Skip-Beat: The Morning After

Re-Enter: Reino The Beagle!

The President's office was as plain as ever; it made Kyoko uneasy. His desk was a simple office desk and a gloomy grey colour, matching the monotonous chairs floating around it. There was a love seat the the right, a crimson colour, and another opposite of it, a navy blue colour. The carpet, like the desk, was a shade of grey.
Kyoko looked over the scene, landing on him at last. He stood in the far right corner, talking to the band manager. They talked in whispers, casting nervous glances toward her. Within moments, the President smiled at her and motioned to one of the love seats.
"Kyoko-chan, please sit down. We will be there in a second." the band manager looked at her giving her a rigid bow.
She bowed back, smiling tightly before settling down on the red sofa.
Haruo sat next to her, shrugging and pursing his lips when she looked at him.
Kyoko intertwined her fingers.
Besides the President and the band manager, Hauro and her were the only ones there, and that made her anxious.
"What's going on?" she whispered over to him. He looked at her.
"I don't know...they told me to bring you up and that's it."
Kyoko nodded. "You think I'm in trouble?"
Hauro smiled. "Doubt it."
Whispers ricocheted across the room as they , a few minutes later, the President held up his hand and turned away. "I've heard enough. Your accusations are pointless."
Leaving the band manager dumbfounded, President Takarada trotted toward them. Seeing Kyoko's expression, he flashed her a warm smile. "You look rather uncomfortable, Kyoko-chan...why?"
She looked up at him, biting her tongue.
What could they have possibly been talking about so secretly? She didn't know. The emptiness of the room, the whispers, the warm and welcoming facades...they all made her uneasy.
"What am I here for?" she asked finally. "Who leaked the news?"
"That is the reason why you're here, actually." he said, kneeling to look at Kyoko in the eye. "You don't know who did it?"
Kyoko shook her head. "I didn't even know what was going on until I set foot in LME."
"Didn't anyone tell you? Not to come here?" interrupted the band manager.
Kyoko's mind instantly drifted to Ren's message: Don't come to LME.
"Tsuruga-san sent me a message, but I was already around the corner."
He lowered his head, disappointed.
"Let's not dwell on useless things, Ma." The President warned.
Manager Ma turned away.
"Kyoko-chan it was your mother." Lory said.
She looked up, gaze piercing through his. His honey eyes stared back at her.
"She even came and confessed herself."
My mother? what-why?
Kyoko's head spun with questions. The last time they had met was at the airport, and even though they did have a sort of brawl, Kyoko didn't think it she would step so out of line.
"How..How did she even know?" Kyoko asked, astonished.
He was about to respond, but an icy, way-too-familiar voice cut in. "I'd told you when we first saw each other here that I could make out your face amongst any crowd."
Kyoko turned around.
Saena smiled a wicked smile at her, sitting in the far left corner of the room. Kyoko hadn't even noticed the small waiting area there, probably since the front doors covered it once opened. Or maybe she had just been that distracted.
"You recognized me onstage?" She asked, standing up to face her mother. Saena held her stern gaze.
"Of course I did. You are my daughter, after all."
"So why? Why did you tell?" Kyoko asked.
Saena shrugged. "I told you you'd regret not coming with me to Kyoto."
The President looked at her. "Excuse me? did you say Kyoto?"
Kyoko's mother turned toward him with a cocky grin. "Yes. She is coming home with me."
Lory's gaze shifted to Kyoko. Instantly, she lowered her head.
"I didn't know about this." he said.
"There was no need for me to say anything- I had no intention of going."
Saena marched toward her daughter, hands on her hips. "Yes you did." she warned. "And you are."
"No!" Kyoko exclaimed, making everyone flinch. "I am not going to fix your financial debt. It's your problem!"
"How dare you defy me! Don't you have any manners?"
"I didn't have a mother to teach any to me!"
As soon as she said it, she saw Saena raise her arm. Kyoko flinched and fell back on the couch with the impact. Her arm pulsed with pain, and cheek burned. Her eyes watered as she looked up at her mother.
