Chapter One: I Want Him
"Come! though your hair be a cascade of fire,
Your lips twin snakes, your tongue the lightning flash,
Your teeth God's grip on life, your face His lyre,
Your eyes His stars - come, let our Venus lash
Our bodies with the whips of Her desire.
Your bed's the world, your body the world-ash."
He was on a set with bright lights flashing into his face whilst he reclined on the comfortable couch. The in-house, live audience looked down on him with fervent gazes, hanging onto his every word, their faces blending together beyond the blinding stage lights. It felt a little strange, but waves of accomplishment washed over him. This was what he had always wanted, what he had always dreamed of having. A real career.
"Ichigo Kurosaki, you have just won the Academy Award for best actor. How does that feel knowing just a year ago you were a clerk at a gas station?"
The reporter sitting across from him, leaned forward, eager to hear Ichigo's answer.
"Well, it feels great. I mean, I've always known that I wanted to be an actor and this just validates every thing I've ever done up to this point," he answered honestly.
"Fascinating. Now, is it true that-"
"Ahem, is it true that you-"
The vibrating of his cell phone on his nightstand woke Ichigo Kurosaki up that morning. It wasn't the most pleasant of awakenings, considering it was...
Rubbing the rheum out of his eyes and blinking wearily, he glanced at the alarm clock, sitting innocently next to his cell phone, blaring that it was seven-thirty a.m. Who the hell was calling him at this ungodly hour? And he had been having such a nice dream too...
Groaning, Ichigo flung out his hand and nearly crushed the offending device in his hands before pressing the "call" button.
"What is it?" he mumbled into the phone, his voice rough.
"Ichigo! Have you seen it?" a shrieking voice cut through the speaker, making the orange-headed man wince.
"Wha...? Rukia, do you know what time it is?" Ichigo pressed his face back against the pillow, closing his eyes. He had been working the late shift at work last night and he wanted nothing more than to go back to sleep.
"Go look at Seireitei Communication's latest blog post. Now," Rukia, sounding like she could barely contain her excitement, demanded. What could be so exciting that she had to call him at seven-thirty in the morning? Knowing her, it was probably something he didn't care about in the least, but wanting to humor his oldest friend, Ichigo very slowly pushed himself to a sitting position on his bed.
About a minute later, he had his laptop open on his lap and typed in Seireitei Communication's URL into the browser. He knew about the blog of course, everyone in the business did. They were the most up-to-date on celebrities, trends, you name it, they knew about it and were reporting on it as soon as they found out. As they said in almost every blog "We told you first!". It was kind of creepy.
The garishly pink website flickered onto his screen, with the newest blog update, dated last night. Ichigo's heart immediately leapt into his throat at the title.
Newcomer and A-lister to Star in Upcoming Film
Hi there, my lovelies! Exciting news for all of you bookworms today! As you know I, Rangiku Matsumoto, reported exclusively last week that there was a film adaptation of De Six a Quinze, the critically acclaimed novel by best-selling author Nelliel Tu Odelschwanck, in the works. However, now I can finally report on who will be playing the roles of star-crossed lovers Alexander Fullbring and the Viscount Heathcliff Allistair!
Of course, there was huge buzz surrounding the role of Alexander, as it was almost certainly going to go to a new face and from my sources I can confirm just that! And the newcomer is certainly not a disappointment if his head shot is anything to go by, what a cutie! His name is Ichigo Kurosaki and he hails from Japan and apparently moved to America to pursue his dreams of being an actor. It looks like he got his wish, having landed the role of a lifetime, as De Six a Quinze will be directed by the handsome and famous (don't forget eccentric!) Coyote Starrk, and it will be produced by Visored Entertainment. Production hasn't even started and this film is already getting some Oscar buzz!
