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say you'll see me again (even if it's just pretend)

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She said let's get out of this town

Drive into the city

Away from the crowd

I thought heaven can't help me now

Nothing lasts forever

And this is gonna take me down

 

"And cut!" 

Momobami Ririka grinned widely at the sound of the crew walking away whilst taking their equipment and then, she stood up, giving a hand to her co-star, Saotome Mary, helping the blonde off the sandy ground they were laying on.

They were filming a movie, finishing the last of the scenes that very day. The film they were shooting was about two explorers whose plane crash-landed in a remote area, not present on the map. Both of them were wearing an explorer's usual attire. Beige uniforms and blue light pants. An additional explorer's hat for Ririka.

"This was probably the most fun scene ever!" Ririka quipped cheerily, after brushing off the dust on her attire. 

"Easy for you to say," Mary scoffed playfully. "You're not the one who's going to going to be bug food."

"They won't use real scorpions, Mary. You don't have to worry about it."

"But it's going to be something as equally disgusting."

Mary made a face feigning nausea while the other girl laughed light-heartedly at the blondes ministrations.

"Want to get coffee?" the blonde asked Ririka. "There's this new coffee shop near the seventh studio where they're shooting this drama, I heard it has a famous guest idol."

"Really?" Ririka quipped, interested. 

"Yeah!" the blonde nodded eagerly. "We could check it out if you want to."

"Sure," Ririka agreed. "Give me a few minutes, I'll just go grab my coat in my trailer."

"I'll wait for you outside."

Ririka and Mary went their separate ways as the former went to her trailer to retrieve her coat.

Momobami Ririka. The rising actress of Japan. Ever since her debut in a movie where she played a minor antagonist in a thriller not too long ago, her stardom in the Japanese film industry rose continually. 

The Momobami family is one of the most influential families in all of Japan, with Ririka's younger twin sister, Momobami Kirari, as the head of the top engineering firm in all of East Asia. The younger Momobami recently announced that she was engaged to an architect partnering with her firm she had met six years ago, Igarashi Sayaka.

With those in mind, Ririka is determined to make her way to the top and ensure her legacy in the Momobami family.

She opened the door to her trailer and found a very not so delightful surprise.

"Kirari!" the older Momobami put both her hands to cover her eyes from the scene before her. She was pretty sure she was mortified.

There was Momobami Kirari, her younger twin sister, sitting on the couch of her trailer, with a very petrified Igarashi Sayaka who was straddling her lap, now pushed off to the floor.

Kirari stood up from the couch and buttoned down her shirt, giving a hand to the purple-haired woman, who was wearing a scowl on her face. 

"You can take your hands off your eyes now, dear sister," Kirari's voice filled the room.

Ririka took one hand off her eye to peek at the couple, just to make sure, then removed the other one. An annoyed groan came out of her mouth as she looked at her sister and her future sister-in-law.

"Not that I'm not happy to see you since we haven't seen each other in months but why, of all things, did you choose to greet me like that? And inside my trailer?"

"Ask her," an irked Sayaka pointed at Kirari. "I swear I didn't want to do any of that."

"That's not what you were saying earlier," Kirari mumbled to herself. Clearly, not a mumble since she received an elbow from her fiancé. She chortled lightly at her fiancé's reaction. "We just wanted to surprise you."

"I am surprised," Ririka deadpanned. "And thanks to that, I'm scarred for life."

"Stop being so hyperbolic, Ririka," chuckled Kirari. "Sayaka and I want to congratulate you for finishing your movie today."

"Thanks, Kirari," a genuine smile now gracing the lips of the older Momobami. "You too, Sayaka-san."

"We'll be staying in the area for two weeks," Sayaka informed Ririka. "We're still stuck with work but we'll be here. We heard that you'll be filming the few last scenes today and then the following weeks will be the premiere party."

"Wait," Ririka excitedly began. "You're going to come to my premiere party?"

"It was Kirari's idea."

Ririka looked at the younger Momobami who looks at her with a proud smile.

"Can I not support my big sister on the biggest day of her career?"

Ririka grinned widely at her twin and threw her arms open and hugged Kirari tight, who hugged her back with the same force.

"I missed you, Ririka," Kirari mumbled in Ririka's ear.

"I missed you too, Kirari."

Both of them let go of the hug after a moment. Ririka hugged Sayaka too afterward, a sincere congratulations fell from the purple-haired woman's lips.

"Anyway," Ririka began. "Sorry to be abrupt but I need to grab my coat.

"You're leaving already?" Sayaka asked.

"Yeah," she answered. "A co-star of mine is waiting for me. We're going to get coffee and check on this idol in one of the other studios but you can stay here for a while if you want. I won't be long."

"We were just about to check-in the hotel anyway," Kirari explained. "But we'd hang out tonight, as celebration. Perhaps, a lovely night getaway in the nearest casino?"

"No gambling!" Ririka and Sayaka said together, sour looks present on their faces.

Kirari scoffed playfully at them, pouting to see if she could persuade both of them through her looks but it appears that none of them will budge.

"Fine," Kirari dejectedly accepted. "Both of you are no fun at all."

"You were arrested that one time, Kirari," Sayaka shook her head.

"Almost arrested," the younger Momobami pointed out, correcting her fiancé.

"As if that makes everything better."

Ririka sighed and looked up at her sister and her sister's fiancé affectionately.

Who would've thought Kirari, her once closed off and stoic sister, whose only purpose in life before was to get to the top and do as she pleases, as long as it benefits her, changed just because of one architect? 

Ririka's not jealous. No, not really. She's not capable of feeling an intense emotion directed in such a way. It has something to do with the fact, that maybe, she doesn't feel enough for it. 

