A/N: I do Not Own Skip Beat! This challenge was issued by Miaka Mouse on Franky House. I know others contributed to the rules, but I'll just name her. By the way, I totally didn't do Rule 4. Sorry folks. This also has absolutely nothing to do with the current plot in the manga. Just something fun on the side.
First Date Challenge Rules: Write a fic about Kyoko's first real date with Ren
Rule #1: Cannot be a "fake" date or a LoveMe assignment
Rule #2: Feelings must be established from at least one side, i.e. at least one of them has to have confessed to the other (doesn't need to have happened in the fic, but bonus points if you include it!)
Rule #3: There must be some sort of kissing (doesn't matter when)
Rule #4: You must incorporate a love rival into the story (we need drama/conflict! use any existing character you like, no matter how minor)
Rule #5: Must end with Kyoko/Ren!
Special thanks to RavingBabbit that helped me with this story.
It was 9:30 in the morning when Kyoko walked in to LME with music in her step. She was smiling and humming a little wordless tune completely improvised by her mood. It sweetened an otherwise bland day. She did have Box-R at four, which would probably last till the late evening.
"I've never heard you sing before, Kyoko-san and shouting with the other girls at karaoke doesn't count." Chiori said as she caught up to Kyoko with a cheery smile. Kyoko turned towards her as she continued, "I bet people would love you."
Kyoko blushed as she replied, "No, not at all. I can hum just fine, but I have this thing about butchering the words." A vein pounded in her curling fist as she recalled the days she squandered singing along to his pretentious LIES. They both walked towards the LoveMe room; however, Chiori was already in her shocking pick overalls.
"There is a job for us on the 5th floor," Chiori told her, "They want anyone available to help with the new auditions. I'm going up now, come up when you are dressed." Kyoko nodded and Chiori left.
Auditions were always filled with such starlets eager to realize their excited hopes and dreams. Unfortunately, Kanae and Kyoko helped out at one of last year's auditions and found no love from the well-groomed ladies with catty tongues. These ruthless ladies would gladly have stamped the LoveMe team's books with negative 100s until they glittered a malevolent pink to match the overalls.
"Kotonami Kanae,"a woman said causing both of the LoveMe girls to turn at the malicious, honeyed voice. "I heard you bullshitted your way into LME, but I never thought the person who stole my part would be caught in that tacky ensemble. It suits you."
Kanae expertly blended her smirk into a beatific smile. "And that's the difference between you and me. I always think. This industry is up to its ears in ditzy extras," she responded, her voice thick with animosity.
The woman just about busted as she stood there shivering from anger. "You stinking cunt," she finally managed.
"You will not insult her with that vulgar language," Mio snarled and stepped up to the woman, taking the offensive, "If you must be her rival, you must go through us." The woman felt the press of many tiny hands around her throat, choking her before Mio's cold stare.
"Come on, Kyoko. Let's go. We need to setup the stage for the next part." Kanae stated softly and took Kyoko's arm, breaking the jinx laid upon the woman. Kyoko grinned brighter than the sun showing that Kanae's intentional touch was everything she hoped it would be. Before they could get onto the stage another girl came rushing forward.
"Oh my God! You're Kyoko-chan from Dark Moon! I love your work. Oh, I hope so dearly to be able to work beside you. That's why I wanted to audition here at LME," the younger girl gushed over her, and Kyoko was trying hard not to burn up from her blush.
The nicer people came up to them, and a few people even asked for an autographs from both of the rising actresses, though lots of them asked about LoveMe. How did it work? Was it possible to join that group if they didn't make it? She was sure that they would ask such questions again today.
It was around 1pm before they were done and out of the 20 new auditions today, they got two new recruits for LME, a singer and a dancer. Despite Kyoko's admiration to a few, Chiori didn't think any of the auditioning actors showed any outstanding talent.
"It's been done," Chiori drawled. "There are people who can sing and dance."
"So what did you do for your audition?" Chiori suddenly asked, making Kyoko shifted her eyes awkwardly.
Alone in the LoveMe room, Kyoko laughed a little to herself at Chiori's pained expression after telling her what she did for her audition. Chiori left stating that she needed to put up posters in the hall. Kyoko started to unzip her overalls when the door opened just a few seconds later.
"Is it over?" Kanae whispered causing Kyoko to laugh.
