Skip-Beat: The Morning After

The Tornado

Tornadoes are the product of a thunderstorm. The constant clashing and ever-changing gusts of wind ultimately collide, creating a catastrophic extension, the beginning of an inevitable disaster. Then, once it begins to extend, there must be warm air and cold air. Then they begin to chase. With each revolution, the tunnel extends and extends until it becomes a vortex, sweeping everything in its path.

That was kinda what was happening.

Sho was the thunderstorm. Electrifying and wild, the base, the cause for everything. Ultimately, he was the reason everything had exploted. From his deceiving and tormenting of Kyoko, to his unintentionally possessive nature toward her.

Reino was the cold air. Frigid appearance, with his violet eyes and icy, silver hair. Unsympathetic and rude. However, nice on a hot day.

Ren was the hot air. Tanned-bronze skin and tousled black hair, a perfect mirror of his explosive personality. Warm and kind. Intoxicating. And even a breeze is desired on a warm summer day.

And everyone else...well, they were the town.

Kyoko and Reino stared at each other, aware that all gazes where on them. It was a kiss, that's all it was. So it baffled Kyoko as to why she was so nervous. Her stomach was in knots, and the fact that she was hungry made it no better. Maybe because of who she was kissing. But it was acting. That's all. She could almost see Ren's dagger-like eyes piercing through her if he ever found out.

She flinched at the thought.

" Promise me you won't." Said Reino, reciting Yuuta's line.

Kyoko looked down at the script. "Yuuta-"

"PROMISE ME YOU WON'T KILL YOURSELF, AI."

Kyoko hesitated, as per the script. As he grabbed her wrist and pulled her to him, she gasped. And as their lips touched, she couldn't breathe.


Ren made his way back into the building and got into the elevator. He laid back nonchalantly as it slowly made its way back to the 18th floor. Maybe we should have dinner, he thought. He glanced down at his watch. 10:32 p.m.. Yeah, she'll be hungry. He smiled to himself. She's always hungry.

As the elevator finally arrived, Ren suddenly felt kind of nervous. Going to dinner. As in...a date? He dismissed the thought and stepped off.

As soon as he took a step, he felt a hand on his forearm.

"You!" Ren turned around, surprised. And he felt his face burn with anger as soon as he saw who it was.

"Sho Fuwa." He growled.

Sho nodded, obviously impressed. " Yeah." He said. "You know me?"

Ren shrugged out of his grasp and wordlessly began walking. Sho followed behind him.

*"I've seen you somewhere before." He said.

"I doubt that."

"No, I have. You and your kid sister."

Ren stopped.

Sho stepped in front of him. "You don't remember? You were about to punch me and then she came in, all "Nii-san, Nii-san" and totally wrapped you around her little finger."

Ren looked at the floor, trying to recall. Oh. That. It had been the night of the whole Setsu Cain incident...the night of the hickey. That spot on his neck burned, and he felt himself flood with colour. He had completely forgotten.

"Oh." Was the only thing he said before resuming toward room 1805.

"So you do remember!" Sho exclaimed, falling into stride next to him. " We have an unfinished conversation then, don't you think?" Ren rolled his eyes.

This pest.

"No."

Sho continued to look at him, eyes narrowed. As they turned into another hallway, he snapped his fingers. "I know!" he said, stepping in front of Ren.

Exasperated, Ren looked at him sternly. "Move."

"Tsuruga Ren!" Sho pointed an accusing finger at him.

There was a wave of silence.

Ren tried his best to cover his panic. Since it was the end of the day, most of his make-up and hair products were probably non-existing. Not to mention the only Cain-ish thing he had on where the hardcore leather, chained boots and somewhat ripped pants. He was wearing a normal shirt.

Crap.

"That's who you look like." Sho declared. "That asshole. He thinks he's all good. Psht! I'm so much hotter, and younger too." He waved a hand across his face for dramatic effects. Or at least Ren hoped it was for dramatic effect and not a serious gesture. "And then he goes hitting on my girl, too." Sho continued. "Like she'd ever even look at him-"

Ren slammed him against the wall. Utter shock and bewilderment crossed Sho's face. Then he grinned. "So it is you."

Ren stared at him, jaw clenched and hands in fists.

"I've thrown enough darts at your face to recognize you in an instance." he said, shaking off Ren's grasp.

He stayed silent.

"So while I have you here, Tsuruga Ren, let's get something clear." Sho turned toward him.

