DISCLAIMER: If I owned Skip Beat! this wouldn't be FAN-fiction. Skip Beat! is the creation of Yoshiko Nakamura, and I use her creation for my own enjoyment only. I make no profit from it, and if asked by someone with the right to do so, I would remove this fiction from the internet immediately.
NOTE: This fic is for LyL (oOo Lyl aka Princess Faux) to contribute to her Skip Beat Cover Challenge, and because I like her. :) The challenge was to write the story behind the image on any of the official SB covers. I chose Volume 13, and here is its story as it occurred to me. I had a lot of fun writing it, though I have no idea how I feel about the end product.
"It's a bikini!" Kyoko squeaked. She had known that the magazine wanted to photograph the main cast of Dark Moon (those playing Katsuki, Mizuki, Mio, Misao and the Hongo parents) as themselves in a casual situation…and thought that a fun place like the beach would be the best to contrast with the serious mood of Dark Moon. They would be publishing each photo alongside a corresponding photo from the drama.
She'd already had her insecurities about her first-ever photo shoot…but they had never included the fear that she'd be doing it in a bikini.
"It's a two-piece," Momose said reassuringly.
"What Oohara-san is wearing is a two-piece," Kyoko pointed to her tall co-star, who was clad in white boy-short bottoms and a matching bandeau top that looked excellent on her long figure. "Her bottom doesn't slide out of those, and bandeau tops don't expose cleavage! This is a bikini," she pointed to herself, clad as she was in a two-piece suit of pink with thin white stripes that was tied together with strings. Strings. "And you're in a one-piece!" Momose was looking cute in her pink one-piece with its low-cut back and high-cut legs.
"You look good in it," Oohara said. "You've got a very athletic figure, Kyoko-chan…you're small, but you look fit, like a marathon swimmer. Bikinis look cuter on girls with smaller chests…if you have a larger chest it, well, leaks out a lot more. And that flower band looks great on your arm."
"Yeah. My arms aren't toned enough for that…they're just skinny, no shape at all," Momose tried again to reassure her. Kyoko sighed; she didn't want to make this difficult for anyone.
"Please be honest," she said, finally. "Is it really a good idea for me to wear this?"
"Yes," her co-stars chorused.
"You look cute, Kyoko-chan…I love how they've just added a bit of styling wax to your hair to get those tips, and left it natural otherwise. It's sexy." Oohara added. "With that tiny touch of make-up, it's a great look. You look healthy and wholesome, like the perfect girl for a summer romance with a hot foreigner. Very un-Mio."
Sexy? Kyoko repeated in her head, disbelievingly. I'm being called sexy? It was ridiculous. Oohara-san certainly came up with some strange ideas! But she didn't think either of her fellow actresses would urge her to do something that was bad for her career, so she gave in. She did like the little elastic bands with the cute orange flowers that were currently around her right wrist and upper left arm, but that was very little comfort.
"I wonder what Tsuruga-san is wearing," Kyoko said idly as she looked at the co-ordinated outfits they were wearing. They wouldn't put him in pink, right? And what about the two older members of the main cast? Surely they wouldn't be wearing undignified little items like these?
"I'm hoping for next to nothing," Oohara grinned, and Momose giggled, looking a bit embarrassed.
"Oohara-san!" Kyoko said.
"Oh, don't tell him I said that," Oohara pled.
"Why would I tell him…?" Kyoko couldn't even imagine telling Ren that Oohara wanted to see him as close to naked as possible.
"I know you two are close," Oohara explained. "But it would be so embarrassing. That was just between girls, okay?"
Kyoko had no time to protest…one of the photographer's crew was calling for them to come out of the cabana. It was 11C at nine in the morning on November 14, and Kyoko wasn't looking forward to stepping out into the breeze in this absurdly tiny get-up. But I'm a professional, she reminded herself. Time to act like one.
So step she did.
Ren and Yashiro were over with the crew, chatting casually. Kyoko could see Ren in profile, and as it turned out Oohara's wish came to nothing, because he was wearing more than any of them in slinky but loose beige pants that were hanging down on his hips, along with a very light, almost translucent white linen shirt with short, cuffed sleeves. The only total concession to the fact that this was a beach scene was that the shirt was worn completely open, with nothing under it.
It was more coverage than Oohara had wanted, but she seemed plenty distracted as it was. "Oohara-san!" Kyoko yelped, grabbing her co-star as the woman nearly walked straight into the pole supporting the roof over the cabana's entrance.