"Kyoko-sama!" Hauro dropped his clipboard and kneeled down next to her.
Kyoko heard the colossal double doors creak open, but she didn't turn around. She simply held her cheek and stared at her mother, astonished.
She looked over to the door. Ren and Yashiro stood there, just as surprised as she felt.
Ren hesitantly walked toward her.
" , I am going to have to ask you to leave; Leave LME and my people alone."
Saena turned toward Lory. "Under what authority?"
"Mine." He said. "If you don't, I will call the police."
Saena scoffed and looked at Kyoko. "I will be expecting you in Kyoto. Don't make me come back again." She stepped over them and began toward the door. She stopped mid step and turned back. "Next time I won't be so lenient. Take this as a warning."
Kyoko coughed. "I wouldn't expect you to be."
With a final glare, Saena stormed out of the room, leaving only the echo of a slamming door.
For that moment, everything was silent. Even the air outside seemed to hang. Only the measured breaths of everyone in the room were audible.
Ren kneeled dow next to her, quickly catching Hauro's gaze. He seemed equally concerned.
"Mo-Mogami-san?" he outstretched his hand toward her.
She inched away. "I'm fine." she said.
Hauro grabbed her arm, coaxing her up. She shook off his grip and stood by herself instead.
"Is that all?" she asked. "Can I leave?"
They looked at her.
Lory nodded. " scheduled a press conference with the band in a few hours-to clear things up."
"What am I going to say?" she asked.
Lory shrugged. "Just the truth. You did it to help Hana-chan."
Kyoko nodded, her neck rigid. "Okay. I will do that." she bowed. "Hauro-san?"
He stood up and bowed. "I will make sure she is there on time."
They turned away.
Ren stood up and grabbed her arm. "Hey."
She stopped walking, though her gaze remained forward.
"I thought you said the issues with your mother had been resolved."
Kyoko tensed under his grip.
"It's complicated… They were somewhat resolved." She said.
Ren dropped her arm, a sudden wave of anger flooding through him.
"I thought we were past this." He said.
Kyoko turned around, meeting his gaze. "Huh?"
"I thought we were past the point of keeping secrets."
"If I would have told you the truth, you would have tried to interfere—I don't need to be another burden on your back."
"That isn't for you to decide." Ren said. He held her gaze for another moment. His usual barrier was down, letting Kyoko see the pain and betrayal the small lie caused; but just as quickly as it flashed through his eyes, it disappeared, leaving behind a blank stare.
He smiled that wretched smile Kyoko hated. She flinched.
"Clear up all these problems soon." He said. "It's not good for LME."
"Ren." Lory warned. "Stop."
"Kyoko-sama," Hauro said, looking at her. "Let's go."
She nodded without hesitation.

The whole band was waiting for her at the conference, Hana included. Their eyes lit up as soon as she stepped backstage, and the air was filled with questions.
"Kyoko-chan!" Kanae exclaimed. "Where did you disappear to, huh?" She embraced her in a friendly hug.
Kyoko smiled. "Out of town-I had business out of town."
Kanae frowned. "Tell a soul next time! Okay?"
She nodded.
"You got us into quite a bit of trouble, rookie."
Kyoko turned around.
Hana stood there, with a very smug-looking Mioko by her side. Hana smiled.
"Hana-chan, I am sorry…" Kyoko said, bowing her head. "I honestly didn't expect this to happen."
"It's okay. We'd have to reveal the truth eventually anyway." Hana said.
"Would have been later if not for you, though." Mioko said. Hana cast her a dangerous look. "Watch it."
"No, she is right." Kyoko said, sinking into a chair. "I should have been more careful."
"Did you find out who told?" Kanae asked.
Kyoko thought about it for a moment.
She didn't want them knowing who it really was—she didn't want anyone knowing that. It wouldn't only be pathetic, but embarrassing as well.
"No. Not yet."
They all frowned.
"Kyoko, Hana! You're on."
The girls turned toward the stage simultaneously. Manager Ma was there, looking tired and preoccupied, but still urging them on. "Come on," he said. "It won't take too long."
