He loves her, her really does. But somehow he can't bring himself to tell her that. The words simply sound foreign in his mouth, like a language he or his other self never learned of.
She always told him she loves him – everyday and every chance she has. But all that he can do is smile at her words.
She never seemed to mind though. It was as if she was contented by the idea that she could stay close to him as much as possible. It didn't matter that he had not told her he love her. She has all the time in the world to wait. The only thing that mattered was him.
She was very patient and he loved her for that. He knew he was being unfair and one day decided to tell her the words she longed to hear. But on the very same day he was to tell her that, he found her by the foyer, luggage in tow.
"What are you doing?" he asked though the answer was pretty obvious.
"I'm leaving," she simply said, giving a small smile as she puts on her coat.
"You'll most likely get lost," he kidded. His head was spinning; his thoughts flying in the air like a leaf toyed by the wind. His mind's probably playing tricks on him again, either that or this was Kaho's terrible idea of a joke. Any second from now her guardians will appear teasing him.
"Probably. But I'll find my way," she said, blinking back the water in her eyes. "Take good care of yourself, okay? And don't let Nakuru feed Spinel with sweets too much..."
"You're joking right?" he managed to mutter, not believing what was happening. Her bitter smile told him she wasn't.
"I'll go now," she said turning towards the door.
"I love you," he blurted out, sounding like an attempt to stop her, to not go. She did stop, set her luggage down on the tiled floor and looked at him with surprised eyes which disappeared quickly, like she was never taken aback by his words. She walked towards him, bent down lightly that she looked at him straight in the eye and gave a small smile. Outside it was raining terribly.
"Say those words when you mean them, but I doubt if it will be for me," she said, so softly she sounded like an elderly talking to a child.
Eriol tried his best not to wince at her words.
"You said if I feel the same way that you do, you're sure it will be a happy ending."
"I did. But do you honestly feel the same way?"
"Why are you giving up all of a sudden?"
"I'm not giving up," she corrected. "How can I give up something I never had in the first place?"
"What are you talking about?"
"It is not me who your heart seeks. I cannot give you the love you deserve. I thought saying that I love you every time will convince me that I do, but I cannot fool my heart or you anymore…" she said fighting back her tears but failing miserably.
"But I love you," he repeated, this time with what he hoped sounded like certainty.
She shook her head. "You do not love me. You're heart is somewhere else, waiting for somebody."
"How do you know?" he asked, anger dripping in his voice.
"You should try to know your heart better."
Those were her last words and with that she left out of the house and out of his life…
Eriol woke up, panting heavily, from the couch he could see the wall clock by the kitchen. It was almost midnight.
Running a hand on his hair, he walked to the kitchen and took a glass of water. Dinner earlier was eventful and he was tired. Luisa left two hours ago while his manager phoned in an hour later, telling him he can't make it at Tomoyo's place and will just fetch him the following morning. Not wanting to overstay his welcome he decided to just take a cab to his place but Tomoyo managed to convince him to stay. Tomoyo was reluctant to let him sleep by the couch and offered her bed but he said that was too much.
Setting his glass by the sink, Eriol walked to the huge panel windows by the living room and realized that it was raining.
From the window he could see his reflection and his other self.
"You knew those things were bound to happen, why didn't you tell me?" he asked him bitterly.
"Things that are destined to happen will happen no matter what."
"You could have at least warned me."
"It makes no difference."
"Are you blaming me on what has become of your relationship with the teacher?"
"I never said that."
"Your relationship ended because you could not make up your mind."
"I can! I love her!"
"Did you say those words because you want to or because you need to? Needs are different from wants Eriol"
"You should try to know your heart better."
Eriol winced. He could feel his anger curl up in a ball at the smiling image of Clow by the window.
"Since when did you know better!" he exclaimed punching the window sending shards of glass and droplets of water everywhere. "Wasn't it you who destroyed my life in the first place?"
Tomoyo came running downstairs upon hearing the crash.
"Eriol!" she exclaimed, rushing towards the mage by the center of the room, barefooted. The strong gush of wind sent her hair flying in different directions.
Eriol looked at Tomoyo with glazed eyes.
Tomoyo felt something in her heart ache. Getting on her knees, she gave Eriol a light shake by the shoulders and managed to get his attention. Her gaze fell on his injured hand.
"I'll get the first aid kit," she said, disappearing to her room and returning briefly with a small box.
