Meiko:  (smiling) I told you.  I have to admit, I didn't think he'd
        come to accept you quite so quickly... but An will be glad.
        She likes the idea of having another sister.

[Meiko laughs, but Miki, dropping her gaze, looks a little pensive.]

Miki:  (softly) The way he was acting today...  It was... nice.  I

[Meiko stops laughing and turns around.]

Meiko:  Miki-san, you mean...?

Miki:  (looking up to meet Meiko's eyes) I... don't know if I feel
       like a sister... Meiko.

		*	*	*	*	*

		Orange Marmalade - episode eleven
		"Dangerous Summer"


[Scene:  Beach House, Girls' Bedroom]

[We're right where we left off last episode.  Miki is sitting on the
corner of one of the mattresses, near Meiko, who is in a chair in
front of the mirror.]

Meiko:  You mean...  (bites her lip) Does he know yet?

Miki:  (shaking her head) I don't think so.  I haven't told anyone

Meiko:  (chuckles) I know you didn't tell An or our parents.  There's
        no way they could keep quiet about something like this.

[Miki's mouth twitches into a small, tight-lipped smile, but only for
a moment.  Then the worry creeps back into her expression.  She
remains silent.]

Meiko:  (quietly) Why are you telling me?

Miki:  (also quietly) I'm not sure.  After today, I just felt,

[She trails off momentarily, searching for the right words, before
trying to start over.]

Miki:  It's not that I don't trust Anju-chan, but I feel like we're so
       different.  I don't feel that way with you.

[There is a brief pause in the conversation.]

Meiko:  (nodding slowly) I think I understand.

Miki:  (blinks) Yes.  Yes, that's it.

[Meiko, surprised, laughs.]

Meiko:  Thank you, Miki-san, but--

Miki:  (quickly interrupting) It's all right if you...  I mean, you
       really don't need to be so formal.

[She blushes.  Meiko smiles faintly and nods.]

Meiko:  You still seem comfortable around An, though.  Is it because
        you've known Arimi-chan for so long?  I think those two are a
        lot alike.

[Miki's expression falls.  She turns her head away, brooding.]

Meiko:  Oh, no, Arimi-chan is...  I forgot...

Miki:  I don't know what I'm going to do.  Arimi is my friend; I
       should help her... but... I'm not sure...

[Meiko sets her hairbrush aside and gets up from her chair, moving to
the bed next to Miki.  She reaches out to touch the older girl's
shoulder -- a gesture that becomes an embrace as Miki leans into her
arms.  The two remain like that for some time before Meiko speaks.]

Meiko:  It looks like it's my turn to try to help you... Miki.


[Scene:  Beach]

[The next day.  The streak of nice weather continues; the sun is high,
the sky is nearly cloudless, and the beach is packed.  Blankets and
umbrellas are scattered thoroughly around the sand, and hundreds of
swimmers have thronged to the surf.  Among them are Miki and Meiko;
Miki is treading water, while Meiko floats placidly with her eyes

Meiko:  Ahhh... this feels good.  It seems like such a long time since
        we came to the ocean...

Miki:  It sounds like this is just what you needed.  (mischievously)
       It looks like An-chan and Yuu-kun are enjoying it, too.

Meiko:  Oh...?

[Without warning, Yuu and Anju swim past, apparently engaged in a
race.  Meiko is splashed as they pass.  She splutters and straightens

Meiko:  Hey!  Watch it...

Miki:  (stifling laughter) They can't hear you, Meiko.

Meiko:  (grumbling) I think they did that on purpose.

Miki:  Oh, come on.  Yuu-kun wouldn't... would he?

Meiko:  (frowns slightly) I wouldn't count on it.  When he and An are
        together without arguing with each other...

[Miki laughs, and Meiko turns to look quizzically at her.]

Miki:  Sorry.  It's just... they team up on you?

[Meiko nods, with a long-suffering sigh.]

Meiko:  Mostly me, yes.  I'm surprised they haven't tried to do
        anything to you, yet.  (pause) They haven't, have they?

