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		Orange Marmalade - episode sixteen
		"Taking Two"


		Yuu's Journal

	Our parents left yesterday on their vacation.  
Surprisingly, An decided to stay with us rather than travel to 
America with them.  Maybe she thought she would feel lonely, 
with none of us around, but that's seldom stopped her before.  
Well, that's because she didn't think about it until it was too 
late, but regardless...
	So it seems we four children have the house to ourselves 
for a little while.  It certainly feels much bigger now.  
Emptier, too.


[Scene:  Koishikawa-Matsuura Home, Living Room]

[An impromptu family meeting is taking place.  Yuu and Miki are 
seated on the two chairs, opposite each other, while the twins 
occupy the sofa.  Meiko, having appointed herself recorder, is 
writing on a notepad.]

Meiko:  (tapping the pen on the pad) Is rotating cooking chores
        really such a good idea?

Miki:  I don't see why not.

Meiko:  Well, suppose one of us forgets whose turn it is, or something
        comes up that causes her -- (with a pointed look at Yuu) or
        him -- to miss a day.

Yuu:  All right, then.  Why don't I do breakfasts since I work in the
      afternoons or evenings, you can do lunches since you're usually
      home around that time, and Miki can do dinners?

Anju:  Wait a minute, what do I do?

Yuu:  (grinning) The dishes.

Anju:  Meanie.

Miki:  We're most likely to miss lunch.

Anju:  Right, so anyone who was here could make their own...

Meiko:  (hesitantly) Well, I suppose...

Anju:  ...And we can alternate the rest!  'Niichan and I will make
       breakfast, and you two can make dinner.

Meiko:  That might actually work.

Yuu:  I have to work with An?  (shudders)

Anju:  ...

Miki:  Come on, she can't be that bad.

Yuu:  Oh, no?  Once, when she was learning to cook, she burned half
      the food.

Miki:  Be reasonable.  Lots of people do that when they're learning...

Yuu:  But those people aren't trying to make salad.

Miki:  ...

Anju:  That wasn't my fault!

Meiko:  Let's not get into that old argument again.

Anju:  But I'm a lot better now, really!  Besides,--

Yuu:  (shrugging) Let's go with it for now, then.

Anju:  (gaping) Really?

Yuu:  I don't have the energy to argue with someone as stubborn as
      you, today.

Anju:  (holding two fingers up in a "V") It's about time.

Miki:  I suppose if it doesn't work out, we can change it later.

Yuu:  Speaking of food, we'll need to go shopping either today or

Anju:  (surprised) Didn't our parents just go the other day?

Yuu:  They did, but they used most of what they bought that night,

Miki:  Ugh... that was way too much food.

Yuu:  (shrugging) True, but we still need to go.  I don't mind doing
      it, but I'm working tomorrow, so if I'm going to be the one,
      we'll have to decide what we need right now. 

Meiko:  (brightly) I can do it.  I've got an errand that's on the way,

Miki:  (nodding) I'll go with you.

[Meiko's smile freezes, and she chuckles nervously.]

Meiko:  There's no need to cancel your plans.  I'm sure I can manage
        on my own...

Miki:  It's no trouble at all!  I don't really have any plans.

Anju:  Lucky, huh, 'neechan?

Meiko:  Yes... it's certainly luck.

Yuu:  (raising one eyebrow) Meiko?

Meiko:  (blushing) Sorry, I got distracted for a moment.

Miki:  Was there anything else?

[Meiko glances down at her notepad, and shakes her head.]

Meiko:  Looks like that's it for now.

Anju:  (jumping up) Okay!  I'm going to go out for a while, then.

Yuu:  (sardonic) Hmm.  Off to another date?

[Anju starts to retort, but suddenly stops and smiles instead.]

Anju:  I was planning to go visit Arimi, but you never know...

[She winks mischievously, turns, and walks to the door, slipping
easily into her shoes as she prepares to exit.  Yuu shares a puzzled
glance with Meiko as the door closes again.]

