Not mine, except for the plot bunny. I always forget to say that.
Update: Trying to go through the story and fixed the glaring errors I posted in my haste to get the story up. Please forgive me. Later in the story I get a beta.
The air in the studio sizzled in its silence. The audience sat frozen, stunned, staring at the long legged, tastefully dressed, handsome gentleman as if seeing him for the first time. Live cameras rolled on, framing the only two people on stage. The faint sound of crickets broke the dead air and reminded the man to speak.
"I'm sorry. Could you repeat that?" His voice turned slightly cold, contradicting the gleaming sparkles of his smile. The popular blond talk-show host's lips rose in an even larger smile, knowing that she had just made the comment that would make her career. She nodded and continued on as if nothing happened.
"Tsuruga-san, you've premiered over three years ago. Since then, you've been the Number One Bachelor Of Japan three years running, Best Dressed Man Of The Year, Most Handsome Smile, Girl's Teen Choice," she ticked off all his titles on her well manicured fingers "and many more, yet we haven't heard one peep of your love life. You go to award shows alone, your never spotted at celebrity parties, and I think I speak for all of the eligible women fans wondering around Japan…are you gay?"
Her guest barely opened his mouth to reply before the theme music cut him off. The producer flashed a smile, signaling discreetly that they were out of time.
"Well that's our shows ladies! I want to thank Tsuruga Ren for agreeing to talk to us today." She paused to bow politely to him. He grudgingly nodded his head in acknowledgment. "Watch us next time, as we talk to Fuwa Sho about his newest musical hit, "Confrontation!" Have a lovely night everyone!"
The cameraman signaled the start of the credits, and the stage manager gave the all clear. Lights rising, the studio audience quietly got to their feet and shuffled out. They exited in depressed whispers, in almost near silence.
It was a strange occurrence for Tsuruga Ren to watch from the stage. Usually after any audience show, women would run up the stage and the security would have to hold them back. He would smile and edge to the exit as he was pleaded with to sign autographs on this piece of paper and that body part. Expecting the same, the security members gave each other confused looks up and down the guardrail line, at the emptying row of seats.
"Are you busy after this Tsuruga-san?" The pretty hostess uncrossed her long legs and switched from her single chair to the small love seat where he still sat. "I'm going out tonight, and I'd love it if you could join me" She threw her bleach blond locks over her shoulder, and smiled seductively to her guest, nudging herself closer to his side.
Tsuruga stood, giving her a thin-lipped smile.
"I'm afraid everything in my schedule is already booked. I still have a late night shoot."
She tutted, and looked back at him. Her lips were pouted down, but her eyes held a challenging glint. "A promotional maybe? A film about cowboys, perhaps?"
"Simply a clothing line photo shoot." Ren responded sweetly. He still had his gentleman's smile, but a few lines cracked. "Madam, I am not homosexual, in case you are still wondering."
"Oh no…that I have no doubt Tsuruga-san. It's just what my audience wanted to know, that the only reason why I asked." Her shiny glossed pink lips rose in a smile. She clapped her hands together, as if coming up with an idea. "I know we didn't quite to get to your answer. How about you appear on the show as a surprise guest, and clear it up? You're invited on my stage anytime."
Tsuruga-san nodded briskly, not wanting to say something he might regret, and left the stage. He could hear the whispers from the cast members, cleaning up for tomorrow night's shoot. He didn't bother to stop for Yashiro-san, who was biting his fist and shuffling his feet to get to the car at the same time Ren did. The actor's face was sparkling but his mood was dark, and he looked like he was ready to peel out of the studio with or without his manager.
Closing the door, buckling in, and returning to the dark Tokyo roads, Yashiro sat in the passenger's side holding his stomach in pain. Trying to think of anything other than the interview, his eyes darted around, then clenched shut. He knew his cheeks were wet with tears, but he kept silent, biting his lip and holding his breath. Tsuruga kept his eyes on the road, but as he approached a red light, he glanced at his blue tinted manager. He took a deep sigh.
"You can laugh, Yashiro-san."
The tiny silver sports car erupted in sound as his manager let loose the torrent of chuckles he had been holding.
"I can't believe they think you, Tsuruga Ren, the realized dream of Japanese women, would be gay!"
