Disclaimer: I do not own Skip Beat!.
"I'm going out a bit for a drink"
The director nodded immediately, knowing it was sort of a bad thing, especially where mean characters were concerned, not to let actors have thier way. He wasn't the push-around kind of director but he'dlike to consider himself lenient and flexible. This girl was a newbie but she was scary as hell. He didn't like to think of the face she'd flash him if he said no. And besides, they were way ahead of schedule. Kyoko never needed a re-take so everything flowed really smooth and fast.
"Um...er..Natsu?" He caught himself saying.
The girl turned around.
"Don't break character" said the director, managing to sound authoritative. "..at leat not until the shoot ends"
Natsu flashed him a smile that not only told him she would stay as herself even without his reminder, but also sent little chills down his back. Gracefully turning back, she disappeared through the classroom door leaving the director wondering how formidable she'd become when she grows up.
"Let's stop here for a while"
Sho's manager rolled her eyes and looked outside the van to see where "here" meant. Apparently, it was a small grocery store next door to a manga library. "Couldn't whatever it is you want wait 'til we get to the studio?"
"Damn woman, I am thirsty!" he said curtly, sliding the doors of the van open. He hopped out on the asphalt with slick motion and he sniffed the familiar air of ordinary living, the one he always used to breathe he was not yet famous. Sensing Shoko move to follow him out, he gave out an irritated snort audible enough for her to hear and snickered in an acidic tone, "Stay here. I don't need a manager to buy a drink"
Shoko steadied herself and eased back to her sitting position. Releasing a huge and heavy sigh, she blew her bangs out and followed Sho into the grocery store with her eyes. Teenagers and their blasted self-important tempers. Shoko shook her head to herself and tried to recall the mishevous playful boy that Sho was when he wasn't devilishly being a handful. That always worked to ease her tension a bit whenever Sho got himself in another "disturbed emotional state". She was no shrink but Sho's emotions right now were very much disturbed. She had no idea what got him so off. He was fine last night, laughing and sniggering and teasing her as always. Maybe it had something to do with Mogami Kyoko again. Or Tsuruga Ren. These two, she had noticed, was the fastest and surest way to get Sho out of his arrogant composure into a juvenile fit of a ten-year old sulking kid.
With hands in pockets and loud music blaring from his mp3 player, he strode towards the entrance door of the grocery store looking nasty and dangerous. He didn't want to think that he was mad because of what he heard when he arrived at the agency. The two receptionists were gossiping about how well Dark Moon was doing for a drama re-make and how "gorgeous" and "excellent at acting" Tsuruga Ren was. Those traitorous women! How dare they fawn over their rival agency's actors and dramas! And how dare they ignore him when he walked by! This thought made his teeth rattle in anger, making a small growling sound. His eyesbrows knotted into an intricate entanglement and his hands tightened into fists. Trying to push this overwhelming anger away, he maximized the volume of his music and forcefully swung the door of the store open.
He surveyed the whole store and found that it was the ordinary run-down shop that he and Kyoko used to buy home stuff. The cashier was scrutinizing him now and when she had made sure that he was who she thought he was, her jaw dropped law and Sho could have sworn her eyes transformed themselves into disgusting heart-shaped goggles. Ignoring her completely, he walked towards where the refrigerators were with his suave rockstar swagger,as a service to her and as food to his resurrecting pride. He didn't want the cashier to think he wasn't nice but he was in no mood to play friendly...even to starstruck heart-eyed fans.
All the fridges were lined according to the kind of beverage. He was looking for a soda but apparently somebody else was still getting theirs. He slanted his head slightly and tried to take in the picture of the girl who was bending quite attractively towards the fridge. Her right hand,which was bandaged,he noticed, was perched on the frame of the fridge door and the other disarranging the soda cans, probably trying to find what she wanted. The moisture on the transparent door made it difficult for him to see what she looked like but then he caught sight of her bright orange hair.
His heart jumped immediately to his throat.
In a flash, he turned off his player and stuffed his earphones disarrayed in his pocket. He inched towards the girl, not knowing if he wanted her to be Kyoko or not. But the thought of bumping into Kyoko suddenly made him want to smile, and his heart raced a bit as he got closer. When he was close enough and was about to make a sound, the girl slammed the refrigerator close and pivoted around to face him, her orange hair swishing against her face, scattering that familiar smell of oranges and jasmine through the air into his nose. His olfactory senses were then sure this was Kyoko.
Hs eyes, however, were saying an entirely different thing.
The girl that was now standing before him looked exactly like someone who would put Kyoko through hell. Not Kyoko herself. Her hair, though the same length and color was something out of a gangster-chick movie. Though her uniform was a bit messy, the way she stood made it look very cool and her shoes had heels that could have been knives. Her face was hard and her eyes were cold and cruel,almost devoid of any feeling. Her over-all aura was classy but dangerous, the kind that lets people know that she was not the type they'd want to mess with. She was the perfect image of a bully. Calm but intimidating. Beautiful but dangerous.
"Do you have a problem?"
The girl's cold but disgusted voice snapped him out of his thoughts. One of her eyebrows arched up and her lips twisted into an irritated shape. Sho began to wonder exactly how he would react to this new Kyoko. Of course this was Kyoko. She might look different, but this was the Kyoko that was willing to enslave herself for him, the Kyoko that was still imprisoned by her feelings for him. No matter how many times she changed her appearance, she would still be that vulnerable girl he could break into pieces anytime and anywhere.
