AU – Sakura and Syaoran met as small kids, lost touch, and grew up. Years later, he is a notorious player while she is a charming pediatric dentist with a very handsome boyfriend. What will happen when they finally bump into each other again?
Disclaimer: CCS and TRC belong to CLAMP.
General Notes: I'm very sorry for the late update! Real life sometimes gets in the way. I really appreciate all the reviews, the alerts and those who tagged this story as their favorites. Almost 1,000 hits before I posted Chap 3! HCtB is the most popular of all my 3 stories and I have all of you to thank for it.
Recap: For the last chapter, Syaoran was too busy trying to impress Sakura, checking her out and competing for her attention with his six nephews to focus and try to remember her although he feels that she is familiar somehow. For this chapter, Eriol will have a lot of "help" in jogging his memory about Tomoyo. I've assigned a little "OOC" roles for Fay and Kuro-pai here, I couldn't resist. Tell me what you think. BTW, I've assigned more "in-character" roles for them in my other story "Technology is Magic!"
Disclaimer: All the characters belong to CLAMP. I only own the plot.
Tomoyo easily caught up with the A.D. (Asshole Driver). Being a Sunday, they were the only two people in the expressway (it links the capital city with the suburbs). She saw him smirking expectantly at her when their vehicles were side-by-side. It's a good thing her car's windows were slightly tinted so he wouldn't recognize her. The windows in his car are very clear so she was able to see him clearly. The guy was quite a looker to be honest: he looked young and had a masculine and genteel face. He had dark hair and glasses that covered his eyes—she's sure they were either blue or gray. He looked confident. If she had seen him anywhere else she would instantly think that he is a well-mannered gentleman based on how he looks. She then felt a sharp pain in her head—like a migraine was starting.
She always feel this whenever she tried to remember her childhood.
Shaking her head to clear her thoughts, she overtook him and he easily followed. It seems that they were both evenly-matched with their skill, competitiveness and their insane disregard for a possible early death. Moyo tried a different tactic. She sped ahead (a bit over the speed limit) and drove ahead of him. Eriol was startled but he did the same. He pressed his car horn, pointed to his speedometer mouthing 'crazy?' and then pointed her.
Moyo's response was to increase her speed. He followed her tactic, forcing her to switch lanes. They continued to do this for a few minutes, and she could see that he was enjoying it much as she was. To an observer, it looked as if the two cars were doing an extremely crazy sort of a "highway waltz" or "death wish." They couldn't shake off each other through all the turns and curves of the road, trying to outdo each other but never quite succeeding.
Moyo couldn't help but have fun—oddly enough it felt like a "date" to her. When she glanced at him, he looked like he felt the same. She shivered in a pleasant way when she saw his smile. On the other hand, Eriol felt a mixture of awe and disbelief that a woman (he could see that the occupant is a woman but he couldn't see her face clearly, she has long hair) could be as much of a crazy driver as he was. He intends to ask for her number so he can ask her out for a drink after this.
After a few more minutes they both noted (with a bit of regret?) that they were nearing their destination and how they do in the next five minutes will determine the outcome of the "race." Tomoyo drove closer to him—she saw him smirking—as if he is daring her to continue and this irked her so she turned her steering wheel with pinpoint accuracy that made it look like she will bump right into him. They were both way above the legal speed limit so Eriol didn't want them both to get hurt – he turned to avoid her car. This forced him off the road and into a grassy "shoulder" of the road. She laughed loudly pressed her car horn loudly three times as if telling him "I've won."
He muttered very colorful language under his breath. 'Who knew that she would play dirty, she's getting more and more interesting every minute.' He mentally noted her license plate: "I'M AMIYA"; she fired an avid curiosity in him even if he has not even seen or talked to her yet. She must have an explosive personality besides an immense love for randomly racing strange men on a Sunday.
He sped up and saw her car in the distance, he pressed his car's horn to catch her attention but she ignored him and continued in her current illegal speed. It was then that a Highway Patrol car arrived. He was forced to stop, muttering very colorful language again as he does so. And he so wanted to ask out "Ms I'M AMIYA" for a date.
