In the Morning, I'll Say Hello - Chapter 65

 "In the Morning, I'll Say Hello" is a yuri manga I wrote. But I can't draw, so I'm posting the scripts here for your enjoyment!

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

Chapter 65

"New Year's Eve"



Shiori is by Aiko's bedside in the hospital. Aiko is off most of the equipment and stuff now. She's sitting up in bed, staring out the window. Shiori is arranging some flowers on a stand.


Shiori: "You're much better at this than I am."


Aiko: "It's been years."


Shiori: "When did you three stop?"


Aiko: "Three?"


Shiori: "Didn't Yuka-chan do this with you and mom?"


Aiko: "Mmmm..."


Shiori: "She's been here every day."


Aiko (to herself): "How can she come here, like nothing happened, after I told her how I feel? After what I've done?"


Aiko: "Your point?"


Shiori: "Well, just that I thought you two were inseparable, at least, that's what it sounded like, but you've been awfully cold to her."


Aiko: "Things change."


Shiori: "Like what?"


Aiko thinks back to confessing to Aiko (chapter 62)


[Flashback - Chapter 62]

Aiko: "I love you. I want to be with you. I don't want to share you with anyone."


Yuka slowly let's go of Aiko's hands.


                Aiko: "It's too late for that, isn't it?"


Yuka nods 'yes.'

[Flashback ends]


Aiko continues to sit silently in her bed, not answering Shiori.


Aiko (to herself): "How can I face her now, after what he...what I...I'm...disgusting."


There is a knock on the door, Shiori turns to see Yuka poking her head in. She's got something in a box.


Shiori: "Yuka-chan! Come in, come in!"


Yuka comes in and gives a little bow to Shiori and hands over the box she's carrying.


Shiori: "You didn't have to bring anything."


Shiori opens it and it's a fancy kagami mochi for the New Year.


Shiori: "Aiko look what Yuka-chan brought! It's so beautiful, thank you."


Yuka gives a tentative little smile.


Shiori: "Do you have any plans for the New Year?"


Yuka demures and then shyly nods 'yes.'


Aiko (to herself): "Of course she does."


Shiori: "That's good. We'll be traveling tomorrow, so I don't think we'll see you."


Yuka turns her head to the side in question.


Shiori: "The center got her in, and we leave tomorrow. Quite the way to start the year, huh? But maybe it's auspicious like this."


Yuka drops her head down sadly.


                Shiroi (to herself): "I'll give them some space."


Shiori: "I'm going to get some food, does anyone want anything?"


Aiko continues to stare out the window in silence, Yuka shakes her head 'no' softly.


With Shiori out of the room, Yuka is still standing several feet from the bed, in silence, hands clasped in front of her, head down. Aiko is staring out the window, not looking at Yuka.


Aiko (to herself): "How much do you know? Would you still be here if you knew everything that happened?"




Heizo is talking to a doctor in the hallway of the hospital.


Heizo: "Thank you for everything."


Doctor: "Stop by the lab for the blood draw, we'll need it for next week."


Heizo: "Okay, I'll do that. Have a wonderful New Year."


Heizo walks, slowly, down the hall. Suddenly he is bumped into from behind, it's Yuka.


Heizo: "I'm sorry, I move so slow these days. Oh! It's the little miss. What are you doing here?"


Yuka looks up at him with tears in her eyes.


Heizo: "My dear, what's wrong?"


Yuka shakes her head and wipes the tears with her sleeve. She points to him and tilts her head to the side, questioningly.


Heizo: "Okay, I won't ask you, but you'll need to do the same for me then. Can you do that?"


He puts a finger up to his mouth indicating to keep things quiet. Yuka looks at him for a second and nods 'yes.'


Heizo: "Were you leaving? Why don't you come over?"


Yuka shakes her head 'no' and gives a little bow.


Heizo: "Well, say hello to your sister for me then."


Yuka shakes her head 'yes,' bows again, and walks away.


Heizo: "I wonder what that was all about? That's not like her. But, she is a bit of a mystery isn't she? Both of them are."