"He looks good enough to eat," Oohara mumbled, still not noticing the pole, not even as Kyoko pulled her around it.
"You're going to drool soon," Momose cautioned. Oohara reigned herself in with a sigh. Kyoko shook her head; the effect Ren had on women was uncanny. She knew when Oohara had lost her head over him, too…it was when they were watching the acting test. What a dangerous man, Kyoko reflected, not for the first time, nor for the last. But he's a good senpai, she thought cheerfully, glad he was there. He'd said he'd help her, today, and as much as he liked to torment her, she completely trusted his guidance. She was going to need help to be able to learn to smile naturally when she felt so awkward. Photographs were so static…they took into account only what happened in one fraction of a second, everything pasted in place forever…there was none of the forgiveness that came with movement, with tone of voice, with all those things that a still camera could not capture.
I'm glad he's good at everything, even if it is a little uncanny, Kyoko decided, feeling a little relieved as they walked toward the crew. He's always generous with his expertise, and I really need some of it right now.
"Oh, the girls are out," Yashiro said as the three young women emerged from the little cabana. When he turned to look at Ren, Ren did not turn around but said something to a grip, instead, laughing at the grip's return comment. As far as Yashiro knew the two men didn't really know each other, so Ren's focus on him was unusual. Yashiro grinned. "Wow," he said, slowly and clearly. "Kyoko's in a bikini. It's amazing…women are so embarrassed to be caught in their underwear, but honestly most underwear would cover a lot more than that bikini is…"
"Yashiro-san," Ren said, still not turning around, and Yashiro was pretty sure the actor was speaking from between clenched teeth. "You like your job, right?"
Yashiro swallowed a chuckle.
"She really does look cute," he said in a more serious tone of voice. He suspected Ren had already gotten a look from when the girls first came out, before Yashiro had turned around. "Sort of…island sporty. It's always been hard to tell what kind of figure she had, as her clothes are pretty modest, but she's really very cute."
"Yeah," was all Ren would say in reply, but half a minute later he was forced to turn around properly, as the girls had reached them.
"Morning, Tsuruga-san," Oohara and Momose chorused. Ren turned to face them, a smile already on his face.
"Morning Oohara-san, Momose-san," he greeted. "Mogami-san, how are you feeling? Still nervous?"
"Yes," Kyoko groaned. "Why did I have to end up in a bikini for my first photo shoot? It feels like god is laughing at me. How am I ever going to put on a natural smile when I feel so…out-of-place?"
"It's just acting, as always, Mogami-san," Ren assured her. "Act like you're comfortable and you will be perceived as comfortable."
"Oohara-san!" the photographer called. "Can I have you, please?"
"Oh, yes…coming!" Oohara trotted over to the spot the photographer had set up at, with an open space of sand right at the tide where the subject could be photographed.
"Eri-chan made faces at me behind the photographer's back last time I had a photo-op," Momose said darkly. "Please excuse me while I go repay the favour." Momose jogged away as well.
"We have a nice photographer," Ren added, standing beside Kyoko and gesturing to the man currently pointing his camera at Oohara. "See? Oohara-san looks completely comfortable…she's just being herself."
"But she's natural celebrity material so being herself is more appropriate. And she doesn't have to worry about her suit falling off at any second."
Ren looked startled. "Is yours in danger of falling off? Do you need to call wardrobe?"
"No, it's the nature of the suit…the ties," Kyoko explained. "It's not a very practical outfit. If there is one little tug on any of these ends, I'll lose half of what I'm wearing on the spot."
Yashiro held his breath, afraid that if he didn't he would burst out in an unmanly fit of giggles that Ren would later kill him for…but Ren's face was such a picture, it was hard to take. He looked pained; that was the only way Yashiro could think to describe it.
Kyoko saw Ren's expression and exclaimed "Exactly!" as though she'd found an ally. "That's just how I feel."
No, it's not, Kyoko-chan, Yashiro thought, feeling himself turning purple with the effort of holding his laughter in. It's not the same at all.
"I-if it's really not secure, maybe there's something we can do…" Ren said, a little hesitantly, glancing at the ties on Kyoko's suit…one on each hip and another between her breasts. He jerked his eyes away as if burned.
