Sakura was never one to ignore her instincts, so placing one foot on the bus to the mall had been extremely difficult, almost painful. The most frustrating part was that she couldn't quite place her finger on the problem.
What had aroused her suspicion the day before? Syaoran's fidgeting and overall nervous countenance, that was what. Granted, she had only known him for about a week, so it wasn't like she could read him like a book, but she couldn't shake the feeling that he was up to something.
The bus lurched to a stop and Sakura, who hadn't been expecting it, jerked forward and smacked into the seat in front of her. Grumbling, she snatched her purse off the floor and made her way to the bus' exit. Just as she was taking the last step off the wretched city vehicle, a bug flew in her face and she lost her footing. Instead of scraping her knees, she opted for a bruised bottom and somehow managed to twist her body around in time.
"Are you okay?" The bus driver asked, seeming concerned but Sakura had the sneaking suspicion that he was trying not to smile at her expense.
"I'm fine," Sakura answered a little gruffly and got to her feet, cursing her stupidity for wearing a skirt that day. "Happens all the time."
Thinking vehemently that she better not have flashed the world her panties, she walked up to the mall's entrance and pulled open the door a little harder than necessary. Just as she did this, a couple of little kids ran past the open doorway, shoving her aside and into the doorframe. A woman followed close behind the little brats, saying a quick "Sorry" and then was gone.
If Sakura were a superstitious person she would have considered the events of the morning to be a bad omen.
"Hey, Sakura, over here!" Sakura's head shot up at Syaoran's familiar voice and she followed him with her eyes as he walked up to her. Seeing him again somehow brought on a sense of relief. It must have been because she had spent a week with him constantly around, but whatever the reason, she had missed him. "Whoa. What happened to you? Bad morning?"
"You could say that."
"I know just the thing to fix you up!" Syaoran slung his arm around her shoulders and led her in the direction of the food court.
Sakura couldn't help feeling a bit insulted. "Food? How simple do you think I am?" She tried to duck out of his grasp, but he held tight. Why was he being so touchy feely all of a sudden?
"It's not about the food." Syaoran laughed, a hint of nervousness showing through his façade. "It's about the person we're meeting there."
"Oh, really..." So her feelings that he was up to something weren't unjustified. "Who?"
"One of your favorite people," Syaoran answered evasively.
"Johnny Depp?" Sakura asked just to see his face fall the way she knew it would.
"No." For a second it looked like he was going to say more but thought better of it. Sakura narrowed her eyes and scrutinized his face to see if it revealed any secrets. A single bead of sweat trailed down the side of his face.
"Well," she finally said. "I can see you're not going to tell me anything right now, so let's get this over with."
They walked in silence to the food court with Syaoran getting tenser with each step they took. This was evident to Sakura because he still had his arm around her and was making no motion to remove it. One thing was for sure; whatever they were headed for, she wasn't going to like it.
As soon as they got to the food court, Sakura began to search the crowd for a familiar face, but found none.
"Sorry we're late," Syaoran said and she whipped her head around to see who he was talking to. Without her realizing it, he had led her to a table with two very familiar people.
"It's okay," Tomoyo answered, her voice lacking its usual warmth. Eriol smiled at them slightly, looking unsure of himself for the first time since Sakura had met him. "We haven't been here that long."
Sakura stood in shocked silence before trying to pull away, but Syaoran's strong arm held fast. So that was what the whole arm over the shoulder had been for – restraints. Sakura felt her face start to flush with anger and hoped it wasn't too obvious.
"What," she spat out at last, "is this all about?"
"Beats me." Tomoyo shrugged and jutted her chin out towards Syaoran. "Ask him."
Sakura rounded on Syaoran faster than the naked eye could see. Any passerby could tell that Syaoran really wanted to let go of her, but he held fast. He wouldn't let her go until he finished what he had come to do.
"I can explain," Syaoran insisted. Sakura was giving him that death glare again. "I just thought that after yesterday's fight you two needed to, um, talk things out." He ended the sentence with a yelp since Sakura had subtly dug her nails in his back.
"You did, did you?" She questioned and then looked back at the table where Eriol was looking extremely uncomfortable. "So why did you invite Eriol too? He has nothing to do with this."
"I didn't-" Syaoran started, but Tomoyo cut him off.
"I invited him. I didn't want to come here alone."
"It kind of works out for the best." Syaoran chuckled. "Since this does have a lot to do with him." Eriol shot him a confused look. "I mean, since the fight was about him." When he realized he was just getting a blank stare from the other boy, Syaoran elaborated more. "Because both of you liked him."
It suddenly got very quiet and Syaoran realized that he had made a big mistake. Apparently, Tomoyo had chosen not to completely fill her boyfriend in on the details of current events. Eriol was looking back and forth between the girls with his mouth open and Sakura was giving Syaoran a look that could send a city up in flames.