Miki:  (smiling uneasily) I guess I've been lucky.  Here they come

[Meiko turns in place.  Yuu and Anju are indeed swimming back toward
them.  This time, they're at a much more sedate pace.  Miki smiles and
waves as they come nearer.]

Miki:  So, who won?

Anju:  (grinning) I did!

Yuu:  I was going easy on her.

Anju:  Liar.  I won fair and square.

[Yuu lets that pass with a half-shrug.  Anju is taken aback for a
moment, but she smiles proudly nevertheless.]

Meiko:  Anyway, you two should watch where you're going.
        (mock-scolding tone) I nearly drowned, you know.

[The three girls giggle.]

Yuu:  I'm sorry, I didn't see you.  Are you all right?

[Surprised, Meiko stops laughing.]

Meiko:  Eh?  (blinks) I'm fine.

Yuu:  Good.  (to Miki) Having fun?

Miki:  (blinks) Me?  Sure...  (smiles) I was thinking about taking a
       walk around the town, but it seemed like a perfect day for

Yuu:  Yeah, it is.  Maybe you'll get a chance to look around town
      after Rumi-san's job tomorrow.

Miki:  It'll probably be pretty late by then.  The next day, though...

Anju:  Too late?  How long does it take?

Miki:  (chuckling) Until sunset, usually.

Anju:  Wow... I had no idea...

Yuu:  Hmm.  What do they do that takes so long?

Miki:  If it's going to take too much time, you don't have to do it,
       Yuu.  Mama will understand.

Yuu:  (shaking his head) It's okay.  I was just wondering what was

Miki:  (nodding) Well... I think we're just taking a few preliminary
       shots, so everyone can see what the models would look like in
       the actual commercial.  If any of them turn out really well,
       they might be used in a print ad, but that's unusual.  There'll
       be at least two dozen pictures... close ups, profiles, at a
       distance, different poses and expressions.  Some of them might
       take a long time to set up.  (apologetically) Mama's kind of a
       perfectionist about this.

Yuu:  Hmm... sounds like we'll be busy, all right.

Meiko:  (impressed) There's more to it than I thought.

Anju:  (slightly puzzled) How long does the real commercial take?

Miki:  It depends.  A couple of days isn't too unusual, even if you
       don't count all the editing.

Anju:  (eyes wide) Whoa... it takes that long for a 30-second

Miki:  (smiles) They take a little longer to shoot.  The actors need
       to get ready, there're makeup and costumes... and it almost
       always takes more than one "take" before it's ready.  You can
       improve on the first time, at least in the director's mind.

Anju:  "Take?"

Miki:  (nodding) If an actor makes a mistake, or the director just
       doesn't like the way it turned out, they do it again.  That's
       called another "take."

Anju:  Hmm... models have a harder job than I thought.

Meiko:  It makes you think twice about becoming an actress, ne, An?

Anju:  I still think it sounds like fun...

Yuu:  Rumi-san said tomorrow would be a big job...  How is it
      different than usual?

Miki:  I don't know.  (smiles) Maybe she was just saying it to get you
       to agree to help.

Meiko:  It worked.

[They laugh.]

Yuu:  It does sound like her, though.  (to Anju) Ready for a rematch?

Anju:  (grinning) Any time!  You're so slow I could beat you in my
       sleep, 'niichan.

Yuu:  (raising an eyebrow) Oh, really.  I guess I'll just have to try
      for real this time.  How far?

Anju:  (scanning the shore) How about from here out to that point just
       past where the beach house is?  You know, between the house and
       that island?

Yuu:  (nodding) Okay, then.  (turning toward Meiko and Miki) Would one
      of you mind starting us?

Miki:  (smiling) Sure.

Meiko:  Have fun, you two.  Don't exhaust yourself -too- much, An.

Anju:  Don't worry, this will be easy.

Yuu:  That's my line.

Miki:  Ready?

[Yuu and Anju immediately stop arguing and take their places.  Meiko

Miki:  3, 2, 1, go!

[Both of them are off like a shot.  Yuu seems to be taking an early

Meiko:  You see what I mean about those two?

Miki:  (nodding) But it must be good for him.  I don't think I've ever
       seen Yuu-kun so relaxed.

Meiko:  (surprised) You think so too?