"Well," Kyoko said slowly. "Actually, before we came out I put a couple of stitches through each knot, just in case, but…can you see them? It wouldn't be good if they show up in the pictures. Tsuruga-san? Can you notice the stitches? They're white…you have to look kind of close…" she said, turning the little bow on her left hip so that the knot was clearly exposed.
Yashiro couldn't take it for another second.
"I have to go to the bathroom!" he squawked, sounding like some sort of squeak toy that had been stepped on by a very large foot, and he turned tail and ran out of there as quickly as possible before bursting into laughter in the men's washroom at the side of the beachfront restaurant.
Oh god, poor Ren, he thought. Poor Ren! As much as he loved teasing the man, he wouldn't have wished that situation on anyone. But even though he knew it was a little cruel, it was a long time before he was able to stop laughing.
If God were making a joke out of anyone that day, it was not Kyoko.
One of the most effective distancing methods Ren had come up with to keep himself from Kyoko was to tell himself that she was a child…a kid much too young for his attentions. He remembered the adorable little girl he'd met in the forest when he was ten, and tied his current image of Kyoko to that memory to enforce the feeling.
It would be perverted to try anything with such a young girl. Just plain sick.
His mind knew it was just a trick and that Kyoko was not a child, but it was the most effective coping technique he had, and as long as he didn't let himself think about it, it worked. But it was hard to associate Kyoko with that six-year-old girl when she wanted him to get up close and personal with pea-sized knots on her nearly bare hips and chest. How was he to think of a little girl when he had a face full of cleavage?
"Ah, it looks good from here," he said quickly, and smiled, trying to be natural…but it was a real strain. "I can't see any stitches. If it shows in the picture it would be tiny, and they could fix it in a second on the computer. All photos go through the computer for corrections first, so don't worry about it."
"That's good," Kyoko said, relieved. "Thank you, Tsuruga-san. I'm sorry to be such a bother."
"Not at all," he said weakly, and then took her wrist, trying to cover his lapse in composure. He pulled her gently away from the crew, so that they had a bit more space around them. "So, about your shoot. What makes you nervous? Why does this bother you when being in front of video cameras never seems to?"
"It's because regular cameras are only about capturing how you look," she explained, sinking to her knees along with Ren, her attention completely focused on him. She'd be a very dangerous girl if she realized what kind of effect that had on him. He liked being the respected senpai for her; it was just unfortunate that a senpai was all she saw him as. "On set it's about what you're doing…it's about capturing a story, in which I'm just one little part, and I'm not even me, I'm a character. With a photo shoot, it's all you, and all personal. I don't even have a celebrity 'persona'…I'm just Kyoko. Having people want to take pictures of me is…it's weird, Tsuruga-san. It feels like I'm going to be shown as a fraud at any second, and everyone will wonder what I'm doing here and why they're taking pictures of Kyoko Mogami, of all people."
"Mogami-san, you need to start thinking of yourself as a celebrity."
"That's rich. You're the one who wanted to take the subway to work, even though you're the most recognizable man in Japan."
"Thinking of yourself as a celebrity doesn't mean thinking of yourself as the centre of the universe," he said dryly, though he had to admit in retrospect that the subway would have been risky. "Just be aware that people like what you do, Mogami-san. They like watching you act, creating your role before their eyes, and they want to know something about the actress behind the character that has captured their imaginations. You're a little piece of a life that's out of their direct vision, something a bit mysterious…they want to know more. Photo shoots and interviews are to let people feel like they're on the inside. Think of a photo shoot as…as being introduced to a new friend, or at least an important co-worker."
A light appeared in Kyoko's eyes, as though this suggestion had managed to take hold upon contact.
"Oh?" she said.
"Here," he pulled out his cell phone, opening it and turning the camera eye to face Kyoko. "Is this such a big deal?" he asked, and pressed the take button. His camera made a tiny electronic chime in response.
"Well, no…" she said, looking as though she wanted to protest. He clicked the phone camera several more times. "Tsuruga-san, cut it out," she complained. He smiled and turned the camera around so she could see one of the photos he'd just taken.
"See? It's nothing." He clicked the button again, seeing the wind shift slightly so that her hair blew back. A crew member who had been running around delivering props ran over suddenly and plunked a clear umbrella down beside Kyoko, perhaps intended for her use during the shoot, and ran off again. Unfortunately when he did so he kicked up a little sand, and the wind assisted a few of the grains right into Kyoko's left eye. She automatically blinked it shut even as she reached for the handle of the umbrella, but it was too late.
