JPHiP Radio (28/200 @ 128 kbs)     Now playing: Shiina Ringo - Futaribocchi Jikan

Author Topic: Heartbeat (20/20) + Partners (23/23) + Destiny (41/41 END) [WMatsui] - REPLIES  (Read 225710 times)

Offline sophcaro

  • Global Moderator
  • Member+
  • *
  • Posts: 312
  • Faithful WMatsui shipper
    • sophcaro
Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (12/?) [WMatsui] (11/01/16)
« Reply #320 on: January 11, 2016, 02:07:08 AM »
CHAPTER 12




It had been already been a month since Rena last saw Jurina - the older Matsui having work to do in Tokyo with Nogizaka46 during August - and she was absolutely convinced the dinner she had prepared upon her return would please Jurina immensely. After all, it was minced beef and spaghetti; her favorite. However, the young girl had barely said a word since she stepped in her apartment half an hour ago, and was now playing with her food distractively.

Until now, Rena had not said anything about it, believing maybe Jurina wasn’t in a talkative mood tonight. It was uncommon, but it happened. Mostly when the young girl happened to be too tired after a long week of work. But when she saw her sighing for the third time and still barely touching her meal, she couldn’t keep quiet any longer.

“Is there something wrong?” Rena frowned. She was really trying to figure out the reason behind Jurina’s odd behavior. It couldn’t be because of the food. After all, she had cooked the meat exactly as the young girl liked it. The pasta wasn’t in cause either. It wasn’t spicy. She checked twice in precaution. No, there had to be another explanation for Jurina’s unusual silence.

Rena waited patiently for an answer, but unfortunately Jurina didn’t grant her with one. Instead, she kept her eyes on her plate, the question barely provoking a reaction. Rena resumed eating, now starting to feel really disturbed. Was Jurina mad at her because of her long absence? It is true to say the young ace never approved of her concurrent position in Nogizaka46. She had voiced her disapproval a few times since she joined the other group in February 2014.

Rena mulled it over in her head for a little while, before realizing it couldn’t be the reason. Even though Jurina didn’t enjoy seeing her leave for Nogizaka46’s related works, she never tried to persuade her to abandon her concurrent position. That was one of Jurina’s qualities Rena appreciated the most. Yes, she had strong beliefs, but she never meddled in her work. She respected her decisions, even if she didn’t always understand them.

Rena shook her head absently, feeling somewhat frustrated to be so clueless. During their month apart, they communicated on LINE almost every day. Jurina truly seemed to be fine and take the separation well. They talked about their daily work, Jurina sharing occasionally a few amusing anecdotes and making Rena laugh. The young Matsui seemed her usual joyful self during their conversations.

Rena took a tentative peek at Jurina who had barely eaten and was looking despondent. She didn’t like being kept in the dark, but she was running out of options. If Jurina didn’t want to tell her what was bothering her, how could she be of any help? Rena opened her mouth to interrogate her a second time, before changing her mind. Jurina could be really stubborn when she wanted to, and she guessed insisting would be pretty useless. Jurina would share her problems when she felt like it. Patience was her best ally.

Rena looked down at her own plate, realizing she had finished her meal. Decided, she got up on her feet in the intent of cleaning the table. She could definitely use the distraction from Jurina’s unsettling attitude. A few minutes went by without any word being exchanged, before Jurina’s hesitant voice resonated in the quiet apartment. “Rena… Why don’t you want to do photoshoots with me anymore?”

Rena, who was washing a plate in the sink, stilled at her words. She was more than glad that Jurina was finally voicing out loud what was apparently troubling her, but that was a question she definitely did not see coming. It made no sense whatsoever. “What? Why wouldn’t I?”

“That’s exactly what I’ve been asking myself!” Jurina let out a frustrated sigh.

This time, Rena placed carefully the plate in the sink and turned to look at her in puzzlement. Jurina was getting really worked up by this, and Rena had no idea why. “Alright, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“My agent told me two days ago that you’re refusing to do a photoshoot with me,” Jurina explained. “Bomb wants us both on the cover for December’s issue.”

“I don’t see why I would refuse to do a photoshoot with you,” Rena replied. She was having no recollection of the photoshoot she was mentioning. Her agent had not booked her any Bomb photoshoot for the end of the year; of this she was certain. “Everything goes through my agent. I only stipulated him that I wouldn’t do…”

Rena paused, widening her eyes in realization. Wait. At first, she believed Jurina may have made an honest mistake, but her convinced expression told her otherwise. Maybe she just got the missing piece of the puzzle. “Is the photographer going to take pictures in lingerie?”

“I think so,” Jurina replied in confusion. She was failing to see the point of her question. “Why?”

“That explains why I didn’t hear about this photoshoot,” Rena nodded, drying her hands with a towel and taking a seat opposite Jurina. “I explicitly told my agent I didn’t want to do those kind of pictures anymore. As a result, he refuses every offer on my behalf systematically.”

“I see…” Jurina trailed off.

Rena watched attentively Jurina who seemed to ponder over the revelation. It is true to say she had never mentioned it to her or to any other member. It was a decision she made a few months ago, and never regretted once. She still didn’t understand how she managed to do those embarrassing shots for all these years. She should have put an halt to them a long time ago.

“Wait,” Rena came to a sudden realization. “That’s why you have barely said a word since you arrived? Because of a simple photoshoot?”

“Yes!” Jurina exclaimed. “I thought maybe I unconsciously did something wrong. That I offended you in some way.”

Rena couldn’t hold it and laughed. She could tell by Jurina’s sudden pout that she wasn’t pleased by her reaction, but it was simply too hilarious. “You can be so silly sometimes!”

“Rena…” Jurina groaned in displeasure.

“I can’t believe it. We spoke on LINE yesterday, and you didn’t mention it. You really are one of a kind,” Rena shook her head in incredulity. “If I was mad at you, you would have known. Trust me.”

“Alright, but I don’t understand,” Jurina admitted. She was more than relieved to discover it was just a terrible misunderstanding, but she was failing to grasp why the older Matsui was reluctant to do that photoshoot. “You did plenty of pictures in swimsuit and lingerie in the past.”

“I know,” Rena confirmed. Of course, Jurina had a point and her confusion was legitimate. “But you know I was never really happy about them. They make me uncomfortable.”

“You shouldn’t be,” Jurina murmured, reaching out across the table to take Rena’s hand. “You have a beautiful body.”

Rena squeezed her fingers, moved by her words. It was not the first time Jurina complimented her looks, and it never failed to bring a smile to her lips. Of course, Rena didn’t share her opinion on the matter. She believed strongly to be a very ordinary girl. Other members of the 48group had more advantageous features than her. “That’s nice of you to say, but you’re not really objective.”

“I am,” Jurina interjected. “I believed so from the moment I entered SKE.”

“You were eleven when we first met!” Rena chuckled in disbelief.

“And?” Jurina arched an eyebrow. “I was young, not blind. I could identify a very good-looking girl.”

Rena sighed softly, knowing there was no way she was going to change Jurina’s view on the subject. She caressed the back of her hand with her thumb, the action prompting Jurina’s features to relax. “You really want me to do that photoshoot?”

“I miss it,” Jurina replied honestly. It is true to say she did photoshoots very often - alone or with other members - but the older Matsui was not on the pictures with her. At least, not as much as she wished. “We used to do photoshoots together all the time, but they have decreased tremendously these last years.”

“It’s true,” Rena conceded. They were the figureheads of SKE, and as a result made plenty of photoshoots just the two of them during the first years. What changed? Their role in the group was the same. Jurina was still the center, and Rena the unfailing presence by her side. They were very popular, but not as a pair anymore. “We used to be on every paper. Maybe magazines are getting bored of WMatsui and want to see new faces.”

“Well, that’s stupid,” Jurina grumbled. She certainly didn’t agree with this change, but she was also well aware that it was out of her hands. If magazines decided they didn’t want them on their pages as a pair, she couldn’t do anything about it. Unfortunately, it appeared they were not trendy anymore. 