He broke into a sarcastic grin and sniggered. Then he formulated something that he was sure would erupt Kyoko into one of her crazy demonic fits.
"Buying drinks for someone else again?" he said in the most annoying, anger-provoking tone his could muster. "Always the errand girl, huh, Kyoko?" This never failed to turn Kyoko into the Vesuvius that she was. He was feeling that unexplainable thrill again, that anticipation whenever he knew she would manifest how powerful an effect he still had on her entirety. She was still his. From those orange hairs tips to those little hardworking feet.
He waited for her explosion, her fireworks of harsh and bitter words, her outpouring of madness and unseen but very vocal darkness. He waited...
...but it never came.
Instead, all he heard was the violent opening of a soda can, that sound of escaping vapor. He then heard the liquid passing through the girl's throat, all of it in one gulp. He stared at her in awe as she crushed the empty can in her bandaged hand, crumpling it like paper. He stood speechless, deliberating if this was indeed who he thought she was. He took a step back as this new Kyoko wordlessly moved towards him, the soda can rattling violently on the floor after her hand sent it flying towards it. His mouth twisted, heart racing, as the girl's right hand extended towards his collar and with a force he had never reckoned a girl could exert, grabbed it hard, his face dragging down dangerously close to hers.
Her eyes were cruel, angry and cold. He stared at them for a while, looking for a semblance of kindness that he always saw in them. But none. Nothing close to gentleness or compassion or any feeling at all was there. Just ice. Stone cold ice. No trace of Kyoko at all. A lump formed at his throat as the girl pressed her cheek to his, her lips close to his ears.
And in a voice he had heard everyday for the past 17 years of his life but in a tone he had never dreamed of hearing, the girl said, "I never run errands" Sho swallowed as she faced him again, her eyes fixed hard on his, penetrating into his soul. "And no one" she hissed, "ever talks to me that way." His lips froze as her fingers suddenly traced them, her voice more acidic than before, "speak to me one more time and I'll make sure these pretty lips of yours never twist into that silly grin ever again"
Increasing chills snaked through his back.
With that, the girl gave him a hard push, picked up the empty soda can, dusted herself and started walking away in a sophisticated and proud panache that he could almost identify his with. This was definitely not Kyoko. But was it possible for two people to look exactly the same? Did she have a twin they never knew about? But that was impossible. They were almost born together. More ideas ran through his head but none was plausible enough to account for her existence. Sho shook his head and followed her with his gaze. He froze as she stopped at the counter, pointing at his direction.
"That guy will be paying for this" he heard her say, holding up the crumpled soda can for the cashier to see. She then glanced at his way, met his eyes and shot him with a glare he knew he will never forget in long, long time. The girl turned back and threw the can into a trash bin nearby. Just when she was about to get out, a girl in pigtails came rushing inside.
"Mogami-san" she said,out of breath, "the director is looking for you. We need to shoot the next scene before noon"
Sho shot up to attention at once and he suddenly felt a streak of anger rise. It was Kyoko after all! The nerve! How dare she threaten him like that! With gritting teeth, he marched towards her but stopped midway.
Kyoko was now smiling...but not the sweet smile she always wore for everyone. This smile was different, none like he had seen before. It was crooked in a violent twist, like a demon, like a psychotic murderer planning to take another life. The shivers he felt before came back and they made their way into his stomach, morphing into another entity that seemed to make his intestines do somersaults. He wanted to throw up, cry, run...and then he realized.
He was scared.
The girl who was running started to show a really freaked-out face and she stepped back, as if she'd get burned if she stayed too close to Kyoko. "Natsu..."
Before Sho could react to what she said, Kyoko had already spoken, her voice steady but full of authority. "Let's go. I've wasted too much time"
The girl who had now gone white could only nod as Kyoko strode past her and she followed meekly, exactly how someone scared would to a most formidable bully. Sho's eyes hadn't blinked for a while, his heart still racing. He couldn't come to terms with the fact that Kyoko was that scary girl he had just encountered. She said and did nothing that resembled the sweetness and kindness that Kyoko embodied. This girl was the opposite.
Suddenly...he felt something strange. A feeling between loss and regret. He hated to think that Kyoko would dramatically change from a kind-loving girl to a cruel and distant woman. The feeling got even worse when he thought that he might have caused this change. This was not the effect that he wanted, not the reaction he wanted her to give. This was way out of hand.
He felt his heart twist. The images of the loud, compassionate and caring Kyoko shattering into a cold heartless stranger made him want to be angry at himself. He had wanted to destroy her but not this kind of destruction. It was as if he had killed her...and maybe he did. He felt he wanted her back. It was then when he realized that for the first time, he felt sorry for what he did.
Sho sighed and made his way out the store. He had never felt this heavy before and all he wanted to do now was go home and maybe write a song, maybe sleep, maybe take a shower... He wanted to be somewhere where he could ponder at his feelings and thoughts. When he was about to get in the van, he caught glimpse of a giant camera being driven out of a school gate a few meters across the store.
Like a flash of lightning, it dawned on him.
Author's Note: I have started writing fanfiction again after 5 years. Let me know if I've been any better :-D