In the Morning, I'll Say Hello - Chapter 23

"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. Enjoy!

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

Chapter 23
"Like Riding a Bike"

Eriko is laying on a bench outside of school in the courtyard, Her classic position of one leg up, one leg out, arm over her eyes. The tree behind the bench is shading the spot. Streaks of sunlight coming through the green. Students are walking into the school and we hear their various conversations about Eriko.

Girl 1: “That’s her isn’t it, the second year who was suspended?”

Girl 2: “It must be. Let’s walk on the other side.”

Girl 3: “Is she the one who killed the other student?”

Girl 4: “I heard that she broke the girl’s legs and she’ll never walk again.”

Girl 5: “It’s that Arishima-san girl, they should have kicked her out forever.”

Girl 6: “She’s giving this school a bad name.”

Girl 7: “Quiet, don’t let her hear you or she’ll get her gang to do the dirty work.”

Eriko rolls over onto her side with her back to the courtyard/walk-way. She's so long she has to slightly bend her legs. All of a sudden she feels something and jumps around ready to pounce. It was Yuka nuzzling her back. Eriko's eyes are still wide, but she blushes and Yuka gives a big grin. Yuka then grabs Eriko’s hands and pulls her into school. Aiko is trailing behind looking upset.

Eriko: “Wait...just a minute...Ki.....Ki.....Kiyoura....”

Aiko (to herself): "So you were waiting for us, huh?"

In the classroom. Eriko, Aiko, and Yuka are sitting at their desks. Aiko and Yuka are “talking” and Eriko has her head down on her arms on her desk like normal. People in the room are standing around in groups whispering, pointing, etc... at Eriko. Yuka looks around and then at Eriko in distress.

Aiko (to Yuka): “She did this to herself. She already had a reputation to begin with. Things might not blow over so quickly this time.”

Yuka gives Aiko a sour look.

Aiko: “I know, I know, Kinoshita-san sort of had it coming for what she did to Fujimaki...”

Right then, Kinoshita and her two friends (Kaori and Chitose) walk into the room talking and laughing with each other. They stop dead in their tracks when they see Eriko at her desk. They gasp, the whole room goes silent and stares. They walk up and stand right in front of Eriko’s desk, but Kinoshita is a little shaky and not taking the lead like normal – she’s actually behind the other two.

Chitose: “What do you think you’re doing here, delinquent, showing your face at school after what you did?”

Eriko looks up with rage in her eyes, she puts her arms on her desk and starts to slowly push herself up to a standing position (as if she’s lifting thousands of pounds on her back). Right then, Hatsue (with her new more reserved look – glasses and braids and not all made-up) comes bounding into the room and runs over to Eriko and is just about to give her a big hug, but gets a bit bashful and pulls up short. She completely ignores the other girls. She can’t take it anymore and just launches into a big hug of Eriko.

Hatsue: “Umm...Eriko-chan! I....I...I missed you so much. I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry...”

Eriko is shocked, the other girls just turn away in a silent huff and leave the two of them.

Eriko: “Ha...Hatsue-chan. You look...I mean...”

Hatsue (shyly): “I...I owe it all to you.”

Eriko: “To me?”

Hatsue: “Well, you stood up for me, the real me, I didn’t think I could come back to school after everything, but Okumura-san said...”

Eriko turns sharply and angrily towards Aiko.

Eriko: “Said WHAT?”

Aiko: “Relax. I didn’t say anything bad about you. Don’t go getting suspended again by attacking me.”

Hatsue: “No, no, you have it all wrong Eriko-chan, Okumura-san actually defended...”

Aiko shoots Hatsue a look as if to say “shut up” but before Hatsue can respond...

Class leader: “Rise, attention, bow.”

And class begins.

Images pass of class going on, Yuka staring out the window, students standing and reading, Eriko looking at Yuka, staring at her neck and an ear poking out of her hair. Students working. Eriko’s head down on her desk at times. Yuka at the math board, etc... It’s in between class time now.

Hatsue goes up to Eriko in between classes.

Hatsue: “Eriko-chan, I’m sorry about this morning, I just couldn't..."”

Eriko: “ didn't...or anything.”

Hatsue: “I mean, you’re so important to me, and I just wanted to say thank you for what you did. I feel freer now than I have in a long time. But I know you’ve suffered a lot because of me, and I’m so sorry.”