To yearn for the love you don't have is to lose yourself in the process, that's what she always believed in. 

That was until she met Saotome Mary.

"Kirari, Sayaka-san, I'll go out now," Ririka declared, after grabbing her coat situated near the cabinets. "Try not to defile my trailer while I'm gone.

 


 

She's so tall

And gorgeous as hell

She's so bad

But she does it so well

I can see the end as it begins

My one condition is

 

"Hey," Mary greeted Ririka once spotting the rising actress walking towards her.

"Took you long enough," the blonde light-heartedly teased.

"I'm sorry for making you wait," Ririka apologized. "I had some guests in the trailer I didn't know that was visiting."

"It's fine," Mary shrugged off. "You ready to go?"

Ririka nodded. 

"Let's go."

They walked around the avenue. It's always as busy as it is every day. Many executives, producers, writers, actors, and other crew members are always on the rush because there is always something to work on, something to film, solely for the entertainment of the general public. And of course, income.

"How does it feel to be finishing your first major film?" Mary suddenly asked Ririka while they're still walking.

"It feels surreal," Ririka sighed contentedly. "I can't believe I actually landed a major role. I'm not really ready to let go of everything, you know?"

"Yeah," the blonde agreed. "I know that feeling."

"You're probably used to it, right?" Ririka teased. "You, know being, superstar, award-winning actress Saotome Mary and all of that. The universe actually blessed me with you as the other major role in this movie."

"Please," laughed Mary lightly. "You give me too much credit, Ririka. This is your movie."

"You didn't even have to audition to get your role! That's how amazing you are."

"Oh, shut up," Mary scoffed teasingly. "If I didn't audition for this movie, I wouldn't have met you and you're one of the most interesting people I've met."

Ririka doesn't know why but every time Mary says something like that, she feels the tiniest tingling in her stomach.

Ririka and Mary met seven months ago when shooting for the movie begun. Mary auditioned for the role of Yuki, a paleontologist whereas Ririka auditioned for Hachi, a wildlife preserver. Both of them were stationed as partners by the government and their goal was to collect a relic somewhere located in a small town in Korea but during their flight to the country, they found out that the plane's engine was tampered with and they crashed landed to a place resembling a desert and jungle at the same time.

Unlike Ririka, Mary is a very known figure in media. She started off as an extra for a drama four years ago and quickly made a name for herself in the industry in just a year. She's received different accolades for her different character portrayals and dare Ririka says it, she looks up to the blonde for inspiration.

"You do know that after this movie, everything for you will change, right?"

Ririka looked at the blonde, a solemn expression splayed on her face. 

Saotome Mary. To everyone else, she's an actor who has managed to accomplish such feats Ririka is trying to reach. Someone whose remarkable success does precede her reputation. Someone who transcends what it means to have talent.

But to Ririka, Mary feels like waves crashing on the shore, leaving behind shiny trinkets before getting washed away again. Mary feels like a fever dream and Ririka can't exactly pinpoint why.

"I know."

Mary smiled at her and patted the left shoulder of the other girl.

"You'll feel great after a cup of coffee," Mary said. "We're here now."

The coffee shop wasn't that extravagant but it wasn't underwhelming either. It was stirred clear of outsiders so little to no people bothered them. A few crew members took photos with both of them to express their admiration to the actresses, which both have willingly and gratefully agreed.

Both of them entered the shop, a couple of people starred at them in fascination and awe but kind enough to leave the duo alone. Ririka pointed to a booth for them to sit in.

"So, what do you want?" the blonde asked Ririka.

"Oh," a slight tone of surprise spurred out of Ririka. "You're paying?"

Mary shrugged her shoulders. 

"I did invite you."

There's that slight flutter again.

"Surprise me," she answered instead, a grin plastered on her face.

"Ah, so, you plan to make my day harder than it is already, huh?"

Ririka just looked at her innocently, the grin never leaving her face.

Mary sighed and shook her head, with a smile on her face.

"Alright," she agreed. "But you better like whatever I choose for you since you decided to be mysterious today."

Mary walked over to the waiting line in front of the counter, patiently waiting for her turn to order whilst Ririka was left alone on the booth, smiling and waving at the people who were doing the same to her.

Her thoughts drifted back to the blonde.

Saotome Mary.

It frustrates her to no end how she can't explain why the blonde makes her feel a certain way. The blonde was a lot of things, and unfortunately for Ririka, confusing is one of them.

She met Mary on the day of the first filming of the movie. Of course, Ririka knew Mary. Everybody knew the elegant Saotome Mary. She was enamored by the blonde's prowess in acting, like everyone else. The joy in her laughs, the intense melancholy of her cries of despair, the soul-crushing agony in her yells of pain, the sheer magnitude of her rage.

Ririka was entranced. And when she witnessed her acting on set that very day, she knew that she could never come close to the blonde.

But Mary, the ever so humble Mary, never stopped believing in her. A big encourager. One of the people who never doubted her abilities. Ririka will never say it out loud but Mary's one of the reasons why she was able to improve herself.

Sure, Mary exuded overconfidence at times. She is an award-winning actress after all. Ririka rolled her eyes light-heartedly as she remembers the times Mary would be so overly confident. Not once, did she considered the blonde arrogant. Saotome Mary's colorful personality and playful behaviour, including her overconfidence, enticed Ririka the most.

"Never thought I'd be one of the people who can hear others thinking too loud."

Ririka's ears perked up at the blonde's voice, diverting her gaze to the other actress.

"It's not that loud."

"You're thinking too much," Mary pointed out, setting down the tray of their drinks before sitting down on the opposite of Ririka. "Penny for your thoughts?"

Ririka sighed. What was she supposed to say? Hey Mary, I've been having a hard time figuring out what I'm supposed to feel about you and I'm pretty sure that whatever it is, it isn't very platonic.

