---- She Will Be Loved
----- Written by Iris Dreamer
------DISCLAIMER: Card Captor Sakura belongs solely to Clamp. However, the plot is mine and I would like to remain it that way. Thank you.
----- AUTHOR'S NOTE: WHOA. This would be my sixth story that I've accomplished. Now that's something to celebrate! Woot! I can't believe it. Wow. No really, I started off, being like, "Hm, I have an idea, why not write it down and see where it goes from there?" And far is where I've gone since then! I must say that it couldn't have been possible without wonderful readers such as you! So go on, pat yourself on the back; you deserve it!
----- BACKGROUND: He's reached his happiest moment of his life: he has an awesome job, a circle of close friends, a good reputation, and most importantly, the girl he loves is now his fiancée. But happiness is short lived and everything he once had was thrown away and there he meets a girl that totally enraptures him, but this girl is just your normal, in the bad section of the city, prostitute.
----- DEDICATION: To the strangers that have been, are, and will be, in my life.
----- SPECIAL THANKS: To all those who have read my story, a HUGE thank you and a hug and a kiss on the cheek (Um, that's if you want a kiss from me…)! I had wanted to thank you all individually, but I've realized that with second year of college abruptly coming to an end, I don't think I have the time for it. Sorry about that! I love you, really I do!
----- EPILOGUE: Letting Go
"WHAT? I have to attend a social function with you?" The lady shrieked. "Oh gods, no, I can't stand those things. You can't possibly believe how much I can't. No one will notice if I don't go right?"
As the two glared at each other, one could hear muffled chuckles from corners of the office. No doubt everyone was amused. Sakura had been working for Syaoran over two years now, but their arguments, at least once a day, was the highlight of the quiet building. Needless to say, it tickled the workers to death seeing Sakura standing up, undaunted, to the stiff, cold boss that no one dared to rise against.
"I'll notice," was the short, cold response.
"I mean, who brings secretaries to social functions anyhow?"
"I do," Syaoran answered simply. "Besides, you've been doing quite a lot of work and you're capable of making intelligent responses that will reflect well on the company instead of some airhead I pick up from the streets,"
"Well, screw you!" She threw back waspishly. "And wasn't I once some, quote, airhead you picked up from the streets?"
"You said it, not me," he replied smugly.
"Argh, you insolent bastard!" she screamed. "And I'm still not going,"
"Say whatever you wish, Kinomoto Sakura, but you're going with me and that's final. I'll pick you up tonight at seven, and I've already called Tomoyo so that you won't be able to escape out of it."
Sakura moaned. "Are you at least paying me extra for going?"
Syaoran shot her a withering glare. "Who's the one working for whom?"
"That should be of no surprise by now," he told her. "I'm sure that everyone in the office can tell you that." And with that comment, all the peeping heads from offices and desks quickly disappeared from sight.
Finally satisfied that the listeners had gone back to work, Syaoran turned his attention back to the silently seething young lady in front of him. "Really Kinomoto, it's not going to be that bad. Tomoyo will dress you up, you hang out with a few rich people and their companions, eat expensive food, and go home."
Sakura wasn't budging from her sour expression and crossed arms.
Syaoran sighed. "Fine, if I bring you out for ice cream afterwards, will you go?"
Sakura's eyes brightened immediately, and Syaoran had to choke back a chuckle that was about to rise. With her wide green eyes and hint of a smile tugging on her lips, she looked exactly like a little kid when offered candy.
"I think I can consider that," she said, trying to maintain as much as her professional dignity as possible.
Syaoran grinned. "Don't worry, I won't tell a soul," he crackled.
"Of course you won't," she agreed amiably, "after all, I'm sure you don't want me to accidentally tell the time you walked into a lamppost while trying to hail a taxi."
It was Syaoran's turn to glare. "Now get back to work. I want those documents done and completed on my desk before you leave. You better be thankful; I wasn't going to let you out any earlier than 4pm, but Tomoyo managed to wheedle and let you out at 2:30."
"How utterly generous of you oh mighty boss," Sakura replied sarcastically. "Now excuse me your grace while I slave over the grunt work that you have no desire to accomplish."
"I'm glad that you've finally realized your position," he quipped with a smirk. "And no retorts," Syaoran instructed, "or else you're going with me to the social function without your favorite strawberry ice cream with gooey fudge brownies and hot caramel."
She went back to her desk grumbling.
"Blue," Tomoyo rose up her right hand, "or the gold," she asked, raising her other hand.
Meiling looked up from the magazine she had picked up lying around Tomoyo's house. The long grayish blue dress was held up by two delicate straps and had sparkling sliver diamond designs running down the bodice. The gold was a sparkling gold in a halter style.
"Gold," Meiling said immediately. "Knock out all the way,"
Tomoyo studied the gold in her hand before nodding her head in agreement. She tossed the blue dress in the increasing pile.
