Disclaimer: I do not own Card Captor Sakura, or its characters—CLAMP does. Any resemblance of events or characters to other materials is purely satirical.
(Note) The rules were chapter prompts given to me by my friend; they have no symbolic meaning to the plot. In case you missed the disclaimer, the story is meant to be a satire. Also, grammar may be a bit sketchy.
I'm In Love with a Plumber
Rule Number One:
Professional plumbers put up advertisements in the newspaper or on TV,
Not the women's bathroom door.
"Are you there yet? Is the cab driver driving safely? Does the neighborhood look decent?"
A girl with auburn hair sighed exasperatedly into the phone wedged between her shoulder and ear.
"Yes, yes, and yes!" she cried. "Onii-chan, I'm only moving out on my own. Stop treating me like I'm some helpless little girl!"
"I'm not treating you like a helpless little girl," her brother answered curtly on the other line. "I'm treating you like a naïve little girl."
She scoffed under her breath, not appreciating the comment at all. She was anything but naïve. She was not naïve!
"I am not naïve!" she screamed into the phone. "I am 21 years old and whether you accept it or not, I am now an adult."
"Whatever. Just call me when you get there."
"Just for that—" Sakura stuck her tongue out at her phone, pretending that it was her brother's face. "—I'm not going to call you."
The nerve of that man to call her childish. Her brother had always been a tad bit overprotective of her. With their mother gone when she was only three and their father away from home most of times due to his job as an archaeologist, Touya pretty much had had to raise Sakura on his own. Sakura appreciated everything her brother had done for her—she really did—she just wished he wasn't such a mother hen all the time.
She turned to ask the cab driver, "Am I naïve or childish to you?"
The man took his eyes off the road for a second. "Pardon?"
She sighed quietly. "Never mind."
Most people would be thrilled at the thought of having finally turned twenty-one. Sakura was no exception. She had been excited; until her father dropped an unexpected bomb on her like Japan did on Pearl Harbor. Too soon?
Sakura snapped out of her thoughts, and quickly looked out the window. She pushed the door open and gazed up at the building before her.
"Well, this is it," she whispered to herself, taking in a deep breath. "This is your new home."
She glanced at the building again, and then turned to the driver with a pleading look in her eyes; hoping that it was some sort of mistake. "Are you sure this is the right place?" she asked.
The middle-aged man began to get her luggage out from the trunk. "Nothing you expected, huh?"
Sakura smiled nervously and looked at the building again. Whoever came up with 'third time is the charm' clearly lied.
The building stood between a small bakery on the right and a rundown drug store on its left. It looked fairly old, and although it beat some of the shabbier places she had seen around town, it wasn't what she would consider 'up to standard' either. And her standards weren't even that high! It wasn't like she was expecting a 'Sex in the City' apartment; no, more like something from 'Friends' at worst.
"It's not so bad," the cab driver offered as a condolence.
She would have agreed with him, if she wasn't feeling so disappointed already.
Truthfully, the neighborhood was almost pleasant. Keyword there is almost.
Sakura groaned. "This is the price I have to pay for trying to move out of the house without a dime on me."
Don't get her wrong, she was quite realistic when she embarked on her grand plan of moving out on her own to live life to its fullest and enjoy every part of it before she had to sign her life away. Ugh. Thinking about that again made her head hurt.
She took in a deep breath and grabbed her luggage. "Well, better make the best out of it, right? Life's not going to get better if I just stand here and whine." At least this would be considered as an exciting adventure, if not new.
The man laughed. "Good luck, kid."
Why couldn't people get it right?
She was not a kid.
She was more determined to get through the test God had given her. There was no way she was going back home and admit defeat. A crystal palace apartment or not, she was determined to start a life for herself—by herself—using her own two hands.
"You know what the first man on the moon said," she said encouragingly to herself. "There's no money on the moon, but then there's no money in my pockets either."
"Who said that?"