"What do you plan to do after filming?"

"What I always do," Mary answered playfully. "Hibernate for months."

Ririka chuckled lightly before shaking her head.

"No, I mean, what do you really want to do?" the platinum-haired woman pressed on.

Mary took the two medium-sized cups of coffee off the tray, giving the flat piece of metal to the busboy by their table before humming in thought.

"I usually visit my family and a few loved ones back home, friends, and all that."

"That's all you plan to do?"

"Well, I've been planning to do something," the blonde began, now an earnest expression splayed on her face. "It's been eating at me for months now."

"What is it?"

"I want to ask someone very dear to me an important question."

That piqued Ririka's interest.

"Really?"

"I've been wanting to ask them this for a long while now but if I did, everything will surely change and I'm so scared if it did."

An important question. Someone very dear to Mary. An inevitable change.

Ririka suddenly feels lightheaded. She feels her heart pounding endlessly in her chest. 

"Are you okay there?"

Mary's concerned voice broke Ririka out of her daze.

"Yeah," Ririka stammered out before clearing her throat. "Sorry about that, I just remembered something."

"You should really start drinking your coffee," Mary told her. "It's going to get cold soon."

"Right," Ririka chuckled dazedly. "Of course."

Ririka grabbed her cup and put it against her lips, letting the liquid drivel down her throat.

"Latte?" she asked, after putting down the cup, both eyebrows raised at the blonde in front of her who only shrugged.

"You did say surprise you, right?"

Ririka merely smiled at her.

Suddenly, Ririka's phone in her hand vibrated, signaling a text or a notification. She opened her phone and it revealed a text message from the director of their film.

"It's director Akiko," the actress told the other girl, a hint of dismay in her voice. "She said to come back to the studio in 20 minutes and that we should get ready for the last scenes."

Mary groaned in annoyance as she had just realized that their break is officially coming to an end.

Another notification came through in Ririka's phone as the latter checked on the new message that also came from their director.

"Oh."

A wide-eyed Ririka stared at her phone as she appears to process what she had just read from the text message she just received.

"What is it?" a curious Mary asked her, putting down her cup of coffee.

"They changed a few parts of the final scene," Ririka announced, as she cleared her throat. "You know that one scene near the end where your character is supposed to leave mine stranded on the area for a little bit?"

"Yes," Mary nodded. "What about it?"

"Before you leave," Ririka inhaled a deep breath before finishing her sentence.

"You kiss me."

Silence settled between the two of them. 

Ririka feels breathless. After struggling to understand what she feels for Mary, this further complicates her situation. She's not that much of an expert when it comes to the way she felt about certain people.

She's anticipating the blonde's response. She can't pinpoint what emotions are going through Mary's head the moment she mentioned the new interesting changes the will happen in the film.

She was waiting for an expression of disgust, or at the very least, an uneasy emotion to be splayed on Mary's face. Instead, she got a light chuckle; a look of knowing amusement settling on the other actress.

"I kinda got that already," Mary told Ririka. "I read the script and thought that the tension in that scene is very intense so it sort of makes sense for our characters to do that. I just wonder why they changed it just now."

"You're fine with it?" Ririka stammered, unable to let the following words out. "Kissing me?"

"We are actors, after all, Ririka," Mary smiled at her. "It's part of our job."

"Right," Ririka agreed, the frantic expression on her face dissolving as a silent panic surfaces itself. "Of course."

Ririka and Mary finished their drinks after a few short minutes, having little talks here and there about different things and after a while, they proceeded to return to their station where their film is.

Ririka has been out of it ever since the announcement of the new changes. Mary was going to kiss her. Mary was going to kiss her.

I need a drink. 

 


 

Say you you'll remember me

Standing in a nice dress

Staring at the sunset babe

Red lips and rosy cheeks

Say you'll see me again

Even if it's just in your

Wildest dreams

 

"I hope you got the memo, Saotome-san, Momobami-san," director Akiko declared to the actresses once the both of the finished prepping in their trailers. "We film those scenes in the dunes in a few and then we'll be done for the film."

The enthusiastic director then turned to the crew and told them that they'll finally be finished after months of hard work, earning cheers of relief and accomplishment but Ririka hasn't been listening. She has been stuck in her own little world ever since she found out Mary was going to kiss her.

Well, Mary's character is going to kiss her character.

"You ready?"

Mary's soft concerned voice broke Ririka out of her train of thought.

"Huh? What?"

"We're about to shoot," Mary chuckled. "Don't tell me you're getting cold feet."

"Never," she glared at the blonde playfully.

"Momobami-san, Saotome-san! In your places now!" the voice of their director called them.

"Wait? Aren't we supposed to practice first?" Ririka asked the blonde beside her.

"It's just a kissing scene, Riri," Mary shrugged off and then smirked at the other girl. "It's acting 101."

Ririka turned away from the nonchalant blonde, feeling her face heat up from the embarrassment, or maybe because it has to do something with the fact that Mary is too comfortable with kissing her.

She took a deep breath and sighed.

"Let's do it."

 


 

"Yuki, why are you like this?" Ririka's character, Hachi, yelled at the other girl, frustration written all over her face. "I made it clear so many times, many times that I don't need you to do this. We don't have to choose."

"Why can't you understand that it's my choice?" Mary's character, Yuki, answered, equally frustrated but the tone of her voice depicts that she feels tired and desperate. "It was my choice to agree to the government. It was my choice to drag you into this godforsaken mess and it is my choice to help you go back to the city, even if it means I get left behind."

"I can't just leave you here," Ririka told her, her voice strained, dragging the emotions out of her system. "Stop being an idiot, Yuki."

