A/N: Yay! I'm not dead! I'm sorry for making you all wait sooo long for this chapter; I lost inspiration for this story and didn't find it again until I started college recently. I hope you can all forgive me, and I'll try to make it up to you by making the next few chapters extra fluffy!
The Forgetful Bride
"What am I doing here again?" Syaoran asked lazily, sitting on Sakura's couch. It was 5:55, just about half an hour until Syaoran would accompany Sakura and Tomoyo to Eriol's home for his annual Christmas party.
"Tomoyo wants you to take Sakura to Eriol's Christmas party, since she'll be Eriol's date, and she doesn't want to see Sakura moping around by herself," Kero said quickly, not even pausing for breath. "And you agreed because you love Sakura and you want to woo her, thereby making her fall in love with you too."
Since Christmas was such a family-oriented holiday, only a few close friends would be At Eriol's party, along with most of the Li clan. Sakura was looking forward to seeing Yelan, Fuutie, Sheifa, Fanren, and Feimei again.
"Sakura, stop fidgeting!" Tomoyo said, gently smacking her best friend on the shoulder. Tomoyo was doing Sakura's hair, trying her best to wrangle the unruly locks into a hairstyle that would hold for more than a few minutes. She had already used at least twenty bobby pins. "Do you want me to stab your scalp?"
"No," Sakura replied, falling still. She tried to breathe deeply to calm herself, but it wasn't working well.
"Listen, Sakura, whatever happens tonight, I just want to let you know that you come first in my life. We were friends long before either of us met Eriol-kun, and your friendship is more important to me than almost anything in the world." Tomoyo said this very matter-of-factly, as if she were talking about something no more important than the weather forecast.
Sakura appreciated Tomoyo's flippant attitude; it told her that the other girl was not worried that the situation would change any time soon. "Thanks, Tomoyo," she said.
Tomoyo nodded in reply. A dozen more bobby pins later, Tomoyo had succeeded in pulling most of Sakura's hair up into a sleek French twist. Her bangs still hung free, framing her face perfectly and drawing attention to Sakura's eyes. A final spritz of hairspray, and Tomoyo was finished. "Now, for your dress."
Sakura walked over to her closet and pulled out the bag containing the red dress. She pulled the material out and slipped it over her head, feeling the silk brush against her smooth legs. She was glad she had gotten her legs waxed earlier in the week, because her legs were completely hairless, but no longer red and blotchy from the waxing. She also put on her gold metallic pumps, which she had bought on her way home from work the day before.
"You look beautiful, if I do say so myself," Tomoyo told Sakura. "Now, come back over here, and I'll give you the finishing touch." She reached into her purse and pulled out a small box. "Open it!"
Sakura flipped open the lid and gasped when she saw a beautiful necklace. It was a delicate cherry blossom made of rose quartz, emerald and diamond, set in gold and hanging from a gold chain. "Tomoyo…this is too much!"
"Hey, it's just a loan from my mother's jewelry store," Tomoyo said. "When I told her about this party, and the dress I made for you, she insisted that you borrow it for the night. But if anything happens to it, she'll kill me, and you'll also have to pay for the necklace."
"How much is it worth?"
"Roughly five hundred dollars."
Sakura's face paled. "Tomoyo, I can't wear this! You know how clumsy I am; I'll probably break it!"
"Sakura, the only way you could break it would be if Syaoran-san rips it from your neck in the middle of passionate sex." Sakura's face went from being white to extremely red. "And I highly doubt that he'd rip it from your neck. More than likely, he'd be all gentlemanly and take it off of your neck as foreplay."
"Tomoyo!" Sakura said quickly. "He's right outside!"
"So? It's not like you're kids anymore," Tomoyo reasoned. "Besides, a guy like him has probably had sex with at least twenty women. Maybe more like fifty."
For some reason, the idea of Syaoran being intimate with other women did not sit well with Sakura. "I didn't need to have that picture in my head," she said with disgust.
"So you do like him?"
"No! It's just gross to think of him having sex. The last memory I have of him is as a little kid, remember?"
"Hmm…good point. Anyway, my mother would be offended if you didn't wear it, so I suggest you just put it on."
Sakura sighed and nodded, taking the necklace out of the box. She fumbled with the clasp, but couldn't get it to work. "A little help here?"
