A/N: New story! I wanted to see if I could write about more emotions and less action. But I didn't have it in me to write just about emotions so there are action scenes in this.
No lemons. Sorry. Rated M for Violence.
I do not own Skip Beat.
I want to give thanks to Risuna-Phenix for being so kind as to proofread this story for me.
Chapter 1 – Daily Dose
"You should be thanking me."
The taller man didn't make a sound as he drove to their destination. He continued to drive down the street, keeping the speedometer below the limit, driving in what would be considered perfect in the eyes of the law and driving instructors.
"You're going to be gone for next three days, where the majority of the day will be spent at sea without phone reception. This is going to be the last time you can talk to her before your shooting."
Does he really think Ren didn't know that? It was all thanks to Yashiro that he saw her every day. Yashiro meddled in his life because work made it to where his manager didn't have a life of his own. He could quit, no one was forcing him to stay as his manager. Ren would miss him though. Yashiro was the only person who was truly his friend, besides her, but he wanted her as something more than a friend.
"Look there she is!" The man next to him sounded happier to see her than Ren did, and he was in love with her.
Kyoko. Every time he looked at her he was stunned. Not due to her beauty, she was beautiful mind you but because of how he felt. His mouth became dry whenever he sees her. His pulse sped up when she looked at him. Every time those golden brown eyes came his way, they seemed to try and break down the shell that is Tsuruga Ren. When she smiled up at him he couldn't help but smile his real smile down at her. When she laughed, warmth spreads over his body knowing that he made her laugh. On the rare occasion when she touched him, he wanted nothing more than to touch her back, to wrap his arms around her tiny body and let his finger tips touch her soft skin and silky hair.
"Hello, Tsuruga-san, Yashiro-san. Thank you for inviting me tonight," Kyoko greeted them with a shallow bow while clutching her little purse. It was warm out but windy. She wore a light colored floral mid-thigh skirt, a simple white shirt with a jean sleeveless jacket over it and short cowboy boots. She was adorably huggable, but he couldn't greet her the way he wanted to.
"Hello, Mogami-san, how are you?" Ren replied with a small smile. His demeanor spoke nothing of what he truly felt. He was calm, cool, collected and was just going to have a meal with a fellow actor. Inside he was the complete opposite; nervous, excited and emotional.
"Very well, thank you. Shall we go in? I'm sure this is probably the only decent meal you've had today," she said with a snide smile. He knew her smiles just as much a she knew his. Well most of his smiles, a few of his real smiles scared her, and damn well it should. The thoughts he was thinking those times scared himself sometimes.
"I'll have you know I've eaten my meals according to the normal standards like everyone else," he responded coolly. He watched her turn on the heel of her boot and knew he should have kept his mouth shut, but he loved having her fuss over him.
Kyoko shot a skeptical look up at him and asked the obvious question, "What did you eat, Tsuruga-san?"
Before he could make something up, Yashiro cut in with an overly dramatic cry, "He had three cups of coffee for breakfast and some sushi and sashimi from the shoot today." Ren sighed at his manager's honesty and waited for the blow, but it didn't come. He was relieved to see that she didn't get upset like she normally would. Instead, she actually smiled.
"Oh, well, lunch wasn't so bad," she stated, then turned around and started to walk to the restaurant's entrance while speaking, "even if, I'm assuming, you didn't eat the whole thing, at least you ate something. They usually have good food at the shoots, at least the ones I've been to." They entered the restaurant, and Kyoko greeted the host with a smile, asking for a booth towards the back. Ren watched the host's eyes linger on her frame and give her a charming smile. The host even offered her his arm which Kyoko politely refused to Ren's relief. Ren was about to grab the guy and throttle him for trying to flirt with his girl.
His girl. Ha! If only. They followed the host to their booth. Of course, she picked the side facing the crowd, and Ren was forced to sit opposite her, his back to the crowd. While he would love to sit next to her, he told himself that this was better. He could watch her as she ate or spoke or just breathed.
