The Star Without Glow
He was standing in the sidelines. Asked to be on time at exactly 5 in the morning for the shooting, he hurriedly came and patiently waited. But it was now 10 in the morning and his scene still hasn't come around. He sighed. Being an 'extra' wasn't that easy as it sounds.
"Uhm...excuse me..." Kisa Shouta dared call the director who had 'pissed' written all over his face. "May I ask when is scene eleven starting?"
A bearded, brusque man looked up from the scripts on his lap and scowled. "I will call the extras when needed! Don't go interrupting me damn it!"
Kisa Shouta bowed and turned around. He wasn't hurt or offended. That director was known for his temper anyways. The thing that was just bothering him was the time. Today was important after all.. If this shooting drags on until the evening, he'd have serious problems.
Kisa passed by a full body mirror behind the set. He looked ridiculous. He was in a high school uniform even when he just turned thirty. He was short, his facial features really didn't develop into a more manly one, and even his voice just remained on that timber one would be having at puberty. Some even teased that maybe time stopped for him.
His role was one of those who'd drop dead after a psychopath started slashing a katana in the middle of the streets. After that, he'd be one of the lankees of the Yakuza Boss who'd die too in the hands of the lead actor. Period. No lines whatsoever.
"Sometimes, a passerby, one of those who walk behind the leads. Or one who dies unfortunate deaths without even having 10 seconds of air time..." Kisa thought almost pitying himself. "Been ten years as an extra in movies or dramas...nothing changed even a bit. I doubt someone even knows my name."
Kisa sat again on the sides, watching the filming of the 2nd scene. Everyone was quiet. Everyone had their own breaths bated at the somewhat sensual, still somewhat natural bed scene going on before them.
"Hotaru..." said the lead actor. "You know you'd regret this later..."
"I know that I am just one of the many...I know that..."
"I don't love you," the lead actor murmured so softly that the effect was it doubled the pain. "I've never and will never..."
The woman under the man, pretty and youthful gave a sad smile. "I'm alright...all you have to do is pretend, pretend for me...pretend that you've forgotten her...that's all I'm asking..."
People belonging to different groups such as maintenance, set designs and make-ups stared. Most of the women were teary eyed. The men were staring at the tears of the lead actress that looked crystalline in the dim lighting.
"Pretend that you love me..." Kisa whispered. He had memorized that actress's line from hearing it over and over. "Pretend that it's only me. And the memories will be forever etched in me...a proof that once, I was able to take hold of what I really want..."
"I pity you Hotaru..." said the lead actor, before moving as if thrusting into the woman.
Dainty arms circled around the sweaty back of the man, they made love. But Kisa wasn't seeing anything from this point on. 'I pity you'. That hit him hard. It was as if that line was made solely for him.
The lighting was perfect. It created shadows at just the right angles, making both the lead actor and actress look as if they were really naked under the blankets. What was more amazing was the unmasked lust portrayed on both's faces. Professionals must be really at a different level.
Broad back, pretty back lines, awesome collar bones, real drops of sweat shone from the lightings. The natural movements, the fake moans the woman made, the passionate grunts of the man, gave Kisa goosebumps.
The camera man zoomed out slowly, circling the couple on the bed slowly until he focused at the single flower petal that naturally fell from the stems of a flower prop.
That came from the director, almost jumping up and down from where he was standing.
"AWESOME! GOOD JOB! Yukina-san! Hanasono-san!" he chimed. "That was beautiful!"
The whole set finally could breath. Everyone was happy. The lead actress sat on the bed, showing that she was in bikinis. The lead actor smiled, bowing a little at the praises without care of his half-nakedness in front of everyone.
"He sure got talent..." Kisa thought.
At first, Kisa wasn't really keen about that certain new and young actor. One day, a certain Yukina Kou just emerged from the movie industry and had taken it over. He's got a wonderful body and an awesome face so he right away had pierced many women's hearts. Kisa only thought that much. A handsome face from a rich family who had nothing to do and decided to kill time by being an actor.
That changed though from day one of the filming and Kisa saw it with his two eyes. Yukina Kou was a sinfully talented actor.
"Okay! Wrap up!"
Kisa Shouta who didn't notice that he had fallen asleep like a beggar at the corner of the set awoke with a start.
"Huh? Wrap up?!"
A woman carrying suitcases of one of the movie actors passed by and smiled at the raven.
"Too bad Kisa-san, I heard there needs to be sunlight for the eleventh scene. It's going to be filmed tomorrow..."
Kisa must have looked dumb that he just stared into space.
