Here is another installment of my fic…

Reactions in any forms are welcome.

Disclaimer: Eli and Madison belong to CLAMP. This fanfic idea belongs to me! Hahahaha!

9 Never Again

Never had been so thankful in his life when the plane landed safely, signaling he was back. One week away had been one hell of a long time, especially when he left Madison with unsettled matter between them. By that, he meant nothing about the business, rather something personal.

True he had been hurt by what she did. But what he felt for her made him forgave her for all that was past. She had been hurt as well, and was not able to think clearly at that time. He had to give her the benefit of the doubt.

It was a good thing that he went away for a week to see to his business in England. It gave him the chance to cool off and to think things over, gave him the chance to analyze Madison's hasty decision.

But now he was back with one goal in mind: the future.

He had been too scared before to even think about the word, even more scared to do something about it. But his eyes were opened to the mere fact that it was inevitable to avoid the unavoidable. So, it was time to take steps towards it.

Eli had went straight from the airport towards the Taylor's mansion, hoping to see and to speak with Madison first. But much to his disappointment, neither Madison nor her mother was there. He was told that Madison was in her boutique working which surprised him since Madison never went there unless it was on weekends.

He was tired since he had not slept well for several days still, he sought her out first. He found her assistant and her bodyguard as soon as he entered the building and after pleasantries, they directed him upstairs to her office.

It was inside her studio that he found her, staring into an empty space, and looking haggard. He stopped dead on his tracks. He was surprised at the evident change of her appearance, she was deadly pale, there were dark shade under her eyes and she apparently lost weight, proof enough that she had not been eating and sleeping well.

"Oh, God," he heard her said aloud.

He strode deeper into her studio, his eyes glued to her. Suppressed sobs rocked her body and tears fell from her eyes. She did not seem to notice his presence yet. He was worried over the reason that would have made her cry like that. He hoped that nothing serious had happened during his absence.

He walked nearer to where she was sitting and was reaching out his hand when he glimpsed at what was laid on her table: their picture. He mentally gave a sigh of relief and smiled.

There's still hope…

Eli covered her eyes from behind eliciting from her a deep intake of breath. Her body went rigid with panic.

"Guess?" he asked.

Madison relaxed and reached up her right hand to pry his hands off. "Need I?" she countered.

"Yes," he answered, smiling.

"Eli, let go already," she said.

As soon as Eli took off his hands from her eyes, Madison stood up and faced him. She stared at him before engulfing him tightly in her embrace.

"What are you doing here at this time of the night?" Eli asked his voice muffled by her hair as he burrowed his face on it. His arms tightly hugged her around her waist.

Madison chuckled, the sound was stifled because of the way she nuzzled her face at the junction of his neck and shoulder. "We had that conversation before, remember? The last time we were up here."

Eli chuckled in return. He nodded, remembering the incident.

No words were spoken afterwards and neither moved from their spot. They just remained in each other's arms.

"Oh, God, I miss you," she breathed out after a while. "I thought I will never see you again. I thought you are mad at me that you went back to England. I thought---"

"Sshhh," Eli calmed her down and stroke her hear.

"I was worried because you did not say goodbye and---"

"I said goodbye."

"No, you did not," Madison said, firmly. She lifted her head to look up at him.

"Yes, I did. After I brought you home," he said, looking back at her.

"It was not an I-am-leaving-for-England goodbye. It sounded like an I-am-going-home-see-you-tomorrow goodbye. How do you suppose I would know what you meant when you never told me your plans?"

"You were so distraught at that time---" Eli said.

"You could have atleast—" Madison continued on without hearing him.

"And I thought I'd give you a rest and---"

"Told me that you were leaving—"

"Not bother you with business."

"So I wouldn't worry."

Both spoke and ceased at the same time so they were left standing and looking at each other.

A tear fell from Madison's eye and wiped it hurriedly, turning her head to avoid his penetrating gaze. "Promise me you will not do that again," she said in hushed tones.

Eli did not respond right away, instead sizing her up. Curious at the silence of her friend, Madison looked up, her eyes questioning.

"Only if you promised you will tell me all your problems, financial or otherwise," he sounded serious.

Madison looked down, pursed her lips and nodded. "I'm sorry… for everything."

"Madison," Eli began, his voice dropping an octave. "I don't want a repeat performance."

"I promise, never again," Madison guaranteed.

"I kept the promise you asked from me long time ago, if you remember."

She nodded.

"Then, for the sake of our friendship, I promise not to leave without telling you."

She smiled and leaned onto to him with her head on his left shoulder.

"I feel bad, Eli… for driving you away."

"You did not drive me away." Eli smiled and placed his right hand on the nape of her neck. "I had some pressing business that I had to attend to in England. I was supposed to be there on the day of the board meeting but I had to cancel for the following day so I had to leave in a hurry."

"Because of me—"

"I don't blame you. You were just doing what you thought was right," he said, cutting her off.

"I was waiting for your call."

"I was so busy that I only had three hours of sleep everyday so I may finish everything as soon as possible."

Madison looked up at him. "Finish what?"

"I am moving my business from England to here."

"What?" she asked in disbelief.

"After what happened, I realized that it is inevitable to avoid the future. So… I am facing it head on.

I am ready to start a family."



- Thank you so much to not applicable and KyteAura for always and I mean ALWAYS dropping in a kind review. Much appreciated, guys =]

- To sexay sammeh – this is the longest I can come up with. Hope it meets your approval =/

- I had not intended to continue this fic, but upon reviewing it, the final chapter really sucked! =[ so I continued it. if you were thinking the 8 and 9 seemed familiar to you, notice that I brought it back to where this fic started (chapter 1).