Skip-Beat: The Morning After

The Quarreling Trio

*cold read= the first, unrehearsed reading of a script.

*blocking check= how one actor is going to react to the other's actions and movements.

* Ai= Kyoko's character in Kiss of Veins

* Yuuta= Reino's character in Kiss of Veins.

All four of them walked in silence. Manaka-chan at one end, a childish smile on her face as she ran her hand along the wall.

Next to her was Ren.

His boots echoed with every step and his eyes were fixed ahead. All he could think was why he even came to begin with-it was out of character and would require explanations. It was an in-the-moment decision, he decided. I just really needed to see her. He snuck a look down beside him.

Kyoko walked silently, her arms hanging rigidly against her sides. With each step, her hand would brush against his, and after a few times, she stuffed it in her pocket. She didn't appreciate the constant flush the subtle touch brought to her face.

Finally, on the other end, was Reino. He walked with a clam stride,giving Kyoko an occasional side glance.

He leaned forward, looking into her eyes. He nudged her. " Are you okay?"

She looked at him, startled. "Y-yea."

She let out a sigh.

Being sandwiched in between the two was nerve wrecking. She wondered how it looked to Ren,when he saw them together. Then again, he too was with someone else. She leaned forward and glared at Manaka-chan.

She caught her gaze and smiled. Kyoko leaned back into place with annoyance.

"So, how do you two know each other?" Reino asked.

Kyoko and Ren looked at each other.

" I've visited his set." She said quickly.

Reino looked away, satisfied with the answer.

"There it is!" Manaka-chan pointed to a nearby door that read 1805.

"Finally." Reino said.

They began to open the door.

" Mogami-san." Ren said.

They all stopped and Kyoko turned toward him.

"Hmm?"

"Let's talk." He said.

They stayed silent.

" Oh, um...sure." She said, stepping aside.

Reino grabbed her arm and pulled her close. "Don't take too long. This Heel guy freaks me out." He told her. She nodded and pulled out of his grasp.

As the door closed, Manaka-chan leaned toward Reino.

"They look rather close," she said.

He nodded. " Too close."

Ren leaned against the wall, only the light click of the door audible.

Kyoko looked at her feet.

"Are you nervous?" He asked.

Her honey eyes flickered. "Yeah."

A subtle smile crossed his lips. "Why?"

She looked up at him. "Aren't you mad? That I'm with him? That I accepted to be in the movie?"

He shrugged. " I guess you have your reasons." Not that I agree, but... "Plus, I was with Manaka-chan, so we are even." He said.

She could feel her hands ball into fists. She wasn't going to lie-she was jealous. But then again, so was he. "Yeah, why is that?" She asked.

He hesitated. Telling her he just wanted to see her would seem weird.

"The Director asked me to tell you something." He said, remembering the conversation he had with him earlier.

"Oh? From 'Tragic Marker'? " She said, leaning against the wall next to him. " What is it?"

Ren scratched his head. "I don't know," he said. " He wants to talk to us both."

She nodded. "Okay. I'll drop by the set sometime this week."

Silence.

"Kyoko-"

"Ren-"

They looked at each other.

"You go first." He said.

Kyoko bit her lip.

She didn't really have much to say. Yet, at the same time had everything to say. She wanted to talk about everything that happened. Kyoto...the kiss. They had never formally addressed any of it, just stepped over it. Maybe he thought she wasn't ready. She is a Love Me member after all. But all those feelings, all that hate she felt for Sho was vanishing. It was growing, transforming into something even worse.

Into desire.

Into love.

For Ren.

For Kuon.

"Nothing." She said. "Never mind."

Ren raised his hand to her cheek.

She gasped, startled.

"What's bothering you?" He asked, slowly caressing her.

She leaned against his hand, wishing they could stay like that forever. And they she realized where they were.

She jumped back. "I'll uh, see you later. I need to see what's going on in there." She said, turning around.

" Kyoko-chan, wait-" Ren reached toward her.

" Tsuruga-san, I can't-" He grabbed her arm and pulled her to him.

She stood there, frozen as he embraced her. She could feel his chest against her back and his breath against her neck. It was almost intoxicating.

"Can't what? Face it? Kyoko-chan, that's what I tell myself everyday. That I can't. That I can't like you. That I can't do that to you. Not after all the pain you've gone through." He paused. " I shouldn't have left you. If I would have stayed you would have never come with Shotaro. I'm sorry." He hugged her tighter.

Kyoko could feel her eyes burning. "Tsuruga-san..."

"Don't call me that." He said. "Ren. Call me Ren. Or Kuon, I don't care. You can't call Shotaro 'Sho' and that Vie Ghoul guy ' Reino' and call me 'Tsuruga-san.' It's insulting."

Kyoko smiled. "Okay."

" I'll wait for you." He said. " I'll wait until you're done."

She gently shook her head. "Go change, Cain. "

" Kyoko-"

"Or Setsuka will be mad." She turned around and looked him in the eyes. After a few moments, he smiled.

"Will you go somewhere with me? Tommorow?"

She nodded.

