“Well, here we are,” I say, turning the engine off after parking neatly into my private spot. Kuv’s taken her own car to pick up Bolin, having decided that if I get to bring someone, then she does too.
“She really is beautiful,” Asami grins, stroking a palm across the hood.
“Yeah. Guess so,” I say, pressing a button on my key fob, the car responding with a loud click as her locks engage. I know that I’m being a little curt with Asami, and that I have been ever since we left Kai’s - it’s like some sort of defence mechanism I can seem to shut down. I guess I’m just scared that I could fall for her, and then get my heart broken.
I’ll just maintain a healthy distance, help her as a friend, keep it neutral, and, most importantly of all, keep my cool.
“Are you… okay? You’ve seemed a little upset since I got the job. I thought you’d be happy,” Asami says. I guess she can tell I’m acting a little strange, then. Figures, she’s sharp as a needle.
“Oh, nah, everything’s great. Just thinking about today’s shoot and trying to get into character,” I hope the lie convinces her, although my voice was probably higher pitched than it should have been.
“Korra! You made it!” Jinora places her coffee onto a nearby shelf and runs to greet me, throwing her arms around me in a tight hug.
“Hey, Jinny. This is Asami, she’s gonna watch me in action today – hope that’s okay?”
“More than! I’m afraid you’ll have to sign a confidentiality clause though, miss…?”
“Sato. Pleased to meet you,” Asami stretches out a hand, and the two smile warmly in greeting.
“Sa-to. Hmmm. Oh, THE Sato?” Jinora’s eyes widen, and Asami clenches one hand at her own sleeve, “That’s awesome! I bet you have some stories to tell – let’s grab a coffee sometime.” Asami’s eyes light up at the words, and she grins widely. Jinora leads her to the office to sort out the paperwork, jabbering excitedly as they walk. I smile at the sight - it looks like these two will become fast friends.
I’m impressed by the attention to detail on the set. This scene takes place in an abandoned, futuristic warehouse, with most of the roof destroyed and golden - albeit artificial - sunlight streaming down. There’s aluminium crates and barrels with high tech mumbo jumbo scrawled on them, and half-destroyed droids and drones scattered around. I’ll have to be careful that I don’t trip up over any of the spare parts – shouldn’t be too difficult.
I turn to face Kuv, adjusting my awesome high-tech space cloak behind my shoulder, and grin. “Ready for this?”
“Oh, I’m ready. This is gonna be fun,” she says with a laugh, then picks up a silver-bladed sword and adjusts herself into a defensive stance, whilst I move over slightly so that I’m off-camera.
“And… action!” Tenzin’s voice booms from the megaphone.
I spring into the scene, clashing my sword against Kuv’s – or should I say, Rayne’s. They’re only props, of course, and half the battle is making them look heavier than they actually are. Oh yeah, this movie is set in the future, but high tech weaponry has been abolished, and so people have to fight with melee weapons only – or their fists. I think it’s a cool idea, I’m sick of seeing guns and explosions all the time.
Kuv grunts loudly as she throws an exaggerated swing, which I leap back from. I’ll never quite get used to her wearing that bright red wig, though I have to say I respect the make-up team because it sure as hell looks natural. The contacts that make her eyes glow purple, however, not so much.
I parry the next blow, like I’m supposed to, and trip Rayne up. There’s certain parts that we could use a stunt double for, but both Kuv and I have agreed that we like to do the fights ourselves. We both enjoy playing our parts to the full, and the script and story so far have been extremely enjoyable.
“He died because of you!” I scream, hurling my sword to one side then straddling her on the ground.
We’re at the part where our would-be-lovers are having a little bit of a falling out. And by little, I mean huge and possibly even deadly. My character – Dainya – temporarily blames Rayne for her brother’s death. I need to convey anger, but also disappointment since she’s so smitten with Rayne by now. Technically, it’s not Rayne’s fault, and I have to act like I subconsciously know it.
I hold Rayne down by the shoulders, my anger dispersing as tears spill onto her face in small droplets. She stops struggling, and tears form at her eyes, too. Kuv always was good at crying on demand, but it took me a while to learn the trick. I find thinking about poor, little staving kittens helps, although for this character it kind of comes naturally.
“I’m sorry… I was just trying to help… I’m so sorry…” Rayne half-whispers the words, and I try to ignore the massive microphone in my peripheral vision.
“He’s gone… I have no one now,” I croak, pushing down against her shoulders, shoving myself back to my feet.
“You… you have me,” Rayne says, standing to her feet, “I know you don’t want that, I know you blame me… but I’m here anyway.” She slowly approaches me, and places a hand to my cheek.
“It’s... it’s not your fault. I shouldn’t have said that. I’m so sorry, Ray,” I say, throwing my arms around her, crying on her shoulder, “I’m just so lost. I’m so lost…” I sob.
“Shhh, it’s okay. I’m here,” she says, stroking a hand through my hair.
