In the Morning, I'll Say Hello - Chapter 38

"In the Morning, I'll Say Hello" is an original yuri comic I wrote. I can't draw, so I'm posting the scripts here for your enjoyment! Thanks for reading.

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

Chapter 38
"Is This a Date?"

Eriko’s bedroom. Morning. Eriko wakes up with the sun rays pushing over her face. She rubs her eyes, looks over at the time, then the calendar where the date is circled. She rolls back over in bed, pulls her legs up to her chest, wrapping her arms around them, and squeezing her eyes tight with a little smile on her lips.

Yuka is at the breakfast table ravenously/gleefully eating. Suzu is cleaning up something in the kitchen.

Suzu: “You're awfully energetic this morning. It wouldn’t by any chance be related to seeing Eriko-chan today would it?”

Yuka blushes and sticks her tongue out at Suzu. Suzu laughs at her. The phone rings. Yuka goes back to eating.

Suzu: “...are you sure? She’ll be so disappointed...Okay, I’ll tell her....bye bye.”

Yuka looks up worriedly and questioningly at Suzu. Suzu comes over and sits down at the breakfast table with a slightly solemn look in her eyes.

Suzu: “That was Aiko-chan. She said that something came up.”

Yuka lets out a relieved sigh, then covers her mouth in embarrassment that she was relieved it wasn't Eriko backing out and shakes her head back and forth 'no' in exclamation. Suzu stifles a laugh, and then Yuka looks questioningly again at Suzu.

Suzu: “She didn’t say why, but she wanted me to tell you to have fun without her today.”

Yuka sort of screws up her mouth, as if unsure what to do.

Suzu: “Come on, don’t make that face. She sounded sincere. Besides, you’ll still be able to see Fujimaki-san...and Eriko-chan.”

Yuka blushes and the two share a warm laugh with each other.

Outside a train station with some nice landscaping. A couple of trees are providing shade in planters surrounded by benches, other trees are alone. Eriko is standing, leaning against one tree in casual, but well thought-out clothes – she clearly spent time putting herself together.

Eriko (to herself): “I hope I look alright. I feel sort of funny, am I overdressed?”

She watches as people cross in front of her on their way places. She checks her watch.

Eriko (to hersef): “I got here way too early. Why am I so nervous? Calm down Eriko, it’s just a bunch of friends hanging out. Nothing more than that.”

She leans her head back and closes her eyes.

We see someone walk up to her. It’s Yuka. Yuka is looking up at her, turns her head inquisitively to the side. Eriko doesn’t notice her there but keeps leaning back with her eyes closed. We see a close-up of her long eyelashes and delicate lips, implying that Yuka is looking intently at her face. Yuka reaches forward and gently takes both of Eriko’s hands one hand in each of hers. We see the fingers gently intertwine. A faint, relaxed smile crosses Eriko’s lips. Her eyes don’t open. Yuka just slowly leans into Eriko with their hands still clasped. At this Eriko gasps, her eyes jolt open and she’s looking down at Yuka who is looking up at her smiling. Eriko jerks her hands back.

Eriko: “ scared me...I...”

Eriko (to herself): “What was she doing?”

Eriko looks around and doesn’t see anyone else.

Eriko: “...where is Okumura-san?”

Yuka shakes her head 'no.' Eriko asks cautiously:

Eriko: “You mean, she’s not coming?”

Yuka slowly and solemnly nods 'yes.'

Eriko: “Oh”

Eriko (to herself): “Well, no loss there.”

Eriko: “I..I guess we’re just waiting on Ha-chan then.”

Off to the side, Hatsue had been coming up to join them along with her brother and Megumi, but has witnessed this whole interaction between Yuka and Eriko.

Hatsue (to herself): “Okumura isn’t coming! This is perfect!”

Hatsue (to Tetsu): “I’m sorry. I’ve changed my mind. Can you bring me back home?”

Tetsu: “But we’re already here. Did something happen? You worked so hard to be okay outside.”

Hatsue: “No...that's not it."

Hatsue looks in the distance over at Yuka and Eriko who are staring at each other. Megumi sees the connection between Eriko and Yuka.

Megumi (to herself): “Oh, I get it. Those two...”

Megumi: “Come on Tetsu-kun, isn’t it obvious what’s going on?”

Tetsu: “What do you mean?”

Megumi (to Hatsue): “He’s really pretty dense isn’t he?”