"Yes, Moko-san, and no we didn't get anyone new in our department," she replied and eagerly wanted to rush over and hug her but refrained. Kanae was always so much more open and friendly when she didn't rush over.
"How's it going?" Kanae asked with a smile.
Kyoko bounced around cheerily. "Great," she exclaimed, "I was about to go out to lunch. Would you like to join me?"
"No. I'm dieting. I just finished a shoot, and I needed to come in. Thankfully, the auditions are done. When are we going to be out of this blasted group? It's been over a year now," Kanae griped.
"When we find love again," Kyoko whispered with a blush.
"Stop that!" Kanae yelled, "Don't let President Takarada see you like that. You'll leave me alone in this damn group in this horrible pink catastrophe! One thousand wash cycles, and it will never fade!" Kanae roughly yanked the suit off the hanger from her locker.
"I'm sorry?" Kyoko turned her nose up with faint color on her cheeks.
"Mo! I thought a humble girl like you learned her lesson with that emo punk, and then to fall for..." Kanae was cut off with a pair of waving hands.
"SSSHHHHHH. Don't say it. Someone might hear you. You pinky promised!" She quickly stepped over to the door and peeked out. There was no one in sight, and she skipped back into the room with a sense of relief.
Kanae sighed. In her infinite and largely unsolicited wisdom, she knew what a dangerous man like Tsuruga-san could do to a girl who believed pinky promises.
Yashiro urged Ren to head back to LME. He yet again had something "extremely urgent" to do there before his next appointment at two. Then again, Yashiro filed many of Tsuruga Ren 's failed relationships attempts under that category. Given the glacial rate at which Ren flirted with Kyoko, the two of them extremely urgently needed to do lunch.
Ren hadn't seen her in a few days anyway. Lunch with that complicated girl, to a relationship idiot like Ren, seemed like a wondrous hour instead of the aching display of thwarted romance that Yashiro recognized it to be.
"The next location shouldn't take us more than 10 minutes to get there so take your time eating lunch. I'll just get this little mess sorted out upstairs at my desk. I'll see you in a little bit. I'll call you if there are any changes," Yashiro said as he slunk away. He did sound damn convincing when he set Ren up.
Ren wasn't able to thank him what with the nefarious smile playing on his lips. He shook his head and looked around for scandalous whispers and blatant pointing. The trail warmed up as more passerby rubbed at their eyes. Heading over to the LoveMe room, he did run into a young lady in pink; however, it wasn't his vision in pink.
"Good afternoon, Amamiya-san," he said carefully, naturally. Chiori bowed respectfully, though her cheeks matched her get-up.
"Tsuruga-san. Good afternoon. Is there something I can help you with?" She smiled up at him. This man was devastatingly handsome.
"No. I was…" Could he ask for her? Is he allowed to do that? That wouldn't be admitting any type of feeling towards her, right? Besides it was common knowledge that they were friends. Just ask, Ren.
"I was wondering if you've seen Mogami-san," he finished, smiling like a gentleman.
Chiori's heart skipped a beat. "Ah, um, she… was going to lunch. I think she… is in the LoveMe Room getting her things," she stuttered uncontrollably.
"Thank you. I'll see you later, Amamiya-san." Ren walked passed and rounded the corner leaving behind a very weak kneed actress behind.
Ren saw the glimpse of the door closing but didn't see anyone enter or leave as the entrance came into view. He looked around the area and didn't see anyone. He straightened his suit jacket and tie then ran his fingers though his hair. Sometimes he wished he carried a mirror, even though he didn't trust the person staring back at him. He lifted his hand to knock then suddenly stopped.
"My God, you work in love dramas, Kyoko. How can you tell me with a straight face that he doesn't love you back?" The voice of her best friend came out clearly from the closed door.
"Yes, yes. You keep saying that, but where is your proof that he feels the same as I do?" Kyoko replied.
She is in love? With who? When did this happen? Ren's chest felt like it was imploding under the weight of this revelation.
"How about the way he looks at you? Or the way that he always seems to be around you on his free time. Or how he calls you almost every day on his private cell phone. Isn't that proof enough?" Kanae explained with eerie detail.
"No. He has always done that. He as always looked at me like that. Always called me to make sure I was doing well, and we work for the same agency; of course we will meet each other," Kyoko admitted.
