5/29/03 - 6/25/03

Finally it was summer vacation. Soon she'd be in the eleventh grade the next time school rolled around, but she wasn't worried about that now. Summer. Finally! She'd been waiting for a long time. She walked away from the school. It felt so good to know she wouldn't be going back for a long time. She inhaled the sweet fragrance of the wild flowers that had just finished their blossoming.

Walking down the street she felt free. Free. She liked that. No more school, no more books, and no more teachers, she thought. She continued to walk to her house until she heard -

"Sakura! Wait up!"

She whirled around to see Madison running toward her.

"Hey, Madison!" Sakura shouted.

"What happened to you? I looked for you at the school. I was gonna tell you that -," Madison began, but then paused.

"What? What were you gonna tell me?" Sakura asked. She was worried now. What had made Madison pause? "Tell me!"

"I forgot!" Madison says as she placed a hand behind her head and giggled nervously. Sakura's mouth dropped and her arms dangled at her sides. "Anyway, why weren't you at the school?" Madison asked as she shook Sakura. She just looked at Madison blankly. "Well?" Madison proceeded.

"Oh, I had already begun walking home. I just didn't feel like waiting around. I just really wanted to go," Sakura explained.

"Oh! Okay. Yeah, well, I can understand that. Everyone was practically walking over each other just trying to get out," Madison said. "Oh, yeah!" she suddenly exclaimed.

"What?"

"Now I remember what I was going to tell you!"

"What?"

"I think Li likes you!"

"What?!" Sakura looked at her friend, too speechless to utter a word. Madison's smile grew wider and more devilish. She nodded her head to reassure her friend, but still Sakura said nothing. She was totally stunned. Wow, Sakura thought. Li likes me? No, Madison only thinks he does. But if he did it wouldn't be the first time. But he doesn't! Besides, he's too serious and concentrated on finding more Clow Cards ever since we found out there were more. There has to be more after that little incident last summer. The Love Card. How could I forget?

Yes, how could she forget. That summer they had both spent most of their vacation looking for it. Love sure isn't easy to find. Sakura and Li both knew that now. Meilin had been affected by the card. She had followed Li like a lovesick puppy. So what else was new, right? But even though Meilin had been affected and the card was with her when she was acting the way she was, it always got away before either Li or Sakura actually got it. It had been a tough battle. The beautiful woman on it had been a fairy about Sakura's height. She had long flowing hair that made her look as if she had come from the moon itself making her even more attractive. And Li was very close to falling in the card's trance, more than just once. But they had finally caught it before it did any real damage. What surprised her was that Li had allowed her to keep it, even after the Love Card had flown to him after she sealed it. He didn't argue about. He just handed it over, without saying a word.

"Sakura? Say something. Tell me what's on your mind?" Madison asked.

"Why do you think that, Madison?" Sakura suddenly blurted out. "I mean come on its Li we're talking about here."

"What about Li?" a voice from behind Sakura asked. Sakura froze, unable to move or even speak.

"Oh, hey, Li!" Madison exclaimed hurriedly, her voice quivered from her slight nervousness.

Uh-oh! How much had he heard?! Sakura thought. Sakura then turned around to see Li standing before her, his arms crossed over his chest, looking serious and very angry. She sighed a little relived. He's too serious. He hasn't heard anything, but me saying his name. Then quickly she thought of something to say, but before realizing it she spoke, "Uh, hey, Li! How's it going? We were just talking about my, uh, cousin Li from, uh, Kyoto! Yeah, that's it. Good ol' Li from Kyoto," Sakura said, smiling nervously.

"You can't fool me, Sakura! What do you take me for?!" Li demanded. His voice rose slightly as he asked his question.

Sakura didn't answer. So, Li glanced at Madison, but the girl said nothing. He sighed and placed his arms at his sides. It was almost as if he was giving up.

"I don't appreciate when people talk about me so I'd appreciate it if you stopped," Li said, his voice almost gentle and his head down.

"Li," Sakura said lightly. He looked up at her. "Is everything...Okay?" She took a step forward, but then in an instant she took a step back again as Meilin appeared.