Eriko blushes at Hatsue's openness.

Eriko (to herself: “Suffered?”

Eriko: “It’’s okay.”

Hatsue: “Are we still friends?”

Eriko (shocked): “huh?”

Hatsue looks unsure, timid, and nervous.

Hatsue: “I thought maybe you were mad at me for you getting in trouble and being suspended.”

Eriko: “She's...even more adorable this way than when she was all dressed up!"

Eriko: “’m happy for you.”

Hatsue: “Really?”

Eriko (sweetly): “Really.”

Hatsue takes Eriko's hands in hers.

Hatsue: “I’m so relieved! Hey, what are you doing on Saturday? Tetsu isn’t going to be home so I’m sort of stuck there, but I thought maybe we could all get together and study. Maybe I could help you get caught up?”

Eriko: “Oh, umm, sorry...I promised my guardian, umm, I’d help him...clean and...stuff.”

Hatsue looks dejected.

Hatsue: “Oh, okay. Maybe another time then.”

Hatsue (to herself): "Maybe she really is angry with me."

Eriko averts her eyes from Hatsue.

Eriko: "Oh, uh, sure."

Yuka and Aiko are watching this awkward exchange and look at each other. Yuka's eyes get wide and excited with an idea. She tugs on Aiko’s sleeve. Aiko sighs and nods a solemn 'yes' as if she understands the request.

Eriko and Heizo are in the small backyard of Heizo’s shop in front of the shed. It’s falling apart. The yard isn’t in really good shape either. Things are weedy and overgrown on the edges and the grass is mostly dust in between. The gardens/yard are pretty dilapidated, but there is some evidence of what it might have looked like when Kinuko (Heizo’s deceased wife) would have been working on the gardens.

Heizo is scanning around, day-dreaming of what it looked like, we see first an image of now, then the same viewpoint but beautiful and long ago. We see Kinuko in a few of the shots as well. Heizo looks wistful. He snaps himself out of it and looks at Eriko.

Heizo: “Eriko-chan, are you sure you don’t have something better to do today than help me clean the yard up?”

Eriko: “No, nothing. I want to help you...for everything you’ve done.”

Heizo: “Well, it will be a big help. The yard's really a mess since Kinuko passed. And I can’t fix this old shed up with all that junk inside. It’s been so long since I even opened it. I wonder if the lock will work anymore."

After struggling with the lock a minute the door just falls off the hinges and junk and boxes fall out the opening.

Heizo: “ho ho, well, good enough. What a mess!”

He looks over at Eriko and she’s trying to stifle a laugh, he turns back to the shed, smiling.

Heizo (to himself): "You're face lights up, you shouldn't hide it."

Heizo: “Let’s dig in, shall we?”

Scenes of them taking boxes out and sorting them on the lawn, opening them up, taking things out and looking at them, putting some back, throwing some away, etc... At one point Heizo finds a bike in the shed, it’s in pretty bad shape.

Heizo: “I can’t believe this is still in here? I haven’t seen it in years.”

Eriko: “Was that yours?”

Heizo: “No no, it was Kinuko’s, she used to ride everywhere on it.”

He’s lost in thought for a moment, an image of her riding on it – coming back from the market, then he looks to Eriko.

Heizo: “Would you mind working on cleaning this out for a little longer? I think I need to take a break for a while.”

Eriko (to herself): “Is he okay? I hope he didn’t over do it.”

Eriko: “Oh! O...of course.”

Eriko goes back into the shed, when she does, Heizo’s face lights up in a devilish way, and he takes the bike quickly and covertly into the house while Eriko is still cleaning.

An expensive black car pulls up in front of Heizo’s house. Out steps Aiko, with Yuka pulling Hatsue by the hand behind her. Aiko goes over to the driver to dismiss him. Hatsue is a bit unsure of the neighborhood (it's pretty run-down).

Hatsue: “This is where Eriko-chan lives?”

Aiko: “Yup.”

Hatsue: “Thank you for picking me up, but I don't think I should be here uninvited."

Hatsue (to herself): "I don't think Eriko-chan really wants to see me."

Aiko: "We'll make sure we ask Arishima-san if it's okay."

Hatsue; "But...but...I don’t even know her guardian...?

She's breathing sort of rapidly, hyperventilating really.

Hatsue (to herself): “I mean, he’s a can I...?”