Ren was floored. Was this guy really that obvious? Who was it? Did he know him? Works for the same agency… so then he might have met him before. Ren started to think about who he has seen her with recently. He couldn't think of anyone. What hurt worse was how blind she was to his own advances when even this guy was just as obvious. But maybe that was because she was in love with someone else. She didn't see Ren and his feelings.
"That's because he's been in love with you all that time, idiot," Kanae said in frustration. This was an old conversation, one that she was tried of having.
"No, that's not possible. He thought I was beneath him..." Kyoko insisted.
Ren did not like the idea of Kyoko beneath anyone, in every meaning of the word.
"And he was right. I'm under him, in so many ways," Kyoko continued.
He should be under you, six feet under. Ren thought angrily.
"Anyway, how could hate turn into love?" Kyoko asked rhetorically, but Kanae answered anyway.
"I don't know," Kane said sarcastically, "How did you manage your ridiculous change of heart?"
Kyoko stuttered in reply, "Th…that…that is totally different. Mine was from love to hate, and it's staying that way. I am lucky to regain the ability to love, but that doesn't mean I'll trust it. I'm so scared now that I can love, and I'm terrified I'll lose it again. I'll be fine just watching him from afar and keeping my heart safe."
"I never knew you had it in you to be a coward. You've made a fool of yourself plenty of times when it mattered," Kanae chided.
"Moko-san!" Kyoko breathed softly from the hurt.
"What if he finds someone else? He recently started a new romance movie. What if he falls for that actress he is going to be romancing? Then where's your love?" Kanae asked.
Ren slumped against the wall near the door. All the hopeful images he had of being with her started shifting through his head. Then it was replaced with a mystery man and his heart rebelled. No other man in the world could understand Kyoko like he did. Other men would go too fast and trample her in the process.
No, they wouldn't! Not if his years of martial arts could help it.
"Then I'll be happy for him," Kyoko said sadly, taking the fight out of Ren.
"You liar," Kanae snapped. "You'll be devastated, just like you were with that emo rocker. Can you really see someone else with him? Just tell him. You'll date him, and you won't have to suffer anymore, because he's taking forever to ask you out like a man!" She huffed.
Ren couldn't take this anymore. He had to leave before he started resenting Kotonami for shoving Kyoko to some boy. He had to get out of listening range of this conversation, to get away and nurse his wounds.
"Tsuruga-san would never date me."
"Besides, he is very busy with that new role and then he is promoting his recent film and then he has this new modeling contract and…"
"I'm going to overlook how thoroughly up-to-date you are on his professional life. He is very busy. I still can't believe that he was the killer." Kanae paused, "And you want to date that guy?"
Kyoko laughed, "That was a role. Tsuruga-san is very sweet, kind, generous…"
No, she is right. I'm a killer. I'm not a good person.
"Mo! Don't start singing his praises, please. I've heard you sing. You paint that man to be perfect. No one is that perfect," Kanae stated.
"You're right. He's not," Kyoko's voice grew soft, "He actually has a quick temper and can't take care of himself at all. He can be childish and stubborn. He actually seems to be kind of moody too, one moment he will be calm and collected, the next he is angry and then he is happy." She laughed, and Ren couldn't help but smile to himself. How would she feel knowing that she causes him to lose control of his feelings like that?
It really is all your fault that I can't keep Kuon in check, Kyoko.
"I'm sure there are other things. Things I probably won't find out about but I still…" Kyoko's voice dropped, and Ren couldn't tell if she was whispering or just stopped mid-sentence.
"I'm telling you, you're making things more difficult than it really is," Kane started, and Ren couldn't agree more with Kotonami. What a good friend, to guide Kyoko on matters of the heart. Kanae's voice sounded louder, closer to the door. Ren straightened up ready to leave.
"But I still fell in love with Tsuruga-san. He is untouchable. I'm such an idiot," Kyoko sighed audibly. The man behind the door smiled to himself as he walked down the hall.
Kanae sighed and patted the top of Kyoko's head. "Think of it this way, at least you can talk to him. Most women can't even get near him, but you can since you're his friend."
Kyoko smiled up at Kanae and her words left her feeling warm. Even if it was a small comfort like the Corn stone, it was the only thing she cherished, his friendship.