"Well, well, well, if it isn't the biggest contributor to the revenues of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. It's your 10th violation this month and it's only what—the 10th of the month today." Officer Spinel Sun greeted him in his usual slow, monotone voice.
"Couldn't catch that other car so you had to settle for catching me, eh?" Eriol had pure venom in his eyes. The last time he was this pissed was when his parents grounded him indefinitely for breaking their weirdo neighbor's windows which he did because of a girl whose initials were T.D. and now he was going to be scalped again because of a girl again. Some things never change.
"What can I do? Catching you is the highlight of my existence." Officer Sun SLOWLY scribbled something on his pad and SLOWLY tore off a speeding violation ticket. "Know what—I even had a weird dream last night."
"Knowing you, that isn't so unusual." Eriol gritted his teeth.
Sun ignored his sarcasm. "I dreamed that you were catching me instead of me catching you. Imagine that!"
"I feel so special." Eriol's nostrils flared. "What? Shit! Why am I going to pay an extra 500 bucks for this?"
"As you should know by now after YEARS of experience, the 10th violation is 'the charm.'"
"What's the hell is this now!?" Officer Spinel starts to write something SLOWLY on his pad again and hands it to Eriol.
"If you can read, it says: disrespect for an Officer of the Law. No swearing…Uh-uh-uh." Spinel sounded bored.
Eriol bit back the sharp retort at the tip of his tongue and took a deep breath. He was never going to catch up with the girl now.
Tomoyo felt a little disappointed when the A.D. was not able to catch up with her. Maybe she won't see him again. She sighed. It turns out that there is a large street demonstration along Tomoeda City's main thoroughfare so she had to take another turn which meant she could not park in King Penguin Tower's basement. She decided to park near the Public Library which was just a short distance away from her destination. She glanced at her watch and saw that she is way too early since she drove like a maniac earlier. A small smile lit her face. 'It would have been great if I get the chance to meet A.D.' Tomoyo said to herself. She then noticed that the crowd converged near the corner of the Library and there was a makeshift stage.
A tall, muscular man with dark hair and a frowning face was speaking a bit roughly on a megaphone while he was flanked with several well-built, handsome men who looked like movie stars. Moyo felt the familiar sharp pain in her head again.
There were large red and black banners everywhere saying "Freedom of Artistic Expression Now!" There are even banners that said: 'Kuro-pipi marry me!' 'Kuro-sama, let's elope!' 'Kuro-pin let's make babies!' 'Kuro-ru take me – I'm all yours!' 'Mr Black – make me your joy toy' 'SPANK ME - Kuro-bun!' A lot of women and gay men from different age groups were drooling and swooning openly over the handsome men on the stage — they were shouting the men's names and chanting "Viva Red Banana! Viva Red Banana! Viva Red Banana!"
She has heard of the notorious strip club before from Haru of course and it was all over the news yesterday. Red Banana wants to open other chains all over the country, like a fast food franchise. They were led by their most popular "Alternative Artist" – Kurogane (his stage name is 'The Ninja') then Subaru and Kamui (the 'Vampire Twins'), Seichiro (the 'Hunter'), Domeki (the 'Personal Servant'), Kyle (the 'Body Thief'). The charismatic and very popular pastor Fay D. Fluorite who leads the Tomoeda Morality Alliance, is vigorously opposing this "flagrant immorality".
As she walked past them, she felt an odd twinge in her head especially when she caught sight of Kurogane, who was now boldly daring the Pure-as-Snow Fay D. Fluorite to visit and watch their shows to see that they are merely being "alternative artists." The women and gay men around her were still drooling at him. Then out of the corner of her eye, she thinks she saw someone who looks like Yukito. She turned to find him but he was gone. She knows that Chiharu saw Yuki in Red Banana too. She stayed for a few more minutes to search for him with no success. Thinking she was one of them they gave her a red and black wristband with a crescent moon design, which she took distractedly.
