The Other Side of the Coin
Call me a fool. Stupid. Dumb. Naïve.
But he's my friend.
At least I think he still is.
Best friends wait for another, don't they? They are there for one another. They talk to each other about anything and everything. They share their innermost, deepest secrets with each other. Sit beneath the dark, night sky and dream. Dream of the infinite future. The unknown.
And know that they'll walk through that unknown together.
At least I know that I'm a best friend.
"Sakura-chan, chotto matte yo!" he shouted from behind. I slowed down. He caught up, on his bicycle. He flashed a dazzling smile. I grinned back. I tried to keep my eyes off his face. But it was hard. His face was just so…perfect. Straight nose, curving lips, strong chin and lightly tanned skin, tinged red by the cold. And his eyes, such glorious ecstasy to just look at them. Deep amber, clear as glass yet fathomless. He turned to look at me. I flinched. "Hoe!" I yelped, my wheels went out of control. My legs slid under me and struck out as I lost balance and lend with a thud on my bum. "Itai…" I groaned. I heard laughing. He was laughing. He extended a hand when the laughter subsided. I reached to grab it. "Ariga-" I was saying when his hand relaxed. Someone had called him from the distance, "Li-sempai!" Someone from the first-year. Someone popular from the first year. Akada Kameko. Pretty black-haired girl. Irritatingly perfect. It was unbelievable. Practically everyone was attracted to her. Nevertheless so was Syaoran. I crashed back on the ground as he cycled to her as though in a trance.
I sat by my windowsill. A book across my lap, apple in hand. Pleasant Sunday weather, sun was shining. I heard shouts from below. I looked down, there he was. With her. I took a breath, and kneeled on the cushion, peering down over the windowsill as though I was a bloody assassin spying on her victims. They were laughing, he grabbed her and swung her around. I'm not sure what happened but something was aroused from inside my stomach and I saw the half-bitten apple in my hand soar into the air, landing neatly on her eye. I tore away from the window before you could say "What the f—?". The next time I saw her in school, her eye was bruised an odd blue-black.
I know but I've done all in my power to make it looks less suspicious as it can get.
We're still friends, so it's alright, isn't it?
"Sakura-chan!" I heard a familiar voice call out.
A limo ran beside the sidewalk, slowing down. I came face to face with my other best friend, Daidouji Tomoyo. She leaned out slightly and—, "Ohayo!"
Hoe! I almost toppled over. She always comes up with the weirdest ways of with a sudden greeting me every single morning.
She laughed her creepy laugh and said, "Things are not as they are." She smiled shortly and the black panel slid up. Hoe?
I blinked. I paused and watch the car turn at the road bend.
Was that a hint?
I slammed my locker door shut. What in the world did Tomoyo mean?
"Ohayo, Sakura-chan!" I turned.
I managed a weak smile which went lop-sided as I saw Akada-san's arms circle his waist from behind. I saw this every single day and yet the twisted guts never cease to tie another knot inside.
"Oha, Xiao Lang," I tried to act cheerful. He was happy wasn't he? That's what counts.
He flashed that dazzling smile.
I felt my blood circulation pause around my knees. I fought to keep a cool exterior. Mustn't seem too flustered, must I? The Best Friend does not turn beetroot red at the sight of the other Best Friend. It'd be like me blushing around Touya.
At that moment, I saw Tomoyo walking past.
"Catch up with you in class, I suppose, Syao," I skipped off past him.
"Tomoyo-chan! Mou, what did you mean by 'things are not as they are'?"
She smiled a mysterious smile, "You will know in the near future."
Why does everyone have to be so confusing? Everything else is complex enough…
"Ano, I have a new dress design for you!" she shoved a piece of paper into my hands.
I sweatdrop and peered at the sketch. It was a simple white dress and she had drawn me in, as usual, with curves that never existed. Nevertheless, my pencil version looked rather pretty. And angelic– I suddenly noticed the little wings on the back of the dress. I looked expectantly at Tomoyo for an explanation:
"For the prom! The committee decided to have a costume ball. And you're going as an angel. It will be perfect! We shall choose the material this afternoon and the sequins–" Tomoyo chattered away breathlessly.
I sighed. Tomoyo was always excited about these things and it seemed as though her mind had the fact that the prom was a month away, completely omitted. I didn't bother to remind her. She wouldn't pay attention anyways.
In the meantime, I still have to worry about my own set of problems. Namely Mathematics and Syaoran. Oh, and who would accompany me to the prom.
But first, Mathematics. I wonder why we can't just drop it. I mean, what's the point if I'm not going to have anything close to zero to do with Math in the future? Maybe I shouldn't talk too soon. It would be ghastly if I suddenly decided to be an accountant or a business person for some weird reason.
We entered the classroom. I got out my uber thick Math book and started doodling on my notebook while Tomoyo was writing down some notes in one of her dress designs.
I have recently discovered the passion of drawing and sketching too. Nothing the likes of Tomoyo, of course. I can't imagine drawing different designs all the time. No, not enough brain cells for that. But I do like doing sceneries and animals or profiles.
I'm currently in the middle of drawing the stone bridge in the park. Maybe I should add a usagi-chan or two. They're cute.
"Hey that's pretty good," I recognise that voice anytime.
I looked up and smiled at Syaoran, "Hello."
"So how come you never told me you like to sketch?" he said, sitting down in front of me.
"I guess I wasn't conscious of it," I shrugged, returning to the drawing. Truth be told, it was partly because of him. He often arrived late for our meetings and I was reduced to observing at people and the surroundings like an idiot. We were supposed to meet at the Tomoeda Central Park. And in the time of waiting, I suddenly noticed how beautiful the pond looked. Before I knew it, I had unconsciously sketched it out on the dirt.
He sat in silence for a while, probably looking at me shading the trees. My hands moved mindlessly. It was as though I knew what I was doing.
"Daidouji-sempaai!" someone drawled. I was interrupted yet again.
I looked up curiously to find Akada-san looking adoringly, over Syaoran's shoulder, at Tomoyo's designs. Great, she's going to torment me in class too.
Tomoyo didn't budge. She continued looking busily over her designs, occasionally adding notes here and there.
"Aah! This one looks perfect! It looks exactly like me wearing it," Akada-san exclaimed.
I frowned. Talk about self-praise.
Tomoyo looked up.
Akada held out a piece with a dark-haired girl wearing a shredded pale lilac dress. I snorted to hide my laughter. Tomoyo-chan smiled politely. Syaoran looked puzzled.
It was Tomoyo's least liked design. It's quite a coincidence that Akada-san picked that particular design. I couldn't help but smile. Or rather, smirk.
"Would you like me to help you make it?" Tomoyo asked grimly.
"Would you?" Akada-san said in the same ridiculous honeyed tones.
"If I have enough time—"
"Arigatou, Daidouji-sempaai!" Akada-san interrupted. She reverted her attention back to Syaoran, "Sore ja, Syaoran-kun!" and she stalked off.
Arigatou Kami-sama! She is gone.
Tomoyo looked sideways at me. I laughed out loud at last.
"What's so funny?" Syaoran asked confusedly.