Quietly, she tended to his wounds with utmost care as Eriol stared blankly at the wall. He was stoic, his thoughts adrift, lost in the breaks between time and space. He never felt so tired in his life before. The feeling was worse than the idea of living for centuries. It was the feeling that of lost innocence… lost youth… lost life…
I'm so tired.
The feeling of something warm sliding down his arm brought him back to his senses.
Tomoyo? What's she doing here?
The tingling feeling of the antiseptic against his wounds answered his unspoken question.
"Does it hurt?" she asked, starting to dress his wounds.
He shook his head no.
Silence enveloped them as the wind blew harder.
"Aren't you going to ask me what happened?" he asked not standing the silence any longer. There was something unnerving with her silence. Normal people would have fired him numerous questions, screamed or have given him a scolding on what happened but Tomoyo was silent, complacent, almost expressionless like nothing happened.
"Do I have to?" she asked.
"It's your window I broke…"
Eriol waited for her reply but she said nothing.
"You don't need to tell me anything, not unless you want to. Do you?"
This time Eriol went silent. Does he want her to know? They barely knew each other. They were but old classmates and that was like a good ten years ago. He was never a trusting person. But there was something within him that makes him comfortable with her, at ease, like everything will be all right.
Tomoyo patted Eriol's hand slightly with a smile. "The cuts aren't that deep, but try not to strain your hands too much."
With that she stood up smoothly and picked up Eriol's blanket and pillow.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
"I'll have somebody fix the window first thing in the morning. For now, you'll sleep in my room."
In bed, Eriol could not tear his gaze away from Tomoyo as she drifts to sleep, her hair spread all over the creamy pillows like an intricate pattern in ebony and her skin as white as the silky sheets.
She was beautiful. Back in his tours, he's been hearing about her and even caught a glimpse of a commercial she did for a popular line of clothing.
Her presence soothes him. It was like as if the air she breathes out is oxygen engulfing him, saving him from suffocation.
Eriol's eyebrows twitched. Lines were forming in Tomoyo's forehead like as if she was having a very bad dream. Soon she was moaning, like as if in deep pain.
Hastily, Eriol got up, opened the lampshade and tried to wake her.
"Are you all right?" he asked.
She gave a small nod. Wordlessly, she got out of bed, grabbed her robe by the vanity and walked towards the door.
"Where are you going?" Eriol asked.
"I'll just get myself something to drink. You go to sleep. Your manager's picking you up in the morning." She replied before disappearing by the door. Eriol waited for her to get back to bed. But she didn't return quickly and he drifted to sleep.
When he awoke he was surprised to find Tomoyo fast asleep by the mahogany dining table, her arms supporting her face, a bottle of wine almost empty by her fingertips.
Like a jack-in-a-box Tomoyo woke up looking disheveled. "W-what…where….what time is it?" she asked more to herself than to Eriol as she walked about the room looking lost.
"Oh my God! It's nine in the morning! I'm so going to be late!" she exclaimed dashing back to her room.
Eriol who was left to himself by the dining room watched her till she disappeared to her door and turned his gaze on the fine table noticing the small blotches by the spot where Tomoyo rested her head earlier.
The Earth is the 3rd planet from the Sun at a distance of about 150 million kilometers or 93.2 miles. It takes 365.256 days for the Earth to travel around the Sun and 23.9345 hours for the Earth to rotate a complete revolution. It has a diameter of 12, 756 kilometers or 7, 973 miles, making it a few hundred kilometers larger than Venus. But all these dimensions and facts are reduced into nothingness with the machinations and interventions of fate and suddenly the world is too small for Tomoyo and Eriol.
Ever since their sudden reunion that Monday morning their paths just keep on crossing much to their surprise – the coffee shop, the bookstore, the art museum, the theatre and now, Eriol is to play the piano on Relena's fashion show where Tomoyo will be modeling at.
"Don't you think there are too many coincidences between us?" Eriol once commented during rehearsal break.
Tomoyo smiled thoughtfully. "Either that or you're a stalker."
Eriol chuckled. "I'm afraid the catwalk's heartbreaker already has too many. I have to admit though that I'm pretty surprised by the way things are."
Tomoyo looked at him confused. "But I thought you can see the future…"
"I can, but I don't." Eriol explained in a bare whisper. "And even if I do, there are things beyond my comprehension."
"You seem very pleased about it though," Tomoyo commented noticing the grin within his features.
"Who am I to complain when my path gets to cross that of a beautiful damsel's?" Eriol cajoled looking at her straight in the eye.