Rena chuckled softly at Jurina’s directness. If truth be told, she never was particularly fond of doing gravures. She merely saw it as an activity that came along with the job of an idol. Jurina, on the contrary, had always loved them. Giving her best smile to the camera, and trying on many clothes. It was just a game to her when she was a kid. Unfortunately, Rena never shared her enthusiasm.

Rena thought about this new Bomb photoshoot carefully. The idea of posing in underwear didn’t really please her. She also knew Jurina was not going to insist and respect her decision if she refused to do it. However, she could feel her resolve progressively faltering. After all, Jurina had a point. The last photoshoot they did together was a year ago for Bubka and their newlywed theme. The memory unconsciously brought a smile to her lips when she remembered Jurina’s shy behavior back then. Somehow, this photoshoot stayed engraved in her mind all this time. It was somewhat a fond memory.

“Alright,” Rena spoke up at last, decided. Jurina’s curious expression fell on her at once. She definitely was not going to expect her next words. “I’ll call my agent to book the Bomb photoshoot.”







Rena watched from aside Jurina who was posing in front of the photographer’s camera. They had just finished doing a few shots outside, and it was now time for the infamous pictures in lingerie. Jurina - clad in red underwear - was enjoying herself very much, alternating different poses naturally. Her expressions also changed in the blink of an eye: playful, sad, innocent. She followed the instructions given to her without a second of hesitation and always effortlessly.

While waiting for her turn, Rena couldn’t help but admire her technique. Ever since she was a kid, Jurina had always been very natural at it. When she herself had difficulty offering three different poses to the photographer, Jurina never failed to come up with a new innovative one. Rena truly didn’t know how she managed such an exploit.

“That was perfect,” the photographer declared, lowering down his camera. He was giving Jurina a broad pleased smile, proving the sincerity of his words. “You’re very photogenic.”

Rena wasn’t in the least surprised by the compliment. After all, she had already heard it falling from dozens of photographers’ lips. This man in his thirties was a new photographer she had never worked with before, but it was obvious he was enjoying very much working with the SKE’s ace. Every photographer did.

It was quite common to hear photographers praising the subject of their pictures. The compliments weren’t only given out of politeness; it also helped the model gain confidence. As a result, she was always more malleable to the photographer’s demands. However, Rena knew he meant every word he said. Of course, Jurina’s cheerful and charming personality made her the little favorite of a lot of people in this business, but the older Matsui knew he was telling nothing but the truth. Jurina had always looked good on pictures. It was one of her best assets.

Rena noticed the photographer turning to look at her and calling her name. It was now her turn. The make-up artist who was finishing applying some light lipstick on her lips took a step back, checking one last time that everything was fine with her looks. The woman brushed carefully her hair that had been slightly curled for the occasion, before retreating when she seemed satisfied. Rena took it as her cue to get up, and she removed her robe almost reluctantly.

Yes, she had agreed to do that photoshoot with Jurina, but she felt somewhat unease when she revealed her matching red underwear. The photographer instructed her to join Jurina who was waiting in front of a white leather sofa, and she walked towards her obediently. Rena had absolutely no idea what he was going to ask them to do. Over the past years, she had worked several times with the same photographers. As a result, she knew what kind of pose they liked, and what expressions they expected of her. Each photographer had its own style and idea of art. Of course, she didn’t always agree with them, but it was not her job to say so.

This man was a new rising photographer. She had heard many good things about him - some even calling him a prodigy - but she never had the opportunity to work with him. Until now, he had not required anything out of the ordinary. Simple poses and expressions. No clothes too extravagant. In fact, the photoshoot went on quite smoothly, and the man was nothing but nice to them.

“Please lay down on the sofa,” he instructed Rena.

Rena complied, the leather cracking slightly when she tried to make herself comfortable on the small sofa. She laid her head on the armrest, before tilting her head to the man in expectation. Jurina was still standing in front of the sofa, and Rena wondered what he was going to ask her to do. Was he going to ask Jurina to simply stand by the sofa? It would be strange, but why not. She had seen worse ideas.

“Where do you want me?” Jurina asked the photographer who was indicating his staff to move a few lights in preparation. According to her cheerful voice, Rena knew she was waiting eagerly for his next instructions. Manifestly, she wasn’t asking herself too many questions about the curious setting.

The man looked up and told her with the most genuine smile ever, “Please lay down on Rena.” 

Rena was sure her heart stopped for a split second. Did she hear correctly? Was he really asking Jurina to lay down on her when she could already barely fit on this atrociously small sofa? By now, Rena was not sure she wanted to work with this so called prodigy again. 





 

Rena was starting to feel awfully cramped on the sofa. How on earth did they manage to find such an awful piece of furniture? It looked definitely old, was way too small and not in the least comfortable. Was it because it was the end of the year? Had the magazine already run out of budget? Rena had not a clue but right now, she was missing the comfy black sofa of her apartment. And couldn’t wait for the photoshoot to end.

The photographer had already taken a few shots when he suddenly informed he needed to check something and disappeared promptly behind his computer. He promised he wouldn’t be long - even stating he would be back in a few seconds - but it seemed an eternity to Rena. They obviously didn’t have the same notion of time.

“Do you still think it was a good idea?” Rena addressed Jurina in a feeble whisper. The young girl who was hovering over her gave her a somewhat amused look when she voiced her displeasure. Alright, maybe Jurina was enjoying this moment much more than her.

“Why?” Jurina asked, her gaze wandering in appreciation over Rena’s half nude form, “I like the clothes. It’s sexy.”

“I’m not talking about the clothes,” Rena retorted quietly, ignoring Jurina’s teasing. There was no staff member close by, but she didn’t want to take the risk of anyone eavesdropping her complaint. “I’m talking about the position.”

“I don’t mind,” Jurina offered. She stole a quick glance at the man who was still completely focused on his screen, before gazing at Rena. “At least, I get the chance to spend time with you. It doesn’t happen that often lately.”

“It’s true,” Rena conceded. After all, she had indeed been away for a whole month, and their schedules always seemed to conflict lately. “Lay your head on my shoulder,” Rena pulled Jurina’s arm gently. “The photographer hasn’t moved from his computer for the past minute. This could take a while.”

Jurina giggled at her frustrated tone and complied, placing her head on Rena’s shoulder carefully. The older Matsui rubbed her back when her fingers made contact with Jurina’s skin. She surely didn’t want her to catch a cold either.

“You know, I think the photographer wants us to kiss,” Jurina declared nonchalantly after a little while.

“No, he doesn’t,” Rena frowned in confusion.

“He kept telling us to get closer,” Jurina reminded the older girl who was trapped under her. “It’s clearly implied.”

“Jurina,” Rena warned. The young Matsui had sneakily placed a kiss on her cheek, and she could tell she was getting playful. Now, Rena realized she may have made a mistake by suggesting Jurina to come closer. She had only done so out of concern, and to make Jurina more comfortable while waiting for the photographer’s return. She truly didn’t think the cheeky girl would take advantage of her new position. Bad move.

“Sorry for making you wait,” the photographer’s voice jolted Rena out of her thoughts. She welcomed the interruption gladly, and expected Jurina to go back to her original position. Indeed, the young Matsui was starting to straighten up when the man’s voice stopped her. “Wait, don’t move. Your position was perfect!”

Rena mustered all her willpower to not show her displeasure. Even though she couldn’t see Jurina’s face - as she was placing her head on her shoulder according to the man’s demand - she could feel her grinning against her. Rena made a mental note to add this new allegedly fantastic photographer on her blacklist.







Rena entered the dressing room and let out a sigh of relief. The photoshoot was finally over. It was a miracle she managed to survive it after the photographer’s latest unbelievable demands. Thankfully, her perfect smile didn’t betray her emotions when she thanked him at the end. The man was definitely thinking she had enjoyed his work very much. He couldn’t be more wrong.

Rena felt someone tugging her hand and she looked down in curiosity at Jurina who was seated in front of her. She didn’t resist when she pulled her on her lap.

“I know you didn’t enjoy this photoshoot very much today,” Jurina declared, placing her arms around her waist, “but thank you for accepting.”

“It’s fine,” Rena ran her fingers through Jurina’s hair affectionately. She certainly wouldn’t keep the best memory of it, but she could tell her presence pleased Jurina immensely today. She could make a few concessions for her happiness. “It could have been worse.”