She easily reached the 30th floor of the Penguin Tower and saw that Kerr Beros, her tall and muscular and openly gay boss was sipping coffee. There was an assortment of cake and pastries on the table in front of him. He's wearing a canary yellow shirt, white trousers and canary yellow shoes and his blond hair was shaped like an ocean wave with blue streaks. He was absently typing something on this laptop (with a large winged lion as the wallpaper) while watching the news on the TV inside their meeting room. "Morning Moyo!" His yellow-brown eyes glanced at Moyo's wristband. "Oh good! Another supporter for Red Banana!" Everyone in the office knew that Kerr is a regular customer there.
"Hi Kerr. Morning." Moyo set down her bag and got a cup of coffee from the pantry. The Clamp group had arrived by the time she returned and Kerr was greeting them with his usual loud-voiced, Osaka-accented enthusiasm.
Moyo had heard a lot about them and was very flattered when they agreed to write the background story for the toy she created. Kerr introduced her to the four women who were led by Ageha Ohkawa, their head writer, Mokona, the main artist/character designer, Tsubaki Nekoi, Mokona's assistant and Satsuki Igarashi another artist and their tankobon designer. They were all carrying laptops and large, thick notebooks with them. Kerr informed them that Mr. Hiirigizawa sent a text message that he will be late. While they were waiting, the blond shared a very detailed and highly-lemony story of why he chose the fierce winged lion as the wallpaper in his laptop while gulping down vast large chunks of cake. Moyo saw on TV that there was another group of street demonstrations on the other side of the city. The supporters were holding ice blue and white banners.
"Kerr, is it OK if I videotape this session so I can show it to my mother this weekend?" Moyo asked. Clamp turned to her with interest.
"Sure dear," Kerr said, he had always had a soft spot for Moyo. He started to give out give-aways to the guests — a golden plush lion with wings and a tuft of brown hair at the end of its tail. "Ladies, this is Moyo's very first creation. She named it after me." He beamed at Moyo. "Too bad the toy buyers in the malls thought it looked weird because of the hair in the tail." The mangaka artists were all ears whenever Kerr spoke.
Moyo took advantage and started to film them. Her mother would surely treasure this.
Eriol was very near losing his usual placid demeanor by now. He had been forced to drive from the farthest end of the city costing him several precious minutes. Then he had to stop his car when the "Morality Alliance" passed by him. They were all holding ice blue and white banners and his car window had blue and white confetti all over it so he had to wipe them off. He saw his former neighbor Fay D. Fluorite, leading the crowd. Yesterday on TV, Eriol watched him deliver an impassioned, stirring speech about morality. Right now, his followers were loudly chanting: 'Morality Now!' They were carrying banners that said: 'Let's Preserve our Youth's Innocence' 'No to Hedonism!' 'Stop Moral Corruption.'
Eriol had to smile when he recalled the time when Fay was a grouchy and lanky kid who "married" him and a girl whose initials were "T.D." He still kept the embroidered hanky that the girl gave him, he called it his "lucky hankie" and brought it with him every time he met clients for the first time, like right now. He strained to remember her first name, Tamara?…Tomita?…Tomasa?…Tomeka?...Tabitha? All he remembers is that it sounded so cute and made him feel warm all over. 'Wonder where she is now.' He thought absently. Then he remembered—Tomoyo!
The street demonstrators hand him an ice blue and white wristband as they passed by his car window. He took it so they'd leave him alone. In a few more agonizing minutes he was at last able to move. But as he neared the King Penguin Tower, he saw another large crowd with red and black banners this time. He had to wait for a few minutes before he was allowed to enter the building's basement parking lot so he had no choice but to watch the crowd in front of him. He saw yet another childhood friend and former rival! It's Kurogane. They had both nearly gotten into scuffles over "Tomoyo D." when they were in kindergarten until the girl moved away. He felt very sad for a long time after that. Was it Daidochi…Domyouji…? Daidouji!
