Saiyuu no Ryouko: The Continuing Adventures of Yuriko, Issue 19
- [For Volume 1 (Issues 1-15,) visit http://www.yuricon.org/snb.htm.
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Saiyuu no Ryouko: The Continuing Adventures of Yuriko
The Story So Far: With a week to go before serious practice begins,
Yuriko and Midori have decided on a vacation together. They'll be
spending time with Midori's family. Not surprisingly, Yuriko's
nervous, but surprisingly, Midori is far more worried than she.
Volume 2, Issue 4
"Your mother?" Yuriko blurted out before she could stop herself. She
immediately regretted it when she saw Midori blanch. "I thought," she
amended quickly, "That when you said, 'doesn't look her age,' you
meant she looked great for a 50-something year old. Not a..."
"I know, I know." Midori agreed impatiently. "You didn't expect
someone who looks 18."
Yuriko shared a quick glance with her lover. "Am I being predictable?
I'm sorry I'll try not to be."
Midori gave the blonde a pained smile. "You won't have a choice. Just
remember, nod a lot."
Midori parked the car behind a small, silver Toyota, and set the
parking brake. Taking a deep breath to fortify herself, she got out of
the car. Yuriko watched after her for a second - regretting not taking
a moment alone back when they were out of sight of the house, to
reinforce her affection it was too late now. She angled her long
legs out of the car and found herself in the middle of a whirlwind
"I was planning a large dinner for us all, you know, as a family
reunion, but then Mishima called and you know that I can't refuse him
anything, then I was called away to work on that art installation, so
by the time I came back there wasn't any time to get started on dinner
and Youko was going to help, but with the children, its so hard to
keep them out of the way, and so I've decided that we should just all
go out tonight and do Karaoke."
The speech ended so abruptly that Yuriko practically gasped for
breath. She could clearly sense Midori's annoyance, so she remained
silent, sending out reassuring "pillar of strength" waves. Aoi seemed
to take their acquiescence to her plans for granted and not notice her
daughter's mood. Before she could launch into the next utterance,
Midori interrupted smoothly.
"Hello, Aoi. It's nice to see you too." The writer managed to sound
amused, but shot Yuriko a look that she could not interpret. "Let me
introduce you to Yuriko."
The idol found herself smiling automatically. "It's a great pleasure
to meet you at last," she said, bowing deeply, after introductions had
Aoi inclined her head perfunctorily, but with no rudeness at all.
"We've heard a lot about you," she said, obviously sizing up the tall
blonde. "Not much from Mi-chan, who never calls, but Sakura-chan is a
big fan." Yuriko nodded pleasantly and glanced at the teenager in
question. She was pleased to note that Sakura was well beyond the
simpering stage. The girl shot her a welcoming smile.
"Me too!" The other girl, Misono, Yuriko remembered, stepped up to be
introduced. "I've been a fan since your first album." She spoke
forcefully, but her voice was quiet and breathy.
"Yes, of course," Aoi cut in, giving them no time for introductions.
"So, anyway, as I was saying, we've heard a lot about you. Mi-chan,"
her attention shifted from Yuriko to her daughter with an unnerving
intensity. Yuriko found that she was able to breathe more easily when
not pinned by the older woman's slightly too-bright eyes. She began to
understand why Midori was so uneasy around her mother - and she
thought she could put a name to it.
While Midori fended off a barrage of questions she wasn't given time
to answer, Yuriko had a long look at Aoi. The older woman looked, at
closer range, a well-kept 40. That she was, in truth, slightly more
than 20 years older than that was remarkable. But her figure was
girlish and her energy remarkably, almost insultingly, youthful. The
way she bounced on her toes as she talked gave the impression of
someone younger even than Yuriko. Beside Midori's graceful and grave
demeanor, Aoi looked positively childish.
"Won't you come inside?" Aoi was addressing Yuriko again, and the
blonde found herself the object of scrutiny once more. Aoi smiled
brightly and Yuriko relaxed. The woman may be manic, but at least she
wasn't antagonistic. "It's really very good to meet you." The older
woman leaned forward conspiratorially, forcing Yuriko to bend over to
catch her words. "I can tell that you're making our Mi-chan happy
she's put on some weight."
Yuriko could see the flush cross Midori's cheeks and so could Sakura
and Misono. They practically leapt forward to take Aoi's hands.
"Come on, Aoi-'baasan," Sakura said quickly, rolling her eyes in
Midori's direction, "let's go inside and tell Mama and Papa that these
two are here." The two girls practically dragged the older woman into
the house, with a smile for Midori and a wave for Yuriko.
A moment of silence passed, and Midori heaved a great sigh of release.
"So," she began. "That's Aoi." She paused, then said, "She likes you."
"That's a weight off my mind." Yuriko said, taking Midori's hand in
hers, threading their fingers together. "We don't have to stay the
whole time, you know...Mi-chan."
Midori jerked her hand in penalty. "Oh, *please* don't call me that!"
She smiled up at Yuriko. "I'll be fine. She was just a little nervous.
But she does like you, so we're okay. Give her a little time to calm
down and we'll be fine." She retrieved her hand with a squeeze. "I'll
be fine. We should probably bring in our luggage."
They walked back to the car and opened the trunk, pulling out the top
bags, which were full of gifts, to reach the larger pieces below.
Yuriko pulled out a heavy case with a grunt. "I don't want to be rude,
but..." she gave a little laugh, "which you just know means I'm about
to be but why didn't you just tell me that Aoi's bipolar? It is
Midori picked up the bags that held fruits, toys for the younger
children and gifts for her nieces, and nodded. "I don't know. I guess,
I suppose one doesn't just do that. You know oh and by the way, my
mother's barking mad."
Yuriko looked off into a middle distance. "There was a boy who was
bipolar in high school. I didn't know it then, obviously, I mean, you
never do know those kinds of things when you're a kid. He was hard to
be around sometimes, but I don't think he was really insane or
Midori gestured dismissively. "You know what I mean. Not mad." She
sighed heavily. "Maddening is probably closer to the truth."
A loud "ahoy!" came over the lawn and they looked up to find two
youngish men gesturing, as they approached the two women with quick
Yuriko regarded them for a second, while Midori waved back happily.
"Based on pictures I've seen, I'm guessing that Satoshi is the one on
the left and Masaki is the one on the right."
"Hayao is on the right. Masaki looks a lot like him though he takes
after Aoi and looks far younger than he is." Midori laughed out loud
at the look of hopeless confusion on Yuriko's face. "Don't worry,
darling I know you, you'll get everyone's name perfectly right first
time around and never make a single mistake. I've seen you at
fundraisers and awards dinner, don't forget."
Yuriko grinned back and stepped up to be introduced to two more
members of Midori's seemingly endless family.
To Be Continued