In the Morning, I'll Say Hello - Chapter 34

"In the Morning, I'll Say Hello" is the yuri comic I wrote. I can't draw, so I'm publishing the chapters here for your enjoyment!

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

Chapter 34
"Catching Up"

Scenes of class going by. Eriko has her head down on her desk. She's sneaking looks at Yuka. Yuka staring at the birds out the window. Yuka doodling. Etc... scenes of class. Now it’s break between classes.

Announcement over speaker: “Will Eriko Arishima-san please report to the staff office. Will Eriko Arishima-san please report to the staff office.”

Eriko picks her head up off her desk. Hatsue is sitting in front of her, her seat turned around to face Eriko.

Hatsue: “Want me to go with you?”

Eriko: “It’s okay.”

Hatsue: “It’s probably nothing, I’m sure they just want to make sure you’re okay.”

Eriko: “Mmmm, sure.”

Hatsue: “Ha! You’re right, it was a bit of a scandal. They probably want to find out what really happened.”

Eriko: “Not like I know.”

Hatsue: “That’s the spirit! You sure you’re okay going alone?”

Eriko: “Yeah, thanks.”

Yuka watches Eriko leave, closes her book on her desk, and goes to follow her.

Hatsue (turning to Aiko): “You’re not going to stop her?”

Aiko: “No.”

Hatsue: “But I thought you were her sworn protector?”

Aiko: “Are you trying to start a fight.”

Hatsue: “Really, I like you. I like how devoted you are to Kiyoura-chan, it’s kind of sweet actually. But you should give Eriko-chan a chance. She’s really cute when you get to know her.”

Aiko: “That’s hardly the word I’d use to describe her.”

Hatsue: “And she really does like Kiyoura-chan, you’ve had to notice.”

Aiko (to herself): “I know that, that’s what I’m afraid of.”

Aiko: “I don’t care how she feels.”

Aiko (to herself): “She’s only going to hurt her and disappear for good one day. And I’ll have to pick up the pieces again.”

Hatsue: “Can’t you give Eriko-chan a chance?”

Aiko: “She’s had all the chances she needs. She’s dangerous, unpredictable, and something really wrong is going on with her. I don’t want Yuka tangled up in that.”

Hatsue (to herself): “Something IS wrong. I am curious about it, but Eriko doesn’t really seem to know anything.”

Hatsue: “It seems like Kiyoura-chan’s already made her choice.”

Aiko (to herself): “I know all too well that she thinks she's in love."

Aiko: “How can you support them? You don’t really know either of them. Why are you pushing them together?”

Hatsue: “Hmmm...I guess I want to believe it’s possible.”

Aiko: “That what’s possible?”

Hatsue: “Well, love I suppose.”

Aiko: “It’s not love! It’s just some sick infatuation by Arishima-san and I don’t know why it had to be Yuka.”

Hatsue: “But doesn’t it sort of feel like they need to be together, like they’ve always been connected? I don’t know what it is, but can’t you see it when you look at them?”

Aiko (to herself): “I can, that’s what scares me. I can’t place the feeling...that there's something there.”

Aiko: “No, I can’t.”

Hatsue: “Well, can’t you look again, for Kiyoura-chan’s sake?”

Aiko: “It’s for her sake that I’m so against them getting any closer.”

Hatsue: “Well, I really don’t think you need to be so worried. You’ll see. Eriko is a good person, I’m sure of it.”

Aiko (to herself): “I hope that’s true. Because if I can’t stop things...”

Aiko: “Whatever, you just better hope you’re right and that you don’t get dragged down by whatever’s going on with Arishima-san too. You’ve had enough troubles as it is.”

Hatsue (to herself): “I know that, but Eriko-chan is the only one who’s ever really accepted the real me. I want to support her!”

Scene shifts to the hallway by staff office. Eriko is coming out of the staff office, she’s got huge piles of papers and books. She thanks the teachers and closes the door behind her.

Eriko: “Thank you." [ed. note: Shitsureishimashita]

She turns back towards the hallway and is surprised to see Yuka waiting there for her. Yuka smiles up at her. Eriko blushes. Yuka reaches out her arms in an offer to carry some of the stack.

Eriko: “Umm, it’s isn’t heavy.”

Yuka just pushes her arms out towards Eriko again.

Eriko: “oh...okay then, here....thank you.”