"So Meiling, gold or red,"
The Chinese girl sighed. "Remind me why we're choosing dresses again,"
"It's for Sakura. Syaoran asked her out on a date tonight, so she has to be absolutely spectacular! How else are they going to fall madly in love with each other?" the fashion designer said emphatically.
"I thought it was a business social function,"
"That's beside the point. The real point is that Syaoran asked Sakura to be his date," Tomoyo emphasized.
"Don't all bosses bring their secretary?" Meiling questioned. "No wait, let me rephrase that. Don't all single, not dating, not married, bosses bring their secretaries?"
"Of course not," her friend admonished, "He could have brought you along, if he so desired,"
"Uh, no thanks, I'm his cousin,"
"Does Syaoran even know that you're his cousin?"
Meiling shrugged. "I haven't told him yet if that's what you're asking," she replied.
Tomoyo shot her a disapproving look, much like how a mother would frown when she found out that her child had not cleaned her room yet despite many reminders to do so.
"It's not my fault," the Chinese girl whined.
Tomoyo raised her eyebrow.
"I've been busy," she tried.
"You haven't convinced me if that's what you're aiming for," her friend informed. "You've known Syaoran over two years now, and you still haven't told him. Don't you think he deserves to know?"
"That's exactly why I don't want him to know," Meiling said. "Think about how awkward it would be when he did know that I'm his cousin. The one who lost her pet bird and forced him to promise me that he'd marry me if he didn't find anyone in the future?" She crossed her arms over her chest.
"I think it's cute," Tomoyo protested.
"It's not something I would like him to remember, thank you very much," the other girl answered. "Besides, we're still talking about the same family who disowned my mom."
"Oh come on Meiling. It's not like it was his fault," the fashion designer reasoned. "People do change. Think how much he's helped Sakura over the past year. He's been nice to you as well."
"I'll think about it," she replied gruffly.
Tomoyo sighed. "That's what you tell me every time," she told her. "I'll let it slide this one time since we have this urgent situation on hand. So, gold or red?"
Tomoyo threw the red to the pile of rejects, and looked for another dress that Sakura should wear.
"So, how's Kai?" the fashion designer asked as she inspected a white dress.
"He's good," Meiling replied. "Monday he told me that I'll be going to the police station tomorrow to give a short lecture and demonstration about self-defense for policewomen there,"
"Wow," Tomoyo said, smiling. "I must say that your hunk loves you a lot. First, he helps you secure a job teaching self-defense at the university and now you get to say lectures while you're not teaching!"
Meiling had the decency to blush. "Yeah," she murmured demurely.
"You want to bet that the next date he's going to ask you out on is going to be the day that he's going to propose to you?"
"Come on, don't tell me that you haven't thought about it," Tomoyo told her, winking. "Think about it. Kai just got a promotion, and you've got a steady job that's doing fairly well. I do think that the time is quite ripe that he's going to pop the question. And if I had to bet on a day, I think it's going to be tomorrow night after you're done with your talk at the police department."
"You were not supposed to tell me that," Meiling said horrified. "Now I'm going to have that nagging bit of me hoping that it will come true! To hell with you Tomoyo," she whined while Tomoyo laughed.
"Tell you what Meiling. If I'm right, you have to tell Syaoran that you're his cousin. If I'm wrong, you don't have to tell Syaoran until you're ready."
"Fine," Meiling said hotly. "It's a deal. It's not like it's going to happen."
"Just watch and see," Tomoyo sang. "I'm dreadfully good at these things. And hey, maybe you guys can have your wedding day on the same day as ours," the fashion designer continued to tease. "And if we push Sakura and Syaoran fast enough, maybe it can be triple wedding! Oh my gosh, wouldn't that be great?"
"Don't keep your hopes up," her friend responded wryly. "And think about it Tomoyo. Wouldn't it better if we had three separate weddings? I mean, you get to design three wedding dresses and six maid of honor dresses,"
What was meant to be a sarcastic comment made the fashion designer ponder the question seriously. "What a brilliant idea Meiling," Tomoyo enthused. "But that still requires you getting that ring and pushing Syaoran and Sakura together."
"That's why you're picking out a dress for the social gathering today," Meiling said quickly as to shift the topic off from her.
"White or gold?"
"We're not going through every single dress are we?"
"Meiling, do you want your best friend to live happily ever?" Tomoyo demanded. Meiling nodded her head weakly. "Then of course we are! Stop asking those stupid questions,"
"You know I have a class to teach at 2, right?"
Tomoyo waved her hand as to brush off the comment. "I know," she responded. "Besides, I managed to convince Syaoran to let Sakura out at 2:30 so I have to go pick her up anyhow. Thus, we only have three precious hours on our hands. So, Meiling, stop avoiding the question, the white dress or the gold one?"
"Don't you think it might be a bit too flashy?"
"No," Meiling responded. "Don't you want her to be the center of attention?"
"Oh good point," Tomoyo immediately responded. "Then Syaoran gets to be stunned by her beauty as well as play the role of defender as he protects her from all those sleazy looks from other jealous men!"
