Author's Note: Please tell me what you think! ;)
Disclaimer: I don't own CCS.
Letting go doesn't mean it's not meant to be.
Two years ago.
"Five more minutes..." a lovely girl pleaded as she snuggled more to the warmth beside her.
"But I need to go," a handsome young man stated reluctantly. He gently removed the auburn strands that fell on the girl's face. "Sakura..."
As a response, Sakura held onto him tightly. "It's a Saturday, Syaoran."
"Okay, five more minutes, but after that, I have to go to the agency." He hugged his girlfriend back.
The two of them had a late night celebration of their first year anniversary and had stayed at Syaoran's apartment after that. Though Syaoran, at the age of 18, was a perfectly healthy young man, he never forced Sakura to do anything that she wasn't comfortable with. It wasn't because she was just barely 17, but because he loved her too much that he wanted everything to be perfect for her. Sure, he had his share of fun with his previous relationships, but that didn't really matter to him now.
Syaoran was about to fall back asleep when his phone rang. Groaning, he picked it up. "Li Syaoran speaking," he paused. "No, I haven't... Okay... Yes, I'll be there... Bye."
"Who was that?" Sakura sat up and rubbed the sleepiness out of her eyes.
He gave her a good morning kiss before answering, "Kiya, my agent. She told me she had someone send over some newspaper or something." Syaoran stood up and went towards his door. He saw a tabloid inserted under it.
"So... what is it?" She questioned when Syaoran picked it up.
He shrugged and flopped down beside her. "I don't know. Kiya told me to check it out..." He turned the pages, not really sure what he was looking for.
"Look!" Sakura gasped, pointing to a picture of them. One was in the park where they were holding each other's hands. Sakura's face couldn't be seen since she was leaned over him, as if whispering something. Another picture was in the little café near his apartment. Again, her face couldn't be seen since her back was facing the camera.
Sakura scanned the paper and saw that the article was entitled 'Li Syaoran and his secret fling?' She read the text out loud. "Li Syaoran, one of the fastest rising stars in today's modeling industry and the newest endorser of Moira Wear, was repeatedly spotted with an unknown girl. Sources couldn't verify the identity of the said girl hanging out with him." She glanced at him concernedly. "Hopes for this young star, Li, seems to be very bright, but hearts would definitely break if he's officially taken." Upon seeing him frown, she apologized immediately, "I'm so sorry! I should have –"
"You have nothing to be sorry about," Syaoran cut in. He grabbed the tabloid, unsure whether to crumple or tear it apart.
"I'm really sorry. We both know that this will affect your reputation..."
"It's not about that," Syaoran explained. "It's just... I just don't want them calling you my fling or the unknown girl or whatever. I wish we don't have to hide it. I love you too much for that."
"And I love you too," Sakura replied tenderly. "But we couldn't help it..." She trailed off, not really wanting to argue with him. "You have to get ready. The agency is waiting, right?" She gave him one sound kiss before pushing him off the bed. "Go now, you're going to be late!"
"Okay, okay. I'll meet you later." Syaoran smiled lovingly. "Go back to sleep."
"Nah... I have to go home. I have to be there before Dad returns this morning," she reasoned. After fixing herself, she bade farewell to Syaoran. The exact moment she stepped out of his apartment building, her phone rang. "Hello?"
The person on the other line spoke clearly, "Sakura, this is Kiya. Meet me in Moche restaurant for lunch."
"Sure –" She wasn't able to finish her reply because the line went dead. Kiya hanged up. "Oh well."
"Hello Ms. Kiya," Sakura bowed politely. When she arrived at the restaurant, Syaoran's manager was already there.
Kiya motioned for her to seat. "I assume you've seen the tabloids today?"
"I won't beat around the bush." Kiya looked at her seriously. "I want you to stay away from Syaoran."
Sakura froze. "What do –"
"I don't mean to be harsh," Kiya cut in. "But I know what's best for him."
"I – I don't understand..."
"You know very well that I've handled today's biggest celebrity. I know a star when I see one, and right now, I see Syaoran," Kiya started. "He's not that established yet, and he couldn't afford any scandals like that. He needs his single image because his career will take off from there. He needs to adjust to fit."
Sakura stayed quiet. Somehow, she knew where this conversation was going.