Meiko:  Well.  That was different.

[Yuu nods.]

Meiko:  (to Miki) He must be a bad influence.

[The girls laugh, while Yuu adopts an exaggerated scowl.]


		Meiko's Diary

	"Different" is accurate, in its way, but it's hardly the word
I would have chosen.  "Bizarre," maybe, or even "wrong," but not
"different."  That just wasn't like her.
	Not that I should expect anything else from Yuu.  He
underreacts to everything, except what he overreacts to.  An used to
overreact to everything, period.  It looks as if she's decided to
change more than her hair.  I just know Tsuchiya is responsible,
	Then again, our parents have never been the most stable
individuals, either.  Especially not after this remarriage idea.
Maybe it's genetic.  There's a frightening thought.


[Scene:  Street]

[The next day.  The weather is beautifully warm and sunny, and the
street is crowded with people.  Among them are Miki and Meiko, content
to stroll along at a sedate pace.]

Miki:  It looks like we might be in for another heat wave.

Meiko:  (nodding) I saw the report.  (smiling) On a day like this,
        it's hard to care about it, though.

[Miki's lips quirk into a wry smile.]

Miki:  We'll see whether you like the sun so much in another week.
       (happily) It is nice, though.

Meiko:  See?  (nodding) Too bad oniichan is working today.  Maybe we
        could have done something special.

Miki:  Mm.

Meiko:  (looking at Miki) All right... what happened?

Miki:  Eh?  What are you--

Meiko:  Miki... I'm not that oblivious.  (softening) If you don't want
        to tell me, say so, but don't try to pretend everything is
        fine.  I can see that it isn't.

Miki:  ...

Meiko:  Is it oniichan again?

[Miki sighs and nods, once.]

Miki:  I think you're getting to know me too well, Meiko.

Meiko:  (shrugging) Just a guess.  I couldn't think of anything else
        that would upset you this much.  Anything that might have
        actually happened, anyway.

[Miki nods absently.]

Miki:  I think...  (smiling faintly) I think maybe I should give up on


[Scene:  A Restaurant]

[A crowded fast-food restaurant at the edge of a park.  Much of the
floor space is open except for the tables; everything is predominantly
white, with blue trim.  One wall of the dining area -- the one facing
directly into the park -- consists of large panels of glass, offering
a nice view.  Arimi and Anju are seated at one of the tables against
that wall; Arimi is eating a hamburger, while Anju, apparently already
finished with her food, is looking out the window, into the sky.]

Arimi:  (slowly) So... that was your idea...?

[Anju nods, turning back toward Arimi.]

Anju:  Poor Kei-san.  (laughs) Did you see his face when he realized
       everyone was going to go there together?

Arimi:  I saw his face when he saw you in that dress--

Anju:  I borrowed it from 'neechan.  Did you like it?

Arimi:  Yeah, it looked good on you.  (grinning) Kei-san thought so,
        too, I bet.  He likes you, you know.

Anju:  (blinking) You think so?

Arimi:  I can tell.  Besides, he asked you out, right?

Anju:  I thought he was just being polite... besides, he said he was
       going anyway, so it's not a big deal.  Is it?

Arimi:  (rolling her eyes) Of course he said that.  Boys like to play
        it cool -- just look at Yuu-sempai.  But do you really think
        he would have gone alone?  I'm telling you, he's got a crush
        on you. 

[Arimi pauses while that sinks in, grinning as Anju squirms.]

Arimi:  So, what about you?

Anju:  Er, me?

Arimi:  What do you think about him?  (winks) He is cute, isn't he?

Anju:  Yeah...  (blushing) He... seems like a great guy.  And a good
       dancer, too.

Arimi:  Too bad I can't say the same about you.

Anju:  (mock distress) How long are you going to keep holding that
       against me?  It could've happened to anyone...

Arimi:  (sticking out her tongue) As long as my feet are still sore.  