Kyoko stood and Hana grabbed her arm. Kyoko looked at her.
"I still can't walk very well." Hana said.
Kyoko smiled. "Okay, just lean on me."
On the stage, was a long table. It was covered by an elegant white sheet, and name tags where positioned along it. There were only 4—Kyoko, Hana, Takarada Lory, Ma Ichiro.
Kyoko let out a nervous breath. She had never officially been at a press meeting-much less been the one being interviewed. It wasn't only that which made her antsy, but also the fact that they hadn't even gotten a straight story. She had been told to tell the truth, but what exactly was that? She did it for Hana-chan? that would lead to why. Kyoko didn't know if Hana even wanted people to know that.
I'll just let Hana-chan and the President do the talking...
They arrived at their seats, greeted by applause and the crowd's piercing glare. She was seated next to Hana.
"Just let me do the talking." she whispered.
Kyoko nodded. "That's what I was going to do anyway."
With a quick smile, Hana turned her attention to the noisy reporters.
"We will now start the conference." announced a glum looking man to their right.
Kyoko felt a knot form at the pit of her stomach as hands began to shoot up from the crowd.
The man pointed to a woman dressed in all black. She smiled with triumph as she smothered her skirt.
"This question is for Kyoko-san." she said. Kyoko looked at her.
"First off," The woman asked, "Is the rumor floating around true? It was you at the concert and not Hana-san?"
The truth...
"Yes, it is true."Kyoko responded. Snickers rouse through the crowd.
"Next question!" Yelled the man, who was pacing around behind them cautiously. He pointed to an older looking man toward the back.
"So It was you who Fuwa Sho kissed, Kyoko-san?" he yelled.
"Next question!"
And so the meeting dragged on with obvious questions, most directed to her. Most she couldn't dodge. But none were too hard to deal with, maybe only the ones surrounding Sho. For Hana, the questions where more basic. Why was she gone? Why didn't she announce it? She answered them truthfully, all while looking sophisticated and professional. Unlike Kyoko-who even though her front was calm, was flinching at every question shot at her on the inside. It went on for minutes and those minutes quickly transformed into hours, almost hitting their 2nd when the announcer finally announced the last question.
"This will be the last question," he said. The reporters protested, their hands shooting up.
He chose a familiar looking man, and Kyoko quickly made him out to be the reporter form the airport.
"This question is for Kyoko-san." he said.
Kyoko nodded, looking at him
He took a breath and positioned his notepad and pen on his lap.
"I've heard you have been cast in a new movie, 'Kiss of Veins,"' He said. Kyoko looked at him. She was about to respond, to tell him she hadn't accepted yet, when Hana squeezed her knee.
"Lory-sama says to say yes-he will explain the details later." she whispered. Kyoko leaned forward, her gaze meeting her boss's. He gave her a slight nod.
She turned back toward the reporter. "That's right." she said. Once again, the crowd arose with smirks and whispers, the reporters scribbling on their note pad and snapping pictures.
He reporter nodded. "And how does it feel to be co-starring with a rookie? does it make you nervous?"
She blinked, preplexed. "Rookie?"
The reporter nodded. "Yes, a novice actor; Reino from the band Vie Ghoul."
Kyoko felt a chill slither down her spine as soon as the he spoke the name. That name.
The-the-evil guy form...the beagles...what?
Kyoko felt her head begin to spin.
"Press conference over." Said the announcer. "Please exit to your right unless you are staying for the next conference. Thank you."
Why him? no, I am not starring in this movie. I will not work with him-even being near him makes me sick.
A single baby blue demon sat on her lap, away from prying eyes. "Not to mention the fact he took me hostage." it said. Kyoko nodded, mind still blurry.
"Kyoko-chan let's go." Said Hana.
"Why him?" she said, remaining in her seat.
Hana looked at her. "Why? you don't like him?"
Kyoko shook her head. "Not one bit."
"Then you really better get off stage."
Kyoko looked up at her, but she was looking straight ahead, to something behind her.
"It's been a while, Kyoko."
Kyoko felt her breath stop as she turned around and met a pair of mesmerizing violet eyes.

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