Excited yet? I sure am, and I haven't even revealed who will play the role of the brooding, gorgeous Viscount. Well, who else better than the brooding, gorgeous Grimmjow Jaegerjaques? Though Visored or Jaegerjaques' rep haven't issued a statement confirming his involvement in the film (yet), my sources tell me that the award winning actor has already signed on to play the Viscount! And it will be his first acting gig in over a year, which we can chalk up to his typical bad-boy behavior and late nights. So, does he still have what it takes?
Anyway, I can feel my nose already start to bleed at the thought of these two winsome men's steamy love scenes! I'll see you at the premiere. Don't forget to leave your comments on what you think below! Until next time, my lovelies!
"Isn't it great!" Rukia's high-pitched squeal nearly broke Ichigo out of his reverie.
His mind was racing a million miles a minute as he stared at the head shot he used for his portfolio, glowering up at him from the web page, directly across from a picture of a blue-haired man flipping off a camera. It was all so much information to take in...
It was staggering to think about all that this singular blog post was reporting, not even knowing how drastically it had just changed his life. How did this Rangiku person know that he came from Japan and moved to America to become an actor? How did she get his picture? And furthermore, how did she know the director and other lead actor even before he did?
But...he was going to be working with Coyote Starrk, a director famous for his work before he had even reached thirty. He already had several Academy Awards under his belt and was a god in Ichigo's eyes.
And what really got to him?
He was going to star in a movie. With Grimmjow Jaegerjaques. The actor that had been the reason he had ever even wanted to act in the first place.
"Ichigo? Hello? Are you there?"
He was silent for a few more moments.
But of course, reader, you're probably confused. How did someone like Ichigo, with no professional acting experience, land the role of a lifetime?
Well, let's rewind to about two weeks ago, shall we?
"Hey kid, you're up next."
Ichigo looked up from the thick packet of paper in his hands to see the owner of the voice that had spoken to him. It was the woman who had been chaperoning the hopeful young men who had been waiting in the room with him into the conference room next door. He had watched all of them go through the door with wide, shining eyes, blithe at the prospect of meeting with the high-powered casting directors of Visored Entertainment. Then he had watched as one by one they all returned with a misery so potent it was almost tangible, leaving without a word. Ichigo was the only one left.
Needless to say, his heart started racing at the thought of facing the casting directors that he had only ever heard about. Would they just look at him and send him away? Would they criticize his appearance? His acting skills? Most likely.
Ichigo shook his head and stood from his seat, resolution furrowing his brow. He knew that he had some talent, and that if the "Red-headed Male, Aged 18-22" casting description was anything to go by, then he was what they were looking for. Well, looks-wise anyway. He could do this.
The woman, who had dark hair plaited into a braid and glasses, ushered him through the door to his left, into the conference room.
Why did it feel like the air-conditioning had suddenly stopped working?
There was a long table about twenty feet away from him, where three people were sitting, not even bothering to look up at Ichigo as he made his way to the singular chair in front of them. He silently hoped that he hadn't started to sweat as heat blossomed all over his skin. He felt like he might combust.
Honestly, when he had shown up that morning, at six o'clock, along with a hundred other red-headed men, he hadn't even expected to get past the first casting call, led by a man in a blue tracksuit whom had immediately fawned over Ichigo's orange hair. But here he was, staring directly at the head casting directors of Visored Entertainment, a place he had imagined himself so very many times.
Sitting down on the hard, metal chair Ichigo pulled at the collar of his shirt. He felt like he was suffocating.
There were two men, both blondes; one with a creepy grin on his face and the other with a dreamy expression. The other person was a small woman, also blonde. And here Ichigo had thought that he had seen all the blondes he could ever see in a lifetime, living in L.A.
"Ichigo Kurosaki...so you're Japanese, huh?" the man with the creepy grin asked, looking up from Ichigo's portfolio spread before him on the table. Ichigo just nodded.
"Can you even speak English?" the woman snapped, obviously annoyed after a long day of interviewing talentless wannabees. He stiffened before clearing his throat, raising a fist to his mouth.