[Anju laughs.  When Arimi continues, she does so with a serious tone.]

Arimi:  You're going to see him again, aren't you?

Anju:  I...  (blushing deeper) I hope so.  But I--  He sort of,
       well... but we don't have any specific plans, or anything, so--

Arimi:  Well, that's no good!  You don't want to just wait around
        and hope he notices, do you?

Anju:  Uhm...

[One of Anju's hands unconsciously rises to the back of her neck,
brushing at the fringe of her now-short hair.]

Anju:  ...No.  (decisively) No, I don't.

Arimi:  Right!  Because chances are, he won't.

[Anju winces, and Arimi hastens to clarify.]

Arimi:  Oh, it's not you, it's just that lots of boys are like that.
        So, let's see... you need a plan for next time... 

Anju:  (admiring) You're really good at this, aren't you?  Thanks,

Arimi:  (smiling) What are friends for?


Meiko:  But, Miki... why?!

[Miki clasps her hands behind her.  She and Meiko walk for half a
block in silence before she finally responds.]

Miki:  I think... I've been fooling myself, Meiko.

[Meiko slumps slightly, suppressing a sigh.]

Meiko:  Oh, Miki... again?

Miki:  No, seriously, Meiko.  It's not that I think he doesn't care,
       not this time.  Even if he does act that way, sometimes.
       Just--  he doesn't care the way I'd like him to.  (pause) When
       we went on vacation, I thought, maybe...

[Shaking her head, Miki trails off.]

Miki:  But, no; he's not a very forgetful person, is he?

Meiko:  (shrugging) No more so than usual, I guess.

[A sad half-smile flits across Miki's face.]

Miki:  That's what I thought.  No... he just doesn't seem to notice
       me.  Or anyone.  Now that I'm looking... he doesn't treat me
       any differently than he does Arimi... or even Suzu-chan.  He's
       the same toward every girl he knows, except for you and An.
       And even then... 

Meiko:  (laughing shakily) No, he's not exactly the picture of the
        loving brother, is he?

[Miki nods.]

Meiko:  But he does care, in his way.

Miki:  ...I know.  In his way.

Meiko:  But... you're just going to give up?  Just like that?

Miki:  It's not that simple, Meiko.  If it was just me, maybe...  But
       it's not.

Meiko:  Arimi-chan?

Miki:  (nodding) She's so happy, even if Yuu acts distant... I
       couldn't be happy like that.  I'm not happy like that.  So how
       could I compete with her?  And... I never wanted the two of us

Meiko:  Disagree?

Miki:  (laughing) That wasn't the word I was going to use, but close
       enough.  Not over a man...  It's-- I don't think it's worth it.

Meiko:  But... you'll still be living with us.  Can you handle seeing
        him every day, like that?

[Miki turns her head slightly, solemnly meeting Meiko's gaze.]

Miki:  I have been.  

Meiko:  (quietly horrified) Miki, I--

[Miki holds up her hand, forestalling Meiko.]

Miki:  Nothing that dramatic.  Please.  (pause) I... think I can
       be... his friend.  That's all he really wants from me, after
       all.  And... 

[She trails off, uncertainly.]

Meiko:  And?

Miki:  Maybe nobody'll get hurt.

Meiko:  Miki...

Miki:  (smiling) Thanks for listening, Meiko.  I'll go do the
       shopping, now.  You can head to your secret rendezvous.

Meiko:  My--  (blinking) What are you talking about?

Miki:  I'm not that oblivious, either, Meiko.

[Miki smiles and waves, striding ahead, while Meiko, at a complete
loss for words, simply stares... and slowly shakes her head as a
faint, rueful smile touches her lips.]

Meiko:  Touche, Miki.


[Scene:  Park, Entrance]

[The street next to a small park area.  Small groups of people stroll
by, some going into or coming out of the park.  One man stands alone
near the park entrance, in the shadow of a cherry tree.  Meiko hurries
up the street, doubling her pace when she sees him.  When she is a few
feet away, she calls out.]

