Skip-Beat: The Morning After

That Mischievous Heartbeat

"Setsu?"

Ren's voice sounded shocked, bewildered even. But as soon as his eyes landed on Kyoko, they softened, his relief overpowering her disobedience. She was in her usual Setsu get up, leather miniskirt and top along with black high-heeled boots. Her wig was unusually messy though, scattered knots here and there.

Kyoko blinked, her iridescent blue contacts hiding utter surprise. No one could blame her. Running into Mr. rotten chicken egg, Sho, and Mr….Mr…..

Ren.

Note to self: I have to think of a nick name for Tsugura-san

Inner demons: ON IT, BOSS!

"Nii-san?" She repeated. "I got worried. So, I came to find you."

I hope my English sounds decent, Kyoko thought to herself wearily. Ren had said it was fine a few times before, but here in this situation and with the specific people present…she wanted to make a special effort.

She approached him slowly, finalizing her sentence while grabbing Cain's raised arm and fist. She softly pushed it down without a word.

"You are not fighting with my Nii-san are you?" she turned to Sho, her hand still on Cain's.

Sho was taken aback by her sudden change in language, a little impressed. Then he quickly dismissed the emotion, assuring himself his English was much, much better. (It wasn't.) Another thing that caught his eye was her attire. Tight jet black leather mini skirt and corset top, exposing developing curves.

My type of woman, he grinned silently. And she apparently wasn't the man's girlfriend. Though her mixed signals were confusing, (calling him 'Nii-san' while holding unto his arm how a couple would,) she was still open ground.

"No, No," Sho defended. " I just wanted to see if I knew him." He looked at Cain and back at Setsu. "He doesn't have very good temper."

"That's probably because you did something to piss him off." Her blunt and emotionless answer stung. Sho brushed the light pinch off.

" Oh?" was the only word that he could articulate.

Inner demons: HERE, HE'S IN OUR GRASP!

Demon #1: I CAN HOLD HIM WHILE YOU PUNCH!

Demon #2: FORGET THAT! LET'S TAKE HIM HOSTAGE!

Demon#3: KILL THE CHICKEN EGG! KILL THE CHICKEN EGG! KILL HIM!

STOP! Kyoko snapped. If you guys can't control yourselves, then how can I?!

Their voices hushed.

Kyoko thought about giving Sho a simple farewell, then concluded he didn't need or deserve one. So, she simply tugged Ren away, leaving a confused and mischievously thoughtful idol star behind.

She really surprised Ren. He hadn't been able to move, or explain himself. He just stood there, watching her calmly (for Setsu) push Sho away, while he was a second away from punching him in the face.

Naturally, Ren was proud of her. Her self-control surpassing even his own.

Maybe she really is getting over him, He thought to himself silently.

The thought made him rejoice, but inside the feeling, there was a hint of regret. Regret for the cause of the night's event.

I accused her of having feelings for him… when it might not even be true.

Kuon/Cain: So? The turnout was pretty good, if you ask me.

I almost punched Sho…possibly killed him.

He mentally thumped himself.

On the other side of the coin though, maybe she just is that good of an actress, that she can hide her emotions so well.

Kuon: why do you torture yourself? Just say that she moved passed that ass wipe and make a move.

Ren: I don't deserve her. I don't deserve her kindness or love. Besides, she is still handicapped when it came to love.

Kuon: BS! If you don't take her, I will. I miss Kyoko-chan. I miss that naïve, sweet little girl. Don't you remember those times anymore? Have you already forgotten how she makes you—us- feel?

Ren: No. of course I haven't.

Breathe in. breathe out. Walk. Breathe in. breathe out. Walk.

Kyoko focused her whole self in doing that. To simply carry along, leaving Sho behind….alive.

Do not break character. Do NOT.

" I knew Nii-san would find trouble." She said a few steps after leaving the convenient store.

The night had gotten cooler, the sky wiped from its sparking diamonds, replaced by an inky abyss. The wind howled through the city, making Setsu shiver.

Cain looked down at her before removing his sweater.

"Am I really that predictable?" He asked.

She leaned into it, his sweet scent wrapping her into an embrace. "I know you. I know your temper. It's not that you are predictable… I just know you."

Setsu looked up at the sky.

I wonder what would have happened if I would have stayed in the hotel.

Possible outcomes flashed through her mind, most ending in blood. Or jail.

She didn't regret going after him. The reason she gave him was sincere, she did think he would get into trouble, even if he was calmer than he had been an hour ago.

But her hidden reason: She-

RING RING! RING RING! RING RING!

Ren looked down at his right front pocket.

My phone? When did I even grab it?

He reached for it, checking the caller ID.

President Lory Takarada.

Uhhh….

" Hello?"

" Ren my boy! How are you? Actually tell me later, I need to talk to Kyoko."

Ren blinked. " What?"

" Aren't you with her? The Heel siblings are always together."

He looked down at her.

She walked next to him, seemingly uninterested on his phone call. She looked up at the sky, and Ren smiled at the faraway look on her face.

I wish she would always be this peaceful. Always with that distant, wondering gaze. That expression that reminds me too much of our past.

Kuon: THAT'S my Kyoko.

"Setsu," Kyoko looked up at him. "Phone call." He handed her the phone.

She grabbed the phone and pressed it to her ear, clearly perplexed.

" H-Hello?"

" Setsu- Chan? Put Kyoko-chan on the phone."

Put Kyoko-what? President Lory? What are you talking about?

Don't break character.

Her gaze drifted to Ren. He was looking down at her, his eyes a calm, luminescent sea green. The wind tousled his wavy hair, the kiss mark peeking through strands.

Kyoko swallowed the lump in her throat.

"She is not here at the moment."

"Tell her I say for her to be at LME tomorrow—er, today at 9 a.m."

She looked at her watch. 2 a.m. Great.

"Will pass on."

She shut the phone.

" Who was it?" asked Ren, putting the phone away.

" My boss. Sorry he called you. Probably couldn't reach my phone." A pang of guilt stabbed her heart as uneasiness flashed through his eyes.

Oops.

"I-I will get you a new one, Setsu."

"No that's ok -"

"I promise." She was going to continue protesting, but then she looked over at him. At his determined eyes.

At his pale skin which was losing more and more colour by the second.

Wait…that's not right.

Kyoko released Ren's jacket, tossing one side over his shoulder so they were both inside its warm leather comfort.

As soon as she tossed the jacket on him, a sigh of relief escaped. He gave it to her of courtesy and because she hardly has any clothing on, but Ren's grey shirt was nearly see-through and leather pants don't isolate heat very well. He was relieved she did that.

You would have thought she'd be too embarrassed after what happened in bed….

Kuon: (Chuckle) nice choice of diction, comrade. 'in bed.' (Another laugh)

Ren: huh?

Kuon: never mind.

"Just remember one thing, Nii-san."

He leaned closer to her, struggling not to be dizzied by her sweet blossom perfume.

"What is it?"

She looked up at him, gaze completely serious.

"You will always remember…" Setsu's hand touched his neck, the very place the kiss mark was. Ren shivered.

"This."

He nodded, speechless for a moment. Until he finally uttered: "I promise."

Kyoko blushed a little, the sudden realization of was she did hitting her across the face. In her mind, it was clear: that was Setsu. It was acting. I have no feelings except concern.

Never the less, no matter how much she suppressed it, her very heartbeat knew only one melody:

Ren...


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