Jurina leaned forward, and Rena responded to her kiss with the same eagerness. Demonstrations of affection were very rare during work - given that they were almost always surrounded by people - but today they had the chance to be completely alone in the dressing room. If was truly a luxury, and Jurina surely didn’t miss the opportunity.

The kiss lasted a little while, until they pulled away and gazed at each other quietly. Rena didn’t know what was going through Jurina’s head, but she couldn’t help but smile at the love she could see shining in her eyes. That was an expression she never got tired of seeing it, no matter how many times she gave her that lingering look.

“I’m happy,” Jurina murmured.

Rena was rendered speechless when Jurina went to rest her head against her chest. It was not the content of her words that startled her. After all, she had witnessed the gradual changes in Jurina’s mood since the beginning of the year. She knew Jurina felt those emotions strongly, but never the latter had said those words out loud before. Warmth spread through Rena’s chest instantly.

“Then let’s make sure it stays this way,” Rena placed a soft kiss on her temple. No one could predict the future, but Rena didn’t care. Right now, only Jurina and the present mattered.





TO BE CONTINUED
« Last Edit: January 18, 2017, 03:25:28 PM by sophcaro »
My WMatsui fanfics:

HEARTBEAT trilogy
- Heartbeat | Completed
- Partners | Completed
- Destiny | Completed

OTHER FANFICS
- Warriors | Ongoing
- Back in Time | Ongoing
- One Shot collection: Her Sun | Completed
- Fire and Water | On hiatus

Offline nezukara

  • Member+
  • Posts: 52
  • We live to make the impossible, possible~
Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (12/?) [WMatsui] (11/01/16)
« Reply #321 on: January 11, 2016, 02:31:02 AM »
Another amazing chapter by Sophcaro-san! I swear, you're one of the best fanfic writers out there, and one of my all-time favorites! (I dream of writing as well as you!) I love how much detail goes into the characters' individual thoughts in your writing, for example how well-voiced Rena's discontent with the "fantastic" photographer was, and how Rena expressed "regret" after she told Jurina to come closer. It was funny and humorous, and I had this big goofy smile on my face the entire time I was reading, especially at the ending, when Jurina finally says that she's happy (a stark contrast to her emotions back in Heartbeat). The way you've illustrated WMatsui's transformation from unsure and shy to both girls freely showing affection to each other whenever possible over the entire series thus far is really heartwarming!

Once again, I love your fanfics, Sophcaro-san! And I can't wait until your next update (be it for Partners or Warriors)!

Offline Darathon

  • ecchi
  • Member
  • Posts: 36
Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (12/?) [WMatsui] (11/01/16)
« Reply #322 on: January 11, 2016, 07:17:36 AM »
This is so good. I've never read a better written fanfic in my life. This chapter was so freaking cute, jurina was so cute! I love this story and I love Heartbeat. I wish I could write as well as you   :inlove:


Please update soon!!
Atsumina and Wmatsui for life.
Takamina Oshi!!!

Offline Minami-chan

  • Member+
  • Posts: 654
  • Still Love You
Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (12/?) [WMatsui] (11/01/16)
« Reply #323 on: January 11, 2016, 11:05:32 PM »
perfect chapter!!
thanks a lot!

The end of the two Matsuis in the dressing room was very romantic.

Offline genkingblack

  • not hiatus/abandon my fics but really have no time to write.
  • ecchi
  • Member+
  • Posts: 306
  • タマです
    • genkingblack
Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (12/?) [WMatsui] (11/01/16)
« Reply #324 on: January 12, 2016, 07:59:19 AM »
Yeeeyyy finally~

I admire your skill on describe things soph-san :D

i'm waiting for next~

おつかれさまでした~ :on gay:
My Projects :
GenkingBlack's Vault [OS/Short Stories] Last update 4-Apr-17
Brave Enough On Going Last update 16-Mar-17
Love is Serious, When War is Involved   Hiatus Last Update 12-Mar-17
Heartsmith | On Going Last Update 19-Oct-17
Hidden Vault | Perv Section

Offline sophcaro

  • Global Moderator
  • Member+
  • *
  • Posts: 312
  • Faithful WMatsui shipper
    • sophcaro
Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (12/?) [WMatsui] (11/01/16)
« Reply #325 on: January 14, 2016, 01:04:24 PM »
Another amazing chapter by Sophcaro-san! I swear, you're one of the best fanfic writers out there, and one of my all-time favorites! (I dream of writing as well as you!) I love how much detail goes into the characters' individual thoughts in your writing, for example how well-voiced Rena's discontent with the "fantastic" photographer was, and how Rena expressed "regret" after she told Jurina to come closer. It was funny and humorous, and I had this big goofy smile on my face the entire time I was reading, especially at the ending, when Jurina finally says that she's happy (a stark contrast to her emotions back in Heartbeat). The way you've illustrated WMatsui's transformation from unsure and shy to both girls freely showing affection to each other whenever possible over the entire series thus far is really heartwarming!

Once again, I love your fanfics, Sophcaro-san! And I can't wait until your next update (be it for Partners or Warriors)!

I appreciate you leaving this long comment. And even more to read that you understood/realized perfectly what I've been trying to accomplish in Partners.  Seeing them progressively grow from shy/hesitant to confident in their relationship is the most fulfilling thing as a writer, and I'm glad it came across. There are still a lot of things to come up plotwise, so stay tuned. And again, thanks for leaving that comment. It's not always easy to find motivation when writing such long fanfics require so much time and brainstorming, and that kind of comment always helps me a great deal.  :thumbsup

This is so good. I've never read a better written fanfic in my life. This chapter was so freaking cute, jurina was so cute! I love this story and I love Heartbeat. I wish I could write as well as you   :inlove:
Please update soon!!

There are definitely very good fanfics out there, but it pleases me that you enjoy Hearbeat and Partners so much :)

perfect chapter!!
thanks a lot!

The end of the two Matsuis in the dressing room was very romantic.

Yeah, maybe I'm too much of a romantic when it comes to those two :oops:

Yeeeyyy finally~

I admire your skill on describe things soph-san :D

i'm waiting for next~

おつかれさまでした~ :on gay:

Thanks for the compliment. I'll try to post next chapter very soon  :)

« Last Edit: January 14, 2016, 01:15:16 PM by sophcaro »
My WMatsui fanfics:

HEARTBEAT trilogy
- Heartbeat | Completed
- Partners | Completed
- Destiny | Completed

OTHER FANFICS
- Warriors | Ongoing
- Back in Time | Ongoing
- One Shot collection: Her Sun | Completed
- Fire and Water | On hiatus

Offline Minami-chan

  • Member+
  • Posts: 654
  • Still Love You
Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (12/?) [WMatsui] (11/01/16)
« Reply #326 on: January 23, 2016, 10:03:52 AM »

perfect chapter!!
thanks a lot!

The end of the two Matsuis in the dressing room was very romantic.

Yeah, maybe I'm too much of a romantic when it comes to those two :oops:


No! I think it´s fine!

Offline sophcaro

  • Global Moderator
  • Member+
  • *
  • Posts: 312
  • Faithful WMatsui shipper
    • sophcaro
Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (13/?) [WMatsui] (24/01/16)
« Reply #327 on: January 23, 2016, 11:53:14 PM »
CHAPTER 13



Airi was passionate about drawing. That’s a discovery Rena made the first time she spoke to the quiet girl a morning of March 2009. The older Matsui didn’t exactly know why, but the moment was still imprinted in her mind after all these years. They were seated next to each other in the dancing room - waiting patiently for the coach to arrive - when Rena, out of curiosity, had taken a peek at what Airi was so focused on. The latter was slightly bent over a sketch, her hand carefully drawing lines on the white paper. Rena watched attentively for a little while without saying a word, amazed by the small cheerful characters progressively coming alive. The art was far from perfect, but the inventiveness of the drawing made it quite unique in Rena’s eyes.

That’s when Rena finally broke out of her reserve, and told her how talented she believed her to be. A conversation followed suit, and Rena soon discovered that they had a lot in common,  from their calm personality to their passion for 2D characters. That day of March marked the first day of their friendship. A beautiful relationship that was still going strong seven years later.