Hatsue: “Truly.”

They laugh at his expense.

Hatsue: “I’m so sorry for making you drive me out here, I know you two were going out too.”

Tetsu: “Well, I don’t really get what’s going on, but it’s fine if you want to join us instead.”

Hatsue: “That’s okay, why don’t you drop me off at home and have fun by yourselves.”

Megumi: “Don’t worry about it, join us and you can fill me in on everything that’s going on over there.”

They embrace hands like true friends

Tetsu (to himself): “I know I wanted them to get along, but should I be scared now?”

Tetsu: “Okay, but someone's going to have to tell me what's going on.”

Hatsue and Megumi laugh again at his expense.

A door opens, we’re back in the psychiatric hospital. Aiko’s mother is unconscious and hooked up to IVs and monitors. Aiko is sitting in a chair looking out the window.

Doctor: “I’m sorry, would you mind stepping out for a moment while we conduct today’s tests?”

Aiko in a daze, not paying attention.

Aiko: “What...Oh, no, that’s fine.”

She gets up and walks past the doctor, in control, a bit aloof, regal, but distant, vacant.

Eriko is sitting somewhat nervously next to Yuka on a bench. Yuka is swinging her legs like a little kid. She turns around and plays with some plants behind her and a bug flitting by. Eriko is tracking her every move. The time is getting later and later. Eriko is getting sort of awkward and fidgety.

Eriko (to herself): "Ha-chan, are you okay? I knew this would be too much, too soon."

                Eriko: " looks like Ha-chan isn't coming."

Yuka screws up her face, thinking.

                Eriko (to herself): "What do I do now, it's just the two of us?"

Eriko: " isn't here...either...I guess..."

Yuka tips her head to the side questioningly as Eriko is talking.

                Eriko (to herself): "What are you thinking?"

Eriko: “Um...I guess we’ll have to try...some other time, then.”

Yuka stays sitting there looking at Eriko, not really responding to what Eriko says.

Eriko (to herself): “She’s not getting up. I guess I should go first.”

Eriko: “’ll go then.”

Eriko gets up but Yuka stands up too and takes her hand in hers. Eriko blushes.

Eriko: “W...what?”

Yuka gives her a big smile and swings their hands a bit.

Eriko (to herself): “Does she mean just the two of us? But, that’s like a...a date!”

Eriko blushes badly and turns her head to the side as she says:

Eriko: “ you want to?...I mean we could...still go to the amusement park?”

Eriko (to herself): “I can’t believe I’m really asking her...”

Yuka shakes her head 'no' but not in an unfriendly way.

Eriko (to herself): “Stupid, of course she doesn't want to. You’re the only one with these feelings.”

Eriko: “Oh, right. I’m sorry...okay then,”

Eriko turns her head and starts to walk away, but Yuka still has her hand. Yuka keeps walking with her, hand-in-hand.

Eriko (to herself): “What’s she doing? She’s not letting go.”

Eriko: “Um, are you...coming with me?”

Yuka nods 'yes.'

Eriko (to herself): “Did I misunderstand?”

Eriko: “Does that want to do something...with just me?”

Yuka nods 'yes' brightly with a big smile. Eriko blushes intensely. Yuka clings onto Eriko’s whole arm and holds it against her body.

Psych hospital. Aiko is talking to the doctor in the same room as her mom.

Aiko: “Thank you for the update, Doctor. I’ll let him know.”

Nurse: “I’ll be back in about an hour to help turn her.”

Aiko: “Thank you both.”

The nurse and doctor leave.

Aiko stands by the window in the room looking outside. She takes out her phone, brings up her dad’s number, starts to put it down, sighs, and then calls her father anyway.

The phone rings in her father’s office. He picks up.

Jutaro Okumura: “This is Okumura.”

Aiko: “Father, it’s Aiko, I called to give you the update on mom.”

Jutaro: “If you must, I have a meeting.”

Aiko: “She’s still not conscious. Her brain swelling seems to be going down, but they don’t know when she’ll wake up.”

Jutaro: “You mean, IF she’ll wake up.”

Aiko: “Yes, I suppose that’s right.”

Jutaro: “hrmph, Is that all?”

Aiko: “Are you coming to see her today?”

Aiko (to herself): “You haven’t been here in a while.”

Jutaro: “I don’t have time for this, don’t call me again about her unless she’s dead or dying.”