"You don't have a choice, Hachi," Mary told her, disgruntled. "If I come back with you, they're just going to do terrible things to me. They'd blacklist me for not doing their bidding. They plan to steal something from people they don't want to rule over and I don't agree with that. And if you're around me, they might just do the same."

"So, what? You're just going to stay here? Are you out of your mind? You don't sound like arrogant scientist Yuki and I'm very bothered about that."

Mary cast her eyes downwards.

"I've known you for a short time, Hachi," the irked voice of Mary began. "I've known you since the past three weeks we've been stuck in this stupid place and I know that whatever happens, they won't hurt you. You're too valuable to them. And I know for a fact that they see your talent. If they're smart, they won't lay a finger on you."

Ririka glared at the blonde in disbelief, as a response to the reply of Mary's character.

"You're an idiot, Yuki."

Mary sadly smiled at her.

"I know," she said. "You've been telling me for the past three weeks."

Ririka scoffed at her and shook her head. She was about to turn back until a grimy but soft hand was felt upon on her face. She looks at Mary, whose expression splayed on her face was so unreadable but she was able to spot the somber in it, a look uncharacteristic of her.

"You're the most peculiar person I've ever met Hachi," Mary's hushed tone filled Ririka's ears. 

Ririka sucked in a breath, unsure if it was still her character doing the ministrations or herself.

"I don't think I've met someone as annoying and difficult as you, Yuki," Ririka gathered herself, her cheek now being slowly caressed by Mary's thumb.

She's staring at Mary. Mary's eyes alight; coming from the lights and cameras in the studio but the other actress was sure she sees something else.

Excellence. Indifference. Beauty.

Ririka's now witness to the blonde's ability first hand and once again, she was entranced.

She was trapped.

She was trapped to the point she barely notices the blonde's face dangerously nearing hers. She caught a glimpse of Mary's face, whose eyes always seemed determined, now half-closed and inviting. She feels the blonde's other hand settle on the other side of her cheek, the care and tenderness resonating from its gentleness. 

"Tell Mr. Carter that I hate him so much."

With her eyes fluttering themselves shut and lips parted slightly, she felt the blonde engulf her in a surge of fervor as she feels her emotions unfolding and wavering in the gentlest dispositions. 

She feels her senses edging towards the ends of the unknown and surprisingly to her, she's not afraid of it.

Ririka didn't feel fireworks nor butterflies, especially not waves crashing on the piers at an edge of a bridge. No, she's still figuring that out.

She feels the blonde's hand slipping to the back of her neck, gently tugging her closer. Mary turned her head back to look at the other woman, who's panting gently and eyes slightly opened, only to connect their lips once more. Ririka feels the corner of Mary's lips twitch upwards lightly.

Ririka feels overwhelmed. She feels faint chasing right after her because this, this is something stripping her off her lucidity but at the same time, creating a plethora of feelings clear as day.

She doesn't even know if she's still acting.

Finally, Mary pulled back, panting slightly.

"Just," Mary paused, in a hushed tone. "Remember me, okay?"

Before she can nod or even mutter a single word, Mary turned around and walked away from her, leaving Ririka's character.

"And cut!"

The director declared from her seat as the crew cheered in the delightful way possible. Expressions of cheer are heard everywhere in the station but she seems to be stuck in her frozen and shocked state.

That was until the director approached her and shook her shoulders until she was drifted back into consciousness.

"Momobami-san!" director Akiko addressed her surprisingly cheerily. "Wow, I didn't even know you can do something like that!"

"Huh?" she muttered out quietly, confused, blinking rapidly.

"We filmed that in one take!" the director proclaimed to her, joy and amusement etched in her voice. "It's like you weren't even acting! You're so amazingly talented Momobami-san! This movie is finally finished!"

She distantly hears the director running away from her and towards the other people present in the studio but everything seems to be out of balance for her. She feels lightheaded, out of bounds.

Then, she feels a familiar warmth around her, submersing her in a hug.

Mary.

The blonde pulled back and looked at her, accomplished etched on her face.

"We're finally done!"

"Yeah!" Ririka found her voice. "Congratulations to us," she said, her voice wavering but not palpably.

Mary raised both eyebrows at her, a cheeky grin on her face.

"I didn't know you can kiss like that, considering this is your first kissing scene," she told Ririka, teasing her.

Ririka managed to hide her flustered look and rolled her eyes at the blonde.

"Like you said," she began. "It's acting 101."

Mary laughed loudly, and to Ririka, the sound of her laughter is much more melodious than Beethoven's symphonies.

"Congrats on finishing your first movie, Ririka and I'm sure there will be more to come."

Mary hugged her once more before letting go.

"Hold on, I'll go call and talk to my mom first. I'll be right back."

Ririka nodded at her smiled as she watched Mary walk away once again.

When Mary's lips connected with hers, she didn't feel fireworks nor butterflies, definitely not a wave crashing on the shores.

She felt like puzzle finally being completed after years of struggling to find the final piece. It wasn't overwhelming. 

It's relief.

Her gaze followed the direction where Mary went, watching as the blonde is laughing with director Akiko. She touched her lips and it feels like fire, it feels like remnants of passed lovers rendering itself present through the softness of her skin.

She looked at Mary and smiled.

Then, finally, a thought occurred to her. 

One that she was running away from for months. One that has been eating at her unconsciously yet she still manages to box them to the deepest voids of her mind. One that she knew was there but didn't care for it or merely acknowledge it.

One she was terrified to admit.

She looked at Mary one more time, before watching the blonde turn to walk towards the exit of the station.

I'm in love with Saotome Mary.

