|Character/s in the cover||Kyoko Mogami|
|Arc||Dark Breath arc|
Dark Breath is the 190th chapter of the Skip Beat! manga series.
Yashiro wonders if Ren is still angry about Kijima, then they bump into him and he asks for Kyoko's birthday. Kijima implies Ren and Kyoko can't be close, Ren says he sees no point in emailing her when they can hear each other's voices, implying he's into her. He later tells Yashiro this was to make the uncompetitive Kijima back off. Kyoko still has wounds and shouldn't be handed to a guy who isn't serious. After dinner Sho and Kyoko argue in the car, then Ren sees them in the car park.
Ren has his own locked box. “He” is kept inside, and Ren can never let him free because something terrifying could happen to Kyoko.
Yashiro is on the phone with the director of a commercial Ren is slotted to be in. Ren’s schedule as Ren (meaning not Cain Heel) is strict and unshiftable, so the director has asked to have their meeting that night in order to take advantage of as much shooting time as possible the next day. Yashiro warns Ren that this might mean eating dinner while meeting. As he usually does when he’s forced to eat while on the job, Ren becomes ultra-determined.
Yashiro is grateful that the magma of Ren’s rage has cooled down. He’d carefully chosen his words so as not to remind Ren of what occurred with Kijima earlier. Unfortunately, Kijima himself shows up and asks Ren out for drinks. Ren declines, with the valid excuse that he’s on his way to a meeting. Kijima cuts straight to the point and asks Ren to tell him when Kyoko’s birthday is. He’d tried to find out through Momose and Oohara, who both suggested he ask her himself, and the talento directory doesn’t have Kyoko listed. He doesn’t want to show his hand by asking her directly. Yashiro just wants Kijima to go away, at least far enough that they can’t hear his voice.
Ren tells Kijima that Kyoko’s birthday is on December 25th, which Kijima is really excited to hear, since Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are the best days of the year to make a girl capitulate toward him. He puts it on his phone calendar, expressing surprise that such a useful piece of information came from Ren Tsuruga, who never has stuff like that on girls when he asks. Ren smiles and admits that he and Kyoko are rather close.
Kijima cuts him off, dismissing it as due only to their being in the same agency, especially since Kyoko doesn’t send him embellished emails. He remains completely oblivious to the extreme cold coming from Ren.
It’s clear that Ren sees this as one push too many.
“Kijima,” he says. “I lied to you about something.”
Yashiro remains frozen, unable to do anything about the upcoming situation.
Ren confesses to never having received an email from Kyoko, never mind an embellished one. He and Kyoko haven’t even exchanged email addresses.
“Why the hell did you lie about that?” Kijima has no idea where this is going, but he’s giving Ren his full attention.
“Hmm…well… I guess… for appearances’ sake?” Ren is drawing it out well, making sure that Kijima is going to be attentive to his every word. “It didn’t feel like emails were necessary, so I never thought of asking for hers.”
“Wh-why not?” Kijima stutters, but then starts to return to his old groove. “Emails are absolutely necessary for us modern folks—”
Ren cuts him off sharply. “I find emails meaningless.”
“Huh?” Kijima is back on the hook.
“I have a cell phone, so I don’t want to communicate with text. I prefer…to…” Ren makes solid eye contact with Kijima. “… hear her voice.”
Kijima’s eyes go wide. Yashiro looks at Ren, stunned. Ren smiles.
Wha? Kijima is left standing alone, the meaning sinking in to even his oblivious brain. Oh? That means… Tsuruga… likes Kyoko?
In the car, Yashiro is silent until Ren finally volunteers that he thought being logical was best. Yashiro claims he hadn’t asked anything. Ren figured Yashiro would be teasing him about not hiding his feelings for Kyoko. Inwardly, Yashiro admits that he would have if the situation had been done jokingly, but Ren was too much like dark Katsuki for him to tease. Ren goes on to explain that Kijima isn’t confrontational and would back down anyway. It’s best to get him to do it early, since Kyoko’s wounds aren’t healed enough yet. Yashiro agrees; a flashy, irresponsible man would not be good for Kyoko.
Yashiro asks Ren about his habit of assessing men who approach Kyoko. Ren admits that she’s so unaware of what men want it’s painful to watch, but he intends to keep doing it. Yashiro is impressed by Ren answering him right away, and he wonders if Ren has finally gotten serious. Yet, if that were true, he wouldn’t have made an excuse like he did just now about only being logical when dealing with Kijima.
It suddenly makes sense to Yashiro. His feeling that something happened while Ren was playing BJ must be spot on. It would explain why Ren was acting the way he’d been all day. He’s trying to anchor himself so that he can remain “Ren Tsuruga.”
Aloud, they confirm their ETA to meet with Director Endo for the commercial.
Kyoko is blissfully enjoying Japanese food, which she hasn’t gotten to eat in a while. However the noisy sound of Sho eating jerks her out of it. She gets even angrier when she realizes that she couldn’t get the rare rice ball she wanted because Sho bought the last two. They are in the backseat of Sho’s car, which is being driven slowly through a parking garage. Sho smirks at her and offers her some of his rice ball. Kyoko realizes that he took the last ones on purpose and refuses him, shouting and turning her head.
Then her eyes widen in shock. Looking in the same direction, Sho’s eyes follow suit. Kyoko’s voice was loud enough through the car door that the person on the other side, who was just getting out of his car, turned to look.
Kyoko and Ren make startled eye contact.
Characters in Order of Appearance
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