Aiko (in shock): “Fath..!”

She’s cut off as he hangs up the phone. She slowly closes her phone and stares out the window. We see the reflection of her mom lying in bed in the window. The drapes are billowing slightly. Aiko stands there regally, with arms crossed low over her abdomen, only the slightest hint of sad emotion in her posture.

Back to Eriko and Yuka, walking down a street of shops. They are still holding hands. Eriko is looking out to the street, trying to avoid facing the reality that she's walking hand-in-hand with Yuka, she's not looking ahead or at the shop windows, she's uncomfortable, blushing.

Eriko (to herself): “I can’t believe we’re just walking, holding hands...I’d say it’s like a dream, but I only ever have nightmares and this is...this is...amazing!”

Just then Yuka drops her hand in excitement and runs over to a shop window.

Eriko “Huh?"

The shop window is filled with toys and cute stuff from anime and little kid shows. Yuka puts her hands on the window and is staring at a cute item.

Eriko (laughing and to herself): “She looks so happy, like a little kid! I didn’t know she was into this sort of stuff. I guess there’s a lot I don’t really know about her.”

Eriko walks up next to her.

Eriko: “ you want to go in?”

Yuka turns and nods in excitement.

They’re in the shop looking around. It's filled with stuff everywhere.

Eriko (to herself): “It’s sort of overwhelming in here.”

Just as she says this she looks to see Yuka hugging a stuffed animal and then putting it down and running over to something else cute and repeating. Eriko can’t help it and laughs a little out loud.

                Eriko: "Ha"

Yuka turns to notice and lets out a big smile in return. Eriko blushes but doesn’t let go of the eye contact. Yuka comes over and takes her by the hand and leads her to a display cell phone straps with a charm on each. Yuka is looking through and finds a really cute set (maybe from her favorite show or something) and takes two off and holds them up for Eriko to see.

Eriko (to herself): "I didn't know she had a cell phone. Why doesn't she text? What would that voice be like?"

Eriko: “You want help picking one?”

Yuka shakes her head 'no.'

Eriko: “You’re going to get both?”

Yuka shakes her head 'no.'

Eriko: “Oh...for Okumura...san.”

Yuka shakes her head slowly 'no' again, smiles, and moves one closer to Eriko signaling that one is for her and one’s for herself.

Eriko (to herself): “For me?”

Eriko: “Oh, but I...I don’t have a cell phone.”

Yuka starts to pull it back (but not all the way). She makes a thinking face and puts them back and turns to keep looking around at other things.

Eriko (to herself): “I shouldn’t have said that. I mean...she was just being friendly, right? And I turned her down.”

Eriko looks around the shop and sees other couples (high-school boys and girls) with matching cell phone straps hanging on phones in their pockets or hands.

Eriko (to herself): “All those couples have them too. Wait! She couldn’t have meant it like that, could she?”

Just then Yuka runs over to her and motions for Eriko to bend down. Eriko reluctantly does, Yuka comes in very close. They’re face to face, eye to eye, Eriko blushes.

Eriko (to herself): “She’s so close. Her eyes are so big...her lips...I...I could...”

Eriko (getting flustered): “Wait, what?”

Eriko falls back onto her hands. Yuka reaches over and does something to Eriko’s hair. Yuka steps back.

Eriko reaches up and touches a hair pin that Yuka has placed in her hair. Yuka grabs Eriko's hand and brings her over to a mirror where Yuka puts one in her own hair and Eriko sees they’re matching.

Eriko (to herself): “We match...but, do we...match?”

Eriko: “ looks good on you.”

Yuka beams, she reaches up to take it out of Eriko’s hair and then hands it back to her.

Eriko (to herself): “I have to get it right this time, I have to make sure.”

Eriko: “Do you mean...we should each get one?”

Yuka shakes her head 'yes.'

Hatsue is getting dropped off at the entrance to her house. From the within the car:

Megumi: “You sure you don’t want to come with us?”

Hatsue: “No, that’s okay. I’ve gotten in your way enough.”

Tetsu: “Don’t say that.”

Megumi: “Seriously, he won’t know what to do with himself if he doesn’t need to worry about you anymore!”

Hatsue (to herself): “That’s why I’m glad he found you.”

Hatsue (laughing): “I’m okay, go and have fun together.”