Sakura jumped when a voice suddenly said behind her out of nowhere. When she turned around, a pair of amber eyes gazed down at her intensely, mesmerizing her with each passing second. His eyes were like a whirlpool of mysteries—enigmatic and alluring, both at the same time. In those few seconds, Sakura felt as though she was in an endless maze, just searching for a way out but there was none.
The magical feeling was so strange and new to her. Perhaps because it was the first time she had seen someone that good looking.
"Great. Are you just going to stare at me all day, or are you going to move?"
She finally regained her composure. "H-Hoe?"
"You're blocking my way," he said, sounding annoyed, and pointed to the entrance way that she was indeed blocking.
Sakura blushed in embarrassment. "S-sorry."
She moved aside for him to pass. He grunted shortly before walking away, mumbling a few things to himself about how he didn't understand women at all.
Way to go, Sakura! Great way to make a fool of yourself.
"This is not my day." Sakura dropped her things on the ground and turned around to look for a taxi.
She couldn't bear moving into the apartment that day. Maybe she could stay at Tomoyo's for a while. Tomoyo and her boyfriend probably wouldn't mind if someone crashed in on them. They could stop having sex for a few days and it wouldn't kill them at all. Meanwhile, it would probably kill Sakura, without a doubt, if she moved into her apartment that day.
"By the way—" She jumped when the guy's voice popped out from behind her again. "The first man on the moon said, 'This is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind'. You should never go around quoting people if you can't quote them correctly."
And with that, he disappeared back into the building. Sakura stared at the entrance; dumbfounded. Then she found herself bursting into a fit of giggles.
"Interesting..." Sakura grabbed her luggage and headed toward the entrance.
Sakura stepped into the building and glanced at the main lobby briefly; it didn't look so bad on the inside. She had found the place in the newspaper by random that morning and called in immediately because the listed rent had been so cheap. She didn't expect to get a call back from the landlord five minutes later saying that she got the apartment. The person didn't even ask for her name or anything. He just said, 'You got the apartment. Move in whenever,' and hung up. Ha! Some lousy landlord. Really, that should have been her first warning; but Sakura had never been the brightest crayon in the box to be honest.
"Hellooo?" she called out. The lobby was practically empty.
Does anyone even live in this building?
"Be right out!" someone finally replied twenty seconds later.
Sakura walked around the small room and looked at the random décor; amazed by the spiderwebs located in every possible corner. Gosh. What kind of hellhole was the place?
"How may I help you?"
She stared at the person standing in front of her, mouth wide open, while trying to form correct sentences. But all that came out was, "I... err... you see... hubba hubba."
"Pardon me?" He arched his eyebrow slightly. Obviously, 'hubba hubba' was not in his dictionary.
Oh, God. If only Tomoyo is here to see this man—this gorgeous piece of meat.
Sakura mentally slapped herself in the face. She had been hanging out with the girls a tad bit too much.
Not like she was able to help herself. She wasn't the one to blame for her behavior because he was the one standing there with a small towel around his waist. Not to mention how absolutely eye-catching he looked with water droplets falling down from his hair and running down his toned, tan body. Oh, look! One droplet just fell onto his shoulder, rolled down his chest to his navel and finally… dang it! Stupid towel got in the way.
She definitely watched too many romance movies with shower scenes.
"Yue, throw on some damn clothes," a voice said agitatedly and her mind snapped away from its dream world. It was brunet from before. "Just because you own the building, it doesn't mean you can go around blinding everybody."
The silver-haired man—was that even a real hair color by the way?—grunted and mumbled something under his breath before disappearing into a room on the left.
"If you want to sue him for any future emotional traumatizes, the forms are on the desk," the guy with amber eyes said.
"Wait—he's the landlord?" Sakura asked.
"Last time I checked," he replied before walking away.
What was it with guys and walking away? Did it kill them to say something before leaving? Whatever happened to the good old 'Have a nice day' or 'Welcome to the neighborhood'? Even a 'Peace out' was fine.
The Yue guy eventually came back a few minutes later. This time, he had on clothes. Normal clothes.