Miki:  Eh?

Meiko:  (frowning slightly) The way he's acting is a little unusual
        for him.  He hasn't been like this since he was young.

Miki:  Hmm.  (smiles) Oh, well; it's a good change, anyway.


[Scene:  Beach House, Outside]

[The next day.  Rumi is leaning against the rail of the balcony,
looking out over the beach.  Various pieces of equipment, including a
large mirror and an elaborate camera-tripod setup, sit on the deck
nearby.  In the background, Miki and Yuu can be heard talking.  Their
voices grow gradually louder; finally, the back door opens, and Miki
steps through, followed by Yuu.]

Miki:  --Slept this late, though.  It's unusual.  (smiles) Hi, Mama.

[Rumi turns around.]

Rumi:  Ah, there you are...

Yuu:  Sorry we're late.  (to Miki) I was tired.  An's gotten a lot

Miki:  (laughing) You should have just let it go.

Yuu:  I won the next two, didn't I?  (to Rumi) The models aren't here
      yet, Rumi-san?

Rumi:  (shaking her head) It won't be long.  (gestures at the pile of
       equipment) Can you two take this down to the beach for me?
       I'll meet you there.

[Yuu and Miki look at each other.  Miki shrugs.  Yuu nods and picks up
the tripod setup.]

Yuu:  Sure.  Should we make two trips, Rumi-san?

Rumi:  (smiling) Thanks, but I think I can manage the rest, if Miki
       takes the mirror.  Be careful with that camera, Yuu-kun.

[Yuu nods.  Miki picks up the large mirror, and the two of them head
down the stairs.  Rumi checks her watch.]

Rumi:  Well, there are still ten minutes...


[Scene:  Beach]

[A secluded part of the beach -- a flat, sandy area partly surrounded
by low, rocky cliffs, isolating it from the portion of the shore where
the other vacationers are enjoying themselves.  Conveniently, it's not
all that far from the beach house; perhaps a ten- or fifteen-minute
walk.  Yuu is kneeling in the sand, setting up the tripod apparatus;
Miki is sitting on one of the stones at the base of the cliff,
watching him.  The mirror she was carrying leans against the

Miki:  I didn't know you knew how to set up a camera, Yuu.

Yuu:  (not looking up from his work) I don't, really.  I just want to
      get it standing for Rumi-san.

Miki:  Maybe this vacation -is- good for you.  (smiles) She'll need to
       adjust it anyway.  Probably between every shot, knowing her.

Yuu:  (shrugs) We're going to be waiting anyway.  (pause) What do you

Miki:  The shots probably won't all be taken from the same location,

Yuu:  (shaking his head) No, about the vacation.

Miki:  Oh, Meiko thinks you're more relaxed than usual.

[Yuu finishes with the tripod and rises to his feet, turning to face
Miki.  He arches one eyebrow.]

Yuu:  Oh, really...?  {It's "Meiko" now, hmm?  Maybe my little sister
      really is getting over the remarriage...}

Miki:  Really.

[Yuu slowly begins to smile.  Miki turns toward the ocean as she

Miki:  She said she hadn't seen you like this since you were young.

[Yuu's expression slips, but only for a moment.  By the time Miki
turns back toward him, he is smiling, just as he was before.  There is
a brief silence.]

Miki:  Actually...  (dropping her gaze) To tell you the truth, I--

Rumi:  Miki!  Yuu-kun!

[Miki whirls around, taking a step back towards Yuu as she does so.
Rumi is not far along the beach; she's carrying a clipboard beneath
one arm, and waving to the children with the other.  Just behind her,
lugging a rather large metal case, is a tall, thin, thirtyish man with
rumpled hair, who is wearing sunglasses.  Accompanying them is a
teenaged girl with long, straight hair, wearing a simple, yet
elegant-looking, pastel sundress and a white hat with a large brim and
a red ribbon.  The brim of the hat has been pulled forward, offering
protection from the sun.  Yuu moves to stand next to Miki as the other
three approach.]

Yuu:  (whispering to Miki) Only one model?  I thought there'd be more.

