Pairing: Karen Kasumi and Aoki Seichiirou
Theme: # 7 Superstar
Note: Rough draft.
Disclaimer: Copyright of CLAMP and Kadokawa Shoten Publishing.
Superstar (Karen and Aoki [X])
He stands uneasily, shifting his weight left to right. From time to time, he peers anxiously at the door, as if he could somehow penetrate the smoked glass and see inside. He checks his watch again (he has come too early) and adjusts his tie.
The door crashes open. He looks up to see a drunken couple stumble across the threshold. The woman laughs, the man grunts as he hangs onto her shoulders. The neon gleams along the folds and curves of her brief satin negligee, the planes and creases of his dark blazer. Under the awning the couple lurches to a halt. The man kisses her roughly, his hand grips her breast. When the man pulls away, the woman grins.
But he notices her pain.
He turns away, cheeks red and eyes full. He scans the placards, the coyly-smiling women dim behind old plastic and old lights.
He finds her there in the center, her placard larger than the rest. The word “Superstar” curls and glitters across her calves. She too smiles knowingly as she lies there on the bed.
He has never seen that smile.
Superstar, he repeats to himself wonderingly. He pictures again the pain and contempt in the eyes of that woman now, he observes, retreating into the club.
“Do you like that picture?” she asks him. He didn’t hear her coming.
“I don’t know,” he replies truthfully. “I’m not really sure.”
“Strange, isn’t it?” she comments.
He hears the brittleness in her tone, though she speaks lightly.
“No,” he says earnestly. He wants to tell her that he doesn’t care; he neither pities nor condemns her.
“But?” she quips. He knows she hears the condition in his voice.
“Only,” he begins. He leans toward her and takes her hand in his. “I wish there were no irony there.”
She sighs, then smiles. “There isn’t.”
He shakes his head. “You’re wrong, Karen-san,” he says. “You just don’t know.”
She doesn’t respond. Instead she gently frees her hand, gestures to the street. “Shall we go? We’re running late; the others will be waiting.”
He nods. As he hails a taxi, he sees the way the streetlight glimmers through her lowered lashes and glistens along the smooth coils of her hair.
“Karen-san,” he says.
She looks at him questioningly.
“There,” he says, pointing to her, “there is no irony.”