"Yes," he answered gruffly, feeling his eyebrows come together despite his best efforts to keep his face expressionless.
"I think he's cute. He looks just like how I imagined Alexander," the dreamy blonde said airily, resting his chin and staring at Ichigo with glazed eyes. Ichigo briefly wondered if the man was high.
"Tch. He'd have to train on an elliptical for hours if he even wanted to have a shot. He's too scrawny" the woman snorted and looked away from Ichigo and out the window. He felt heat rise to his face, both from irritation and embarrassment. Ichigo knew he was no body-builder, but he wasn't scrawny by any means, and he desperately wanted to tell that to the snaggle-toothed woman. However, he bit his tongue and said nothing.
"Hmm...says here you've been in a couple of independent films in Japan...and you went to Don Kanonji School of the Arts. Very impressive," the first blonde man mused, eyes scanning over the paper before him, fingers absently playing with his tie.
"Thanks," Ichigo scratched the back of his head, wondering who "Alexander" was supposed to be. He guessed it was the name of the character they were considering casting him for, but they had been so vague in their advertisement.
They all sat there in silence, the woman staring out of the window, apparently irritated, the first blonde man looking down at Ichigo's portfolio, and the other man still staring unblinkingly at the orange-haired man. Ichigo shifted in his seat, incredibly uncomfortable.
"Well, we'll give you a call if we're interested," the first man said, the strange grin appearing on his face once more. Ichigo felt his heart clench at the words. They weren't even going to let him read the script for them? Let him say more than two words?
He knew what that phrase meant. It was the universal brush-off. Ichigo had heard it many times before, but...he had really felt like this had been his big break. The role that would have his career taking off like a rocket. So much for that.
Not trusting his voice, Ichigo nodded once, before gathering himself and walking out of the room.
Well that had been...disheartening. To say the least. He was ready to go home and lock himself in the bathroom and cry like a bitch. He wouldn't though, he would go home and get changed out of the expensive Rag and Bone jacket he had shelled out an entire week's pay for, and go to his to god-forsaken work place, where he would stand behind the cash register for hours, and then he would go back home, go to sleep, and repeat. That was the way his life had been for the past year and that was probably the way it would always be.
Ichigo rode the elevator down to the ground floor in a daze, numbly blocking out the sounds and sights around him. He felt so tired, all he really wanted to do was go home and sleep, but there wouldn't be any time for more than a quick cat nap before he had to leave for the 7-11 where he worked.
He was almost to the door of the grand lobby when he felt a hand on his shoulder.
Almost jumping a foot into the air, he spun around to see the woman from before, the one with the braid and glasses. Her eyes were hard behind her spectacles but she had a slight smile on her face.
"They want to see you upstairs, kid."
"Have you ever kissed a man before, Ichigo?"
He was sure that he must have looked like a gaping fish right then, eyes wide and mouth opening and closing as he searched for words that wouldn't come.
They...they hadn't called him back for...that, had they?
The thought made Ichigo's stomach churn and he scowled, regaining control over himself despite his earlier shock.
"No," he answered firmly, his body tensing. He was ready for a fight if that's what it came down to. He noticed that in the corner of the room there was a new man, tall and thin, with long black hair that was neatly braided. He wore the same disinterested expression as everyone else in the room. The blonde woman still wouldn't meet Ichigo's eyes as they scanned across the four people. It was obvious she was pissed that he had been called back.
But why had he been called back?
"Are you opposed to the idea?"
It had been the dreamy man who had asked the question, both times, and Ichigo felt very much like reaching across the long table and socking him right in the jaw, but instead he clenched his fists. It was too much like the man was coming on to him.
"Now, Rose, don't you think you should explain to him why you are asking him such questions?" the other blonde man asked, eerily cheerful. Rose frowned, as if he had never even thought of that. The woman snorted and trained her eyes on Ichigo, glaring at him.
"Look kid, we're making a movie about gay guys fucking each other. You in or not?"
Again, Ichigo was reduced to his gaping fish face.
