Maid 1, 2 and 3
Interiors, Kobayashi Household:
Hallway outside Tatsuya's Bedroom
Exteriors, Kobayashi Household:
[INT. DINNING ROOM – DUSK]
The Kobayashi family is seated around the long dinner table, eating silently. Ryuu and Ami are at opposite ends while Tatsuya and Sakura sit beside each other toward the middle of the table.
Sakura pushes her food around her plate, her face a mask betraying no emotion.
Tatsuya sees that his sister isn't eating and comments, "You should eat, Sakura-chan. It isn't healthy to skip meals."
Sakura turns her deadened eyes to his face. "I'm not hungry nii-san."
Neither Ryuu nor Ami take notice of the conversation, each absorbed in their own thoughts.
Tatsuya is unwilling to allow his sister to leave the table without having eaten properly. "Does your stomach hurt?"
Sakura shakes her head and turns her eyes back to her plate.
Tatsuya replies, "Well, then you must eat."
Sakura tells him simply, "I have no desire to."
Tatsuya glances quickly to each end of the table, looking to see whether or not their parents are paying them any mind, before leaning closer to Sakura. Hurriedly he whispers in her ear, "If you'll eat, just a bit, I'll let you sleep with me tonight." He stares at her earnestly.
Sakura's head snaps up. She eyes Tatsuya speculatively and seems to find his proposal agreeable. She gives a tiny nod and takes a piece of food into her mouth.
"Well? What do you think of it?" Lory's eyes were alight with the brightness of his barely contained glee. "Interesting, yes?"
"It seems very loose." Much to the President's displeasure Ren was unimpressed.
"It's meant to be that way," he told him. "It was developed specifically so that the actors would be forced to go their own way, to create the characters nearly from scratch. It is organic."
Ren tossed the script onto the coffee table that sat between himself and his employer. "I'd call it lazy." He glared at Lory. "Why don't you tell me the real reason you made me look at it?"
The Egyptian pharaoh shrugged and sighed dramatically. "Fine. If you want to jump in head first then so be it. I was going to try and cushion the blow..."
"Just tell me."
Lory pouted. "You're no fun today," he released a second overly dramatized exhale. "Well, alright then. This is more than a simple script. This is Mogami-san's next LoveMe job. She will take on the part of Kobayashi Sakura." He noted when Ren's hands balled into tight fists. "I wanted to give you fair warning that there are a number of talented, young, intelligent, good-looking-"
"Get on with it," Ren interrupted.
"- actors vying for the role of Tatsuya. However, I hold considerable clout with the director, he owes me a favor, and I have an idea in mind that would definitely keep our Kyoko-chan safe and secure." He put his bare feet on the table. "That is if you're willing to follow my plan."
He watched as his charge contemplated the possible outcomes of his decision. Of course Lory knew what he would say. There was only one answer.
"And what exactly is your plan?"
It was rather difficult for the President of LME to keep the grin off his face, but he managed. "I believe I know a pair of siblings who would perfectly fill these roles and add an entirely different dimension to the story line."
"No buts about it, this is the only way to ensure the security of Kyoko."
"The Heel's were meant to be a one time deal," Ren argued. "Just for my role as B.J. They were created for that purpose and that purpose only."
He didn't like the sly smile that came to the President's face. "That is true, but as Director Konoe is leading this project I have the feeling that he will be very enthusiastic about the idea of Cain taking on another role." He watched as the rueful expression of defeat crossed the face of his most valuable male talent. "Good. Now that's settled and I believe it is time to tell her of her newest assignment. Off you go!" He waved his hand. "You might want to bring the script with you."
"Me? Why? This is your doing, not mine!"
"I wouldn't say that. You didn't have to agree you know."
Ren refrained from giving a reply, choosing instead to stand, bow stiffly and stride from the room. It was an absurd notion and his mentor knew it. He'd been forced to accept this offer; there was no way in hell he'd allow her to act opposite anyone but himself in that sort of setting.
"Damn," he muttered quietly as entered the elevator.
Lory knew him far too well.
Kyoko was in the LoveMe dressing room; she'd just returned from a meeting with Sawara-san. He'd told her that someone would be presenting her with a new task within the hour and that she was to accept it without complaint.
She couldn't help but wonder what it was and why he felt it necessary to warn her to keep all objections to herself. It couldn't be any worse than the "dangerous" mission the President had sent her on only weeks ago. That had been the most frightening moment of her life, bar none. Even knowing what she did now, nothing could ever be as terrible as that had been.