"Uh, Tomoyo, aren't you thinking a bit far?" Meiling asked, raising her eyebrow as she questioned her friend's sanity.
Tomoyo laughed. "Come on, it's not like I'm going to film the whole thing,"
"Hey, I wouldn't mind. I'm curious as well," her friend replied with a saucy grin.
Syaoran shot his best friend a glare, which totally unfazed the man sitting across from him.
"No, I mean, really," Eriol elaborated, trying hard not to laugh, "but did you, cold stony Syaoran that I've known before birth, just ask me what color tie you should wear?"
Syaoran's lips remained a stern line.
"My gods," Eriol said, his mouth hanging open. "You seriously are heads over heels in love with her! Even when you were dating Tomoyo you were never that self-conscious and Tomoyo is a fashion designer above all things!"
"I just asked you to pick a color, not your incessant blabbering,"
Eriol grinned. "You can't spoil my good mood no matter what you say to me right now," he sang. "You're basically down to my good sense of style, or gods forbid, you end up wearing the wrong color tie."
"Eriol," Syaoran growled.
"Hey, you chose your suit color already, you should have no problem choosing what color the tie should be."
"I thought you decide the tie color first,"
Eriol stared with disbelief at his best friend. "Okay, there are two options before me right now: either Kinomoto has really struck you blind or you're not the real Syaoran, which if it's the case, I demand to know where he is!"
Syaoran sighed. "Gods, Eriol, are you a nutcase? If I'm not Syaoran, then who the hell would be?"
"I don't know about that buddy, but you're certainly not acting like him."
"Would the person in front of you right now happen to know that you once, when you were six, gave the snobbiest girl in our class a poison ivy rash on her face when you presented her with a handful of half wilted daises and poison ivy mixed somewhere inside?"
"Alright, you're the real one," Eriol admitted. "But really, you have it hard for Kinomoto,"
"Well, I had thought that one chose the suit first, but after talking to Yamazaki, he told me that ties were the way to go because they define character, and that,"
"Whoa, hold it there," his best friend told him. "One, never take all that dear Yamazaki has to say to heart, and two, let's start with choosing a suit." Eriol walked over to the whiteboard and proceeded to write "black, blue, gray, brown," under the category "suit."
"I was thinking of traditional black,"
"Good," Eriol replied, crossing the other colors off. "Now shirt color,"
"And here I thought that after dating Tomoyo, you'd at least get some more fashion sense," he told Syaoran. "Now unless you want to wear a red bow tie to go with that, I suggest different colors. Now what kind of message do you want to send across?"
"Message?" Syaoran echoed. "I just want to look nice,"
"Okay, nice," Eriol scribbled. "Is that like sexy nice, smart nice, or clean nice?"
"Look, you know what, I'm just going to decide for you what you're going to wear, and that's the end of it. I'm not going to spend my precious coffee break trying to explain to you some foreign concepts."
"Are you even male?" Syaoran retorted.
"You're going to wear a black suit, that nice red wine shirt you have, and no tie," Eriol told him, ignoring the insult. "See? Very simple, and I even brought your desired nice into the picture,"
"That's not bad," Syaoran admitted begrudgingly.
"Tomoyo has me trained, believe me," his friend answered. "So," Eriol said as he sat back down, "looking forward to tonight?"
"Kinomoto's going to be a real knock out," Eriol continued to chatter. "You can bet on your life that Tomoyo's having the time of her life."
Syaoran glared. "Did I invite you to come in and gossip about my love life in front of me?"
Eriol grinned wickedly. "Did I just hear love life? So you are considering having a relationship with Kinomoto-san,"
"That would be none of your business," his friend replied shortly.
"Of course it does," the azure colored hair answered. "I chose you as my best man; it's only fair that I'm yours."
"You can be my best man who does all my paperwork for the next week if you don't stop bothering me," Syaoran threatened. "And I don't see why not, since it was your fiancé that begged me to let my secretary out early such that I have so much work on my hands."
"Ah, just kidding," Eriol amended as lingering teasing smile remained on his face.
Syaoran nodded approvingly.
As one would expect from a Li, Syaoran was early by precisely ten minutes. Not only was he always on time, but from experience, he knew that since Sakura was at Tomoyo's that would mean that Tomoyo would need an extra seven minutes before Sakura would walk out the door. Tomoyo herself had always asked for a few more minutes when they were dating. Thus, they would be three minutes ahead of time. Perfect.
"Ah! Syaoran, wait out there for a few minutes will you?" Tomoyo called, when she heard the door bell bring.
Syaoran nodded, totally unfazed. This was typical Tomoyo procedure.
And true to his words, after seven minutes, he could hear footsteps walking towards the door and the sound of the door unlocking.
However, despite him having taking into account of everything, he did not expect his breath to be knocked out of him when he saw the door open.
Sakura was dressed in a golden halter dress that shimmered under the light. Her hair was put up in intricate large ringlets, framing her face that had a thin, natural layer of makeup. In her hands was a small white purse, and he noticed that her nails were neatly done into a French manicure. As his eyes traveled downwards, he saw that golden heels peaked out from underneath the dress.
