Advanced Happy Hearts Day! Since FF.net will be down on the actual date, I presented my E+T Valentine gift early. I hope you like it!
Sixteen-year-old Daidouji Tomoyo slid the library door open then shut it, sighing. Arranging her things, she fixed her backpack over her shoulders and headed for the dimly-lit area of the library.
She sat down glumly on one of the seats then scanned the books on the shelves. Romance Novels. Underneath were Teen Novels. Adult Romance. Gay Love. Straight Love. Forbidden Love. Puppy Love. Eternal Love.
"Rub it in my face, will you?" she told the books, confident that she was alone in the library. After all, it was the evening of the Valentine promenade in school, and anybody whose somebody would be in there dancing with everybody else, and pretty much nobody was left out.
"This is voluntary exclusion anyway," she told herself consolingly.
"Want to know why I'm not in there when every testosterone-filled creatures in this damn campus would die just to dance with me?" she asked the books, her maimed but attentive audience. "Well you see, there is one guy whom I like to bring to the dance floor with me, but I cannot muster the guts to do that because whenever I approach him, he always has an excuse to avoid me!"
In her mind flashed the image of her senior student librarian. Actually, he was the same age as her, but he was accelerated twice, so he was already a graduating student in senior high while she was still a freshman.
She sighed when she remembered how she tried dropping hints to him about the dance once or twice this week, but he would always get away from her.
"Oh look, there are some lost books in there. I gotta go and return them."
"I need to go, and, um, dust the books."
Twice was enough for her ego. So needless to say, she stopped.
And now, it was the night of the prom and here she was, dateless Daidouji Tomoyo sitting all by herself in the library, talking to the books.
"You guys are sure lucky," she told the books. "You don't have to look pretty or to seduce him to catch his heart. As for me… "
Why did she have to like someone whose passion is owned exclusively by books? A bibliophile who was sensitive enough to understand the thoughts of hundreds of writers, but couldn't feel the thoughts of the people near him?
"It's unfair!" she cried. "Why am I getting jealous of Noah Webster, Mr. Britannica, and their associates? I'm mad! I'm insane! I'm a lunatic! The next thing I know, I might be on the roof of the library, howling to the moon!"
"Goodness! And I thought the books were already talking!" said a voice from behind. Tomoyo nearly fell from her seat. She turned around and saw Senior Student Librarian Hiiragizawa Eriol gazing at her, forehead creased in concern.
Her face flushed. "Eh?"
"What were you just doing, Daidouji-san?" he asked, his mouth twitching.
She smiled, embarrassed. Her classmates often tease her because the senior librarian refers to her with –san suffix, when it should be –kun, since he was her senpai. But Eriol told her that he had already gotten used to calling her that way ever since elementary school.
"I reckon that it wasn't the Gettysburg Address," said Eriol, sitting down in front of her. "It's the night of the prom. Why are you here all by yourself when you should be there dancing?"
"Speak for yourself," she said, tossing her glossy hair over her shoulders. Thank God for the good ol' Daidouji poise. "Why are you here, Hiiragizawa-kun?"
"I'm the librarian. I work here," he said.
"Eh? But the door was locked awhile ago…"
"Just to be sure that no lovers would use this sacred place to do hanky-panky." He shrugged. "It's Valentines Day, you know."
"I see." Tomoyo was also a librarian here too – a junior librarian under Eriol – so she had the key to the library too.
"I'm fixing the card catalog because we acquired new books just recently. Want to help?" he asked.
She nodded. Anything was better than letting out steam at the poor books who couldn't defend themselves against her.
"So this is a Chinese cuisine book," said Tomoyo, reading the teaser. "Maybe I'll lend this to Sakura-chan once she gets back from her vacation."
"She wouldn't need that, because by then, Meiling-san may have taught her already the tips and tricks of the trade," said Eriol as he noted something in the card catalog.
"Hmm? How about this one? A Thousand and One Arabian Nights…modern version. See Alladin live in the city of New York and meet the President of US' daughter."