Though time had passed since the incident she was still unable to reconcile the image of her most esteemed senpai with the frightening figure of Cain Heel. She knew the character better through her interactions with him as his sister, Setsuka, but he was still intimidating.
That was part of the problem. She kept forgetting that she was Setsu and consequently had lost character more times than she would like to admit. She couldn't keep up with Tsuruga-san's intense acting, he was too talented for a newbie like herself to even hope of being able to match him.
She did her best with Setsuka, when she was paying attention, but even then it wasn't enough. She just could not grasp the character. She wondered if a day would come when she would be capable of simply slipping into this different persona, no thinking or worrying required.
It wouldn't be so difficult if Setsu had a normal personality, but the girl's feelings were all centered on one person and one person only: Cain. Her beloved nii-san. The single most important person in her life. He was everything to her and she clung to him with a force stronger than the jaws of life. She was obsessed with her older brother and he was just as bad as she was.
They fed off one another, creating a nearly inappropriate relationship. Cain spoiled Setsu to pieces and she, in turn, grew more and more clingy. He thought it was cute and continued to spoil her. It was a never-ending cycle of alarming behavior that Kyoko could not force herself to accept.
"How does Tsuruga-san do it?" she wondered aloud, absentmindedly pulling one of her many handmade, lifelike dolls out into the open. "How? How? How!"
She jumped clear off her seat and hit the floor.
"Mogami-san?" Ren entered the room fully, alarmed and worried that she'd hurt herself.
Kyoko scrambled up, turned to face him and hid the doll behind her back before he got to her. "I'm fine!" she exclaimed loudly. "Absolutely fine! Really! I was just surprised is all!"
"I'm sorry, Mogami-san. I did knock..."
"Oh, did you? I'm so sorry, Tsuruga-san! I wasn't paying attention. I was just thinking and concentrating so I didn't notice. I'm sorry!"
He held up his hands. "It's alright, Mogami-san. I'm sorry I startled you." She opened her mouth to respond, with a denial of his wrong-doing no doubt, but he spoke as if he hadn't noticed her intent. "I was sent by the President. He wanted me to give you this," he placed the script on the table. "It's your next LoveMe job."
"Oh! Thank you, Tsuruga-san! You didn't have to do that you know. I'm sure Sawara-san would have had someone less busy give it to me. Your schedule is always so full, I can't believe you have time to come all the way down here for something like this. Speaking of time," she looked at him suspiciously. "Did you eat today? And I'm not talking about convenience store food either. I mean an actual meal."
"To be honest I have not eaten much." He watched as her mouth dropped open in horror. "There simply wasn't time today."
"That isn't alright at all!" she shirked. "Tsuruga-san you have to eat proper meals! It's important! I can't let you go all day without good food. How have you survived this long? What was Yashiro-san thinking?" She shook her head. "No. No, I can't trust either of you."
A slight smile crossed his face. "Well," he wasn't sure if this was the best plan, but it was better than telling her about the details of newest job with the possibility of witnesses. "You could always come home with me. I'm done for the day and the President told me that you were as well."
She hesitated. Kyoko had never been entirely comfortable being alone in his apartment with him; not because she thought he would try anything, but because she didn't feel she was worthy of the privilege. However, she was able to disband her feelings of unsuitableness in light of the fact that this was for his health.
"Alright, but only because you're sure to get sick again if you don't eat properly."
After a stop at the grocery store, where Kyoko explained at length that just because something cost more didn't mean it was better, they took the elevator to Ren's apartment.
She immediately got to work in the kitchen, waving away his offers of help and telling him to relax instead.
"You do a lot more work than I do, Tsuruga-san. You had better just sit for a while."
She moved around the kitchen, careful not to knock anything over as she did; she feared creating a scene reminiscent of the Dark Moon role play incident. Her heart wouldn't be able to handle an appearance of the Emperor of the Night.
With a sigh of annoyance she thought of her senpai's playboy ways. He didn't have much of a sense of propriety when it came to the Japanese culture of modesty. She attributed his attitude to whatever time he'd spent overseas. She always made sure to remind him of the fact that his displays of affection were not appropriate in this country and that he had to tone down his show of emotions, lest he cause confusion about his intentions.
