Stone

1

Hey, you guys.

If you added me to your alert list, or favorites, then this is a message to you guys. If you've never read anything by me before, you can just skip ahead to the actual story.

Hey. What's up? It's me… and after, what, a year or two? I have returned.

I'm sorry, but I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be continuing "The Artist". My writing style has evolved and I don't feel I can adjust it appropriately, as everything I've moved onto with character development is immediately contrasted by those characters. Ha. But yeah. Fanfiction is a great way for me to grow as a writer, since I can work on the writing and flow itself rather than the characters. So I've come back to you after all this time.

I've been working a lot on independent writing – I've started a novel. I'm 128 pages in. These projects are going to be rather low-commitment. )

And though this may seem (or may be) a cheap plead for reviews, I must ask you to consider that at this point in my writing career I could use any constructive criticism or help you may be able to offer. Any sort of critique, from flow to word choice, would be returned and appreciated immensely.

Frippery-laden note aside, on to the story!

-GM-


4 months after the fact

She had never felt so much envy. She had never wanted anything more than she wanted this. She had never wanted anyone other.

Terrified, she had denied him. Infuriated, she had rejected him. And now, pathetically, incredibly, she wanted him. Wanted, more than needed.

She had never needed him. They had never loved each other.

So they detested each other.


7 months before the fact

"Shit," she whispered under her breath, staring at the grade on the top of her paper.

"What?" he said.

Her head snapped up. The voice came from her left.

She turned her head as if his presence meant nothing to her, cocked her head so her honey-blonde bangs fell across her forehead. She smirked.

"D," she responded.

That had been their first conversation.


One month before the fact

"Sakura! Listen to me! Fucking listen to me when I'm talking to you!"

"Don't tell me what to do!" she warned, turning around and shooting him her best glare.

"Look, I'm trying to -" his voice broke. "Please, just -"

Now she held the cards.

Turning, she narrowed her green eyes at him. Her slim face was rigid in its decidedness.

"I don't care – look, I've been wanting to say this for so long," she laughed, glancing to the sky frivolously. "We are over. We are over." With a certain air of vindictiveness. "We are over, Syaoran. I lied to you. I never loved you."

Silence.

"Never."

She removed the ball from his court and walked away, leaving no room for a retort, a response, a word.

That had been their last conversation.

--

Syaoran Li was a golden child, it was said. He was cheerfully inept. He was boyishly playful, but enigmatically attractive, dark, unreadable. He was a box that would not open once shut. Athletic and kind, he was compassionate to children and respectful to elders. He would only date once in a while, and never just for the sex. It was never about the sex.

Sakura Kinomoto was a puzzle, it was said. She was a girl. If she was to be defined by one word, it would be 'female'. She changed moods abruptly and had the look that some girls had, 'the look' that was feared, 'the look' that read, "are you really talking to me?" She was never cruel, but no one thought she liked them. She flaunted her sexuality but never got herself into relationships.

Almost.

--

"Sakura!" called a voice. Sakura turned, eyebrows raised, and nodded to Tomoyo. "I can't believe you dumped him," she said.

"I can," Sakura snorted.

"Why? What did he do? He wouldn't cheat on you," Tomoyo said slowly, "right?"

"No, no, of course not," Sakura said, waving away the suggestion. "It was just time."

Tomoyo started walking.

"After five months, it was 'just time'? Are you kidding me?" she spluttered, shaking dark bangs out of her eyes.

Sakura sighed. "Okay, look, I don't want to talk about it right now, okay? Some other time."

So the issue was closed.

--

He could scarcely believe it. So in order to maintain his delicately created explanations for her behavior, he waited by the second water fountain on the fourth floor.

He didn't really expect her to show up. But he still sighed, looked upwards, and wondered why, when she didn't.

Wandering felt like the right word, he thought, to describe how he went home. Though he knew the way, he meandered, stopped to kick at stones, sat on tree limbs and walls, took careful time making his path back through the streets.

Something was bizarre about it; something felt amiss. He meandered through his garden into his apartment, tossed his bag to the floor, where the straps slipped and his books spilled. He made his way to his tiny room, lay on his fuzzy comforter, and wondered.

Syaoran dug his hands into his brown hair and leaned back on the wall. Slowly he reached into his pillowcase and removed a bobby pin. It was the only thing she had ever left at his place, besides a heart's load of memories and a bitter taste.

Syaoran bent it in and out of shape absentmindedly. Replacing it, he spread out his tall body and slid his phone from his jeans' back pocket.

He called her.

Eight times.

The only message he left was, "Why?"

--

Sakura's painted fingernails clicked over the computer keys, tapping out responses lackadaisically. She looked over at the phone, watched it buzz and move around slightly, and turned back to the computer screen without so much as a wince.

The phone spoke the voice-message aloud: "Why?"

She was tempted to call him back for one alluring second.

Then she decided against it.

Retail therapy, she mused. That's what I need.


She was wrong.


"Love is a sudden revelation: a kiss is always a discovery."

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."

-GM-