In the Morning, I'll Say Hello - Chapter 33

"In the Morning, I'll Say Hello" is a yuri comic I wrote. I can't draw, so I'm publishing the script here for people to enjoy. (If you're an artist who wants to collaborate, just shoot me an email!)

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

Chapter 33
"Holding Hands"

Just white panels, then some faint outlines and light gray shapes that gradually coalesce into a hospital ceiling, the view is through Eriko’s eyes looking up.

Eriko (to herself): “Ughhh, I feel terrible. Where am I? It’s so bright? I don’t recognize this ceiling. A hospital? How’d I get here? What happened to me?”

We see Eriko, lying in a hospital bed. We pan to see that someone is holding her hand. Then we see that Yuka it is sitting next to Eriko’s bed in the hospital, with her head down on the mattress, hand in hand with Eriko, but asleep.

Eriko (to herself): “What’s she doing here? She...she's holding my hand! It's so small and delicate. UGHHH, stop thinking those things. Remember, she doesn’t like you, she likes him. But...but she's here.”

Eriko leaves her hand in Yuka’s the whole time. She reaches out with her other hand, as if to touch Yuka’s hair, but right then Aiko walks in:

Aiko: “Don’t wake her up, she’s had a long couple days.”

Eriko blushes, scowls at Aiko, and quickly puts her hand back at her side.

Eriko: “How long?”

Aiko: “She found you two days ago, you’d been missing for a couple days by then. She hasn’t left your side.”

Eriko: “She found me?”

Aiko: “She wouldn’t stop looking for you, even after you pushed her away.”

Eriko (to herself): “I had to.”

Aiko: “She should just give up on you, but she won't."

Eriko (To herself): “I don't get it either."

Eriko: “ doesn’t mean anything...does it?”

Aiko: “Don’t go feeling sorry for yourself. It demeans me as your rival. But if you aren’t going to fight for her, then you might as well back out right now.”

Eriko (to herself): “Rival? You?”

Eriko looks off to the side now, not making eye contact with Aiko.

Eriko: “But...that boy...”

Aiko: “You're an idiot. She turned him down.”

Eriko: “What!?”

Aiko: “If you had stayed a little longer instead of running out with such a hot head, you could have heard for yourself.”

Eriko: “She...she did? But why'd you tell me?"

Eriko (to herself): “Aren’t you trying to keep us apart?”

Aiko: “I'm only going to say this once, so listen close. What I did to you on her birthday was wrong. Telling you about him is my repayment. Now we’re even. I don’t owe you anything. You’re on your own from now on.”

Eriko: “Fine."

Eriko (to herself): “She turned him down. Now's she's here. Is it possible? Maybe I wasn't wrong about her feelings?"

Eriko is looking down at Yuka who is sleeping with an angelic face. Yuka starts to stir. She opens her eyes slowly, they’re bleary, but when she opens them fully she notices that Eriko is looking right at her. They both blush and Yuka does a half awake smile (contented and relieved). At Aiko’s next line, Yuka and Eriko turn their heads away and break from their brief moment of connection.

Aiko: “Ahem. Yuka, I brought you lunch, but you’ll probably need both hands to eat it.”

Eriko notices they’re still holding hands and jerks hers out from Yuka’s. Yuka gives a big smile. Eriko blushes.

The doctor and nurse walk in.

Nurse: “I’m sorry, now that the patient is awake, we have some more tests that need to be run, you’ll have to leave for the day.”

Aiko: “She's fine now, you can see her later."

Yuka gets up and takes Aiko’s hand and begins walking out the room. As she’s leaving she turns around and waves “bye” with a big smile on her face. Eriko blushes, demurs, and lifts up a hand to gently signal “bye” back – Eriko is shyly cute here.

At the Arishima residence. The phone is ringing. Heizo goes over to pick it up. He’s talking to someone. Heizo goes and knocks on Eriko’s bedroom door.

Heizo: “Eriko-chan, I’m sorry to bother you, I know you just settled in. It’s Fujimaki-san on the phone for you.”

Eriko opens the door a little ways to accept the phone.

Eriko: “Thank you.”

Eriko closes the door. Heizo is left there and goes back to what he was doing.

Heizo (to himself): “Those injuries, they’re worse than the other times. How did you end up in that alley again?”

Eriko is on her bed now talking on the phone.

Hatsue (on the phone): “Eriko-chan! I’m so sorry I didn’t come to see you in the hospital!”