They locked gazes fiercely, both of them ready to let out a hit at any second. "You stay away from Kyoko."

" Like I would listen to you." Ren said with a smirk.

Sho's face grew more serious. " She's mine."


The kiss lasted a few good seconds. Had it been 5? maybe 10. At first, she just stood there, stunned. But then she remembered their characters are in love, after all. So, she forcefully melted into the kiss. Reino did most of the kissing, since she didn't have that much experience. Her first kiss had been...

Ren.

In Kyoto.

The memory nearly brought tears to her eyes. She missed that. She missed the calm Kyoto scenery and even that infamous river. She missed him. His arms, the way they held her. The way he carried her when she was hurt. His lips, his warm, enticing lips. She sighed against Reino before he finally let her go.

Instantly, the room filled with applause.

Writer Kim smiled. "You guys are amazing actors," she said, wiping a stray tear away. "I know the movie will be a hit."

Kyoko smiled awkwardly and bowed.

"You two are free to leave," Connor said. "The rest of the scene is supporting cast."

Her eyes landed on Manaka-chan. She was watching Reino, a smile on her face.

Oh.

"Thank you." Said Reino. He looked at Kyoko. "Let's go?"

She nodded.

As they headed toward the door, she looked down at her watch. 10:35 p.m.. Great. She repressed a groan as her stomach cramped. Reino looked over at her.

"You hungry?" He asked, opening the door. She shook her head quickly. No way she wanted to spend anymore time with this guy. Not after that. How he could be so calm she didn't know.

They stepped out of the room and began heading toward the then stopped.

"S-Sho?" She whispered. Her eyes were wide and pinned against the sight before them. Sho and Ren?

Ren and...Sho?

She could feel a migraine coming on.

"Heel?" Reino said rather calmly. " I didn't know you stuck around. Manaka-chan won't be out till later."

Ren regretted it. He hadn't meant for her to see. And judging by her horrified expression, him holding Sho by the collar was an un welcomed surprise.

"Kyoko." Sho smiled. "Would you mind getting this off me?" He gestured at Ren. "This is the second time this happens, and I do not like it."

Kyoko's eyes flared. She stomped over to them, wanting to butcher the smirk right of Shotaro's face. Which was what she promptly did. She grasped Ren's arm and removed it from Sho. " Woo, thanks. I though he was gonna-"

And then she slapped him. She hadn't initially meant to, but with him in front of her she panicked. And snapped.

"If Cain was gonna beat you up he probably had a reason to." She said and grabbed Ren's hand. "Let's go."


The elevator ride was awkward. Especially when Kyoko noticed she was still hold unto Ren's hand. They were standing quite a few feet away, so the handholding was rather strange. Clearing her throat, she let it go.

Ren looked down at his hand then at hers. " Why'd you let go?" He asked.

She flushed bright red. "I-uh."

He leaned over and grabbed it again wordlessly.

The elevator dinged as we arrived at the parking lot. She looked over at him. "Why the parking lot?" She asked.

Ren shrugged. "Fewer people." He looked at her. "And I can do this."

Kyoko let out a surprised yelp as he grabbed her by the waist and slammed his lips against hers. Unlike Reino, who's lips were rather rigid, his were soft, and loving. Just as she remembered. He pulled back to look at her. "You're not his." He said.

She blinked at him. "Hmm?" He kissed her on the forehead. "You're not."


They walked in silence. It wasn't an uncomfortable silence; it was serene,reassuring. It spoke much louder than any words.

It was late into the night by the time they left Akataki agency, and city life was scarce. Several patches of light where seen in occasional corners along with stray civilians.

Kyoko looked up at the scattered stars. What a day, she though. Full of surprises. She snuck a peek at Ren. He walked next to her, hands in his pockets and gaze straight ahead. She thought she saw a ghost of a smile playing on his lips.

"Do you want to have dinner before going home?"

Kyoko turned to look at him, examining his outfit. "You don't mind your outfit?" She asked.

Looking down at himself, he let out a groan. "Right."

There was a moment of silence.

" We can eat at Darumaya." She suggested.

Ren raised a tentative eyebrow. "You still live there, right?"

She nodded.

"Why?"

She thought about it for a moment. "I don't know." She shrugged. "It's comfortable. I like the people and it's one of the last familiar thing in my life now."

Ren nodded.

" So, then we go that way." Kyoko pointed north.

He nodded, then stopped. "Wait I thought it was that way." He said, pointing the opposite direction.