From a distance, Shiori is walking the hallway towards Aiko's hospital room. As she gets nearer, she sees Yuka run out of the room, bump into Heizo, have the conversation above (but she's too far away to hear it) and leave.


Shiori (to herself): "Aiko! What did you do to her?"


Shiori walks in to Aiko's room. Aiko is still sitting up and staring out the window from her bed.


Shiori: "Here, I got you this."


She hands Aiko a drink.


Aiko: "Thank you, but I'm not thirsty."


Shiori: "You won't see her for a month. Are you okay with leaving things this way?"


Aiko: "I don't see why it matters so much to you."


Shiori: "You took care of her for years, and now you're pushing her away."


Aiko (to herself): "I think it was Yuka who was taking care of me. I'm nothing without her..."


Aiko: "She'll be fine."


Aiko (to herself): "She'll be better off without me."


Shiori: "Honestly, it's not her I'm worried about."


Aiko: "And?"


Shiori: "And I am worried about you, and keeping you clean and healthy. You're going to need good friends for that."


Aiko: "Aren't..."


Aiko (to herself): "Aren't you back now? Or will you leave again too?"


Shiori: "What?"


Aiko: "It's nothing, nevermind."




Hatsue is putting out breakfast on the family table.


Kenji Fujimaki (Hatsue's dad): "I'm starving."


Yukiyo Fujimaki (Hatsue's mom): "What, from all the cleaning you only do once a year?"


Kenji: "Alright, alright, you got me."


Hatsue: "Oh dad!"


Yukiyo: "Where's Tetsu?"


Hatsue: "I'll call him again."


She sticks her head out the doorway and starts to call before realizing he's right there on his way in.


Hatsue: "Tets....oh!"


Tetsu: "I heard you the first time."


Hatsue: "Oh, okay, we just didn't want to start without you."


Tetsu: "Nice of you to be concerned about my feelings."


Hatsue (sadly): "Hey!"


Tetsu is sitting down at the table. They all say "Itadakimasu" and start eating. There is awkward silence.


Kenji: "We're really proud of how you did on finals."


Hatsue: "Oh, thanks dad."


Yukiyo: "Just one year left, have you given any thought to where you want to go to college?"


Hatsue: "I really haven't thought about it yet."


Tetsu: "Oh, so you're not giving up on it?"


Kenji: "What does he mean by that?"


Hatsue is giving Tetsu both a questioning and a "don't say it" look.


Hatsue: "I don't know what he's talking about."


Tetsu: "I only thought, since you got a boyfriend, you might not be as interested in school anymore."


Kenji: "Boyfrie....?"


Yukiyo: "Tetsu, you know that your father has always supported my career. Just because a woman is in a relationship, doesn't mean she can't go to school."


Kenji: ""


Tetsu: "Fine, you're right, excuse me. Thank you for the food."


[Ed. note: He uses the traditional "Gochisosama"]


Yukiyo: "I bet he's just feeling lonely now that you're so independent."


Hatsue: "But he's got Megumi-chan."


Yukiyo: "Hmmm, it's different though, isn't it?"


Kenji: "Wait, isn't anyone going to tell me what's going on?"


Yukiyo: "Hush dear."




Eriko's bedroom. Lots of bright light coming in. The clock says something like 11am. She's dreaming. Rolling over in the covers. We get flashbacks/dreams of the two kisses with Yuka (Christmas eve and Christmas day on their walk), and the bath at Yuka's house, rolling on the hill on Christmas day...Eriko finally rolls right out of the bed.


Eriko: "OWWW! What the hell? It was such a good dream too, for once."


She enters the kitchen rubbing her head and yawning. The kitchen is empty, there's a plate of food with wrap over it and a note. She picks up the note.


Note: "I'll be back before dinner, make sure you eat something before then!"


Eriko: "He went out? Maybe that's a good sign? I wonder where he went?"




Tetsu is dusting the living room. Hatsue walks in.


Hatsue: "Have you seen the mop?"


Tetsu says, without turning around:


Tetsu: "No."


Hatsue (to herself): "He's still mad."