"One minute's up," Tomoyo's voice cut through. Syaoran blinked startled at her voice. Tomoyo grinned. "Sakura, that's ten dollars that you owe me."
"Damn it," Sakura cursed, ruffling through the purse and handing a bill to the smug fashion designer.
"Were you guys betting on me?" Syaoran asked, slightly miffed.
"And you weren't helping," Sakura snapped at him. "You just made me lose ten bucks while you spent a whole minute ogling at me."
Syaoran glared at her, but wisely didn't say anything. After all, it was true that he was drinking in the sight of her in that stunning dress.
Tomoyo grinned cheekily. "Have fun you guys," she told them. "Don't do anything that I wouldn't do,"
Sakura rolled her eyes. "I'm so going to get you back Tomoyo." Tomoyo just waved in return at the empty threat her friend gave her.
Sakura huffed and turned her back to her friend. "Shall we go?" She asked. "I know how much you being late."
Syaoran nodded dumbly.
"So, how long is this going to last?" She finally asked after ten minutes of driving.
"Already wanting to leave my wonderful presence?" Syaoran asked.
Sakura grinned. "I see that you've finally regained the usage of your tongue," she replied cattily. "Or is it because you have to focus on the road such that you can't be stunned by my good looks?"
"Don't flatter yourself,"
"Oh? Then I suppose I was imaging it when you were drooling when I walked out of Tomoyo's apartment?"
"We all know that you have poor eyesight Kinomoto," Syaoran answered.
"Because I have to look at you all day," Sakura quipped. "God knows what harm they do to me. It's horrifying."
"I know," he gave a mock sigh. "I'm so deathly handsome that it's horrifying how I could be blessed with such looks." He cracked a grin. "But really, do I look okay? Eriol was the one who picked out what I was to wear."
Sakura raised her eyebrow. "I didn't know you were color blind."
"I'm not," Syaoran retorted.
She looked over his outfit. "I'd actually say it's better than what you usually wear," she replied after a moment's thought. "Tomoyo must have rubbed off Eriol more than I thought she had."
"Any more and I would fear for Eriol's masculinity."
Sakura laughed. "I already do,"
"What, I can't believe it was all a trick to get Sakura to go out with Li," Meiling said loudly. "Tomoyo, why didn't you tell me?"
"I didn't know until Eriol told me," her friend defended. "Besides, I only had a hunch because whenever Syaoran has a social function, Eriol would go as well. I didn't want to tell you, and raise your hopes up."
"Hiiragizawa," Meiling hounded on her other friend. "Why didn't you tell us sooner?"
"Because, you being you, you'd somehow give a hint to Sakura," A fourth voice responded. Meiling glared at her boyfriend.
"I wasn't asking you," she answered hotly.
Eriol raised his hand in a way to soothe Meiling's anger. "Oh, come on Rae-san. Shouldn't you be thrilled that our matchmaking plans have moved forward?"
"Yes, but I wanted to wish Sakura luck," the Chinese girl wailed.
"That's exactly why Eriol couldn't tell you," Ryoko said. "If you had someone hinted it to Sakura, you know that she would refuse to go out with Syaoran. This way, she would have no way to back out, knowing her pride."
Meiling's pout finally faded. "True," she conceded. "Besides, if Li hadn't tricked Sakura out tonight, we all know too well what she would be doing today."
"You can't blame her," Tomoyo defended. "I would have wanted to do the same."
"But I hate how she acts so guilty though," the Chinese girl whined. "It makes me feel guilty."
"Sakura just has to deal with it her own way," the older girl reprimanded wisely. "You had Kai to pull you through. Sakura has to deal with it herself. Besides, there is the fact that her whole life revolved around her oniichan. Think of how hard that is to step away from all that."
Meiling sighed. "I guess you're right," she intoned.
The group quieted.
"Sakura should just get together with Li," Meiling declared frustrated. "Wouldn't that solve everything?"
Ryoko laughed. "Sweetie, as much as you love me, I have to say that Kinomoto getting together with Li won't necessarily solve all problems." He grinned. "After all, I am one of a kind. Li can't hold a candle against me."
Meiling roared into fits of laughter at the absurdity of her boyfriend. "Ryoko, the size of your ego is expanding."
"Only around you," he answered, with a straight face as possible. "Well, what movie should we watch?"
"Amelie," his girlfriend immediately responded.
"I love Amelie," Tomoyo seconded.
Ryoko laughed, admitting defeat. "I'm fine with that," he said.
"I'll go grab some food to munch on," Eriol voiced as he stood up.
"I'll help," the other guy added.
"Oh, and Eriol," Tomoyo called sweetly from the living room. Eriol peaked out from the kitchen. "Would you make some hot chocolate in my favorite mug you got for me?"
Eriol grinned. "Anything for you," he responded. "Anybody else want some?"
