Summary: A week had passed since Aiden Avalon and Ms. Mackenzie went out. But Madison Taylor still hasn't forgotten that night…when she kissed Tori Avalon. Now she feels conflicted and she's decided to pour her heart out to someone.


Making A Choice: Part 1


Madison Taylor continued to pace around her room. She knew she had to tell somebody about this. Finally, after a week, Madison found someone to talk to…someone who would listen to her. Lord knows she needed it that night.

"It all started last Friday," Madison began. "It should have been a pretty fun night. The look on Sakura's face made me so happy. And she was happy because her father and Ms. Mackenzie were going out. But then it went downhill. When she saw Tori in disguise, she immediately went to face him. She was so mad, but then she found Li and just became outright furious. She dragged Li over to another part of the alley to…argue with him and then Julian left. Suddenly, I was all alone with Tori.

"I knew he was hiding something. The explanation he gave Sakura just didn't sound right. Then he told me how afraid he was of his mother getting replaced. When I asked why he didn't tell Sakura, Tori just told me he didn't want to hurt her. That was so sweet and sensitive of him. I don't know what happened from there. We spent the next few minutes talking…and then it happened. We…kissed. After that…I just ran home and I didn't look back. I didn't even wait for Sakura. I just kept running.

"The next day, I actually got a call from Tori. He said that he felt something special that night. He asked if I felt it, too. I don't know why I said yes, but I did. Then he said he wanted to start a relationship…but I told him I wasn't sure. Before he could go any further, I hung up. Since then, every time Tori would approach me, I'd try to avoid him. I've even avoided Sakura just to be on the safe side.

"When Tori kissed me…I have to be honest…I liked it. I liked what I felt when he kissed me. It was a feeling like everything was going to be ok. It gave me a warm feeling in my heart. But then I felt something cold. I felt like I betrayed someone. Yeah, I liked it when Tori kissed me…but there's someone else who makes me feel that way. I feel like I betrayed Eriol. I always believed he was the love of my life. I still think that. So why did I do it? Why did I kiss Tori? And…why did I like it? I feel so torn. I'm so glad Eriol wasn't there to see it. I'm so ashamed of myself.

"I don't know what to do. I promised Eriol I'd wait for him. But it's been more than six months and I haven't heard from him. And then I think of Tori…and how he made me feel that night. And from what I saw…he cares about me. I can't tell Sakura any of this. I'm talking about her brother and I don't know what she'd tell me. I don't want to tell Li, because he'll tell Sakura. Meilin went to Hong Kong a few days ago and she won't be back for a few weeks. You're the only one I can talk to about this."

Madison finally sighed after getting everything off her chest. She looked towards her bed at the one ear that would listen to her woes. She looked into the eyes of…

…Kero.

Kero didn't know what to say at first. "Um…wow…that's really something."

Madison wasn't satisfied with that. She desperately needed some advice. That's why she had called Kero to come over while Sakura and Li were out on a date.

"Kero, what should I do? I know Tori wants to start a relationship. But I don't know. I want to wait for Eriol, but I have something special here at home. Tori cares about me…and if I keep waiting for Eriol, then I'll have to hurt him. I don't want to hurt Tori. What should I do?"

Kero sighed deeply. He was deep in thought. Then he finally said something. "You know…being a guardian beast, I'm not really an expert on the subject of love. But the fact that you even came to me shows that you're really in a bind. Ok…you have a conflict. You like two guys. There's Eriol and there's Tori. One of them promised to come back and be with you. The other one's here right now and can be with you now. Both of them seem to care about you very much. But something inside me says that if Eriol cared about you as much as he says he does, then he'd be back by now."

Madison blinked upon hearing that. "What are you saying, Kero?"

"Bottom line…I'm saying don't take a chance. If Eriol breaks your heart, then you'll have nobody. If Tori breaks your heart, then you can forget him and go back to waiting for Eriol. He'll never have to know. So I'm saying take your chances with Tori."

Silence.

Madison took a few moments to absorb that. "Are you sure? Do you really think I should do that?"

Kero shook his head. "It's like I said. I'm no expert on love, but that sounds good to me. But ultimately, it's your decision. It's up to you, Madison."

Madison closed her eyes and thought deeply about this. If she started a new relationship now, she would feel like she was betraying Eriol. She promised she'd wait for him. But this wasn't like any other case. Tori really made her feel special. There was only one difference. Eriol was in England…and Tori was here. Reluctantly, Madison made her decision. She walked over and picked up the phone. She slowly dialed that number.

"Hello?"

"Tori…it's me."

"Madison? I've been waiting to hear from you. I thought…I scared you off."

"No, it's not that," Madison said timidly. "I've just needed time to think. I've had to think about…us. About wanting to start a relationship."

"Um…I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said anything. If you don't want to…"

"No, it's ok. I'd kinda like to talk about it…over dinner…tomorrow night."