Were they offering him a role? In what sounded very much like a porno?
"Always so straight to the point, Hiyori. And it's a love story," Rose chuckled and rested his chin on his hand. Hiyori just rolled her eyes and reclined in her seat.
"Mr. Kurosaki, what both of my colleagues were trying to ask of you was if you were interested in a leading role in our newest production," the blonde man in between the two asked, his grin falling from his face to reveal a rather serious expression.
Ichigo felt his heart stop in mid-beat, his eyes widening to the size of saucers. Did he just say lead role? But, he hadn't even done a screen test, or script reading, or anything!
"I'll assume from your expression that that's a yes. Well, you see, the...dilemma is that the movie is a love story involving two men. The role we have in mind for you is one of those two men. Do you have a problem with that?"
Ichigo had to take several moments to find his voice. What was he supposed to say? He wasn't gay, and he didn't exactly relish the idea of kissing another man, but this was a lead role in a Visored production. This was the big break he had been hoping for for years now. This was what he had always wanted. To be a real actor.
"No, I don't have a problem with it," he finally said, shifting in his seat.
"Good. You know, you're very lucky, Mr. Kurosaki," the casting director smiled again, revealing his creepily large teeth.
"Yes, I know," Ichigo said. He knew that it was one of those one in a million, no, one in like five hundred sextillion chances.
"Oh, but do you?"
No, actually Ichigo had no idea just how very lucky he was.
On that morning, Ichigo wasn't the only one to have a rude awakening.
Grimmjow Jaegerjaques had been very peacefully dead to the world, entangled in Williams-Sonoma, 900 thread count silken sheets and snoring so loudly that his bedfellow, a young singer famous for her heartsick pop songs, was long gone. And that was just the way he liked it, alone and deeply asleep from whatever he had taken last night, not that he could remember what that was.
Well, at least he was, until a sharp sting on his right cheek startled him out of his dreamless rest. Bright blue eyes flew open, accompanied by Grimmjow's choked gasp. Who the hell would slap him across the face to wake him up?
His vision was blurry for a few seconds, somewhat due to the tears that had formulated due to the stinging on his cheek, but he could make out the outline of a figure staring down at him with large, emerald eyes.
Oh yeah, he should have known.
There weren't many people in this world that dared to do anything that might incur Grimmjow's wrath, and there was only one he could think of that would dare to slap him while he was sleeping.
Ulquiorra's face was impassive, per usual, as he crossed his arms over his espresso black, Tom Ford suit. However, Grimmjow had known the man long enough to understand his extremely subtle displays of emotions. Ulquiorra was pissed, hence the very painful awakening. But...what had he done to make the man so angry?
Oh, but the real question was what hadn't he done?
"What the fuck?" Grimmjow growled, cradling his right cheek with his hand. It probably wouldn't bruise, but it definitely would be red for a few hours. Ulquiorra wasn't impressed by his longtime client's glare. He had been the recipient of it almost every day for the last decade and its potency had worn off after a few months. Besides, lately the glares had been watered down by the star's glassy, unfocused eyes.
"Get dressed. Shawlong is waiting with the car," came the clipped reply, Ulquiorra turning on his heel to walk out of the spacious bedroom.
Sitting up, with the sheets falling to his waist and exposing his chest, Grimmjow blinked wearily at the smaller, dark-haired man.
"Dressed? For what?" he mumbled, his anger already dissipating. Now he was just trying to remember what he was supposed to do today. Something in the back of his mind told him it was important...
"Your meeting with Visored was supposed to start twenty minutes ago. It is my suggestion that you start getting dressed immediately, and preferably in a suit," Ulquiorra spun around to face Grimmjow again, looking down at the actor with a slightly condescending stare.
"Shit," he cursed lowly. He had completely and totally forgotten about that. If he had remembered, he wouldn't have...Well, actually even if Grimmjow had remembered, he would have still gone out last night and he would have still downed those shots of elit and whatever else he had taken, and he would have still bedded that blonde chick with the annoying voice. That was how he was now.