"I tell no lies"
"Does that mean people then were really not allowed to eat chocolate if their under twenty?" she asked teasingly.
Eriol laughed to himself, recalling the times he connived with Yamazaki in telling lies.
People believed him then. Everyone was simply so gullible. Even Chiharu's sharpness in distinguishing lies from truths was put to a test. The Daidouji heiress of course, was an exemption. It takes one to know one after all.
"Except maybe that. Everyone lies once in awhile." he said feigning an innocent look.
"Don't we, Tomoyo-chan?" he whispered to her ear.
Tomoyo seemed taken aback by what he said and barely concealed her surprise. She moved away from him as if a touch from him will crumble her being.
"I don't lie." She said her voice expressionless, her eyes hidden by her lashes.
And they laughed like they have never laughed in their entire lifetimes before, the irony of their conversation mocking them.
For compared to the way they live their lives now, their lies when they were still young don't even come close.
For their lies today has fooled their families, their friends and even the world.
But it was not enough to fool their selves.
The huge TV screen illuminated the dark hotel room. It was around midnight and by the couch facing the TV screen a petite figure concealed in the darkness laid, her green eyes fixed on the tube.
By the screen was a popular talk show host, her legs primly crossed as she faces her guest after another commercial break.
Taking a quick glimpse to her cue card she flashed a toothy smile and asked, "In a time when rock bands are gaining popularity, it's quite rare for a pianist to be doing well in the music industry. What is the secret behind your success?"
"There's no secret actually. What I put into my music is something everyone else can give – though differently. And that is passion for music." a deep baritone replied as the camera shifts its focus on Eriol seating comfortably in a couch across the host's. "As much as possible, I want my music to be a reflection of my mind, heart and being… That's all there is."
The host smiled at his answer. "What piece best describes you then?"
"For me… each piece I play makes up a part of me. They're a melting pot of who I am…"
"Tell me, how is it like to be invited to perform in Relena Bouyed's awaited City of Angels fashion show?"
Eriol grinned clasping his hands together.
"I feel really honored. Madame Relena is a wonderful designer with lots of great ideas. I'm really looking forward to it."
"There are rumors spreading that you and Tomoyo Daidouji, one of the show's models are an item. Are the rumors true?" the host asked curious, a teasing grin creeping to her face.
Eriol seemed startled by the question and gave off a light laugh. "Tomoyo and I are very good friends. I was an exchanged student in their class in Tomoeda back in fifth grade but I left before the school year ended. It's just here in New York that I got to see her again."
"That's like…what… twelve years?"
"And you're just very good friends?" the host asked disappointed the same time teasing. "Sounds like childhood sweethearts to me."
The crowd cheered. Eriol chuckled colors slightly staining his cheeks.
"You two are always seen together…"
"We share a lot of similarities."
The host sighed exasperated. "If that's what you say."
"Up next Eriol Hiirigizawa plays the piano for us. You don't want to miss that, so stay tuned!" the host announced turning to the camera.
As the tube went black a shaking cheerful voice broke the room's deafening silence.
"She's here… she's really here…"
Tomoyo stood at the small wooden platform unmoving as three seamstresses adjusted with ease the black dress she's wearing. Strapped on her back was a pair of translucent wings with silvery trimming which glimmered whenever light touches its surface towering over her petite frame.
It was two days before the fashion show and everything from the clothes, the models' make-up and the venue down to the post show's cocktail was being prepared and adjusted to perfection.
"Give it a little twirl," one of the seamstresses suggested to which Tomoyo followed. Layers of black and white chiffon swirled gracefully like a fan catching the attention of everyone in the room.
"Oh! Perfect! You look beautiful my dear!" a tall slender woman in her early forties with short gray hair and dark brown eyes exclaimed excitedly as she approached Tomoyo.
"Thank you very much, Madame Relena," Tomoyo said politely as she took another turn to allow Relena to scrutinize the dress.
"I'm so excited!" Relena said with a thick French accent as she runs a hand on the dress's silky material. "You make my work look so beautiful!"
Something flickered in Tomoyo's mind and she went silent as Madame Relena continued to fuss on her.
"You look so cute on that dress Sakura-chan"
"A-arigatou… everything you make is really pretty, Tomoyo-chan."
"No, that's because Sakura-chan's beautiful. Anything I make is beautiful because you wear them."
"Tomoyo?" Relena's worried voice said disrupting her train of thoughts. "Ça va? (Are you okay?)"