Hatsue: "Oh, I was going to mop the kitchen floor, didn't you use it last?"


Tetsu: "I don't think so."


Hatsue (to herself): "Come on, Tetsu. Forgive me already!"


Hatsue: "I've searched all over, do you think I should go out and get a new one?"


Tetsu: "Whatever you feel like."


Hatsue: "Oh, ummm, okay. I guess I'll go help mom prepare dinner instead."


She walks away with her head down. When she's gone, Tetsu turns around from where he was dusting and sits, sighing.




The sound of something creaking/banging. Suzu looks up from her preparation of the osechi (the good luck food for breakfast New Year's morning) in the kitchen.


Suzu: "Yuka, are you back already? How'd it go?"


Suzu walks around to the front entrance, drying her hands on a hand towel as she walks. But there's no one in the entrance, just an envelope that has fallen to the floor from the mail slot in the door.


Suzu: "What's this?"


She picks it up and there's no normal address or postage on it, just a blank envelope. She opens it up. In it is a small note and some fresh, crisp money.


Note: "Happy new year."


Suzu's eyes get wide.


Suzu: " couldn't be."


She rushes and opens the door, runs out and looks both ways down the outside landing. Seeing no one, she runs to the stairwell. As she peers over the balcony of the stairwell, she can just make out a woman with a ponytail in the distance running.


Suzu: "MOM!"


The person doesn't stop. Suzu slumps down with her back against the landing.


Suzu: "I really hope it isn't you. Does that make me an awful person?"






Eriko is sitting at the table in the evening. Heizo walks over and places a bowl of soba in front of her.


Eriko (to herself): "I don't think I've ever had New Year's soba before?"


Heizo, noticing her staring at it.


Heizo: "Not hungry?"


Eriko: "Oh, um, no, it's not that."


Some silence while Heizo takes a bite.


Eriko: "It's just that..."


Heizo (to himself): "Yes..."


Eriko: "...sometimes..."


Heizo (leaning forward, and saying to himself): "Yes..."


Eriko: "...about my memories..."


Heizo (eyes widening, saying to himself): "YES..."


Eriko: ", it's nothing, nevermind."


Heizo drops his head in defeat. Then pulls it up, laughing.


Heizo: "HA! You've really changed, you know that?"


Eriko: "What do you mean?"


Heizo: "Especially recently, you've seemed...lighter somehow."


Eriko is blushing a bit and not making eye contact.


Heizo: "When I first found you, you were just so angry, so angry you could barely put two words together, but also shy, so very very uncertain of yourself."


Eriko: "Do you think I'll ever remember it all?"


Heizo: "Does that mean you've remembered some?"


Eriko: "I'm not sure. Sometimes, I get glimpses of things..."


Heizo: "Things?"


Eriko: "Like pieces of a story, but...I'm not sure if they're my story."


Heizo: "And if you never remember it all?"


Eriko: "I'm starting to think, maybe I'd like it better that way, actually."


Heizo: "Hmmm, so your life right now isn't that bad?"


Eriko: "Ummm, it's kinda....good."




Hatsue comes down the stairs in her yukata, looking beautiful. Tetsu is on the couch facing the TV, his back to the stairwell. He speaks without turning to look at her.


Tetsu: "Won't you be cold out there like that?"


Hatsue: "Now you care?"


Tetsu: "I've always cared."


Hatsue: "Arghhh, just say it already!"


Tetsu: "Say what? That you broke curfew. That I thought he was...that you were in trouble again? That I felt helpless, and couldn't do anything about it? That I was scared to death? Is that what you want me to say?"


Hatsue impulsively starts hugging him over the back of the couch, crying.


Hatsue: "Thank you. Thank you for everything you've done for me, for everything you've been for me. But..."


Tetsu: "But you're all grown up now and you don't need me."


Hatsue: "That isn't true at all! I'll always need you."


Tetsu: "You like him?"


Hatsue: "I do."


Tetsu: "Do you love him?"


Hatsue: "I think so, yes."


Tetsu: "And he's good to you?"