Kiya continued, "I plan to take Syaoran out of the agency and handle him myself, but I couldn't do that with you around. I couldn't make him reach his full potential because you're holding him back."
Once again, Kiya interrupted. "I allowed you to continue your relationship, but we talked about this before, remember? You have to keep it a secret. This is the third time this month, Sakura," Kiya pointed out. "Velvet Scent backed out from the deal because they wanted a single man to endorse their product."
"... I didn't know that..."
"I'm not surprised Syaoran didn't tell you. He doesn't listen to me, but I hope you do." Kiya sighed. "We both know that he's alone. He doesn't have a family. And this job... this is the only thing supporting him right now," she emphasized. "Without this, where would that leave him? Would you live happy knowing that Syaoran let an opportunity as big as this pass? Tell me, Sakura."
Sakura's hands were starting to shake. This was all too much and too sudden for her. She wasn't expecting this kind of situation. She didn't know how to handle it. All those things the older woman was saying simply struck something inside of her... and she wasn't feeling so good about it. 'Am I...' She clenched her fist. 'Am I really an obstacle?' She refused to believe it. She wasn't impeding Syaoran's career.
But then again... how could she be so sure? She was just a sixteen year old high school student. This lady in front of her, however, had several years of experience. Sakura didn't know how things run in that line of work. She didn't know anything. Absolutely nothing.
"Miss Kiya... I..." Sakura's voice was weak. It reflected entirely what she was feeling inside.
"I know Syaoran is smart," Kiya started talking again. "Maybe he could find a part-time job. But what if that doesn't work out?" For a moment, Kiya looked sorry. "I apologize, Sakura. I know I'm asking for too much, but I'm speaking as Syaoran's agent. I'm talking to you with his best interest in mind." She pushed further. "I know there are a lot of good things in store for him in this industry. I hope you think about it." With that, Kiya left.
Sakura forced herself to look straight ahead. The sun was slowly setting, leaving the park in a soft orange glow. "What's your plan for college? I mean, you are a senior."
"I told you I received scholarship, right?"
"Yeah, but what about everyday expenses..." Sakura left her sentence hanging, not knowing how to continue.
"Well, let's see... Maybe I could stop to work for awhile. You know, to save." He unconsciously massaged her palm as he thought about it. "Yeah, that's right. Then we can start college together." He winked at Sakura playfully. When she remained silent, Syaoran became worried, "Is something wrong?"
"I was just thinking..."
"What if –" Sakura swallowed. Her throat felt dry. "I..." She couldn't bring herself to say it... but she had to. She opened her mouth and tried again. "In the future... what if we broke up? What if we were never meant to be? Then all your sacrifices would be for nothing." She blinked back her tears.
Syaoran looked at her. Worry was all over his feature. "What are you saying, Sakura?"
"I am a hindrance to your career," she stated. "You could have a better life without me."
"Sakura." He brought the hand he was holding to his lips and kissed it. "My life is nothing without you."
"Don't say that. We're still young, you know?" Sakura forced out a laugh. "I mean, what do we know in the real world, right?"
Syaoran just looked at her confusedly.
"What I'm saying is... we need a break."
"Sakura, I –"
"No, Syaoran. Listen to me." She cut in. If she didn't do this now, she would lose all her courage and would never be able to do it again. "We need to start thinking of ourselves... of what's good for us." Sakura took her hand away from Syaoran's hold. "There's more out there for us."
He remained quiet before asking painfully, "Don't you love me anymore?"
Sakura couldn't fight back the tears at this point. The look on Syaoran's face was enough to break her heart over and over again. She wanted to scream and shout that she loved him with all her heart... but what was the point? It would just hurt them more.
'This is for you.'
She thought about what Kiya said, and she realized that the older woman was right. She knew that Syaoran worked hard for everything he had now, and he truly deserved every bit of it. Who was she to take it all away?
"I'm... I'm sorry." Sakura stood up and left. She didn't dare look back because she knew that if she did, she would run back and beg for forgiveness.
But if she did, she would see Syaoran, with his face buried in his hands, and his shoulders shaking.
"Like, oh my God!"
A girl with waist-length, auburn hair stopped fixing her things to look at what the commotion was all about. She glanced at the back of the classroom and saw the popular girls go crazy over some magazine. 'Probably some new shoes or something,' she thought.