"Nothing you'd like to know, Syaoran," Tomoyo said in an off-handed manner.
In the afternoon, we went cloth shopping as Tomoyo suggested.
She went ballistic over the mass display of yards of material. Who knew that plain white cloth had so many varieties? In the end we settled for some folds of sateen and some "Organza!" (as Tomoyo loudly exclaimed)
"Shall we get some materials for a mask?" she looked at the craft shop thoughtfully.
My eyes probably widened to the size of the tower clock's face.
"A MASK? Tomoyo this is just a prom dance, not a 19th century European ball," I exclaimed, alarmed. She laughed creepily,
"Ho ho ho… I've decided, I'm making a mask for your costume! Kawaii-desu! I can't believe I'm blessed to have such a kirei best friend!"
The dreamy look really scares me but she looks so earnest…
"Alright…" I sighed. I'll probably be the oddball… again.
So we went into the shop and spent another hour looking for the perfect material. And then we went to the ice-cream parlour. While we were choosing, something suddenly struck me, "Tomoyo, what are you wearing?"
She winked, "It's a surprise!"
Trust Tomoyo to be so mysterious. She'll probably look traffic-stopping stunning as usual. I really wonder sometimes why Tomoyo bother with little old me.
"Need to go to the ladies," she said before I could ask further. I leaned back against my seat looking carefully at the menu. The Strawberry Vanilla Quake sounded good.
"I don't understand why Daidouji-sama hangs out with that frump Kinomoto," someone said from the compartment next to mine. My ears perked up. Who in the world is that?
"Don't say things like that Kameko," someone replied angrily. "You don't know Sakura." I recognise who that was.
Akada-san continued on anyways, as though she didn't hear what he said, "She's a year above me and yet she still behaves so childishly. She doesn't deserve to have such a good friend as Daidouji-sama."
Syaoran said nothing. She carried on spitefully, "Don't you think Daidouji-sama's designs are just exquisite. I'd just die to model in them. The dresses are so detailed and gorgeous. Why she spends so much time with Kinomoto is beyond me. If I were around her for so long, I'd lose all my inspiration. She's just so… ordinary."
"Tomoyo and Sakura have been friends practically since they were born. They're like kindred spirits," Syaoran said slowly. He sounded uncomfortable but not defensive.
Why can't he just tell her the bloody truth? He knows Tomoyo loathes Akada Kameko. Then Akada-san won't waste time sucking up to her shamelessly. And what did I ever do to her to make her despise me? Okay, besides that apple incident which she didn't know anything about. And all the times I ignored her deliberately in the corridors, in conversations, out side school…
It wasn't as if she wasn't to blame either. She took all the opportunities to interrupt my conversations with Syaoran. I never had a personal one-on-one chat with Syaoran ever since she existed in our lives. And how she talks loudly about her dates with her gang whenever I walk past. It was as if she was trying to bump me out of my own picture. And now she was going after Tomoyo. Why can't she be a nice, normal, fun girl who is able to mingle with her guy's buds? Then I wouldn't be so infuriated with her.
"What do you have against her, Kameko?" Syaoran asked after a moment of silence.
"She hates me, Xiao Lang, I don't know why—" I couldn't bare to listen anymore. Xiao Lang… I was the only one he permitted to use his Chinese name. It was my domain.
I promptly grabbed my bag and got up. Tomoyo was just coming back.
She looked confused, "Sakura?"
"Er…Let's just have a take away. Not feeling too well," I said through gritted teeth. She didn't look convinced but didn't prompt for an explanation. Maybe she saw them. I don't know.
And I've just decided I shouldn't care. Not anymore. Syaoran was just sitting there saying the bare minimum to defend me. Even if he doesn't see me the way I want him to, I'm still his friend. His best friend. That must at least hold some value to him right?
Guess I was wrong.
Maybe it was just an infatuation gone wild for — well — nearly my whole life. I guess this is what they've always seemed to talk about: the special bond between friendships. He's happy. That's what counts. So I'm happy, right?
In some ways, it's better than having a romantic relationship where things are shaky over the most trivial matters.
16 days to Prom
Clouds are pretty.
I often sit on my roof, painting a picture of the sky. I guess it's turning into a hobby this drawing. I don't mind. Takes my mind off certain things I'd rather not worry about.
Syaoran is still going out with Akada-san, hardly seeing me. I've maintained a cool composure around him. And now that I could wake up without him as my first thought, I was able to appreciate things I hardly took notice of before. Like that café at the top of Okii Yama served the best strawberry shortcakes I've ever tasted. And I spend a lot of leisure time with Tomoyo now instead of wasting an hour or two waiting for Syaoran at the Park or the cinema.
"Sakura-chan!" speak of the devil. There he was, walking up the driveway. I waved vigorously. I started to pack up my utensils.
"Don't move, I'm coming!" he shouted.
"Ano, Syao–!" I started to protest. He's in for it now. Touya, my onii-chan, is at home.
Any moment now…
"GAKI, WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO WITH MY SISTER?"
Silence ensued. Afterwards I heard feet thumping up the stairs.
Syaoran came up to the rooftop looking harassed but sullen.
"Your brother hasn't changed…" he muttered, sitting down. I smiled apologetically,
"Er…why're you here?"
He looked at me oddly, "Nothing, just wanted to drop by. You are my best friend…"
"Oh?" I replied distractedly picking at the corner of my painting.
"Um… So you're really caught up with this drawing thing, huh?" he asked looking over.
"I guess. I think it's turning into an obsession," I replied truthfully. "Keeps my mind off things. And at least most of what I draw or sketch turns out alright." Unlike my life.
He picked up my sketchbook and started to flip through it, "You're not kidding. These are amazing, Sakura. Whoa!"
I turned a delicate shade of red. No one ever said anything about my drawings, except Tomoyo who thinks everything I do is "Kawaii!" (I refrained her from framing pieces up around her house). Anyway, maybe it's because I never told anyone I liked to draw. I sweatdropped.
"She looks really evil," Syaoran pointed at one. I looked over.
I turned a deeper shade of maroon, I swear. He was looking at a distorted drawing of Akada-san I drew when I was in a bad mood.
"Who is she?"
"Er… no–no one in particular," I said hastily. He laughed.
"Looks familiar though," he said thoughtfully, peering closely.
"Aah–!" I snatched the book out of his hands. Better take it away before he realises the resemblance between the witch I drew and his girlfriend.
"C'mon, I'm sure there are far more interesting things to talk about then my drawings," I said, lying down on the roof staring up into the skies.
"Okay…" he was lying down next to me. My heart thumped noisily.
"So… er where's Akada-san?" I asked awkwardly. How extraordinary, she's out of the picture but her name just pops up. From my mouth no less…
"She's having some extra classes, apparently—needs help with something…" he said nonchalantly.
So he's here because he's got no one to hang out with. I feel really appreciated…
"Do you hate Kameko?"
I didn't reply. I didn't know the answer myself. I don't particularly hate her, her. If it wasn't for Syaoran, I think I might have gotten along with her. But my brother told me sometimes, "There are people you will meet in your life who will try to push you away. And they will carry on pushing until you're out of your own picture–" It sounds horrible.
