“OK! That’s a wrap! Pack it up!”
The cameras stopped rolling and everyone relaxed, letting out a collective sigh of relief.They had been re-filming the final scene for ‘Brycen-Man Strikes Back Harder‘ all day, and everyone looked collectively exhausted.
The director took the microphone from his assistant. “I think we've got it done right this time, well done everybody!”
A collective cheer went up and everyone applauded before straying off to do their jobs and prepare the film for the public release. One of the stars of the movie leant over and pressed her palms onto her knees before walking over to the chairs and promptly collapsing.
The blonde assistant director came over and offered her a glass of water. “You did amazing Mei. I won’t be surprised if you win an award for your acting in the film.”
The brunette looked up at the assistant director, her blue eyes wide. “You think?”
“I think, yeah.”
Mei giggled and sipped her water again, draining the glass until it was dry. “Ah, I’m going to have to do all this publicity stuff again, aren't I?”
Julie, the AD, looked apologetic. “Unfortunately. The Brycen-Man and Riolu Girl series is one of the biggest money-making series on the planet. Since you play Riolu Girl, you’re a massive A-list star.”
Mei sighed and looked up. Julie saw the tiredness that swam in her deep blue eyes. “You’d think with all this publicity I get, being a major film star, I’d be used to it. But I can never get used to the fact that I’m an international celebrity, someone little girls idolize and want to grow up to be like. One that is always on the front of magazine covers with headlines like ‘Superstar Mei seen with Former Champion Alder’s Grandson Benga’, even though we were only out as friends.”
Julie knew the star was young, only sixteen, and being a major superstar took a toll on her. Julie also knew that Mei had tried escaping the paparazzi by going on holiday without any notice, but her location had always been discovered after a day or two.
Mei stood up, her long brunette hair clinging to her forehead. “ I'm going to go and clean up in my dressing room,” she said tiredly. “I can’t go out looking like this.”
The brunette plodded out of the studio, turning left and walking up the stairs and along the upper hallway. At the end of the hallway was the dressing room she had received once she had completed the original Brycen-Man trilogy. The guard who had stood outside before it belonged to her had always called her a brat, but now that that she owned the dressing room, he had to show her respect—even if it grudging and small.
He looked up as she passed, letting off a small, almost indiscernible nod. Mei slipped into the dressing room, walking over and collapsing into the couch which was on the opposite side of the room.
One of Mei’s make-up artists, a petite blonde young girl called Lila appeared from behind the small wall which housed the alcove in which the makeup desk was in. “Eiz everyzing alright Mizz?” She asked politely, her voice hinting at a German accent similar to one of the directors the brunette worked with.
“I’m good thank you, Lila.” She half-smiled and let her head drop onto the cushions.
“Mizz, I will get you a drink,” Lila replied with determination. She disappeared round the wall before reappearing with two plastic bottles. She walked over and passed one to the tired actor. “Drink, mizz. Drink.” She took a sip from her bottle before putting it on the table. “Mizz, there’s a reporter from die PokéStar magazine in da lobby. You have an interview witz him in zehn minutez”
Mei puffed out her lip and sighed, making her hair flutter lightly. “So you’re asking if you can do my makeup?”
“Alright Lila. Make me look nice then.” Mei pushed herself off the sofa and walked over the makeup alcove, sitting down on the stool which faced the mirror.
Lila draped an outfit over the nearby rack—a cute denim mini-skirt with a white t-shirt and sleeveless denim jacket, black tights and blue pumps. “Alrightz, mizz. Pleaze go change into zis outfit.”
Mei took the outfit by the hangar, draping the tights over one arm and holding the shoes in the other before disappearing to change behind the clothes rack. One thing they had seemed to forgotten when building was an additional smaller room for changing.
After three minutes she had changed, and after seven Lila had done her makeup. She hadn't needed much since it was only an interview, not a movie scene.
“You have beautiful skin,” Lila praised as she did the young star’s makeup. “So radiant!”
Lila added a new coat of mascara to the brunette’s long lashes, and put a pale, berry-coloured gloss on her lips. There was a knock on the door after she finished applying a small amount of eyeshadow.
“Let him in!” Mei called to the guard on the outside of the door. She rushed over to the couch and tried to make herself look as nonchalant as possible, her untied hair falling down her back in gentle waves.
A middle-aged man walked in and grasped Mei’s slender hand, shaking it eagerly. “It’s a big pleasure, Miss Shiro. I’m such a fan of your movies.”
Mei smiled back politely. “I’m so glad you like my movies, Mr . . .?”
“Jack Whitman,” the reporter replied eagerly.
“Well then Jack, should we get on with the interviews?” Mei gestured to the couch and they both sat down.
Jack took out a camera, notepad and recorder from the bag he brought with him. He flipped the notebook and read the first question off the page. “Well, Mei, we all know you’re one of the biggest stars on the planet. What are your feelings on this?”
Mei laughed. This was a usual, so she didn't have to think about an answer. “Oh, I can never get used to it,” she replied smoothly. “It’s all very busy—I have a hectic work schedule, and when I have time off, I can’t even go anywhere without a fan recognizing me—even if I'm in disguise."
Jack nodded, wasting no time firing another question at the young star. “So, we know you were working with Brycen on your latest movie, which brings us to ask . . . are you currently in a relationship?”