"LikED," Sakura clarified for Tomoyo's stupefied boyfriend. "As in not anymore. And…" She looked back at Syaoran. "If I remember correctly, the main cause of the fight was technically YOU."
"Me?" Syaoran asked, his arm sliding off her shoulders, relatively sure that she wouldn't leave with this confrontation unfinished.
"Yes, you. Tomoyo got mad because I hadn't told her about you." She glanced at the dark haired girl who was just watching them, expressionless.
"Oh yea." Syaoran scratched the back of his head, feeling sheepish.
"Yes," Tomoyo said, speaking up. "And then it went on for you to accuse me of not telling you everything either, because I kept it a secret that I had a thing for Eriol. Well, excuse me! I didn't think you had to know everything!"
"Hypocrite!" Sakura screeched, her hackles raised. "You expect me to tell you everything, but it's okay if you keep secrets? Talk about having a double standard. So what if I didn't tell you about Syaoran? You were too busy in your own little world to even notice that there was something happening to me."
"What? Am I supposed to be a mind reader?" Tomoyo countered.
"Maybe. Then you might have noticed that you weren't the only one with a crush on Eriol. Or maybe all you'd have to do is pull your head out of your ass and open your eyes!"
People were definitely starting to stare. It wasn't that they were talking loud exactly, but the angry tones had caught several passerbies' attention.
"What?" Tomoyo demanded, getting to her feet. "Where do you get off talking to me like that? I've always been a good friend-"
"You may have always tried to be a good friend," Sakura muttered, her voice much softer. "But people are human and they make mistakes. Including me, of course."
"I'm sorry that Eriol chose me, but that's-"
Sakura cut her off again. "This isn't about Eriol anymore."
"Then what is this about?"
"I don't know!" Sakura clamped her mouth shut and lowered her gaze so she was glaring at the table.
"Oh, well that helps," Tomoyo grumbled and leaned back in her chair, slouching her shoulders.
"I guess," Sakura started, working things out in her mind as she went along. "That I started being mad because of the Eriol thing, but I don't like him more than a friend now. Not really anyways. A lot has happen this week. I have Syaoran." She gave Syaoran the first kind glance of the day and then looked back down at the table. "And I know that this isn't all your fault. I didn't tell you I liked Eriol either, but I'm still mad and I'm not sure why. Maybe my body isn't ready to be through being mad. Does that make any sense?"
"No, not really," Tomoyo answered.
"Sorry, but that's the best I can do right now." Sakura's eyelevel met Tomoyo's.
"Well," Syaoran said slowly, bringing himself back into the conversation smoothly. He and Eriol had opted to say out of the way up until that point, lest they get caught in the crossfire. "Maybe some of it is misdirected anger."
"Come again?" Sakura questioned.
"I'm talking about Eriol. Shouldn't you be a little mad at him?"
"Excuse me?" Eriol asked, actually joining the conversation to defend himself against the boy he had barely met. "What did I do? You can't blame me for asking Tomoyo out and not Sakura."
"I'm not talking about that," Syaoran said, starting to sound exasperated. "It's the way you talk to Sakura."
"You're always going 'What did I tell you about talking to yourself?' and 'What are you doing by yourself?'" Syaoran was waving his hand up and down in a girly fashion as he did his impersonation of Eriol. As a little extra bonus, Syaoran made up and added, "Oh you silly girl, you."
Eriol looked affronted. "Hey, I didn't-"
"Yes, actually, you did," Sakura spoke up. "You do have the tendency to talk to me like that."
"Oh." Eriol stared at Sakura for a moment. "Um, I'm sorry."
"It's okay." Sakura smiled slightly.
"So," Tomoyo trailed off. "What do we do about this?"
Syaoran sat up straighter and grabbed Sakura's hand under the table so the other two couldn't see. "Nothing right now. Just give it some time and I think everything will work itself out."
"Oh, thank you, wise one."
Syaoran didn't miss the sarcasm in Sakura's voice. "No, I'm serious. Mainly I just wanted both of you to know that you don't hate each other's guts. It would be a shame for you to end your friendship over a couple of dumb guys." This earned him incredulous looks from both girls. Perhaps he spent too much time around his sisters. "So now that I've done that, I say it's time for you to kiss and make up… or hug," he hastily amended when they started to snarl. "And then we gotta go because we have an appointment."
"Appointment?" Sakura's voice rose a notch. "But I didn't eat yet!"
"We'll get something to go," Syaoran said, rolling his eyes.
"I don't like to walk and eat at the same time," Sakura pouted. She also didn't want to demonstrate that she was horrible at it. Multitasking – she had failed to master it.
"What are you talking about? Do you realize how far we would have to walk? Our destination isn't in the mall. We're going in my car."