"No thanks," Meiling responded from where she was sitting next to Tomoyo on the sofa. "But Ryoko, can you make some popcorn?"
"No," her boyfriend responded flatly.
"What!" Meiling said, raising her voice in protest. "But Hiiragizawa helped Tomoyo!"
"So?" the policeman responded. "You're perfectly capable of making popcorn yourself. Didn't you say you wanted to learn how to cook?"
"I know how to use a microwave,"
"Or so you think," he said. "Who's the one who refused to take the foil off her baked potato before microwaving it?"
Meiling scowled as Tomoyo giggled. "Well since you know that I'm going to start a fire in Tomoyo's kitchen, you might as well make some popcorn for me," she wheedled.
"Why don't you come here and I'll show you what buttons to press?" Ryoko suggested with a teasing grin.
"But the movie's about to start,"
"You can pause it," he retorted. "Besides, if you don't come then you're just not going to have any."
Meiling sighed, but got up reluctantly. Ryoko grinned and pulled her into a half hug, placing a kiss on her forehead. She relented a bit as she snuggled deeper into his embrace.
"I'm assuming I should take the plastic covering off the package?" She drawled sarcastically.
Ryoko chuckled and she could hear the soft rumble vibrating from his chest.
"That would be a very wise decision," Eriol suggested as he poured some hot chocolate into a uniquely glazed mug.
Meiling stuck her tongue out at her friend who just grinned. "Losers," she mumbled as she tore the plastic wrapper, popped the package in the microwave and set it on the time that was suggested on the package.
The popping noise signaled that the popcorn was going well and Meiling hummed to herself as she rummaged through the fridge for a bottle of orange juice. However, soon the popping noise ceased and instead, a drift of something burning drifted in the kitchen.
"Ah, Rae, your popcorn is burning," Eriol stated lightly, his tone amused.
"What?" Meiling yanked the microwave door open and was caught with a cloud of burnt smoke. Ryoko sighed and walked over to grab the bag, toss it in the trashcan.
"Learn to never trust what the packages say," he told her as he placed a new package in. "Just take it out as soon as you don't hear any more popping," Ryoko grinned and tweaked her nose.
"You did that on purpose," she pouted.
"You learn by your mistakes," Ryoko responded.
She scowled. "I don't like you," she declared.
"No," her boyfriend answered, "you love me."
"I don't have to if it's already come true," Ryoko said with a grin. He took out the popcorn and poured the perfect kernels into a big bowl. "Grab your drink," he told her. "I thought you didn't want to miss the movie?"
Meiling just nodded, trying to shake off the flutter of butterflies that were in her stomach. Somehow she couldn't help think of her earlier conversation with Tomoyo that day. Trying to suppress her blush, she quickly followed her boyfriend to the living room where Tomoyo and Eriol were waiting.
"Hey Kai, I hear that you secured a self-defense lecture at the police department tomorrow for Meiling," Tomoyo said with a warm smile, as she winked slyly at Meiling.
"It's mainly for those who are interning," he answered. "Most of the ladies are capable, but they could use some more training before they really enter the field."
"So are you planning a congratulations dinner of some sort afterwards?"
Meiling shot her friend a dirty look.
Ryoko laughed. "Wow, Eriol, that's one psychic girlfriend you have there,"
"Yeah, scares me sometimes with the things she'll know before I even tell her. I can bet you that she knew I was going to propose to her a month before I actually did."
"I did not," Tomoyo protested. "I just had a hunch a few days before you asked me to dinner that night you proposed. It wasn't my fault you were acting so obviously!"
"Anyhow," the policeman said, cutting into the conversation, "Meiling, I was planning to bring you to our favorite sushi place afterwards. You know, the whole reward for a good work thing. What do you say?" He grinned.
Meiling had to try not to look at Tomoyo's direction, for she knew that if she did, a blush would rise, and that would be the end of the world as she knew it. "Sure," she answered, as casually as she could. "I can never say no to sushi,"
"That would be true," Eriol agreed, and unintentionally rescued Meiling from the spotlight. "Man, I treated her once and I almost didn't have enough money to pay for our bill!"
"Hey, you said I could help myself," Meiling defended hotly. "I just finished from teaching; naturally I would be hungry,"
"I didn't hear about this before. When did you guys have lunch?" Tomoyo asked.
"He wanted my advice," her friend answered. "Nothing to be jealous of Tomoyo-chan,"
"Advice of what," Ryoko asked curiously. "Meiling isn't one to good advice after all. When I asked her what I should give Kinomoto-san for her birthday, she suggested that I buy her a goldfish." He chuckled. "Good thing I decided to go with a dress shirt that Daidouji-san advised."
Meiling punched him in the arm, and not too lightly either. "Sakura does like goldfishes okay? Besides, Hiiragizawa-san loved and took my advice, so there." She stuck out her tongue.
"Considering it's me we're talking about here," the young man said, "I have to agree with Rae-san just this once. I'd have to say that she has great taste in engagement rings,"
"What?" Ryoko said, coughing on his drink.