The said girl turned towards the door and saw her dark haired, amethyst-eyed best friend waiting for her. "Wait up, Tomoyo. I'm almost done," Sakura declared as she placed the remaining things in her bag. "Let's go!"
Tomoyo and Sakura walked together towards the Tomoeda High gymnasium. They went straight to the girls' locker room, and as usual, their friends were already there. Today, however, they were gushing over something.
"Hey guys!" Tomoyo greeted their other friends, Rika and Chiharu. "What's that?"
"The Star Magazine special edition!" Rika answered excitedly.
"Oh, I saw Tara Chen holding something like that," Sakura stated, referring to the group of girls in her previous class. "So... what's that, new fashion?"
"No silly! It's the Star Magazine special edition!" Chiharu repeated what Rika said earlier. Her face showed the same amount of excitement as she shoved the magazine in Sakura's face "Look!"
"100 sexiest men in Asia," Sakura read the cover out loud. She glanced back at them with a raised eyebrow. "So?"
"Okaaay..." Sakura backed away from her hyper friends. Was that a wrong thing to ask? Geez. Sighing, she decided to fire another question, "Uh... Who's number one?"
"Kenji Suh," Rika answered. "But I –"
Just then, the popular girls entered, still talking animatedly. "I still think he shouldn't be just number two. Li Syaoran deserves the number one spot!" Tara Chen, the leader of the group, stated. She accidentally bumped into Sakura. "Move over, will you? God, you're irritating Kinomoto!" Tara rolled her dark blue eyes before continuing on her way.
Sakura was brushing her hair when she heard Tara. She immediately froze when she heard the name. With a start, she looked around and noticed for the first time that everybody was talking about the same magazine.
"For once, I agree with her," Rika muttered under her breath. She took the magazine from Chiharu and opened it to a page where an image of Li Syaoran was. "I mean, come on!"
Two whole pages were dedicated solely to him while the others shared a single sheet. One of the pages contained Syaoran without a shirt on. His usually messy hair was messier, but he looked oh-so-sexy. Only he could pull off that look. His amber eyes held a daring look and his lips curved into a smirk. His well-toned body can make any girl drool. His arms, his chest and his abs were just to die for. The picture was cut a few inches below his navel, leaving the rest to one's imagination.
In short, he looked dangerously hot.
The other page contained his name, 'Li Syaoran', in big, bold letters. Three smaller pictures of him were also included. One was of him looking shyly at the camera. He was wearing a tuxedo and holding out a single red rose. Another one was him wearing a soccer uniform, with the ball tucked under his arms. The last picture was him in casual clothes while sporting a boyish grin.
Sakura couldn't help but stare. He was more handsome, if that was possible. It had been so long since that... incident. After their break-up, he tried to get her back, but she stood firm on her decision. Three months after, Kiya brought him abroad.
Rika read out loud, "This twenty year old heartthrob from Hong Kong continues to sweep the ladies off their feet. With his incredibly good looks, hot body and charming personality, he can captivate anyone without doing anything. He can make women swoon with just one smile."
Chiharu read the next paragraph, "This model/actor had just recently graduated from Hong Kong University, with plans to study abroad. Definitely the total package! He has the brains to match the looks. All good things wrapped in one delicious bod." She finished with a dreamy sigh.
"I heard he was dating Lena, the supermodel?" Tomoyo asked.
"They broke up. He's with Dy Aisa now, the Chinese actress," Rika shared, remembering what she saw on a gossip column before. "Lucky girl."
"You bet. But really, they look good together," Chiharu added. "They said – hey, Sakura, are you okay?" The three of them turned to Sakura, who was staring blankly at the wall.
Sakura was brought back to reality when a hand was placed on her shoulder. "Huh?"
"You okay?" Tomoyo asked gently. "You spaced out."
"Yeah, I'm, um... I just –" Sakura was cut off by the bell. "Oh look! We have to go now. We'll be late for gym class!"
Sakura quickly went out of the room while her friends looked at her weirdly before following out. They didn't know that Sakura went out with Syaoran. No one knew – only her, him and his agent. Since they tried to keep it a secret and Syaoran went to a different school, her friends had really no way of figuring it out.