Rena pushed the door of the restaurant, a smile moving to her lips when she caught sight of her best friend drawing at the table. After all these years, Airi’s passion for drawing had not diminished - quite the contrary - and she took her precious notebook everywhere she went. The few rare times she happened to unfortunately leave it behind, she still found a way to draw. Rena would sometimes find in their hotel room characters drawn on hotel headed notepaper, or on a paper napkin at their restaurant table.

Rena knew it wasn’t a mere hobby for her. It was more than obvious that she wanted to make something out of it. Of course, it wasn’t always easy to make a living out of your passion, and Rena was well aware of the difficulties Airi was facing. Her blog had a lot of success and her fans loved her art, but it was a different matter when it came to the profession. Airi had sent her drawings to many magazines, to no avail.

Regardless of all the times she got turned down, Airi didn’t lose hope one moment. Never once did Rena see frustration washing over her best friend when she received a letter informing her that her art wasn’t compatible with the magazine editorial policy. In fact, she took each refusal very calmly, stating that it probably wasn’t the right time yet. A few minutes later she would be back with a pen in her hand, focusing on another drawing.

Rena truly admired her best friend’s optimism. Someone else may have given up after so many attempts and endless refusals, but not Airi. It was as if it gave her even more motivation to show what she was capable of, as she would draw with renewed determination. No matter how long it would take, Rena was absolutely convinced Airi would fulfill her ultimate dream. 

Rena walked towards the table and took a seat opposite her best friend. A slightly startled Airi looked up at once, before reciprocating the smile directed at her and putting her notebook aside. “Hi Rena. How did the interview go?”

“Smoothly, but I’m sorry for being late,” Rena apologized in slight discomfort.

This last year, she had the bad habit of arriving late often when she met Airi or Jurina on a date. Despite her best efforts to break it, she quickly discovered she couldn’t really do anything about it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t up to her. In 2015, her busy schedule barely left her a minute to breathe and when she finally happened to have a bit of free time, she always had to hurry up. It certainly didn’t hold well with her sense of punctuality, but what could she do about it?

Airi and Jurina were nothing but understanding regarding her repeated tardiness, but it didn’t make it less frustrating. On one hand, Rena was more than glad that her work kept her occupied but on the other, it was starting to really infringe upon the little free time she had left. Unfortunately, she couldn’t come up with an immediate solution for her increasing problem. It seemed she would simply have to deal with it for now.

“That’s alright, I understand,” Airi reassured her with a genuine smile. “You have a hectic life, but it’s fulfilling.”

“It is,” Rena conceded. It was definitely not like herself to complain about her workload. Not only she always accepted every opportunity given to her with gratitude, she was also well aware that a lot of members of the group weren’t as lucky as her to be so coveted. Still, she couldn’t help but voice out loud a thought that had been nagging her for a little while now. “Nevertheless, I sometimes wished I wasn’t juggling with so many things at the same time.”

“I see what you mean,” Airi nodded thoughtfully. “You impress me, Rena. I don’t know how you manage.”

“I don’t,” Rena chuckled bitterly, surprising Airi. Until now, she had not shared that piece of information with anyone - not even Jurina - even though she had felt really down at the time. If truth be told, she was still bothered by her missed opportunity. Unfortunately, it was not the first time such an occurrence happened. “Lately, my agent sent me a script for the leading role in a new TV show. It was really interesting and I was about to accept it, until I realized I couldn’t. With SKE and Nogizaka46’s activities, I can’t clear my schedule for a whole month.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Airi said, nonplussed by the news. It was more than obvious by her best friend’s despondent expression that she was really looking forward to it. And it was indeed not the first time Rena had to refuse a role because of her tight schedule. The older Matsui had mentioned it a few times over the past years. “I’m sure another opportunity will present itself very soon. A role that will be more compatible with your schedule.”

Rena didn’t answer, giving her instead a tentative smile. She was grateful Airi was doing her best to cheer her up - in fact, she didn’t expect any less from her kind friend - but it didn’t make the fact less frustrating. When she noticed the waiter coming their way with the menus, she more than welcomed the distraction. She didn’t want to talk about her work anymore. It already occupied the best part of her daily life. No, she was going to have a quiet and carefree evening with her best friend.

Both girls gave the menu back once their choice was made, until Rena remembered what Airi was doing when she first arrived at the restaurant. Airi’s open bag revealed the top of her notebook and she cast a look at it, startled when the characters she managed to distinguish were completely unfamiliar to her. “What are you drawing?”

“It’s a new project I’m working on,” Airi informed her, giving Rena the notebook so she could have a better look at it. She smiled to herself when she noticed Rena studying it very attentively. From the start, the older Matsui had always been one of her strongest supporters. She knew she didn’t realize it, but her frequent compliments about her drawings had always been a motivating force. “Actually, I have something to tell you.”

Rena looked up at once at the sound of Airi’s serious tone. The hesitancy in her eyes didn’t go unnoticed as well, and she frowned at her curious behavior. “Is everything all right?”

“Yes, it’s good news,” Airi declared quickly. “I got offered a contract with Weekly Shonen Jump. I’m going to draw a weekly comic strip.”

Rena widened her eyes in shock. Of course, never once had she doubted Airi’s capacity to obtain what she wanted, but hearing the revelation falling from her lips rendered her momentarily speechless. So many times in the past they had talked together about their dreams and hopes for the future. And Airi was getting closer to accomplish hers.

“I’m so happy for you!” Rena exclaimed finally with much eagerness. Right now, she couldn’t be more proud of her best friend and she reached across the table to squeeze her hand. “Congratulations, Airin.”

Airi beamed a smile, but her expression progressively darkened as she recalled what she was supposed to say next. She wanted to believe that Rena would be nothing but understanding, but she couldn’t help but apprehend her reaction and feel a knot in her stomach. It appeared her uneasiness didn’t go unnoticed, as she felt Rena intertwining their fingers together and giving her a worried look.

Airi knew she couldn’t delay the announcement any longer. She had been thinking about it on a daily basis since she received the offer from the magazine a couple weeks ago. The thought of going to Rena for advice had crossed her mind a few times. One day, she was so close to picking up her phone to call her when she remembered a casual conversation she had with the older Matsui about that delicate subject a few years. That’s a decision you must take on your own, Rena had stated calmly and confidently at the time. You’ll know when the right time has come.

It was the right time. She mulled it over in her head again and again. She weighed her decision up very carefully. Now, Airi had no doubt about it anymore. However, she couldn’t ignore the fact that a lot of things were going to change the minute the news got out. The life she had known for seven years was going to change drastically from one day to the next. That idea was a bit frightening, but she was also aware that she wasn’t getting any younger. She would be twenty five in two months, and her days in the idol group were counted. It was time to move on, and that job opportunity came along at the right moment.

“Rena, I’m going to graduate.”







Rena couldn’t sleep. It was already 1 AM, and she had been staring desperately at the dark ceiling of her bedroom for the past thirty minutes. So many thoughts were currently juggling in her head, and she knew it had to stop if she wished to fall asleep. However, she couldn’t manage to brush any of them aside. If truth be told, she didn’t usually have so much trouble sleeping. Yes, she was a light sleeper and would often wake up a few times during the night, but she went back to sleep very easily.

Somehow, she couldn’t forget the words Airi uttered in the restaurant three weeks ago. They were still imprinted firmly in her mind as if she heard them the day before. I’m going to graduate, her best friend had stated with nothing but an apprehensive look. Rena didn’t know how long she stared at her without saying anything. She didn’t even pay real attention when the waiter came back with their orders.

When? She managed to say in a feeble murmur after a little while. Without realizing it, her voice quivered, and her heart started beating faster inside her chest. Not only Airi gave her a reply, she also explained in great detail the reason behind her decision. Rena didn’t know how long her monologue lasted but she didn’t interrupt her once, letting the news sink in progressively.

When Airi finally stopped speaking, Rena knew by her apprehensive look that she was awaiting her reply. The atmosphere had become quite heavy, and the tension between them was tangible. Rena didn’t touch her food for some time. Airi didn’t either. It was as if time had stopped altogether. They were not paying the least attention to their surroundings, their eyes firmly locked on each other.

