Chapter 3

Between Love and Hate



"Hate. Only hate." seventeen-year-old Tomoyo reminded herself as she got off the plane. As she passed by the arrival area, she can't help but notice the second glances people give her. She smiled to herself. She was used to these already although at first, she was uncomfortable. She felt naked and exposed.

"But now." She murmured. The key words are dressed to kill and display. She's aware of her loveliness and she's going to use it as a weapon against the person she hated for five years. "I'll show him.." She vowed to herself. "Hey Kinomoto!" called Takashi Yamazaki. "A beautiful lady's calling you. She's waiting in front of the school gate."

Sakura looked up. "Now who would be looking for me?" She stood up from her desk and strolled out of the classroom.

"Sakura-chan!!."

"T-Tomoyo-chan!!!" Sakura's face lighted up. She almost climbed the gates up if Tomoyo had not pointed to the door.

"Oops!" Sakura came through the door and joined her outside. She hugged her bestfriend tightly. "I'm so glad you're back!!"

"Me too." She seconded. "You grew prettier, Tomoyo-chan! You look like a super model! I hardly recognized you!". Gushed the emerald-eyed girl. She tucked a stray hair behind her ear. "Thank you!" she said, smiling shyly.

Sakura suddenly pulled her into the school compound. "Come in Tomoyo! Wait and see till our classmates see how lovelier you have become!".

"Sakura, slow down! I'm wearing heels!". Complained Tomoyo, but there was a big smile on her face.

"She's back." Eriol whispered watching the two girls from the branch of a tall tree. His heart hammered furiously. "She grew more beautiful. A rose in full bloom."

"What am I saying?". He scolded himself. He already sensed anger in her heart. Anger at him.

His eyes followed Tomoyo from afar. He ached to see her flushed face again, or hear her apologized humbly for being late. He wanted to see her shy smiles again when she offers him packed lunch. He longed to be with her again.

But things would never be the same as before. Just because of his cowardice that fateful afternoon in the Tsukimine shrine 5 years ago. He leaned on the trunk of the tree sadly. "I missed you so much, Tomoyo"

Tomoyo was walking out of the school with a big grin on her face. It was fun reminiscing. About those old Tomoeda elementary days, especially when it's Yamazaki who facilitates the chat. Their 2-hour-talk turned out to be informative and entertaining as well. (She learned that eggplants cure AIDS and that John Dalton is gay.)

"They're a riot! No wonder I missed them so much." she said to herself although she was slightly disappointed that she didn't see Eriol anywhere.

Suddenly petals of nadeshikos rained on her. She looked up and saw Eriol looking back at her from the branch of a tree. Automatically, her heart throbbed erraticaly. Once a looker, always a looker. Only this time, he looked more incredibly gorgeous with his matured looks. He grew taller, and his physique shows promising signs of admirable body built. But aside from that, the familiar hypnotic sea-blue eyes are still there, as well as his soft-looking lips and perfectly sculptured nose.

"I missed you too, Tomoyo. But now, you're here." He jumped down and strode towards her. "Tomoyo, I need to tell you something important."

Tomoyo felt a feeling of deva ju. This happened before in the shrine! Upon remembering the place, her vow came back to her mind. Hate.. only hate. "I am not interested,Hiragizawa-kun."

He was shocked. Her voice sounded so cold and distant and she didn't call him by her first name. That could only mean-

Tomoyo turned away from his crestfallen face. "Now if you will excuse me, I still have a lot of important businesses to attend to." She marched away, her head held high.



"Good morning, Sakura!" greeted Tomoyo, now dressed in the Tomoeda High School uniform.

"Suits you nicely, Tomoyo. Don't ever take it off." Sakura replied meaningfully.

"I will never do that." she promised.

Soon they passed by the Tsukimine Shrine. Sakura gave her friend a testy look.

Sadness and joy reigned at Tomoyo's heart at the same time. This place used to be her third home, but this place also became her heart's grave. She frowned. "Sakura, let's go. We'll be late."

They didn't notice Eriol watching them from the torii. He sighed. He'll execute this plan this afternoon. If he fails this one, he just might lock himself up in the shrine and never set foot on the outside world again. What good is his life when the person he loves the most cannot love him back anymore?

He quietly dressed for school.



"Oh Tomoyo, you totally blew the poor guy off this lunch!" said Sakura disapprovingly as they walked home."He was just being nice by offering you his lunch."