Eriko: “It’s okay. It’s hard for you. Being outside, I mean.”

Hatsue: “But I don’t want it to be so hard. I wasn’t there when you needed me. I swear I’m going to try harder, I’m going to beat this thing!”

Eriko: “Ha, you’re fired up!”

Hatsue (to herself): “Oh, I didn’t mean to make this about me.”

Hatsue: “Yeah, well...anyway, how are you feeling?”

Eriko: “I’ve been better.”

Hatsue: “Ha ha ha, at least you’re honest. Kiyoura-chan wasn’t in school the past couple days, they said she was with you in the hospital? You two have caused quite the stir around school.”

Eriko: “What do you mean?”

Hatsue: “Oh, you know how gossip works. Anyway, does that mean you guys have made up?”

Eriko: “It was me...I...misunderstood something.”

Hatsue: “But things are okay now?”

Eriko: “Umm, maybe...I don’t know.”

Hatsue: “But she was there with you the whole time; that has to be a good thing?”

Eriko: “I...I guess”

Eriko (to herself): “I don’t want to get my hopes up though.”

Hatsue: “AH! So cute!”

Eriko: “Humpf”

Hatsue: “Do you think you’ll be back in school Monday?”

Eriko: “ummm...probably."

Hatsue: “Finals are coming up, you’ve missed a lot of school, and your grades aren’t exactly great to begin with. Want to come over and study?”

Eriko (to herself): “She’s acting like everything is normal. But, nothing is normal at all.”

Eriko: “Oh...okay.”

Hatsue: “Really? I’m so happy!”

Eriko gets off her bike and is walking up to Hatsue’s house. Tetsu is coming down the path to the front gate.

Tetsu: “Eriko-chan! It’s been a long time. How are you?”

Eriko: “Ummm...fine...thank you.”

Tetsu: “Have fun with Ha-chan!”

Eriko: “okay...bye”

Tetsu is getting into his car. Eriko sees someone in the shadows in the passenger seat, a woman, sitting patiently.

Eriko (to herself): “Who's that?”

She goes up and rings the bell. Hatsue comes to the door.

Hatsue: “Eriko-chan! I missed you!”

Hatsue gives Eriko a big hug, Eriko is shocked and has her arms out to the sides, awkward at accepting affection.

Eriko: “I...I’m sorry...”

Hatsue: “What are you sorry for?”

Eriko: “I haven’t been right lately...but...I’m okay now.”

Hatsue: “I’m glad to hear it, even if you look a little worse for wear! Anyway, come on in, you have to tell me everything!”

Eriko: “Sorry for intruding [ed. note: Ojama shimasu].

Eriko: "Your the car just now?”

Hatsue: “Oh, um...her...she’s his assistant from work, Shibata-san.”

Eriko (to herself): “I guess that makes sense.”

Hatsue’s mom enters the entrance hallway. Eriko is startled to see an adult home.

Eriko: “Oh!”

Yukiyo Fujimaki (Hatsue’s mom): “Oh, you must be Arishima-san, Hatsue talks about you all the time.”

Eriko: “Oh..umm...nice to meet you...I brought this.”

Eriko gives Hatsue's mom a gift.

Yukiyo: “Oh thank you, that’s so kind. We’ll have to have this for snack later.”

Hatsue: “Okay mom, we’re going up to study.”

Yukiyo: “It was nice meeting you Arishima-san, please take care of Hatsue.”

Hatsue (embarrassed): “Mom!”

Eriko: “mmm” (affirmative)

In Hatsue’s room.

Hatsue: “Sorry about my mom.”

Eriko: “It’s okay.”

Hatsue: “She works a lot for the family business, she and dad travel a lot for work, so when she’s here she likes to fuss over me a bit.”

Eriko: “It sounds nice.”

Hatsue: “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to seem ungrateful. Have you been able to remember anything yet? I mean, about your family, or anything?”

Eriko: “mmm, no...not really.”

Hatsue: “Arishima-san told us, I didn’t know that you didn’t even know your name...that’s awful!”

Eriko: “I’m getting used to this one, I guess.”

Some awkward silence between them.

Hatsue: “I...I was really worried about you. Okumura-san didn’t tell me much about what happened, just that Kiyoura-chan found you.”

Eriko (to herself): “Worried? About me?”

Eriko: “That’s all I know, too.”