She places half her pile on Yuka’s arms and Yuka nearly tips over under the weight. Eriko scrambles and takes some back so she has 2/3rds and Yuka has 1/2. They starts walking back towards class. Yuka is walking by her side. It’s pretty cute because of how tall Eriko is and how petite Yuka is. We see them from behind as they are walking.

By the shoe lockers at the end of the day. Eriko’s bag is bursting with all the papers.

Hatsue: “I can’t believe they’re only giving you a week to make up all the missed work.”

Eriko: “Well, finals are soon, I guess.”

Hatsue: “Do you want to come over to study some more.”

Yuka is near them hearing this, and runs over and tugs on Eriko’s shirt, looks up at her and points to herself (indicating, “what about me, I can help you”)

Eriko: “It’s...It’s don’t have to.”

Hatsue (to herself): “Are you that dumb. I can't do everything for you!"

Hatsue: “Well, now that I think about it, I am a bit busy this week. Kiyoura-chan, do you mind helping Eriko-chan?”

Yuka nods 'yes' vigorously.

Eriko: “What...what do you...?”

Hatsue: “Thank's Kiyoura-chan, I’ll leave her in your hands. Bye bye”

Hatsue leaves, as she’s leaving she walks by Eriko and whispers in her ear:

Hatsue: “You owe me!”

Hatsue grins wickedly as she departs. Eriko gives sort of frightened eyes at Hatsue.

Eriko (to herself): “What do I do now? I really do want to spend time with her. But I'm scared after everything.”

Eriko looks down at Yuka. Yuka tilts her head in a questioning/expectant way.

Eriko: “Um, well, how about...this weekend?”

Yuka beams and nods 'yes.'

Eriko: “, see you tomorrow.”

Yuka waves "bye" and leaves, Eriko tentatively puts up a hand for “bye.”

Aiko is watching this from over at her locker, she turns in a huff and walks back into the school.

Aiko (to herself): “Just when I need to be with her most, I have volleyball practice every day. I’ve got to find a way to keep on top of this. I can’t just sit by and let this happen.”

In the bathroom at Arishima’s house. Eriko is slowly, carefully taking her clothes off. It’s clear she’s in pain and achy. She's got big bandages over parts of her body from the hospital stay.

Eriko (to herself): “It’s never hurt this bad before, except maybe the first time I woke up in the hospital, when Arishma-san found me.”

We see the scars on her back as well as lots of bandaged areas. She slowly peels the bandages off revealing abrasions and wounds. She winces as she does this.

Eriko (to herself): “What the hell happened to me? Why can’t I remember those days I was missing?”

Eriko gets into the bath, sinks down to just her eyes above water. Blows a few bubbles.

Eriko (to herself): “What if someday I find out who I really am? Maybe I have a boyfriend? Maybe I’m already married and have a job? More likely that I’m a wanted criminal and someday they’ll find me and arrest me. But what if I never find out who I was before? Either way, is it fair to...her? And now she knows I have no memories. She’s seen just how bad it can get. And she stayed in the hospital with me. Could she really have feelings for me? Is it okay to want her to love me back?”

A black town car pulls up to Yuka and Suzu’s apartment building. Aiko, who is in expensive casual clothes, steps out. She’s got sunglasses on, it’s relatively early in the morning, the sun is only partway up the sky.

Driver: “Do take care, Ojou-sama.”

Aiko: “What are you insinuating?”

Driver: “Nothing, nothing, I just know this is early for you on a Saturday.”

Aiko: “I don't believe you should speak to me that way.”

Driver: “Of course, my apologies.”

Aiko: “Wait here please, I’ll get Kiyoura-san.”

Aiko walks up the stairs and to Yuka’s front door. She rings the bell.

Aiko (to herself): “That stupid driver. Just because I was out late last night doesn’t give him the right to lecture me. is early...and bright out...”

Yuka opens the door in cute pajamas rubbing her eyes. She sees Aiko and smiles through bleary eyes.

Aiko: “I’m so sorry, did I wake you?”

Suzu comes up behind Yuka.

Suzu: “What are you doing here so early Aiko-chan?”

Aiko: “Well...I just...”

Aiko (to herself): “Crap, I didn’t really think of a good reason to be here.”

Suzu: “Are you studying at Arishima-san's place too?"

Aiko (to herself): “Dammit, she knows what I’m up to and she’s not going to let me get in the way.”