Our characters haven’t kissed yet, and whilst Kuv and I have joked about it off-stage, I’m still a little nervous. I’m even more nervous at the fact that Asami’s watching this, though heaven knows there’s no point in trying to impress her.
Well, here we go. This has to look convincing - it’s a powerful, emotionally charged script, and these two are supposed to have fallen in love by now. I tilt my head to the side, and Rayne wipes tears from my eyes with her thumb. There’s the briefest moment where I almost burst into laughter – this is Kuv, after all – but before I can break character, her lips are on mine, kissing me fiercely.
Damn, she’s good at this. I find myself lost in the moment, going fully into character, trying to convey how Dainya feels. Without meaning to, I suddenly think about Asami. With my eyes closed it’s so easy to pretend that this is her, these are her lips, and this is her hair I’m sliding my fingers into. I moan quietly as her tongue flickers against mine, then kiss her upper lip as we break apart.
“Cut! Fantastic! Amazing! DONE IN ONE TAKE!” Tenzin paces around excitedly, fist-pumping in the air. He’s such a dork sometimes, but we all love him for it.
“Wow. What got into you?” Kuvira grins, and starts to unpin her wig, “I’m half-tempted to ask Tenzin for a retake!” she exclaims, chuckling throatily.
“Oh shut up,” I say, swatting at her, “I’m just a brilliant actor and you know it.”
“Suuuure. More like you got a little motivation from your special friend over there, I bet., Kuvira purrs, “I mean, I can see Bolin enjoyed the show!” she grins as we head over towards them. He’s sat there, red faced, with a cushion over his lap. Sometimes I’m glad I’m not a man, I mean, stuff like that must be so embarrassing. Then again they don’t have the monthlies. Hmm, tough call.
Kuv grabs Bolin by the arm and drags him to her private van for a post-shoot conversation, and I pick up an iced coffee and small towel, throwing it around my shoulders before heading to Asami.
“That was some impressive…” Asami coughs, her cheeks reddening, “acting. Do you always get that… um… into it?”
“All part of the job,” I sigh, gulping down my cool beverage, “Did you want one?”
“I’m good, thanks - I just had some water. You both looked great out there. I especially liked how your arms tensed up as you fought, and how the light literally glistened against your muscles…” Asami seems to purr the words, though I’m quite sure she can’t be flirting. I’m not Kai. I don’t have cute facial hair, nor do I own a computer repair shop.
“Yeah, okay,” I mutter, absent-mindedly. She’s moving into Kai’s tomorrow. Hell, she might as well do it tonight. “We should stop by your boyfriends. I’m sure he has your room ready by now,” I say, sounding more bitter than I expected to. I guess I’m just surprised by how painful it is to even speak to Asami at the moment.
“Boyfriend? Who, Kai?” Asami tilts her head, looking genuinely confused.
“Well yeah, I’m guessing that’s where it’s going. You were certainly enjoying his company earlier,” I say, scrunching up my empty plastic cup and hurling into the bin. Damn it, now I’m angry, and it isn’t fair of me, I know. I’m being horrible to her for no reason, and I bet it’s the last thing she needs.
“Are you jealous? Korra, it’s not like that at all,” she says, standing to her feet and raising an eyebrow incredulously.
I feel a little relieved at the words, though far from convinced. “Well, I thought you liked him, you sounded like you were getting on really well and-“
“Are you kidding? Granted, it’s impressive that he owns his own store… but he’s nineteen! And besides, I’m more of a…” she pauses to smirk at me, and folds her arms, “let’s just say, a woman’s woman.”
“Oh.” It’s a simple response, and neatly masks the butterflies that are suddenly swarming in the pit of my stomach. I’m such a fucking idiot.
“I mean, I’ve had boyfriends, but it’s just not the same,” Asami continues.
Well, needless to say I wasn’t expecting any of this. I’ve gone from upset, jealous and angry to nervous and excited in the space of two minutes. “I uh… I like girls, too.” Especially girls that happen to be you. I turn away, avoiding her gaze. It’s probably best if I don’t voice that part.
“How about after I get my first pay cheque, I take you out for lunch?” she asks. I’ve never swerved my head so quickly, looking back at her, my eyes wide. She’s positively beaming at me, and I think it’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.
“You mean on a… um…” is this happening? I could swear I’ve never felt this nervous before. I can’t even finish my sentence.
“A date. But if you’re not interested, I’m sure Kai would be,” Asami says, smirking. She’s playing with me! I don’t believe it, here I am, barely able to mutter a word, and she’s just… she’s just… amazing.
“Yes. I mean no, not Kai. Me. A date with me. That would be nice.”
Asami bursts into laughter at my terribly-constructed sentence, and I can’t help but join in, feeling immensely better after laughing some of my nervous energy away. I feel a gentle shiver run up my body as she hooks her arm into mine, and we walk out of the studio, headed back to my place for what hopefully isn’t our last night together.