 


 

You see me in hindsight

Tangled up with you all night

Burning it down

Someday when you leave me

I bet these memories

Follow you around

 

"Riri, as much as it amuses me to see you in such a frustrated state, especially how impressive you're doing it without downing any liquor, can you please tell me why you're sulking? It's been two hours and this is very unlike you."

"Kirari, please," Ririka groaned. "Why can't you just let me wallow in peace?"

"You just finished your first major movie and you're sulking. You should celebrate that marvelous feat, dear sister. And no, I can't let you live in peace."

It's about 11 pm, the same day they finished filming the movie. Kirari called Ririka earlier, about hanging out in a private club the younger Momobami booked, Sayaka accompanying them of course, but according to her, she was "going to babysit Kirari" to which the younger Momobani feigned in taking offense in.

Usually, Ririka is reluctant about going into these types of gimmicks but due to recent events or realizations, she was able to agree to Kirari's request without hesitation.

So, here they are now. In the club Kirari booked. Just the three of them, along with the staff of the club. In a booth with a really large table. Ririka's head on said table.

"Hey, don't mind Kirari, Ririka," Sayaka cooed. 

"Whatever you're feeling right now, we don't want to pressure you into telling us. Right, Kirari?" Sayaka glared at the younger Momobami, who stuck her tongue out at her fiancé.

"I'm her younger twin, Sayaka. I'm supposed to bother her until she tells me what I want to hear."

"A slap to your face sounds like a really good idea right now," Ririka muttered, her tone irksome.

"Just because you're a famous actress who has fans that can kill me doesn't mean you get to be superior to me, Riri."

"I should have absorbed you in the womb."

"Kirari," Sayaka pointed at her once again, her eyebrows furrowed. "Why don't you get us something to eat?"

"Why me?" whined Kirari. "Why can't you ask them to do it?" she pointed at the club staff, shuffling to clean up the other side of the club.

"Because I will divorce you," Sayaka threatened. An empty threat really.

"We're not even married yet."

"Please," Sayaka batted her eyelashes, a pout settling on her lips. "You are my future wife after all."

Kirari shook her head but eventually stood up.

"Apparently, it seems like I'm also your future maid."

Ririka and Sayaka cracked a laugh at that. Kirari rolled her eyes at that but managed to slip a small smile. She shook her head at them and proceeded to go to the counter.

"Okay, now that she's gone," Sayaka began. "What is it that's bothering you, Ririka?"

Ririka sighed and put her head back down on the table.

"We don't have to talk about it if you don't want to," Sayaka assured her, a reassuring smile plastered on her face.

Ririka brought her head up to look at Sayaka, concern plastered on the other woman's face. She understands why Kirari would fall for someone like her. She knows she can trust Sayaka. She did get her annoying sister away from her.

She huffed a breath before asking.

"How did you know Kirari loved you?"

A surprised oh was let out by Sayaka's lips, then a mere chuckle.

"Is that what you were worrying about?"

"No, not really," she meekly responded. "I'm just curious."

"Kirari," Sayaka began, nostalgic all of a sudden. "When I was first told about her, she sounded intimidating. However, when I met her, it never felt like that."

Ririka listened carefully to Sayaka.

"In the firm, I was told she has a record of undermining people whose works don't pass her expectations, eventually sidelining them. But surprisingly, she's the first person who told me that I can improve on my skills."

"Huh, so she stopped being a judgemental bitch when she met you?"

Sayaka and Ririka shared a laugh once more.

"No, she's still like that but she knows her boundaries this time," Sayaka chided playfully. "Eventually, when we were choosing what design is to be the foundation of this museum that was being built at the time, she chose mine. She said mine was perfect."

Ririka raised an eyebrow at her.

"I was never chosen at those kinds of things before because no one seems to believe in me," Sayaka chuckled lightly. "But somehow, even with her tough exterior, she believed in me. She believed in me when I thought I was nothing."

"But you two weren't even close at the time."

"I know," Sayaka smiled to herself, looking at the counter where Kirari seems to be taking a long time in ordering their food. 

"I didn't understand her and she didn't understand me but somehow, she managed to make things clear for me. At least, in the most Kirari way possible."

"Wait, you didn't even answer my question yet," Ririka scrunched her face in confusion. "How is all that related?"

Sayaka giggled lightly before answering.

"I knew she loved me then because she attempted to understand me."

Ririka made a surprised face, which then morphed into a face of contentment. 

"She was the first person to ever to be fascinated with me. First person to believe in me despite the circumstances, no matter what everyone said about her."

First person to ever believe in her despite the circumstances.

"I'm glad you two found each other, Sayaka-san," Ririka smiled at the other woman.

"It'd be nice to be present while you're talking about me. It'd be really nice to boost my ego."

Kirari came back with a tray of food. She set it down on the table. It was Japanese cuisine, along with an American burger and a chocolate milkshake since Kirari has taken account of Ririka's fascination for foreign food.

"Your ego is already inflated as it is," Ririka chastised her sister, teasing her.

"Oh, so now you talk to me?" Kirari narrowed her eyes at Ririka. "I see you prefer Sayaka as your younger sister other than your actual younger twin. I see how it is."

"Do you always have to be so melodramatic, Kirari?" Ririka laughed lightly.

"It's part of my brand."

"Is being whiny and stupid also part of your brand?"

"No, but punching an older twin might be."

Sayaka groaned in annoyance at the antics of the twins.

"Please refrain from any violence," Sayaka told them, shaking her head and looked at Kirari with a sour look once more. "I don't want the authorities on your coattails again."

"It was one time, Sayaka," Kirari teasingly told her. "You can stop bringing it up now."

Ririka looked at the couple as they bicker. For the first time in her entire life, she's jealous of Kirari. The genuineness of Kirari's smile because of one Igarashi Sayaka. She wants that too and this time, she's not afraid to admit that.

