuka is walking in, her bare feet dirty, she’s a bit dreamy, her face flushed, she’s got one hand clasped over the necklace around her neck, and a little calm smile on her face. She eventually looks up at Suzu, as if finally acknowledging the world around her. She's sparkling.

Suzu: “Yuka?”

Hatsue: “Did you find her?”

Yuka nods 'yes' with a minimal nod (and with a slight dreamy smile and a little blush). Then walks away, into her bedroom and closes the door leaving a shocked and confused Suzu and Hatsue staring at each other.
                [Flashback ends]

Back in the present. Yuka looks back at her math homework, realizes she’s gotten it wrong, erases it and closes the notebook. She takes the necklace from under her shirt and holds it glinting in the light of her desk lamp. She then looks up at her corkboard above her desk and sees some pictures of her with Aiko at different ages, how happy they are, how close they are. She reaches out and touches Aiko in one of the pictures.

Outside school the next morning. Yuka is walking up the sidewalk when Aiko’s town-car pulls in and drops her off. She gets out and sees Yuka. At first she’s not going to say anything, then, just before Yuka would turn into the school gate to enter the courtyard Aiko says:

Aiko: “Yuka!”

Yuka stops and turns, pauses...awkward silence, and then, not knowing what else to do, bows slightly to Aiko, who is shocked by the formalness of the reaction and bows back. Yuka is waiting, though, and Aiko walks up next to her; they walk in together, but they’re pretty far apart and silent still. The mood is somber. Yuka is hurt, but not angry. Neither knows what to do with this new tension between them.

We see Hatsue sitting on a bench next to Eriko, who is laying down like normal. Hatsue is observing Yuka and Aiko.

Hatsue: “They’re still fighting aren’t they? I wasn’t sure Kiyoura-san could even get angry, I’ve never seen her like this.”

Eriko rolls over and sits up a bit to look.

Eriko (to herself): “Is she angry? Something is different between those two for sure.”

Eriko gives a disinterested acknolwedgment.

Eriko: “mmm”

Hatsue: (to herself): “Let’s see what we can find out!”

Hatsue: “Kiyoura-chan! Okumura-san!”

Hatsue is waving and exclaiming to get their attention. Aiko doesn’t turn to look, but Yuka looks up and over at Hatsue and Eriko, begins to put a hand up to wave and sort of smiles, Eriko makes eye contact, blushes, Yuka blushes back. Yuka looks back at Aiko and back at Eriko and Hasue, and hangs her head and keeps walking in with Aiko, unsure how to navigate the two groups.

Hatsue: “Poor Kiyoura-chan. She wouldn't tell us anything about when she found you. And you, YOU haven't told me anything either! ARGHHHH What gives? Was it so embarrassing that neither of you can talk about it?!”

Hatsue is teasing Eriko with this. Eriko jokingly shoves her away without even looking.

Eriko: ""

Hatsue breaks out laughing.

Hatsue: “HAHAHAHAHA, good enough!”

Eriko remembers being embraced by Yuka in the moonlight of the park. She starts blushing and turns her head further away to hide it from Hatsue.

Hatsue: “Well, they’re old friends, so I can’t blame Kiyoura-chan for sticking by her. I still can't believe Okumura-san that to you! How low can you get?”

Eriko: “ doesn't matter."

Eriko (to herself): “I guess it worked out okay. Even though I didn’t give her the necklace, she seemed to know it was from me.”

It's lunchtime, all four of them are sitting outside together in the courtyard with their bento. No one is talking to anyone. No one is sharing food with anyone, they're all a bit far apart, sitting in a row instead of a circle. Yuka looks really down. There is a dark aura over them all.

Hatsue: "Well, someone say something? I can't stand this!"

Aiko: "Don't worry about it, I’m done eating."

Aiko packs up and stands up. Yuka looks up sadly at Aiko, is about to reach out to her to stop her, but pulls her arm back, Aiko sees this and leaves.

Hatsue: "Sorry Kiyoura-chan, I didn't mean for her to go.