"You're still in the habit of falling asleep anywhere...are you that tired?"
The raven only smiled and bowed for the information. He was angry. This director doesn't care about the small shots at all. It was frustrating and it rubs against his pride. But what can he do to complain when he was just an extra that can be easily replaced?
"Damn it..." he hissed as he went at the lockers where he left his stuff. "It's late and I've got to prepare for our anniversary..."
Kisa was moving in a rushed manner. He didn't even bother going to the changing rooms and just took off the school uniform where he was standing. Left by the other extras, Kisa changed into the silence. That silence was broken by his phone though.
Not wanting to waste anymore time, Kisa looked around first and decided to put his phone in loud speaker.
"Oh Kazu...I'm just about to leave the set...I'll be fast."
Kisa who was currently tying his shoelaces paused. He knew that timber of voice. A sound of seriousness. One that made him nervous. Because this was how it's always been. He knew already what this was about. But he pretended dumb.
"I called to say I won't be coming tonight."
"Ah...then...we can just celebrate any other day..."
"I won't be coming back anymore."
Kisa bit his bottom lip. It wasn't like he was greatly hurt or shocked. He just thought that after playing for so long, this guy might probably be the one he could settle with until he gets wrinkled and old. Turns out, he was wrong. Again.
"Ne...Kazu..." Kisa started slowly and softly.
"ASSHOLE!" Kisa screamed the loudest he could, wanting to atleast break that man's eardrums. "I FORGAVE YOU SO MANY TIMES AND THIS IS HOW YOU'D END THIS?! AT THE DAY OF OUR ANNIVERSARY NO LESS?! FUCKING ASSHOLE! WHAT'S THE REASON?! WHAT'S THE FUCKING REASON?!"
When Kisa noticed, the call has long been since ended by the other line. And he was left alone huffing and lethargic. Tying his shoelaces seemed suddenly pointless.
"Asshole..." Kisa continued cursing not because of hurt or anything. The real thing he was cursing was his fate probably. It was only one evidence that in life, even in his relationships, he'd just be a character that really doesn't matter and would just disappear without being noticed. "Shit..."
"What's the point of waiting for her when she doesn't even know your existence?" Kisa asked. He had a sullen expression. His eyes dead serious, the empty wine glass in his hand looked that it had contents for real. "Ne, this gang war for just a mere woman isn't worth it."
The man with jet black eyes and long hair, frowned. He stood and readied himself punching Kisa. But he stopped midair. And started laughing.
"Gomen Kisa! I forgot my line! What was that again?"
Kisa shook his head. "Mou...'I was brought by fighting for what I want engraved in me' isn't it?"
The long-haired guy smiled. "Sorry...I'm still groggy from lack of sleep. Thanks for helping me."
Shaking his head, Kisa waived a hand. "I wonder how you got this far? You take so long memorizing your lines."
Reaching out to Kisa's both shoulders, the long-haired dude grinned. "That's why you're my oasis! You know everyone's lines in this movie that I can have a good practice before the real thing!"
"Ha..." Kisa exasperatedly sighed. "Is that my only purpose in life? To be a practice partner of you big-shots?"
"Aww...Kisa so cute..."
Kisa knew this long-haired idiot with a screen name Kagetora Hizaya was just a plain out-going guy. He'd hug anyone in the open without malice. Actually, Kisa'd been to most of this dude's movies. Although again he was just an extra.
So one Kagetora Hizaya placed together with a Yukina Kou, throw in an angelic Hanasono Mikawa in a yakuza, love themed movie and they got a one big project already gaining so much popularity. One movie that was very looked forward to come winter of the same year.
The raven checked his wrist watch. It was almost 12 and his scene was as usual delayed. So most of what he was doing was loiter around, help those having problems with their lines or poke around the set and see what he could do to kill time. He just had broken up with his boyfriend last night. His schedule had just opened up even more.
The indoor scenes of the movie were being filmed inside the studios. They only go out for outdoor shots which would be taken after all the indoor ones and would be combined by the editing team.
So far, Kisa could tell which belonged to the same team as he and those who weren't. He was bored after all. This was one of his past times aside from unconsciously memorizing the characters' lines.
"Straight..." Kisa mumbled as he eyed the guys fixing the set for the yakuza meeting scene. "Straight...straight...ah..." the raven narrowed his eyes. "Hello comrade..."
Unlike what has been being portrayed in the media, gay acceptance was just a nice-act. Behind the scenes, normal word-plays and bullying could happen. And if it is one with a no-name, the more the seclusion. So Kisa never gave the impression he was gay.