[Miki shrugs slightly, and nods.  The tall man swiftly sets down the
metal case with a sigh of relief as Rumi addresses her companions.]

Rumi:  This is Matsuura Yuu and my daughter, Miki.  They're going to
       be helping out today.

[Yuu and Miki bow politely, and Rumi next addresses them.]

Rumi:  (indicating the man) This is Yasuragi-san, an aide to the
       director.  (holds up the clipboard) He's going to be taking
       some notes on the session.  (smiles) And he was nice enough to
       carry down the rest of the equipment for me.

Yasuragi:  (smiling unsteadily) N-Nice to meet you...

Yuu:  I knew we should have made two trips.

Rumi:  And this is our model, Sakuma Suzu-chan.

[Suzu takes off her hat, holding it before her in both hands, and
bows.  As she straightens up, we get the first good look at her face.
Suzu is incredibly beautiful, in a cute, childlike sort of way; it's
easy to see why she'd be chosen as a model, especially when she gives
Miki and Yuu a huge, sunny smile.]

Suzu:  Nice to meet you!

Miki:  Ah... likewise.

[Yuu chuckles.  Rumi claps her hands to get everyone's attention.]

Rumi:  All right, everyone, we're almost ready.  (to Yasuragi) I think
       it would be a good idea to start with the motion shots.  The
       close-ups should be easier, so they'll take less time...

[As she's speaking, she kneels to open the metal case that the younger
man was carrying.  Extracting one of the lenses, she crosses to the
camera and begins to adjust the equipment.  Meanwhile, Yasuragi looks
over his reclaimed clipboard.]

Yasuragi:  Um, yes... yes, I don't see why not.

[Rumi nods to Yasuragi and points to a spot further along the beach.]

Rumi:  Yuu-kun, if you could stand over there with the mirror, and
       hold it at about a 45-degree angle to the ocean...

Yuu:  All right, but are you sure about that angle?

Rumi:  For now.  We'll probably adjust to 60 before long.  Miki, does
       this look like it's lined up?

[Yuu shrugs, picks up the mirror, and follows Rumi's directions, while
Miki confirms her mother's setup.]

Yasuragi:  (clearing his throat) Suzu-chan?

Suzu:  Right here!

Yasuragi:  For the first picture, start a few meters down the beach,
           just clear of the surf... no, on second thought, just in
           the water... and run in Matsuura-kun's direction.  Um...
           we'll try one with you facing straight ahead, just running.
           Then the next one can have you turning toward the camera
           and waving...

Suzu:  Sure!  That's easy.

[She removes her sandals, sets them aside, and dashes off to the edge
of the surf.]

Yasuragi:  And remember to smile!

Suzu:  (over her shoulder) Okay!  (to herself) I -have- done this

[The photo shoot commences, and it proceeds much like Miki said it
would.  Rumi takes pictures of Suzu running, pictures of Suzu walking,
pictures of Suzu sitting, pictures of Suzu kneeling.  There are
pictures of Suzu smiling secretively, pictures of Suzu beaming
joyously, pictures of Suzu tossing her head back and laughing, and
pictures of Suzu starting out at the waves, looking thoughtful.  While
Rumi is taking all these pictures of Suzu, Yasuragi scribbles notes on
his clipboard, Yuu stands in various locations with his mirror, and
Miki runs back and forth fetching or replacing various camera lenses
and props.  Halfway through the session, Rumi calls a break.  She
begins discussing the last sequence of shots with Yasuragi while Yuu,
returning, sits down next to Miki.]

Yuu:  It's more tiring than I thought.

Miki:  Holding the mirror up?

[Yuu nods.]

Miki:  Well, you've been doing it for... oh, three or four hours, now.

Yuu:  (grimacing) No wonder.  It didn't seem so bad, until we stopped.
      Now my arms are killing me.  (pause) You don't sound very
      excited about all this.  I thought you'd be jumping up and down.

Miki:  (shrugging) I've helped my mother a few times before.  I guess
       this has become a little routine.  (chuckles) But I have to
       admit, I didn't think that real people could be that cute.

Yuu:  (amused) Suzu-chan?

[Miki nods.]

Yuu:  I'm kind of impressed.

Miki:  (neutrally) Really.