Hatsue (to herself): "Not that I necessarily mind."

Hatsue: "Here, Eriko-chan, try some of this, it's a new recipe."

Hatsue puts a piece of food into Eriko's mouth quickly and unexpectedly. Eriko starts choking, coughing. Eriko bends over and Hatsue is hitting Eriko on the back. She's waving Hatsue away.

Eriko: "I'm alright, I'm alright."

Eriko looks up and there is a worried Yuka right in front of her face, kneeling down in front of her.

Eriko (to herself): “She's so close...I can smell her shampoo... what am I thinking?!”

Eriko blushes, Yuka blushes, and Eriko starts coughing again.

Eriko: "...water...I'm going to get water."

She gets up and leaves just Hatsue and Yuka together. Hatsue lowers her head and sighs.

Hatsue (to herself): “I can’t tell if those two idiots have realized their feelings about each other yet.”

She sees Yuka reach up to touch the spot on her chest where her necklace is under her shirt.

Hatsue (to herself): “Hmmm, maybe they have...”

Next we're in the bathroom. Eriko is washing her face at the sink.

Eriko (to herself): "Damn it, she looked so cute! Why’d I have to embarrass myself that way in front of her. ARGHHHHH. Is this what’s it’s like to be love?"

Right then Yuka opens the door. She stops in her tracks when she sees Eriko, their eyes meet, they both blush shyly. Yuka walks over to the sink next to Eriko. She takes her handkerchief out of her pocket. Eriko notices it's a cute print (flowers). Yuka wets it and starts rubbing at her shirt. Eriko notices a small stain.

Eriko: "Di....did you spill....something?"

Yuka looks up at her and nods, holding out her shirt with the stain for Eriko to see.

Eriko (to herself): “She’ll only make it worse cleaning it that way."

Eriko: "Ummm. If...if it’s okay...let me."

Yuka looks up surprised and hands Eriko the cloth. Eriko takes the cloth and starts daubing it, instead of rubbing it, the stain slowly lifts. Yuka looks at it and then up at Eriko like it's magic that it came out.

Eriko: "Ummm, well, I'm always...spilling and Arishima-san...well...he showed me...and..."

Eriko realizes she’s holding Yuka shirt and starts blushing, drops the shirt and hands the cloth back to Yuka perhaps a bit forcefully.

Eriko: "Here you go...we better...I’m going back."

Eriko turns to leave and Yuka follows. Yuka is smiling delicately and walking beside Eriko. In the bathroom, the stall door opens and Aiko walks out. She’s standing in front of the mirror washing her hands.

Aiko (to herself): “I’m really losing you, aren’t I? It’s happening all over again. You’re going to leave me just like she did.”

Tuesday Night.
Suzu at work, a desk job. She looks at the clock, it’s 4:30ish.

Suzu: “Hey, Senpai? Can I take a quick break, I need to make a call?”

Office worker: “Oh sure, I’ll cover your phone for you.”

Suzu is now standing outside on her phone.

We see Aiko lying on her bed, the shades are drawn, only a little light peeks between the gap in the curtains, falling in a decisive line of light across her in the bed. Her long, black hair is splayed out over the cover. The phone next to her lights up and rings, she looks at it and sees that it says “Suzu Kiyoura.” Aiko closes it back up and sets it back on the bed and rolls over the other way.

Back to Suzu.

Phone message: “We’re sorry, the party you are attempting to reach is unavailable at this time, please leave a message.”

Suzu (into phone): “Hi Aiko-chan, it’s me, Suzu. I know things are still awkward between you and Yuka after last weekend, but her competition is this weekend in Tokyo and I was hoping you’d come over on Thursday night for a good-luck dinner. We’re leaving by train Friday morning and the tournament is on Saturday. Anyway, I’m sure she’d like to see you.”

She hangs up the phone and sighs.

Suzu (to herself): “Why exactly am I getting in the middle of this? I’m spending too much time with high-schoolers. I really do need a boyfriend.”

(to be continued...)

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