Don't ask how I managed this... May have something to do with me sitting at home alone and being ille enough not to go to school, but well enough to be bored.
So this is the next part. Have fun!
I don't own Skip Beat!
It was already hours ago that the sleek private jet had taken off from LAX, Los Angeles International Airport. Now, miles above the Pacific ocean the small traveling party was mostly asleep.
Their destination lay on the other side of the vast sea that was hidden behind the thick clouds they flew through.
A flight attendant made her way down the aisle.
"Mr Murphy, would you like another tea?" The man shook his head, grinning up at her.
"No thank you." He turned towards his seatmate next to him. "You want something?"
The young woman turned her head from the window and nodded.
"It's getting chilly, maybe a blanket." The woman in the aisle nodded and left to fetch the desired item.
"You alright, Coco?", the man, Mr Murphy asked. He gently brushed his hand against hers on the armrest.
"You know I'm not convinced of this whole venture. Actually I am sure this is a horrible idea."
He smiled at her dramatic outburst.
"I believe in you. You're ready, my love." She stared into the darkness again and the fell into silence. The light from inside the plane illuminated the streaks of water against the glass.
"Miss, your blanket." The flight attendant had returned. Coco accepted the soft fabric with a smile.
"Come here.", her companion offered. He put the armrest away and gathered her in his embrace. When she relaxed, he pressed a soft kiss to the top of her head.
"You worked so hard the last years. You are truly amazing, darling, may it be at home or in Japan." His deep voice lulled her upset mind to sleep. When she closed her eyes she remembered again, why she loved this man. Nigel Murphy was possibly the most understanding human to ever walk this earth.
The morning glow that crept over the horizon painted the sky in a soft pink and blue hue. The light was caught in the smoke from hundreds of cars, planes and factories. It was by no way clean air, but Coco knew that. In America the bigger cities were the same.
She followed her manager down the stairs out of the jet and then into the warmth of the arrival lounge. She sat down next to Nigel and waited for the passport controls to be handled by Susan Scott, her manager for the last two years.
A girl from her group came over as well, carrying a small case.
"We need to get your make-up done. Your first interview is in an hour. Sue said, it was best to get started now."
Layla, her personal stylist began to reapply concealer around her eyes.
"You did not sleep that much, right?"
"Maybe." The procedure passed quickly, thanks to Layla's sure hands and efficient movements Coco looked fresh and well rested.
"You're next, Nigel." The man glared at Layla mockingly and turned to Coco.
"Please help me, my love. She's going to harm me.", he joked.
But Coco had no reserves left to laugh along with the others.
"Can't you give me all a minute of rest?", she almost snapped. The lounge fell into silence. Everyone had known, they would tread on shaky ground with coming to Japan, but to see Coco so worked up after mere hours in the country, worried them.
"Relax, love. Don't let the stress get to you." Nigel grasped her delicate hand and squeezed lightly. "We'll be home in no time."
Susan came back only ten minutes later and began briefing them on today's schedule. It was filled with dozens of appointments already.
She warned them that the airport halls were already filling with people, Coco's visit to Japan was a major event. She was more known as Mogami Kyoko in the Japanese hearts, but everyone was happy for the actress to return nonetheless.
But the person walking down the long corridors was not Kyoko anymore. This was not the girl that fled Japan years ago. This was a new person Japan had not encountered yet. Someone, who was ready to claim her place as the number one Japanese actress, claim the success she had left behind in order to reinvent herself.
In no way shy or timid, she stepped out of the shadows into the main waiting hall. Security had provided a safe aisle to the exit, but left and right were fans and photographers, hoping to catch a glimpse of her.
"Coco-san!" A reporter in his mid-thirties approached her. He was the one to receive clearance for an airport interview.
"Ah, good morning, Makabe-san." The actress smiled, falling back into Japanese easily. She spoke only English for the last few years, but even though it felt a bit strange, she had not forgotten anything.
"It's a pleasure to see you in Tokyo again. How do you feel?" The camera focused on her face, the dark brown eyes, the straight black hair, the vibrant red lips.
"You will certainly believe me, when I say, it's an amazing experience. I thank everyone for their warm welcome, I am glad." Her eyes softened as she viewed the crowd.
"You left Japan almost three years ago, while you were just starting to reach the top. What made you leave?" The reporter quickly came to the question that ghosted around in everyone's mind.
"I was unhappy back then. I had several personal issues I was dealing with and I ran out of energy. I did some research and learned I had roots in America, so I decided to go there for a while."
"Did you plan an American acting career from the start?"
"Not at all. I spent the first few months away from the entertainment industry, but a friend of mine decided I needed to do something offered me a small role in a science-fiction movie."
"I believe we all saw you in the Lucasfilm production two years ago. So, this was the starter?" She nodded in confirmation.
"I learned that I could not stay away from the industry for long. One thing came to another and I found myself in front of the camera again."
"Let me assure you, you have progressed immensely! Did you have a tutor?"
"A few great people took me under their wing. I am very grateful for all the support I received."
"Just two more questions.", the reporter spoke, when he saw his assistant signal him the time was almost up. "How long will you stay and then will you do any projects, while you are here?"