Tomoyo nodded. "Excuse me, I'll just go to the restroom," she said walking out of the room.
Once out of the confines of the crowd she helped herself by the couch, a hand rubbing her temples gently.
"Are you okay?" Eriol asked walking towards her upon noticing her ashen face.
"I-I'm just…" Tomoyo stammered forcing a smile. And then everything went black.
He knows everything.
He can explain every mystery in the universe and even beyond that without batting an eyelash. But for the first time in his two lifetimes all his wisdom and knowledge was of no help to him as he stared at her sleeping figure by his lap.
The general rehearsal was over and they were the only ones left on the set. Earlier he saw her walk out of the room with an ashen face and instinctively he found himself holding her close till she drifted to sleep.
The staff insisted in waking her up so he can go home. But he didn't want to disrupt her sleep and promised them instead that he'll keep watch of her and drive her home as soon as she wakes up.
She looked so pained yet she never shed a single tear.
It's been three hours since the last of the staff left and he sat there unmoving, watching the movement of her chest as she breathes.
How can something so beautiful be so sad?
Cautiously, he tucked a stray strand of her hair behind her ear. By his fingers slightest contact with her skin he quickly withdrew his hands away, scared.
Since the day she ran her car unto him, he was no longer the same.
He knew that.
And what he knew scares him.
She was taking his misery away.
She was destroying his lies – the lies that fooled everyone and for a moment even his self.
That he was cursed and bound to be unhappy, that what he's enduring were consequences of his past.
And she showed him a glimmer of comfort when he woke up on her bed that rainy evening and he knew he didn't want to live in lies anymore.
And he wants to bring her into the light too.
CHAPTER III: CITY OF ANGELS
An eye is an organ that detects light. Different kinds of light-sensitive organs are found in a variety of creatures. The simplest eyes do nothing but detect whether the surroundings are light or dark. More complex eyes are used to provide the sense of vision.
He can see beyond what ordinary humans can see.
The eyes are windows to one's soul after all.
But her eyes were always hidden, always blank, glazed with an expression that tells its looker there's nothing to find there, that it's useless to even try.
And if he wants to bring her to the light he has to reveal her eyes first…
Disclaimer: I own no CCS
I'm sorry for the very late update. School's been a drag. I happen to update because it's already my sembreak (YAY!) And I now have a beta-reader! Many thanks to Babylonian Princess!
Also, I'd appreciate if my reviewers will log in (if they have an account) or leave their email addresses, that way I can thank you "personally", ne?
The whole set was designed with a mythical landscape lit by bejeweled scones hanging at different lengths from the ceiling. White calla lilies lined the long winding ramp sandwiched by rows of velvety chairs. By the center of the stage connected to the staircase leading to the third floor was the grand piano beautifully black and shining.
It was the day of the fashion show. Everyone was everywhere checking on everything and anything. Tension was all over the air it was almost nauseating. The clothes were checked over and over again while models walked through and forth the ramp as the lighting system was adjusted for what seems like the umpteenth time.
By the room adjacent to the dressing room members of the crew helped the models put on mechanical wings attached on harnesses as the stage manager gave them a short recap of how the show will proceed.
"As soon as the piano starts playing we'll have the angels ascend from the fifth floor. Lily, Germaine and Adriane will first hit the ramp while Veronique and Tomoyo will land by the third floor staircase leading to the ramp," the manager reminded them. "There'll be a crew member there. She'll prompt you if it's your cue already. Any questions?"
"Are these wings really this heavy?" Tomoyo asked light heartedly as she and her colleagues tried to keep their balance. The wings now attached to the harness were heavier than last time they put it on.
The manager smiled. "As they say…"
"Beauty comes with a price!" the girls finished in chorus. They all laughed.
Beauty comes with a price.
It was already her cue. Just as rehearsed she walked down the plight of stairs perfectly in sync with Eriol's playing.
She was graceful, her heels barely making contact with the floor like as if she was walking in midair. Her eyes accustomed to flashes of light bored straight into the camera facing her direction. Eyes followed her in awe.
She was the catwalk's heartbreaker and this was her spell.
Hands trained on the piano Eriol smiled at Tomoyo's back.
It was time.
Eyes fixed on her back he started to play a tune he once played when he was but ten years old – a tune that binds him, her and two guests at the far end corner of the room to a past long forgotten, where everything was completely different from the way things were right then.
Tomoyo froze, her eyes widening in shock.