Aiko: “Of course. I just thought that Yuka would like a ride instead of taking the train.”

Suzu (to herself): “Uh, huh, right, I’m sure that’s all it is.”

Suzu: “That’s so thoughtful, come on in. Have you had breakfast yet?”

Aiko (to herself): “Ughhhh, don’t mention food right now...”

Aiko: “Thank you, no, I’m not hungry.”

Aiko and Yuka are sitting on the couch with Suzu in the kitchen. Yuka is watching some cute/stupid anime on TV. Aiko is sitting rubbing her forehead, her glasses are off, we can see bags under her eyes.

Suzu (to herself): “Aiko looks hung-over again. She must really want to chaperone this study session.”

Eriko and Heizo are sitting at the breakfast table eating in calm silence. Just simple fish, sliced tomatoes or something, rice, miso soup. Suddenly the doorbell rings.

Eriko: “Wha?”

Eriko: (to herself): “She couldn’t be here this early, could she? I mean, we didn’t set an exact time, I’m not even dressed...but...”

Heizo gets up to answer the door.

Eriko: “Wait...I’m not...I mean.”

Heizo: “I’m sure it’s just an early customer, let me tell them to come back a little later.”

Eriko bangs her head onto the edge of the table. She’s sitting there with her forehead resting on the table. Suddenly, two hands go around Eriko’s head and cover her eyes. She jerks up and around to see Hatsue there.

Eriko: “Oh!”

Hatsue: “Sorry to surprise you, but I had a hunch you probably don’t have anything cute to wear today, so I thought I’d come over to help you get ready.”

Eriko: “How’d you get here?”

Hatsue: “Tetsu drove me over.”

Eriko: “Is that really okay?”

Hatsue: “Well, I think he’s working later today, so I’ve got to make use of him while I can.”

Hatsue (to herself): “Is he really working? Maybe he’s with Shibata-san again?”

Hatsue: “Let’s go to your room, I’ve got something for you!”

In Eriko’s room. Hatsue and Eriko are sitting on the ground. Hatsue has a bag next to her.

Hatsue: “After looking through your closet, I’m glad I came over. You’re going to have to do something about your wardrobe. But for today, what about this?”

She reaches into the bag and pulls out a really cute outfit, it’s simple and yet a little girly.

Eriko: “I can’t...I can’t wear that...can I?”

Hatsue: “hahaha, you’re so cute, come on, try it on.”

Eriko (to herself): "Cute?"

Eriko: “Um...okay...but...turn around, please?”

Hatsue (to herself): “I didn’t think she’d be so shy. She keeps surprising me.”

Hatsue’s back is to Eriko, Eriko slips off the t-shirt she was wearing revealing the bruises, cuts, abrasions, etc... Hatsue turns her head a bit and sees some of the injuries. She turns back around and a little tear starts to form in her eye, her head is hanging down.

Hatsue (to herself): “Oh my god, what happened to you? Those scars can't be from just the other night. What are you hiding? With your memories gone, do you even know?”

Eriko: “umm, you can look now.”

Hatsue turns around and there’s Eriko looking so cute. Eriko is blushing a bit and acting a bit shy as well as awkward and uncomfortable looking girly.

Eriko: “It’s stupid right? I look stupid...I’m so stupid...she’ll never...”

Hatsue: “Kyah! you look so cute! Come here, come here, we have to do your makeup and hair!”

Eriko: “Wha?”

Hatsue whisks Eriko down to sit on the ground and opens her makeup case before Eriko can really protest.

Hatsue’s working feverishly on Eriko's hair and makeup. Then the big reveal. Her natural beauty has been uncovered. She’s sparkling.

Hatsue: “I wish I could be here when Kiyoura-chan sees this!”

Eriko: “’re leaving?”

Hatsue: “Yeah, Tetsu is waiting for me outside. He’s got something going on later so I have to leave now since he’s my ride, but I wanted to make sure you were all set.”

Eriko: “Th..thank you. Are you sure I...look...okay?”

Hatsue: “You’ve got nothing to worry about. Don’t waste this chance, okay?”

Eriko: “What do you...?”

Hatsue: “You'll do fine, just go for it!”

Scenes of Eriko pacing around her room nervously waiting, going into the bathroom to check whether she looks okay, back to her room, pacing the halls. Finally she goes and sits at the kitchen table.