Yuu:  (nodding) When I saw how young she was, I thought she might
      treat this as a game.  But I don't think she is.

Miki:  (softening) Ah.  You're impressed because of her

[Yuu thinks about that for a second, then nods.]

Miki:  (intrigued) It looks like Miss Professional is coming this way.
       I guess you'll have a chance to tell her.

Yuu:  Hmm?

[He turns, following Miki's gaze.  Suzu is, indeed, approaching them.
She smiles amd waves as she sees them notice her, and speeds up.]

Suzu:  Hi, Yuu-san, Miki-san.

Yuu:  Hi, Suzu-chan.  Bored?

Suzu:  (shaking her head) I'm used to this.  (thoughtfully) It is a
       little strange, though.

Miki:  It is?

Suzu:  (nodding) Doing all this when it's not for a real piece.  A lot
       of directors wouldn't, you know.

Miki:  Now that you mention it...

Yuu:  It must be an exhausting job for you, Suzu-chan, ne?

Suzu:  (shaking her head) ...Well, maybe a little.  But it's so much
       fun!  I get to meet famous people, and be on the cover of
       magazines, and...

Yasuragi:  Suzu-chan!  Are you ready to go on?

Suzu:  (turning) Yeah!  (to Yuu and Miki) Sorry, looks like I need to
       get back to work.

[She smiles.  Yuu and Miki stand.]

Yuu:  Us too.

[He waves, but Suzu is already walking toward Yasuragi -- who is gazing 
contemplatively at the three -- and Rumi, to listen to their directions.
Miki chuckles softly.]

Miki:  She's really a kid, after all.

Yuu:  (noncommitally) In some ways.

Miki:  She kind of reminds me of Arimi.

Yuu:  Suzuki-san?  (glances toward Suzu) Hmm... I don't see why.

Miki:  (shrugging) It's nothing I can place my finger on.  She just

Yuu:  Ah.

[He starts to say something else, but is interrupted by Rumi.]

Rumi:  Yuu-kun!  Do you remember how we had the mirror for the fourth

Yuu:  I think so.  Want me to set it up like that, again?

Rumi:  (nodding) Please.

Miki:  (smiling slightly) I guess the break's over, Yuu...

[Everyone turns, surprised, as Yasuragi suddenly calls out:]

Yasuragi:  That's it!

Rumi:  Yasuragi-san?

Yasuragi:  Uhm, Koishikawa-san... How much do you need your daughter's
           help on the next few shots?

Rumi:  Miki's...?  Ah... I suppose I could do it by myself, but--

Yasuragi:  (grinning) That's perfect.  Would you mind very much if I
           borrowed her?

Rumi:  (blinks) But taking notes isn't--

Yasuragi:  Uhm... I mean, for the pictures.  I'd like to see one or
           two of... Miki-san?

[Rumi nods.  Yuu, Miki, and Suzu are staring speechlessly at Yasuragi in 

Yasuragi:  (nodding to himself) Miki-san, with Suzu-chan.  If you
           don't mind, that is.

Rumi:  Well... I don't see why not, but...

Miki:  (flustered) W-Wait a minute!

Rumi:  What's wrong, Miki?

Miki:  But... you can't be serious?  I mean, I've never done anything
       like this, and...

Yasuragi:  (reassuringly) You wouldn't have to do much, Miki-san.
           Just play opposite Suzu-chan, and we'll keep the direction
           simple for you...

Miki:  But...  (shakes her head) Why ask me?

Rumi:  Why not?

Yasuragi:  (smiling) Well, you look like you're about the same age as
           Suzu-chan, so...

[Yuu laughs.  Miki closes her eyes, gritting her teeth.]

Yasuragi:  (quietly, to Rumi) Uhm, I thought she'd be happy with the

Rumi:  (quietly, in response) She's a little scary sometimes when
       she's like this, hmm?  Don't worry about it, though.  She'll
       probably change her mind.

Miki:  {I am -not- going to change my mind.}

Yuu:  Why not?

[Miki's eyes snap open, and she looks at Yuu in disbelief.]

Yuu:  (smiling) Why not do it?  It's all right, isn't it?