Hatsue: "Yes, so very much!"




Tetsu: "I'm getting married."


A pause, it sinks in.

Hatsue: "What?! Really?!"


Tetsu: "I proposed on Christmas day to her."


Hatsue: "And I ruined that day for you by making you worry."


Tetsu: "I didn't know how to tell you, and then, you were gone."


Hatsue: "I'm so sorry."


Tetsu: "We'll be moving in together, after the wedding. I won't be here for you every day. I didn't know what you'd think."


Hatsue: "Are you kidding? I'm happy for you! I love Megumi-chan. And I never wanted to hold you back. I'm really happy."


Tetsu: "You mean it?"


Hatsue: "I mean it."




A formal New Year's party at Tayama's art gallery. All sorts of beautiful people are milling around, drinking, looking at the art, making out. All well dressed. Waiters are walking through with appetizers. As Tayama is walking around greeting and being greeted by others, Hidaka keeps avoiding making eye contact with him. Just as Tayama is going to go over to him, Tayama gets distracted by yet another person greeting him and Hidaka slips away into the crowd again.




Suzu and Yuka are walking around the Shinto temple late at night. Suzu is dressed normally, but Yuka is dressed in a yukata. She is beautiful, her hair pinned up exposing her slender neck. She's wearing the hair pin that matches Eriko's. The necklace and scar are both visible on her neck. She blows into her hands to keep them warm. Then points to the amazake stand. [Ed. note: amazake is a fermented rice drink served at Shinto shrines on new year's eve.]


Suzu: "Yuck, you're on your own with that! I'll wait here."


Yuka smiles and goes off to get some. Suzu sits on a low stone wall around a tree. She can hear a few young men near her speaking.


Man 1: "She's sort of cute. Looks like she's alone too."


Man 2: "Did you really come here to hit on girls?"


Man 1: "You gotta take the opportunity, right?"


Suzu smiles to herself.


Suzu (to herself): "Maybe someone will think I'm cute one day."


Yuka comes back over smiling and drinking her amazake.


Suzu: "I don't know how you can stand that stuff."


Yuka gives her a big grin with her eyes squeezed shut in joy. In the background, the guys are still talking.


Man 2: "Whoa, is that her kid?"


Man 1: "Yikes, nevermind."


Suzu sighs and drops her head hearing this.


Suzu (to herself): "They...they were looking at me."


Yuka makes a face towards the men as they leave and squats down in front of Suzu so she can look up at Suzu. She puts her hand on Suzu's knee. Suzu puts on a brave face.


Suzu (to herself): "Look at her, it makes it all worth it."


Suzu: "Hmm, it's nothing, where should we go next?"


As they get up and start walking they see Shiori in line waiting to pray.


Shiori (to herself): "I haven't been back here in so many years. It feels a bit nostalgic."


Suzu: "Isn't that Handa-san?"


Yuka nods 'yes' and walks over to Shiori.


Shiori: "Ah Kiyoura-san, Yuka-san, best wishes for the new year. It's nice to see you twice in one day, and outside of the hospital too!"


Both bow back, Yuka looks down a bit glumly.


Suzu: "Best wishes for the new year. How is your sister?"


Shiori: "I was telling Yuka today, we're leaving tomorrow to get her some more help."


Suzu: "So soon?"


Shiori: "She'll be gone at least a month."


Suzu: "I'm so sorry, about everything."


Shiori: "What are you apologizing for?"


Suzu: "Maybe I could have done something, all these years?"


Shiori: "Nonsense. There are plenty of other people to blame!"


She's taken Suzu's hand in hers at this point and they exchange warm smiles. Yuka shivers a bit.


Suzu: "Yuka! You sure you're not too cold like that?"


Yuka shakes her head 'no.' Then, Yuka spots Eriko walking through the stalls. Eriko spots her too. There is the moment when it feels like the crowds part and everything else is in black and white other than the two of them, looking at each other across the distance.


Suzu (to herself): "Ah! I see! No reason to let cold get in the way of showing off."


Shiori (to herself): "Wow. What's with them?"


Eriko comes up to them.