"I was thinking that this engagement ring wasn't something a guy would pick out," Tomoyo mused, looking at her right hand.
Meiling grinned. "Well, actually, it was because the girls in my class were gossiping about their futures one day during break. Normally I'm not interested, but the conversation got to be interesting, and soon enough we were crowded around a computer as we looked through rings."
"Hiiragizawa-san, if you want advice on a wedding ring, I could help you pick too," the Chinese girl offered. "One of the girls, Ayumi, has like a whole collection of ring pictures, and her taste is really good."
Eriol laughed. "I'll think about it,"
"And here I thought my good taste was rubbing on you," Tomoyo teased.
"Oh, they are," her fiancé reassured her. "After all, I picked out Syaoran's outfit tonight,"
"Mm," Meiling commented. "Talking about Li, what do you think will happen when Sakura realizes that she was tricked?"
Eriol laughed. "What I would give to see it all,"
"Besides, she wasn't tricked per se," Tomoyo protested. "It is a social event,"
"It's just a social event for the two of them," Ryoko finished.
The four, who were clearly all pitched into the crime, crackled evilly.
Sakura raised her eyebrow as a waiter pulled back a chair and waited for her to sit down at the table that was clearly meant only for two. But she managed an elegant smile as she nodded to the waiter in thanks as he pushed her in.
"My name's Ling and I'll be your waiter tonight. How are you tonight?" He asked pleasantly.
Sakura shot Syaoran a dirty glare before smiling sweetly at the waiter. "Oh, as great as one can be when out on a business social function," she replied.
Syaoran winced at her answer. Clearly she wasn't going to let him off the hook anytime soon.
Ling seemed oblivious to the tension that was clearly between the two. "Shall I start you off with something to drink?"
Syaoran opened his mouth to answer, but Sakura cut him off. "A bottle of the best wine you have, please." Ling nodded as he wrote that down. She looked at her boss, daring him to object.
"Lovely decision," the waiter praised. "And what will the two of you be having tonight?"
Sakura scanned the menu, and was disappointed that the prices weren't listed on the menu. But then again, everything at the Hyatt was probably just as expensive from one item to the next. "What would you suggest, Ling-san?" she purred.
"Our specialty would be Caspian Golden Osetra caviar followed by a main meal of glazed short ribs, and dessert of pear soufflé,"
"Sounds delicious, Ling-san. Have you decided Li-san?" Sakura asked, her voice overly sweet.
"I'll have the same, thank you," he replied curtly. Ling nodded, collected their menus and bowed as he said that he would be back shortly with their wine.
"Li-san," Sakura turned her attention to him, her previous kind disposition gone. "This was the business social function that you dragged me out to?"
Syaoran sighed. "All right, you've caught me red-handed. I knew that if I were to ask you directly out to dinner, you'd refuse,"
"So basically you used my weakness to trick me into dining with you because you're a coward who's afraid of rejection?" she summed.
"You have a gift for twisting things around," he snapped. "I just wanted to treat you to dinner, as an appreciation for working for me two years,"
"Underpaid," his secretary added.
Syaoran was about to retort a comment, but decided to hold it back. "And I'm not thinking of giving you a raise anytime soon. Especially since you just ordered the most expensive wine possible."
Sakura grinned. "Hey, you're treating me to dinner. And especially because you're not going to give me a raise, I have to milk every benefit as I possibly can."
"Well, I'm glad you're not angry at me anymore," he confessed. "I swear you were about to gorge my eyes out when you noticed that this wasn't some social function."
"Nothing that pretty," Sakura reassured him. She sniffed her wine that Ling had poured as they were talking. "Mm, I haven't had wine in a really long time." She admired the way the light bounced off the swirling red wine.
"My mother had me trained to drink wine before I legally could," Syaoran admitted wryly. "Since my father died when I was really young, I was bound to be the one to inherit his company."
"Were you close with your father?" she asked. It was rare for Syaoran to bring up the topic of his family voluntarily. He never talked about his family beyond what was necessary in the realm of business.
And for a moment, she thought that he wasn't going to answer. "I don't think close would be the word to describe it. He was a strict father and I obeyed him. When he passed away, my mother took up the job of training me." He paused thoughtfully. "But I missed having another man in the house I suppose."
"You didn't have any brothers?"
Syaoran grinned. "Have you ever received a call from my brother?"
"Well, now that you mention it, no,"
"Nah, I have four older sisters, as you may have gathered,"
"They're nice people,"
"Nice is an understatement," he informed her. "Crazy is more fitting,"
Sakura just shrugged. "It would be nice to have that many siblings,"
Syaoran knew better than to comment. "Well, let's try the caviar that Ling-san so kindly offered since it was obviously the most expensive item," he said, trying to steer the conversation.
Sakura blinked from her thoughts, and looked at Syaoran. She gave me a half smile when she realized that he was trying to cheer her up. Picking up her fork, she took some of the caviar. "Mm," she said. "You know, this is the first time I've ever had caviar."