Kami-sama, I don't know how to answer without lying. Sitting up, I stared off into the distance.
"Gomennasai, if I struck a chord–" he was saying politely.
"No, no it's not that," my arms circled my knees. I rested my head on my kneecaps. "I- I don't hate her. It's just that ever since you've met her, we never have enough time to go out together like old times. It's like you two are stuck together like glue. And you're always so late meeting up because of some reason to do with Akada-san and…" I blurted out. Suddenly, I was mortified. I hadn't meant to say so much! I turned to look at him,
"G-Gomen, I didn't mean to–"
He looked directly at me. His eyes were sad, "Tell me truthfully, Sakura. Do you think we're a good match, Kameko and I?"
To answer properly and if I was the Sakura days ago, I would have said a firm, "No! I am, why can't you see that? It's been 10 years!"
Except for the 'I am, why can't you see that? It's been 10 years!' part though.
But right now, I had my doubts, "I don't know, it's not really for me to judge, is it? You're happy with her right? That's what counts." But I didn't meet his eye.
And we sat in silence.
14 days to Prom
"Are you making the dress for Akada-san?" I asked Tomoyo during lunch break.
"I did say: under circumstances that I have time," she replied idly.
"You're not answering the question Tomoyo…" I told her.
She winked and laughed to herself.
"Hello Saku," I looked up.
"Hello… Xiao Lang," I replied after a moment.
We held a secret gaze for a while before Tomoyo interrupted, "Li-kun! I've got a wonderful design for you—"
He looked alarmed. I laughed but stopped abruptly. Something caught my eye in the far off end of the courtyard.
"Isn't that…" my eyes widened.
"SO–" Tomoyo said piercingly, "Do you think it looks better in black, forest green or dark blue?"
I didn't continue my sentence. What I saw caught my eye and my tongue.
Right beside the school pond and the cluster of evergreen trees Kameko Akada was embracing a tall black-haired guy. It was too long to be a normal hug. She looked up to see his face and—
"Sakura?" I blinked. My left hand was shaking and my thoughts were as jumbled up as my emotions.
I looked at Syaoran, standing in front of me, with his back towards the rendezvous. I can't tell him.
It'd break his heart. My mind flashed back to the question he asked two days ago, 'Tell me truthfully, Sakura. Do you think we're a good match, Kameko and I?' and his eyes…
He was saying something.
"N–No…" my voice struggled to be heard. I had the answer now.
"I guess it'll be green then," I heard him say.
What was he talking about?
"Saku, are you alright?" he asked.
—so angry, frustrated and sad. Disappointed. I had let her take him. Gave her my permission…
I felt myself stand up, striding across the yard to the group of trees. I couldn't hear Tomoyo's shouts, Syaoran calling. All I was aware of was that I was in front of Akada-san suddenly.
The dark-haired guy was out of sight. But my heart was pounding as furiously as ever as my left hand curled into a fist. Before I knew it, the fist had cracked her nose bridge.
She screamed, stumbling back, humiliated and in pain, "Bitch!"
"You two-timing liar! And don't say you don't know what I'm talking about!" I yelled back.
Without warning, she lunged at me, her nails digging down my arm and the other hand barely scraping my bottom lip as I stumbled back. I forgot to retaliate, a little surprised, but she kept at it, pulling at my uniform until a couple of buttons popped off. Then, she promptly pushed me back. I fell, straight into the pond.
Dripping wet with cold fury, I got up and punched her again, this time in the eye. She let out a howl of rage and dived viciously again, this time for my hair.
She almost ripped out my scalp when a pair of strong arms grabbed me from the back. I kicked frantically.
"Sakura, relax, it's me," the owner breathed into my ears. I stopped struggling. And he let me go.
I stood beside Syaoran, my thoughts not quite organized but I was aware that an excited crowd had gathered around the area. I supposed Akada-san noticed it too because she abruptly burst into tears, wailing and clutching her bloody nose. Great, she'd do anything to elevate herself when in the centre of attraction.
I felt Syaoran leave my side and saw him walking towards her. He gave her his handkerchief to wipe her bleeding nose. The crowd started to break up.
A hand touched my arm softly. I turned to see Tomoyo. She looked sadly at me, "You'd better dry off. You're wet." She wrapped a towel around me. We walked away, I looked back only to catch them hugging so dearly just as she was hugging that guy…
My eyes welled up with tears, not from the stinging pain I felt from my scalp or even from the smarting scratches that ran down my arm.
At that point, I felt my heart shatter to a million pieces.
"Akada here has told me her side of the story, Kinomoto," the Principal was saying. "Do you have anything to say in your defence?"
I didn't say anything but looked at her directly in the eye, willing myself to tell my story without saying a word. Her clear brown eyes fixed an unwavering gaze on me.
Silence was interrupted only by the metallic pendulum on her desk that swinging from side to side, hitting each other to make the other swing up, in a continuing pattern.
"Personally, Kinomoto, I believe that there are two sides to a story as there are to a coin," the Principal said quietly.
I felt Akada-san shift her feet beside me.
I pondered idly, still not saying anything, what we looked like in front of the Principal; Akada-san with her bruised eye and broken nose and me, with damp uniform, a bloody lip and a bandaged arm. My scalp still tingled painfully. But I suppose it seems as though Akada-san had it worst off. She always had a knack for amplifying certain things.
I contemplated my thoughts and realised I was on the losing end. How can I possibly tell her what really happened? 'Oh, I saw Akada-san here hugging and kissing a guy in the school courtyard when she was already going out with my best friend. And I decided to have a bloody warfare to pay her out for having the nerve to cheat on my best friend right under his nose. Yeah, that's what happen.' That would be too personal a matter for the Head to know. I am not a tale bearer. And I don't know what Akada-san had told her before I went in, anyways.
The Principal sighed, "Very well, since you're not answering, I shall have to lay out the punishments: Kinomoto, you are suspended on the charge of violent behaviour on school grounds. And since you are a senior your suspension will be extended to a week. However, since this is your first offence in your history of four years here, no order mark shall be given. You will, instead, be given a minor reprimand and your father will be coming down to the school."
I bowed my head in shame.
"Akada, you will be having detention for five days on the charge of participating in a fight on school grounds. You're parents will be called down to have a nice little chat with me regarding whether you should be given an order mark," she said solemnly.
Akada-san gasped, "B-But–"
The Principal held up her hand to silence her.
"I don't care if Kinomoto started the fight or whoever else it is you want to blame. The point is that you have actively participated in the fight and caused some painful injuries to a senior . I had a very nice view from my office, thank you very much. Do not object anymore or you will receive another five days of detention for defiance. That will be all, you are dismissed," she said severely and she returned to the pile of papers on her desk.
Akada turned her heels and stalked off.
"Arigatou gozaimasu, sensei," I bowed and turned to leave.
"I would like to hear your side of the story one day, Kinomoto. After all, it is only justice," I heard her murmur as I was closing the door. I noticed the pendulum had stopped.
"So how cruel was she?" Tomoyo asked. We were walking back from the office, taking as much time as we could.
"A week's suspension," I replied gloomily.