Aiko: “There’s nothing to worry about, he's very kind."

Aiko has a thoughtful/grateful look on her face as she says this. Yuka squeezes Hatsue’s hand and looks up at her. Hatsue takes a deep breath.

Hatsue: “Okay, I guess, I had to get out of the house alone sometime. Better here than somewhere, right?"

Aiko: “I’m sure she'll be happy to see you as well.”

Hatsue: “Okumura-san, this isn’t like you, doing something like this. Does that mean you’re warming up to her?”

Aiko: “I'm only suffering like this for you.”

Hatsue: “It’s not exactly like you to be worried about me either for that matter.”

Aiko: “I couldn’t care less about her, but you’re a...friend.”

Aiko almost scrunches up her nose like it's distasteful to let feelings out.

Hatsue: “Friend?”

Yuka nods vigorously and is smiling.

Aiko: “I won’t say it again...anyway, let’s get this over with. I really can’t believe I’m spending my Saturday with her.”

Hastue (to herself): “Hmmm, an unexpected side of her.”

Yuka leads them (by skipping) up to the front door and she rings the bell (maybe a few times excitedly). Heizo comes out with his jeweler’s loupe on. Hatsue jumps back behind Aiko and Yuka, terrified.

Heizo: “Ah, it’s Okumura-san and the young miss! Welcome, welcome. Come to see Eriko?”

Aiko: “Yes. I hope we’re not bothering you.”

Heizo: “No, no, she’s just helping this old man clean the shop and the yard. I’m sure she’d much rather be with friends, but you know how she is, she’d never leave my side if she thought I needed help...”

Aiko (to herself): “Know how she is? We don’t know anything about her.”

Heizo: “Oh, who’s this now, I almost didn’t see you there?”

Yuka shoves Hatsue out from behind Aiko. Hatsue takes a deep bow and nervously says (and then starts almost yelling):


Heizo: “hahahaha, I like this one, I can see why Eriko is friends with you. You’re very straight forward and genuine, I can tell. It’s nice to meet you. Anyway, Come in, come in, come in.”

Aiko: “Thank you Arishima-san.”


Heizo: “Eriko’s out back in the shed, feel free to make yourselves at home. I’m just going to keep cleaning up the shop here.”

Aiko: “Yuka, take Fujimaki-san out to see Eriko, I’ll stay here and help Arishima-san.”

Hatsue (to herself): “Hmmm, do those two they get along?"

We see the shed, there’s all sorts of rumbling, and dust, and items flying out onto the yard (but we don’t see Eriko, she’s in the darkness of the shed). Yuka and Hatsue walk up. Hatsue calls out timidly, afraid it's not really Eriko.

Hatsue: “E...E...Eriko-chan....Eriko...?”

Yuka just rushes into the mess and Hatsue tries to reach out from behind to stop Yuka, but doesn't move, like she's paralyzed by fear. Yuka enters the dark shed and runs right into Eriko from behind in the dark, unable to see, they tumble down, Eriko rolls over into an attack pose with Yuka underneath.

Eriko: “Who the hell?”

Before Eriko realizes it she’s looking right into Yuka’s eyes. They hold for what seems a long time They both blush. Then Yuka gives a big grin. The spell is broken when Eriko then looks because Hatsue is standing over them laughing.

Hatsue: “HAHAHAHAHAHA, I guess you’ve both made some progress since I last saw you together!”

Eriko scrambles up to her feet.

Eriko: “What...what’s that supposed to...nevermind.”

Hatsue cuts her off with a deep bow and apology.

Hatsue: “I’m sorry for coming over unannounced, Eriko-chan. Okumura and Kiyoura called and offered to drive me over. I guess...I guess I just missed you. I... I’m still worried that you’re upset about what happened. I just really wanted to see you.”

Eriko (to herself): “This new her is really cute."

Eriko: “Why would upset?"

Hatsue looks really nervous.

Hatsue: "I...I got you suspended and...and I didn't even call you once the whole time!"

She starts crying right there. Yuka is taken aback and looks up at Eriko who looks shocked and helpless about what to do in a situation like this. She tentatively reaches out a hand towards Hatsue.

                Eriko: "On...the phone?"

Hatsue exclaims through her tears.

Hatsue: "Yes on the phone, I'm a terrible friend, you were all alone and I..."

Eriko: "I guess I didn't...notice."