"Oh there you are Shoucchan!"
"Who are you calling Shoucchan?"
"You of course!"
Kisa sighed. The voice was from Kagetora. The handsome, clingy guy who was one of the two lead actors in the movie.
"Wut? Can't still memorize your lines Kagetora-san?"
The longhaired man squatted before Kisa to make an eye level and grinned.
"It's not me," Kagetora started patting Kisa on the head like a small child. "You see, Mikicchan is going to be late today and Koucchan has always been practicing with Mikicchan before the shoot. That's why they can pull the scenes very well."
"Huh? Mikicchan? Koucchan?" Kisa frowned. "Can you stop talking like an infant and speak nihongo?"
Kagetora Hizaya gazed at Kisa's eyes for a long while. The boyish smile was gone. The playful act disappeared. All he did was just stare.
"Kisa. You're getting cuter and cuter in my eyes. Did you do something to me?"
"HA?" Kisa pushed Kagetora on the shoulder and stood. "Quit joking around. So where's this Koucchan I need to help?"
Kagetora smiled as he stood. He then hugged Kisa gently, so much differently from the playing kind he always did.
"Don't be swept by that guy's acting alright? You initially belong to me after all."
The raven laughed. "Moron. Stop clinging to me. If your fans see this, they'd kill me."
Kisa looked to the man's neck that smelled so good. He wondered why he can't feel any attraction to this godlike man at all when he was this perfect?
"Play Hanasono-san's part...so that Yukina can get in the zone before she arrives."
"With Yukina you say? Seriously?"
"Hmmm...I wanted to boast you around. About how much you know everyone's lines here...And when the director heard this, he told me to come and get you and let you assist Yukina. I don't feel good about it though..."
Kisa and Kagetora started walking side by side. Although there were times Kagetora was hard to read, he's actually one of the guys Kisa was comfortable with. Kagetora was a big star, but everytime the man learns Kisa was in his movies, extra or not, Kagetora always made sure to fool around with Kisa. So they came as friends. Although most people couldn't understand why Kagetora was bothering so much time to a no-name extra.
"I heard Yukina is a pro who gets to memorize his lines in just one glance?" Kisa asked.
"Well, that's really true..." Kagetora replied. "But he'd been messing his lines all morning that the director's getting worried."
Kisa who was about to step in the scene where the heartthrob Yukina Kou was waiting, had been grabbed by a lady with a sly grin.
"W-what is it?" Kisa almost shouted. "That scared me..."
"Ehehe..." the woman smiled. "Well...this is Hanasono-san's part you're playing right? Why not look like a bit of a girl for the part?"
"Ha?" Kisa frowned. "There's no need, is there? I just have to say her lines and act a bit."
Kagetora who was watching on the sides started laughing. "Yeah, do it! Do it! I'd love to see that!"
The woman who looked so esctatic poured her magic but she wasn't able to force the latter into wearing girl's clothing. In the end, Kisa stepped on the scene with a touch of make up and his fake long hair flowing silkily behind him.
"This isn't really needed at all...what's with that woman...?"
The director with a deep frown noticed Kisa coming. He looked caught off-guard for a moment before he cleared his throat.
"Yukina-san...you can...he's here."
Yukina Kou was wearing a plain white shirt, seemingly in low spirits. He frowned at the script he was holding and raised his gaze towards the 'practice partner' that he really didn't want. But the director insisted. And he just didn't have the energy to protest after all.
"Hello. I'm Kisa. I am one of the extras at a couple of the scenes in the movie so you might not know me," Kisa pleasantly started. "I'd do my best to assist you, although I doubt I would be of much help for a big star as you."
Yukina Kou was left staring. For some reason, a shade of surprise passed in his eyes before he flashed those killer smiles.
"I'm Yukina Kou. Glad to be of your acquaintance."
The tall man brushed his hair backwards and looked at his scripts. "I heard you know everyone's lines here, including Hanasono-san's?"
"Then, can we try doing the lines from here," Yukina moved closer to Kisa, pointing at the text that he wanted to try doing with the 'practice partner'.
Kisa smiled, forgetting his face with make-up and his hair on his shoulders.
The moment Kisa drew a deep breath, the atmosphere around him changed. His eyes round with unmasked sadness, his every pacing on the floor with gracefulness.
"I knew it..." the woman who fixed Kisa into a 'girl' whispered excitedly. "Kisa-san looks like Enamoto Kia-san..."
Kagetora who had his arms crossed, eyes fixed at the long-haired raven in the center of the set cocked his head to the side. "Enamoto Kia?"