Rena nodded silently. Airi knew what she was doing; of this she was certain. It was definitely not a decision taken on the spur of the moment. Her voice had been nothing but steady and her tone convincing the whole time she explained her decision. However, it didn’t prevent Rena’s chest from tightening. In 2016, Airi wouldn’t be in SKE48 anymore.

Rena wanted to say the right words to erase the worry she could read in her friend’s eyes, but her mouth refused to produce a single word. They went through so much together these past seven years. They enjoyed each other’s company during their free time and spoke about their common hobbies freely. They were moral support for each other during moments of hardships; there were definitely a lot of those during the first years in the group.

In fact, Rena didn’t know how her life would have been without Airi’s reassuring presence by her side. Her even temper and friendship were a driving force. Never did Airi get frustrated over things; even less angry. It was precisely because of all those aspects of her personality that Rena was able to deal effectively with the pressure constantly upon her shoulders as one of the figureheads of SKE.

Yes, the group was going to lose one of its precious members, but Airi was not going anywhere. She would still be her loyal friend as she had always been. They would still spend time together as they always did. Moreover, Airi was thinking about her future. There was nothing wrong about that; quite the contrary. In the end, a smile moved to Rena’s lips, and the words rolled off her tongue naturally. I’ll always support you. She meant each one of them strongly.

The tension dissipated at once. Airi gave her a broad, genuine smile in return, before asking her to not tell anyone about her decision. Of course Rena had agreed immediately, understanding her demand very well. It did surprise her a bit to discover Airi had not shared that piece of information with anyone else before - not even SKE’s manager or her own agent - but she was definitely going to keep quiet about it. Airi was planning to make the announcement before the end of the year, and she wanted to be the one to do it in person when she felt the time was right.

“What are you thinking about?”

At the sound of the small voice beside her Rena jolted out of her thoughts, Airi’s image vanishing from her mind. She looked away from the ceiling and tilted her head left, her eyes falling on Jurina who was watching her sleepily. Rena found herself torn, knowing full well she couldn’t tell her what was occupying her thoughts. It was out of the question to break her promise and share with her the content of her conversation with Airi.

“Are you alright?” Jurina continued when she stayed quiet. “You seem a bit elsewhere lately.”

“I’ve had a lot on my plate,” Rena sighed softly. It was not a lie, but not the complete truth either. Still, she had to make sure Jurina would be satisfied with her reply. In that intent, she laid on the side and leaned forward to place a gentle kiss on her forehead. “Nothing to worry about. Go back to sleep.”

A small smile plastered Jurina’s tired features, and Rena reciprocated it without a second of hesitation. Out of habit Jurina slipped her hand into Rena’s, until the weariness got the best of her and her eyelids closed progressively. Rena watched her for a little while and listened to her familiar, slow breathing. When the fingers inside hers relaxed Rena knew she had fallen asleep again, and she turned to lay her back on the mattress again.

Somehow, Airi’s words came to the forefront of her mind, and she realized she would have to busy herself somewhat if she wished to go back to sleep later. Decided, she slowly got out of bed - careful not to wake up Jurina in the process - her feet meeting the soft, red carpet. Her gaze fell on the small office that was occupying a corner of her bedroom and she walked towards it, taking a seat in front of the desk and switching on the small lamp.

Out of concern, Rena looked over her shoulder to make sure the dim light had not woken Jurina up, before placing her glasses on her nose when the young girl was still sound asleep. A few documents were stacked in a neat pile and she went through a few of them. Rena didn’t pay attention to the time, burying herself in her work at once. When she placed the last piece of paper on the pile a little while later, she was unfortunately still not feeling very much sleepy.

A bit frustrated by this fact she leaned back into the chair, until her attention got caught by a piece of paper visible through the half-opened drawer of her desk. Out of curiosity she took it out, until realizing what it was by the words scribbled on the sheet. It was a project she had been working on for a few months now, but her complete lack of inspiration had prevented her from finishing until now. Her tight schedule had certainly not helped the matter in the least.

A light groan disrupted the peaceful atmosphere of her bedroom and she turned slightly towards the bed, noticing Jurina moving closer to her side of the bed. Rena didn’t know long she admired the beautiful, sleeping girl, but an idea suddenly formed inside her head.

Her small brown orbs widened in realization. Why on earth didn’t she think about it before? It should have been an evidence. Her source of inspiration had been in front of her the whole time. All of a sudden, the words came to her with increasing ease. Rena smiled and took a pencil, her eyes back on the sheet. Tonight, she was going to finish this project. In that intent, she started by writing the title in capital letters: CENTER.





TO BE CONTINUED
« Last Edit: January 18, 2017, 03:26:50 PM by sophcaro »
My WMatsui fanfics:

HEARTBEAT trilogy
- Heartbeat | Completed
- Partners | Completed
- Destiny | Completed

OTHER FANFICS
- Warriors | Ongoing
- Back in Time | Ongoing
- One Shot collection: Her Sun | Completed
- Fire and Water | On hiatus

Offline genkingblack

  • not hiatus/abandon my fics but really have no time to write.
  • ecchi
  • Member+
  • Posts: 306
  • タマです
    • genkingblack
Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (13/?) [WMatsui] (24/01/16)
« Reply #328 on: January 24, 2016, 03:26:25 AM »
EEEHH Airi's going to graduate??
is Rena's grad is the storm?

what is with the CENTER project?

aaahhhh I want moooreeeee :|

thank you soph-san as usual
i'll be a good boy until the upcoming update from you :on gay:
My Projects :
GenkingBlack's Vault [OS/Short Stories] Last update 4-Apr-17
Brave Enough On Going Last update 16-Mar-17
Love is Serious, When War is Involved   Hiatus Last Update 12-Mar-17
Heartsmith | On Going Last Update 19-Oct-17
Hidden Vault | Perv Section

Offline Darathon

  • ecchi
  • Member
  • Posts: 36
Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (13/?) [WMatsui] (24/01/16)
« Reply #329 on: January 24, 2016, 04:33:37 AM »
NOOOO AIRI's graduating  :tantrum:

It was a cute wmatsui moment though. What a cliffhanger! Is Rena going to write a story about Jurina?

The update was totally worth the wait! Take your time and keep writing these awesome chapters, thank you for all that you've written for us!
 :kneelbow: :kneelbow:

I'll wait for your next update  :hee:



Atsumina and Wmatsui for life.
Takamina Oshi!!!

Offline culjurio

  • ecchi
  • Member
  • Posts: 38
  • whatever you say about my oshi, I still love her.
Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (13/?) [WMatsui] (24/01/16)
« Reply #330 on: January 24, 2016, 04:54:29 AM »
ahh how can rena thinking about airi when she was sleep with jurina  :smhid :smhid :banghead:
i'm sorry for my poor english~
Matsui Jurina-Kojima Haruna-Yuko Oshima

Offline junchan48

  • Love SHIPPING :D
  • Member+
  • Posts: 210
  • AzumaRion is Love <3
Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (13/?) [WMatsui] (24/01/16)
« Reply #331 on: January 24, 2016, 07:30:34 AM »
Finally. Someone gonna graduate T^T
Glad Rena can accept it, eventhough she need three weeks and a lot of lack of sleep to finally say 'I'll support you'.
Jurina~ You only have a little scene in this chapter, but you looks adorable>///<
And that little WMatsui scene>///<
Rena's project? CENTER? What is that???>o<
You surely know to hang up the story, author-san>o<

Thanks for updating this fic^o^/
Gonna wait the next one~
Newbie. Yoroshiku Oneigashimasu ^^

Offline sophcaro

  • Global Moderator
  • Member+
  • *
  • Posts: 312
  • Faithful WMatsui shipper
    • sophcaro
Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (13/?) [WMatsui] (24/01/16)
« Reply #332 on: January 25, 2016, 12:34:21 PM »
what is with the CENTER project?

Is Rena going to write a story about Jurina?

Rena's project? CENTER? What is that???>o<

Rena's "project" is something I mentionned casually at the very beginning of Partners ;)

Glad Rena can accept it, even though she needs three weeks and a lot of lack of sleep to finally say 'I'll support you'.