She took some more. "I really can't say if I like it or not," she continued, her mouth tasting and her tongue running over the texture.
"Me neither," Syaoran confessed. "I think people only eat it because it's acclaimed to be a great delicacy."
They continued to eat their caviar in silence.
"You're still treating me to ice cream afterwards right?" she asked suddenly.
Syaoran stared at her before laughing. Sakura shot him a glare and kicked him under the table, but was soon laughing with him.
The night came upon them too quickly and soon Sakura found herself walking along the sandy beach barefoot. She held her sandals in her hands as she gingerly approached the calm waves that lapped at the beach's end.
"Tomoyo's going to kill you if she finds seawater and sand all over the gown she made you," Syaoran said amusedly.
Sakura looked at the ocean water forlornly before turning to her companion. She walked a bit further away from the ocean and sat down on the makeshift blanket that was Syaoran's jacket. Syaoran sat down beside her and offered her a small yellow container and a wooden spoon.
She raised it before her eyes and sighed. She opened the lid and sighed again.
"Quit whining and eat," he told her, nudging her with his shoulder. "I told you that I would bring you out another time for your favorite ice cream."
Sakura scowled at her, but obediently began to eat her ice cream.
"Thank you," she said after a while.
Syaoran glanced at her briefly to show that he had heard her, but his gaze remained at the rolling waves before them.
"For what?" he asked when she didn't continue.
Sakura drew her legs up and rested her chin on her knees. "I probably would have spent the day sulking here if you didn't coerce me to come out with you tonight." She paused and looked at him from the corner of her eyes. "And I had a great time, so thanks."
Syaoran shrugged. "I had a good time too, so should I thank you too?" His voice was soft and sarcastic at the same time.
Sakura shook her head. "No, I meant,"
He surprised her by extending his hand towards her and poking her forehead gently. "Baka," he said, his voice oddly warm.
Sakura stared at him, as if she was seeing him for the first time. "Why?"
"Why what?" he replied casually. His back was once again facing her.
"I'll never understand you," she declared with conviction. "One moment you're a cocky, stingy bastard of a boss, and then one moment," her voice trailed off as it cracked. She looked at his back and her eyes watered.
"One moment you're the most special person on this planet," she whispered.
Syaoran chuckled. "That's the best compliment I've heard in my entire life," he told her joyfully. But when he turned around saw her eyes, rimmed with tears, his heart softened.
"Hey, don't get worked up all over me," he said. "I still am a cocky stingy bastard of a boss,"
Sakura managed a weak grin.
Syaoran sighed softly as he gathered Sakura into a half hug. They sat like that for a while, with Sakura snuggled in his embrace, his arm tossed over her shoulders as they watched the waves repeatedly wash up the beach and then retreat, but only to return again.
"It's been two years huh?" he said softly.
Sakura's chest heaved as she breathed deeply. "And at the same time it was yesterday," she whispered. She was about to say more when something gently hit her on the head.
She looked up startled to see Yukito standing there with a grin, and in his hands were a few branches of peach blossoms. Once she saw the flowers and smelt their fragrance, tears that she was trying to hard to hide, came rushing forward.
Yukito gave her a lopsided grin. "I didn't ruin some romantic moment between you two did I?"
Sakura quickly withdrew from Syaoran's embrace. Turning to Yukito, she shook her head.
"Are you sure?" The older man teased. "I could step back and wait for a while. I could of sworn that if I came a few minutes later, you would have been kissing."
"Yukito!" Sakura complained.
He grinned. "Sorry, sorry." He waved the flowers in his hand. "I thought Touya would appreciate his namesake flower,"
Sakura nodded as she quickly wiped her tears with the black of the palm. "Do you mind if I join you?"
The older man shook his head. "Of course not Sakura," he answered. "Li-kun, are you coming?"
The two nodded and walked down the beach until they were quite a distance away. Turning they faced the ocean and the warm breeze welcomed them. For a while neither said anything, as they just calmly watched the ocean ripple, consumed in their own thoughts. Yukito walked towards the sea where the water gently lapped at his feet. Bending his head down and saying something under his breath, Yukito then threw the flowers into the water, which the ocean graciously accepted.
Sakura walked up to stand next to him as they watched the flowers be carried away.
"Touya would appreciate that," she said. "Thank you."
Yukito smiled. "Any friend would do that,"
Sakura returned the smile. "When Li-san told me that he was willing to pay for Touya's heart transplant, I believe that all my dreams had come true," she confessed. "I never thought that there was the possibility that Touya's body would reject the heart."
"Even the best equipment and technology can't save all human lives,"
"For the longest time I was so angry. I didn't understand how it could have failed," her voice trailed off. "Sometimes I think to myself that if Touya never had the heart transplant he could have lived just a few days longer." Sakura sniffed. "A few days longer with me,"
Yukito pulled the younger girl into a half hug, and squeezed his arm around her reassuringly. "We all think that," he answered. "What we would do if we could have just a moment more with the ones with love."
