|The Persistent Heartbeat|
|Character/s in the cover||Chiori Amamiya|
The Persistent Heartbeat is the 135th chapter of the Skip Beat! manga series.
An unscripted and intense bullying scene is filmed that unsettles all of the cast and crew.
Director Anna is watching the improvised scene unfold aghast with horror. He had hoped for extreme bullying scenes like those in Dark Moon done by Mio which is why he had expectations for Natsu/Kyoko but even he is shocked by the viciousness that is happening on the screen as he watches Yumika and Mako.
With a cruel expression on her face, Yumika bullies Mako in front of Natsu and the others, using riddles and a technique akin to waterboarding. Kaori and Tsugumi laugh at her riddles and the "real" answers she gives when she tells Mako she's "wrong." They too offer some riddles for Mako to answer, and Yumika forces her to answer those as well. The actress Mako is suffering and in pain, with tears in her eyes and excess liquid running out of her mouth. Kaori and Tsugumi continue to laugh and pose questions to Mako, even taking a video when the liquid starts leaking from her nose. Still watching the scene, Director Anna is taken aback by its intensity. Mako's manager approaches him looking quite scared. She is worried about her charge, as it seems like she is suffering for real. Still looking stunned, he murmurs an agreement but doesn't stop the scene. He then glances over at Natsu, who is smiling serenely as if she is watching nothing more than a mildly amusing play.
Chiori/Yumika also glances over at Natsu, and concludes she needs to do more for although Natsu is smiling, the depths of her eyes are cold. Chiori remembers the words Natsu said to her earlier in the scene. "I'm a winner, not a loser like you," for compared to Yumika she is of a different grade in both heart and mind. Chiori knows that although it was Natsu who said it and made it seem like she was comparing Yumika to herself, that it was actually Kyoko who was comparing herself to Chiori. Basically saying, under the pretense of the act, that she is a better actor than Chiori for she's smarter and has a bigger heart for acting. Infuriated at this suggestion, she channels her hate and anger into the bullying scene determined to succeed and prove herself better than Kyoko who is just a "talento with hardly any experience."
Kaori and Tsugumi are still laughing at the bullying and taking pictures with their phones. Chiori notices a candle in the room and gets an idea. Mako is begging to be let go, then Yumika surprises everyone by saying she will let her go if she can get one last question right...so "What is one plus one?" Mako doesn't answer straight away, still in shock. After some harsh prompting by Yumika, Mako stammers out the answer, "Two." With an evil grin Yumika tells her she got it right and goes to pour nail-polish remover on Mako. Natsu lets out a small laugh at this. The crew all gasp in shock as Mako lets out a scream of pain and tries futilely to shake off the liquid. Yumika picks up the candle she noticed earlier whilst telling Mako she will set her free...by turning her into a fireball. She holds the flame dangerously close to her face with a dark smile.
Mako starts to panic and begs the Director to cut the scene for she will really will die if that happens. Kazutoyo is more than a little unsettled but also fascinated, and although murmuring his assent he still doesn't end the scene, possibly curious to see how it will end. He recalls his earlier wish to have extreme bullying scenes like Mio's from Dark Moon, which is why he had high expectations for a terrifying Natsu. The other actresses, Honami and Yuka, begin to worry they've gone too far and in character uneasily tell Yumika that she's overdoing it while looking to Natsu for agreement. However they are stunned at the expression they see on her face.
Director Anna recalls Natsu/Kyoko's words from before the improvised scene. She told him that of course she will headline the main event for she is the leader of the bullying group. Director Anna didn't understand why she then appointed Yumika to do her dirty work. Natsu pointed out that no matter what era, leaders are never the ones to take action themselves until the climax scene, for that is the sign of a true mastermind.
Yumika glances up at Kaori's words to stop and looks over at Natsu and is also shocked at by her expression as is all the crew watching, for Natsu is smiling ecstatically. Everyone is scared, for she is smiling as though she thoroughly enjoyed it from the bottom of her heart, a terrible scene like that. Natsu praises Yumika telling she was very good just now, absolutely wonderful and, as she giggles with joy, she loved it!
Marumi arrives on set full of smiles and wonders where everyone is. When she is told they're over at the karaoke set she decides to go and watch, causing the crew to flail after her, desperate to stop her since the director ordered them to keep her away. They finally distract her with a handheld video game. The crew is discussing how unsettling the bullying has been and how it didn't feel like an act. Both the set members agree that if Marumi saw a scene like that she may be terrified before even starting the role. If they were her they would probably quit after seeing that. For dramas, you always think it's just acting, right, but in this scene there wasn't even that reassurance with "those two" (Natsu and Yumika).
Once the scene is over, both Chiori and Kyoko are sitting on opposite sides of the set, lost in their own thoughts.
Characters in Order of Appearance
- Skip Beat! Manga Series VizMedia (3-in-1 Edition): Volume 23, Chapters 134 and 135, Pages 246-247 and 257-258
- Skip Beat! Manga Series VizMedia (3-in-1 Edition): Volume 23, Chapter 135, Page 259
- Skip Beat! Manga Series VizMedia (3-in-1 Edition): Volume 23, Chapter 135, Pages 261-262
- Skip Beat! Manga Series VizMedia (3-in-1 Edition): Volume 23, Chapter 135, Page 265