"Sorry. I was taking a shower when you came in," he started saying. "You must be the girl I spoke with earlier on the phone."
"I hadn't expected you to be moving in so quickly."
Well, she really needed to get out of the house while both her father and brother were out of the country. Although they hadn't objected when she told them she wanted to start living on her own, she just knew that if she waited for them to return, it would be near impossible for her to get her foot out the door, let alone move out.
Yue walked over to the lobby desk and pulled a key out from one of the drawers. "Here's your key. I'll show you to your apartment and explain a few things." He threw her the keys and led the way through a door that led to the stairway. "My name is Yue."
"Yue-san, why are we taking the stairs?" Sakura asked.
"The elevator has been broken for a week."
"Have you tried calling for maintenance?"
The man shrugged. "He said he was too lazy to fix it."
What kind of maintenance person says he's too lazy to work?
"And I'm too lazy to kick his ass."
Don't tell me I have to walk this stairs everyday until these people get off their lazy asses...
"By the way, which floor am I living on?" Sakura asked.
"Ninth. There are a total of twelve floors with four apartments per floor."
Are you freaking kidding me!
"Won't the elderly get tired of walking up the stairs everyday?"
"There are about forty something tenants in this building, ranging from 18 to 30 years of age. They're all females, except for one."
"So you and the guy from earlier are the only males here?"
She had a bad feeling about this place...
Living under one building with forty something other women and drooling over the same guys? This is going to be hell.
After walking one flight of stairs after another, Sakura couldn't feel her legs anymore. They were so sore and numb. She couldn't take another step. Sakura was practically out of breath from all that walking. She knew she shouldn't have quit running the treadmill.
"Are you okay?" She could tell he was trying to hold back his chuckles.
"Yeah," she said in between breaths. "How many more?"
"We're on the ninth floor already." Sakura could not be any happier to hear that. "Your apartment is just down the hall." Yue continued to lead the way. "Room 203 is next to room 4."
"Wait—why is 203 next to 4?"
"I'm just the landlord. Do you people expect me to know everything around here?" he started rambling. "Maybe 4 wants to be beside 203. Can't you ever be satisfied with what you know? It's always why this, why that—what is wrong with people in society today?"
"Okay, geez! I was only wondering."
I rest my case.
He is hot, but what a nut case.
"I only provide you a place to stay. If you need something fixed, or if you need to buy whatever, then it is your own problem," he continued. "The monthly rent includes both electricity and water. I collect rent at the end of each month—you come to me, I don't hunt you down. If I don't get a check or cash on my desk on rent day, I'll throw your ass out. Got it?"
"Do you need help with that?" Yue looked at the luggage in her hands.
Sakura snorted in her head.
Wonderful. Let me haul it up nine flights of stairs and then ask me if I need help.
"I'll manage to walk six more steps," she drawled. She dropped one suitcase on the floor and jammed the key into the keyhole with her free hand.
She pushed the door open and stepped inside. She set her luggage down on the floor and observed her so-called apartment. Sakura couldn't help but let an expression of disgust show on her face. No wonder the apartment was cheap as dirt. The ceiling was practically falling apart, paints were chipped off everywhere, mites and God knows what other creatures lived in the place, and the furniture looked like it belonged to the Mesozoic Era. Not to mention the stinky, moldy smell that lingered in the air.
"Pretty nice place, isn't it?" Sakura couldn't tell if he was being funny or sarcastic, because he could not have been serious.
She walked over to sink and ran her index finger over the top of the counter, amazed to see how many layers of dirt she'd collected in just one second. She was appalled when she tried to move but her shoe was stuck to some sort of gum-like substance on the floor.
You have to be kidding me!
"There is no one else on this floor, so if you need help just ask the guy in apartment 205," said Yue.
Sakura nearly choked on her own spit. "Wait—guy?"
"The guy you met earlier." Yue tried to hide the annoyance in his voice.
"He lives on this floor?" Sakura asked again.
