Saiyuu no Ryouko: The continuing Adventures of Yuriko, Issue 30
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The Story So Far: Yuriko and Midori have escaped from a very
unpleasant experience. They've decided to treat themselves to a hot
bath and a nice meal with the family for fun.
Volume 2, Issue 14
"Dinner for Eighteen"
"Old movies." Yuriko said, rather abruptly. She finished drying her
hair and cast a look over at Midori. The writer stood by the bedroom
door in terry robe, with her hair piled on her head. "Bath's free, I
think unless someone got there first."
"Thank you and, what?" Midori moved past the blonde with an
appreciative glance at her long linen-clad legs.
"Old movies," Yuriko repeated, combing her fingers through her hair.
"That's what you were into in high school." She watched a smile break
out on Midori's face. "I'm right, aren't I?"
"Not even a little close...ice cold in fact." Midori slid the door
Yuriko made a face. "Cooking?" She called out as the door began to
"No!" Midori's laughter disappeared down the hall.
Hayao was waiting for them when the two women joined the rest of the
family for dinner.
"It's a veritable feast!" he said happily. "I can't wait as the only
bachelor in this crowd, it's not often I get home cooking."
"Oh please," Midori protested, "you come home all the time!"
"True, but Aoi doesn't cook and Dad....well, you remember what happens
when he gets it into his head that he'll cook."
Midori rolled her eyes. "Yes, yes I do."
"Why? Is it bad?"
"Oh, no!" Hayao laughed. "Dad can cook like no one's business he was
an assistant chef a long time ago, but he's temperamental, a real
prima donna. We'd be cleaning up his mess for days." Midori and her
brother shared a laugh at the memory.
Yuriko watched her lover, pleased at the change from this afternoon.
Midori's outburst had, apparently, been cathartic. Whatever had been
eating at her for the last day seemed to be gone or had taken a back
seat for the moment. Yuriko felt herself relaxing a little at the
thought of dinner. She hadn't been looking forward to shepherding a
tense Midori through a family meal.
"You coming?" Hayao looked over his shoulder at the singer. "You'd
better hurry with all us hungry guys at the table, you women might
have trouble scoring some food."
Grinning, Yuriko said, "I don't know I'm pretty fast at grabbing at
a platter myself."
The three entered the large, formal dining room together. Yuriko
whistled at the sight that greeted them. Platters of food covered the
table until there was little tablecloth visible.
"I feel like I've just entered a novel," Yuri breathed to Midori.
The writer grinned up at the blonde. "Funny, I was about to say that I
feel like I've just walked into a television show." They both laughed
and headed for the seats reserved for them. They could tell which
seats these were, since they were conspicuously located near Mishima,
and several pairs of hands waved them in that direction.
"Please don't tell me we're Guests of Honor," Yuriko whispered into
Midori's ear. "Please."
"I don't think I can," Midori replied without moving her lips much.
"Just pray they don't actually want a speech."
In fact, dinner was delightful. Mishima was an excellent host, keeping
the conversation light and lively. The food was unreasonably
delicious; almost everyone in the family had contributed to some
portion of the feast. Yuriko ate until she thought she would burst,
then managed to have just a little more of the fresh fruit pie that
was pressed upon her.
They sat over coffee and brandy, sharing stories of their day. Yuriko
found herself watching herself, as she enjoyed the warm, homey
atmosphere. A year ago, she might have run from this terrified by
her own family memories. Even now, when she allowed herself the
leisure to think about it, to realize that this was what a family
could be, she found her eyes beginning to smart.
Dinner in her home growing up had never felt like this. There was no
intimacy between herself and her parents. They had always been cold to
her, to Take and Fumie. As children, they had all learned that stories
of their day should be confined to listing achievements in school, or
to remain silent. The silence had surrounded them each day, cutting
themselves off from each other, filling up the spaces where other
families had warmth and love.
But for all that, this didn't feel strange. Yuriko did not feel out of
place, or awkward...and she knew perfectly well that this was not just
her polished social skills in play. These people were different from
any she'd ever known. They were a family - a thing she had never
really had, even when her parents had been alive. She watched Midori,
eyes sparkling, head thrown back with laughter at something Masaki had
said and her heart practically hurt from being overfull with joy. It
was more than she could have ever asked for, or imagined.
"Yuriko-san," Mishima refilled her glass as he addressed her. "I was
going to ask you to make a speech," he grinned as panic flared in her
eyes, "but I've been told that I'd be divorced if I did."
Aoi glowered from her place at the table. Yuriko covered the smile
that sprang to her lips. Aoi looked exactly like a child trying to
stare down a bully.
"No speeches," Aoi slapped her palm on the table for emphasis.
"Including you," she pointed a stern finger at Mishima. "Let's just
all drink and relax and not bother with formalities."
A hearty "yea" of announced the younger generation's agreement with
Dinner wound down with Gin and Mihoshi announcing their desire to
retire for the evening.
"It's been a long day," Mihoshi apologized, "and we're all worn out
with sun and activity."
"Kirika and Akane challenged Mom to a sandcastle building contest,"
Misono joked. "She lost."
"It's been a long time since I've built a sand castle, you know,"
Mihoshi protested good-naturedly.
"Well," Yuriko announced, "since we weren't here to help make this
fabulous meal, I hereby volunteer myself and Midori for cleanup
"Hey!" Midori complained. "You can't do that!"
"Yes, I can." Yuriko grinned crookedly. "And I have."
"We'll help too!" Sakura jumped from her seat. "Misono and I want to
hear all about the interview today."
"Absolutely!" Misono agreed, grabbing platters at random. "We heard
that you two cause quite a stir..."
Yuriko blinked at the girl. "You heard? How on earth...?"
Misono offered a toothy grin in the idol's direction. "My secret
network of informants, of course!" She skipped off to the kitchen,
eminently pleased with herself.
"She's got a friend who's got a summer job at the studio," Sakura
informed Midori and Yuri, as they followed Misono, with arms full of
Cleanup took very little time with so many helping hands. In no time
at all, Yuriko found herself alone with Midori and her two nieces. She
had successfully put off the topic of their interview until now,
hoping to avoid it entirely.
"Spill the dirt," Misono said remorselessly. "Himi-chan tells me that
your interview caused total chaos on the set today."
The four walked out the back of the house and strolled in the cool
"It was awful," Midori said. "That woman was unpeakably rude, and I'm
amazed anyone watches her show."
Sakura snorted in derision. "Auntie Midori, you might want to find
yourself another manger...Osaka Teruo is *known* for being rude."
"Really?" Yuriko couldn't imagine people watching someone like that at
"Absolutely!" Misono's voice was full of glee. "Himi-chan tells me the
most horrible stories about guests being ripped to pieces by Osaka-
san, and the audience. She's seen people leave in tears...broken
shadows of the people they were when they came in."
"You don't have to sound so happy about it," Midori said sternly.
"It's not so much fun to be on the other end of that kind of
"But that's what makes this so delicious!" Misono would not be
quashed, "Himi-chan called me up to tell me that whatever you said had
Osaka-san in absolute panic today! After the show, she stormed off the
stage in tears, and screamed bloody murder at her Producer for thirty
minutes." The girl was clearly relishing this as she recounted the
after effects of their appearance. "So you've got to tell me, what was
it that you said to her?"
To Be Continued