"But no order mark," I added. "And it could have been much worse. She could have expelled me."
"That's true. Well, look on the bright side, now you have all week to fit out your prom dress!"
I sweatdropped. Trust Tomoyo to look on the weird side of the bright side.
10 days to Prom
I haven't heard of Syaoran since the incident. I wonder if he had decided to break off all ties with me. With just three days left of my suspension, I don't suppose he'll ever talk to me for the rest of my life. I just hope whatever Akada-san had told him about me didn't make me look like I'm a vicious hooligan going all out for her for no apparent reason. But I doubt she didn't.
In the meantime, I had loads of time to myself to catch up on Maths and do oodles of drawings. And Tomoyo had me go over her house in the afternoons to try out the dress.
Otou-san didn't say much about the suspension just that he was disappointed with my conduct. The guilt trap. I need to make up for it one day. But he's really understanding. Maybe he had the two sides of the coin mindset too. Touya seemed equally disappointed in me too; giving me that 'look', shaking his head throughout dinner every time I looked up… but that image was almost instantaneously distorted when he asked me how I had fought Akada-san when Otou-san wasn't in the room. I think he was happy to know that I had gave a one and two to "that Chinese gaki's girlfriend" which he concluded was probably "just as bratty as he is".
8 days to Prom
All hope of patching up with Syaoran is lost, I'm sure. And I had only just told him about some of the things I wanted to tell him so badly. I am beginning to doubt the power of friendship. We have been friends for over 10 years and all is lost in just a period of 10 minutes.
I have started on the biggest 'art' project of all. I cleared up a side of the garage and made a massive collage of things that reminded me of friendship.
I sound obsessive and maybe I am. But it's part of the anger management scheme.
7 days to Prom
I'm back in school. Nothing much seemed to have changed. It's the exams now.
I can't focus on both my personal and academic problems. Even if Syaoran is sitting right behind me.
He has been avoiding me ever since I came back. No eye contact or greetings. All forms of communication have been severed. Undoubtedly.
"It would be very much appreciated if you could release your grip on your Math paper, Kinomoto-san." Suzuki-sensei interrupted my train of thoughts. I looked down and saw that I had been gripping my paper so fiercely that my fingernails had left marks on the paper. I let go and he snatched it up.
I turned to Tomoyo beside me, and smiled sheepishly. She grinned.
Her eyes suddenly turned to the seat behind me : Syaoran.
They widened and her eyebrows were up so high, they disappeared under her bangs. I resisted the urge to turn around and focused, reluctantly, on Suzuki-sensei who was saying something.
"I hope all of you did your work this year. You wouldn't want to miss out on this year's prom. From what I gather, it's the best yet."
He smiled jadedly. Teachers… First they tell us they loathe us but really, they do care. How ironic. Well I for one, am glad of the possibility that there's no more Math after this year. It's Literature, Art and History for me.
After the bell rang for dismissal, I hurried to Tomoyo and whispered quietly, "What was that about?"
"The teachers know almost nothing about the prom, really. They just have some non-important information. I'm surprised you're interested in that," Tomoyo said, looking straight ahead.
What in the world was she talking about? I was stumped for a minute. Thinking hard.
"Not that! Who care's about that—" I exclaimed.
"Oh? Then what about?" she smiled mischievously.
Looking at her, I realised she was just teasing, "You know what I'm talking about!"
She continued smiling. "I think you can guess it by yourself, Saku-chan," she giggled, smiling gently.
I can only hope.
Did he laugh too?
6 days to Prom
The collage-cum-mural thing looks great, I must say. I am standing and admiring my work. It's a bit of a hodgepodge, really. There's a corner that's filled brown and green pastels. And a pink bit in the adjacent. You know what those signify. And in between were chocolates, ice-cream, stars, a dying tree with a swing, a coke bottle, birds… I dunno. Just spontaneous things that I am reminded of in my low moods.
Right now I'm working on a plane. I remember we used to love the idea of being pilots and flying around the world, together forever.
I paused at the idea and almost snorted. How things have changed, I sighed. In the silence of the afternoon.
Otou-san hasn't seen this side of the garage yet (it's a the back of the house, he rarely has enough energy after work to sit in the backyard). I wonder what'll he say. Probably another guilt trap thing.
I always feel guilty about something or another nowadays, anyways.
5 days to Prom
It's still haunting me.
We haven't talked. We haven't looked at each other.
Not a spoken word. Nor a single glance.
To think I'm sitting directly behind him in the lecture hall. In front, during the examinations.
So near yet so far…
"Kinomoto-san," I felt the paper snatched away from under my arms. I looked up and met with furious eyes of sensei-Tomasu. "Your dreams are best experienced at night," she muttered quietly. The class tittered. I blinked, absentmindedly.
Was I daydreaming?
I don't keep up with myself nowadays.
I turned to Tomoyo and smiled sheepishly again. She giggled.
"Daydreaming again? You better watch out. Detention is not nice for the last few days of school," she joked. I didn't answer her still caught up in my own thoughts.
"Seriously, Sakura. What's bothering you? You sigh every 5 seconds. You look exhausted. You don't pay attention to what's going on around you. I even wonder whether you did your exams right," she asked, looking grim.
"You know it. And I know it," I whispered tiredly.
"Things are not as they are…" she said gently. "It'll work out."
Somehow that sounded familiar…
"Remember Sakura. Everything changes. There are some things that you deem impossible that are actually quite plausible," Tomoyo was saying as she got into her limo.
"Right…" I said offhandedly, still thinking of when she said the same thing before. As I stared off, a sense of déjà vu dawned upon me: I had let her go without further questioning.
4 days to Prom
"TOMOYO! I GOT IT!" I shouted through the phone, jumping up and down my bedroom.
"SAKURA? YOU GOT WHAT?" she yelled back.
"THE SCHOLARSHIP! THE SCHOLARSHIP!" I screamed happily.
"Sakura. Sakura? SAKURA! Slow down!" she was saying. I plopped onto the bed, breathing hard but my mouth was a plastered smile on my face.
My heart was beating so fast. I thought it could explode with joy. I've done it! I, Kinomoto Sakura; sleep-love-deprived, depressed, raving maniac; has done it! The scholarship I could only wish for is in my hand. The ticket to a life I only thought was reserved for snotty rich bags living in the high-end of the community.
"Hello? Sakura?" Tomoyo's voice.
"Hmmm?" I forgot she was on the line.
"So what is it were you talking about?"
"Only a full-art scholarship to one of the most prestigious Universities in Japan," that rolls off easily.
"Inuyama Daigaku? Sakura? Are you sure you didn't read it wrongly?"
"I kid you not!"
"I'm coming over right now," she said firmly.
"Kami-sama!" she looked at the slip of paper. I continued to grin so widely, my cheek muscles started to ache. I've been smiling for the past hour. It was just so…
"Unbelievable," Tomoyo breathed out.
Yeah that. Suddenly it came hitting us right in the face.
"Ka..mi..sa..ma…" we looked at each other and started giggling madly, as though we were 6 again.
"Why didn't you tell me you were applying for a scholarship?"
"Honestly, I wasn't too sure what I was in for. Just went for it…" I grinned.
