(Monday 27, April)
"Breaking news! Popstar Kiro has just announced that he will be making an album with rising superstar, Aria, who is also a figure skating champion, having won...." The news anchor went on about the collab and the public's reactions to it. The TV switched to clips of fans reacting with excitement and joy about the upcoming album and Aria felt a weight be lifted off her shoulders. She'd never been so relieved about someone else's reaction before. While she'd learned not to let people's opinions about her bother her in general, it was a little different when it came to fans. They were what allowed her to achieve such success and to cast them aside and pretend they don't matter, would be unjust.
Aria switched off the TV and turned back to her computer, seeing that her upload was almost complete. She heard her stomach grow and, faster then the human eye could comprehend, was suddenly standing in front of her fridge, scouring its contexts. She decided the bucket of ice cream would do for now and took it out, removing the lid and grabbing a spoon. Bowls were for wusses. She heard her laptop beep and was back in front it a second later. The upload had been completed. She sat on her bed, crossed leg and started going through all the information she'd just been sent.
Files about suspicious people and strange events and occurrences flashed before her eyes. She read them as she went before sorting them into that strange database labelled JF she had open. One particular file flashed before her eyes, and she singled it out. It was about the warehouse explosion Tessa had been in. The girl had finally filed her report. Aria eyes skimmed it over when they spotted one line that was highlighted. "She may have protected you, but she won't be able to save 'them'. The Queen will return." Aria frowned. The Queen? Them? She opened up a new file and started searching the database for references and discovered there had been similar instances, like Tessa's, that had occurred over the last month. Aria frowned and picked up her phone, calling Tessa. She didn't answer so Aria left her a voice message instead.
"A movie deal?!" Aria exclaimed, and Bella nodded. "But I'm not an actor." She said, and Bella shrugged.
"Doesn't matter. Director Young was impressed with how you'd help Kiro out on the set the other day." Aria blinked and thought back to last Thursday. She'd gone to Kiro's movie set as she'd promised and helped the man practice his lines. She'd gotten really into it, and they'd ended up having a blast. She hadn't realised Director Young had been watching the whole thing.
"I don't understand. What movie do they want us to be apart of?" Kiro asked from his place next Aria at the table. They were having another writing session, actually coming up with a few good ideas and lyrics this time, before Aria was scheduled to leave Loveland for a skating contest. She was to be the opening act and present the trophy to the winners at the end.
"It's an upcoming teen flick movie," Bella said, though that didn't really explain their roles. Aria and Kiro blinked at her with confusion. Savin sighed.
"They want you two to play the background couple the leads look up to." Savin clarified. Aria blinked. They wanted her to pretend to be Kiro's girlfriend on screen? She looked at Kiro and saw he had an equally perplexed look on his face. They then both looked back at their agents.
"What?" They said at the same time, and Bella groaned with frustration.
"You're being asked to play a couple on TV! How is that so hard to understand?!" She yelled, and Aria leaned back, shocked. But she couldn't help it. This news was shocking to her. One, she'd never been into drama, so she'd never really done any acting before and two, she hardly knew Kiro and now had to act like she was in love with him. Glancing at Kiro out of the corner of her eye, she saw he was smiling at her with brightness, having probably been in situations like this frequently. Aria flushed and looked away.
"Sounds fine to me," Kiro said, and Aria looked at him. He was still looking at her. "But I'll only do it if Miss Chips here is willing." He continued, and Aria blinked at him. He was letting her decided. Aria glanced down at her hands. It wasn't like they were playing the leads of the movie. They'd only be a background couple with minimal screen time. Aria closed her eyes. No big deal. She looked back up at Kiro and smiled at him.
"I'm willing." She said, and Kiro beamed at her.
"Great. I'll tell Director Young, and she'll send over copies of the script for you to read." Bella said, grabbing out her phone and standing up. "You two continued with the idea making. This album has to be perfect." She said before leaving the room with Savin in toe. Once they were gone, Kiro turned to her.
"Are you sure about being part of the movie? I know you were nervous about our collaboration being made public, and this movie deal could spice things up." He asked, genuine concern lacing his voice, and Aria smiled at him.
"Of course. Besides, it's not like we are playing the leads." She said, and Kiro nodded. It was then she realised how close they were sitting together. There were only a few centimetres between their chairs despite the fact they had the whole table to spread out. Aria ducked her head to hide her smile as she turned back to coming up with the melody as Kiro worked on the lyrics. After a while, they'd finally had put together a good sounding song. "These lyrics are amazing! When did you come up with them?" Aria asked Kiro, who blushed.
"Ah...the other day...at your rehearsal." He muttered, and Aria blinked at him. "You looked so beautiful skating, I just couldn't help myself." He admitted. So the lyrics describing a beautiful woman were about her? Aria flushed and lowered her head even more.
"Oh." She muttered, and Kiro hummed. "That's sweet." She said and noticed Kiro smiling at her from the corner of her eye, cheeks still red. Aria couldn't bring herself to make eye contact with him. Perhaps pretending to like him and be his girlfriend wouldn't be as hard as she'd thought.
"Here's the script," Bella said, throwing Aria a large clump of paper stapled together. Aria caught it with grace before setting it down on the table in front of her. "And Savin and I looked over the song, and it sounds pretty good. Come up with a few more, and we can start recording." She said, taking her place at the table. Aria nodded before swallowing the mouthful of fried rice she'd been eating.
"Okie Dokie!" She said before scooping up more fried rice.
"This 'album' and 'movie deal' better not interfere with her rehearsals." Mr Fain interjected, and Aria saw Bella roll her eyes. "She has to be at her best for the next Olympics."