Suzu: "Best wishes for the new year, Eriko-chan!"


Eriko: "Oh, yes, best wishes for the new year."


Suzu: "I'm sorry, Handa-san, this is Arishima-san."


Eriko: "Arishima...Eriko...nice to meet you."


Shiori: "I'm Shiori Handa, you might know my sister, Aiko Okumura. Nice to meet you."


Eriko (to herself): "Sister?"


Suzu: "Handa-san used to be Yuka's tutor a long time ago. We've just reconnected."


Yuka is only paying attention to Eriko. Eriko turns to notice her and blushes.


Eriko: ""


Suzu (to herself): "AHHHH I can't take it, every time! They're both too precious!"


Shiori (to herself): "Is something going on between them? Could this be what Aiko's so troubled about?"


Suzu: "Why don't you two go off and have fun and don't come back until you've seen the sun rise."


Shiori (to herself): "She's encouraging them."


Yuka pulls on Suzu's shirt questioningly? Eriko has the same question.


Eriko: " came together...Would that be...okay?"


Suzu: "Yup! Just bring her home sometime, alright! I'll hang out with Handa-san."




Hidaka is sitting on a white couch with some models. They're drinking and talking. Tayama comes up and sits down casually near them. Loosens his tie.


Tayama: "I thought I'd never have a moment to sit down."


The women look at Hidaka:


Hidaka (to the women): "Would you two mind getting me and the boss here something fresh to drink?"


Woman (to the other): "Boss?"


Tayama: "You've been avoiding me all night Ma-kun. Are sales that bad?"


Hidaka: "Ha! I figured you had to make the rounds before we could have fun."


Tayama: "Well, I'm free now."


The models come back with drinks. It's a bit awkward. Tayama looking around the place.


Tayama: "I thought she'd come."


Hidaka: "Who?"


Tayama: "I left a message with Okumura-sama's household to invite his daughter, Aiko, to the party tonight."


Hidaka: "You haven't mentioned her in a while, I didn't know you had anything going on."


Tayama: "She's a tough one, I've only managed to see her a few times."


Hidaka: "And she didn't..."


Tayama: "Didn't what?"


Hidaka: "No, nothing."


Tayama: "What is it old friend?"


Hidaka: "She just doesn't seem like your type, or maybe, you don't seem like hers, is all."


Tayama: "And you know her well enough to say that?"


Tayama (to himself): "What are you hiding?"


Hidaka: "No, no, I'm just making conversation."




Eriko and Yuka are walking side by side through the stalls. They come up to an omamori (charm) stand.


Eriko (to herself): "I really want to hold her hand. Will people think that's weird?"


Eriko keeps walking, not noticing that Yuka has stopped. She turns to look at Yuka and notices she's not there.


Eriko: "Kiyoura-chan?"


She looks back and sees her buying something and bowing to the woman at the stand. Eriko walks over to her. Yuka looks up at her and smiles. Eriko turns and blushes. They keep on walking. Yuka points to a food stall.


Eriko: "Did, want to get something to eat?"


They're sitting eating some mochi on a bench. There's one left in the container. Eriko turns to offer it to Yuka.


Eriko: "There's you..."


She notices that Yuka is holding two love charms, one pink and one blue. Yuka seems to be going through something in her mind, like which one to give Eriko, the blue or the pink, back and forth she gently lifts one or the other, to herself, not noticing that Eriko is watching her.


Eriko (to herself): "Love charms? Did she get those for us?"


Finally Yuka sighs and puts them both back into her bag. She turns to see Eriko there holding out the last mochi. She shakes her hands in front of her signaling, 'no, you can have it.' Eriko looks down at it, and pulls it into two pieces. She holds one half out to Yuka.


Eriko: "Why don't...why don't we...share it?"


Yuka leans into the outstretched offering and eats it right out of Eriko's fingers, her lips gently touching Eriko's finger tips. She's smiling while she chews it, Eriko blushes fiercely and with wide eyes.


Eriko (to herself): "She just...I can't believe...her lips, on my public!"

(to be continued...)

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