"Are you okay?" he asked.
"Yeah," she laughed, eye still squeezed shut and the wind still ruffling her hair as she looked over at him with one eye, a little embarrassed. He was instantly taken by the image before him.
In the photo it was even clearer…it looked like she was winking at him. He grinned faintly. She was probably not going to like this photo. He looked up at her again, and was alarmed to see her rubbing her eye.
"No, don't do that," he said quickly, jumping up and grabbing her wrist, gently pulling her hand away. "Does it hurt? Come here," he turned her around gently, placing his left arm behind her back and carefully tilting her head back slightly onto that arm, supporting her. "Blink," he ordered. "No, don't squeeze your eye shut so tightly…relax it…then start blinking as fast as you can and just keep blinking, okay?"
She did as she was told, and Ren called to the crew, asking for the red bottle of eye-drops from out of his case. The member closest ran over with them, just as Kyoko's eye was beginning to tear up, able to clear itself out now that she'd stopped clenching it shut so tightly.
"Good," he murmured, accepting the bottle with a quick smile of thanks.
"Keep blinking for ten more seconds, Mogami-san," he said, and a few tears dropped over her lashes. She slowly stopped blinking, winced lightly, and a few more tears dropped. "Feel any better?"
"I think so," she said cautiously, raising her hand.
"Don't touch it…rubbing just makes it worse," he cautioned. "I think it's all out. Stay still…these eye-drops will help, and they'll get rid of any redness faster, too." He carefully let a drop fall into her eye, and her eyelid winced shut automatically, but the drop was already in. "Open your eye," he coaxed, and she made a slight face, but did so, and he dropped another drop in, then two more, as she managed to convince her eye to open immediately after each time it instinctively winced shut when the a new drop hit it. "Good," he smiled, and capped the tiny bottle, sticking it in his pocket and reaching down for Kyoko, helping her to her feet. "Feel okay?"
"It feels a little irritated, but not too bad," she replied. "Thank you," she smiled. "Is it very red?"
"Only a bit pink in one spot, and that will go down. If it doesn't do so right away they'll correct that on the computer, so don't worry about it, okay? Good."
"Why did you take a picture of me with sand in my eye?" she asked. "You did, right?"
"Oh, yeah…sorry about that. I wasn't sure if you got your eye closed in time or not, but however it happened, it ended up looking like you were winking at me, so it seemed like the perfect moment to take a photo," he smiled and showed her the photo. She gaped at the little image of herself on his phone. It did look like she was winking, especially as she'd been laughing when he took the picture. "It was cute how you were holding onto the umbrella, too."
"Tsuruga-san, that photo is very misleading!" she protested.
"Yeah," he grinned faintly. "Fun, isn't it? I'm going to show everybody." And suddenly, he felt great. He had the upper hand again and no longer felt like the brunt of the gods' sadistic humour.
"Tsuruga-san!" she gasped.
"It's so cute, it really has to be seen," he smiled. "Look at you, you're even blushing a little," he said, casting another glance toward the photo he'd taken.
"You can't!" she yelped, and grabbed for the phone. He held it out of her reach. She was blushing a little in the photo, and now she was blushing a lot right in front of him. "Give me that, Tsuruga-san," she said dangerously.
"It's my phone," he said mildly.
"It's my photo! Just give me the phone for thirty seconds and I'll delete that picture and give it straight back to you."
"No way; I told you, I like this picture," he replied.
"Isn't it nice to have photos of all of one's friends and co-workers?" he raised an eyebrow.
"Tsuruga-san," she grated. He laughed. He couldn't help it. "Give me that!" she said again, and jumped for the phone, but he held it as high as he could and she came six inches shy of being able to grab it even by jumping. She grabbed his arm at the shoulder and tried to pull it down, but of course she could not. She resorted to hanging from his arm, then, so he quickly tossed the phone from one hand to the other, forcing her to drop down and run for the other side. He spun around, still keeping the phone out of her reach, and laughed again.
"Give up, Mogami-san," he suggested.
"Give. Me. That!" she demanded, shaking the arm currently holding the phone.
"If you're not careful you'll burst your stitches," he teased. Kyoko made a strange noise between a shriek and a wail, desperately checking her suit before grabbing his arm again.
"Please, please give me that!" she begged. "Delete it!"