"Which is still two years away," Bella said, and Mr Fain glared at her. "She is allowed to branch out and explore new things." Mr Fain huffed, sticking his nose in the air.
"Aria is a prodigy. Her focus should be on figure skating and nothing else." He countered, and Aria shook her head, tuning out the following argument between her agent and coach. Those two had never liked each other. Instead, she picked up her reading glasses and turned to the script, beginning to look through it, finding her scenes were highlighted to save time. It turned out she and Kiro would also be the best friends to the female lead, helping her throughout the movie. She was at the end of the script when her phone buzzed.
Have you read the script? - K
Just about to finish it! Why? - A
You'll see when you finish it - K
Aria frowned but continued with the reading. She soon found what Kiro was referencing. Towards the end of the movie, she and Kiro's characters get into a fight and soon makeup, which is seen by the lead female, allowing her to realise how silly she is being. The problem with the scene was there was a kiss scene. Between her and Kiro.
We get to kiss! - A
If it freaks you out, I'll talk to the director and have them change it? - K
Aria could just hear the worry in Kiro's text and couldn't stop her smile. He really was super sweet to take her feelings into consideration. He'd been doing that ever since that day in the alley, Aria realised.
Thanks but I'll be fine. I'm a big girl! - A
I'm super excited to do this movie with you, Miss Chips - K
Same, Super Kiro! - A
Too bad filming doesn't start until I get back T_T - A
We should do a video chat! - K
Okie Dokie - A
Yay! I'm so excited about it - K
Aria smiled done at her phone when a big bang started her. "I'm sick and tired of you controlling everything Aria does!" Mr Fain yelled, and Bella stood up.
"I'm her agent, it's kind of my job! Like how it's supposed to be your job to sit down and not ask questions!" Bella yelled back, and Aria sighed. They were still going at it. She had eye contact with Kenny, who was standing off to the side, looking ready to murder someone, and they both rolled their eyes. She then looked back down at her script. She was really going to act like Kiro's girlfriend and kiss him. Aria flushed at the thought before groaning and hitting her head on the table. What had she got herself into?
Kiro set down his phone, a smile on his face. He didn't expect Aria to agree to the movie kiss, but she had, causing him to blush. Kiro sighed dreamily at the thought, turning back to watching a video of Aria preforming at the last Olympics. She was even more graceful than at her rehearsal, with her costume adding to her appeal. Suddenly, his computer beeped, and the video stopped.
Kiro opened up the alert and found that the hacker he'd been tracking was suddenly active again. He followed the hacker through their code until he came to a black blank screen asking him to import in a code. After a few seconds of no activity, the screen faded and any trace of the hacker disappeared. His screen returned to Aria's performance, and Kiro frowned. He then opened up a new screen and took down what happened.
Aria's phone started ringing, and Aria shot up from her place underneath her desk where she was trying to reach the candy she'd dropped. She eyed her phone from across the room and started muttering some dramatic music. She jumped her desk and barrel-rolled across the floor before flipping onto her bed and grabbing her phone, answering the call. "This is Agen-Woah!" Her sentence was cut off as she fell off her bed, landing on the ground with a groaned.
"Ari?" Tessa's voice rang from the speaker and Aria groaned. A few seconds later, Tessa sighed. "You were trying to look like a spy again, went you?" She asked, and Aria groaned in response once again. She sat up and looked around the room to see everything was blurry. Frowning, Aria hit the side of her head once, and her vision cleared. She then grabbed her phone and jumped back on the bed.
"What's up, Tessa?" She asked, and Tessa sighed.
"You left me a message about some information I needed to hear?" She asked, and Aria smiled, grabbing her computer and transferring the phone to an ear-piece.
"Sure did." She said, turning on her computer. Once it was loaded, she opened up the file she'd created that morning. "It's about that Queen figure you mention in your report."
"You've already read it?" Tessa asked.
"Duh," Aria said before scrolling through the file. "So, it turns out there have been a few incidents across the world where people were 'sacrificing' themselves in the name of some Queen. The police all wrote it off as wack jobs declaring themselves to the Queen of England. However, your incident it the first one to involve evolvers."
"Yep. Every other incident just involved innocent and regular civilians. The people who killed themselves, all dressed in black suits and funky shades, seemed to be looking for something but there isn't any evidence they found it." Tessa hummed on the other side of the phone.
"Yeah." Aria closed the file and opened up another one. "I did some more detailed searches on Tony and Gabby McHens as requested."
"And what did you find?"
"Turns out, those skeletons in the closet are a lot worse than dropped threat and assault charges." Aria sighed. "They were involved in a bank robbery a few years ago that resulted in the death of three people, one of who was their son, Gray. His autopsy revealed he died from having a vine literally grow in his chest and wrap around his heart, bursting it."
"Ew," Tessa said, and Aria nodded in agreement. The autopsy photos weren't pretty. "So are you thinking one of McHens was an evolver?"
"No. They'd been victims of the bank robbery and the only two people to escape alive. The person who robbed the bank was shot by the police on sight. He didn't die though, however, the McHens decided not to press charges against the man."
"Strange, considering he killed their son." Aria hummed in agreement. "Alright, send it all over to me, and I give it a look over, see if any of it is connected."
"Do you think it's them?" Aria asked, and she heard Tessa sigh.
"Maybe." After that, their conversation turned to something more pleasant before they finally said goodnight. Aria looked out the window for a moment, watching the lights of Loveland help the stars light up the sky. The Queen...who was she? Aria turned away and closed her eyes. Something in her gut told her she wasn't going to like the answer...