"I'll see you then." He said, pushing off the wall." Be careful."

With a final glance, she went into room 1805.

All eyes turned to her.

Kyoko bowed. "I'm sorry I'm late." She said. "What is this about?"

A man in his mid to late 30s stood, along with a woman in about her 50s. "I am director Connor Yu," he said with a slight bow. " and this is writer Kim."

The woman gave Kyoko a motherly smile. "We haven't officially met." Continued Connor. "We are honoured to have you in our movie, Miss Kyoko."

Kyoko smiled. "It's my pleasure."

The director returned the smile before turning to address the rest of the room. Besides Kyoko, Reino, Manaka-chan and the main staff, there were about 7 other people in the room; they were most likely supporting roles.

"We called you guys here today for a quick *cold read and *blocking check for the first few scenes." Said Connor. "Writer Kim made the first scene.." He paused "...a bit difficult."

Kim responded with a lively shrug before speaking. " Just because I know all you talented actors can pull it off," she said. " but we need to check right away, and if it needs re-writing so I can do that as quickly as possible."

They all nodded.

"Let's begin with scene 1, Kyoko and Reino." Said Connor.

Kyoko and Reino stood, and walked to the front.

They had been given scripts, however those were just scene of them knew exactly what was going on. She bit her lip nervously as they were handed the official scripts:

SCENE 1

FLASH FOWARD TO ENDING OF MOVIE

Dark, rustic room. AI is seen looking around, looking for something. YUUTA appears in front of her. She gasps.

Ai: Yuuta

Yuuta: Why did you come?

(AI begins to cry)

Ai: I had to-I had to see you.

Yuuta: Ai, you can't keep coming here. They will find you. I cannot protect you from them anymore...(pause.) I think I'll be leaving soon.

Ai: what? Where? (She begins to panic)

Yuuta: where all ghosts go, Ai. To heaven. To hell. I don't know.

Ai: you can't leave me, Yuuta! (AI reaches toward him, her skin immediately burning and flooded with crimson veins. She groans at the pain)

Yuuta: I don't wanna hurt you anymore, Ai. You're human. I'm not. Everytime we try to touch you hurt. We can't keep doing this anymore.

Ai: Yuuta, please! I don't care about the pain. (She grabs his arm. Her hand instantly Begins to burn) at least I can feel you. (YUUTA pulls away)

Yuuta: go home, Ai. Please. (Ai lunges toward him and embraces him. She holds back a scream as her entire body begins to erupt with veins and pain. She sobs harder. YUUTA can help but stay.)

Ai: I love you! You can't leave.

Yuuta: Ai-

Ai: I'll kill myself, then.

(Silence)

Yuuta: you wouldn't.

Ai: then don't leave me.

(YUUTA pulls away, enraged.)

Yuuta: promise me you won't.

Ai: Yuuta,

Yuuta: PROMISE ME YOU WON'T KILL YOURSELF, AI.

(AI hesitates. YUUTA pulls her to him and kisses her. Her lips turn a combination of crimson and violet, and veins pert rude everywhere they touch. He pulls away.)

Yuuta: I would never forgive you if you did.

(YUUTA disappears. AI sinks to her knees and sobs quietly.)

Kyoko stared at the page, dumbfounded.

Wow.

"This sound pretty cool," Reino said. She nodded in agreement.

Kim smiled. "Thank you. I worked hard on it."


As Ren exited Akataki, he stopped.

" I wonder who's taking her home." He whispered.

The streets where near deserted, and the sun was almost completely set. The only lights where those of nearby businesses and the flickering street lamps.

He sighed.

" Why are they calling them put so late," he complained. " How very unprofessional." He turned on his heels and walked back into the building.


Sho slammed the door shut.

" I understand, okay? I'm leaving Akataki right now." He yelled into the phone. " I'll be there in ten minutes."

He hung up without another word.

It wasn't his fault he was made to stay so late. Will the upcoming albums, and the sudden boom in competition it's not like he had a choice anyway.

He walked passed the sea of rooms before finally reaching the elevator. Just as he pressed the button, his phone buzzed with a message alert.

He pulled it out with a childish groan.

Shoko Aki:

stop by room 1809 for a ballad pick up.

Sho laughed in spite of himself. "This woman, seriously. Ordering me around."

He stepped into the elevator and pressed the number 18 with an annoyed sigh.


"Okay, stop." Kim said.

Reino and Kyoko froze.

" Reino, be more assertive when you pull her to you. The kiss should make the audience empathetic." Said Connor.

The rest of the cast nodded.

Reino bowed. " I will try my best."

Kim smiled. " You're doing pretty good for a rookie!" She encouraged. " I'm impressed."

Kyoko's head spun. Since her eyes had landed on the word 'kiss' she couldn't focus. Kiss Reino? She had expected it, the title being 'Kiss of Veins' and all, but not so soon. Not...In front of so many eyes.

" Kyoko-chan?"

She looked up.

Reino was looking at her. "Ready?" He said.

She responded with a shaky sigh.

Connor raised his hands. " And, action!"

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