Eriko (to herself): “This waiting is killing me! But I just want to see you so badly.”

She puts her head down on the table. Heizo walks by and sees her like that and laughs.

Heizo: “You’ll get a red mark on your forehead if you do that!”

Finally the doorbell rings. Eriko shoots straight up.

Eriko: “I'll...I’ll get it!”

She rushes over to the door, takes a few deep breaths, and opens it. There is Yuka with Aiko standing behind her. Eriko is in shock seeing Aiko there, but Yuka and Aiko are in shock looking at how beautiful Eriko looks.

Eriko (to herself): “What is Okumura doing here? I mean, I guess it makes sense, it wasn’t like it was”

Aiko (to herself): “Look at her. It’s sickening how much she’s trying to be normal.”

Aiko: “Well, are you going to let us in or should we keep standing here?”

Eriko: “Oh...come in, please.”

Aiko: “Sorry for intruding” [ed. note: ojamashimasu]

Yuka bows (since she can’t say 'sorry for intruding') as she comes into the house. They take off their shoes and Heizo comes around the corner.

Heizo: “Ah, it’s the young miss and Okumura-sama.”

Aiko (to Heizo): “Here, a gift from Suzu-chan for having us over.

Heizo: “Why thank you, these look delicious.

Aiko: “Also, you really don’t have to be so formal with me.”

Heizo: “Hahaha, I know, I know, it’s just that you’re from quite the important family. I want to stay on your good side or your father might put me out of business.”

Aiko blushes a big angrily.

Aiko: “Please, the last thing I want is to be reminded of my family.”

Eriko (to herself): “That's the first time she's ever talked about herself."

Aiko notices Eriko’s expression, turns a bit fierce and says:

Aiko: “Well, anyway, we’re here to study, it will take a miracle to get you caught up, so where should we go?”

Eriko: “Oh, ummm, my room I guess?”

Aiko: “Lead the way.”

Yuka goes over to Eriko, takes Eriko's hand and starts pulling her along.

Heizo (to himself): “ gives me hope that maybe you’ll be okay after all."

Eriko opens the door to her room.

Eriko: “You can...umm...sit anywhere.”

They come in, it's fairly empty, but normal and clean, simple bed, simple desk, not much on the walls, not much in the way of stuff, no extraneous things or decorations.

Scenes of them studying, doing homework, Aiko reading a lot. Yuka showing things to Eriko, pointing to math problems, handing her books, etc... Eriko looking at Yuka as she’s studying, noticing how her hair falls down in her face exposing the back of her neck, how Yuka brushes it behind her ears. Aiko looks up and sees Eriko looking, Eriko notices Aiko, blushes/gets angry, and turns back to her work.

Aiko (to herself): “I can’t watch this anymore.”

Aiko: “I’m going to go get some tea and snacks.”

Eriko: “Oh, umm, you’re the guest. I that, I guess.”

Aiko: “It’s okay, you’re studying, that’s why we're here after all, no sense interrupting it.”

Eriko: “ you.”

Yuka nods ‘thank you’

As Aiko goes down the hall towards the kitchen, she sees Heizo at work at his workbench. She goes up behind him.

Aiko: “I’m amazed at what you can do.”

Heizo: “Oh, it’s not as hard as it looks. Not when you’ve been doing it as long as I have.”

Aiko: “No, it's like an art.”

Heizo: “What about your father? He’s built an awfully big empire. As I understand it, he built it from the ground up, starting in a shop like this.”

Aiko: “I suppose.”

Aiko (to herself): “I wonder if he ever loved his work like you do?”

Heizo: “mmmm.”

Aiko is watching Heizo work, saying nothing.

Aiko: “Can I ask, you a question?"

Heizo: "Of course!"

Aiko: "I know this is rude, but, with all the trouble she’s brought you, what made you decide to take Arishima-san in?”

Heizo: “Trouble? Hardly, it’s a parent’s joy to care for their child.”

Aiko: “But she’s not your child.”

Heizo: “I...I had a child once...and once you’ve had a child it changes how you look at people. When I saw her...I couldn’t help but think about what her parents must be feeling, missing her, wondering what happened to her, wanting to know that she was safe. We still haven’t come up with any leads, but at least I know that someday they’ll have their child back...”

Aiko (to herself): “You are really the most amazing man.”

