When you are married to an actor, one gets used to rehearsal scenes. Iwaki Kyousuke never minded rehearsing with his better half before, but he refused to rehearse while using props. There are things he was not willing to do, especially to his body, even for the love of his life.
"No, I won't do it."
Katou Youji waved the script and set it on the bed. It was very dog-eared. The booklet had certainly seen a lot of action.
"But I need your help..."
That tone, that voice, the complete defeat in it almost melted Iwaki's heart.
"You will improvise something," Iwaki said, putting his business suit in the usual place. He was very busy with the first two years of the acting agency, "and you will land on your feet as always."
"Please," Katou insisted, kneeling on the floor in supplication.
"There are certain things I won't do," Iwaki was making every possible effort to avert his eyes from the prostrated figure in the floor. "You want to act with a woman; you must rehearse with a woman!"
"I'll make a mess," Katou murmured, with a calculated undertone of whine. "I'm begging you here!"
Of course, Katou knew which buttons to press. Iwaki can't stand the idea of being led by the nose.
"I can't believe it!"
"You are impossible!"
"That's also true, but that doesn't tell me what I need to know for this scene!"
Katou was right, of course. Yet, Iwaki refused to help him. Only Katou would be reckless enough to accept a role just because the topic was one he never tried before, neither as an actor or as an AV Star. Iwaki was not ready to admit the main topic of “Love Slave” made him a bit uneasy.
"Katou, I won't let you paint my nails. Cut it out!"
"I'm not half-bad," Katou showed him his polished nails, covered with a coquettish pink and white varnish. "Girls call it a French manicure, and it's not easy!"
"If you have already manicured your hands, why do you need me for?"
"I need to do it on my co-star’s nails as well!" Katou said with a distressed face. "Taking care of someone else's nails is not the same as doing it yourself!"
Iwaki walked towards Katou and bent his knees just a little, before placing his hands on them. If Katou condescended to behave like a kid, Iwaki would talk some sense like he would do to a child.
“I can’t believe Yoko has not pestered you to do it when she was a kid.”
“My sister never let me do it to her, besides she had enough friends to throw nail polishing parties.”
“And where were you when you might be learning this much important skill?”
“I don’t know, maybe I was riding waves or doing homework,“ Katou pouted, “but whichever it was, it can’t help me now.”
Professionalism was something Katou had in spades, Iwaki had to concede that. He was sure he was going to regret his decision, but they have to honor their vows: For better or worse...
"All right, you can do my nails," Iwaki said, surrendering.
"Oh, did you read the script?"
That was the Katou that Iwaki knew so well. Katou sprang right up and brought the script with him.
"Here, read page 14..."
“‘All right, you can do my nails,'" Iwaki read out with evident cynicism, "She said, her voice betraying her annoyance."
"Are you sure this is the real script?" Iwaki asked as Katou pulled him to the side of the bed before running around to gather the manicure tools.
"It is. You won't believe the story, Iwaki. It's a great love story..."
Katou chatted happily and cut and filed the nails of Iwaki’s left hand while Iwaki read the lines from the script. The story was not what Iwaki had supposed from the title, it was instead the story of a CEO who fell in love with a young, domineering girl. They married; she wanted him to serve her, even in the most menial tasks. There Iwaki had to stop and change the script from hand, because Katou was engrossed in his role and wanted to give a manicure to his right hand as well.
"I thought you said your screen partner was a young star..."
"She's twenty five, looks like sixteen on a cloudy day," Katou explained without raising his eyes from the file. "I look old by her side."
"You are not old."
"Thirty six is ancient for certain films."
"You carry them gloriously."
Katou raised his eyes and smiled, there was a grateful gleam on them, behind the curtain of his blond hair, as if he only believed those words because Iwaki uttered them.
"Now, please, read your line, page 16."
"’You need to do my feet too, slave’," Iwaki read out, amusement in his voice. "'’So they can match my hands...’ Dialog could be better, though."
"You need to hear those words in her voice. Those words are anything but passé." Katou said with a smile before returning to his role. "’Yes, my lady...’"
"’And don't you dare stain my toes’."
Katou’s fingers took Iwaki’s foot, and the silliness of the lines was forgotten. There was something different in this touch; Iwaki could swear it was almost timid and hesitant, so different from Katou's usual caresses. Katou removed Iwaki’s socks and massaged the ball of his right foot before applying the cold varnish. Acting habits kicking in, Iwaki raised the script and read again.
"’Get an even coat on them, don't forget it’."
"’No, my lady’," Katou didn't even raise his eyes, but his voice was meek, almost scared.
One by one Iwaki’s toenails were ornamented with the same pink hue Katou was wearing on his hands, with small brush passed thrice over each nail in quick succession. There was extreme caution in each of Katou’s movements, complete focus...
Devotion, the word came to Iwaki's mind and he couldn't shake it out. That was the emotion the scene tried to represent, but Katou wasn't just acting. It was a testament to his skill at his craft that a complete enthrallment showed in his face when he raised his head.
"’My lady, this unworthy one is so grateful,’" Katou recited from the corny lines of the script, somehow making it sound sincere, and then raised Iwaki's foot to kiss the instep.
Despite being soft and fleeting, the touch was almost electric. Iwaki gasped in surprise, but Katou keep distributing small kisses on his shin, his knee, the inner part of Iwaki's thighs...
"Katou!" Iwaki cried when the kisses progressed above mid-thigh. "That's not in the script!"
"Yes, it is," Katou rebutted. His eyes were cast down, he was still in character. "Page 17"
"Katou improvises." Iwaki read, but the script fell from his hand at the sensations that ran through his body.
Oh yes, improvisation was definitely one of Katou Youji’s strong points...