Tetsu says quietly, almost as if to himself.

Tetsu: “Keep fighting, Ha-chan.”

In Hatsue's bedroom now. She’s trying to study, but isn’t really working hard, she keeps getting distracted, reading manga, playing with her hair, looking at clothes, etc...

Hatsue: “I wonder how it’s going with Eriko-chan? How far will it go today...what if they kiss?”

All of a sudden tear drops are falling from her eyes.

Hatsue: “What’s going on? Why am I crying? I’m happy for Eriko, I am, but...”

Eriko and Yuka are walking down the street. It’s quiet between them. They each periodically sneak a glance at the other. They pass by a park. Yuka points to a bench.

They sit on the bench. Eriko lays back and lets her head hang limp over the top of the bench, letting the sunlight hit her in the face, her eyes close. Yuka leans back too. Eventually Yuka drifts off and slides into Eriko’s side. Eriko looks down.

Eriko (to herself): “Is this real? She’s right here, against my side. I feel like I could die right now, I’m so happy.”

Next we see, they are both asleep, Eriko’s head is tipped back, but Yuka has slid down and is asleep with her head in Eriko’s lap. All of a sudden Eriko’s stomach lets out a huge growl shocking Eriko and Yuka awake.

Eriko: “Oh god, I’m sorry, I can’t believe...”

She looks down and is shocked that there’s Yuka just waking up in her lap, rubbing her sleepy eyes.

Eriko: “Wah! Wha...”

Eriko (to herself): “She...she was...she was sleeping on my lap!”

Yuka smiles gently and stretches her arms out as she sits up. Eriko is in complete shock, hand over her mouth, totally blushing. Yuka jumps up off the bench and pulls Eriko up to standing by the hand.

Eriko: “Wait, where are we...?”

Eriko is now running behind Yuka being pulled by the hand. She’s looking at their hands together and blushes. They end up in front of a noodle shop.

Eriko (to herself): “Udon?”

Eriko: “Do you like udon?”

Yuka shakes her head ‘yes’ vigorously.

Eriko (to herself): “I like...all these new things about her that I didn’t know.”

They’re sitting at the counter with the menus.

Chef: “What can I get for you?”

Eriko: “Kitsune-udon...please.”

Chef: “And for you?”

Yuka is silent, making a quizzical face at the menu, like she hasn’t decided yet, then she just points at Eriko.

Chef (yelling to the others cooking): “Two Kitsune-udons.”

Eriko: “Is...Is that alright?”

Yuka shakes her head 'yes.'

Eriko: “Sometimes I...I the fox figured out that it liked tofu?”

Yuka looks at her with huge wide eyes, almost in a state of awe at the profundity of the question.

Eriko: “I...I just said something embarrassing.”

Yuka shakes her head vigorously 'no' as in “No, it wasn’t embarrassing at all, it was amazing” while taking Eriko’s two hands in hers in a sign of reverence for her "wisdom".

They settle into a silent awkwardness, holding hands under the counter, both looking straight ahead. The bowls are eventually brought out.

Eriko (to herself): “I...I don’t want to let go.”

They're both looking at their steaming bowls. The chef notices they're not eating out of the corner of his eyes, but can tell there's something between them. He smiles to himself. Slowly their fingers untwine to open their chopsticks from the wrappers. Yuka takes the fish cake out and looks at Eriko and gently moves it towards her, inquiringly.

Eriko: “Don’t you want that?”

Yuka shakes her head 'no' with a disgusted look on her face and sticks her tongue out.

Eriko: “Oh...Okay, I’ll eat it.”

Eriko (to herself): “All these things about her."

Yuka places it in Eriko’s bowl of noodles.

Eriko: “Thank you.”

Eriko (to herself): “Is she learning things about me too?"

They’re eating in silence.

Eriko (to herself): “Is it this quiet when she eats with Kiyoura-onee-san at home? I wish I had something to say to her...but, I don’t really know how to talk to her...”

Eriko: “Umm...your voice?”

Yuka just lets the noodles drop off her chopsticks in surprise. Her eyes look down a bit sorrowfully.

Eriko (to herself): “Oh god, how could I have said that out loud?”

Eriko: “I...I’m so sorry, I...I did it again...I shouldn’t have asked that!”

Yuka stares out straight in front of her. Shakes her head ‘no’ a bit. Yuka turns to Eriko, shrugs her shoulders and gives her a little smile almost like, ‘sorry, I don’t really remember.’