We sat in silence, thinking a little of the future but a lingering question stung as Tomoyo asked, "But what about… him?"
I don't know.
I smiled faintly to myself, "What about him?"
"You're going to leave things hanging?" she looked at me incredulously.
"Well what can I do, Tomoyo? He's obviously smitten with that little whore. If it makes him happy, I'm fine with it!" I cried out frustratedly.
Tomoyo stared at me, looking a little shaken, "But you're best friends…"
"All I want is for him… to be happy. Just what a best friend would want, wouldn't it?" I murmured.
"But what about your own happiness?" she asked.
I don't really care actually. I just don't want to be the butt of Akada's whines anymore.
My life is heading for a new direction. I intend to start it well and forget all about this–this trivial … matter. How comical all of this must seem to a bystander.
"Oh, Sakura…" Tomoyo was saying, hugging me as though I was a fragile little thing. "It'll be alright…"
But peace of mind comes with a price.
I have not paid my bill yet.
3 days to Prom
"KAIJUU!" Touya shouted from the back of the house.
Kami-sama. He found out.
"Hai," I took my time strolling out of my room and going down the stairs and into the kitchen and out through the back door; preparing my most innocent face ever.
"What in the Seven levels of Heaven and Hell is this?" he screamed into my face.
"Nani?" I pretended to be surprised, looking at the vandalized wall.
"Yeah, try me…" he said sarcastically, crossing his arms. I looked at him indignantly,
"Well, it's ART. And it's what that got me into Inuyama Daigaku!" I folded my arms and smirked.
"What? In–inuyama?" he spluttered.
"Hah!" I stuck out my tongue.
2 days to Prom
Otou-san is happy for me. Onii-chan is happy for me(I know he is, deep down, somewhere). Tomoyo is happy. I guess I should be happy, right?
Oh, I don't know…
"Lift up your arms," Tomoyo was saying. I raised them.
I mean, I'm going to Inuyama Daigaku. The most prestigious art school in Japan. By merit. It's really something to be celebrating about.
You wish you could tell him too, a small voice at the back of my head piped up. And everything would be alright because he will be happy for you.
But would he? I found myself doubting the thought.
Why don't you just tell him everything? And it'll all be okay. At least you know you've cleaned up your path.
"There done!" Tomoyo said contentedly.
"I've got it!" I slammed my fist down on my palm. "I'll tell him!"
I looked at her surprised face. "Tomoyo-chan, tomorrow shall be the day. The day of confessions. I'll tell him in school. And it'll be over… I'll come clean," I babbled excitedly.
"Who? And there's no school tomorrow. Marking day."
What? No. No! No no no no no no! Not when I made up my mind. "I've got to tell him."
"Syaoran?" she asked. I didn't answer.
"Well, why don't you tell him tomorrow? His apartment is only a 15 minute walk from your house."
"B-But, it'll be so strange. What am I suppose to do? Just waltz to his door and say,
'Hi, Syaoran just wanted to inform you that I'm off to Inuyama Daigaku next year. Are you happy for me? Well I hope you are because we're supposed to be best friends. Oh and by the way, Akada-san is cheating on you. Uh huh, so as a best friend, I punched her the other day because I saw her and this black-haired guy hugging and kissing so intimately in the school yard while you guys were-oops- an item. And to answer your question ages ago: no. I don't think you guys make a good couple anyways. You're never really suited to go out with long-black-haired little turncoats after all.'
Yeah… that might work," I said sarcastically.
Tomoyo was laughing, "Sakura, you never learn do you?"
"What?" I looked at her, puzzled.
"You've never ever directly say what you want to say,"
"What do you mean? What is it that I want to say that even I don't know what it is."
Tomoyo rolled her eyes maddeningly, "That you love him!"
I was taken aback.
"That you care for him. That you need him. That you want to make him happy. That you think of him often. That you're so dearly love him, you're ready to sacrifice your love should it make him happy to be with someone else. That's what!"
"Do I really…?" I was quite lost for words. All this time I've been thinking that maybe it was a crush.
"I really do, don't I?" I smiled dolefully. "Well, it's too late now…"
Tomoyo looked angry for a moment.
"Never say it's too late for love. I'm going to make sure you tell him even if it's the last thing I'll ever do!"
"I can't. Even if I did, what good would it do if he does return the feelings? I can't bear to sacrifice our friendship for a stupid mistake!"
"But what if he does? What if he realises that you're the One? What if… he secretly harbours feelings for you?" Tomoyo said, looking at me with squinted eyes. I laughed.
"What have I got that Akada can't offer? She's got the looks, she's popular, smart…"
"Me or her?"
"Just wanted to check… Well, she can be nice if she wants to… that's why she's popular in the first place? This isn't some teenage flick you know. It's real life and some people can have it all. Or offer it all, in this case… She just doesn't like me…"
"Well, you're loyal…" Tomoyo added.
"No one can tell that sort of thing until someone cheats on them. Tomoyo, it's hopeless. Forget it. I'm not telling Syaoran anything. It shall just have to be put to rest,"
"What if they end up together… forever?"
"Then– well– if it makes him happy—?"
"Just to let you know... I'll be here for you okay?" Tomoyo said. She gave me a hug.
"Thanks," I whispered.
"But it's not over…" she murmured back.
1 day to Prom
On the roof again.
1 day left. And then, it's over.
To tell him.
Or not to tell.
That is the question.
I feel like such a loser.
The day seems to be so long.
Onii-chan is working. Otou-san is working.
And I am here, my butt on the rocking chair watching the sunbeams stretch across the living room's ceiling at 1. Like a post-menopausal old maid.
I wonder what Tomoyo is doing…
"Sakura desu ne…"
"Gomen, I'm kind of busy right now…" she sounded as though she was clamping the phone between her head and shoulder.
"Call you later, ne?"
The clocks were ticking away in the stuffy silence of the house. Half past four.
Insanely slow moving time made you notice the people going by your house, the occasional spider scuttling across the floorboards of your room, birds twitting in the trees in their strange little melodies and Li Syaoran walking up your driveway.
The doorbell rang.
I debated whether I should keep still and pray he didn't see me by my window.
The doorbell rang again. Was it me or did it sound quite urgent?
"Coming!" I shouted without thinking. Ah damn.
Tucking my hair behind my ears, I ran down, stopping before the door. I stared at the solid turquoise paint, my hand hovering, not quite touching the brass knob.
The bell rang again. He must have seen me. I wrapped my hand around the cool metal and turned it slowly until it reach the locked bit, waiting for permission to release.
And yet, I hesitated, my heart palpating some place down my throat. I heard shuffling by the gate. I looked through the peephole. Oh. He was walking off.
Somehow, the sight of his retreating back made me feel terribly frightened all of a sudden. With a clack, I pulled the door open.
He was nearly off the driveway when he turned, a queer expression on his face.
I stood there stupidly, staring at him staring at me. What's going to happen next?
He made a movement to walk back but instead, started off homewards.
My guts untied themselves as I closed the door behind me. There was a strange high-pitched ringing in my ears and until I blinked, did I realise my eyes were filled with tears.