Sayaka's phone rang aloud on the table, causing the couple to stop bickering. She checked who the caller was.

"It's Okaasan," she told the twins. "I need to take this, she never calls unless it's something important. It might take a while for me to come back here since she can be pretty nosy."

"We'll be here," Kirari said to Sayaka, now in a soft tone. "You go ahead."

Sayaka smiled at her fiance and proceeded to stand up. She went to Kirari's side and gave her a small peck on the lips before walking away to the non-populous area.

Now, it's just Ririka and Kirari alone. 

"Would you please finally tell me what's bothering you?"

"Promise you won't be annoying and stupid?"

"I can try."

Ririka knows the younger Momobami was just messing with her. Kirari has been an accomplice, a confidant. Even if Kirari has always been a pain to her, she knows to herself that out of all the people in her life, Kirari has always been the person she trusts the most. 

She huffed a breath and before she can realize what she's saying, she blurted out.

"I think I'm in love with Saotome Mary."

Kirari blinked multiple times, processing the newly acquired information from her older twin before responding.

"Wait, what? Your partner in the movie?"

"Please don't make me say it again," whined Ririka, dropping her head on the table again.

Suddenly, she heard Kirari laugh softly.

"I thought you were sulking about something practical," Kirari chuckled. "Like an erroneous decision you made on set earlier. Instead, this is what you're wallowing about."

"You promised you won't be stupid!" mumbled frustratedly Ririka with one side of her face connected to the flat surface of the table.

"I'm not," the younger twin defended. "I'm just utterly surprised."

Ririka groaned quietly and sat straight up again, diverting her gaze to her sister who was staring at her amusedly. 

"I don't know what to do," she shut her eyes and laid her head back on the couch in their booth, signaling her frustrations. "We just had this really intense scene earlier and somehow, everything made sense. It's like acting ethics to not fall in love with your co-star and I did it anyway!"

"Hey," Kirari patted her head. "If it's any consolation, it's work ethics to not fool around with your co-workers but I did it anyway."

"Easy for you to say," scoffed Ririka. "You're the boss in whatever you do, you're in charge so you don't have anything at stake here but I do. I could lose my career over this."

"I think I know why you're reacting like that," Kirari pressed, disregarding what her older twin told her. "This is all new to you and new things scare you, it always has, even when we were younger."

Ririka feels like Kirari is unraveling all her secrets, spilling it out for the world to know. She should be angry but Kirari and Ririka do have a habit of calling each other out so instead, she listens.

"Sayaka was the most fascinating person I've ever met," Kirari began, causing Ririka to groan in annoyance, muttering something along the lines of 'stupid younger twins' and 'stupid love stories'.

"As I was saying," Kirari continued. "Sayaka brought an aura, rivaling my intensity. I was intrigued by her. It pained me that she was the only one in the firm I can't decipher."

"She was a vision and I bared witness."

"For goodness sake, can you get any more dramatic than that?"

Kirari laughed loudly as she shook her head.

"What I'm trying to say is," Kirari looked at her now annoyed sister. "Don't be afraid to explore something new and scary. Traveling to uncharted territories can be the most exhilarating moment of your life."

"Of course, you'd say something like that."

"I did receive a very wanted result in the end," Kirari looked at where Sayaka went, spotting the younger woman with a frown on her face as she talks to the woman on her phone.

Ririka caught on and she melted at the gentlest look plastered on her sister's face.

"You really love her, huh?"

"She feels like home."

Ririka would have rolled her eyes at the cheesiness of it all but to hear her sister, her once cold sister talk about someone with so much warmth, she can't help but genuinely smile at Kirari.

"I'm happy for you, Rari," she said. "I truly am."

"Now," the younger Momobami looked at Ririka, an enthusiastic expression written on her face. "Do you think she reciprocates what you're feeling?"

Ririka never thought about that. She was too busy berating herself about her feelings for the blonde but she wouldn't worry about that too much. After all, someone like superstar Saotome Mary definitely has someone in her life.

"It doesn't even matter," Ririka sorely said. "Someone like me isn't meant for someone like her." 

"Come on," Kirari encouraged her. "Try to imagine or remember a time where she showed she's interested in you."

Ririka rolled her eyes but tried to think of it anyway. She can't really pinpoint any of the times Mary seemed to have an interest in her. She tries to remember all of their recent interactions. They all seemed perfectly normal to her since Mary was always outgoing when she's with other people, an endearing trait to Ririka.

"I want to ask someone very dear to me an important question."

The sincere voice of the blonde rang into her ears, their conversation in the earlier parts of the day in the coffee shop coming back to her.

"Earlier, she said to me that she wants to ask someone dear to her an important question. She said it would change everything."

"Interesting," Kirari hummed. 

"What do you think it is?"

"It's quite difficult to tell from such a vague statement. Perhaps, it's a family member or a platonic advance. Or it may be business-related since the media industry is quite easy to sway."

"Kirari," Ririka chastised. "This is pointless."

"No, dear sister," the younger twin strongly said. "We must remain in the positive."

Ririka dropped her head on the table once again and listened to the shenanigans of ideas of her sister.

"What if it's pertaining to you?"

"It's not."

"No, listen," the younger twin shook her head. "You're someone dear to Saotome. You two seem close as regards to your photos together on the Instagram."

"It's just Instagram, Kirari," Ririka corrected her. "And those are just co-star related things, we're expected to do it for publicity anyway."

"Maybe that's what you want to think but I think that she wants to ask you something. I can feel it."

Ririka wants nothing more than to slap Kirari at the moment.

But, it is a hopeful thought. Hopeful because it's quite possible. At the very least, Ririka knows she means something to Mary. Maybe Ririka just disregarded the times when Mary would do something resembling an act of interest towards her. Or maybe she's just too focus on her career and work to the point that she barely notices Mary's actions at all? She doesn't know.

