She leaned on the hotel table with her elbow, twirling a chopstick between her delicate fingers in boredom. The platter in front of her lay just as it had been twenty minutes ago. The only thing that had changed about it was where once, the food was piping hot and ready for consumption, now laid cold and dried out. After seeing him earlier tonight, she was left with no appetite.
Kanae had tried to snap her out of the stupor since they had sat down for the appetizer, but with no such luck. Instead, she made excuses for her friend as they sat around the banquet dinner table, making conversation with others involved in media.
Her long walnut red hair twisted back into an elegant bun as she slipped the designer hair accessory back into its rightful place. Her painted gloss lips winced as the tip scratched her already tender scalp. Jerry was a witch, both in terms of her ability, and her view of gentleness. "Beauty knows no pain," the beauty artist would laugh gleefully, as the evaporating steam from the hot curler would burn her sensitive skin.
Beauty only knows no pain if you're dead.
She snorted to herself, which caught the attention of those at her table. She gave a phony smile, and lifted the glass of water.
"Please excuse me, I'm recovering from a cold."
They nodded, and complained about the abnormally chilly nights as she raised the glass to her lips and took a pretend sip of the cool liquid. Whenever anyone had tried to talk to her, she would suddenly be interested in having something to drink. It may have given others the impression she was constantly dehydrated, but it stopped them from trying to make small talk with her. She abhorred banquet small-talk.
A waiter quickly came over to refill the already full cup. Bending over to pour from the pitcher, he subtly dropped a neatly folded sheet next to the actress' plate. She looked at the waiter for some sort of hint, but the server made no other movement unnecessary for his primary job. Picking the tiny folded sheet of paper between her forefingers, she lightly flicked into her mug of steaming coffee. It slowly began to unravel in the hot cup of cappuccino. The ink swirled and darkened the colour of the cup's contents. She watched it, finally interested in something.
While everyone was busy having their main course plates taken away by the waiters and waitresses, another server, a waitress this time, delivered a second neatly folded sheet. Lacking another cup of near boiling caffeine, she pulled the paper towards her and slipped it under the table. Unfolding it with nimble fingers, she read the short message once, twice, three times.
"Stop being so anti-social…"
The anti-social girl looked around the room. The various female celebrities glittered in their expensive ball gown dresses, and all the men's faces swam in a sea of fine line tuxedos. There were only a few people who was weren't afraid to write a message to "Cynical Kyoko", the best dark actress in modern television, revered for all her cruel and dangerous roles.
She spotted the musical bane of her existence in the back of the hall. Judging by how far Sho was down this particular idol's throat, she doubted he'd have time to write her a note. Also she doubted his ability to find both a pen and a piece of paper underneath his date's short cocktail dress. It didn't seem to be from a lack of trying though. That only left one other person.
The famous mixed nationality actor sat near the front of the stage, surrounded by other high profile media celebrities. Although he was making conversation with those around him, she could feel his gaze on her. She looked blatantly back at him, not caring how rude she might appear to be. Discreetly, he made shooing motions with his hands, as if encouraging her to stop acting so strange and to start getting into conversations.
After a long time of actress observation, the performer had picked up some of the actor's tricks of the trade. She sent a stunningly beautiful smile in his direction, while scratching the side of her head with only her middle finger. Seeing him return his annoyingly fake, bright smile, she took the glass of wine from her neighbor, and tipped it in his direction as a silent toast.
She had no idea why she enjoyed pissing him off tonight, but she reveled in knowing that she was really ruffling his feather. He had been gone for so long acting in some country, Mexico or something, without contact, it didn't matter to her what her senpai thought of her anymore. He had obviously not cared enough when he was halfway across the globe. She wondered why he cared now that he was halfway across the room.
Downing the large glass of wine in one go, she sneakily placed it back on the table. The growing intensity of his smile almost gave off heat. She wondered if the candles on their table would melt. Her lips curved in a small smirk at the thought of the poor servers trying to figure out what happened.
Nature called her, and she got up from her chair. The shimmery emerald green mermaid dress floated out around her as she excused herself from everyone's company. Kanae offered to go with her, but she turned her down with the first true smile of the evening. Annoyed or not, she appreciated her only true friend. Plus, the awards ceremony, everyone's accommodations, all the outside entertainment were all in this one building. It made it easier not to get lost.