Mei laughed again, but a little uneasily. “I thought you were going to ask if Brycen and I were dating then!” She paused, fingers taping her lip. “And no—I’m not currently dating anyone.”
The reporter frowned. “That’s such a pity. I would've expected a young, pretty girl like you to have replacement boyfriends lined up around the block!”
Mei raised a petite eyebrow. “I don’t date anyone, you know. I’ll date someone I like, not someone who’ll boost my celebrity status or just looks cute.”
Mr. Whitman nods. “That’s such a sensible thought. You’re very mature for someone so young.”
“Thanks.” Mei beamed at the compliment.
“All right, next question . . .”
The two fell into a circle of question-answer-question-answer. Halfway through the interview, a boy Mei's age with navy blue hair like a quilfish walked through the door, obviously let through by the guard due to the fact he was a frequent visitor.
Lila saw him and rushed toward him, hissing shh! when he called out a loud hello. But the damage was down, and Mei looked up, smiling. She raised a hand and waved him over.
“This is one of my very best friends,” she explained, gesturing to Hyuu. “Hyuu, This is Jack Whitman from PokéStar.”
Hyuu sat himself in between Mei and the reporter, and gave the reporter a cold look before shaking his hand. “Nice to meet you.”
Mr. Whitman raised his head. “So you’re definitely not dating anyone?” He asked, eyes darting to Hyuu.
“Nope,” Mei replied firmly, picking up on his silent question. “Just friends."
Hyuu passed Mei the paper bag he had a bought and she opened it up. The smell of fresh hot food drifted across the room, and Mei’s eyes sparkled. “Mmm, I’m starving,” she complained before taking the bag off the navy-haired boy. “But if you want gossip, Mr. Whitman, you can say I’m going to the movie premiere with Hyuu here.”
“I am?” Hyuu echoed. “Are you sure? Wouldn't it be best to go with one of those A-List actors you perform with?”
“But I know you,” Mei replied. “. . . Unless you don’t want to come?”
Hyuu shrugged, trying his best to casual and cool. “Yeah, it’d be fun right? We’d go as friends.”
“As friends.” The PokéStar reporter repeated flatly. He wouldn't get good gossip out of this.
For the next half-hour, the magazine reporter quizzed Mei—and sometimes Hugh—on different questions. “What was your favourite movie which you acted in?” He asked one time.
Mei bit her lip. “My favourite movie . . . It was probably ‘Die Pforten des Zauberreichs 3’—Mystery Doors of the Magical Land 3: Open a Door. I loved the character I played—the princess—and seeing how she ultimately develops from a spoiled child to a young, independent woman. Plus, I loved how they did my hair in those ringlets. I thought it looked really pretty. Sabrina also played an amazing Bellbella—it was her debut series and I think she was perfect for the role.”
As soon as Mei finished, Hyuu started talking. “My favourite movie series are either ‘Invaders’ or ‘Ghost Eraser’. ‘Invaders: Humanity’s Ultimate Struggle’ is really good.”
“Those three films all star me as the protagonist,” Mei pointed out.
“A lot of films feature you as the protagonist. I liked them because of their plotline and uniqueness.” He argued.
The look on Mei’s face said she didn’t agree, but she didn’t exactly protest against it either.
The reporter smiled at the duo on the sofa, finished his interview and packed up his things and left. Hyuu left shortly after, with an excuse about going to compete in the Pokemon World Tournament. Soon it was just Mei and Lila.
“Lil, you’re okay on your own, aren’t you?” Mei gazed inquisitively at the younger adult. “I’m going to pop out to Nimbasa City.”
“Go mizz. I’ll be fine.”
After riding the Ferris Wheel - twice - Mei finally got off. Preparing to leave, she walked along the path by the rim of the trees. Before she could get far, her foot hit something and sent her stumbling. Once she regained her balance, she searched around in the shadows for what had tripped her, and once found, she held it to the light.
An Xtransceiver. A slightly older one, but still one nonetheless. Mei would be devastated if she lost hers, so she could only imagine the despair of the lost item’s owner. Then to her surprise, it started ringing. Pressing one of the buttons on the side, she held it away from her face.
“Um . . . Hello?”
“Hi? Is this your Xtransceiver by any chance?
“Yes. That's right. I'm the owner of that Xtransceiver. I'm using an old Xtransceiver right now, so it's audio only. Sorry. Thank you for finding it. Truth is, I want to come pick it up right away, but… Right now I'm very busy with work, and I'm not in a place where I can stop and come get it. If you don't mind, could you hang on to it for a little bit?"
Mei bit her lip. It’s not like she was not busy at all—she probably had a busier life than the person over the phone. “Yeah, all right.”
"Really? You don't mind? Thank you so much. My name's Cr . . . Er . . . sorry . . . Tetsu. And you are?"
Mei hadn't thought about that. If she told the listener her real name, that might end up in an awkward situation. “My name is . . . Shiro.”
“Shiro? OK. When work calms down, I'll come pick it up, so please take care of it for me! Also… I'm sure you'll want to keep in touch until I can pick up my Xtransceiver. So I'll call your Xtransceiver often. Bye, then. Thanks again."
Shiro? Shiro? Great, now she had the same first name as her last name. Shiro Shiro. Ha, great. Mei mentally slapped herself. “Of course,” she replied sweetly before cutting the line.