Meiko:  Am I late?  I'm so sorry...

[The man turns around when he hears her voice.]

Namura:  Not at all.  Actually...  (checking his watch) You're five
         minutes early.

Meiko:  But...  Then-- you must have been waiting for--

Namura:  (smiling) I thought I'd come a little early.  I didn't want
         to keep you waiting.

[Meiko smiles radiantly in return.]

Meiko:  Sensei...

Namura:  Well.  What should we do today?

Meiko:  We can just walk.  {As long as we're together...}

[Namura nods.  Side by side, the two stroll into the park.]


[Scene:  Toryo, Outside]

[With break in effect, the usual crowds of students are absent from
Toryo's grounds... except for one young man who stands alone, leaning
against the wall near the gate.  Arms folded over his chest, eyes
closed, he tries to ignore the muffled comments from the occasional
passerby.  He opens his eyes as one of them approaches him.]

Kei:  You're late.

Tsutomu:  (shrugging) I got held up.  Sorry.

Kei:  I feel really stupid, waiting here.

Tsutomu:  (defensively) It was convenient.  It's not my fault you
          don't go to this school.

Kei:  Even if I did, I'd feel stupid standing here while everyone's on

Tsutomu:  Well, most of the kids tend to ignore school during the
          breaks, so it's relatively safe.

Kei:  (incredulous) "Safe?"  (sighing) What do you think we are?
      Secret agents?

Tsutomu:  (angrily) Fine, let's see you do better.  Next time, you
          pick the place! 

Kei:  Fine.

Tsutomu:  (now curious) What did you want, all of a sudden, anyway?

[Kei turns his head away, looking up the street.]

Kei:  I'm not sure about it any more.

Tsutomu:  What do you mean?  You can't back out now...

Kei:  I'm not!  (pause) But I think we need to find a different way.

Tsutomu:  But why?  It seems like a waste of time to me... we're not
          even sure there is another way.

Kei:  There's always another way, Rokutanda.

Tsutomu:  (angrily) So we're just going to throw away the preparation
          we've done?

Kei:  It's not like it was that much.  Besides, we have plenty of
Tsutomu:  (pouting) But I want my revenge as soon as possible.

Kei:  (blinking) Hm.  She must've done something pretty bad to you...

Tsutomu:  She--  He stole her!  She should be my girlfriend!

Kei:  Ah.  (frowning slightly) Is she dating him...?  (shrugging)
      Well, never mind, that's not important.  The important thing is,
      she might deserve it, but the rest of them--

Tsutomu:  (puzzled) You mean "he," right?

Kei:  What?  No.  Koishikawa.

Tsutomu:  Koishikawa?  Then--

[There is a long, awkward pause.]

Kei:  (slowly) Who did you think?

Tsutomu:  Matsuura, of course.

Kei:  Matsuura... Yuu?

Tsutomu:  Yes!  It's all his fault, anyway... him and Ginta.

Kei:  But...

[Tsutomu leans aggressively forward toward Kei.]

Tsutomu:  Koishikawa?  What were you thinking?

Kei:  Rokutanda...

[Kei straightens up, leaning forward toward Tsutomu in turn.  Not
incidentally, Tsutomu bends backwards to "retreat."  But unlike
Tsutomu, Kei's expression and tone of voice remain level.]

Kei:  It seems as though we may have a slight problem.


[Scene:  A Restaurant]

[Back at the restaurant, Anju and Arimi are still seated at their
table.  Arimi has finished what remained of her meal, and she and Anju
are having an animated discussion.]

Anju:  But--  Just go see him?  I don't know...

Arimi:  It's a start, isn't it?

Anju:  (dubious) It doesn't sound like much of a plan.

Arimi:  (shrugging) Well, you just have to improvise.

Anju:  That's what worries me.  What if I say the wrong thing?

