Skip Beat! and its characters, locations, terms, etc, do not belong to me.
This takes place a little ahead of the current Skip Beat! timeline. Not very far ahead, but just enough so that Kyoko's current jobs were complete. This is my first attempt at writing a story with the more-natural sounding Japanese honorifics. Please feel free to correct me of my mistakes.
A fake date is all well and good, but when both sides want it to be something more, what will come of it?
1: Cannot be a "fake" date or a LoveMe assignment
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!)
3: There must be some sort of kissing (doesn't matter when)
4: You must incorporate a love rival into the story (we need drama/conflict! use any existing character you like, no matter how minor)
5: Must end with Kyoko/Ren!
"Tsuruga-san, this… isn't your first time, is it?"
"First time for what, Mogami-san?"
Mogami Kyoko studied the man who sat across from her, his long legs almost brushing hers in the small booth. She wasn't sure how things had ended up this way, but she knew that somehow her LoveME work was to blame.
That cursed day had started out innocently enough. Dark Moon had finished filming, her time as Setsuka Heel was over, and she was on the receiving end of more work than she could sort through on her own. Not only was the LoveME division busy, but job offers were slowly, but surely, trickling in for Kyoko.
People had begun to realize that the same 'Kyoko' played both the fiendish, frightening Hongo Mio and the alluring, dynamic Kitagawa Natsu. And those people had begun to talk. After the first season of Box "R", Kyoko was nearly begged to come back for another, and she had readily agreed. It was fun, after all, and she didn't want to think about what her 'Father' would say if she rejected a job.
But it was on one of those busy days, when she was stretched further than any person ought to be, that she made a move that threw both her world and the world of Tsuruga Ren upside down.
Thanks to Yashiro Yukihito's ever-scheming mind, Ren had managed to appear in the LoveME division's main room right when Kyoko was at her busiest point in the day. Amidst a storm of swirling papers, and muttered words, Ren spotted the pink uniform seated at a table.
"Mogami-san, is something wrong?" Kyoko had jumped slightly in her chair, trying to hold back a scream. When she had the courage to look up, she spotted her sempai leaning against the doorway, a concerned look gracing his features.
"No, Tsuruga-san, what would make you think that?" She turned back towards the table, aiming a glare at the scripts sitting in front of her.
"Maybe I'm just perceptive?" His attempt at getting a smile out of the girl didn't work. He sighed softly, and walked around to the other side of the table, pulling out a chair. "Would you like to tell me about it?"
Kyoko watched Ren seat himself in the chair, she nervously clasped and unclasped her hands together. It wasn't all that long ago that she had discovered feelings growing in her heart that she would rather ignore. And now it seemed like every move this man made was enough to undo the locks on her heart that she was trying so hard to keep safe.
"Well, Tsuruga-san, I received a request in to appear on Yappa Kimagure Rock." She waited, there was no spark of recognition in his eyes. It wouldn't have surprised her if he had pulled out his phone to look up the name. "It's… sort of a variety show, but they do a lot of different segments. I met the cast, Bridge Rock, when I first began doing LoveME work."
"Is there a problem with the assignment?" Ren knew, from his well-spent time studying Kyoko, that she was nervous. Not that he was surprised, ever since they had stayed together for weeks on end as the Heel siblings, she had seemed to distance herself from him. Not enough for anyone else to notice, but he could see it in the way she acted around him. The nervous fidgeting for example.
"No, it's just…" Kyoko slapped her head, resisting the urge to beat it on the table. "I'm such an idiot! I should have never accepted the role, I'm just a-"
"Mogami-san, why don't you just tell me what it is that you have to do?" Ren hid his smile, painting a stern expression on his face. Kyoko was always handled best if she thought the person she was speaking to was exasperated with her.
"I have to… go on a date."
Ren blinked slowly, keeping his immediate Kuon-esque response buried deep. "With whom?"
Kyoko's anger-sensing grudge hadn't made its appearance, but she thought she had seen something flash through Ren's eyes before he questioned her. Not wanting to invoke his wrath by drawing out the story, she poured out the details.