Ririka sighed and smiled at her sister.

"That is a nice thought, Rari," she paused, contemplated whether to bring down her sister's insinuations about the feelings of the blonde for her but instead she grinned.

"But, come on!" she suddenly said, the volume of her voice increasing, making Kirari's eyes widened in shock. "I just finished filming my movie. This is supposed to be my night! What am I even sulking about? The premiere party is in the next few weeks and I'm going to be a new woman! Let's celebrate!"

"I do love your drastic change of moods most of the time but please refrain from shouting."

"Please refrain from being annoying."

Kirari narrowed her eyes at Ririka and the older girl did the same.

"Why don't we play a prank on Sayaka-san?" she playfully proposed to Kirari.

Kirari's eyes widened.

"That's my fiancé you're talking about," she started, her mouth in a thin, straight line, now turning into a cheeky grin. "What do you have in mind?"

 


 

Say you'll remember me

Standing in a nice dress

Staring at the sunset, babe

Red lips and rosy cheeks

Say you'll see me again

Even if it's just pretend

 

"What did happen after the prank, Kirari?"

"She might have been very mad at me and she should've been mad at the both of us equally if you didn't decide to ditch me, you little shit!"

Ririka laughed out loud before hearing the light-hearted tone of her sister again.

"And you decide to call me on the day of your premiere party? Smart."

It had been two weeks since their celebration at the club and it's finally time for the premiere party. Ririka already experienced the dazzling aftermaths of a premiere party before. The attention, the flashing lights, the endless questions, the ultimate surprises, all of it. But this time, it would be on her.

Today, the world will finally experience a supernova of a vision that is Momobami Ririka. And she's ready for it all.

She's currently in her assigned hotel room, near the building where they'll have the premiere party for the film. Hairdressers and make-up artists present to make her night magical and majestic, fit for a princess.

She's in front of a huge vanity mirror, hairdresser fixing her hair while she's on the phone with Kirari.

"Anyway," Kirari continued. "Sayaka and I already reserved the best seats in the building. She's already anticipating for the movie. She and I can't wait to see you on the big screen, Ririka."

Ririka grinned. "Me too."

She hears shuffling then she hears a distant voice, now growing near, on the other side of the line, which she can assume to be Sayaka's.

"Congratulations, Ririka!" the enthusiastic voice of Sayaka greeted her. "I can't wait for the movie! I've been waiting all week! You're going to look so elegant."

"Thank you, Sayaka-san," chuckled Ririka.

"Is it true?" Kirari's shout can be heard from the background.

"Is what true?" asked Ririka, confused.

She heard shuffling once more and now, she's talking to her sister once again.

"Is it true that Jabami Yumeko will be at your premiere party?" Kirari asked her, her voice rising a bit. "Please tell me she's going to be there. I'll literally give you my entire inheritance just to meet her."

Jabami Yumeko? At the premiere party?

"What gave you that idea?"

"There were news articles running around, one came from a legitimate news outlet. I assumed one of your co-stars know her as to why she was invited."

"Yeah," Ririka thought. "I think Mary is friends with her."

"Wait, as in Saotome Mary? The one you're in love with it?"

"Kirari!" Ririka scolded her, startling the hairdresser fixing her hair. After muttering an apology to the hairdresser, she turned her attention back to her phone.

"Don't ever say that out loud again," she angrily whispered to Kirari.

"Tell Mary I want to meet Yumeko!"

"Why do you even want to meet Yumeko?" asked Ririka.

"Personal reasons."

"She wants to gamble with her!" Sayaka's voice in the background answered Ririka.

"I see," Ririka rolled her eyes. "If you have anything else to say, please say it right now. I have to finish up."

"No, nothing else," Kirari affirmed. "Congratulations, again, Riri. See you later tonight."

Ririka managed to let out a grateful 'thanks' before ending their call. 

"Momobami-san," one of the make-up artists grabbed her attention. 

"Yes?" she politely answered.

"Your dress has arrived."

Ririka merely smiled and looked at the mirror in front of her mirror after thanking the make-up artist.

"Let's get this party started."

 


 

Say you'll remember me

Standing in a nice dress

 

As the flashing lights of the paparazzi blinded her, Momobami Ririka's smile never faltered and she stood tall with poise and glamour. The pink carpet was crowded with different interviewers and photographers, begging for her attention as she gave them a dashing smile comparable to the intensity and majesty of a dying star.

"Ririka-san!"

"Ririka-san, over here!"

"Momobami-san, look here!"

"Ririka-san, look over to the left!"

Momobami Ririka, donning a white silk dress, stiff with the gentlest simplicity but loud with alluring charm. The necklace on the exposed portion of her neck encrusted with white pearls, the most dazzling of all gemstones. With a hand on her hip, she gave the audience a very welcoming enchantment. 

As she continues to pose in front of the cameras, the crowd started to get louder, starting more commotions and the light-hearted voice of the woman who kept her up during the dead of the nights in the past two weeks filled her ears.

"Hey, Riri."

She felt her heart skipped a beat as she glanced over to her right side, one Saotome Mary, wearing an immaculate, sober black suit, with a completely necessary top hat to complete her fit.

"I love the hat," Ririka commented, trying to settle everything within her before she can melt at the sight of the dashing blonde.

"I love the dress," Mary retorted, complimenting the other woman. "Any special guests tonight?"

"Just family," Ririka simply said. "You?"

"Well–"

Before Mary can respond to Ririka, the security guards ushered them inside the building. There was a new group of photographers being graced by their presence; the rest of the cast waiting for them in the picture taking section. They all took group pictures, Ririka and Mary in the middle, never leaving each other's side.