Hatsue: “But she was there with you in the hospital right?”

Eriko (blushing): “ummm, yeah.”

Hatsue: “Oh my god! So you made up? You have to tell me everything!”

Eriko: “Shouldn’t we study?”

Hatsue: “Really, you’re just going to leave me hanging? Fine, fine, but I’ll get it out of you eventually!”

Scenes of them studying, eating snacks, studying, laughing, etc...

Later, by the front door, Eriko is getting ready to leave.

Eriko: “Bye...thank you for today.”

Hatsue: “I’m so glad you’re okay, and I’m so glad that you and Kiyoura-cahn have patched things up! So the real question is when are you going to finally confess to her?”

Eriko (coughing): “Con...Confess?”

Hatsue: “Ha ha ha, of course, that’s what you do when you’re in love.”

Eriko: “Love? Even if we're both...girls?"

Hatsue: “Am I wrong then, about how you feel?”

Eriko: “Um, I don’t know...I’m just getting used to understanding this feeling...”

Hatsue: “AH!!! How cute! If only you’d show this side to more people.”

Eriko (to herself): “Which side is the real me? I still have no idea.”

Eriko: “It wouldn’t matter.”

Hatsue: “Don’t underestimate yourself so much.”

Hatsue takes Eriko’s hands in hers. Eriko blushes and is shocked again by the physical contact.

Eriko: “Umm...thanks...I’m glad you’re my...friend.”

Hatsue: “Be careful making faces like that or I might fall for you too!”

Eriko: “Don’t you dare!”

They start laughing together.

Eriko: “See you”

Hatsue: “See you!”

Eriko is walking down the front path towards the sidewalk when she sees Tetsu coming up the pathway.

Tetsu: “Eriko-chan! Did you two have fun studying?”

Eriko: “Ummm, yeah, thanks.”

Tetsu: “Do you have a minute? Can I ask you something?”

Eriko (to herself): “What does he want with me? We’ve never really talked before.”

Eriko: “Uh, sure.”

Tetsu: “Did Ha-chan seem okay?”

Eriko: “What do you mean?”

Tetsu: “Did she say anything about me?”

Eriko (to herself): “That’s a weird question.”

Eriko: “No.”

Tetsu: “Oh, okay, nevermind then. Did you want a ride home?”

Eriko (to herself): “I’m sure its safe, but I don’t really know him.”

Eriko: “No...I rode my bike.”

Tetsu: “Okay, have a good night then, bye.”

Eriko (to herself): “What was that all about?”

Tetsu enters the house now. Hatsue is sitting in the living room watching TV.

Tetsu: “Hey Ha-chan! Whatcha up to?”

Hatsue keeps watching the TV and doesn't look at him. She replies coolly.

Hatsue: “Nothing.”

Tetsu flops down on the couch next to her. She scoots further away creating some space.

Tetsu: “How did the study session with Eriko-chan go?”

Hatsue still isn't looking at him.

Hatsue: “Fine.”

Tetsu: “You said something about her being sick in the hospital, is she okay?”

Hatsue: “Yes.”

Tetsu (to himself): “Okay, guess that's that. She’s been cold to me for weeks now. Is she really upset about me and Shibata-san? I thought she was ready, with her friends and all now.”

Tetsu: “Where’s mom?”

Hatsue: “Dunno”

Tetsu sighs and goes to get up off the couch. As his back is turning to Hatsue, she says:

Hatsue: “How was work tonight?”

Hatsue (to herself): “That’s not what I really want to ask.”

Tetsu: “I didn’t have work.”

Hatsue (to herself): “I know you didn’t, but what were you doing with her then?”

Hatsue: “Oh, I see.”

Tetsu (to himself): “Come on Ha-chan, just tell me what’s bothering you so we can talk about it. But, I don’t think I should bring it up. She’s got to be ready to talk.”

Tetsu: “Is something wrong?”

Hatsue (to herself): “I don’t know, I don’t know! I should be happy for you right? Why can’t I be happy for you? Happy that you have a life outside of me.”

Hatsue: “No, everything is fine.”

Tetsu: “If something is wrong, if something’s troubling you, you know I’ll always be here for you. You can always talk to me.”

Hatsue (to herself): “Like hell you will...I’m losing you aren’t I? What am I going to do if you leave me? How am I going to get by without you?”

Hatsue: “Sure.”

Tetsu: “Okay, so long as you know that.”

Hatsue: “Yup.”