"Your… car?" Sakura asked, not quite comprehending. The thought that she wouldn't have to take the bus home was just too good to be true.
"Technically it's not MINE, but for once I beat my sisters to the family car, so we have it for the day."
"Okay then." Syaoran stood up and dragged Sakura with him. "Hug each other so we can go."
"Now who's talking down to her?" Eriol muttered, barely audible. Syaoran chose to ignore it.
Sakura looked like she was about to refuse, but at the last second bent over and wrapped her arms around the black haired girl. It took Tomoyo a stunned moment, but she eventually hugged her friend back.
"I can't believe we are back here," Sakura said, nervously sucking on her soda's straw as she stared up at the neon sign for Love's Future Psychic House through the car window. "I know you mentioned this yesterday but I didn't really think you were serious. I mean, it's just not, ugh, she's not someone I ever really wanted to see again."
"No one understands that more than me," Syaoran said, grabbing the empty cup out of her hands and throwing it in the backseat.
"Hey!" Sakura cried indignantly but was ignored.
"This is the last thing I want to be doing right now," Syaoran continued. "And there's no way I would be here if I didn't have some nagging questions on my mind that need closure. So get out of the car."
That was the wrong thing to say. Without another word, Syaoran got out of the car and walked over to the passenger's side. Before Sakura realized what he was doing he had swung open the door and was in the process of bodily lifting her out of the car and carrying her into the psychic house.
"Syaoran!" she shrieked. "Put me down right now!"
"I will when we get inside." And he did just that. When he actually set her down, she punched him as hard as she could on the arm and waltzed up to the clerk. It was then that Syaoran realized something was off.
"Hey, where's the other girl?"
The teenage girl slowly looked up from her magazine, chewed on her gum a couple seconds and said, "Huh?"
"Where's the other girl?"
Although the current clerk was a cookie cutter copy of the previous girl's mannerisms, she had a different face.
"More than one person works here," she finally said after piecing together what Syaoran was asking.
"Could have fooled me," Syaoran said rudely and Sakura squashed his foot with her own.
Before the girl could ask if they had an appointment, the door to Madam Mirai's room opened and the devil herself stood there.
"Syaoran, Sakura come in. I've been expecting you," she said mysteriously, bracelets jangling.
"Of course you have." Syaoran couldn't help himself. "All you'd have to do is look at the list of appointments and see 'Syaoran Li'."
"No fun as usual, I see," she quipped, ushering them inside her room and having them sit on two of the chairs by her table. Syaoran noticed that this time there was a crystal ball on it. Typical.
Madam Mirai glided over to her own cushiony chair facing them and crossed her arms on the table. "So, what is it you want to know about your future? Love fortune, perhaps?"
"Uh, no, not today," Sakura replied tactfully, cutting off Syaoran's no doubt rude remark. "I think that Syaoran just has a few questions for you."
"Oh?" There was an odd whirring sound and the room filled with fog. Madam Mirai sat motionless until some white wisps went up her nose and she coughed. "Stupid machine," she muttered. "It's broken again."
"Stop trying to change the subject!" Syaoran interjected.
"I would never dream of it." The older woman scratched her forehead and coughed again. "Ask away."
"What exactly did you do to me?"
Madam Mirai blinked very slowly, the mascara on her lashes sticking slightly. "I made you invisible to everyone except that young lady over there." She tilted her head towards Sakura.
"I know that!" Syaoran growled. "But what I don't know is why you picked Sakura." He stopped, as if unsure of what he was about to say. "Is it because she's my soul mate or something?"
Madam Mirai just gazed at him for a minute before bursting into laughter. Her body was shaking very hard and tears of mirth were leaking out of her eyes.
"What's so funny?" Syaoran scowled. He didn't like being laughed at.
Madam Mirai pulled herself together long enough to say, "I just think it's amusing that someone who was so against love, believes in soul mates."
"I don't!" Syaoran tried to defend himself. "I just couldn't think of anything else." And that set the psychic into another fit of giggles.
"So that means there's no such thing as soul mates?" Sakura asked, highly amused.
"Uh…" Madam Mirai sat up a little straighter. "Now don't you dare repeat this since I'm supposed to be a 'love psychic', but there is no such thing as soul mates – at least not in the way that most people think of soul mates. There is not just one person out there meant for you. There may be certain people that you're more compatible with, but that doesn't mean you're going to end up together for the rest of your lives because you are 'soul mates'. All relationships take work." She finished with a flourish of her wrists.
"Then why was I the only one able to see Syaoran? Besides you, of course." Sakura looked at Syaoran. "Is it because we are compatible?"
"Well, yes, there's that but it's more of…" Madam Mirai tapped her temple. "How to word this… I guess you could say that you were chosen because you would give him the hardest time."
"Are you saying I'm difficult?" Sakura asked, getting prickly.