"With the h-hosts of Kimagure Rock. They want to try a new segment, called 'Stars on the Town', where they take celebrities out in public and treat them to a night out. I-I tried telling them that I can't really be called a celebrity yet, but they wouldn't listen to me, and then the Ishibashi onii-sans started planning what we would do for the show and-"
"Mogami-san, please calm down. You don't have to explain it all in one breath." Ren's pulse had returned to normal as he took in Kyoko's explanation. "So, you just have to go out and film a show, right? Why did you call it a date?"
Kyoko squirmed in her seat, looking down at the table again. "Well, they asked me what I normally did when I wasn't busy, and went around Tokyo with friends. The last time Moko-san and I went out, we ate ice cream, went window shopping, and then had dinner. So, Shinichi-san said we would get ice cream, then go shopping with Yuusei-san. And so Hikaru-san volunteered for-"
"The dinner portion of the show." Ren tried to keep his face neutral, but it was a hard task.
"Yes." Kyoko nodded vigorously, finally looking up to meet Ren's eyes. "The other Ishibashi onii-sans called it a date, and it's too late for me to ask that they change that part! How will I know where to sit, or how to act, or-"
"We've ate at restaurants together many times, Mogami-san. Can't you use those experiences as a guide?"
"H-how can I? Those weren't dates, Tsuruga-san." Kyoko's heart beat slightly faster at the thought. "That was just you and I… eating. Or Cain and Setsu, but their meals definitely can't be used."
Ren spotted the slight tinge of pink across Kyoko's face as she added the last part about Cain and Setsu. He fought back a smile at the recent memories. Cain had never really been on his best behavior, especially not around his overly-adoring sister. He let his voice drop just slightly, taking on a slightly darker tone.
"I didn't think you would back down from something just because you didn't know how to do it. You are a Heel, aren't you?"
Kyoko froze at Ren's serious tone, before she noticed the slight glint in his eyes. 'Tsuruga-san, I'm telling you my problem and you go and become Cain?' She tilted her head, recalling the slightly childish way of speaking she had given to the girl. "It's all your fault. If it weren't for you, I wouldn't be in this shape."
Ren stopped for a moment, Cain slipping away. "If what weren't for me?"
'DAMMIT, did Setsu say that OUTLOUD?' Kyoko fumbled for her words, shifting some papers around. "I-If Onii-chan hadn't of kept me so busy taking care of him-"
"What would you be doing, Setsu?" Cain stared across the table at her, propping is head in his hand. "You have better things to do than spend time with me?"
"I could be going on dates." Setsu pouted, folding her arms in front of her, tapping her foot under the table.
"And who would you date besides me?"
Setsu fell away at that question, despite Kyoko trying to keep her intact. The girl wouldn't have left Cain's side for anyone, especially not to date anyone. Her in-character logic was failing, so she was left with only one statement that could have been accepted from the younger Heel sibling.
"Fine. Let me practice on you, then, Ani."
Ren couldn't stop the smile breaking across his face. He had hoped the conversation would go exactly the way it had, but he couldn't stop himself from being pleased with the outcome. Kyoko had basically just declared that she would go on a date with Ren in order to practice for the Kimagure Rock show. Sure, she had done it as Setsu being egged on by Cain, but that still counted, right?
He leaned back, folding his arms. "I'd be pleased to help you out, Mogami-san. When would you like to go on this date?"
"W-what? But, I-" Kyoko fumbled for words, trying to keep anxiety from choking her. 'What did I just do? Did I really just ask my sempai out?' "I didn't mean, um that was, uh-"
Ren's phone rang, and he glanced at the caller ID. Smiling at the timing, he rose from his seat. "I'm afraid that's Yashiro-san looking for me, I need to get to an interview. Would you like me to call you later and set up the details?" Ignoring the dumb-struck look on Kyoko's face, Ren walked out of the room, closing the door behind him. He was safely out of the hallway when a tortured scream came from the LoveME room.
"AHHHGH, WHAT HAVE I DOOOOONE?"
My late entry to this challenge. And I'm following the rules, this fake date is only the beginning, believe me.