Moyo almost dropped her video camera when the bespectacled, dark-haired "Mr. Hiirigizawa" walked inside the meeting room. He was slightly breathless but still impeccably groomed. She clutched her temple — there is that sharp pain in her head again, only this time it's more intense.
So Mr. Hiirigizawa, the weird musician who goes for matrons turns out to be none other than her A.D.! 'Wait, scratch that, remove the "her." He would never be hers if she could help it. Mr. Hiirigizawa was standing with his back towards her so he didn't see her when he entered. He started apologizing profusely to the ladies, bowing to them and kissing each of their hands in a very cool, suave sort of way as they were introduced. The four writers and Kerr were obviously charmed with him.
Moyo went back to her chair and sat down quietly and Kerr suddenly remembered her presence. "Mr. Hiirigizawa…"
"Call me Eriol, please." Eriol said with a smile. He gulped down a whole glass of water and was now filling another glass.
"Oh my, Moyo are you OK?" Kerr saw that his favorite toy designer's face had gone deathly pale. He stood up. Eriol turned to look at the person behind him and he did a double take. She looks a bit familiar. Is she who he thinks she is?
"I'm all right." Moyo said. "I'll just pop a migraine pill before we start, is that OK?"
Kerr sighed in relief. "By all means, but first, Eriol, I'd like to introduce you to the charming young lady who created the lovable character that we are going to discuss today," Kerr fluttered his eyelashes at him as he did so, "Miss Moyo Taylor."
Eriol's hand is now tightly clutching his glass, his mouth was partially open. "Tomoyo Daidouji?" He reached out for her hand to kiss it.
Moyo narrowed her eyes at him. She has not heard her biological father's last name for a very long time and she intends to keep it that way. Very formally, she took his hand and shook it before he could place it near his mouth. "I'm Moyo Taylor, Mr. Hiirigizawa." The way he looked at her was positively unnerving — like he finally found something that he had lost. She hoped fervently that he did not recognize her as the one who raced with him earlier. If he did, she intends to deny it most vehemently!
Kerr playfully slapped Eriol in the arm. "Oh Mr. Musician's not listening to me."
"Excuse me please, everyone, I'll just get something for my migraine." Moyo felt prolonged and intensified pain now, she bowed to all of them as she exited the room, partly to get medicine and partly to escape the piercing blue eyes of Mr. Hiirigizawa, a.k.a. "A.D."
Moyo returned after two minutes, still clutching her temple. Clamp and Kerr were chuckling as A.D. recounted what happened to him earlier – how he raced with another crazy driver in the expressway. "It all ended when I was flagged down by the highway patrol so I never got to see who she is. Had to pay a steep fine but she got away scott free!" His audience looked amused at this but shook their head in sympathy all the same. "But on the good side, I got inspiration for the title of the story's beginning song---since it's about a card mistress, right?"
"The character captures magic cards. At least that's what I first thought of." Moyo said crisply as she sat down. She knows that he said it so she could join the conversation, which was rather nice of him, but the fact remained that she disliked him a lot although she's not sure why.
"Tell me, Tomoyo, how does the title "Catch You, Catch Me" sound to you?" Eriol continued, apparently unaffected by her formality.
Moyo re-directed the question to Clamp. Ageha and Mokona said that they both liked it.
"Very well, this is certainly a very good start for this project." Kerr assumed his "formal-this-is-business" voice. "Moyo and I will do all we can to support you all on this — our company's target market is the 6 to 12 year old school girls, we are looking into merchandising and possible clothing line expansion so this anime show will be a big boost. So shall we start with getting acquainted with each other — after all we would be working on this as a team hopefully, for a very long time. Just say a little something about yourself, like your nickname, your hobbies, your deepest darkest secret or your favorite fantasy…something like that. And since you're the only thorn among the roses Eriol why don't you start?"