"Of course not! You're talking about him and so is Madison. I suggest both of you stay away from Li," Meilin sneered and then scowled. She turned to face Li and gave him a gentle smile. She then hugged him and practically jumped on him to get a hold on him. "Li!" she shouted happily.

"Meilin!" Li warned. "Get off! I'm not in the mode for your hugs," he said, pulling away from her.

"When were you ever?" Sakura whispered. Madison giggled as Meilin narrowed her eyes.

Li sighed again. "Just, please, leave me alone, okay?" He then walked away. Leaving the girls confused and somewhat concerned.

"What's wrong with him?" Madison asked as she watched Li walk farther away from them.

"Yeah, it's not like Li to act like that. He's always so serious and concentrated," Sakura added.

"Yeah, well, he's been acting pretty strangely for the last couple of days," Meilin said as she watched Li worriedly. "I really think something's wrong. I'm worried. He doesn't even want to talk to me about anything. He doesn't even want to see me," Meilin sighed.

"Hey don't worry about it. I'm sure everything is just fine. You know Li!" Sakura said, but she didn't believe it herself. I hope he's alright, she thought.



**************************************

As Li walked away he sighed heavily. Something was really eating away at him. He walked all afternoon and soon the sky darkened and the moon rose from behind the clouds from which it was momentarily hidden behind. He then looked up at the night sky. His features brightened in the moonlight. He was older and way more beyond his years now. He was 16 now and he'd soon be 17.

Li couldn't take it much longer. He yearned for someone to talk to. He just need to talk to someone. Someone who'd listen. Someone who'd give him advice. Sure he knew a lot, but one thing he didn't know was...girls. He didn't have much of a clue about them except yeah, guys marry them, they have babies, and they walk and talk like any other person living on this earth. He needed to talk to someone who had experience in that area. He just needed to!

Then he remembered about Tori, Sakura's brother. Last summer they were pretty good friends. He hung around Sakura trying to work with her to capture The Love Card. And also to stay away from Meilin who constantly followed him were ever he went. Sure, Tori didn't like the idea of him hanging around his little sister even though Li had told him more than once that there was absolutely nothing going on between Sakura and him. It hadn't convinced him, but he warmed up to Li and they soon became friends. And let's face it Tori was the only person he could think of who was as close of a best friends as he had. Sure he was pals with Zachary, but they weren't best friends.

But then Li had remembered that Tori had gone away for college. He had the year before also and had come back to visit, but how would he know for sure if Tori was home or not, but he hoped he was. He needed to talk to him and he knew that Tori would help. He was sure of it. Then without thinking or realizing it, Li began his walk to Sakura's house.



**************************************

At the house Sakura sat around her room talking to Madison. She was staying over for the night since they had spent the whole day together and lost track of time. Meilin was there too, but she had gone long before it turned dark out. They laughed and talked about what had happed to Sara, a classmate of theirs on the last day of lunch. She had been too busy talking to realize that she needed to watch her step. Zachary and Li were sitting a table away with some other friends of theirs. Zachary was showing off his old shoes and making jokes about making them talk. Meilin, Sakura, Nikki, Rita, Madison, and Chelsea had all heard them. They were too loud.

Anyway, Sara hadn't seen Zachary's legs stretched out in front of him and couldn't hear Li warning her. She tripped and had fallen face first into her mashed potatoes on her lunch tray. Everyone laughed and Li rolled his eyes.

'I tried to warn you,' he said as he turned around to face the rest of the gang. Sara just looked at him and quickly walked away. Far away. She was so humiliated that day.

"When she got up...th-there were mash-mashed potatoes all o-over her f-face," Madison laughed, gasping for breathe when she finished her laughter. Sakura laughed so hard, tears had begun to crawl down her face. She wiped them away.

"Some day you two will die of laughter," Kero said sarcastically trying to hide a smile. He sat upon Sakura's bed beside Madison as Sakura sat on her computer chair. Soon the doorbell rang.