As if saying it out loud reminded him of the fact, Yashiro burst out laughing once again, clenching his gut and hitting his fist over the dashboard. He rolled back and forth in his passenger seat. "Pretty funny huh?" Ren pretended to chuckle lightly too, as his manager chortled at his expense.
"Who do you think the gossip press would assign my "secret gay lover" to be Yashiro-san?" Ren laughed, as the light turned green and the car started rolling on.
"Oh, I don't really know." Yashiro's full barrow laughs slowly turned to tired chuckles. "Whatever poor guy is around you the most."
"And who would that be?"
There was a long pause in the car. The laughter cut off immediately.
"That's right, Yashiro Yukihito" Ren said simply.
"I told you no good would be won by showing on that gossip rag of a talk show." Yashiro reached in his pocket and started to roll on a surgical latex glove on his left hand. "I'll call LME. You didn't get a chance to answer, and the gossip reels is going to pounce on this like their first good meal in weeks."
"You know," Yashiro paused for a moment, thinking. "if an anonymous tip was left with one of those magazines, and you invited Kyoko-chan to stop by…"
Tsuruga slammed his foot on the breaks, stopping in the middle of the lane. Several angry horns honked, covering the sudden string of swear words Yashiro let out as his phone tumbled out of his left arm and into his lap. He quickly fished for it and grabbed it with his covered glove. Flicking it open to check it hadn't fallen victim to his curse, he sighed in relief.
He turned to Ren, amazed by his worried expression. He still held the car immobile. "Now what was that for? We could have caused a pile up!"
"She has to stay as far away from me as possible in the next coming weeks." Tsuruga voiced his thoughts in urgency, as if realizing the implements of his predicament in a hurry. "I need any shot that she may be in rescheduled, and any meals you may have planned her to make for me cancelled."
"but…why?.." Yashiro looked genuinely confused. "She could bask in the limelight with you. You can use it to squash any doubts about your sexual preference. Maybe you could even step to the plate. It's a Win-Win!" Ren looked at his manager angrily, and he fell silent.
"Kyoko-chan is a high school girl. That's enough of a reason."
"So wh-"Yashiro attempted to stop him with his usual disagreement, but Ren uncharacteristically cut him off.
"Even if it was okay that she's still in school; I've seen what girls do to other girls who are involved with men they like. It leads to nasty confrontations. It's no better in the acting world. She probably dealt with it all her life." Although many held her in high regard, it didn't fail to escape him how few real friends the blossoming actress had. The only one he knew that was her age was Kotonami Kanae, which Kyoko clung to like she'd disappear. Ren remembered how she confessed to having no friends in school, except her 'prince.' His gaze darkened at the idea of Fuwa Sho.
"Plus, do you want her to be exposed to that all over show business before she's even had her official debut?" His manager widened in recognition as Ren fixed him with a serious look. "She's in LoveMe for a reason. Do you think she'd accept this job? Do you think she could even act like she enjoyed my touches, and my kisses, in front of thousand of cameras?"
Yashiro looked down at his lap, cheeks flushing in emotion. His stomach sank, sudden feeling ashamed at the idea of using Kyoko to fix the problem. At first thought, it sounded like a great way to make Tsuruga fess up to his feeling, but he was right about the sharks of the gossip world. Hadn't one just taken a bite out of his charge? They'd tear through her like scraps, and Kyoko-chan's innocence had already been torn apart once. He moved his lips to apologize, but Ren just held his hand up in silence.
"Yashiro-san…you more than anyone know me and how I feel about her. I won't push her into anything she's not ready for."
The manager nodded, shocked at Ren's frankness in regards to his emotion. It was like seeing the wall you pecked on for years suddenly fall and crumble before your feet. Shaking off the other thoughts, Yashiro went to the task at hand. He opened his cell phone. Kyoko or not, Yashiro had to get the wheels moving quickly. A real manager wasn't only someone who scheduled appointments, but could handle the press. He was the manager to the best actor in Japanese showbiz, and he had to prove to himself that he was the best manager.
"Hello; this is Yashiro Yukihito, Tsuruga Ren's manager. I'd like to discuss a deal we might be able to make tonight…"
A/N: This idea came to me and I was laughing forever. I'm almost done with my first full length story, and I'd like to work in to more humorous romances.
I'll probably base whether to continue this story if enough reviewers bite at the line, and think this is a good enough story to review over. It may just be only I think the plot line is amusing as hell.