Graduation Day felt weird without Syaoran cheering along with me. Tomoyo was busy taking pictures of classmates. Somehow, I had always imagined three of us walking through the archway, chucking our hats to the side and taking off down the road, in mock freedom.
I was instead reduced to standing around like a goof, strangers pumping my hands with the news of my scholarship, taking pictures with classmates I hardly knew and sitting on the benches, waiting for Tomoyo to finish.
"Gomen, Sakura-chan! All done," Tomoyo came up and patted me lightly on the head. I stood up and stretched, "Thought you'd take another century…"
She threw me a playful punch, "Hey, we haven't taken a picture together…"
"Tomoyo, you're making this seem as though it's our final time—" I groaned.
Before I knew it, she had passed her camera to a passing student and asking her to take a picture of us together.
I tidied my blue robe and straightened my hat.
"Hey, look there's Syaoran," I heard Tomoyo say.
"Syaoran! Come take a picture with us!"
"Tomoyo…!" I whispered, panicking. She could not possibly be serious.
There was no escaping now as I saw him walking towards us, looking confused.
Tomoyo was all smiles, as though nothing happened, "Come on. One picture with your Junior and High School friends."
I said nothing, looking down at the grass. He was standing next to me.
"Sakura! Look up. Smile!" Tomoyo cried out.
I lifted my head and forced my lips to stretch upwards.
"Hey. One more? Let's throw our hats up," he said suddenly.
I took a deep breath, glanced at Tomoyo. She was beaming. Had to do this for her. She was in love with the moment. Forcing myself to laugh, I counted, "One… two… three!"
And we jumped. All three of us. Hats in the air, smile plastered on my face.
With the click of the camera, a moment of euphoria was captured, as though we were the best of friends. All three of us.
I think I saw the reason why Tomoyo did what she did. Something to look by in the future to remind me that we were friends. Once at least. Right now? I don't know.
Had a drive,
Driven by your love
But when you messed around
I lost the drive I found
Tomoyo's room was huge. Her four-poster bed was huge with lilac sheets twice the size of mine. Not only were the furnishings on a larger scale, she had an extension room where she did all her videos and a small dark room at the back for developing photos. I still wonder how she lives in such luxury, it'd take me so much time to get from one corner to the other; I can do somersaults and still have space left.
Standing in the middle of all the grandeur, on a little stool seemed strange with a dozen different pins sticking into my back if I moved so much as an inch. Usually we do the fitting of dresses in a room downstairs.
"Are you done? I'm sweating right now. The dress will be soaked and your needles might get rusty," I said nervously.
"Matte, yo. Just need to pin on the wings," she murmured.
"Tomoyo, you've been 'pinning' the wings on the past hour! Suwaru ga hoshii," I pleaded. My knees were trembling.
"Ii desu yo," I felt her pull the dress over my head.
I jumped off the stool, feeling my knees click as I bent them, and put my clothes back on. Tomoyo sat back on the bed, sewing the wings onto the back of the dress.
I sat down next to her, pulling my sweater over, "What time do I you want me to come back?"
Two hours before the thing starts. That's bad news.
I wish I could just skip the whole procedure. What was prom for anyways? You dress up, you dance a bit, alone or otherwise, say goodbye to your classmates and then you go home. Simple affair blown into gigantic proportions.
"Okay," I sighed. Nothing else to do anyway.
Thought you needed,
Needed someone true,
But you changed your mind,
Or had I failed you?
I fingered the dress straps nervously and stared into the reflection on the window.
Sitting face in profile, the wings poked out from behind my back, the feathers looking oddly out of place in a modern setting. I secretly prayed that everyone else had dressed like so too. I felt like a child 'trick or treating' on Halloween, not a graduating high school student going to her prom.
My hands were clammy and my chest felt numb with pain, my heart palpating as my guts twisted, untwisted, over and over and over again. What in the world am I doing? I wondered.
Tomoyo was sitting across me, laughing as she watched my uneasiness. "Sakura-chan, relax. There's nothing to be afraid of. It's a costume party, nothing can go wrong," I heard her say.
I watched the trees pass by, familiar road, we're getting closer to school. I began to see people walking to school, a number were wearing normal-enough dresses. No one had wings.
Oh boy… my heart skipped a beat.
Wait! I see someone with a circlet resting on her head. A guy wearing some colourful get-up with his friends in suspenders and bright pinstripe suits. I saw a cat-girl, crossing the street, walking boldly in her fitting suit next to her friend who was wearing a little black dress. She had on an elaborate hat and fishnet stockings.
I sat back, heaving a sigh. My heart resumed its normal pulse.
I turned to Tomoyo, smiling sheepishly.
Tomoyo looked stunning as usual, in a mauve Victorian-styled dress. Long trailing sleeves, slim white-trimmed bodice with intricate embroidery. Her white skirt flared out a little. Her design was more elaborate than mine, fitting her classical looks perfectly. I would never ever be able to carry off such a dress. Her dark hair, which I helped a little with, was all perfectly braided up, not a single strand out of place, it glinted indigo in the dim light.
"Here we are," she said happily. The limo pulled to a stop.
"Already?" I half-joked, half-real.
"Come on," she sighed, grabbing my wrist as we stepped out.
Everyone was streaming into the entrance. Loud music blasted from the hall. I felt a little strange, people staring as we ran past them, but Tomoyo was ecstatic, with her firm grip around my hand, it felt like we were 6 again.
The sudden boom of music shook me.
The hall was marvellously decorated, with a pot-luck-kind-of-theme going on. The banisters were draped with cloth and gauze. They had put up 'sculptures' by the food, giving off that Roman feel. But on the other a mass of gadgets sat around a DJ as he played track after track, in a frenzied manner, mixing them.
I looked around, astounded, the place was transformed. Never had I thought the hall, where we gathered every Monday morning for assembly, would be able to look as exciting. There was already a throng of people getting it on, on the dance floor. A large disco ball hung over them in the very middle. Miniature ones dotted the rest of the ceiling. I looked back at Tomoyo whose eyes were as large as silver disks, obviously taking the scene in hungrily. It was a success.
I laughed for the first time in a long while. It felt genuine for a moment. We stepped onto the floor.
"Um, I'll be by the food section," I mumbled but Tomoyo was already wandering off, as though in a trance, her digital camera clashing violently with her costume.
I stood miserably by the long table, next to the punch. Classic case of those teen movies wear the girl stands by the food, observes people distastefully, gets disturbed by a 'social misfit' and her dream guy comes up to her, asking for a dance. Except that my dream guy was probably dancing away in some corner with the In crowd.
I did get bothered a little by someone dressed as Einstein. I smiled politely lying through my teeth that I was waiting for a friend, which I kinda was. Lame excuse, I know but I don't want to dance and some other girl came up to him after that anyways.
The music changed from fast to slow to fast, two times over until Tomoyo came back looking contented with herself and beaming to herself.
"Sakura-chan! Why aren't you dancing out there?" she said, out of breath, struggling to keep herself steady.
"No one to dance with," I said glumly. She looked at me apologetically.
"It's okay. You go enjoy yourself," I smiled sincerely.