Grimmjow barely recognized that Ulquiorra had left the room when he slid out of the sheets, revealing his naked form. He would have still done so even if the man had been in his bedroom; he had no shame anymore.
His head felt like it would fall right off as he walked to the en suite bathroom. The actor placed his palms on the cool metal of his sink and looked into the mirror in front of him.
He looked like shit. There was no getting around it. He hadn't shaved for days and his blue eyes were bloodshot and puffy, almost like he had been crying. He had dark circles and Grimmjow could only thank whatever god was out there that he wasn't old enough to have wrinkles.
In this business looks were everything, that was it. We all know it, so it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. It wasn't as harsh of a rule for men as it was for women, but that had been one of the reasons Grimmjow had been hired in the first place. His looks. People everywhere still fawned over his blue hair and eyes, his body in general, but he knew that it was only a matter of time before they would lose their luster. Hell, it was already happening.
Running the tap, Grimmjow splashed cold water onto his face, hoping to reduce the bloated guise he was currently sporting. He was no make-up artist, but over the decade he had spent acting he had picked up a few tricks to cure that awful hangover look. He just hoped that this meeting was worth it.
Oh but he had absolutely no idea.
Twenty minutes, a shave, a carefully pressed, gray Burberry suit, and a shot of Chopin later, Grimmjow was inside of the Maybach in his driveway.
"That took less time than I expected," Ulquiorra mused quietly as the two sat by side in the backseat of the car. Grimmjow just rolled his eyes as Shawlong pulled out of the large driveway, pressing the pedal to the floor. They were already forty minutes late.
It only took about ten minutes to drive to Visored Entertainment's offices. The building wasn't particularly tall by skyscraper standards, but it made up for it in its lavishness. The lobby was decorated in rich browns and soft golds, colors that Grimmjow had always liked. Perhaps that was the reason he had agreed to come to this meeting. Perhaps not. He wasn't really sure.
Ulquiorra and Grimmjow walked through the revolving doors, only to be almost immediately assaulted by a young woman with dark purple hair and excessive make-up.
"Oh, hi Mr. Jaegerjaques! I'm so sorry, but I am your biggest fan and I heard you were going to be here today and I was wondering if you could-"
"Pardon me, but Mr. Jaegerjaques needs to somewhere right now," Ulquiorra interrupted the girl in his detached way, looking down at her with cool green eyes. Grimmjow sighed. He really hated this shit.
"What do you want?" he asked the girl roughly, only slightly trying not to sound like he was irritated.
"I, uh, um..." the woman stuttered, clutching something to her chest while she stared wide-eyed at the famous actor. Upon closer inspection, Grimmjow saw that the thing she was holding was a camera. He sighed again.
"You want a picture?"
"Y-yes," she held up the camera almost apologetically. Obviously she had never considered that he would be so intimidating in person, not when she had seen him in all of those romantic movies, uttering sweet nothings into the lead actress' ear.
"Well come on then, I ain't got all day," Grimmjow barked, shoving his hands into his pockets. The woman almost jumped at his tone, but then she apparently realized that this was the chance of a lifetime and smiled brightly.
The blunette resisted pushing the purple-haired woman away while she clung to his side, snapping a picture with her digital camera. He didn't bother smiling.
"Oh, thank you so much Mr. Jaegerjaques, I really lo-"
But Grimmjow was already walking away, leaving the woman behind, Ulquiorra following behind him.
"You shouldn't have done that. Now we are only tardier," the latter stated. Grimmjow just grunted in response, approaching the row of elevators. Good thing he had Ulquiorra with him, because he could remember what floor the office was on for shit. He couldn't even remember who he was supposed to meet with today; he just knew that they worked for Visored.
The ride up seemed like it took forever, with the damn thing stopping on every floor. Most of the people who got on had been in the building long enough to know not to stare at the famous actor, but some who got on just openly gaped at the man. Ten years ago, it would've pissed him off, but now it was as natural as breathing. It was life.