Tomoyo also tried to work the clasp, but her fingers kept slipping from the tiny handle. After a few tries, she walked over to the door and opened it. "Li-san!" she called from the doorway. "Can you come in here a minute?"
Syaoran stood from his position on the couch and walked into Sakura's bedroom. "What is it?" he asked as he entered.
"How good are you at working with small objects?"
"All right, then, you try." Syaoran looked at her with confusion. "Neither of us can figure out the clasp on this necklace."
"Oh." Syaoran walked over and examined the clasp for a moment. Then he deftly placed the necklace around Sakura's neck. He brought his face close to the clasp, getting down on his knees so as to be level with it as Sakura sat in a chair. Then, with a smooth movement, he caught the handle and clasped the necklace. Every brush of his fingers against her skin made Sakura's pulse jump, just like it had when he'd kissed her.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, his soft lips grazed the nape of her neck in a simple, yet extremely sensual, kiss. His fingers traced the path of the chain along her neck, ending just below the hollow of her throat.
Sakura was floored as she felt her face grow warm and her breathing stagger. Had Tomoyo just seen what he had done to her? No, she had been too busy touching up her own makeup for the party. She roughly pushed herself out of the chair and away from Syaoran's touch, feeling that she was too close for her own good. "Thanks," she muttered softly.
Syaoran gave her a lazy half-grin that brought the blood back to her face. "No problem. I'm glad I know how it works now, just in case you need help getting it off tonight." With that, he leaned in and kissed her quickly on the cheek before walking back out into the living room.
Sakura sat down heavily in the vanity chair, eyes wide with disbelief. Had he really just implied…? She looked over at Tomoyo, whose own violet eyes were dancing with mirth and what looked like triumph. "Do you believe me now?" she asked.
Sakura just shook her head. "No, he was probably just playing around. I'm gonna go brush my teeth; then you're going to have to put on my lipstick for me. I can never get it to look right."
"Okay, that's fine." As Sakura walked out of the room, Tomoyo smiled. "It's time to play matchmaker…"
At 6:30 on the dot, the trio walked out to Syaoran's car and drove the short distance to Eriol's home. The three-story house was opulent, to say the least; Eriol came from a wealthy family, so he had his parents' money as well as a successful clothing business to pay for such a house. The large circle driveway was packed with cars, as the party had already started when they arrived. Tomoyo stepped out and walked toward the door easily, but Sakura held back, not wanting to face Eriol so soon after the incident earlier in the day.
Syaoran noticed Sakura's hesitation and smoothly took her arm in his, leading her toward the front door before she had a chance to escape. "You're going to have to face him sooner or later; would you rather do it now, where you have a chance to avoid him afterwards, or at work, where there's no escaping until the day is over?" he asked her.
Sakura looked up at him. "How did you know?"
"Tomoyo told me everything when she called me earlier."
"Oh." Sakura blushed at the fact that Syaoran knew all about her humiliation. However, her embarrassment quickly turned into surprise when Syaoran gently placed a hand on her face, drawing her gaze toward his.
"Listen, Sakura…you're beautiful; don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise." He leaned down and gave her a soft, slow kiss. Unlike the other kisses he had given her before, this was chaste and held more than lust or frustration in it. She felt a strange warmth seep through her body, relaxing and strengthening her like a spell. When he drew away from her, Sakura slowly opened her eyes, revealing two emerald orbs that looked happier and calmer than they had all night. "Feel better?"
Sakura nodded. "What did you do?"
"Nothing…except maybe cast a small courage spell on you. I hope you don't mind."
Sakura frowned slightly. "I should be upset with you for using magic on me without permission, but I feel so good right now that I'm going to overlook it." She took a deep breath. "All right, let's get this over with."
"As the lady wishes," Syaoran said with a smile, leading Sakura up to the front door and into the cacophony.
A/N: Okay, I know I didn't get to the party, but I realized that there was just so much I wanted to do with it that I had to give it its own chapter, so that'll be next. There will be more E/T in that chapter as well, along with plenty of S/S! Also, if I take more than two weeks to put out the next chapter, poke me mercilessly until I get off my lazy college butt and finish it. You can do that online; my YIM username is phantomjunkie2006 and my Yahoo e-mail is the same.