They looked at each other as she burst into laughter.

Ren watched her curiously. "What is it?" He asked.

Kyoko ignored him, laughing even harder. He couldn't help but giggle along.

"What is it?" He repeated.

She leaned on her knees, hiccuping. Then she looked up, finally settled.

"Nothing," she said. "It's just that we are never gonna get there because we both have a horrible sense of direction."

He snickered. " I guess that's true."

Suddenly, she got serious. "Now what?"

She stepped closer to the edge of the sidewalk, scanning for cabs. But there were none, the street was deserted apart from a few parked cars. She frowned.

Ren watched her. She must've had a long day, he thought. Her usually bright, empathetic eyes where shadowed and held a tired air. Her usual tame, auburn hair was tangled and tied in a messy bun. She wore simple jeans, along with a t-shirt. She looked around, most likely for a cab.

His eyes landed on her hair once again. Even though it was messy, he couldn't help but want to touch it. To wrap his fingers around it and pull her into a kiss. His eyes trailed down to her neck. To caress her skin...

Ren looked away.

"Ah, I don't think we'll catch a cab." She said.

He cleared his throat. "I don't either."

They stayed silent, thinking.

"We-we could go to my house?" He suggested.

Kyoko looked at him.

No. No way. Especially not after that kiss.

"Or you can go home, and I will find a ride." She said looking at her feet.

He raised a brow. "Like I would let you do that."

"I cannot accept that, Tsu-Ren." She whispered.

" It's late. It's not safe out here."

"But -" He grabbed her arm.

"Let's go, the building is around the corner."

"I can't-" Ren turned toward her. She looked at him. He then proceeded to scoop her up in his arms.

Kyoko shrieked. "No, Ren! This is kidnapping!"

He suppressed a smile. "Shhh"

"I can't spend the night at your-" He stopped walking and loosened his grip on her. She wrapped her arms around his neck and stopped talking. They gazed at each other.

"Stop protesting." He said. She nodded.

The building was only a few block away. It towered over a little market, the market alive with customers. Kyoko turned her face into his chest to avoid being seen as they stepped into the building.

"Will you run away if I let you down?" He asked her, stepping unto the elevator. She shook her head.

He let her down.

She kind of wished she would've said yes; she missed his arms almost immediately. Not to mention his cologne made her just want to melt. As they arrived in front of his apartment, Kyoko could feel herself begin to panic.

Alone with Ren.

FOR A NIGHT.

"You can use the guest room." He said, unlocking the door. She have a quick nod.

It's not like it was the first time in his apartment, or sleeping over for that matter. But last time was an accident. Plus, that had been before...before everything. Before she accepted her feelings. Back when she was oblivious and believed love would amount to nothing but despair. Not that she was 100% for it now either, but it couldn't be helped. Her heart wouldn't listen. And her body refused to too.

They took their shoes off before stepping in.

" I can cook something quickly," she said, setting down her phone on Ren's crystal dining table.

He nodded."I'll come help, just let me change."

She gave him a shy smile as he slipped into his room.

The apartment hadn't changed since last time she had been there. It was still meticulously organized and contained mostly white decor. However, there was enough colour to not go insane. She turned toward the living room, looking out the windowed wall. She could see Tokyo and it's busy streets now, especially on the other side of town. The stars and moon shone through the glass, casting a calming glow. She smiled silently. It was so nice. So peaceful. She sunk into the couch. So...cozy.

Ren stepped into his closet, throwing his stuff on the bed. He picked out a long shirt for Kyoko and some old sweat shorts. Hopefully that is okay. As he took off his own shirt and tossed on a more casual one, his heart skipped a beat.

She's here. Outside my room. Why did I do this.

He bit his lip and ran a hand through his hair. This is going to be a long night.

"Kyoko-chan," Ren called finally stepping into the living room. Looking around, he set her clothes on the table.

"Kyoko-chan?" He looked around. At first, he thought she may have left, or stepped into the guest room, but then he saw her. She was laying on the couch, obviously completely asleep.

He smiled. Her breathing was steady, rise and fall. He kneeled down in front her. She must've been tired, he thought. Really tired. Kyoko shifted, turning toward him. Ren took in her every feature, as she was only inches away. Her long eyelashes. Her smooth, milky skin. Her supple, rosy lips...

"Kyoko-Kyoko-chan..." He whispered, eyes still on her lips. She sighed.

Just one kiss. One peck. One touch...one caress.