Sakura sighed and rested her head against her friend's shoulder.
"But we can't go about living that way," the older man told her wisely. "If we do, we fail to see the ones who are important around us now. Life is so fleeting that we can't waste it thinking about the what ifs."
"I'm sorry that because of my pride you never got to see Touya before he passed away."
Yukito shook his head. "Of course I was sad that I didn't get to see Touya one last time, but I cherish the times we did have together. It makes the memories more vivid."
"Just knowing that Touya thought of me as his best friend until his death was more than I could have ever asked for. And because I'm his best friend, I know what he would want."
Sakura looked at him questionably.
The hand around her shoulder gave her a tight squeeze before Yukito turned Sakura around. She saw Syaoran walking towards them, his hands casually placed into his pockets. Yukito grinned and leaned down as he whispered into her ear, "He wouldn't be angry at you if you moved on in your life Sakura-chan," he whispered.
Sakura eyes widened and tears threatened to fall again. Looking up at her brother's best friend, Yukito nodded in confirmation. She gave me a small smile before running towards Syaoran.
The young man gave her a quizzical look and turned his head around to see if there was something behind him that had caught her attention. Frowning, he turned his head back around only to have Sakura tackle him.
"What the hell, Kinomoto?" he growled as they lay in an undignified heap in the sand.
Her only response was to hug him closer.
"Uh," Syaoran awkwardly patted Sakura on the back. His eyes met Yukito's confusedly, but the older man just grinned and waved before walking away.
"Kinomoto, get off! You're killing me," he poked her exposed arm.
"No," she mumbled, as her buried her face deeper into his chest.
Syaoran sighed and easily flipped her over such that he was on top of her. He looked down at her. "What was that for? I never knew that you were a quarterback in high school,"
"They wouldn't let me," she told him. "I had to settle for a cheerleader instead."
"Not what you expected I'm sure," he answered wryly as he rolled off her. The two lay in the sand as they stared up into the dark clear night and the stars that were sprinkled above.
"You don't mind if I call you that do you?" Sakura rolled over on her side to look at him as she perched her head on her hand.
"I don't mind," he paused before continuing, "Sakura."
"Okay," she said, and rolled back onto her back.
After a moment of silence, Syaoran drawled, "I wonder what Tomoyo would react when she realizes that we're going out,"
"She'd die of shock. She's been trying to get us together for a while now." Her voice was just as light and casual as his.
"Don't forget Eriol and Rae,"
She snorted. "You'd think they have an ounce of stealth between the three of them."
"Tomoyo and Eriol can be sly when they want to. Rae's never was one for secrecy. She never has since she was little."
Sakura raised her eyebrow. "So you do know that Meiling's your cousin,"
"I've known for a while," he answered.
"Why didn't you tell her?"
"I figure that she's too embarrassed or prideful to admit that she was once the same cousin who demanded that I marry her if I didn't find a wife in the future,"
Sakura laughed. "It was a cute story,"
"I never knew that saving a bird would result in such sudden declaration of undying love," the chestnut haired man said sarcastically.
"And you never knew that giving your business card to an erotic dancer would result in such either," Sakura said softly, glancing at him through the corner of her eye.
Syaoran grinned. Reaching over, he entwined his hand through his fingers and raised their clasped hands.
"But now I don't have to marry Rae,"
Sakura stared at him before bursting into laughter. Syaoran chuckled. He leaned over kissed her gently on the lips, sealing their love until death does them apart.
Haha, just when you thought I was never going to update, after a four month hiatus, I finally update the epilogue. Whew! Finally got up from my lazy butt and updated, since I just watched the second Card Captor Sakura movie: The Sealed Card just a few hours ago and I was tingled with great inspiration.
Didn't you just love the ending when Syaoran goes, "Even if I lose this feeling, I'll just fall in love with you again"? I was screaming, "AHHHHHHH. SO CUTE," and failing my arms in the air like a love sick idiot. Haha. I know, I don't act my age half of the time, so you don't have to say it again.
Anyhow, deepest apologies for such a late update, and I thank you so much for reading this story, every single step of the way. I can't say how much I thank you!
As for future stories, I always so have many ideas floating in my head, being a diehard romantic at heart. I don't know if I'm going to continue with CCS (though I'm inspired again watching the awesome CCS movie. How can you not?). I might try my luck with other anime/manga. I'm currently obsessed with the manga, Naruto, Full Metal Alchemist, Marchen Awakens Romance, Bleach, and Fruits Basket. I think I should say something like, "Hi, my name is Iris Dreamer. I'm a manga and anime addict." And you call can say, "Hiiiiiii Iris Dreamer." HAHAHAHA.
Right. Not funny. Just wanted to say a HUGE thanks to all those who have stuck with me since day one; you don't know how much that means to me. I hope you've enjoyed the last chapter, and that it's tied up some loose ends (hopefully all).
I LOVE YOU ALL
--iris dreamer. :)