Disclaimer: I do not own Skip Beat! This is a fanfiction. Obviously.

The director…was late.

The entire cast of Box "R" was on-set, in full costume and makeup, ready to shoot the final scenes of the episode they'd been working on for the last week and a half, and the director had yet to make an appearance. They were already an hour behind schedule.

Did something happen? Mogami Kyoko wondered, worried. Even though Director Annaka was by far the most lenient—one might even say careless—director she'd ever worked for, he had never just not shown up. Maybe there was an accident?

To her right, Amamiya Chiori was struggling to maintain the "cute girl" front she always used in polite company. The muscles in her face were twitching as she fought to keep a tolerant smile on her face, and she was itching to go back to her dressing room and vent her feelings into one of her poison notebooks.

Do you think we have nothing better to do than to stand around waiting for you to show up? Just because I don't have any other steady work besides this job yet-! This kind of director makes me sick!

"He's here!" One of the stage crew called out, coming in from the parking lot. "His car just rolled up."

The assistant director heaved a sigh of relief. He had just spent the last half hour reassuring the cast and their various managers and calling the director's cell phone as often as possible, and he was more than happy to relinquish his responsibilities. "Okay, why don't we have makeup do a quick check to see if anybody needs a touch-up, and then we should meet back here to start rolling on scene 52."

Director Annaka strolled in with a very self-satisfied smirk on his face. When his entrance was met with glares from a number of managers, who could afford to be more upfront about their feelings than the actors they worked for, he coughed, and schooled his expression into something more apologetic.

"Ahem," he said. "I apologize for the delay in filming today. I received news this morning that a meeting I'd been hoping for had been confirmed, but only for a limited window of time. I wasn't sure how long it would take, and I'm afraid I had to turn off my phone once I entered the meeting." He smiled in what he seemed to think was a soothing manner. "But I'm here now, and once we've wrapped for the day I have a very exciting announcement for everyone!"

And with that, he strolled over to the set and plopped into his chair, whistling all the way.

After we've wrapped? And just whose fault is it that we're behind schedule? Chiori screamed internally.

Kyoko, whose demons were of a similar opinion, simply sighed. At least he's okay.

After several hours of girl-on-girl bullying, Kyoko and company were finally given the okay to stand down. Although her character, Natsu, had been having the time of her life, Kyoko was relieved. The current storyline was taking a particularly dark turn, and it was starting to wear on her.

All season, Natsu and the other girls in her group had been bullying a number of different girls, among them the lead character, Chitose. But recently, as they started to ramp up the action leading into the season finale, Natsu was focusing more and more of her attention on just Chitose. The episode they had just finished filming centered around the group pressuring Chitose's friends to stop spending time with her, effectively isolating her from everyone in the class. Of course, some of the girls resisted at first, but the final scene involved them cornering the last of Chitose's friends and breaking her once and for all.

Of course, it made for a very impactful episode, but it was seriously depressing, and what's worse, it made Kyoko remember her own solitary school life. Even those that might not have cared that she was close to Shotaro (a demon popped up from her shoulder, but she patted it back into place) didn't dare befriend her when she was the target of so many bullies. She wished, just once, that she could play a nice girl. Not necessarily the main protagonist, just someone sweet—someone who didn't take pleasure in forcing a girl to betray her closest friend. She sighed.

"Something wrong?" Chiori asked curiously, interrupting her thoughts.

"Ah, no," she shook her head. I should be glad just to have this job! She reminded herself. I can't be so picky.

"Well, it seems the director is ready to give his announcement," she said, pointing at the lunch area where everyone was gathering.

"Oh, thanks," she said with a quick smile. What now?

"As you may know, " the director began once all the cast and crew had been assembled, "we've been having some trouble finding the actor to play Chitose's love interest in the upcoming arc. Although we had a number of talented actors audition, so far we haven't found anyone who fits the image we're looking for.

"Well, thanks to the meeting I had this morning, we've finally got ourselves a 'Sagara-sempai,'" he said proudly. "He's a perfect fit for the role, and he agreed to do it even though he's extremely busy at the moment." He stopped, looking around at everyone expectantly. They stared silently back at him. His face fell as realized no one was going to ask him about what had happened that morning, or about who the actor in question was. It had been a full day of filming, and no one was in a particularly curious mood.

Sullenly, he continued, "that said, he'll be tied up with work starting the week after next, so we're moving up filming on this season's final episode to next week. We'll be starting to rehearse on Monday. Luckily, since summer break has started for those of you still in school, we should be able to get all the scenes he'll be involved in filmed within that time frame."

"Um, but…" Rumi, the lead actress, said, "we haven't gotten the pages for that episode yet."

"And we weren't due to film that episode for another three weeks!" Chiori said under her breath. "Just how busy could this guy be?"

"Oh, that," the director waved carelessly to the crew member in charge of scripts, who, looking rather flustered, began distributing packets to the various cast members. "I know it's a little sudden, but I'm counting on you as professionals," he stressed, "to be fully prepared and ready for rehearsal on Monday. We're going to be on a really tight schedule, so we can't afford any delays."

Chiori practically burst into flames at this pronouncement. Us cause delays?!

As the worker tried to hand Kyoko her script, it slipped out of his hands and fell open on the floor in front of her. He apologized profusely, but she assured him everything was fine, and bent to pick it up, her eyes happened to fall on the page to which the script had opened. What she saw there made her straighten up so suddenly that she barely missed knocking heads with the crew member who was still bowing his apologies.

"Excuse me, Director?" Her hand shot up, ramrod stiff, and her face darkened. The director looked at her oddly, wondering what could have caused her to scowl like that, then said, "Er-yes, Kyouko-chan?"

"If this 'Sagara' guy is supposed to be Chitose's love interest, " she demanded, "why is Natsu the one kissing him?!"

Reviews are appreciated, so please let me know what you think!