Rena is remembering her conversation with Airi in the restaurant. So those words (I'll support you) are those she told Airi during that time in the restaurant.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2016, 12:42:27 PM by sophcaro »
My WMatsui fanfics:

HEARTBEAT trilogy
- Heartbeat | Completed
- Partners | Completed
- Destiny | Completed

OTHER FANFICS
- Warriors | Ongoing
- Back in Time | Ongoing
- One Shot collection: Her Sun | Completed
- Fire and Water | On hiatus

Offline Minami-chan

  • Member+
  • Posts: 654
  • Still Love You
Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (13/?) [WMatsui] (24/01/16)
« Reply #333 on: January 26, 2016, 12:01:20 AM »
uuuuuuuuuuuuuuh!
CENTER!!
I love center character in Majisuka, especially in Majisuka 5!

Offline sophcaro

  • Global Moderator
  • Member+
  • *
  • Posts: 312
  • Faithful WMatsui shipper
    • sophcaro
Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (13/?) [WMatsui] (24/01/16)
« Reply #334 on: January 26, 2016, 01:04:25 AM »
uuuuuuuuuuuuuuh!
CENTER!!
I love center character in Majisuka, especially in Majisuka 5!

I'm afraid what Rena is writing has nothing to do with Majisuka Gakuen...  ;)
My WMatsui fanfics:

HEARTBEAT trilogy
- Heartbeat | Completed
- Partners | Completed
- Destiny | Completed

OTHER FANFICS
- Warriors | Ongoing
- Back in Time | Ongoing
- One Shot collection: Her Sun | Completed
- Fire and Water | On hiatus

Offline Minami-chan

  • Member+
  • Posts: 654
  • Still Love You
Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (13/?) [WMatsui] (24/01/16)
« Reply #335 on: January 30, 2016, 01:41:44 AM »
I thought so.
But I had to declare my "love" for Center in this saga (MG5)

Offline sophcaro

  • Global Moderator
  • Member+
  • *
  • Posts: 312
  • Faithful WMatsui shipper
    • sophcaro
Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (13/?) [WMatsui] (24/01/16)
« Reply #336 on: February 01, 2016, 03:40:55 PM »
I thought so.
But I had to declare my "love" for Center in this saga (MG5)

I will always have a soft spot for Center in MG2. Her relationship with Nezumi is one of the best things this show offered! Too bad there was absolutely not mention about it in MG4 and MG5...

Center in MG5 is fine, but her role is too small to really enjoy it. And season 5 was so... I have no words for it  :nervous Too much wasted potential.

Overall, I think MG2 will always be my favorite season.  ;)
My WMatsui fanfics:

HEARTBEAT trilogy
- Heartbeat | Completed
- Partners | Completed
- Destiny | Completed

OTHER FANFICS
- Warriors | Ongoing
- Back in Time | Ongoing
- One Shot collection: Her Sun | Completed
- Fire and Water | On hiatus

Offline Minami-chan

  • Member+
  • Posts: 654
  • Still Love You
Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (13/?) [WMatsui] (24/01/16)
« Reply #337 on: February 01, 2016, 06:56:46 PM »
I thought so.
But I had to declare my "love" for Center in this saga (MG5)

I will always have a soft spot for Center in MG2. Her relationship with Nezumi is one of the best things this show offered! Too bad there was absolutely not mention about it in MG4 and MG5...

Center in MG5 is fine, but her role is too small to really enjoy it. And season 5 was so... I have no words for it  :nervous Too much wasted potential.


Totally agree

Offline sophcaro

  • Global Moderator
  • Member+
  • *
  • Posts: 312
  • Faithful WMatsui shipper
    • sophcaro
Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (14/?) [WMatsui] (12/02/16)
« Reply #338 on: February 12, 2016, 04:06:51 PM »
CHAPTER 14



Some things never changed. That’s the thought that crossed Churi’s mind when she entered the dancing room that afternoon of late November 2015, and noticed Jurina teasing Ryoha endlessly. From a very young age, the young Matsui had always been a real flirt. Churi was pretty sure almost every girl in the group had fallen victim to this side of hers at one point or another. The first years, it was quite innocent. Then, Jurina’s words and touches grew bolder when she became a teenager, and got aware of her charms. And the effect she could have on people.

Some members didn’t like the attention, and did their best to avoid Jurina when she happened to be in a flirty mood. The young ace was anything but subtle about her intentions. You could see her coming miles around. Some other girls didn’t mind it. Churi suspected more than a few members enjoyed the attention they were getting. Jurina could be a real smooth talker when she wanted to, and her looks definitely appealed to a lot of girls. The young Matsui was becoming more and more beautiful as the years went by.

Churi understood perfectly well why some members even sought her attention. No matter how many people you were surrounded with, life in an idol group could get pretty lonely. Somehow, Jurina’s flirty side was a breath of fresh air for many girls. It eased the pressure constantly upon their shoulders, and brought them well-needed joy when times were hard.

Despite that, Churi was convinced Ryoha didn’t fall into that last category. The seventeen year old shy girl never complained about it. Yes, Churi sometimes saw her tentatively trying to break free when Jurina tried to pull her into a hug or kiss her, but never had she asked Jurina to stop. It was all the encouragement Jurina needed to continue. Not to mention, you could tell by Jurina’s mischievous expression that she enjoyed very much making Ryoha all flustered.

If truth be told, Churi strongly believed Jurina’s flirty attitude would fade when Rena and her started dating in January. She couldn’t have been more wrong. Jurina’s affectionate behavior with other members could still be witnessed on a daily basis, although it was not as strong as it used to be. Churi’s keen eyes did indeed notice the subtle but gradual changes.

It was a fact: Jurina flirted less in front of Rena. Moreover, she had stopped trying to steal kisses on other girls’ lips. It was a habit of hers that lasted for many years, but came to an halt at the beginning of 2015. Now, she only targeted the members’ cheeks.

Albeit the fact Churi did notice those changes, she wondered at first how Jurina’s - still active - flirty behavior would be received by Rena. After all, she had witnessed in front of her very own eyes the older Matsui’s jealous side. When she spoke about it with Jurina, the latter argued Rena was not the jealous type. Despite hearing loud and clear Jurina’s prompt denial, Churi had a few doubts about it. She recalled vividly Rena’s distant behavior with her when she believed wrongly that Jurina and her were dating. If she wasn’t jealous of their closeness at the time, then she surely was bothered by it. 

That’s why, a few months ago, Churi had watched in great interest the scene unfolding in front of her. Rena had entered the dressing room with Airi, and almost immediately set her eyes on Jurina who was flirting with Ryoha. Jurina had her back turned to the door and as a result not noticed Rena’s arrival, and placed a kiss soundly on the poor skittish girl’s cheek.

How was Rena going to react? Was she going to interrupt the moment in anger? Churi held her breath as she followed the moment in anticipation. She wouldn’t even blame Rena if she chose to reprimand her girlfriend. Churi almost choked on her water when she saw Rena’s lips curving up in a smile. Out of all the possibilities that crossed her mind, that reaction truly didn’t make the list. Rena wasn’t frustrated or mad. She was amused. Amused that Jurina was teasing another girl than her. How on earth was that possible?

Churi couldn’t believe her eyes. She didn’t know how long she looked back and forth between them to make sure she wasn’t imagining the whole thing. Rena had looked at Jurina for a few seconds, before taking a seat and focusing on her phone as if nothing happened. Churi did study the older Matsui’s features attentively. Somehow, she wanted to make sure she wasn’t hiding her discomfort behind a mask of indifference. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time she would do such a thing. No matter how good Rena had become at concealing her emotions, she could read her better after all these years.

No, Rena really didn’t mind Jurina’s actions. At all. Churi had to admit it took her quite some time to get used to Rena’s surprising reaction. Of course, Churi knew Jurina was only having fun and no taking any of this flirt thing seriously. After all the time spent by her side, she could now tell the difference. Still. She wasn’t sure she would have been as understanding as Rena if she found herself in her shoes.