"If you try to rape him and get injured in the process, I am not liable for any charges from your family."
Sakura rolled her eyes. "Why would I try to rape him? For all you know, he could try to rape me."
The silver-haired man laughed hysterically. Wiping the tears from his eyes, he walked away after mumbling 'you wish' to her face.
What did he mean by 'you wish'?
"Your landlord said what?"
"Yes, the nerve of him!" Sakura screamed into the phone, not really caring that she was probably making her friend deaf on the other line. She had been so outraged by her landlord's comment from earlier that she'd immediately called Tomoyo to blow off some steam. "Can you believe that he would actually say that to a tenant?"
"Hm... Is he hot?"
"So they're both hot?"
"Why do you think two men attract so many women into this building?"
Her friend laughed. "This will be very interesting, ne?"
Sakura rolled her eyes. "Never mind about that. What did Eriol say about me getting a job as his secretary?"
"Not going to work."
"He said that I shouldn't send you to spy on him."
Sakura groaned. "But I need a job!"
"He said he'll help you look around." Sakura relaxed a bit. "So, are you really engaged?"
"Why did you remind me?"
Leave it up to Tomoyo to bring up the subject she wanted to forget most all month long.
And it wasn't even that she was engaged; she was betrothed. Like seriously, who even did arranged marriages anymore?
It was bad enough that she didn't have the 21st birthday party of her dream, but her father just had to decide to break the shocking news to her on her birthday. What was worse than finding out that she wasn't getting a car after years of begging for one? Finding out that she was 'promised' at birth to some guy she had never met or even heard of.
Now, that was worse than death.
"Do you know anything about your secret soon-to-be husband?"
Sakura sighed into the phone. "I know that my dad and his dad were good friends, and our mothers made promises to become in-laws no matter what—Touya had been that 'what' and I'm the 'no matter'. I also know that he has lived in America most of his life and he graduated from an Ivy League school. We were supposed to meet when I turned 18, but the other side requested to wait until he has established a stable career."
"So no physical descriptions?"
"Nakuru described him as black haired and very bookworm looking." Sakura scrunched her nose together just repeating those words.
Tomoyo started laughing. "I told you, Sakura. You should have dated when you had the chance. Now you're stuck with Mr. Bookworm."
"Stop rubbing it in, Tomoyo." She sulked, realizing her regrets, too.
Sakura's most embarrassing secret: She still had almost every one of her Firsts. First date, first boyfriend, first kiss, first time, first love. You name it, she probably had it still.
It wasn't like she'd been picky, or even that she couldn't snatch a man—in fact, many fishes had taken her baits; she just didn't understand why the line always broke before she had a chance to reel it in. For as long as she could remember, a guy would show interest in her, they'd start talking, and then all of sudden he would disappear.
At one point, Sakura started to believe she was cursed.
So maybe having an arranged marriage wouldn't be so bad?
"I overheard Touya and Nakuru talking about some Koji guy when I walked by their bedroom once," Sakura said. "So I've come to the conclusion that his name is Koji."
Sakura exhaled. "I'm going marry to some American snot."
"You've seen the guys at your work!" Sakura exclaimed. "Snots I tell you."
"Sakura!" Tomoyo managed to choke out before laughing. "The guys at my work are French, honey!"
Sakura rolled her eyes. "Your point is?"
"Hey, I have to go. Eriol's home now." Sakura sighed. Whoever said the bond between girlfriends was stronger than everything? Apparently it wasn't stronger than the temptations of sex.
"Fine," she grunted in annoyance. "Go make mad love with the guy."
"Sakura!" the other girl laughed loudly. "Eriol and I do not make mad love!"
"Are you sure about that, dear?"
Sakura heard a low voice in the background, followed by a yelp from her friend, and the next thing she heard was... well, nothing.
She flipped her phone close and threw it on the sofa.
Sakura wondered what it would be like if Tomoyo hadn't met Eriol. Don't take it the wrong way—she was happy for her cousin. But at the same time, she felt left out of her friend's life.
