Nineteen-year-old Tomoyo Daidouji stared at the huge painting that was placed prominently among the other paintings in the one-man exhibit her editor asked her to cover for the Lifestyle section of a daily newspaper.She works there as a photojournalist.
She fixed her dark shades again as she examined the work in front of her."He really is a good artist."she murmured under her breath.But she had always knew from the start that fact.She believed in him right from the time the canvas was still blank.Even when she sat in front of him for hours wearing almost nothing,she trusted him.
"I want that one!"a stout old lady dressed in a gown which Tomoyo thought will pay for her half-year salary,pointed to the painting she was looking at.
"I'm sorry,Madame Garlson,but that is not for sale.But I do have some other paintings you can purchase-"
"I said I want that one!How much do you want me to pay for it anyway?"asked the woman,getting right down to business.
"It is not for sale."the artist said firmly.
"Half a million dollars?"
He shook his head.
"Two?Three?"the lady pressed.
"Let's stop this foolishness,Madam!I will not sell my most important work at any price."he said.
The woman,clearly embarrased,sneered."Oh well!Why should I bother with the work of an unknown artist?"She left the gallery with a sniff.
He stood in front of his painting-the work that dazzled thousands of people for its simple beauty and poetic grace.The woman in the painting wearing a gauzy fabric that silhoutted the perfect shape of the body of the violet-eyed raven-haired lass.
Buyers left and right rushed to him to buy this piece,but his answer is always in two letters.
"Never.This is the only memory of my beloved."Certainly,no money can ever name the value of this work.
Tomoyo watched in dismay as the artist touched the painting gently as if he was caressing the real flesh of the woman instead of just lifeless paper.She felt her cheeks redden."Will you stop that Eriol!"she hissed.
Eriol stopped.This can't be!After hundreds of days imagining her voice and her face,the I-miss-her-so-much syndrome is at it again!
"Well?"she asked testily.
He slowly turned around.Holy cow!Tomoyo Daidouji is standing right beside him..FOR REAL!"T-Tomoyo!"
She forced herself to look poker-faced."Hello."Thank God she was wearing her ultra-heavily tinted shades!At least,he won't see how her eyes were shining right now.
For a moment,he was just speechlessly staring at her,then he spoke up."Where have you been all these months Tomoyo?"He took a step forward,but she backed away.
"Let me explain!"he pleaded.
"No need.I came here not to listen to your explanations but to cover this event."she showed him her camera.
He winced."Can't you ever forgive me,Tomoyo?I regretted what I did to you whole-heartedly.God,if only I could take back what happened,I will!Tomoyo,please!"
His deep remorse was eroding Tomoyo's strength.She turned back."I got the pictures I need,so I better get going,Mr.Hiragizawa."
"Great exhibit!"She walked away,her heels clicking noisily.
She bit her lip to keep herself from crying."Goodbye."She walked away briskly.She cursed herself silently.How could she be so weak?She thought awhile ago that she's mature enough to handle her "juvenile" emotions.Eriol is only a thing in the past,but..
She opened the door of her car and stuck her car key.The engine roared to life for a moment,but then went silent again.She tried again,but the same thing happened.She tried again and again,but to no avail.
"Of all the days for my car to throw a tantrum!"She exhaustedly laid her head on the steering wheel.This was one of the days she wished she was back in the luxurious Daidouji mansion,surrounded by her maids and helpers who will come at once in one call.
Suddenly someone knocked on the window.She looked up and saw Eriol gesturing to the engine.She rolled her window up.
"I'll fix it.Open the trunk and hand me the tools."he ordered.
She did as told and handed him what he needed."Here."
As he took it,their fingertips suddenly touched,sending jolts of electricity up and down their spines.
Eriol calmly put the tool box down and cupped her face."I certainly hope you would not run away from me now."
Her pulse quickened."Please don't.."she exhaled when she felt the back of his palm caressing her silky-smooth cheek.
He smiled."Your cheeks are glowing like two red roses,just like before."
"That was because of the brandy you made me drink before you painted me!"
"I don't see any brandy now."He traced the curves of her delicately lovely face."But I can still vividly remember how I wanted to kiss you badly then.You looked so heartbreakingly beautiful back then..those wide-eyed innocent lilac eyes and at the same time the seductive smile on your lips.You tested my self-control back then,cherie."
"You threw me out of your room!"
"Do you rather have me commit rape then?"
Her eyes flashed."How dare you!"
He leaned to her ear."But you know what?You just got rid of the last ounce of self-control I have now."He tipped her chin up and slowly brought his mouth down to hers.
She shut her eyes helplessly as she waited for his lips in quiet eagerness.She slowly felt herself transported into time when all of these began.
One year ago.