"Unfortunately my timetable in America waits for me, so I'll leave in two months, but I will have several shoots. I signed for a movie and various commercials."
"We wish you a lot of success and enjoy your time back in Japan." The reporter bowed and Coco returned the greeting. She strode further down the aisle occasionally stopping to sign a poster or a DVD case. Nigel stepped up next to her and winked at her.
As the left the building for transport to their hotel he spoke.
"Well done, you can be proud of yourself."
Yukihito Yashiro watched his charge anxiously. The famous actor still stared at the TV screen even though it was now showing the weather forecast.
"Ren?" No response.
The blonde manager switched of the device. The two men sat in silence for a few minutes, than Ren spoke up.
"America. She was in America." He was still shell-shocked after he saw the woman that was and was not Mogami Kyoko. She had face, but her eyes were different. She had of course matured over the years, but somehow he still recognized her.
Natural grace surrounded her, but now it was used at her command. She was aware of herself and others. This was no innocent teenager, this was a woman that radiated confidence, success and talent.
"Yashiro, I want you to research her. I need to know, where she has lived, worked, went to lunch-" He stopped, when he saw the folder in front of his face.
"I suspected you'd say this." The manager smiled in triumph. "The content won't make you happy though, Ren." He patted the actors arm, then got up.
"Remember to be on set in thirty minutes." He went to see the director, leaving Ren alone with his thoughts and a file about a woman he used to know.
He looked through the papers and read about the dramas she appeared in, the movies under her lead and the companies, whose face she had become.
Then he reached the part about her private life. According to this file she had found her father in America and went to build a relationship with him.
He thought back. Kyoko had never talked much about her family. As far as she was concerned the elderly couple from the daruma-ya was the closest she ever had to a parent.
With a chuckle he recalled how she came to call his own dad 'father'. He wondered if she visited him, while she had been in America.
He read on. Marital status: Engaged. He nearly choked on his own breath. He had trouble imagining Kyoko ready to marry. Jealousy flared within him. Who had won her heart? He looked again and then typed the name into his smart phone.
Nigel Murphy, 24, Irish, scriptwriter and novelist. A photo was next to the short biography.
He had dark hair, an angular face with high cheekbones and thin lips. His eyes were dark blue, glistening with fondness and at the same time mischief. He was not overly tall, Ren noted as he spotted a picture of him and Coco at a red carpet event. She wore a light blue gown that reached her ankles and black strappy high heels. His dark tuxedo made her glow even more and with a jolt, Ren saw their interlaced fingers.
Coco and Nigel Murphy together at the premiere of the movie 'Rainbow' after his famous novel, the text below read.
Something rang in Ren's head suddenly. He had heard this name before.
A knock against his door pulled him from his musings.
Therefore, when he left the room, he did not remember that the script for his new movie had a tiny line of text at the bottom of the cover that would have made his blood boil.
By N. Murphy.
Night had descended on Tokyo and found Coco resting against the railing of her floor length window. The thick glass kept out the noise from the crowded streets, but still a slight humming destroyed the silence.
She thought of her day. She had had the most peculiar feeling, when they had driven through the streets of her old home. No, she corrected herself, this was not her home, this had been Kyoko's home. She noticed it was harder for her to distinguish between her and Kyoko's memories. It was not like the girl was willing to surface, she was still intent on staying hidden, but the emotions burst into Coco's consciousness more often. She wondered what would happen should they encounter someone she had known.
She heard Nigel step up behind her in the dark room. His arms encircled her from behind and he rested his chin on her shoulder.
"I'm sorry, love." His voice was soft in the darkness and in their reflection in the glass, Coco saw honest compassion. "I wouldn't have pushed the issue, had I known how much you suffer here." She let out a long sigh, shifting her weight to get closer to him.
"No, it's okay. I'm okay.", she whispered. "I'm okay." She turned around, facing him. He pulled her closer and she put her head on his chest.
"How can you bear someone like me?", she asked, her voice muffled against his shirt. His arms tightened around her.
"Why do you say that?" He knew what she was hinting at, they had this conversation a lot of times already.
"I'm so... messed up. An idea of a person that is buried deep within me. Sometimes I feel like I stole something from her." This was a new aspect. Coming to Japan made her confidence crumble. "She was broken, when she invented me. And now I believe I step on the pieces."
Nigel felt as her shoulders trembled lightly. She was crying.
"I must be such a horrible person."
He was at a loss of what to say for a minute, so he just held her.
"You're not.", he said after a while and the conviction in his voice made her smile. "I don't care where you come from, who you were. All I see is the person you are now. The kind, strong, beautiful and caring Coco."
"But I never attempted to help her. I should have tried to fix things."
"You told me, she did not want you to. She just wanted to rest and to hide. You gave her protection. No one would blame you. Besides, she was in control at that time." Coco exhaled. He would not really understand. She felt as if she had caged a beautiful being. Kyoko was just so pure.
And what would happen if she ever wanted to fly again?
So you all noticed I spent a lot of time developing the inner conflict and those who read the first version know that Coco was much colder in the first try. But seriously, a person invented by someone as lovely as Kyoko can't be a hag :D
Well then, I hope to manage a few chapters soon, but I fear it will be difficult.
Thanks to those who reviewed right away!
Love, Cold Moon :***