"Wait, there's someone here, I know you'd like to dance with," she said, waggling her eyebrows uncharacteristically and pointing. Something must be in the punch.
Anyways, I followed her pointing finger… to the banister. And there he was.
Li Syaoran. Best Friend, Ex-Best Friend and now with an unknown status.
Dressed magnificently in a deep green suit, looking as though he came out from a fairytale. Sounds cheesy, I know, but even if Prince Charming's had been described in Cinderella, Syaoran would have surpassed him by a mile. His tawny hair was messed in a casual awry fashion, as usual, but tonight it was dashing on him. His fine-boned face matched the ruffles emerging from the top of the collar.
"Go on, Sakura. I think it's time," Tomoyo whispered into my ears. I blinked, glancing back at her, "I –"
She shook her head slightly and pushed me forward towards him.
I guess this is it. It didn't feel like it but, it's an opportune moment without Akada hanging off his shoulders.
I gingerly walked towards him, trying to steady my breathing. What do I say? What do I say? I repeated the question over and over again in my head. I love you. Simple and nice? Too simple? Too sudden? What if he thinks it was a joke? Or worse: he gets offended, and I know when Li Syaoran feels humiliated, it's not nice to be within his radii of 10 feet.
I looked up.
To my horror, I saw Akada stepping from behind him. I stopped moving, watch them go into a conversation. He smiles, offering his arm. She takes it with an equally sweet smile, and they walk down the steps, as a couple, onto the dance floor.
My heart stung.
I turned back to Tomoyo. She looked crestfallen. I sighed.
It's too late.
Never say it's too late for love. I heard Tomoyo's voice echoed from the back of my mind.
He was here, it's now or never. And I'd rather I try than not at all, lest I regret for the rest of my life.
With renewed vigour, I walked steadily towards him. My hand reached up, I saw it tap his shoulder.
For a split second, the words left my mouth.
He looks surprised and Akada, scornful, next to him. I felt plain all of a sudden, looking at her so made up, her hair piled in style atop her head and her lilac dress hugging her figure gracefully. I felt drab seeing them together, like a perfect model of a couple. In my strange white dress and out-of-placed wings, I felt like a little kid.
Then, the music rushed back into my hearing and words tumbled clumsily out of my mouth, "Please, we need to talk."
He stared, as though stunned, "Er…"
"Please," I pleaded, feeling Akada's fiery gaze.
"Wait here," he turned to her. "I'll be back soon."
My heart lifted.
I lead the way out of the crowd to the balcony of the hall where, several couples were smooching away in the faint fairy lights.
I exchanged glances with him and we understood each other, almost grinning with familiarization. But his face was straight and my heart was beating so fast, I was hardly thinking.
Without a word exchanged, slowly, we went back into the hall and out up the stairs.
This time, he led the way and we went to the roof.
We stood across each other, the cold night wind bristling past my bare shoulders. The little light from the grounds below disallowed proper vision but I could tell that his face was set.
There was an unfamiliar silence between us. We were so… alien towards each other, as though our childhood was never spent together.
"What do you want?" he asked. Tone, crisp and polite, but clear of a dreaded hint of disgust I had imagined he would have.
"To confess," I replied, looking straight, my shoulders trembling whilst I tried to keep my voice stable.
"N-Nani?" he sounded surprised. I couldn't see the expression on his face, which helped.
"Li Syaoran, watashiwa–watashiwa aishiteru desu,"
There it was out.
The spell was broken.
He was silent for a moment, perhaps confused, for the next he asked was, "Why?"
I stepped forward, feeling freer now and yet, desperate to explain myself,
"I think it began years ago, I don't even remember when. It's just that you were always there for me even after my okaa-san's death, some how things changed a long the way…" I began, reddening a little but determined to continue, it's all or nothing now.
"I – I don't know how to explain it. But when I since you and Akada-san got together, I feel pushed away. I've seen you and her together for long hours, and I felt as though some sacred part of me was disturbed. Like a precious piece of me, stolen. I used to think it was just jealousy because we were best friends and when she came into our lives, we hardly spend enough to with each other anymore. But when it's just you, I forget it all. You make me feel like I've never felt about anyone else in my life. I feel whole, complete, at ease with myself and my flaws justified.
"But again I see you with her, happy and contented, I doubt myself. Maybe, maybe it was just a childhood crush gone wild or something. No matter what it was, I couldn't let you know what I felt. If it makes you happy to be with her, then so be it, because it doesn't matter what I feel, but what you do. You two look so perfect together. I feel ugly inside, feeling the way I did for my best friend who trusted me to feel happy for him. I tried to convince myself I was, and for a moment I thought I was, until–until…" I glanced up at him, unable to continue. Would it devastate him that I kept something from him that he should have known weeks ago?
"Until what Sakura?" his voice was cold.
"Until, I saw her with someone else, Syaoran. That's when I snapped. That's why I had gone after her. She had defiled my trust in her to make you happy, and–and–– I'm sorry, Syaoran-kun, I should've told you then. But I was scared, scared that you'd think I was deliberately trying to get between you and Akada-san. I know Akada-san doesn't like me, I didn't know what she would've said to you about me. To be honest, when I saw you and her after the–the incident, I was convinced, that you wouldn't talk to me ever again for the rest of my life.
"But even after all that, I still thought of you, I felt broken, empty and unfinished. And guilty. Because even far above my feelings for you, we were friends. What happened to that friendship we had? Those years of memories? I had cause that rift…" I sighed.
"Anyways, before I go to Inuyama, I know I'd have to tell you all this. To start a new life free of regrets and guilt, even if you rejected me," tears were flowing freely down my cheeks, dripping to the ground. "Love me, Syaoran-kun. I've loved you since forever and if loving you for nearly my whole life isn't it, then what is it? Choose me. Let me be your all. I'd give anything for you to feel even just a shred of the way as I do for you."
Without thinking, I grabbed his hands and leaned forwards, pressing my lips on his, the tears spilling off my face. His body tensed.
Wish you'd been
Careful with my heart
But you tore it apart
And broke an angel's heart
It had begun, my mind was crashing. He'll hate me for the rest of my life! But my heart was bursting with ecstasy, his lips on mine, I felt dizzy.
We stayed like that for a while, lips pressed together, never parting, and motionless. He relaxed and quite suddenly, I was rather conscious of how soft his lips were, how his hands had freed themselves from mine, sliding down my back, cupping my face and we broke apart slowly.
I looked up at him, my mind went blank, not seeing his expression. I couldn't bare to even try to think of what was probably going through his head right now.
"Gomen–gomennasai," I choked at a bitter laugh, biting my lips. "I should have known it'd be—though I had hoped– you'll never— gomennasai, Li-kun."
His surname sounded foreign on my lips. I gulped and turned around, feeling my cheeks burn, moving towards the roof exit.
The kiss was true
Has to end somehow
But I am living proof of what love is about
I made my way back to the school hall on my own, feeling broken-hearted but some how relieved. I couldn't find Tomoyo, didn't really want to see her either, not right now; I'll be too ashamed to answer her questions.
Rejection was still raw, fresh.
My ten-yearlove amounted to nothing but a weight off my chest.