"I never asked for any food." countered Tomoyo. "Besides, I have my own."

Sakura looked upset. "Tomoyo, what is wrong with you? Why are you being so high and mighty? Can't you see he's atoning for what he did?"

"That is not enough! He broke my heart, Sakura! You just don't know how I feel because you never experienced it yet. Your life is too perfect. Everyone you love loves you back."

"That is not true." said Sakura softly. "I know how it feels because I once had my heart broken by Yukito too."

"You had Li to comfort you." she pointed out. "But how about me?"

Her best friend was at loss for words.

Tomoyo inhaled deeply to calm her rampaging emotions. "I don't know what's the motive of Hiragizawa-kun for doing this but I don't think I want to find out anymore."

"Maybe you should give him a chance to explain. Eriol was really devastated when you left." Sakura put in.

"And do you want me to believe it?"

Sakura pouted. "If you don't trust your best friend since third grade, you can ask our classmates, They saw how Eriol grieved when you left."

"Grieve? Now why would he do that?" she asked, baffled.

"Why don't you ask me?" a voice said from behind. The girls turned around and saw Eriol looking at Tomoyo with an uncertain smile.

Sakura beamed. "There you go! Get the answer straight from the horse's mouth." she ran away.

"Wait!" Tomoyo was about to follow her best friend when Eriol grabbed her hand.

"Let me go!" screeched the girl.

He suddenly brought out his rod. The symbol of Clow appeared underneath. Tomoyo suddenly lost conciousness. The last thing she saw was Eriol's blue eyes gazing at her.


When she woke up, she discovered she was inn the Tsukimine shrine. She tried standing up, but she collapsed. She felt so weak.

"Don't move, Tomoyo." advised a deep male voice. She raised her eyes and saw Eriol standing in front of her.

"What did you do with me?" she whispered.

"Don't be scared. I won't hurt you. I merely weakened you spiritually. I didn't harm you physically." he explained. "I just want to make sure that you won't run away when I talk."

"We have nothing to talk about."

"Yes we have!" he boomed. This silenced her.

"Tomoyo, I'm really sorry for hurting you 5 years ago. I admit that I'm a fool. An idiot! But back then I was too scared to admit that ..that.." he gazed at her with his sincere blue eyes. "I feel the same way because I was scared to love again. I already felt how painful it is. I once loved a woman but she didn't reciprocate what I feel."

Tomoyo suddenly remembered the woman Sakura battled back when she was still a cardcaptor. The woman was looking for Clow Reed. Could it be? she thought.

"But when you left, it hit me that it doesn't matter the love is one-sided. The important thing is you know how to love and you showed it during your lifetime. So although I try to avoid you because you just might cause me a heartache, I still broke my heart when I couldn't see you anymore." continued Eriol, smiling bitterly.

Tomoyo shut her eyes as she felt the icy wall she formed around the embers of her heart melt by Eriol's words.5 years of hate eroded by 5 minutes of monologue. She can't believe she's letting him get away with this.

Eriol sat beside her and touched her forehead. The weakness spell was broken. "You are now free to walk away. But first, let me show you something." He took an old scarf from his pocket. "Remember this?"

She nodded "The scarf of our elementary uniform. The one I used to wipe your face when we were cleaning the CR back in sixth grade." he added. "I took good care of this because this is the only tangible memory that I have. That once upon a time, you loved me too." finished Eriol before standing up and walking away.



The next morning Eriol was watering his flowers in the pots beside the well. He was in no hurry to get his job done. He won't go to school today, tomorrow and the days after it. He can't bear to face Tomoyo after all he had confessed. He checked his watch. In the past, at about this time, Tomoyo rushes to him and bows apologetically. Her cheeks flushed, she would say-

"I'm sorry." a voice said.

Eriol froze. Is it possible or is he just hallucinating? He cautiously turned around and saw Tomoyo Daidouji in the flesh, bowing in front of him in apology.

A huge grin spread across his face. "You're late. Anyway, you could look up now. You are already forgiven."

She straightened up, and now he could freely see those flushed cheeks and dancing purple eyes. He ran his eyes on her sunny smile. Everything seemed just as the same as before, but not quite.

Tomoyo rushed to him. He then imprisoned her in his arms lovingly. They stood there for a while, locked in a passionate embrace.

"We'll be late for class." she reminded him.

"To hell with the school. Let's play hooky today." he replied gruffly.

__________

The end