This is for Ate Merhielle and Les.
This, by the way, is a prequel to Cookies and Cream. ^^
I was walking home quietly from choir practice that day. Sakura wasn't able to wait for me this afternoon because she ran off with Li to catch some cards.
Li Syaoran again. I sighed.
I was too busy staring at the pavement to notice someone walking too from the other corner of the sidewalk.
The next thing I knew, I collided against something firm but too warm to be a wall. I landed on the sidewalk just as pieces of paper fluttered everywhere. I looked up at the person to apologize, but then noticed his laughing azure eyes looking down at me with barely concealed amusement.
"Are you hurt?" he asked, holding out his hand towards me as he knelt down the sidewalk.
"No, she's not hurt, Master," said a tall female behind him. "She's Daidouji Tomoyo, the best friend of Kinomoto Sakura, remember?"
He looked at me intently. "Yes, I remember she mentioned something to me yesterday about her best friend who can sing better than a songbird. She didn't say anything about you looking more beautiful than it."
My tongue was tied. How should I react to those kind of words? Boys had never paid any kind of attention to me before. It was always Sakura whom boys value more.
He helped me up as the girl behind him gathered the pieces of paper on the sidewalk. "I'm so sorry again, Daidouji-san." He gave me a small bow before he and the girl disappeared.
But then, he didn't disappear that quickly from my mind.
When I first saw him, I could feel fascination for him. But the next day, it was different. He was in love with Sakura, or so I thought. I hated him so, because he was stealing Sakura away from Li. However, whenever he looks at me, I know that he knows I was just using Li to cover up something.
That I hated him too, because I loved Sakura too.
But after the Clow Reed incident, I felt myself mellow slightly to him.
I blinked from my steady gaze on Sakura and Li who were dancing in the middle of the dance floor, obviously in seventh heaven. God knew how much my heart was crying. My best friend looking happier with him than all the times I made her laugh put together.
Eriol Hiiragizawa, tall and dashing for his tender age of eleven, was smiling at me warmly. "You're not enjoying yourself, are you?"
"That's…very perceptive," I said softly, although I could hear sarcasm on it.
He noticed that too, and he chuckled. "I just returned from London, looking forward to some warm hospitality from my friends here in Tomoeda, and my first taste of it is mocking from my friend?"
"I'm sorry," I sighed. My eyes went back to the dancing couple on the floor.
I felt his hand touch my shoulder. I turned to him, and found him offering his hand to me.
"May I have the pleasure to dance with this beautiful girl in front of me?" he asked, bowing slightly.
I was stunned. It was the first time that we were able to talk beyond Hellos and His, and he was already asking me to dance!
But I reached for his hand, and he swept me towards the dancing couples. It was too late for me to remember that I didn't know how to dance.
"Relax," he whispered to my ear. "Just sway with me."
I gulped, and did as told. I tried to dance along with him, to keep pace at his graceful movements, but somehow, I could only manage to step on his newly-polished shoes.
But he didn't look like he mind. Instead, he pulled me closer, close enough to feel his warm breath on my cheeks. Close enough to savor his light cologne. Close enough for both of us to feel each other's heartbeats.
Until I realized that I could already dance with him. I could sway with his tempo. I could already feel the silent groove dictating our steps.
"See?" he said, loud enough for only me to hear. "You dance very well."
I smiled up at him, and instantly knew that I found myself someone to fill the void Sakura would leave in my life now that she has Li.
His wise blue eyes can see right through my impeccable laughing ones. He can touch my soul's most intimate thoughts with a mere second of gaze. I didn't know how he could do it so easily – see through my façade -, but more importantly, why I let him get away with it.
It will remain a mystery to me for five years that he and I would be friends.
"Goodbye, Sakura-san," said Eriol Hiiragizawa as we waved farewell to my best friend, who was leaving for Hongkong that day.
She blinked her tears back. "Take care of my best friend, Eriol-kun!"
My eyes widened when I felt an arm wrap around my shoulder.
It was his. I just knew it was.
He smiled down at me. "Daidouji-san, let's go."
I nodded awkwardly, not knowing what to say next.
"Will you allow me to be your best friend while Sakura-san is away?" he asked suddenly.
"W-Why not?" I smiled at him, delighted.
He blinked, then he grinned. "Sakura-san must be really lucky. To see those lovely smiles of yours everyday, and know that they're hers to keep."
I felt my heartbeat quicken. I looked down shyly
I knew right there and then that he was special. As time passed by and I had slowly grown accustomed to his warm companionship, I was ready to admit how much I care for him.
But then, an untimely letter broke my heart.
Eriol folded the letter back into the envelope and smiled at me excitedly. "I have great news, Daidouji-san!"
"Oh?" I asked as I spooned myself some more ice cream. Eriol's favorite flavor, of course. Cookies and Cream.
"Kaho's coming back to town to see me!"
I dropped my spoon.
Three is a crowd. I knew that I would just make Kaho and Eriol uncomfortable, so I decided to stay away from him from now on. Even after she left some days later, Eriol and I just couldn't get the old magic back in our friendship. We were friends, but we weren't.
And that started my long line of disastrous relationships with different men.
I told him that it was always Sakura – the reason behind my desire to hurt and get hurt repeatedly.
But this time, he didn't see through my lies.
And that broke my heart more.