To be honest, she still didn’t understand it completely. Today, Rena had entered the room, only to found Jurina teasing Ryoha again. And she didn’t seem to care much more than the first times it happened. As odd as Churi found Rena’s attitude, she progressively came to a realization. Churi was convinced Rena would have mentioned it to Jurina if her behavior bothered her. She also had no doubt Jurina would have stopped acting this way at once if Rena had asked her. The fact that she had not only meant one thing: Rena accepted Jurina for who she was.

Churi reflected on it while watching the two Matsui suddenly exchanging a smile across the room. In her eyes, there was no doubt how strongly they felt about each other. They had been blissfully happy for almost a year now. Churi was one of Jurina’s closest friends, and as a result the latter shared pretty much everything with her. Her relationship with Rena was no exception. Jurina didn’t mention a single fight or problem between them. Yes, she always missed her deeply when the older Matsui happened to be away but apart from that, there was no shadow on the horizon. Churi really hoped nothing would ever erase that bright smile upon Jurina’s lips.





Churi looked up from her phone when she felt a light tap on her shoulder. She was sitting in a corner of the dancing room - waiting for the coach to arrive - when she noticed Airi giving her a sheet. After a quick look at it, she discovered it were the lyrics for SKE’s next single. Churi wondered if it was going to be a upbeat song as usual. She truly didn’t mind it as she enjoyed energetic songs but somehow, she got the feeling by the lyrics that it was going to be a Christmas ballad.

Churi tore her eyes away from the paper, curious to hear Airi’s opinion about it. The latter had quietly taken a seat next to her, and was now focused on a sketch. Churi was not in the least surprised by her action. Each time Airi had the chance, she immerged herself in a drawing. However, Churi couldn’t help but wonder why Airi had been behaving a bit oddly these last weeks. It was very subtle and most members probably didn’t notice a thing. Of course, Churi was conscious that Airi’s new job for Weekly Shonen Jump was keeping her very busy. But her keen senses were telling her there was something more.

Until now, she had waited patiently for her to broach the subject, but Airi had not mentioned anything out of the ordinary during their conversations. Curiosity was really starting to get the best of her. She didn’t know how long she would be able to keep silent if Airi did not say what was obviously occupying her mind. Even though Airi was calm personified, her behavior was not fooling her at all. Airi was hiding something from her.

“Churi,” Airi’s voice pulled her out of her thoughts and she stared at her, startled. Never her friend had looked so serious, nor her voice been slightly unsteady. “Can we talk after today’s rehearsal? I have something to tell you.”

Churi had absolutely no idea what Airi wanted to tell her. Was it linked to her peculiar behavior these past weeks? Churi hoped so. She was so impatient to know more about it, that she had to refrain herself from asking her to spill the beans right here and now. Not to mention, Airi’s somewhat hesitant look was starting to worry her more than anything. Still, she kept her thoughts to herself and settled for a simple nod. “Alright.”





The twelve members stilled when the music came to an end, watching in expectation their dancing coach. They had been dancing for almost four hours nonstop on the music of their next single, and they were now waiting for their coach’s verdict. As it was a ballad, they didn’t have to dance as energetically as usual. However, the older woman was known to be a perfectionist. They simply knew she wouldn’t be entirely satisfied with them. Her next words confirmed their thoughts.

“This song is a ballad. Your moves need to be absolutely perfect, otherwise the slightest mistake will be noticed. Some of you still need to improve a lot,” the dancing coach affirmed, setting her eyes on a few members as she spoke. “But it will do for today.”

“Thank you,” the twelve girls said in unison, bowing to their professor respectfully. They were all conscious that the woman would go to great lengths to obtain entire satisfaction. And would not give up until she got it.

“We’ll work on your solo tomorrow, Jurina,” the dancing coach announced, looking at the young ace who was about to turn on her heels. “And congratulations.”

The eighteen year old girl nodded, returning the brief smile directed at her. Then, Jurina followed the other members to the dressing room, her thoughts going back to the incredible discovery she made a few hours ago. Their producer had done something completely unexpected. He had just given her her first solo in SKE48. And it was going to be a coupling song for their next single.

Jurina truly couldn’t believe it when the lyrics were placed in her hands early on. She had not seen it coming at all. Their producer usually informed her when he took a decision about her position in the 48group, or anything else regarding her job as an idol. This time, he had not warned her beforehand. What made him decide to offer her a solo after all these years? Why now? Jurina couldn’t fathom the reason behind the man’s action, but she couldn’t be more ecstatic.

Jurina would lie if she said she had not been waiting for it. When Rena got offered a solo, she couldn’t be happier for her. She was even one of the first to congratulate her. On the other hand, Rena did not particularly share her enthusiasm. If there was one thing the older Matsui dreaded above all, it was standing alone on stage. This solo definitely did not hold well with her shyness.

It didn’t matter how many times Rena stated she should have been the one to get that solo. Of course, the extrovert Jurina did not apprehend like her the exercise of being alone in front of people. But Kareha no Station was not meant for her. It was a beautiful, well-written ballad that suited the image Rena projected. No one else could have played the part and sang it better than her.

That is why Jurina expected her time to come soon after Rena’s solo. If Rena was offered a solo at such an early stage of the group’s creation, she had no doubt she would get one too. To her surprise, the years went by and she never did. Even though she failed to understand why, Jurina didn’t question once their producer about it. She was happy to pour everything she had on stage. She worked everyday very hard to master their song’s choreographies to the perfection. Her singing had its flaws, but she counterbalanced that fact with her energy and enthusiasm. If she was never going to have a solo, then so be it.





 

Jurina took a seat in the dressing room, her attention soon getting drawn to her backpack. Just before entering the dancing room for practice, she had slipped inside her bag the lyrics of her solo. Jurina was feeling a bit sweaty and knew she deserved a good shower after practicing their new song. A few members were already leaving the dressing room with fresh clothes in that intent. Despite that, she couldn’t resist taking another peek at the sheet. The temptation to read again those beautiful lyrics was too strong. If truth be told, she even had a bit of a hard time concentrating the first minutes of rehearsal. She couldn’t help thinking about those words.

Without a second of hesitation, Jurina pulled the paper out. Her eyes read first the title printed in bold letters: CENTER. Then, she went through the lyrics printed underneath. Albeit the fact she had read them twice already, her heart started beating faster and warmth spread through her chest instantly. Each word written, each feeling described. It was her.

Of course, she could sometimes identify with situations described in their songs. And in seven years, she sang hundreds of them. Even shed tears when some words hit close to home. But never a song had portrayed her so well. Right now, she didn’t need to look at her reflection in the mirror to know the deep emotion shining in her eyes. She could feel them moistening without her consent. This song was truly the best present she had received in years.

Jurina never doubted their producer’s ability to write good songs. After all, he had been doing it successively for the past ten years. However, she wasn’t in the least happy when she discovered the lyrics of her duet with Mayu, Rivalry. Yes, the music was catchy. The single even sold very well the following weeks of its release. However, the lyrics couldn’t be more far from the truth. Not a single word depicted accurately her relationship with Mayu.

This unexpected solo was the complete opposite. She wouldn’t change a single sentence or word. It was sheer perfection.

“Our producer outdid himself with this song,” Jurina murmured, overwhelmed by the beautiful lyrics she had just read. Her strengths and weaknesses. Her way of thinking. Her perception of the world. The words didn’t idealize her. They described who she truly was at her core. Jurina didn’t think their producer knew her so well. Yes, they spoke occasionally, and she was aware that he was somewhat fond of her. But this solo? It was as if he knew exactly what was going inside her head. How was that even possible?

Jurina turned to look at Churi who was sitting by her side, and frowned when she saw her eyes growing wide like saucers. What had triggered such an expression? Her incomprehension grew even more when her friend let out a short laugh.

“Are you serious?” Churi exclaimed in disbelief. Her eyes searched briefly Rena in the room - noticing her chatting with Airi a bit further away - until setting them on the confused girl in front of her. “Have you read the sheet properly?”

“What? Of course I have,” Jurina defended herself. “The lyrics are incredible. I don’t know about the music, but I can’t wait to s…”

Jurina was interrupted when Churi suddenly tapped repeatedly the left corner of the sheet with her index. Jurina was more than taken aback by her action, but took a curious look at what she was trying to show her. Her friend was pointing at two very small lines printed in the upper left corner of the paper.