"Hmm," the make-up artist nodded with sparkle in her eyes. "Enamoto Kia...is Yukina Kou-san's non-showbusiness girlfriend."
"But there is a rumor on going that Enamoto Kia-san eloped with her driver last night you know?"
Another make-up artist jumped between Kagetora and the woman. "Ah! I heard that too. That's maybe why Yukina-san is out of it. But seriously? That Enamoto Kia must be crazy...she left the Yukina Kou and went with her driver instead?"
"I heard from someone that they've been sweethearts since middle school..."
"I don't get how rich kids think. She's an elite from a prestigious family too right? She chose her driver instead? The world is flipping out."
The gossiping continued. But Kagetora wasn't listening anymore.
Kagetora's smile had long since faded and he had serious eyes fixed at Kisa. "No wonder that Yukina stared at Shoucchan that way earlier..."
For the first time, due to this sudden need for a 'line partner', the center of attention had become Kisa Shouta together with that man who seemed to have stepped out from a marvelous painting Yukina Kou. Kisa was not aware though. He just did what he did when practicing with Kagetora sometimes, or with a less actor or actress. But that moment, many were enthralled. For such were Kisa's difference. It was as if he was a different person.
"Remember I said that I am fine being your toy?" Kisa said, from the depths of his memory they came out naturally from his lips. "I must have sounded so stupid..."
Yukina Kou bowed his head. So long as if waiting for the proper time. When he looked up, there was anger in his eyes.
"I don't have the time to listen to your lovesick thoughts Hotaru..." Yukina hissed. "You'd gain nothing from it...nothing..."
Kisa walked to where Yukina was seated and slowly lifted the man's face with his hands. Such gesture was gently done, the soft smile playing on Kisa's lips piercing.
"I know. I don't mind being a toy. Coz toys, get to be loved at some point."
The man on the bed hastily stood, his movements unforeseen. Before everyone knew it, Yukina Kou had already pinned the other down the large, messy bed.
"So you're okay being my toy?"
The hands squeezing on Kisa's neck were seemingly tight. Kisa coughed, he acted being suffocated. But he managed to smile.
"Do you know..." Yukina started moving closer to Kisa's face. Inch by inch, with a deathly glare, he stopped just centimeters away from the other's lips. "The only ever good thing I was when I was a kid and up until now...is breaking my toys beyond repair..."
In the script, after that line, Yukina Kou would plant a ravishing kiss on his leading actress. But he only moved just a breath closer and pulled back.
"Wow...that line was the one Yukina Kou has been forgetting earlier! He nailed it perfectly this time!" one of the assistant directors beamed.
Kisa sat on the bed and sighed. That was intense he thought. Ah but he enjoyed it. When will he ever get the chance to lie under such a handsome, big shot actor anyway?
"Are you okay?" Yukina asked with a smile. "Did it hurt when I grabbed you down on the bed?"
The raven shook his head. "No it's fine."
"But I am so surprised...you pulled me into your acting Kisa-san."
"I should say you are the one who pulled me into your acting. It's such a privilege."
"Thanks to you...for some reason my lines started getting stuck in my head again."
Just as everyone was buzzing around, chatting and enjoying the feel that line practice brought, a haggard looking man with curly hair came running into the set.
"Gomenasai!" he shouted bowing. "Hanasono Mikawa-san is already here! She's in the make-up room and will be ready for the scene!"
At the cue, the people in the set started moving to their own posts. Props check, lighting checks, and camera angles. Kisa's fame was short. But he was alright. He enjoyed it. And he watched the scene he practiced with Yukina Kou being done by the real actress Hanasono-san.
"Shoucchan..." Kagetora suddenly emerged beside Kisa, having a thoughtful look. "Great job earlier."
"You're really good at acting. You can give your own interpretations...so why..."
Kisa sighed. "Why have I not become a huge name?"
Kagetora glanced at the shorter guy beside him.
"What do you think of my face? Seriously?"
"Yup. That's the initial reaction. But Kagetora, you know this already, 'cute' things do not have lasting impressions. For men, being 'cute' is passing. What really sell are the likes of you and Yukina. Handsome, manly oozing with that sex appeal the viewers are craving for...that's reality for me."
Kagetora reached out to the fake hair on Kisa's shoulders. "You've made a very lasting impression on me though..."
"Huh? Is that a pick up line? Are you turned on by my wig or something?"
"Idiot..." Kagetora grinned. "Then, I'll go to my taping at the other set. See yah around."
"Hmm, see yah."