He spotted her on the balcony, looking at the full moon. He could see her shivering in the late autumn night. Her pale shoulders and arms were mostly bare except for the few splashes of jewelry. The slit along her right leg probably didn't help to keep her warm either.
Her silhouette turned and he was surprised to see her fingers at her lips, taking a drag from a cigarette. She didn't cough either, which made it seem like she'd become an experienced smoker in the short time he was away.
He took off his coat, and walked up behind the young actress. With one quick movement, he plucked the lit cigarette from her lips and rested his jacket on one of her naked shoulders.
"Don't you know smoking is bad for you?"
She turned around and glowered at him with her famous golden eyes. The jacket slipped from her without notice, and formed a puddle of fabric at her feet.
"Don't you know skipping meals aren't good for you?" She retorted, obviously annoyed. He chuckled.
"Unlike you, I've actually eaten something tonight."
"Don't you know spying on people isn't good for you?" She snapped. He kept a cool face.
"When is a senpai watching out for his kohai considered "spying"?"
"When that senpai only does it when it's…" She stopped in mid-sentence. He raised his eyebrow. She didn't want to get into an argument with him. She almost never won.
Instead, she knelt down and picked up his tuxedo jacket. She held the fabric at arm's length, letting it dangle by one finger. He had the feeling she held it as if it were dirty. Her eyes narrowed but she smiled patiently.
"How about I trade you your coat for my cigarette?"
In response, he put the cigarette to his lips and took a long drag. She watched with horror as her cigarette went from sweet tobacco to floating ash in one long drag. He exhaled the tobacco, before dropping the butt on the floor and stamping it out. Her mouth hung in an undignified manner, surprised of senpai's ability to smoke after years of quitting.
"Now you have nothing to trade." He said it with a pleasant tone of a chess master about to call checkmate. "Put the coat on." He motioned for her to put the coat on. Instead of doing so however, she angrily thrust the coat at him.
"I don't need it. Unlike you Tsuruga-san, I'm use to Japan's weather." She turned away, and looked back towards the low hanging champagne moon.
Tsuruga looked at his coat, than at his kohai in surprise. Almost her whole life she had remained the same, yet he had left to film a movie for less than a year, and she had become a completely different person. He knew he had gotten too close her, and thought the distance would help him separate his emotions from the young girl. It hadn't changed his feelings, but apparently it changed hers.
He swung the coat around her figure and used it to pull her back into his broad, warm chest, determined to prevent her from catching her death. She felt his coat wrap around her before she realized what he was doing. It was so distinctively him, to ignore her preferences and do what he thought was best. Pulling away from him, she slipped on her strappy high heels and fell back. He instinctively caught her around the waist, pulling her closer and steadying her.
Tsuruga looked down at his kohai, her pearl skin glowing in the night's light. The light breeze caused her scent to tickle his nose, and he was reminded of the time he had caught back in his apartment. Her figure was so tiny; it fit so well against him. It reminded him that no matter how different her personality, she was still that fairy loving, 100% giving, young beautiful girl he had tried to drive out of his mind.
She too was reminded on that night he had caught her, as her delicate figure pressed against his chest. His face was close, almost as close as it had been when he kissed her cheek on Valentine's. Like the flood gates, she remembered the various occasions they had been close together. She remembered when he slept on her lap, when he gave that heart-warming smile when he was really grateful for something. She remembered his soft fevered voice as he called out to her, "Kyoko-chan."
She hung her head down and pushed the man away. "I'm sorry Tsuruga-san. I've no need for a coat, a senpai, or another disappointment."
Kyoko's heels clicked as she pulled back, and ran towards the doors back inside. The coat fluttered to the floor, as the man was left alone.
I was rereading some of the original Skip Beat chapters, where Kyoko was kind of a bad ass to Ren. I thought it'd be fun to play with her that way. I guess you can say she's OOC, but I think of this more as a AU story. What would happen to Kyoko if Ren were to leave her without much more than a simple goodbye. No letters, no calls. Just months on months of loneliness, with only her doubts and fellow Love hating actress as company.
Sheesh, this was supposed to be a one shot. Somehow the plot ran away with me though. The zesty lemon freshness (hopefully a decent one) will be in the next chapter. This will not be a full story.