"This is our floor," Ulquiorra announced as the elevator lurched to a halt at the thirty-fourth floor. The little bell of the elevator dinged and the doors opened to reveal a scowling young man.
Grimmjow felt his breath hitch at the sight, but it wasn't until a second later that he realized why.
The orange-haired, surly, slender youth was indisputably beautiful. As in, though Grimmjow had lived in the mecca of beautiful people for the past ten years, this boy was the most stunning sight he had ever seen. Even with his brow furrowed and his eyes on the ground. He wondered what color they were.
Now, normally in this situation, Grimmjow would have just outright made it known that he was attracted to the man or woman, but for some reason he couldn't find his voice. Like he had literally been rendered speechless by the young man's good looks. It wasn't like him at all.
"Come now, Grimmjow," Ulquiorra placed a hand on the blunette's elbow and led him out of the elevator. Uncharacteristically, Grimmjow let himself by pulled out of the elevator the orange-head had just entered. The boy didn't even spare a glance in his direction, his eyes still trained on the floor. Grimmjow didn't even realize what was happening until the elevator doors closed and his eyes burned from the mental pain of not seeing him anymore.
Who was that?
It took about a minute for his brain to catch up with the rest of his body and before he knew it, he was entering the doorway of a rather luxurious office. There was a large desk in the middle, with a lean blonde man with a creepy grin reclining behind it.
"Ah, hello Grimmjow," said blonde man greeted, his grin growing even wider. "We've been waiting on you. I had to sit in on casting today just to alleviate my boredom, you know."
Grimmjow shook his head, as if that would clear it from the thoughts of the beautiful orange-haired boy. It didn't work, especially as his eyes raked over the man's desk, seeing on it the very visage that had shaken him to his core. God, he was getting hard just looking at the boy's picture.
But why would it be there? Well, there was only reason that would make sense. The kid was an actor, that was his head shot, and he had been rejected, hence the murderous look that had been on his face.
A feral smile crossed Grimmjow's face as he looked from the man's desk back to the man himself, who was giving him an amused look. Ulquiorra cleared his throat behind the actor, obviously wanting him to say something. It was weird that he was just standing there, but what they didn't know was that a delicious compromise was brewing in his mind.
Grimmjow couldn't believe his luck.
"Look, I'm just gonna cut to the chase, yeah?" he said, his smile reducing to a small smirk. "You want me to be in your movie, right?"
"Well, that was the gist of meeting today," the blonde man said, the grin falling from his face. He knew he was not going to like whatever came out of the blunette's mouth next.
"I got one condition," Grimmjow held up a finger to exacerbate his point. Crossing the room, his stance predatory and his eyes gleaming with mirth, he laid that finger on the picture of the beautiful boy. "I want him."
And what Grimmjow wanted, he got.
A/N: Ah, Ichigo how can you just walk right by Grimmjow and not even notice him? Ahem. anyway, so this is my attempt at a light-hearted fic. I know I like just started "A God in an Alcove" but this idea actually came to me while I was in one of those half-asleep stages before I actually fell asleep and it just wouldn't leave me alone, you know? I hope it's not too out-there.
And writing Rangiku's blog was the most fun I've had writing in a long time. Expect to see more of that. ; )
Warnings: (This is for future and all chapters) Smut, naughty words, some violence, OOC, and name-dropping like crazy.
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach, Rag and Bone,Williams-Sonoma, Tom Ford, elit Vodka, Burberry, Chopin vodka, or Maybach.
Also, the title of this story, "Freeze Frame, Screen Kiss", comes from the lyrics of Bauhaus' song "She's in Parties", which I was listening to when I was drafting this chapter. Fits perfectly, huh? : )
Oh and at the beginning is an excerpt from the poem "Adela" by Aleister Crowley. Love that poem so much!
Um, so please review?