Whether or not her lectures were getting she couldn't be sure. It had been a while since he'd been improper with her and, when she took the time to think of it, she had never seen him act that way around other people.
"Hmm." She turned down the heat on the stove and stirred the liquid inside the pot. "He did say he wouldn't behave like that with just anyone..." She still didn't understand what he'd meant by it. Was he saying that she was one of the only people he would tease? That made the most sense to her. Certainly he hadn't meant that she was special in any other way; she wasn't talented or attractive enough for that.
With a decisive nod she turned off the stove top, prepared the bowls and brought the meal into the living room.
"It's something light," she told him as she set the dishes on the table. "Just oyako-donburi and a clear soup, so you had better eat all of it."
He nodded with an amused look on his face. "I will, but only if you promise to let me drive you home."
"But, Tsuruga-san! That isn't necessary! It isn't that far, it's not cold outside either. Walking won't do me harm and besides that, I'm positive that one of these days someone is going to spot us and the there will be all kinds of false, presumptuous rumors connecting you to me! It could ruin your career! I can't even begin to imagine the horror your fan-base would experience. Putting you together with a newbie actress like me! It would be shameful and-"
"Mogami-san!" Ren interrupted loudly, cutting short her tirade. "I am very disappointed in your assessment of that possible, though unlikely, situation." That wasn't entirely true. The idea that at some point a rumor might begin based on his repeated interactions with her was credible. However, her declaration that it would be a bad thing stung his pride and hurt his heart. "I suppose it may be possible for something of that nature to happen someday, but you ought to have realized that I've already considered it. Do you not trust me to have thought ahead?"
Her eyes winded in dismay. "I'm so SORRY Tsuruga-san!" she shouted. "Of course I trust you! I should have known that you, having been in the entertainment business for so much longer than I have and being so much more experienced than myself, would have-"
Once again, he interrupted her. "It's fine if you understand, but please try to think before you speak."
She clamped her mouth shut and nodded quickly.
Dinner passed in a relatively peaceful fashion. Kyoko regained her ability to speak when she noticed that Ren had taken to pushing his food around rather than eating it and after that the atmosphere lightened considerably.
As their meal came to a close, the memory of the reason that he'd invited Kyoko over in the first place came to Ren.
"Mogami-san, I must discuss something with you. It's about that script I gave you earlier, your next LoveMe assignment."
"Oh? What about it?" She looked to him with innocent curiosity sparkling in her golden eyes.
He was loathe to tell her. She was sure to have a meltdown the moment she understood what she was being told to do; that was simply the way she was. Her disposition was such that she took matters involving "common standards" of decency very seriously and, coupled with her refusal to acknowledge that what she thought of as normal was nearly as far from average as a person could get, made for an overly prim sense of properness.
In short Kyoko was a prude. The biggest prude he had ever come across and he was positive that she would throw a fit about being forced to take part in this drama.
Whatever she did though it was only right for him to warn her.
With a deep breath he began to explain. "It's for a late-night drama. You're to play the part of the younger sister."
She cocked her head to the side in confusion. "Late-night? But, the only kinds of dramas on then are..." He watched her face scrunch in concentration. "...for adults, right? They're on late so that younger people are less likely to watch them."
"That's right. It is a very grown-up story line."
A look of alarm was beginning to show itself. "Grown-up? Grown-up how? What do you mean?" she asked quickly.
"It's called The Twist," he told her. "And it is about the Kobayashi's, a dysfunctional family, and their lives. The parents share a loveless marriage and hold no affection for their two children, a son and a daughter," he eyed her. "The son, Tatsuya, is of age and is a successful photographer, but stays at home to be with his sister, Sakura. They are very...close."
"Close?" she repeated faintly, eyes widening. "Close like...?"
He nodded curtly. "Yes, close like the Heel's."
"Tsuruga-san!" she exclaimed suddenly. "Tsuruga-san, I can't do it. I already know that I can't. I'm not even able to be Setsu when I'm supposed to and I could never, ever, ever act that way around someone I don't know at all! I have a hard enough time as it is!"
She was panicking, the way he'd known she would. At least he could put one fear to rest, though it was likely that a whole new set would crop up immediately.
"You needn't worry about acting with someone you don't know."
Her eyes snapped to his face. "Really? You know who's going to be Tatsuya?"
"Intimately," he grumbled darkly.
"Who? Who is it? I need to know!"