In the Morning, I'll Say Hello - Chapter 26

"In the Morning, I'll Say Hello" is my ongoing yuri comic. I can't draw, so I've decided to post the scripts here so you can (hopefully) enjoy!

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

Chapter 26
"A Gift on a Birthday"

In school, the morning Aiko slept over Eriko's house. Eriko is coming out of the bathroom (scraped up and bandaged from the night). Aiko is going into the bathroom. They almost run into each other. They stare at each other, wide-eyed.

Aiko (to herself): “Does she know?”

Eriko (to herself): “Does she know?”

Eriko: “Umm, Okumura-san...”

Aiko: “You’re in my way.”

Aiko brushes past Eriko and goes into the bathroom, leaving Eriko blinking after her.

Between classes, Eriko has her head down on her desk. Aiko and Yuka are talking.

Eriko (to herself): “I can’t tell if Okumura-san knows? Did she see what happened last night? Why hasn't she said anything?"

Hatsue comes over to Eriko.

Hatsue: “Eriko-chan, are you okay?”

Eriko doesn't lift her head up.

Eriko: “mmmm. I guess.”

Hatsue: “English is so hard, I couldn’t keep up with the reading at all today.”

In the background Yuka signs “toilet” to Aiko and leaves the room. Aiko takes out a book and starts reading. Hatsue whispers to Eriko.

Hatsue: “Kiyoura-san left the room, I know you went out shopping last night, did you find her a gift?”

Aiko looks up from her book (slightly) at hearing this.

Eriko: “No. Nothing was.....right. Besides, I got...distracted.”

Eriko looks to the side at Aiko with her head still on arms. Aiko turns away.

Hatsue: “Distracted? By what?”

Eriko: [To herself): “Okumura-san's been saying I'm too dangerous to be around Kiyoura-san. If she saw...well, now she knows for sure."

Eriko: “umm, nothing really.”

Hatsue: “Don't worry, why don’t you come over to my house after school and we can look through some magazines for ideas?”

Eriko: “Oh, ummm, okay.”

Aiko is looking at them. Hatsue notices.

Hatsue (to herself): “Does she want to hang out with us?”

Hatsue: “Okumura-san, you can come over too, if you want.”

Aiko: “No, thank you.”

Aiko puts her book back up and starts reading.

Hatsue: “We’re shopping for Kiyoura-chan's party. You probably already got her something, didn’t you? What did you get her? You’ve known her so long, it must be easy for you to shop for her. What should Eriko-chan get for her?”

Aiko (to herself): "God, she talks so much!"

Aiko doesn't even look up from her book.

Aiko: “I wouldn’t have a clue.”

Hatsue (to herself): “So cold."

Yuka comes in and looks quizzically at them, sensing that she's walked into a conversation that just stopped.

Aiko: “Hurry up and sit down Yuka, history is about to start.”

In school by the lockers. Eriko comes over to Aiko who is putting on her shoes.

Eriko (to herself): “I can't take it anymore. I have to ask her."

Eriko: “O...Okumura...san?”

Aiko (coolly): “What?”

Eriko: “About last night?”

Aiko gives Eriko a dark but condescending (holier-than-thou) look.

Aiko: “What about it?”

Eriko: “I thought maybe you...saw...”

Aiko: “Saw what?”

Aiko (to herself): "Isn't she going to tear into me?"

Just then Yuka comes around the corner with Hatsue, having both gotten juices out of the vending machine.

Eriko (turning away): “Nevermind”

Aiko (to herself): "What was she talking about?"

Aiko finishes getting her shoes on and leaves with Yuka who waves happily goodbye to Eriko and Hatsue. Eriko shyly waves goodbye back.

Hatsue: “What were you two talking about? Did Okumura-san give you an idea for a gift?”

Eriko: “Ummm, no. I still don’t have....anything.”

We see the calendar in Eriko’s room, she’s crossed off all the days through Friday (Wednesday the 3rd was Yuka’s birthday - with the heart - so Saturday (tomorrow) is the 6th – the day circled with “party”). Eriko has her head down on her arms sitting in her desk chair. Heizo calls from another room.

Heizo: “Eriko-chan, the bath is ready, why don’t you get in first?”

Eriko in the bathtub soaking.

Eriko (to herself): “Tomorrow’s her party. I want to give her the necklace, but what will she think when she sees it again? Will she know what it means to me? Will my feelings confuse her the way they’ve confused me? How did it come to this? Am I really ready for her to know? To know what, exactly?...ARGHHHHH!!!!!!”

Eriko is blushing intensely. She slides under the water and lets out all her air in a flurry of bubbles, a mixture of giddy excitement and nervousness.