"I really do like it," he smiled again, this time less teasingly. "It's okay, Mogami-san…I promise I won't show it to anyone."
"You'll just keep it to torment me later," she said darkly.
"Maybe," he replied. "But you shouldn't be embarrassed by something like this anyway, Mogami-san…it's really very mild. This is for your own good; you've got to toughen up! Winking is hardly an indecent act."
"I wasn't winking at you!"
"I know," he chuckled. "But you're embarrassed that it looks like you were, right? You're an actress. You can't afford to be put so out of composure over something like this."
"You're just saying this for your own convenience."
"That doesn't make it untrue," he replied.
"You really won't show it to anyone?"
"I promise," he said sincerely. "I'll have to give Yashiro-san my phone when I'm doing my shoot but I'll explain what really happened to him later if he happens to see the picture, and I'll swear him to secrecy. Okay?"
Kyoko let go of his arm with a sigh, defeated.
"What were you guys doing?" asked a voice, and they turned to see Momose with Oohara, staring at them, along with any members of the crew who weren't currently working on something.
"Just playing," Ren said dismissively, smiling as Yashiro finally made his reappearance. What else could he say? "Mogami-san has been a bit nervous about this shoot…she needed to loosen up."
"Oh, that's true," Momose said hesitantly, considering the believability of Ren's claim. "In that case I'm sorry to say it, but it's your turn, Kyoko-chan."
"Do you mind if I go first?" Ren asked of the photographer, who was just joining their little group.
"Not at all."
"You can watch me, Mogami-san. Remember what I said. Is it alright if she stands with you, Takagi-san?" Ren asked, handing Yashiro his phone.
"Sure," the thirty-something photographer said agreeably. "I don't mind at all. Come with me, Kyoko-san," he gestured.
Kyoko followed Ren and the photographer, Takagi, back to the spot where the photos were being taken. Ren and Takagi said only a few words to each other before they started; Kyoko was pretty sure they must have worked together before. Takagi was soon clicking like crazy as Ren walked along the edge of the tide, getting his feet wet, poking seashells with a toe now and then, looking down as though there were a whole world contained in sand that completely fascinated him. Sometimes he'd look up at Takagi and smile or say something, or maybe just toss his head or push his hair back, and once or twice he looked right at the camera…but never more often than that.
"I love photographing this guy," Takagi murmured, and Kyoko's ears perked. "All I have to do is let him know what we're going for and he needs no more direction. He looks completely absorbed right now, as though none of us are even here, like walking in wet sand is his favourite thing to do. Ren's not posing…he's doing a scene. Even on the rare occasion that he looks at the camera, he's not looking at the piece of electronics I'm holding, he's looking through it, straight to the viewers of the final product. Sometimes I wonder if any of it is the real him, but when I ask him to be 'real', he asks which aspect I want to see," Takagi laughed. "And I guess that's fair. We can't ever be all the things we are at once."
"He does make it look easy," Kyoko agreed quietly. "Of course, it's hard to get a bad picture of him…"
"It's more than that…but yes, he's perfectly photogenic. You've got a nice face for photographing too, Kyoko-san," he glanced up at her for only a second. "You have an expressive face that won't photograph flat. That's important. No matter how talented you are, if you're not photogenic, you're out of luck." Takagi went quiet again, and Kyoko watched Ren stoop to pick up a starfish. Somehow she wasn't the least bit upset about the picture any more. It had been embarrassing, and still was, but when Kyoko thought of all the good Ren did for her, she couldn't find it in her heart to deny him the pleasure he seemed to get in tormenting her. Maybe it was because he'd hated her when they first met that he now felt more natural teasing her than he would anyone else, but she didn't really care. If he was able to relieve stress or even just have a bit of fun at her expense, it was a price she was willing to pay. He was a total brat, and certainly not as sweet-tempered and serene as he made everyone believe, but for some reason she had never really wished he were any other way.
It was a mystery.
"Hey, Mogami-san," he said, holding up the starfish. "Too bad we can't make this into a pin; it would look cute in your hair." She smiled. A starfish as a hair ornament sounded like a great idea. She'd love to be a mermaid for the day.
The clicking noises that had faded into the background over the last ten minutes suddenly came back to her attention as she realized they'd gotten a little louder. She looked over at Takagi to find that he had turned the camera on her and was snapping away busily.
"Oh, is it my turn already?" she asked sheepishly.