"Tori! Get the door!" Sakura shouted, still laughing, but when the doorbell kept ringing she gained her composer. A little. "Tori!" she shouted again. "Ah, fine I'll get it. Hold on. I'll be right back. I'm just gonna go answer that." Sakura got up still laughing a little and then took in a deep breathe to control herself.

"Take your time," Madison said her voice quivering from the laughter.

Sakura then walked down the stairs and headed for the door. She opened it and was surprised to see Li at the door.

"Li?" she asked. He looked at her and smiled half-heartedly. Sakura noticed that in the pale moonlight, Li looked...gorgeous. And his smile had made him look even more attractive if it was possible.

"Hi, Sakura," he said gently. Oh, please say my name again, Sakura thought as she melted. Her heartbeat quickened and she could hear the thunderous beating in her ears. What's wrong with me?

"H-hi, Li," she greeted. "Uh, c-come in? I-is there something you wanted to talk about?" She asked as he stepped in. She closed the door behind him.

"Um, yeah, but not with you," he answered. He looked down.

"Oh," Sakura didn't hide her disappointment. Though, she hadn't noticed. Neither did Li.

"I came to talk to Tori. That is if he's home."

"Yeah, hold on let me get him for you."

"Thanks."

"No problem. Just sit over there. I'll get him."

Li walked to the couch and sat down. He leaned on it and relaxed himself. Sakura took one look at him and walked up the stairs. She passed her room and walked on toward her brother's room, but Madison stopped before she could go any further.

"Everything, okay?" she asked.

"Yeah, Li's here. He wants to talk to Tori," Sakura answered and walked to her brother's room leaving both Kero and Madison surprised.

Sakura knocked on her brother's door and called his name. When no one answered she knocked again and opened the door. She called his name again. And she found him laying on the bed, sleeping. The trip home had left him exhausted. Sakura walked over to him and woke him up. She explained that Li had come to talk to him. He had been surprised, but it quickly passed. Sakura headed out the room and Tori followed his sister down the stairs. He greeted Madison as he passed Sakura's room and proceeded down the stairs.

"Well, here he is," Sakura said. Li turned his head and then stood up.

"Long time no see, Li," Tori said as he smiled. Li nodded and smiled back. "You need to talk to me?" Again Li nodded. Sakura walked back upstairs and left them to talk.

"It's really important. I need to ask you about...girls."

Sakura stopped in her tracks and sat down on the steps to listen. "This should be good," she whispered.

**************************************

Li sat down on the couch and Tori joined him.

"Okay, so tell me, is this about Sakura?" Tori teased. Li blushed slightly.

"No, believe me, I don't like your sister. It's just about girls in general," Li answered.

"Okay, so shoot. What do you wanna know? How to..., " Tori began and trailed off. Li waved his hands and shook his head.

"No, no, no! I-. Well, it's just that. The relationships that I've had with my old girlfriends never worked out. We were never together for very long. And after every break up it's the same thing. 'You're just too concentrated on other things, Li' 'You're too serious. I can't even joke around with you, Li.' And I don't know what it is. None of the other girls have ever crushed on me either. None that I know about. All those break-ups, I had been the dumpy. And I'm sick of. I don't think I can take another heart-break."

"Listen, Li, you just haven't found the right girl that understands you. You will some day. I promise you that. And if you don't there's always Sakura," Tori joked. They both laughed.

"So, what do girls like in a guy?" Li asked suddenly. Tori thought long.

"Hmm, well, I think a girl likes a guy who's smart, charming, humorous, sweet, gentle, loveable, and fun to be around. A guy who they know they can talk to and get advice from if they ever need it. Oh, and also a good looking guy, but looks aren't everything. Most girls know that."

"I'm not any of those things," Li sighed. Tori patted him on the back.

"Yeah, sure you are! Your very smart. Too smart for someone your age. Last summer I kept forgetting that you were Sakura's age and not mine." They laughed a little more.

"Thanks I knew you'd help me." Li smiled as he stood. "I'm feeling somewhat better," Li said.

"Good. Come back any time. It'll be nice to talk to you again."

"Yeah, same here." They walked to the door and Tori opened it. They didn't notice Sakura. They laughed and joked for a while and just as Li was going out the door, they heard-