Eriko walks into her room while toweling off her hair. She sits down at her desk, turns the desk lamp on and starts looking through the drawer for the necklace.

Eriko (to herself): “I'll miss having a reminder of you, but maybe you'll wear it...”

She blushes as she thinks of it on Yuka’s neck. She shakes it off, and starts looking in earnest but isn’t finding it anywhere.

Eriko (to herself): “Where is it?! I always keep it in here.”

She goes out and peeks her head around the corner of the living space to ask Heizo.

Eriko: “Umm, Arishima-san?”

Heizo: “Oh yes, Eriko-chan, what is it?”

Eriko: “I had...have you...something from my desk?”

Heizo: “Is something missing?”

Eriko: “Yes...ummm, a small bag.”

Heizo: “I’m sorry, I haven’t seen anything like that. Was it important?”

Eriko: “ummm, no, it's nothing.”

She goes back into her room, looks through her desk once more, doesn’t find it and flops onto her bed.

Eriko (to herself): “How could I lose something so precious? What am I going to do now?”

It's late afternoon on Saturday, the day of the party. Eriko is walking down the sidewalk towards Yuka’s apartment with a forlorn expression. Just before the entrance to the stairs, she looks up and there’s Aiko standing and facing her blocking the stair entrance. They stare at each other for a bit.

Eriko (to herself): “Oh no, she knows, I'm sure of it."

Aiko: “What?”

Eriko: “Nothing.”

Aiko: “Whatever, I’m going in.”

Eriko (to herself): "No, I have to know for sure."

Eriko: “I talk about...the other night...”

Aiko: “Bringing it up again? What about it?”

Eriko (To herself): “Why won’t she just admit she saw what happened to me?”

Eriko: “Does this mean you...won’t...”

Aiko: “Won’t what?”

Eriko: (to herself): “Maybe she doesn’t know? Maybe she won’t tell Kiyoura-san? Maybe she likes holding it over me?”

Eriko: “It’s fine, I guess...nevermind”

Aiko: “No, not nevermind. What is it with you? You never say what you mean. Not that it matters to me. I know what you want and I won’t let you have it! She doesn’t need you or the trouble you bring. I’ve been protecting Yuka this long and I won’t let you hurt her.”

Eriko (to herself): “She must know. Has she told Kiyoura-san already? Is Kiyoura-san scared of me now?"

Eriko (looking scared): “Have...what?"

Aiko: “You’re dangerous, you’ll drag her down, and she doesn’t need that. I see the way you look at her, and frankly, I see the way she looks at you, and it’s not okay! I don’t know what your intentions were tonight, but I won’t let it happen!”

Eriko (to herself, overlapping with Aiko’s speech above): “I know I’m dangerous. I just don’t know why. And now you're going to take the one thing away...”

Eriko (angry): “Who are you decide for her?”

Aiko: “I’m the one that’s always picked up the pieces when her life falls apart. I’m the one that’s been there for years protecting her. I’m the one that knows what she needs. You don’t know anything about her, you don’t even know what she likes, you don’t know what do to when she’s sad, you’ve never held her when she cries inconsolably."

Eriko (to herself): “Oh god, she must have told her!”

Eriko (confused): “C...cries?”

Aiko: “Yes, cries, because everything she had has been ripped away from her over and over again. I’m not going to hand her over to you to let you stomp on her heart when she finds out what you’re really like.”

Eriko (to herself – her thoughts overlapping with Aiko’s speech): “I know you’re right, dammit Okumura! Do you know what I want really want but can't admit? Is that why you’re going to keep her away from me?”

Eriko (getting angrier): “Just...tell me....tell me what you saw!”

Aiko: “What I saw? Why do you keep asking that? All I see is someone making things tougher for Yuka. You take her out and she nearly dies, you get yourself into fights, you come into school looking like you’ve been to war each night, god only knows what you’ve been doing!”

Eriko: “Wait, didn’t you...?”

Aiko: “Didn't I what? Take the necklace? Is that what you’ve been insinuating all this time?”

Eriko (to herself): “Necklace?”

Eriko (confused): “Wait! That’s not....What?”

Aiko: “That’s right, I took it. I took that stupid worthless necklace you got for her. I can’t believe you thought it would mean anything to her!”

Eriko responds quietly, almost to herself, but then looks with questioning hurt at Aiko.

Eriko: “Worthless...But then why would you?”

Aiko: “I saw you holding it, staring at it, like some lovesick puppy. You’re disgusting. How could you think you’re good enough for her?”

A tear starts to form in Eriko's eyes.

Eriko: “Lovesick...I don’t even...I never...I know...I'm not good enough...I...I am’re right...”