For a fraction of a second she felt her vision blur and tasted something salty by the edges of her upper lip.
She clenched her fists, trying to keep her composure.
She was shaking. Taking a deep breath she continued to walk.
The photographer lowered his camera and watched her retreating back.
"What's wrong?" his assistant asked him.
"S-she's… she's breaking…"
"Tomoyo-chan… have you worn anything you made?"
"N-no, why ask Sakura-chan?"
"It's just that you've always worked on things because of me. Are you fine with that?"
"Why of course! I told you before right? Your happiness is my happiness as well."
"But I don't like that!"
"It's so unfair… it makes me feel selfish… you've always been nice to me. B-but I can never return your feelings… I can never return Tomoyo-chan's feelings…'
"Stop it, Sakura-chan. I told you…"
"No! That's just so unfair! You deserve better, Tomoyo-chan…"
"No! I really love you. You're the sister I never had…"
"Listen to me! You deserve better… you deserve better Tomoyo-chan…"
"I said stop it!"
Tomoyo blinked back her tears. She wanted to leave. She knew she can't though. The fashion show was far from over and the models were supposed to line up by the end of the show. Luisa and Madame Relena will surely notice if she went missing.
She felt her tears land on her fists.
She was losing control.
In haste she stood up and walked out of the dressing room only to run into somebody.
"I-I'm sorry, I wasn't looking," she apologized getting on her feet.
Tomoyo hearing her name turned and was surprised on who she saw.
She felt her throat go dry. Standing in front of her was the last person she expected to see that afternoon.
"It really is you! Tomoyo-chan!" Sakura exclaimed encircling her arms around Tomoyo.
Tomoyo was at a lost. She could feel her world crumble piece by piece and as if to save her, the stage manager appeared calling them for the final line up.
Quickly, she removed Sakura-arms and gave her a slight bow. "Please excuse me."
Without looking back she left the auburn haired girl and went after her colleagues.
"Stay away from me!" Tomoyo barked as she runs towards the fire exit door in a fury.
"I just want to talk to you, why are you running away?" Eriol said running after Tomoyo. Right after the show he tried to have a word with the lass who like a madman rushed out of the dressing room pushing her way against her colleagues.
"I am not running away! Why are you following me anyway!" Tomoyo snapped, her heels clicking profusely on the tiled stairs.
"You can't run away forever!" Eriol exclaimed now taking his steps two at a time. Since when did she become a fast runner?
"Just who the hell do you think you are! I don't need any help – especially yours." Tomoyo cried out enraged. She really should have removed the oversized wings before deciding to dash out of the dressing room right after the show. Her three and a half inch high heels weren't helpful either. "I never asked for help in the first place!"
Eriol leaped the remaining five steps and managed to grab Tomoyo's wrist. "Listen!"
"Let go of me!" Tomoyo persisted, her nails scratching the mage who still did not let go. But she was furious, enraged down to the bone and she pulled herself away from him. She pulled pretty hard though and she lost her balance and fell.
She shut her eyes fearful of her crash.
She opened her eyes confused and found Eriol cushioning her fall.
"Daijoubu? (Are you okay?)" he worriedly asked, blood trickling from his forehead, his glasses broken.
Tears filled Tomoyo's eyes.
"Madame Relena, congratulations for a wonderful show. I'm pretty intrigued with the title. Correct me if I'm wrong but was it inspired by the movie featuring Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan?"
"Yes, I have to say. I saw the movie a good seven years ago. It's about a woman who didn't believe in angels until she fell in love with one. The whole show's my own version though. I thought that…"
"That everybody's an angel with broken wings caught in this busy city… We all just need to heal and fly our way back to heaven."
Phew! I finally finished writing this chapter. I wrote this right after posting the second chapter but I was not satisfied with the way it turned out and had to wait till inspiration hits again. It's not as long as the second chapter but I like it as it is.
I hope it makes sense.
An additional note to everyone: the concept about the fashion show isn't made up. Victoria's Secret once had a show like that in 2001 only it's a lingerie line.
Sembreak is almost over but rest assured that this fic will be completed before the year ends.
Now this is the part where you click the button at the lower left corner and tell me the following:
What you think about this chapter
What you hate about this chapter
What you like about this chapter
What you expect to see next chapter
Your opinion is very much appreciated! Thanks!
"What is this?"
"A wedding invitation."
FATA CHAPTER IV: BEAUTIFUL RELEASE
Things are seldom what they seem