Hatsue looks up at her with big wide, wet, teary eyes.

Hatsue: "You didn't notice? Wahhh, that's worse, you don't even care, I thought we were friends, I thought..."

Eriko looks desperately for help from Yuka who just shrugs.

                Eriko: "I...was a little...bored?"

                Hatsue: "Bored?"

                Eriko: "Um, yeah?"

                Hatsue: "So you did need me?"

Eriko is hesitantly searching for how to help.

                Eriko: "Yes?"

Hatsue latches on to Eriko giving her a huge hug.

                Hatsue: "Can you ever forgive me?"

                Eriko: "Um, sure."

Hatsue: “I’m so relieved."

They're sitting now on the stoop, Hatsue is drying her eyes.

Hatsue: "I've been so emotional lately, everything has been coming back."

Eriko: "It's fine."

Hatsue: "I'll understand if you don't want to be friends with me, especially after that display."

Eriko: "I'm not used to...having friends...I...don't always know what to do."

Hatsue and Yuka look at Eriko with sad and pitiful eyes. Then Hatsue gets a gleam in her's.

Hatsue: "Well, now I think you're just laying it on thick, right Kiyoura-chan?"

Yuka nods 'yes' vigorously and after a slight pause, the three of them start laughing together.

Hatsue: "Do you mind if I stay and help you clean?”

Eriko: “I...I'd like that.”

Scenes of the three of them cleaning out the shed, talking, stacking boxes in the yard, doing some yard work, sweeping out the shed, etc...

A bit later. Heizo is coming out of the house as he speaks.

Heizo: “Eriko-chan, come over here for a minute.”

Eriko looks up and Heizo is standing with the bike from earlier, but it’s been straightened out and spruced up. He has on a greasy apron and work gloves. He clearly spent the morning repairing the bike. Eriko comes over cautiously.

Heizo: “I know how much you like to walk, I thought maybe you’d find it easier to get around if you had a bike. What do you think? Try it out.”

Eriko: “But it was...your wife's?”

Heizo: “Don’t worry about her, I don’t think she has much use for it now anyway!”

Aiko displays mock indignation at Heizo's joke.

Aiko: “Arishima-san?!”

Eriko: “Anyway...I...I don’t think I...I'm not sure if I know how to ride a bike.”

Aiko (to herself): “She doesn't know if she knows? You either can or can’t...strange.”

Heizo gestures to Eriko's head.

Heizo: “Hmmm, I bet it’s in there somewhere. It’s one of those things you don’t have to remember learning, as long as you learned it once, it’s still bound to be inside. You can’t have made it to 16...or 17...or whatever...without learning”

Hatsue looks at Aiko and silently ask each other:

Hatsue and Aiko: “Whatever?”

Eriko: “ you think?...Well, umm, thank you...maybe I'll try later.”

Yuka goes over to the bike, squats down and is looking at it (pokes the tire, the gleam of new paint, plays with the kick stand...), she turns and looks brightly up at Eriko. Hatsue sees this interaction and grabs Aiko and drags her inside.

Hatsue: “Come on Okumura-san, help me get lunch ready!”

Aiko: “Hey, wait, just a minute...”

Heizo: “Ho ho ho, I’ll leave the two of you to it then.”

It’s Eriko and Yuka outside now. Yuka starts walking the bike out to the street. Eriko watches for a second and then runs after her.

Eriko: “Wait...where are you going?”

Once at the street, Yuka pats the top of the seat, indicating that Eriko is supposed to get on.

Eriko: “What? On there? But I can’t.”

Yuka grabs Eriko's hand and puts it on the handle bar. Eriko blushes at the sight of her holding hands and then her hand under Yuka’s little hand. Yuka pats the seat again. Eriko sighs and drops her head.

Eriko (to herself): “You could get me to do anything. How do you have that effect on me?”

From the front shop window, Heizo is watching as Eriko takes some wobbly strides on the bike, Yuka holding it, the bike tipping over and everyone falling in a lump. Yuka laughing, Eriko sulking but getting back on. This happens several times. Eriko becomes enraged with frustration. She is about to throw the bike, but Yuka just puts a hand gently on her arm to quiet her. Eriko sets the bike back down, stands it up and gets back on. Yuka helps her steady it. Heizo turns away from the front shop window with a look of quiet satisfaction.

(To be continued...)

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