I'm thinking like a stalker. He thought to himself and wanted to smack himself. Yashiro sat next her. He was almost jealous, but thought better of it. Yashiro and Ren sitting in a booth together would have been uncomfortably tight. Kyoko's small frame fit a larger one so well.
"Our specials today are a hama shiru soup and an eel kabayaki that is very fresh. May I get you something to drink?" They gave their drink order, and the host returned shortly with their tea and stated that their waiter would be with them shortly. From the looks of it, the place was slow so the host wasn't busy and wasn't bothered by getting their drinks. What annoyed Ren about him were his efforts in flirting with the female of their party.
"Please enjoy your meal," the young host spoke only to her, and Ren had enough.
"Thank you," Ren replied for the table, his voice was dark, matching the glare shot at him. The man visibly paled and retreated to his station. He watched the host walk away, oblivious to the conversation that was happening in front of him.
"Tsuruga-san?" Her charming voice called him back.
"Hmm?" he returned back to their table with a charming smile.
"Yashiro-san told me you are leaving early tomorrow morning for your movie. Are you excited? You'll get to spend three days on a yacht!" Kyoko said enthusiastically.
"Technically, we are shooting at Katsuura and leaving the port just a little bit to make seem like we are in the middle of the ocean," Ren said and looked at Kyoko with a soft saddened expression, "Which means my cell phone won't work if you need to reach me."
Or if I wanted to call you, he added internally. If they didn't see each other, he always found a way to call her. If he didn't call her, he was lucky enough to receive a call or two from her for "help". The fact that he got to speak or see her every day for the past few months made him eager for each and every day.
"D…D…Don't worry about that, Tsuruga-san. I'm promise not to disappoint you while you are away," she blushed while she spoke. looking at the napkins instead of anyone. Of course she would think that way, never would he want to actually talk to her just because he missed her or needed to unwind from the day. That the mere sound of her voice did so many things to him and without his daily dose he would feel incomplete. That's just inconceivable.
"I'm not worried, Mogami-san. I know you'll be fine," Ren assured her but not himself. His eyes flickered to her face where he saw a look he wasn't intending her to have. She looked confused and worried.
She must have picked up the disappointment my voice. Before he could recover the damage he let slip, the waiter came by, took their order and refilled any drink that was running low.
"Have you even been on a boat, Mogami-san?" Ren asked, needing to change the overall tone of the table.
"Hmm, I've been on a small fishing boat, but never on a yacht," Kyoko responded, "Fuwa-san loved to fish, and Sho-baka never did, so I went with him every so often when I could sneak away from his wife." Ren watched Kyoko slip into herself as she usually did when thinking of her past. There were so many mixed emotions that colored her face. It went from anger to a small smile of enjoyment then to her blinking in fear and finally embarrassment from Yashiro bringing her out of her trance.
Will she ever stop thinking of him? Or at least forget about the shallow idiot, so she could think of someone like me instead? Luckily, her thoughts of the singer were decreasing and Ren has been slowly chipping away the damage of his actions. He just hoped that the seed of them together was starting to bloom in her heart.
"Kyoko-chan, you should come with us," Yashiro stated enthusiastically, "There are a lot of extras. You can slip in and spend some time a real yacht." Ren wanted to groan. The only extras on that boat played by women were supposed to be money grubbing bimbos.
He was currently playing a yakuza lord, Tanaka Keiji. The yacht was for torturing information out of people. He would set up a "party" and head out to the ocean, where they would conduct business. On the yacht, they had a small sound proof room with a trap door where they could get rid of the body when they were done. They also used it to lure potential customers and make less than legal business deals. It was very well used by his character; therefore, they dedicated three days to film all the scenes. Not to mention the boat is the turning point of the story, where he learns of his brother's betrayal.