"No." Ren jumped back. His heart sped against his chest as he looked away. I can't. I can't do that. Control, Ren. Control.

Kyoko shifted around again as she wrapped her arms around herself. He couldn't help but smile at her. Without thinking, he slid his arms under her and once again held her against him.

Might as well take her to bed, she'll be cold out here.

As quietly as he could, he creaked open the guest bedroom door and stepped inside. He layer her unto the colossal king bed.

She needs a blanket.

Looking around, he grabbed a red, feather blanket from the love seat and tossed it over her. She immediately grabbed it and snuggled her face against it.

"Good night," he whispered. Ren turned around and began walking out.

"R-Ren?" He turned back around.

"I'm sorry- I fell asleep." Kyoko sat up, stretching her arms.

"No, it's okay. Sleep, Kyoko-chan."

She shook her head. "I'll make dinner first," she said, tossing the blanket aside.

Ren shook his head and walked back to her. "No," he said. "You can make breakfast tomorrow, but sleep now."

Kyoko rubbed her eyes. "But-"

He kneeled in front of her. She looked down at him.

"You're tired. I don't want you to get sick." He set his hand on her shoulder. "As long as you're here, what you do doesn't matter. Just having you here is enough."

Kyoko watched him. His hair was curly from the Cain character, and it fell in near ringlets around his cheeks and chin. He wore no contacts anymore, so she guessed he took them off while he changed. His natural eyes were mesmerising. A sea of blue stormy enough to drown you with a simple look. Her eyes traveled down to his lips. She furrowed her brows and looked away.

"Ok." She said. "I'll go to sleep."

Ren nodded but stayed where he was, his arm still on her shoulder. They were at the edge of the bed, so his torso was pressed against her shins and knees, in a way that he had to look up a bit to see her. As she looked at him once again, the weight of his hand became heavier, warmer.

" Kyoko-chan?" He said.

She blinked at him. "Hmm?"

His eyes trailed her lips. Noticing this, she blushed. Ren lifted his hand from her shoulder and slid it to her cheek. She leaned against it and sighed.

He really wanted to kiss her. So badly. Ever since the parking lot, that one kiss was not enough. And honestly so did she. Reino's kiss had made her feel uncomfortable and guilty, but when Ren kissed her, it was as if all that was washed away. She wanted more.

" I'll-uh-see you tomorrow," he said. She nodded slowly, her gaze still on him. He bit the inside of his lip, hoping it would make him snap out of it. But it didn't. He was still watching her, and she was still watching him.

"R-Ren." She whispered.

"Hmm?" He said.

" I-" Kyoko lifted her hand, watching him carefully before placing it on his cheek. His own hand was still on her own cheek, and he dropped it to her knee. Ren closed his eyes at her touch, fighting against his very essence.

Kyoko-chan...

"I-" she repeated. But she couldn't find the right words. She didn't even know what she was saying or why she was saying it. She just wanted him to stay there with her. To not leave.

She bit her lip. "D-don't go." She whispered.

Ren looked into her eyes.

"I-" She ran her thumb along his jaw, her breathing hardening.

He groaned. "Kyoko-chan..."

" Just stay here." She said. "Don't leave. Don't leave anymore. "

Then he snapped. He grasped her face gently between his hands and kissed her. She sighed, instantly melting into the kiss. She wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him as close as she possibly could. Ren pushed her down unto the mattress. Her lips were soft and supple, and their slow, gentle kisses quickly grew more passionate, more urgent. It's as if all their built up anger, anxiety and fear was vanishing with each and every touch. He suddenly pulled back, both of their breathing the only thing audible. He was crouching over her, his arms on either side of her head. He fell next to her, facing the celling.

For a few moments, they just laid there, side by side as they thought over what happened. Kyoko turned to look at him. He stared straight ahead, his chest speedily rising and falling. She plopped herself up on one hand while facing him.

He looked up at her. "W-what is it?" She smiled and lowered herself closer. She could feel his breath on her neck and lips. She leaned closer and kissed him.

A rush of heat spread through her body as he wrapped his arms around her, pushing her against his chest. She straightened out, now on top of him. His arms rested on her lower back, making her shudder against him, even more as his tongue ran along the edge of her lips. She broke from the kiss and laid her forehead on his.

"Hmph." She groaned.

Ren chuckled lightly. "You're gonna be the death of me, Kyoko."

She smiled through jagged breaths. "You are too."



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