I found myself sitting in a secluded part of the large balcony. Slowly, I buried my head into my hands and knees, crying my heart out. Sob after shoulder-wracking sob, I cried like a 2-year-old toddler, until the bodice of my dress was soaking wet, tears dripping off the end of my nose, onto the cement floor. Perfect, clear little circles, relieving me of my misery.
It's hard holding you,
Loving you, Losing you,
It's sad to be true,
And be fooled by you,
I don't know, I gotta know
Should I stay or should I go?
When I finally stood up, dry-eyed and stable, I hadn't realise the time. The school hall was close to being empty as everyone gathered around the courtyard for the finale. I leaned over the stone railing, watching the looks and listening to the sounds of happy, graduating students (and some who weren't). The cheers grew louder and suddenly, a jet of light shot up into the air, bursting into a huge star, showering the school with a million white sparks.
Then there was another: red, pink, green, blue, purple…
I smiled, gazing up at the spectacle.
The school year was over.
I wanted to watch, alone, until the whole display was over but people had started to disperse, returning to the hall for another round of dancing.
I sighed to myself, gazing at the clearing grounds while the fireworks still boomed above.
Quite suddenly, I was aware of another presence at the other end of the empty stretch of balcony. I peeked.
Syaoran. Standing by himself.
Feeling my heart palpating faster again, I turned to leave.
"Ma-Matte yo," I heard him call out. I hesitated, half into the hall.
"Please…" he sounded so vulnerable. I stopped but not facing him. I might just start bawling again, and I wouldn't want to do that, not after he's rejected me.
"When, you know, the other day, at your house. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have just run off. It was rude and—well, I guess I–I was scared…" he started shakily.
"I wanted to ask you the real reason as to why you, you know, 'attacked' her. Kameko told me so many different reasons why you did what you did, it wasn't hard to guess that she was kind of desperate to justify herself because of some reason I don't know. I suspected—it took me a long time to come in terms with myself, who was I trying to kid? Kameko's a popular girl.
"And when I saw you by your window , you took so long to answer the door, I knew what my suspicions where probably true, but I was afraid. The truth still wasn't confronted. I realised didn't really want to know the real reason, after all. I was afraid of being mistaken, made a fool of. You know I don't like to be disappointed," he scoffed to himself. "Boy, what a hypocrite, I've been. All this while, you were disappointed in me. I'm sorry, I've been such an — idiot."
"No, I know I was wrong for being such a coward. And–I was scared of you too, Sakura,"
Me? I frowned, confused, swivelling around to look at him in the eye. Dare I hope?
"I was scared of losing you. You seemed so caught up in your own world the past few months, I thought maybe you were angry with me, or something. Gosh, I was so blind… I never imagine it was because of me…" was he smiling? Because his voice sounded quite different. But still his features were difficult to figure in the inconsistent bursts of fireworks.
"Would it be alright if I—kiss you?" he leaned over me. Before I could answer, I felt his lips on mine, this time it was him doing the kissing and I wasn't quite responding. Our lips were just mashed together… like potatoes. I laughed at that thought, breaking off the kiss.
"What's so funny?" he asked sounding surprised and self-conscious.
"Can't see the funny? What happened to your sense of humour" I chuckled.
"You like laughing kisses?" he sounded incredulous.
"No, idiot, but I liked this," I inclined my head, asking for another kiss. His smiling lips caught mine again, sweet and tender passion, if there ever was such a thing. I relished his arms circling around my waist. Was this a dream? I hope I'd never wake up.
I felt something wet on my cheek.
"Are you crying again?" he asked, surprised.
"No…" I said slowly. Truly I wasn't.
I felt another drop of liquid on my head. More drops…
I looked up, it was raining.
Kami-sama, arigatou, now I was crying.
With rain and tears mingled on my face as I kissed him again and again, laughing, overjoyed. Soon he was laughing along too.
The fireworks, booming in the background with the falling rain.
"So it's over, huh?" I asked him as we went back into the packed hall.
"Yeah, she wasn't too happy about it. But she didn't argue much, though… looks like she moves on quite fast," he added darkly, nodding to the right.
I peered to my right where Akada was watching us pass by with narrowed eyes, refusing to meet me in the eye, while the dark-haired guy I saw weeks back had his head buried into the crook of her shoulder.
I saw Tomoyo by the food spread with a bespectacled navy-haired guy. They were standing pretty close. "Tomoyo's found someone too, the little devil. She didn't mention a word," I giggled. Syaoran looked over curiously and then groaning, "Kami-sama, not with him."
"Mou? You know him?"
"Yeah, he's the last person I'd want to Tomoyo to pair up with,"
"They look good together though. Who is he?"
"Hiiragizawa Eriol, the personification of evil himself,"
I looked at Syaoran. He must have been exaggerating because the look on his face was priceless.
"Come on, let's get home," he muttered.
We walked through the arch and I was reminded of something,
"Syaoran, what's going to happen now?"
He looked at me, softened his gaze, "I don't know…"
He didn't get what I was talking about, "Well, I'll tell you something, Touya won't be happy when he finds out…."
This time it's done,
It'll never feel the same,
You were living proof of what love is about
Rhice (a 'little' rant here)
Well at last it's done. This project was 1 year in the making, I'm ashamed to admit. But I got lost some time during writing and suffered writer's block. I also think the direction kind of changed as it got to the ending. While the initial storyline is still there, things I wanted to actually expand on went 'missing'. For example, I actually wanted Akada to seem a reasonable girlfriend even though she's in Sakura's bad books and vice versa. I mean, she must be popular for a reason other than looking good/being a bitch plus the whole world isn't divided into bitches and angels, eh?
I was also debating whether or not to end with Syaoran and Sakura not getting together after all. It'd be more realistic of such situations, in my opinion. But oh well, the fluff and drama combo is always appreciated, isn't it? Heh. And did you like the teeny bit inclining towards Tomoyo and Eriol?
Oh and Sakura was happy about the rain near the end not because of romantic notions (even though a kiss in the rain is quite romantic, I guess...) but in most Asian cultures, rain is seen as a good omen. Like a gift from the higher authority/ies, showing approval/good luck/etc.
Some Translations (I don't guarantee they're directly translated but this is what they mean)
"Chotto matte, yo" Wait up!
"Oha!" a very informal way of saying 'Good Morning', like a short-form of Ohayo, between friends.
"Mou", "Ano" interjections, ano means 'but', I think? But it's used sometimes without the same meaning
"Usagi-chan" rabbit (I think everyone knows this one)
"Suwaru ga hoshii" I want to sit down (once again, my grammar sucks. It could be suwaru ga shitai or suwaru wo shitai, instead, I think)
"Ii desu yo" alright, alright…
I think the rest is understandable. Anyways, I'm not very fluent in Japanese still bad with sentence structures.
I think that's all I want to say. So, I hope you enjoyed the story, even though it's a very common plot and is rather irregular hither and thither, and I hope it is in its own way a little eentsy weeny widdle bit special.
Rhice, writing off!
P.S I had a little bit of a problem with the spacing. The fucking lines keep on getting back together.
P.S.S. Edited most of the horrifyingly blatant mistakes and spacing problems.