If she said yes, he would have to deal with her in a bikini acting like an idiot while flirting with him or one of his men on the boat. The first part would be hard enough to deal with let alone all the men eyeing her body. Kyoko wasn't the type to be in that situation. She would most defiantly bring out Natsu, and there was no way Natsu wouldn't draw a lot of unwanted attention.
"I would love to, but I couldn't possibly. I have jobs scheduled this week," Kyoko replied softly. Ren was relieved but saddened at the same time. She continued, "Thank you for the opportunity though." She actually seemed disappointed, and he found himself wanting her to come.
"Are you sure? Perhaps you could reschedule them?" Yashiro asked. He wasn't a quitter. Ren watched her think things through. He only knew of Box-R and her Love Me Jobs.
"What jobs are you doing this week, Mogami-san?" he asked causing her to squirm in her seat. She obviously didn't want to mention what job she was booked for, and he was going to press the issue, but their food came. Yashiro saw her discomfort and changed the conversation. He wanted them to be together but not at the expense of someone's work. He asked about her projects and Kyoko replied happily. It was fun watching how animated she got when speaking about her days. She used her whole body to describe things and made the funniest faces sometimes. She lightened up the room with her mood. Their meal was finished too soon, and Ren paid with cash.
"Please let me pay for my portion," Kyoko spoke up which he expected.
"Nonsense. We invited you here, and it's my turn to pay so I am paying," Ren spoke as he slipped on his cap to hide his face.
"Your turn?" She questioned.
Yashiro spoke up, "We switch off paying for meals we have outside of work, since we always argued about who should pay. It's been working out for us." Ren cringed as he saw the sparkle in her eye and predicted her next words.
"That's a wonderful idea! Tsuruga-san always pays for everything when I'm around. Why don't you let me pay, like you let Yashiro-san pay? We could trade off." She smiled a hopeful smile that almost made him say yes.
"No. You are paying for high school, acting school, rent, food, and clothing and off of only one show, Box R. You told me the money from Dark Moon was already gone, and I can afford to treat you. Let me do that," Ren replied, leaving no room for an argument.
They retreated to his car where Kyoko stood in front of it with her arms crossed under her modest chest. She pouted so prettily, making him crave her sweet lips. "May I drive you home?" he asked as he unlocked the doors.
"No, not until you let me pay for something," Kyoko whined, "I will not take advantage of my senpai's kindness." Ren did sigh this time. He walked up to her and sat on the hood of the car, his hands in his jean pockets. With her standing and him sitting, he could look straight into her face without him looking down or her looking up. It was comfortable. He could reach out, bring her close, and they could kiss without any effort. Something he would have to remember.
"A senpai takes care of his kohai, right?" He asked softly. Her face softened as she nodded.
"So why can't I do this for you when you are with me? If you want to make it up to me there are other ways," his voice dipped deeper as he let some of his emotions slip through his voice. Her eyes widened, and he bet she was blushing but couldn't see it in the darkened parking lot.
"W…Wh…What do you mean?" She stuttered. He smiled and lifted his hand towards her. He gently brushed her hair out of her eyes, his fingertips barely touching her forehead like a ghost.
"You can…" Kiss me. Let me hold you. Love me and let me love you till the end of days. "…make me dinner like you normally do. I enjoy your cooking very much," he offered. Ren could never say or do the things he wanted. She was stiff as a board as he spoke and when he touched her she looked like she was going to run away.
Her breath came out shaky, and she laughed slightly. "Yes, of course. Perhaps when you come back, I'll pay you back."
"I'd like that very much," he said sincerely, "Now, may I drive you home?"
Kyoko smiled sweetly at him and then nodded. "Yes, thank you."
He had a date with her the moment he came back. Things were good, eventually he would be able to come home to her every night and wake up to her every morning.
hama shiru – Clams on half shell, sliced ginger and scallion in light broth.
kabayaki - a generic Japanese term for a dish of seafood which is filleted, boned and dipped in a sweet soy sauce-base sauce before broiled on a grill.