Aiko: “I don’t think my father has ever thought that way.”

Heizo: “I’m sure he’s incredibly proud of you.”

Aiko: “I don’t think he even remembers I exist. Even before Shiori left, she was all he ever thought about."

Heizo: "Shiori?"

Aiko: "He wanted to marry her off to a rival so he could strengthen his company. He didn’t love her as a child...he drove her away.”

Heizo: “Is she your sister?”

Aiko: “Yes...I haven’t heard from her in almost 10 years. I’ve barely seen father in all the time since.”

Heizo: “Then maybe he does know what it's like to lose a child.”

Aiko: “It's his fault that she’s gone!”

Heizo: “Then it probably hurts him all the more.”

Aiko: “I...I don’t know...”

Heizo: “Anyway, you girls must be hungry. Why don’t we make some tea and get some snacks out?”

Aiko: “Sure, thank you.”

Heizo: “Anytime. I’m just happy that anyone wants to listen to an old man like me.”

Aiko (to herself): “I wonder what your son would have been like. Would he have talked to you when you got old? Would he have taken care of you and kept you company? I used to have someone to take care of.”

Meanwhile, in Eriko’s room. Yuka and Eriko are still studying. Eriko is getting frustrated. She grabs her head and shouts:


And bangs her head down on her books like she’s giving up. Yuka laughs silently and moves closer in curiosity. Eriko slowly turns her head, from face down, over to the side to look at Yuka. When she does, she sees that Yuka is close and staring right into her eyes. Eriko blushes and startles up to an upright sitting position again and pretends to be diligently studying. Yuka laughs silently again.

Eriko (to herself): “Ahhh. I can’t concentrate with her so close.”

Eriko reaches for a book on the table and Yuka is reaching at the same time, they’re hands touch. Quick flashback to their hands on the flower from the earlier chapter. Both blush, they look at each other, but they don’t remove their hands from each other’s yet, their fingers ever so slightly start to intertwine. Just then the door opens with Aiko bringing in a tray of tea and snacks.

Aiko: “Sorry that took so lo....”

Eriko and Yuka quickly pull their hands back, blush, and turn away from each other.

Aiko (to herself): “Sigh. I’m going to lose this battle aren’t I? What am I doing here, anyway?”

Eriko (to herself): “I wish I could hold her hand forever. It seemed like Kiyoura-san didn’t want to let go either.”

Aiko sets out the tea and snacks. Yuka bows slightly in thanks.

Eriko: “Oh, umm, thank you.”

They all sit and have tea and snacks in silence, totally awkward.

Aiko: “Yuka, I’ve got to get home and ready for an important dinner. Did you want to come with me now or take the train home later?”

Eriko (to herself): “What? She’s really okay with leaving Kiyoura-san here alone?”

Yuka points to the stack of homework.

Aiko: “Fine. Arishima-san, will you take her home and make sure she gets to Suzu-san safely?”

Yuka looks cross at Aiko at the suggestion that she needs help, and makes an 'I’m strong' gesture with her arms pumped, like 'I don’t need an escort.'

Aiko: "Yes, yes, I know you're brave."

Eriko: “Umm, I can take her...I’ll make sure.”

Aiko: “You'd better. I’ll see myself out. My ride should be waiting.”

Aiko is getting her shoes on at the front door. Heizo comes up to her, puts a hand on her shoulder.

Heizo: “Going so soon? Where’s the little miss?”

Aiko: “They looked like they had more studying to do.”

Heizo: “Okumura-sama, I’m sure I’m not the only one who would listen, if you tried.”

Aiko (to herself): “Who is there to talk to? I couldn't burden Yuka with those things and besides, I'm losing her more and more by the day."

Aiko: “Thank you for your hospitality.”

Heizo: “Take care of yourself. Stop by more often.”

Aiko: “Okay. I’d like that.”

It’s dusk out, Eriko and Yuka are on the train. They’re sitting a bit stiffly next to each other. Slowly Yuka’s eyes begin to droop, she’s fighting to stay awake. Eventually she slides into sleep and leans against Eriko’s arm. Eriko looks down lovingly at her, blushing. Eriko gently puts her hand on Yuka’s hand, Yuka’s fingers instinctively intertwine with Eriko's. Eriko leans her head back and closes her own eyes while they sit hand-in-hand asleep on the train.

(to be continued...)

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