In the dressing room which was separated from the dressing room of the big stars, Kisa sat in front of the vanity. He touched the long black hair dangling flawlessly over his shoulders and somehow felt depressed.
"I am not the kind of homo who enjoys looking like a girl though..." he thought. The eleventh scene he had been waiting for was finished in an instant. He just stood on the street, waited for the villain and just dropped dead on the ground. "The director thought it would be heartrending if its an innocent girl who died on the spot. So he insisted I keep this annoying hair...he's going out of his mind."
"Oh...Kisa-san, good work today!" another extra came. "That new look suits you."
Kisa grinned with his brows twitching. "Haa..sou?"
Many other came and every single one of them teased him how better it would be if he remained like that forever. The more he heard that, the more pissed he became. Tired of dealing with them, he just decided to go with the flow.
"Yeah, yeah...if I could earn more money with wearing this, I would wear this forever. I'm pretty broke."
The others laughed while waiving goodbyes. Everyone just wanted to go home and have rests after all. Kisa, slumped deeper down his seat and looked up. Having no boyfriend, no reason to go home early made him this free? He didn't want to go home or go anywhere. And by the minute, the loneliness he was trying to avoid finally got a hold of him when everything turned silent.
"I'm dang tired..." he whispered as he started gathering make-up wipes from his bag. "Hurry take this off it's so heavy on my face..."
Kisa was busy wiping off the mascara on his lashes when he heard the door click open. He looked behind him but the view was obstructed by a huge cabinet serving as the partition from the entrance to the vanity side.
"I thought everyone already has gone home?" Kisa thought. "Hello? Who's there? Did you forget something?"
No one replied and Kisa didn't pry any further. He continued cleaning up his face but he almost dropped the small mirror in his hand when he saw who was standing beside the partition.
"Yukina-san? I thought you went home with every body else a long time ago?"
Yukina didn't say anything and just continued looking at Kisa through the reflection of the mirror.
"You guys went drinking right? Celebrating someone's birthday right?"
When Yukina still didn't answer, Kisa gave up. He started pulling off the clips that secured the wig off his natural hair. That was when Yukina the mannequin standing there took breath and started moving.
"Don't remove it."
Kisa frowned as he watched Yukina through the mirror slowly approach him. "Ha? Why would I leave it on? It's hot and itchy..."
Yukina stood behind Kisa's chair and gently reached to Kisa's wig. "Let it on like this."
"Oi? Are you drunk or something? Yukina-san?"
"We had a few drinks...but I am not drunk."
"What could be a huge actor like you be doing here if your head's not filled with booze then?"
The tall man gave a small smile and suddenly just kissed the top of Kisa's head.
"Have you heard of it?" Yukina asked. "Many are saying you look like Kia. I think so too."
Kisa stared at the guy in the mirror behind him. The air they were breathing starting to get thick.
"Ah...that girlfriend of yours? Oh...should I say ex?" he knew of course about the rumors.
Strong arms started circling around Kisa's shoulders, slithering motions, ragged breathing.
"I loved her," Yukina whispered. "I really loved her..."
The raven sitting started getting stiff as he watched this supposedly unreachable actor lick his neck.
"What do you want me to do coming at me like this?"
Yukina stopped at nipping and licking and turned the chair around so that Kisa would be facing him directly.
"I'll pay you..." Yukina breathe out. "I'll pay you...I heard you needed more money right? So..."
Kisa closed his eyes. He would definitely be mad had it been said by someone else. But he just allowed everything to happen savoring the warm breath murmuring against his ear. At how Yukina Kou sounded so desperately in need. At how that husky voice was starting to grow on his own lonesome heart.
Kisa smiled, thinking how foolish things had become after hearing the man's request.
Yukina looked deeply into the raven's eyes as if checking for any jesting. Kisa was serious too. Both of them just got their relationships severed. Why can't they be entitled to some sort of comforting?
"Wanting to fuck someone who looks like his sweetheart..." Kisa thought feeling warm hands under his shirt. "...he asked me to keep the wig on that I hate...and I agreed...we're both nuts..."
Kisa wanted to laugh. But that laughter had been drowned by even hotter lips shutting him up.
It had been so long since Kisa felt that he was being greatly wanted. Whether this Yukina Kou could do a guy or not, whether he was being the convenient guy, perhaps even if it wasn't Yukina Kou he would still agree and he wouldn't care.
"I am the desperate one here..."
Kisa realized just then, how much sad of a person he was.
chapter end notes:
thnx for reading, currently writing chapter 4 XD