A forest green metallic 911 model Porsche stopped in front of a thirty-story building. Screaming was immediately heard when a man with messy chestnut hair stepped out.
The man turned around and saw a group of squealing fans waving enthusiastically at him. When he smiled back, they screamed more.
"Can I have an autograph?!"
"Marry me, Xiao Lang!"
"Can I take a picture?!"
"Can I have a strand of your hair?!"
Joe and Ryu, Syaoran's bodyguard and driver respectively, and the building's security guards were trying to hold off Syaoran's crazy fans.
Syaoran greeted them charmingly and was able to sign a few autographs. "Thank you for being here, but I really have to go now." He said and flashed them one more smile before entering the building. Inside, employees sighed just at the sight of him, but he was unaware of it all. He reached the elevator but turned to Joe before stepping in. "Wait here." The other man just nodded.
He went to the twenty-second floor and entered the last door. A dark-haired man was seated behind the desk. He was busy reading something.
Syaoran coughed. "Eriol."
The man looked up and smiled. "Ah yes, Xiao Lang." He gestured for him to take a seat. He placed his copy of the Star Magazine on his desk. "That was good. Your first time to be included in the list, and immediately, you're number two. What do you think?"
He answered his manager's question with one of his own, "Who wrote that?"
"Kiya, of course. She takes care of your publicity."
"I should have known. She always makes me sound like I'm a piece of meat," Syaoran commented dryly. Originally, he was managed by Tan Kiya, but shortly after they arrived at Hong Kong, they decided that he will be co-managed by Hiiragizawa Eriol.
"One scrumptious piece of meat," Eriol corrected. "The piece everyone will fight over just to get a taste of."
"Uh..." Syaoran stared at his freaky agent. Well... this was awkward. He pretended to cough and decided that changing the topic would be better. "So... what am I supposed to do today?"
"Ah yes, about that." Eriol clicked on his laptop to check the appointments for the current day. "We have a lunch meeting at the Crystal Plaza with Dy Aisa and her agent."
Syaoran's eyebrow rose. "What is it for?"
Eriol handed him a folder. "That's a proposal. Kiya and I have approved it, so it's now up to you." He explained while Syaoran was scanning the content. "We want you to get back together with Aisa."
"I thought it was just a promotional thing since we came out with a new movie two weeks ago."
"And it's a big hit," Eriol continued proudly. "As of today, Aisa is the most in-demand female lead. Why not use her? It'll boost you both more. Besides," he continued, "Both fans and media couldn't get enough of you two. They just love you."
Syaoran leaned back in her seat. "Well, she's nice and sweet. I wouldn't mind working with her."
"No side-flings this time," Eriol warned.
"You know that this is a very competitive industry. You've been in the top for almost two years, and you know how hard it is to maintain you there. If you don't act properly, they are going to match Aisa with Kenji Suh." Eriol pointed on the cover of the magazine. "He's now number one. If they're paired up together..." He left his sentence hanging.
"Okay, okay." Syaoran sighed. "But try telling that to Lena."
"Lena? The model?" Eriol asked making Syaoran nod. "Wasn't she your last sort of girlfriend?" Again, Syaoran nodded. "I thought you broke up?"
Syaoran shrugged. "I thought so too."
"Whatever. Just remember, when you go out, make it discreet," Eriol emphasized the last word. "Your last rendezvous with her was hard to cover up."
"What can I say, she's pretty wild." Syaoran smirked.
Eriol just ignored him. "I have to go. I'll just meet with you later at the Crystal Plaza. Right now, deal with Lena. I'll deal with the media regarding Kenji." Eriol smiled deviously.
Japan, 1 week later
"Like, oh my God!"
Sakura turned to the source of the voice again. Like always, it was Tara. Sakura wondered what it was this time. It had been a week exactly since the magazine craze.
"You won't believe this!" Tara exclaimed.
Sakura was about to walk off, but she was stopped short at Tara's next words.
"Li Syaoran is coming to Japan!"
Shrieking was immediately heard while Tara babbled on, "They're going to shoot his next movie here! With Aisa! I heard it from my brother's girlfriend who works at the network and..."
Sakura was unable to comprehend the rest of Tara's words. All she could think of was Syaoran was coming here... with his new girl.
AN: Leave a review!