It was merely a few years ago that Daidouji Tomoyo's life revolved around Kinomoto Sakura. The girls had spent every second and did everything together. But ever since Mr. Hiiragizawa Eriol came into the picture, Tomoyo had become so absorbed in her romance that the girls had hung out less. Sure, they talked on the phone every day for about five to six hours, but that wasn't enough for Sakura. Sakura needed her best girl available to her twenty-four-seven; not every hour that she wasn't having sex with her boyfriend.
She missed her bosom sister.
But in a way, Sakura envied her friend.
She wanted to know what it was like to be in a relationship, to become a real woman. Not just grow up into a woman by age, but become a real woman—go through the whole process and well, you get the idea. She didn't want to have the experience with just anyone though.
She wanted to have it with that special someone—the man of her dreams, her soul mate, her prince charming, her knight in shining armor, etc...
Oi, Sakura, stop dreaming and get your head out of the clouds.
Sakura exhaled heavily.
Sakura grabbed the alarm clock off the night-table and flung it across the room in frustration.
"I hate this place!" she screamed.
She didn't get a wink of shuteye last night. She thought she would have a good night's sleep on the first night, but she was dead wrong.
Every time she closed her eyes, she would hear dripping noises. At first, she thought it was just her imagination, until it kept occurring, each time getting louder and louder. She eventually got up and searched for the source of her frustration. It took her about an hour to figure out that the dripping noises were coming from the sink in the kitchen. Water was leaking from the pipe.
How the hell did she even hear the dripping noises from all the way inside her room? God knows how, but she heard it. Every last drop of water.
She estimated the leak to be a drop per second so that was 60 drops of lost water in a minute, calculating to be about 3600 drops every hour—she lost 21,600 drops of water the whole night!
"Wait..." She sat up immediately. "I don't have to pay for water bill!"
She fell back down on the bed comfortably, pulled the sheet over her head and drifted off to sleep, ignoring the whole water issue. Let the hot crazy landlord worry about the water problem.
"What if the world runs out of water because of me?" Sakura asked herself.
Unlikely to happen, but it could happen—the world running out of water because of one leak. It was a possibility, no matter how little the chances were (probably one to a mega-bazillion-trillion-million).
Sakura pulled herself out of bed. Grabbing some clothes out of her closet, she hopped into the shower. She hoped that a nice hot shower would be a great start to her day, even though she knew better than to expect anything good while living in this stupid apartment complex. Not to mention she had to go out and look for a job since someone refused to give her a job as his secretary.
How she loathed Eriol.
After she was finished with her shower, Sakura went down to the main lobby to talk to Yue about the whole leak problem. Of course, she had to walk down nine flights of stairs. By the time she reached the main desk, she had to hold onto it to support herself from falling down.
"It's not wise to wear heels if you're going to walk up and down the stairs," the man remarked behind his sardonic snickers. "How may I help you?"
"My kitchen sink is leaking," Sakura said.
Yue arched an eyebrow at her as if saying, 'what do you expect me to do about it?'
"Call a plumber," he said. Sakura felt like the man was saying 'Duh!' to her face. "Look it up in the newspaper, watch some TV, or drive around and look at billboards."
"Let me guess..." said Sakura, "...this is at my expense?"
I could just let it leak and he'll have to fix it himself eventually if the water bill is too high. Sakura thought wickedly in her mind. Yes, I'll do just that!
"I wouldn't do that if I were you," Yue said with a very sweet smile on his face.
Sakura liked it better when he didn't smile; he seemed much nicer frowning than smiling.
"If you want someone cheap, there's an advertisement on the women's restroom door." Yue pointed over to where the ground floor's restrooms were.
"Who puts up an advertisement in front of the ladies' room?" asked Sakura.
"Apparently this guy," Yue replied. "Don't worry. He fixes everything that ever goes wrong around this neighborhood."
"The important question here is: how cheap is he?" asked Sakura. "That's all I need to know."