Maybe this night will get better after all.

After taking the group photos, they all settled in the enormous and fancy auditorium where they'll be watching the movie. The cast was grouped together; they're the ones that were in the nearest to the screen. Unfortunately for Ririka, she and Mary were seated on opposite ends of the row. Although, Ririka found it odd that there was an empty seat next to Mary. She assumed it must be a guest. She wondered where Kirari and Sayaka were.

Kirari and Sayaka-san must be in the upper ring of the auditorium, Ririka thought.

Director Akiko is on stage, giving out her opening remarks. 

Ririka is thrumming with excitement, the nerves in her body are almost about to burst out. She will finally witness her hard work come to bear fruit and the world will finally know her name.

"...and before we can begin with the film, a few words from Momobami Ririka and Saotome Mary, please," the director ended her remarks, calling out the duo to voice out their speeches or opening remarks.

Mary encouraged the other woman to go first because she has a surprise to which Ririka agreed to do so. She stood up from her seat and proceeded to walk up the stage where the mic was waiting for her. She walked up to the mic and cleared her throat.

"I don't want to keep this long because Mary still has to say her speech," she chuckled to herself. "But I just wanted to thank everyone for coming tonight."

"We finished shooting only just two weeks ago and we ran on a deadline but we managed to make it work," she began. "I'm proud of each and every one of my co-stars and the crew for the hard work, for dedicating their time in accomplishing such a feat of a movie," Ririka finished.

Ririka quickly glanced at Mary, who was grinning at her and currently giving her a thumbs up.

She noticed that the seat that was empty earlier is now occupied.

Her eyes widened slightly as she recognized the woman that was seated next to Mary.

Jabami Yumeko.

A starlight of a woman. An actress with incredible prowess rivaling Saotome Mary's.

 

Starin' at the sunset babe

Red lips and rosy cheeks 

 

She looks magnificent, Ririka thought.

Ririka stepped away from the mic and discretely stole a final glance at Mary before returning to her seat. From her location, she can't see the dark-haired woman seated next to Mary but she watched as Mary place herself in front of the standing mic she talked in a few moments ago.

"So, uh," Mary awkwardly began, causing the rest of the audience to chuckle lightly. "I'll make this quick 'cause I really want to watch our movie."

Ririka watched as Mary's gaze shifted onto her, with a grin.

"To Ririka," the actress's heart skipped a beat. "Not gonna lie, you've been the best partner I ever had. I can't wait to watch you reach the top."

Mary's words were so filled with sincerity and awe and Ririka knew she's gone. At that moment, she knew that maybe everything would be fine. That she will be fine. She felt relief once more.

So, she smiled at Mary, and the blonde reciprocated with a thumbs up.

"Big thanks to the amazing cast and crew, I admire all of you. You're the reason why this film is a success."

The crowd clapped and cheered.

Ririka watched as Mary fumbled with her words but even so, her words exude confidence.

"Uh, before I end whatever I'm supposed to be saying on here," Mary said, after clearing her throat, a nervous expression now overtaking her face. "I actually have something to share with all of you."

Ririka felt her heart race. All of a sudden, she felt like something would happen. The entire auditorium is closing in on her and she felt a shift, almost as real as the slight trembling changes in the tectonic plates.

 

 

 

"I've kept this for a while now," Mary began, an anxious look covering her face. "But, it's taken me a while to muster up the courage to say this to the whole world."

Silence from the audience but Ririka's mind is roaring at her, different unknown scenarios infolding by her thoughts. 

"Recently, I did something," Mary's smile now began to grow softer as she stared at the audience. "Something that changed my life forever."

"I was goddamned afraid of doing it but I realized life is short enough for you to not do anything worth it."

Relief that she felt earlier evaporated. Mary's not even finished yet and she already dreading what's coming next. The constriction of Ririka's heart won't stop as she witnesses Mary's gaze diverting to a different direction.

To Jabami Yumeko.

"Ladies and gentlemen," Mary looked back to the distant audience. She looked back to Ririka and grinned at her.

And, Ririka. Ririka smiled back.

"I, Saotome Mary, am engaged to Jabami Yumeko."

As gasps, flashes of cameras, claps, and cheers of congratulations can be heard from the auditorium, all Ririka can hear was her heart beating in her eardrums, begging to be let out of her chest. The invited photographers crowd the blonde as she walks down to her seat. Next to Yumeko.

Momobami Ririka rose from her seat and ran.

She ran away from her premiere party. From the crowd. From the reason her heart was still beating endlessly in her chest. The reason who made her more refreshed as everlasting Everests.

From the person who made her feel relief.

From Mary.

Ran towards the exit, uncaring if she was photographed or not. All she knows is that she wants to leave the auditorium. It was suffocating her. Mary's cheerful voice keeps ringing in her ears.

I, Saotome Mary, am engaged to Jabami Yumeko.  

I, Saotome Mary, am engaged to Jabami Yumeko.  

I, Saotome Mary, am engaged to Jabami Yumeko.  

Tears start to fall from her cerulean, teal eyes as it falls to the carpeted ground, leaving behind remnants of a distant unrequited love, that she was too foolish to believe in. 

Too foolish to even consider.

The sound of her heartbeat never wavers as she hailed a cab to take her away from the venue. Disregarding the concerning voice of the cab driver, she told them to go as far away as they can.

With the cab driving to the unknown and her heart left behind, she glanced at the rearview window to see one Saotome Mary that chased after her, now disconsolate and left behind, staring at the cab in silence.

Ririka closed her eyes and looked away from the mirror. As she let one final thought out before letting her mind drift numb and indifferent.

Thank you for believing in me.

 

Even if it's just in your

Wildest dreams