Eriol cleared his throat, amused. "I'm known as Eriol Hiirigizawa in professional circles, but my real name is Eriol Reed. I'm a musician with eclectic taste, I like sampling the free food that my cousin cooks, favorite color is blue, hobbies—hmmm…to impress a girl I really really liked when I was young, I broke our neighbor's glass windows with a basket-full of baseballs. Needless to say, I got grounded." His audience, except Moyo, all chuckled appreciatively. He continued, "My deepest, darkest secret is that I got hitched when I was 6 and had my first kiss at 6." Here he looked at Moyo very intensely, a glint of mischief and expectation in his eyes. She blankly looked back at him but soon broke eye contact, pretending to focus her video camera. She is thankful that it won't be her turn for at least a few minutes so she has time to think of what to say.
Mokona asked Eriol: "Is your mother Yuuko Reed, the CEO of InterDimension Travel?"
"The very same yes."
"You look a bit similar to that business executive who's always in the papers, the one they call the Wizard of the Financial Industry." Ageha said, rubbing her chin.
"Clow Reed is my Dad. There are three kids in the family, my sister Nakuru, my brother Hiro and me."
Kerr's interest was piqued. "Nakuru as in, Nakuru Akizuki the newest host of "Wake Up Call-Tomoeda"?
Eriol chuckled. "Yes, that's her professional name. She got her powerful lungs from my grandmother Ruby Akizuki who was an opera singer."
While all this is happening Clamp was typing feverishly on their laptops. Mokona was sketching on her notebook. The other members of Clamp followed suit by giving interesting anecdotes about themselves. Kerr Beros followed. He shared how he was called "Kero-chan" when he was a boy/girl, how much he liked sweets, video games and yellow things and using books as pillows and when he found out that he is gay.
Moyo is the last one so all eyes turned to her expectantly, she created the character after all. "I'm Tomoyo Taylor, but I prefer to be called Moyo. I like cooking, designing and sewing clothes, reading, videotaping my friends. I like violet stuff, I like magnolias and sakuras. I based this character on my cousin and one of my best friends Sakura-chan. We were looking at our childhood pictures together and I thought the costumes she wore in the pictures were pretty cute so that's where it all started."
"How about your deepest, darkest secret?" Eriol asked, his eyes twinkling. But deep inside he was wondering why she changed her last name. Is she married? But she wore no engagement or wedding rings.
"They'll remain deep, dark and secret." Moyo countered. The way his eyes seemed to bore right through the video camera she was holding, as if he is looking directly at her gave her the creeps. Everything about him is and she didn't like it one bit.
"If you don't mind us asking, Moyo, could you tell us more about your family?" Mokono asked, she was sketching on her notebook as she said this and looking closely at Moyo.
Her voice wavered. She had never been comfortable talking about herself. "My parents divorced when I was young, I'm an only child. My mother remarried and we both took my stepdad's name." It was all that she could share at the moment and Eriol felt his heart beat faster. 'So it really is her, what a coincidence to see her after all these years!'
Ageha leaned forward with keen enthusiasm as she addressed all of them. "As a group, we get inspiration for our characters and plots from real life so we really appreciate all that you've shared with us. We will still be asking more information from you in the coming days and we hope that you wouldn't mind."
Mokona spoke. "I liked the sketches you did Moyo but could you bring pictures of your cousin as well as yours when you can?"
"That goes for you too, Eriol." Mokona smiled at him.
Eriol playfully raised his eyebrows. "Does this mean you're considering me to be your model for the bishounen lead?"
Clamp laughed. Ageha shook her head. "I'm afraid not although I have an idea on where a character based on you would fit better."
They all asked Moyo to share more inputs about the character: "Sakura is quite naïve, no scratch that, very naïve, clueless, innocent, and athletic. Childlike and childish—she still has this ancient brown teddy bear in her room somewhere. She's very cheerful, casual, and friendly. Very easy to please, she doesn't stay angry too long but she could be quite stubborn and protective about the people she loves. She likes pink and white colors and loves to eat shrimps and noodles."
Clamp is listening very attentively and jotting down notes. "Is she an only child?"