"T-Tomorrow? Sure! I'll…pick you up at 7?"

"Y-Yeah…sounds great," Madison smiled. "I'll be waiting for you."

Madison hung up her phone and plopped down on her bed. She turned around until she was on her back and facing the ceiling. She let out a sigh, until she saw Kero flying up over her head.

"Feel any better?" he asked cheerfully.

"I'm not sure," Madison said uneasily.

"Then why are you blushing?" Kero pointed out.

Madison turned her head to look at the mirror on her wall. Her cheeks were rosy red. She WAS blushing. Then she felt the butterflies in her stomach. She couldn't believe she was going out with Tori. She felt…excited. But she also felt…a sense of dread. She couldn't stop feeling…guilty.

Kero tried to snap her out of it. "Will you relax? It's one night. If anything, see this as an opportunity to sort out your feelings. It'll be the first time you'll be that close to Tori since you two kissed. You might be able to think a little clearer by the end of the night."

Madison sighed…then smiled. "Thank you, Kero. I don't know what I could have done without you."

"Don't mention it," he replied. "Just enjoy your date tomorrow." Kero was about to fly out the window, but Madison quickly stopped him.

"Uh…Kero?"

"Yeah?"

"Could you…not tell Sakura about any of this?"

Kero landed on the windowsill and looked at Madison inquisitively. "Why not?"

"Well…I just don't want to her to know right now. I mean…what would she say if she found out her big brother and her best friend were going out on a date?"

"Hmm…that's a good question."

"Just promise you won't tell her until after I've sorted my feelings out. If Tori tells her, then that's different. But if he doesn't, then I don't want her to find out. Please, Kero."

Kero left out a soft moan. "If you say so."

Kero said nothing more and flew out the window, presumably to go home. Madison knew he'd have plenty of time to make it before Sakura and Li's date ended. After he left, she plopped down on her bed. Never had she been divided over two guys before…especially two guys that she felt so much for.

But Kero was right. Eriol was in England. He would never find out about Tori.

Would he?


~--------------------~


Kero laid down on his desk after the exhausting flight home. He never realized how far Madison's house was. Maybe that was because Kero always went to her house in a bag or in Sakura's pocket. He wasn't used to flying such a long distance.

The little guardian beast didn't have too much time to relax. Because as soon as he let out a deep breath, the door flew open.

"Hey, Sakura. Back from your date already?"

The expression on the face of Sakura Avalon seemed to brighten up the entire room. She must have been really happy about something. Kero wondered if the date was THAT romantic.

"That was honestly the best date I've ever had. I'll never forget tonight, Kero."

"So what'd he do?" Kero asked.

"I couldn't tell you," Sakura giggled. "I'll tell you someday, but right now I just want to call Li and see if he's home yet."

Sakura walked towards her phone, but suddenly it began to ring. She was startled at first and so was Kero. But finally she went over to answer it. Kero knew it was probably the brat…or maybe even Madison. Of course, Kero was never one to nose in on phone conversations…except for very rare occasions. He'd let Sakura have this phone call to herself.


~--------------------~


Sakura wasn't expecting her phone to ring at that moment. It had startled her, but then she composed. She knew it had to be Li, so she made sure no one was around. She knew Tori was still locked in his room. Sneaking Li into her room was so easy, because for some reason, Tori had been completely out of it. Something was bothering her brother and Sakura couldn't put her finger on what it was. Kero wouldn't interrupt her because he was getting settled into his little bed. So Sakura just answered the phone.

"Hello?"

"It's been a long time, Sakura."

Sakura gasped upon hearing that voice. It wasn't Li. It was…

"Eriol?"

Kero suddenly piped up. "Eriol?!"

"Oh, so you DO remember me. Oh, Sakura...I thought you'd have forgotten about me by now."

"You're gone, but not forgotten, Eriol. But why haven't you kept in touch? I know Madison's wanted to hear from you for a long time."

"Well, things haven't gone smoothly for me these last few months. I've had a lot of financial problems and I've had to make a lot of cutbacks. Unfortunately…that meant the phone. I've tried to send Madison a letter, but it got lost in the mail. But since then, I've just tried to save my money."

"Save? For what?"

"To come back to Japan, of course."

"You're coming back?"

Kero seemingly gulped. "He is?"

"Well I'm not coming back right away; I was just calling to keep in touch. But pretty soon I should have enough to not only go back, but also…get an apartment. When I DO come back, I'm coming back to stay, Sakura."

"If you want to keep in touch, then why don't you talk to Madison?"

"Because the next time I talk to her, I want it to be face-to-face. I couldn't stand a long distance phone conversation. I want to be right beside her. And it WILL happen. I just need to get a little more. It won't take too long. I'm working round the clock and so is Nakuru."

"But I thought you had a life back in England," Sakura pointed out.