"He's cheaper than cheap."
"Thanks." Sakura walked in the direction he had pointed to earlier.
She went through one door and found herself looking at two other doors, one labeled 'Men' and the other 'omen'.
She eyed the flyer:
From plumbing to air conditioning or heating and everything else.
Great services at a cheap price—guaranteed!
Pick up the phone NOW, and call 555-4636.
Li Syaoran is your man (~_^)
Sakura didn't know what to think.
She got out her phone anyhow and dialed the number on the paper. She held the phone against her ear as she leaned against the wall with a bored look, waiting for the other line to answer.
The person on the other line picked up groggily after the fifth ring. "Hello?"
"Is this—" Sakura looked back at the flyer. "—Li Syaoran?"
"Yeah," he answered. "What do you need?"
Sakura assumed that he just woke up. She had to admit, his voice sounded very attractive.
"I have a small leak," she said.
"Very small but also very annoying."
Sakura heard some little noises on the other line, and then there was a long silence. She wondered if he fell back asleep on her or something.
His voice returned a few seconds later. "Address?"
"23 Park Ave."
"Kinomoto Sakura." There was a loud thud on the line. "Hello? Are you there? Are you okay? Hello?"
No one answered, and the other line hung up.
Sakura walked back out into the lobby. "Yue, your guy hung up on me."
"He always hangs up on people. He'll come and fix your leak, don't worry."
"Does it look like I would know?"
"Looks like I won't be going out today then," she said.
Bending down to take off her heels, she started walking towards the staircase.
Oh my Kami-sama... Where is that plumber!
She had been waiting all morning for that plumber to show up. She'd called him at seven that morning, and it was three in the afternoon but the guy hadn't even showed up yet. How busy could his schedule be?
Grabbing her phone off the table, she quickly dialed his number while mumbling curses under her breath.
Sakura perked up immediately. "Where the hell are you? I've left you 50 messages in the past—" She paused to look at the clock, "—two... five... seven hours! I called you seven hours ago! Where are you at?"
"In front of your apartment."
The doorbell rang.
Sakura walked over to open the door and almost dropped the phone when she saw who was standing in the hall. "You're the plumber?"
"I was... er... caught up all morning," the brown haired guy said, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly. "What do you need fixing again?"
"Oh... the sink, right?"
Sakura stepped aside to let him in. "Kitchen sink. Couldn't sleep a wink last night because of its annoying dripping."
The guy—Li Syaoran—chuckled. "You must have some ears to hear the dripping."
Sakura frowned at his comment, unsure whether to take it as a compliment or an insult. After all, she had never heard anyone complimenting another person for having 'some ears'...
Just what was 'some ears'? Good ears or ears like Dumbo?
She decided to drop the subject and focus on the guy.
"You're right, this is a small leak," he said, bending over on the floor to look at the pipe.
First thing Sakura noticed was his fine ass.
Okay, Sakura, breathe. Get a hold of yourself! He's here to fix the leak so you can sleep. Wait—doesn't he live across the hall from me?
"I should get this fixed in five seconds," he announced impressively.
He suddenly pulled out a roll of duct tape from his equipment bag and rolled it around the pipe. Then he grabbed the salad bowl that was lying on the counter and placed it directly under where the water used to drip.
"There!" he exclaimed, standing up to clap his hands together like he had just finished something hard and tiring.
Sakura blinked. "You're done?"
"Yup. Told you I'd be done in five seconds." He started walking over to the door.
"Oh my..." Sakura was baffled.
"By the way, welcome to the building," he turned to say to her at the door with an inexplicable smile on his face. "I'm sure you and I will have a great time being neighbors. If you need to fix anything, just hit me up or find me across the hall. For today's service, I'll only charge you half the price. I'll stick the bill in your mail later. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to fix the elevator before Yue kicks my ass."
Sakura swallowed a lump in her throat, still speechless about his 'plumbing' skills.
Note to self: Do not use the elevator.