Eriko stops talking, drops her head, turns and walks away. Aiko stares at Eriko’s receding figure and is slightly slack-jawed that Eriko stopped fighting back and was hurt so much. Aiko looks down at the gift bag she’s carrying. She gets angry, grips the bag straps tightly, takes a deep breath, calms herself, and turns her head to the side in indignation.

Aiko: “Whatever!”

Inside Suzu and Yuka’s apartment. Suzu, Aiko, and Yuka are sitting around the table.

Suzu: “The rest of your friends are on their way. Are you surprised?”

Yuka vigorously nods 'yes.' She’s got a cute party hat on. The doorbell rings.

Suzu: “That must be one of them now.”

Suzu answers it, it’s Hatsue and Tetsu.

Suzu: “Hatsue-chan, it’s great to see you again! Thank you so much for coming!”

Hatsue enters.

Hatsue: “I’m sorry I’m late, I couldn’t get this one to stop fussing with his clothes for some reason, like he’s got a date or something.”

She points to Tetsu as she says the above line.

Suzu: “Please come in, come in.”

Suzu (to herself): “Date? Fussing with his clothes, did he get dressed up just to see me? Is that possible? God I'm desperate.”

Suzu (to Tetsu): “Fujimaki-san, will you join us?”

Tetsu (to himself): “Fujimaki-san? Hmmm, that’s good Ha-chan, it sounds like you’re really not keeping me a secret anymore.”

Tetsu: “I’m sorry, I couldn’t impose; besides I have to get going, I’ll come by later to pick up Ha-chan.”

Suzu and Hatsue have the same thought at the same time.

Suzu and Hatsue (to themselves): “Get going? Could he really have a date?”

Suzu: “Don’t worry, it wouldn’t be imposing, we have plenty of food.”

Hatsue: “Yeah, stay, I’m sure Kiyoura-san would rather hang out with someone her own age instead of us all the time.”

Tetsu looks at Hatsue then at his watch.

Tetsu: “I’m just certain that all you young ladies would have a much better time without me around. I truly thank you. I’ll be back later Ha-chan. Bye.”

Suzu closes the door behind him.

Suzu: “Young ladies? ughhhh, bummer. He’s so hot! But I think I’m going to be alone forever at this rate.”

Aiko (said coolly): “You don’t want him anyway, I hear he has a sister complex.”

Hatsue: “Shut up Okumura!”

Hatsue says it mostly in jest. Yuka gets in between them, smiling, breaking up the fake fight. Hatsue makes a face at Aiko who ignores her and continues sipping from a teacup with perfect poised form.

Hatsue: “Anyway, where’s Eriko-chan?”
Suzu: “I don’t know, she said she was coming.”

Hatsue: “Strange, it’s getting kind of late.”

Yuka looks dejected at this thought. Suzu notices.

Suzu: “While we’re waiting, let’s play some games!”

We see scenes of them playing various board, video, and card games. Periodically Yuka stares at the door. Aiko notices and each time she redirect’s Yuka’s attention back to the game or group.

They eat, but still no Eriko. They do a cake with candles and start bringing out gifts. Yuka opens the presents. Aiko pulls out her gift bag and from within it, Yuka pulls out the small box (with the necklace). She opens it up, her eyes widen, and she holds up the sparkling necklace.

Yuka remembers looking at the necklace in the shop. She remembers asking Eriko help her try it on.
[End flashback]

As she remembers and is looking at the necklace, Yuka makes a quizzical expression towards Aiko. Suzu notices all this.

Suzu: “Wait! Aiko-chan, how did you get that necklace?”

Aiko: “I got it for Yuka. It seemed like something she would like. Do you like it Yuka?”

Yuka nods her head solemnly once, still confused.

                Aiko (to herself): "Why aren't you happy?"

Suzu: “I’m just amazed that of all the things, you picked that one out.”

Aiko: “I don’t understand, you've seen it before?”

Suzu: “It was a necklace Yuka really admired when we were out shopping with Eriko-chan. I thought Eriko-chan might, well, nevermind...”

Yuka remembers pulling her hair back and the touch of Eriko’s fingers on her neck. Yuka looks up pathetically at Aiko, then she turns and looks at the door and back to Aiko, her eyes getting wider and sadder.

Hatsue: “I don’t really understand what’s going on, but where is Eriko-chan anyway?”

Aiko: “I’m sure I wouldn’t know.”

Hatsue: “Umm, that was a rhetorical question, I wasn’t expecting you to know?”

Yuka is looking sullen, she’s putting the necklace down in the box.

Aiko: “What’s wrong Yuka, don’t you like it?”