"She has an older brother, Touya. He's now a network producer. He's over-protective of her and he used to work so many different odd jobs when he was in high school. Her Dad's an archaeologist and college professor, my uncle Fujitaka. He's a very nice man, and loves to cook. Aunt Nadeshiko was a model when she was in high school, she married when she was just 16—he was a student teacher back then. She died when Sakura was about seven, so soon after that they moved to Seijuu."
"How about you Eriol, how can we help you develop songs for the TV show?" Mokona asked.
"I get inspiration from everyday things as well. It would also help if we could talk to the inspiration for the character too—I find that it helps me give depth to the tunes and the lyrics I write." He said, looking again at Tomoyo. "Plus, I will be adapting my work to the story and the characters."
She addressed her answer to the group: "I'll try to request my cousin to join us for one of our meetings, she's also very excited about all this."
"That's good news. I'll just make a few changes on the opening tune I prepared and have you all listen to it after lunch today." Eriol informed them.
Ageha spoke again. "Please feel free to interrupt if you have any questions. Here is our initial outline for the story," she pressed a key on her laptop and they all saw a bulleted outline on the projector screen.
"We thought of using the original family name of the main character since its fairly common—no problems with privacy. This will be a magic girl genre – the cards will be magical as Moyo has conceptualized. We believe "CardCaptor Sakura" will be a more catchy title than "CardMistress Sakura."
Moyo and Kerr nodded.
Mokona continued. "Sakura will have magic guardians and a mysterious and rude bishounen as a partner—who will eventually fall in love with her. But we have not found inspiration for him yet. We will be using flowers, colors and cute items heavily for most of the story."
The other two Clamp illustrators showed them briefly their initial sketches and character design, which were all cute but impressive. "We'll be showing more tomorrow."
"We're thinking of having her capture a deck of about 16 cards first but it all depends on audience reception—we can make it 52 or more later."
"We will be meeting on a regular basis for how long?" Kerr asked.
"Maybe 2-3 weeks straight to gather information then we will finalize the initial story boards and then we will work with the animators. After that, we'd still need to meet regularly but it depends on how the show is received by the audience."
"Good, I'll reserve this meeting room for our exclusive use then, or is there anything else that you guys would need?" Kerr inquired. They each gave him a list. "So our meetings will take place from Monday to Saturday. I may not be here every day but Moyo will."
Moyo nodded and flashed an excited smile at Kerr. Eriol felt something tug in his chest. It was the first time she smiled all day. She either does not remember him anymore (which gave him a pang) or she's just grown into a very good actress since she showed no signs that she even remembers him. But the years have certainly been good to her. She's very attractive, no, beautiful and extremely sexy—in a subtle but mind-blowing sort of way. She grew even more beautiful than he had imagined her to be when he was a kid. She is of medium height, a little taller than her mother, translucent and smooth skin that he wants to touch. Her face is perfectly shaped, her purple-tinged eyes rimmed with long lashes. She has definitely piqued his interest in more ways than one. Whatever her reasons are—if she either forgot about him or is just pretending, he will "force" her to remember.
They all had lunch together at the nearest branch of the immensely popular music bar/restaurant chain that Eriol, Syaoran and Yamazaki co-owned, which they called "Tsubasa Reservoir" (but he didn't tell them this). So the ladies (including Kerr) were very delighted when they were given the best table even if they had no reservations on a jam-packed Sunday. Eriol discreetly signaled the staff to pretend that they don't know him. He was delighted when he overheard Tomoyo tell the others that she liked going here.
"I wonder where they got the name though." Moyo asked no one in particular.
Kerr flicked his hand excitedly. "I heard they named it after a defunct druggie rock band or something…"
Eriol smiled and almost choked on his drink. "I heard the owners named it after the incident when their five older sisters tried to bully them into doing something. So they settled it with a no-holds-barred pillow-fight. The result was that they scattered feathers all over their apartment." He shared nonchalantly.