Tetsu looks at her for a second, sighs again, and leaves the room. Hatsue flops down on the couch and puts a pillow over her head. A tear forms in her eye.

Hatsue (to herself): “I’m such a terrible person. I’ve been monopolizing you for so long, you’ve done everything for me, you’ve been my protector. Why am I so jealous that you’re spending time with someone else? I’m awful, but I can’t help it. I’m so scared of losing you.”

Next Monday in school. It’s early, Eriko is arriving on campus. It’s quiet, only a couple of other people are around. She’s standing, looking up at the building.

Girl in background: “Wait, is she back?”

Other girl: “Who is that? Do you know her?”

Girl in background: “She’s that delinquent from the other class, I heard she got into a gang fight and was in the hospital.”

Eriko, overhearing this, just sighs.

Eriko (to herself): “Can I really pretend like everything is back to normal? What’s the point? I feel like some day the whole thing will just be pulled out from under me and I’ll lose everything again, so why bother? But...she’s in there...”

She goes and sits down on her normal bench, legs spread (not very lady-like), arms on legs, head down, hair falling forward. She doesn’t notice but Yuka comes up and stands in front of her, Yuka bends to the sides (first one way then the other) trying to see Eriko’s face. Then Yuka goes and squats in the garden next to Eriko and starts playing with the flowers and bugs. Eriko surreptitiously turns her head to the side, looks through her fallen hair, and sees Yuka playing there. She watches her, Yuka's ear poking out of her hair, her tiny hands, her slim neck, her soft lips.

Eriko (to herself): “She’s like a little faerie, not even real. Dammit she’s so cute. It’s like you’re the only thing tying me to this world.”

Yuka turns, noticing Eriko looking at her, and makes eye contact and gives a huge smile. Eriko blushes and looks away quickly/shyly. Yuka silently laughs and goes back to playing with the flowers. Next we see a hand putting a flower in Eriko’s hair. Eriko startles and grabs Yuka’s wrist.

Eriko: “Wha?!”

She is staring right into Yuka’s eyes, they’re just inches apart. Eriko blushes, Yuka blushes. Eriko starts to loosen her grip on Yuka’s wrist, so Yuka slides her hand down into Eriko’s hand, they’re still only inches apart, just staring into each other’s eyes, but holding hands now, palm to palm.

In the background (not heard by Eriko or Yuka):

random girl: “Look at those two, are they dating?”

Random girl 2: “So shameless!”

Random girl: “I mean, even if they are, to do that in public!”

Random girl 2: “But seriously, two girls?”

Random girl: “I guess it happens at schools like this.”

Random girl 2: “It’s bad enough there aren’t any boys here, but we don’t need people like that giving us a bad reputation.”

Hatsue is coming up the walk, thinking to herself.

Hatsue (to herself): “I hope Eriko-chan makes it in today.”

Suddenly she sees the scene between Yuka and Eriko, they're sparkling.

Hatsue (to herself): “Will you look at that? Looks like they’ve made quite a bit of progress after all. Well, I’m not going to be the one to disturb them.”

Hatsue walks on by and into the school.

Hatsue gets into the classroom, Aiko is already sitting there.

Hatsue (to herself): “I wonder if she saw them? It’s not like her to let that go.”

We notice that Aiko is pretending to read, but really able to see Yuka and Eriko outside the window and is sneaking a peak.

Hatsue (to Aiko): “Oh, you’re here early?”

Aiko turns back to her book.

Aiko: “My driver had errands to run.”

Hatsue (to herself): “Let’s just poke a little...”

Hatsue: “Where’s Kiyoura-chan?”

Aiko looks up sternly from her book.

Aiko: “She’s not here yet.”

Hatsue (to herself): “This is too much fun! But I’m amazed that Okumura-san isn’t stopping that little scene out front. Maybe she's feeling a little guilty.”

Hatsue: “I hope Eriko-chan makes it in today. It will be good to all have lunch together again, it feels like it’s been forever.”

Aiko goes back to reading.

Aiko: “If you say so."

Hatsue (to herself): “Heehee, too much fun, but I’ll let it go for now.”

Outside, the bell rings. It shocks Eriko into reality, she immediately lets go of Yuka’s hand and gets up with a start.

Eriko: “Um, we’ll be late.”

Eriko gets up quickly and starts walking in briskly with Yuka skipping behind her into the building.

(to be continued...)

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