Yuka manages a feeble smile and nod. Aiko turns away angry and takes a sip of tea while saying under her breath:

Aiko: “Would you have liked it more if it came from her?”

Suzu hears this and responds.

Suzu: “Aiko! What’s wrong with you tonight?”

Hatsue (to herself): “Something is definitely going on”

Hatsue: “Why do you hate Eriko-chan so much? Are you actually jealous?”

Aiko: “There’s nothing to be jealous about. I’m the one who’s here. Arishima-san couldn’t even bring herself to come in. She just ran....”

Aiko cuts herself off realizing what she’s just said, and clasps a hand over her mouth with wide-eyed shock.

Hatsue: “Wait! Did you see Eriko-chan today?”

Aiko: “We... might have run into each other out front.”

Hatsue: “Out front! What did you do!? Why isn’t she here!?”

Aiko: “What did I do?! It’s not my fault that she’s the way she is. If she wanted to be here she would be here, but she isn’t, is she?”

Yuka is staring intently at the door not even paying attention to the conversation anymore.

Suzu: “Aiko-chan, you know I love you, you’re family, but where did you get this necklace from?”

Before Aiko can answer, Yuka gets up and dashes out the front door.

Suzu: “Wait! Yuka!”

Aiko goes to get up to follow, but Hatsue puts a firm hand on her.

Hatsue: “You’re not going anywhere until you tell us what happened. Kiyoura-san will be fine, maybe even better than fine if she finds Eriko-chan. But you have some explaining to do.”

We see a local park. It’s dark outside now, late in the evening. There are just a few street lights intermittently illuminating the ground. On a bench, is Eriko. She has her hands clasped into her hair on either side of her head, fingers and hair entangled. (Ed note: the following monologue can be broken up over many many panels)

Eriko: (To herself): “I can’t go home yet, Arishima-san will know something is wrong...Thank goodness though, it seems like Okumura-san really didn’t see what happened to me that night, maybe Kiyoura-san doesn't know my secret...Wait, what the hell Okumura-san!? You took the necklace!?...Are you insane?!...But maybe you were right, maybe it is just a stupid, worthless necklace? I can’t believe I ever thought of giving it to Kiyoura-san. It probably wouldn’t mean anything to her. But what if it did? Maybe it would just confuse her, scare her, disgust her. Maybe all I can do is hurt her like Okumura-san said. Why do I have to feel this way about her? How could she possibly think of me the way I think of her? I really am a freak. A freak who’s deluding herself.”


We hear the sound of footsteps running up then stopping.

                Sound effects: rapid footsteps, running.

Eriko looks up with a start at the sound of the person running. Across the way from her, looking exhausted like she’s just run a marathon, is Yuka. She doesn’t have any shoes on, just her bare feet which are now filthy, she’s bedraggled and sweaty from running, she’s panting. But she's "glowing" none the less, she’s like a revelation to Eriko.

Upon seeing Eriko and making eye contact, Yuka doesn't smile, she’s more serious and serene. She slowly walks up to Eriko. She takes Eriko’s hands out of her hair and puts them together with her own hands over top of Eriko’s. Then she slowly moves her hands off of Eriko’s. Eriko looks down and opens up her hands. In them is the necklace. Eriko is confused and shocked.

Eriko: “How? Where?”

Yuka turns around and pulls her hair off her neck, signaling that Eriko should put the necklace on. Eriko blushes, but Yuka is waiting. She reaches out and gently starts to put it around her. She sees the small scar on Yuka’s neck.

Eriko (to herself): “That scar, where is it from?”

She has the sharp painful headaches and blacks out for just a second, then finds herself impulsively leaning forward almost as if to kiss the nape of Yuka’s neck. Eriko catches herself. Yuka is just waiting patiently.

Eriko (to herself): “What was I just about to do?”

She looks at Yuka's beautiful neck, the small hand holding the hair back. Heart beat sound effects.

                Sound effects: "ba-dump, ba-dump"

Eriko (to herself): "What is this feeling?"

Eriko finishes clasping the necklace around Yuka’s neck, and looks off to the side in embarrassment. Yuka turns around, touches the necklace briefly, and drapes herself over Eriko in a deep embrace. Yuka’s eyes are closed but happy. Eriko blushes, but closes her eyes with a small tear forming and puts her arms around Yuka tentatively. Yuka squeezes tighter.

Eriko (to herself): “Do you understand what the necklace means to me? Could it possibly mean the same thing to you?”

The camera/framing pulls back on the scene of the embrace. Panel by panel the view becoming more distant, we see them alone, together, in the park with the stark lighting of the street lights. Eriko's arms continue to tighten around Yuka as their embrace becomes more and more natural and close.

(to be continued...)

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