"So who won?" The Clamp group was curious.
"The older sisters of course, the owners had to do usher-duty for a wedding that their sisters planned." Eriol replied with a sparkle in his eye.
"And where did you hear that?" Moyo asked him. It was the first time that she directly asked him a question.
"From a very reliable source." Eriol smiled enigmatically and sipped his mango shake.
After lunch, they all walked back to King Penguin Tower and took the shortest route where they had to pass by a row of pet shops along the way. Moyo could not help but be impressed by the dashing figure that Eriol made even in his collared, blue and white pin-striped long sleeved shirt and impeccably pressed trousers. He had a toned body that is not bulky, just the type that she likes and his deep voice was mesmerizing—but she would rather die than tell him that of course.
Just then they passed a weird looking pet shop with dark windows. There was a cage that contained a couple of small, dark brown bats hanging upside down. Tomoyo was startled and let out a muffled shriek when the bats started to move their wings. She turned away quickly as if she was ready to puke. Eriol caught her elbow to steady her. "Are you all right?"
"Um...yes...thanks." She could not look at him, embarrassed that she showed that she's afraid even of caged animals. Kerr and the Clamp group were now busy looking at a cage full of extremely cute snow bunnies.
Eriol leaned in closer to her, but not too close. "So you're still afraid of bats I see. I find them a bit disgusting too."
Moyo's eyes widened in surprise for a fraction of a second but returned to their usual guarded, unreadable expression. "I…I agree." She felt another migraine attack coming on.
Back in the meeting room, they listened to the tunes that Eriol prepared initially which Kerr and Clamp praised him openly. Moyo personally thought that they were quite good; he was quite gifted in fact.
They all prepared to leave soon afterwards. Eriol held the elevator door open for them before he stepped in. He pressed "B" since all of them have parked there. For some reason, he found himself curious to know what car Moyo drives. Maybe, just maybe…
Moyo then remembered where she left her car. She pressed the "G" button for the Ground Floor. "I just remembered that I have to run an errand." She said to no one in particular.
She found herself breathing a sigh of relief after she exchanged goodbyes with the others. Eriol just nodded politely, he seemed to be disappointed about something—but then how would she know. She has no intention of letting him know that it was her he raced with this morning, not that she's afraid or anything. It's a lucky coincidence that she had to park elsewhere so he wouldn't see her car's license plate. She now knows who can help her out—they would hardly need convincing. It was perfect. She got in her car and drove towards the building of the Tomoeda Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
Eriol had started to walk towards his car but decided to turn back. He was really curious to know what car Tomoyo drives—after all she and the lady driver both have long hair and he suspects they both came from Seijuu.
He was about to board the elevator when his cell phone rang. "Hello?"
It was his mom, Yuuko: "Eriol—you have to hurry home! Your father's…going to have…a heart attack! Hiro's on his way! Oh! No, Clow! Stop! Someone might get killed!" There were panicked female screams and a loud crash. The line had gone dead. Alarmed, Eriol ran back to his car and sped off to his parents' house. On the way there he tried to call all their numbers but was unsuccessful.
Kura checked her watch as she drove home. It was almost 6 pm. She felt so full after Pizza Palace that she decided to just drink milk before she goes to sleep. She smiled again when she thought of Syaoran. Wait, Syaoran and his nephews, she corrected herself.
Moyo sent her a text message saying that she needed to borrow Sakura's
childhood pictures to show to Clamp. She smiled, so things had gone well for her cousin today too, just like her. She drove towards her father's familiar yellow house on another part of Seijuu.'The lights are off, he's probably off somewhere.'She parked, opened the door using her key and flicked on the lights. She went to her old room and lay for some minutes on her still-sweet-smelling bed.
She then dug out her old photo albums from the cabinet and decided to look at her pictures starting from when she was a baby. She chuckled at some of her most humiliating shots although her parents and Moyo and Haru would say they were "kawaii." One particularly thick volume contained many pictures of her 4-year old self—before her mom got bedridden. Those were happy times for their family.