“I can’t believe you didn’t notice,” Churi continued. This time, she couldn’t help but smile in amusement at Jurina’s reaction. Choc was now written all over her face. “Our producer didn’t write the lyrics of your solo.”





“Ten minutes? Thank you.”

Rena hang up and slid her phone back inside the pocket of her coat. Once the rehearsal was over she had taken a quick shower, and was now heading to a television studio for the recording of a thirty-minute show about mangas. While waiting for the taxi she had just booked to arrive, the older Matsui thought back to the dance practice.

A smile had fallen upon her lips when she heard the notes of their new single for the first time. The lyrics were nice, and it was an enchanting melody. It was due to be released just before Christmas, truly a perfect moment in Rena’s eyes. She had no doubt people were going to love it. If truth be told, she had also been a bit surprised. The group was known for its energetic side, and it was not so often that they sang ballads. It was even rarer for a ballad to be chosen as the side A of a new single. At best, it was a coupling song.

She also had to admit the slow rhythm suited better her non-athletic body. Of course, she had improved a lot on that aspect since her first arrival in the group. It’s not like she had a choice on that matter, anyway. SKE’s songs were physically demanding, and their dancing coach inflexible. Sometimes, Rena wasn’t sure who was more intransigent regarding their choreographies: their dancing coach or Jurina. The latter didn’t tolerate the slightest mistake either. Not only was she very hard on herself, she also made sure the other girls mastered their choreographies. It was not uncommon to see her help another member with her moves if she considered she didn’t know them well enough.

Nevertheless, Rena still couldn’t proclaim herself a sporty girl. Far from it. It was not that she did not enjoy dancing on those upbeat tunes. After all, Oki Doki was one of her favorite songs. And the joyful melody was pretty famous for being one of SKE’s most physically challenging songs. She sometimes even joked about it with Airi who always apprehended the immediate lack of energy that followed that particular song.

No, Rena was not afraid of a four-hour rehearsal anymore. Her body had gotten used to it overtime. Moreover, she knew how to preserve her strength effectively to not exhaust herself. It took her many years to find the right balance, but it was essential if she wished to survive in the idol group.

Rena really liked the new song, but something slightly bothered her: the composition of the senbatsu. Not many new girls were in it. In fact, it respected almost scrupulously the senbatsu of their previous single. Up to the position of each member. Maybe she shouldn’t be surprised. It had been this way from the start. SKE’s management rarely made bold decisions. When AKB changed the composition of their senbatsu quite frequently, SKE stuck to the same old one again and again.

To no one surprise, Jurina and her were still the double center. Rena couldn’t deny that there was a reassuring feeling to it. Each time she discovered she would be dancing by Jurina’s side again, she felt relieved. They worked well together on stage. Their moves always matched perfectly. In fact, they didn’t need anymore to rehearse a lot to be synchronized. It came naturally to them. Rena knew she could count on Jurina to handle the choreography. And the feeling was mutual.

Rena remembered hearing a few members voicing their concern when they happened to change positions. It was always disconcerting when a member had to suddenly change position for a song. The poor girl lost her regular landmark, and had to adjust very quickly to a new one. It could lead to confusion and mistakes. They were all professionals, but not infallible. That is why a change of position was sometimes welcomed, but always apprehended. It could give the opportunity for a girl to be more at the front, but it also required of her to be more attentive. Thankfully, Rena didn’t have to worry about that. Just like Jurina was the eternal center of SKE, her position was set in stone by her side.

But what about SKE’s future? She did not agree with SKE’s management’s choices. Their reluctance to include fresh blood was nothing but a mistake in her eyes. What was going to happen to the group once Jurina and her would be gone? Will SKE be able to survive the departure of its figureheads? Rena wanted to believe that they were not irreplaceable, but SKE’s management was not leaving the opportunity for other girls to shine.





Rena turned on her heels when she heard a familiar voice calling her name. A smile immediately plastered her face at the view of Jurina approaching, until it vanished when she noticed the baffled look she was giving her. Just as she was about to interrogate her about it, Jurina spoke up in a feeble murmur.

“You wrote me a song.”

Rena wanted to laugh. She finally realized it. When they entered the dancing room early on and the young Matsui did not say a word to her about it, it was not hard to guess she had not read the paper in its integrality. At some point, Rena had thought of broaching the subject, until refraining from doing so. The rehearsal was about to begin, and Jurina would realize it soon or later anyway. Not to mention, she was not aware herself that their producer would include her solo in their next single. It had taken her by complete surprise.

“I did,” Rena confirmed. Her smile broadened when Jurina was still staring at her in utter perplexity a few seconds later. It was not every day you could render Jurina Matsui completely speechless. The sight was very entertaining. As a result, she couldn’t help but tease her a bit. “Don’t tell me you hate it.” 

Rena was caught off guard when Jurina reduced the distance and wrapped her arms around her neck. Soft lips brushed her skin, and a kiss was placed on her cheek. “Idiot. You know I love it.”

The older Matsui didn’t miss the slight tremble in the young girl’s voice, clear evidence of her emotional state. With one arm she circled Jurina’s waist, while she caressed the back of her head. “I’m glad.”

“Why did you do this for me?” Jurina asked after a little while, disentangling herself to look at her.

Rena wasn’t surprised when she noticed a few silent tears, and she wiped them off Jurina’s cheeks carefully, before taking her hand and giving it a light squeeze. The young girl immediately intertwined their fingers together. “Don’t you remember? A few months ago, I told you I wanted to write a song for SKE48.”

Rena guessed by Jurina’s bewilderment that she absolutely did not recall this particular conversation. To be honest, she did not blame her. She had said those words very casually in the train that led them to Tokyo. That day, Jurina was so frustrated by the improbable lyrics of Rivalry that she had a hard time memorizing them. Rena had agreed they didn’t reflect the true nature of her relationship with Mayu, before declaring she would one day write a song of her own.

“A month ago, I went to see our producer with the song I had written. I didn’t know how my request would be received. I knew my action to be quite bold, but I didn’t want to give up without trying,” Rena explained. She paused, watching Jurina attentively. Her silence and intense expression told her that she was waiting eagerly for her next words. She complied to her unvoiced request willingly.

“At first, he didn’t even speak much. He merely accepted the sheet and read the lyrics in front of me. When, a few seconds later, he placed the sheet back on the table without saying a word, I was convinced he would refuse. I could see no emotion whatsoever on his face. To my surprise, he accepted.”

“Our producer has always been a man very hard to decipher,” Jurina conceded. “But if you wanted to write a song about the group, why did it become a solo for me?”

“I don’t know,” Rena admitted. “I guess my initial intention changed along the way. Plus, in a sense, I’m still writing about SKE. You’re part of it, aren’t you?”

Jurina giggled at the light teasing she could discern in Rena’s tone. Maybe she would never understand what prompted Rena to write such a beautiful song for her, but one thing was certain: she was going to treasure this precious gift.

Jurina couldn’t help but wrap her arms around Rena’s neck again, the gesture making the other girl laugh. Her eyes shut when she felt the older Matsui embracing her in return. She let out a soft sigh, relishing their closeness. It didn’t take long before her thoughts went back to the lyrics of the song, still moved by the beautiful present Rena had just given her.

“You deserve it, Jurina,” Rena whispered.

Rena’s sweet voice was all it took for her to shed a few more tears.





TO BE CONTINUED
« Last Edit: January 18, 2017, 03:28:02 PM by sophcaro »
My WMatsui fanfics:

HEARTBEAT trilogy
- Heartbeat | Completed
- Partners | Completed
- Destiny | Completed

OTHER FANFICS
- Warriors | Ongoing
- Back in Time | Ongoing
- One Shot collection: Her Sun | Completed
- Fire and Water | On hiatus

Offline Minami-chan

  • Member+
  • Posts: 654
  • Still Love You
Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (14/?) [WMatsui] (12/02/16)
« Reply #339 on: February 12, 2016, 11:24:54 PM »
How nice !!
I not remember the song of Rivalry from Mayu and Jurina ...
I think I should re-read the fanfic!

JPHiP Radio (28/200 @ 128 kbs)     Now playing: Shiina Ringo - Futaribocchi Jikan