"Head nearer the water," Takagi suggested. "So I can have it in the background. You're just having a nice time at the beach, Kyoko-san…don't worry about anything else."
A nice time at the beach for Kyoko involved elaborate sandcastles, so she trotted over to the edge of the wet sand and sank down to her knees to start making damp piles. She made the castle part first, feeling comfortable with the idea that she was living a little story about herself, and as Ren had she'd occasionally look away from what she was doing to speak to Takagi, or Ren, or one of the girls, who had come over to stand with Ren as he watched the shoot progress.
"Tsuruga-san, can I borrow your starfish?" she asked as she finished up the rapidly assembled three-towered castle.
"Sure," he agreed, and walked over. She held out her hands and he dropped the starfish into them with a smile.
"Thank you!" she said, quickly pressing the 'fish' into the medium-sized tower.
"Do you need more?"
"Have you got more?"
"I know where to get them," he replied, and walked off again, toward the water.
"Just two more minutes, Kyoko-san," Takagi assured her…but she wasn't reassured.
"Oh no, I can't finish it that fast! Quick, you guys, come help me! I haven't even started on the outer wall!" she called to her fellow actresses. "Ilzuka-san, could you come, too? Is Takabayashi-san…?"
"I'm here, Kyoko-chan. I'll help," the older man, who played her father on Dark Moon, assured her, coming over with the others. Even Ilzuka only made a slight face before smiling and coming over to sink to her pedal-pusher-clad knees to help with the building. Ren soon returned with a huge double handful of starfish and shells and sea glass, dropped them beside Kyoko, and got his hands in the sand to help as well.
Yashiro watched the castle-building scene with a small smile; they looked like they were having a good time. Kyoko seemed genuinely enthusiastic about sandcastles, and it was rubbing off on the others. Ren, of course, usually only needed Kyoko to be near to be in a good mood, so he was having a good time, too. He looked down at the image on Ren's phone again and wondered how the actor had managed to get Kyoko to wink at him. It was lucky Ren had gotten a text from the office, or Yashiro would never have opened the phone and discovered that little gem. What had happened while he'd been gone?
"Has everything gone well?" he asked one of the crew members, hoping to get the scoop without having to ask Ren, who would probably be only too happy to let Yashiro writhe with unsatisfied curiosity forever. It was always so hard to get any answers out of the actor when it came to Kyoko.
"It's been going great. All the individual shoots went smoothly, and the group one happened spontaneously," he said, gesturing to the castle-building scene.
"Kyoko's shoot went well, too?" he asked. It was her first one, after all.
"Yeah, she was very natural…a lot like Tsuruga-san, actually." That explained it. Ren had probably done some coaching, and Kyoko was a star pupil if Yashiro had ever met one. Yashiro fished around for something to ask, to find out how the picture in Ren's cell had come into existence.
"So everything has gone smoothly?"
"Well, we were a little concerned when Kyoko-san got something in her eye, but Tsuruga-san took care of it before anyone could worry. Actually that was a bit of a mystery, because right after that…" the man pointed to the screen of the laptop belonging to the crewman beside him. "It was strange. Kyoko-san started chasing Tsuruga-san around, trying to grab his phone. See? We took these ourselves, but we didn't go ask what it was about, as Kyoko-san looked kind of embarrassed and it just didn't seem prudent."
Yashiro's eyebrows rose, seeing images of Kyoko literally hanging from Ren's arm, and shots of him laughing. Not smiling, but outright laughing, which was a rarity in photos of Ren Tsuruga. Yashiro looked down at the cell he was holding. Kyoko was trying to grab it in those images…just what had Ren done?
Whatever it had been, there didn't appear to be any hard feelings left behind. Ren was currently carefully tying a tiny starfish into Kyoko's hair, and she was actually letting him. (Oohara then pointed out that she was his fiancé and demanded to know where her starfish was, so Ren agreeably fixed a starfish into her hair, then Momose's, and even did one for Ilzuka-san. Takagi was having a great time, too, photographing all of this, and there was a good laugh when Takabayashi-san wanted to know if he would be getting a starfish, too. Ren declined apologetically on the basis that the older man's hair was too short to fix the starfish into.) Yashiro smiled. Whatever Ren had done this time, Yashiro would just let him get away with it. Although…
"Those pictures you took…" he began, then smiled. "Could you email me a copy?"