She laughed when she saw their family vacation in Beiba where there was a picture of her mom with her model friend (her dad told her about it years after it happened). She had four daughters and a son. She looked closely at the frowning boy in the picture. He looked very much like Syaoran's nephews. She had forgotten his name but she remembers that he gave her a brown bear that she named "Shoe." She still kept Shoe beside her bed in her current apartment.
She used to ask Touya to mail letters for her to that boy but her brother told her (which her Dad mentioned later as well) that their family had moved overseas to seek treatment for the Father's illness. She gasped. 'Could it be that this boy and Syaoran are…?" She picked up her cell phone to dial her father but there was an urgent knock on the front door.
"Sakura? Sakura? It's Yuki," came a familiar but muffled voice from outside.
Kura opened the door. Standing before her is her very miserable looking boyfriend. "I drove to your apartment but you weren't there so I figured that you're here…" His voice was raspy and he seemed on the verge of tears. He seemed to be rooted to the spot where he stood.
Kura pulled him inside, rubbing his arm to comfort him. "What's wrong?" She made him sit on the couch and was about to go to the kitchen to prepare tea for him when he took her hand and pulled her closer to him.
"Something happened… I was downtown when I received a call from the hospital… my grandmother… my grandmother…"
Kura's mind raced. Yuki had been raised since infancy by his grandparents. His grandfather died two years ago so he only has his grandmother now. "What happened?"
"The doctors called me to say that she might have only a few weeks to live…" There were tears rolling down his face. "I owe them everything Sakura. Everything. Who knows where I'd be now if they did not take me in."
She hugged him and he hugged her back, but the way that he clung tightly to her startled her. Yuki had never been this emotional before, she patted his back as he let his tears flow. "I'll make some tea for you, Yuki."
"No!" He said and tightened his hold on her. "I need you Sakura. I can't live without you." He cupped her face in his hands. "I've been a fool, I've been confused—I should have done this long, long ago. But now—I know what I want. It has been right before my eyes for so long and I've neglected you." He then leaned forward and hungrily kissed her lips. She was too stunned to even close her eyes.
Kura pulled away gasping for breath. She stood up, rubbing her now cold arms filled with goose bumps. "Yuki…I…"
Yuki knelt on one knee in front of her and fished out a velvet box from his shirt pocket. He took out a large diamond ring and held it out to her. He kissed her hand. "I've been meaning to give you this for so long now…Sakura…I cannot live without you. I need you… I'll die without you."
"Yuki…" Kura felt her throat go dry.
"Sakura, will you…will you…I beg you…will you marry me?"
Having safely deposited his young nephews to their parents' houses, Syaoran drove back to the apartment he shared with his cousins and Yamazaki. He called his favorite flower shop on the way.
"Hey Sidney. Hi. I'd like to order flowers for someone…"
"Of course, Mr. Li. Will we be sending her your usual order?"
"No, not the usual. She's really, really special…I want you to send her your best selection of peonies, roses and cherry blossoms—in pink and white."
"One dozen like always?"
"How many do you have on stock?"
"About 10 dozen for each kind sir."
"Send it all to her clinic in Seijuu first thing tomorrow. Her name is Sakura Kinimoto, she's a children's dentist but I don't have her exact address."
"It should be easy to find her, Seijuu's not a very big place and besides, I've heard about her—they call her 'Dentist Cherry Blossom', right?"
"Yes, right." Syaoran said. He then dictated to her what to write in the note with the flowers. "Just send me the bill." He ended the call but very soon got another call from his mother:
"Syaoran I got your message. Yes, I had a friend named Nadeshiko Kinimoto she visited us with her family when you were about six or seven in Beiba. Her husband's name is Fujitaka and their children's names are Touya and Sakura. I've heard that they left Tomoeda and moved somewhere else but we've lost contact…"
Syaoran couldn't believe his ears. "I've found you at last, my wife."
TO BE CONTINUED….
Sorry for the cliffhangers.
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