"I did…but didn't Madison tell you what happened?"

Sakura remembered very well. She remembered Madison sneaking off to England to find Eriol…and Sakura and Li following her. They were never seen and Sakura and Li had gotten Madison's entire search on tape. Madison knew it when Sakura showed her the tape and she was astounded. Apparently, Eriol still didn't know about that.

"She might have told me something, but why don't you tell me, Eriol."

"I promised I'd come back to her…and I will. It'll just take a little longer than I expected She HAS been waiting…right?"

"Of course she has. I mean…who else would Madison be seeing?"

Kero seemingly gulped again. Sakura just dismissed it, though. He was probably sneaking snacks again. So she didn't bother with it.

"Well, I guess that's true. I can't wait to see her again."

"When ARE you coming Eriol?"

"I'll leave THAT as a surprise."

"Why? Why can't you tell me now?"

"Because when that day comes, I want to surprise Madison. And I know you too well, Sakura. If I tell you, then you'll tell Madison and spoil the surprise. Now where's the fun in that?"

Sakura could imagine Eriol with one of his trademark grins. So she gave in. "Fine then. Don't tell me. But will you at least call before you come back?"

"Ok, I guess I can do that. And Sakura…don't tell Madison I called. Remember, I want this special day to be a surprise. So I need you to keep this a secret."

"Do I have to keep it a secret?" Sakura pouted.

"YES! Promise me, Sakura."

"Ok, fine. I promise."

"Good. So I'll see you when I get there…I give it a few months at the most. Oh, and don't tell Li either. I can't wait to see the look on his face on that day when I unexpectedly show up on his doorstep. He IS still living in Madison's guesthouse, right?"

"Yeah."

"Oh, good! Heh, heh. I'll talk to you later, Sakura."

"Ok, Eriol. Bye."

Sakura hung up the phone and was immediately approached by Kero. He looked to be a little hyper and nervous.

"Was that Eriol?" he asked.

"It was," Sakura nodded. "Can you believe it, Kero? It's been such a long time. I can't believe he's coming back!"

"He is?" Kero asked wide-eyed. "Did he say when?"

"Actually, he didn't," Sakura answered. "He just said he'd surprise everyone."

Kero looked a little edgy. "Um…you don't think he'll be coming back in the next few days, do you?"

Sakura started to wonder why Kero would ask such a question. Mentioning Eriol seemed to have the guardian beast more than nervous. Sakura didn't know why, but then it hit her.

"I doubt it. He said he still needed to raise some money. You're a little nervous aren't you, Kero?"

"Of course not," Kero snapped. "Why would you think that?"

"I think I know why you're so nervous," Sakura grinned.

"Y-You do?"

"Of course I do. You're just a little edgy over seeing Suppi again, aren't you?"

Kero frowned. He took offense to that. "Suppi? The uptight, sarcastic, egotistical Suppi? I'm not nervous about seeing HIM!"

"Oh, come on, Kero. You two have always been good friends."

"We're about as friendly around each other as Li and Tori. We're complete opposites, Sakura."

"Opposites attract, you know," Sakura grinned.

"Yeah, yeah. I've heard that before. I'm telling you, if I hear Suppi make one snide remark about me, my sweets, or the way video games will rot my brain, then I swear I'll…"

"Ok, Kero, calm down," Sakura said with a sweatdrop. "I'm sure it won't be that bad."

"We'll see," Kero muttered. Then a blank expression hit the guardian beast's face. "Hey, you changed the subject on me! What were we talking about?"

Sakura sweatdropped again. "You know…I forget."

Kero breathed a sigh of frustration. "Me too. Maybe I'll just turn in for the night. Good night, Sakura."

"Good night, Kero."

Sakura watched Kero settle into his bed and then she got her own bed ready. She was ready to turn out the lights, but Sakura knew she wouldn't be getting much sleep. She was too excited over hearing that familiar voice again. Sure, she wouldn't tell Madison that Eriol called.

But Sakura hoped she would be able to see the look on her best friend's face on that special day when Eriol DID come back.


Next Time: Ok, so Madison and Tori are set to go out tomorrow night. But just when WILL Eriol come back? And will Sakura remain completely OBLIVIOUS to what's going on with her brother and best friend? That's what we need answers to and that's why you'll want to come back and see how this all goes, because you won't want to miss it!


Author's Note: Oh...and it might be a few days before I get the next part up. Why? Is it because I am EEEEEEEEVIL? OHOHOHOHO!!! (I *LOVE* THAT!) Well, EEEEEEEVIL is part of the reason, but the other part is because I'm still putting the finishing touches on this story, so it'll take some time. Bear with me and keep reading. ^_^


Any comments? I'd love to hear them, so go ahead and mail me at AmericanCaptor@hotmail.com and don't you all forget to review below! I REALLY, REALLY want to know what you think!