Miki:  All right?  But I've never done anything like this!

Yuu:  That's okay, Yasuragi-san knows that.  It'll be fine.

Miki:  But... I mean, Suzu-chan is supposed to...

Suzu:  (cheerfully) I don't mind, I like Miki-san.

Yuu:  There, see?

Miki:  I... see.  (sighs) Why are you arguing on their side, anyway?

Yuu:  (smiling) Isn't it obvious?  Because I want to see Miki-san

Miki:  Gah...  (blushing lightly) You... Yuu!

[The other four laugh at Miki, which doesn't help her discomfiture

Yuu:  (innocently) You're not going to disappoint me after all that,
      are you?

[A second later, he finds himself unable to hold the innocent
expression, and starts laughing again -- harder, this time.]

Miki:  (growls) Yuu... remind me to talk to you when this is over...
       (sighs) Honestly...

Yuu:  (to the others) Oh... she didn't say "no" that time...?

Rumi:  Well, Miki?

Miki:  ...  (hesitantly nods) I guess there's no help for it...
       (mumbles) I don't believe this.

Yasuragi:  Okay!  (wide smile) Now, the first one will be
           simple... we'll have you two facing each other, about two
           paces apart... and, Miki-san, can you smile like you were a
           minute ago?  Good, good...

[Yuu chuckles to himself as he returns to his position with the
mirror.  The photo session soon resumes in full swing, this time with
both Suzu and Miki in front of the camera.  At first Miki is
reluctant, but as the session continues, she becomes more
enthusiastic, smiling widely at the camera and taking direction as
energetically as Suzu, if not as skillfully.  Eventually, the session
winds down.  Rumi triggers the camera once more, then straightens up
and stretches.]

Rumi:  And that's it.  Good work everyone!

Yasuragi:  (making a final note) Good job, Rumi-san.  (smiles) Thanks,
           Suzu-chan, Miki-san.

Suzu:  (grinning) It was nice to work with you, Miki-san.

[Miki just smiles back at the younger girl.]

Yuu:  Mm-hmm.  Good job, both of you.

Miki:  I still can't believe you talked me into that.

Yuu:  (smiling) You had fun doing it, though.

[Suzu grabs Yuu's free hand.]

Suzu:  Thanks for your help, Yuu-san!

Yuu:  Sure...

Yasuragi:  Suzu-chan, are you ready?

Suzu:  I guess...

Yasuragi:  Okay, come on.  You must be hungry; we can pick up
           something to eat on the way back...

Suzu:  Uh huh!  See you, Yuu-san.  Bye, Miki-san.

[She lets go of Yuu's hand and goes to Yasuragi's side.  The older man
tucks his clipboard beneath one arm, and waves.]

Yasuragi:  Thanks again for your help, everyone.

[Yuu and Miki also wave.]

Rumi:  Thanks, Yuu-kun, Miki.  I'm going to walk Yasuragi-san and
       Suzu-chan to the station, so take the equipment back for me,
       would you?  (smiles and waves)

Yuu:  Eh...?

Miki:  Wait a minute...

[But Rumi is already walking off, alongside of Yasuragi and Suzu.  The
latter turns back to wave again after a few steps, before resuming her

Yasuragi:  So what would you like to eat tonight?

Suzu:  Hmm... How about yakisoba?

Yasuragi:  That shouldn't be a problem.  Er, would you like to join us,

[The trio's voices fade into the distance.  Yuu and Miki stare after

Miki:  They've left us with all the work again.

Yuu:  (sighing) I thought this would happen.

Miki:  True... our parents never change...

Yuu:  Unless they're divorcing and marrying another couple.

[They exchange glances.]

Yuu:  Can you get the mirror?  I think I can take care of the rest...

Miki:  I'd better take the camera, too.  The tripod isn't that
       important, but if you dropped that...

[Yuu nods.  Wordlessly, the two gather up the equipment and start the
walk back to the beach house... side by side, silhouetted against the
setting sun.]


Notes:  "Yasuragi" means "calm" or "peaceful" in Japanese.  I thought
it was appropriate. ^_^  Yakisoba is a type of noodle dish with