Eriko (uncertainly): “There’s...stuff...things I don’t know about myself...either. I guess we’re sort of...alike...that way...maybe.”

Yuka places her hand on top of Eriko’s hand on the counter. Eriko blushes deeply and looks into Yuka’s eyes which are staring, openly, and earnestly into hers, like there is a deep understanding that they are in fact very similar, maybe even bound together in some unspoken way.

It’s sunset when they walk out of the restaurant. Yuka is satisfyingly rubbing her stomach, like ‘I’m so full.’ Eriko looks up into the sky.

Eriko: “It’s getting dark.”

Eriko (to herself): “Stupid, of course it’s getting dark, she can see that for herself!”

Eriko: “Should we...go back?”

Eriko (to herself): “But I don’t want this to end yet.”

Yuka shakes her head 'no' and holds up one finger. Then she turns and starts running.

Eriko: “Wait! Where are you going!”

They run up and down a couple streets until they get to a place that is slightly higher in elevation. Yuka stops and Eriko catches up, slightly out of breath. She looks up. There they can see the full sunset over the city. They are staring out, Eriko is slightly behind Yuka who is backlit by the beautiful sunset.

Eriko (to herself): “She’s so beautiful. I...I don’t know what to do, what to say to her...what did today mean to her?”

Eriko is looking down and sad when Yuka turns around. Concerned, she goes over to Eriko, reaches up and pins back Eriko’s hair out of her eyes with the new hair pin. Eriko is now looking right into Yuka’s eyes with the sunset in the background. They seem like they are about to kiss. They both blush, Yuka’s eyes just start to close. Eriko catches sight of the scar on Yuka’s neck. It shocks her with a sudden piercing pain and the image of a blood splash on a black background. Eriko is shocked, pulls away, and turns her face from Yuka.

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

Yuka opens her eyes, see’s Eriko looking away, panicked, and takes Eriko's hand and leans against Eriko’s arm. They stare out at the sunset some more.

At the train station.

Eriko: “Will...will you be okay...getting home alone?”

Yuka nods ‘yes.’

Eriko (to herself): “I don’t want to go.”

Eriko: “Oh, guess...I’ll see you at school then?”

Yuka nods ‘yes.’

Eriko: “Wait...your pin!”

She starts to take it from her hair. Yuka shakes her head 'no.'

Eriko: “Then...then take mine.”

She pulls it out of her pocket, hands it to Yuka who accepts it.

Eriko (to herself): “I want to tell her I had fun, I want to ask her if she did too.”

Eriko: “Um...bye.”

Eriko turns and starts to walk to another part of the station. A pause...then Yuka runs into her and gives her a huge hug and lets go and scampers off to the train terminal without even looking back leaving a shocked Eriko.

Eriko (to herself): “What was that?!”

She blushes, closes her eyes, a small smile on her face, she takes and crosses her right arm across her chest and grabs her left arm, takes a deep breath, and starts walking away.

That night, we see each of the four girls in their houses. Hatsue, eating alone at the table (parents and brother are all out):

Hatsue: “Hmmm, convenience store dinner on a Saturday night, god I’m pathetic.”

Yuka and Suzu doing each other’s hair, Suzu putting the pin in Yuka’s hair:

Suzu: “This is cute, did you get this today?”

Yuka nods her head 'yes.'

Suzu: “Sounds like you had fun with your friends?”

Yuka’s eyes lower from Suzu's, her cheeks blush, a little closed lipped smile crosses her mouth.

Suzu: “It was that good, huh?”

Yuka dives into Suzu’s arms and buries her face in her chest in a happy giddy embrace.

Suzu (to herself): “I’m so happy you found someone who can make you feel this way. I hope it lasts. I hope I’m worrying about nothing.”

In her mansion, Aiko is drinking from a tumbler all alone in the dark, She’s got a box of photos out, some are spread around, pictures of mom and Shiori, and Aiko was clearly looking through them earlier, although that time has passed and she’s just drinking now. The glass drops out of her hand as she passes out.

Eriko, in bed, asleep, tossing and turning violently. The hair pin is sitting out on her desk. She’s groaning in her dreams.

Eriko (out loud while asleep): “NO, NO, Get back! I didn’t mean to! I didn’t mean to! Oh god!”

(To be continued...)

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