"Yes, yes you are."
Syaoran snorted at that one and then got kicked in the shin. "Ow, that hurt."
Madam Mirai examined her nails and asked, "And other questions?"
"What broke the spell?" Syaoran asked.
"Hey, yea!" Sakura added. "Did it just wear off in a week or did he have to… kiss me?" Sakura flushed scarlet.
Madam Mirai raised her eyebrows and then chuckled a little again. "I think you two read too many fairytales. What do you think I am? Your fairy godmother?"
"Hell no," Syaoran said, but was ignored once again.
The psychic continued as if Syaoran hadn't said anything. "No, Syaoran became visible again because he finally admitted to himself that he could fall in love." She drummed her long fingernails on the crystal ball.
"Like that wasn't just as corny." Syaoran leaned back in his chair, but both girls in the room could tell that he said it to try and cover his embarrassment.
"Oh!" Sakura sat up straight suddenly. "I just thought of something else; did the clothes Syaoran wore stay visible?"
"Goodness no!" Madam Mirai looked at them like they were stupid. "Can't you think of all the trouble that would cause? Floating clothes? No, whatever Syaoran wore would turn invisible as well."
The room got deadly quiet.
Syaoran's neck creaked as he turned his head. "So I wore my dirty clothes most of the week for nothing?" As he finished, his voice kept getting higher and higher.
"I guess you did." Sakura was laughing hysterically behind her hand.
"That's great. Just freakin' fantastic." Syaoran dragged his hands down his face, pulling on the skin.
Madam Mirai glanced at a watch mixed in with all her bracelets. "Your time is almost up. Any last questions?"
"Hm." Sakura wracked her brain. "I know there was something else that was bothering me, but I just can't quite remember… Oh! It was something Meiling said that bothered me."
"Meiling?" Syaoran asked.
"Syaoran's cousin?" Madam Mirai almost echoed.
"Yeah. She said something about you telling her she would meet a guy with 'hair the color of cornflower and eyes the color of the ocean'."
"Yes?" Madam Mirai agreed. "And did she?"
"Yeah, she said she met some blond guy with blue eyes when she fell into a pool, but…"
"But aren't cornflowers blue?"
Madam Mirai's mouth snapped shut and her face turned slightly pink. "Oops."
Now it was Syaoran's turn to laugh. Standing up, he grabbed Sakura's hand and led her out into the waiting room. The clerk didn't even look up form her magazine this time.
"Oh, Syaoran?" Madam Mirai's whimsical voice called from her room.
"Yes?" Syaoran asked with mock sweetness.
"Just to let you know, we're about to close this place and take up residence in the mall to be more easily accessible. Why don't you drop by some time?"
"Sure," he answered to her face, but when they were safely outside the building he turned to Sakura and said, "No way in hell."
They both climbed into his car and Syaoran drove off without even looking back at the old psychic house.
"Wow." Sakura pushed her seat back so that she was slightly reclined. "I can't believe it's all over."
"But it's not." Syaoran turned right and spared a glance at her. "You've got to somehow convince your brother not to spout his mouth off to your father and then there's still the whole Tomoyo thing."
"Ugh, don't remind me." Sakura wished she had a pillow so she could smash her face into it. "Hey," she said out of the blue. "I was meaning to ask; how did you get Tomoyo's number?"
"I, um…" He sure had been tripping over his words a lot that day. "I called every Daidouji in the phone book until I got it right. It took a while too. Her mom's name starts with an 'S'."
Sakura sat up straight and looked at him. "You did all that?"
"It wasn't much."
"You're so sweet." Sakura cooed and poked him in the side.
"Hey! Not while I'm driving. You want to have a wreck?"
"I suppose not." Sakura moved back to her side of the car. "What are we doing next? I don't have to be home for a while."
"Make out?" Sakura filled in for him. Syaoran flushed. "You're so transparent."
"Haha." Syaoran said at her bad joke. "But no, that's not what I was going to say."
"Then what were you going to say?" Sakura teased.
"That we could go to the park where we met," Syaoran said, grasping at straws.
"Only if the water is crystal clear. You know how I have a thing for translucent things."
Syaoran shook his head, wondering if her jokes could get any worse. "Would you stop with the bad puns already?"
Sakura stuck her tongue out at him. "No. I'm just trying to have the last word."
"You always get the last word," Syaoran reminded her, coming to a stop at a red light.
"But-" He pressed a finger to her lips.
"It's my turn this time." And with that, he leaned towards her and pressed his lips against hers. Neither of them noticed that the light turned green until someone honked. Syaoran pulled away looking past Sakura's shoulder and grinned, pleased that he would finally be able to have the last word.
"Your brother is in the car beside us."
Kitty Neko: Welp, that's all folks! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! Drop me a line and let me know haha