"Yamazaki would like that."
Tomoyo picked up another book. "How about this one? A dance instruction book?"
Eriol shrugged. "I don't think any of my acquaintances would read that."
"I would," she said. "I would like to learn." She leafed through the pages. "Ah, here's one dance step." She stood up, holding the book awkwardly. She held out her arm to an invisible partner and pretended to dance cheek-to-cheek with him. "Tan, tanan, tanananan.." she hummed in tango style.
He couldn't help but smile. "Stop acting silly, Daidouji-san."
"I can afford to be silly even just for a night. It's Valentines, after all." She pretended to be swung around, and she loved the way her skirts fluttered perfectly with her steps. "Tsaraaan!"
He stood up. "You're right. The library is ours for the night. Let's dance."
The ever-serious Hiiragizawa Eriol with smiles that come rarer than Halley Comets would dance…with me?
She didn't have the chance to think anymore because he had already placed his hand on her waist.
"Do the tango with me," he whispered huskily.
And you know what? She nearly fainted right there and then in his arms!
Daidouji Poise! God, Tomoyo have mercy on your pride!
So despite her overwhelming feeling of nervousness, she smiled at him confidently. "Do the tango we shall."
As Tomoyo began to hum the tango, Eriol had to fight the urge not to push her away.
No it's not disgust of her. (A beauty such as hers to find disgusting is outrageous!)
It's disgust of himself. Because after the countless times he tried to avoid female contact, here he was, initiating intimate physical contact!
What if I suddenly lose my control and kiss her? Good lord, she is my friend! She and Sakura, as well as my descendant would curse me to the end of infinity!
Daidouji Tomoyo was the temptress Eve reincarnated. Her innocent smiles that seduce him countless times, her angelic voice that could make his temperature rise…ah damn, he knew she didn't mean those things. It was only he who was at fault. He was the only one who was giving meaning to those innocent gestures.
"Tanan, tanan, tanananan.." hummed Tomoyo, leading him sideward. "Tanananan…"
His eyes softened. "Silly girl," he murmured.
She looked up at him and smiled, making his heart jump.
Even though how hard I try to avoid you, why do I always end up in square one with you?
How nice it would be if you can reciprocate what I feel for you.
It was time for the dip, and Eriol wasn't aware of that. So when Tomoyo gracefully lowered herself, Eriol lost his balance and the both of them ended on the floor, with him on top.
"Oh Lord, Daidouji-san? Are you ok? I didn't mean to-" He stopped when he saw that Tomoyo was giggling.
"Daidouji-san, are you sure you're fine? You don't need stitches?"
"N-No, it was…hee hee." Tomoyo couldn't stop laughing. "It was so funny! Your face! Your face!"
Eriol blushed. "What?!"
Tomoyo suddenly stopped laughing and merely gazed at him.
"What is it?"
"I just couldn't stop wondering…are books your only passion?"
Her straightforward speech startled him. "Huh?"
She jumped, blushing. "N-Nothing." She stood up. "I-I need to go. H-Happy Valentines!"
Could it be?
She likes me too?
He stood up too. "Happy Valentines, Daidouji-san."
She headed for the table where she left her backpack, and Eriol followed her silently. "Daidouji-san?" he called again.
"Books aren't my only passion. There are two things I love: a book and a lady. A book for a short while…" He smiled at her- one that nearly took her breath away. "…and a lady for quite a long, long while."
That shocked her.
"S-Seriously?" she squeaked.
"I've never been more serious."
"W-Who's that lady?" she asked, not knowing whether she really wanted to know. She walked out of the library as Eriol accompanied her, a book in arm.
Instead of replying, he handed her a book. "I'll see you tomorrow, Daidouji-san."
She was stumped, but she shrugged.
She was about to walk away when she decided to take a look at the title of the book.
A smile spread across her face, and she turned around again and knocked at the door. "Hiiragizawa-kun! Hiiragizawa-kun, you sneak!"
+ owaru +