[Arimi starts to respond, but suddenly stops short and turns, craning
her neck.]

Anju:  What...?

Arimi:  (turning back to Anju) I thought I saw your sister, just now.

Anju:  Meiko-neechan?  I don't think so...

Arimi:  (shrugging) Yeah, I guess not... She's not seeing anyone,

Anju:  (blinking) No...  (frowning) I don't think so... but anyway,
       she's supposed to be shopping now.  Miki-san is with her...

Arimi:  She was with someone, but I'm pretty sure that wasn't
        Miki... I guess I'm just seeing things.  It probably wasn't

Anju:  With...?  (leaning forward) Who?

[Taken aback, Arimi retreats slightly into her seat.]

Arimi:  How would I know?  I only saw her for a second, let alone

Anju:  Sorry.  But...  (suddenly standing) Let's follow them!  Quick!

Arimi:  What?  Didn't you just say she wasn't--

Anju:  But what if she was?  I just have to find out!  It's important!

Arimi:  You're really serious about this...

Anju:  (nervously) Well, because...  I can't let my sister get a
       boyfriend before I do!  It just wouldn't be fair, she's so
       antisocial compared to me...

[Arimi blinks in stunned surprise, then begins to laugh.  Hard.  Anju
glares halfheartedly at her, pouting.]

Anju:  Well, it wouldn't.  She's good at everything she tries.
       (sighing) But she's never tried to have a boyfriend.  I don't
       think she's ever even flirted with a boy!  How could she beat

Arimi:  Oh, there's a healthy attitude...  (playfully) Besides, what
        about Kei-san?

[Anju blushes bright scarlet, waving her arms in frantic, but
ineffectual, protest.]

Anju:  That's--  I--  That doesn't count!  It's different.  Anyway,
       we're not even really a couple yet.

Arimi:  (in the same playful tone) That's the wrong attitude again.
        (winking) The right one is, "he doesn't know you're a couple

Anju:  (gaping) Arimi...  (giggling) You're so... evil.

Arimi:  (grinning) But cute!

Anju:  Anyway, let's go follow them and find out for sure!  Come on...

Arimi:  Okay.  There's just one problem with that.

Anju:  What?

Arimi:  They're long gone by now.

[Anju blinks as this sets in, then folds her arms and sits back down
in a huff.]

Anju:  I wonder where she could have gone...  It's times like this I
       wish I had telepathic Power.

Arimi:  Me, too.  That'd be pretty useful.  Especially during exams...

Anju:  (sighing theatrically) I -really- wish I had telepathic Power.

[Arimi falls into a giggling fit, drawing strange looks from people at
the tables surrounding theirs.]

Anju:  (self-conscious) Um... maybe it's time to go?

[Arimi, still chucking sporadically, nods.  Both girls stand and leave
the restaurant.  Outside, Anju waves, Arimi nods, and the two depart
in opposite directions.]


		Anju's Diary

	I really am careless.
	'Niichan just warned me about that, too.  And in the very next
real conversation, I nearly gave away our secret.  It wasn't even over
anything important.  Just carelessness on my part.
	I guess Suou-kun wasn't entirely right.  I can't change the
way people think about me just by changing the way I look.  It was
silly of me to think that everything would somehow change just because
I cut my hair.  But the way everyone reacted, at first, I thought
	What I wanted to think.
	Or maybe Suou-kun was right all along, and I just took him the
wrong way.  It wouldn't be the first time.  Maybe that's just one more
thing I didn't think through enough.
	Ugh, now I'm whining to my diary.  I didn't plan it that way.
That's not the kind of person I want to be...
	Well, I guess I'm going to have to work harder to become the
right person, then.  If I can change the way I act to match the way I
look, now... that will be real, right?  Not just a more elaborate lie. 
	This is starting to give me a headache.  I'm going to stop
here and think about it while I practice, instead.  Maybe that will
help me straighten out this mess.