Author's Note: So I was supposed to upload this the other day (I was logged in and all), but I got distracted by... well, other websites. I went to bed after, not realizing that I didn't post it. I just remembered it now. Silly me. LOL. Anyway, thank you so much for reading and for sharing your thoughts with me. I'm really glad that you still adore the story. :) Not gonna delay anymore... here's what should have been the second half of the last chapter. Enjoy! :)
Disclaimer: I don't own CCS.
Perfect hair. Perfect make-up. Perfect dress. Perfect shoes.
Tomoyo changed her expression.
Even her smile looked perfect. She almost believed it.
"Oh. You look beautiful," Sakura complimented upon entering Tomoyo's walk in closet. It could easily be considered as another room due to its size.
"Thank you." Tomoyo turned away from her full-length mirror. Sakura was here tonight because they made this plan to get ready for the opening gala together several days ago. "So do you." She glanced at the wall clock. "Syaoran should be here any minute."
Suddenly, the feeling of guilt struck Sakura as her mind strayed to the other night. She tried to shake it off. It was an innocent and unplanned sleepover. She knew that, yet it still weighed down on her.
"Are you okay?" Tomoyo asked. Sakura's sudden uneasiness effectively triggered her own. The atmosphere became tense and the incident that she was too busy pretending didn't happen was crawling to the surface. She didn't have a strong hold on it to begin with.
"Um, yeah." Sakura tried to smile but she was still caught up in her head. Maybe she shouldn't have stayed? Or at the very least, stayed in one of his guest bedrooms? But she didn't even know when she fell asleep. They were just talking and the next minute, she was sleeping.
Tomoyo bit the inside of her cheek. "Are you sure?" The silence was making her extremely uncomfortable. She was right on the edge.
"Huh? Oh yeah." She nodded, still distracted. If it was just between her and Syaoran, she wouldn't even try and rationalize that night. Lots of things between them just happened with no logical reason. She accepted that long ago. Explaining was just futile.
"I kissed Eriol."
Sakura looked up abruptly and Tomoyo's shocked face mirrored her own. She obviously didn't mean to say that.
"I, I..." Tomoyo closed her eyes. There was no use pretending anymore. The truth was already out. In a small voice, she repeated, "I kissed Eriol." She took a deep breath, realizing that she needed to get this out. "I didn't mean to, I swear." Before she knew it, words were tumbling out of her mouth. "I would never hurt anyone like that. It just happened. He was... he was – I just wanted to stop him and I wasn't thinking and my emotions were all over and I, God... it was stupid of me. What should I do?"
Sakura's first thought was that Syaoran should know. It was because of her loyalty and the fact that he deserved to know. There was honestly no malicious intent on her part, but she couldn't help but doubt herself because of the guilty feeling earlier.
Thankfully, Tomoyo was on the same page with her. "I should tell Syaoran." She would be honest with him first before trying to talk to Eriol about it.
The Daidouji's family butler chose that moment to come and announce Syaoran's arrival. He was already waiting downstairs.
Tomoyo composed herself before walking out. Sakura managed to shoot her a genuine encouraging smile and the other girl mouthed a thank you. She needed that.
Sakura smiled slightly at Syaoran when she saw him but offered no small talks. On the ride over, she sat quietly on the backseat. Every now and then, Syaoran's eyes would meet hers through the rearview mirror. At one point, he raised an eyebrow at her but she just shook her head in return, silently answering him that she was okay. Her thoughts kept drifting to Tomoyo's confession. What would that kiss mean to Tomoyo and Syaoran? To Tomoyo and Eriol?
'Eriol.' She sighed. Tomoyo wasn't really clear about what happened that led to that. Sakura could only hope that he was fine in the aftermath.
Sooner than she wanted, they arrived and Sakura found herself inside their little private box. Syaoran took the seat next to her and Tomoyo was on his other side.
Ten minutes in, Syaoran was already bored out of his mind. The women were quiet, too. Oblivious to what they were thinking, he concluded that they simply weren't looking forward to this either. He glanced at Sakura, who wasn't even paying attention to what was happening on stage. Leaning closer, he whispered, "Don't fall asleep. It'll be embarrassing."
She instantly blushed at the mention of sleep, her mind taking her back to that night again. "N-no, of course not," Sakura stammered.
"It's okay." He discreetly hid a yawn behind his hand. He wouldn't blame her if she failed to find it entertaining. "It's fucking boring."
"I don't know what you're talking about." Sakura looked straight. "Be quiet. I'm watching."
Syaoran snorted. "Oh yeah? What's the name of the female lead?"
She gave him a quick glare before looking at the stage again. "Don't disturb me. I'm perfectly enjoying this classic art." She crossed her arms in front of her chest. "Internally."
He rolled his eyes at her but backed off nonetheless. He needed to keep himself awake through other ways. After what felt like an entire century with an additional two decades, the intermission came. Sakura quickly excused herself and disappeared to the direction of the ladies' room.
Syaoran and Tomoyo, with drinks in hand, mingled with other attendees. It didn't last long, however, since she couldn't keep it anymore. She led Syaoran to a more private part of the building.
"I need to tell you something."
Syaoran became worried at the obvious distress on Tomoyo's face. "What's wrong? Is everything okay?"
She opened her mouth but nothing came out. Steeling herself, she tried again. "I just... I know this is definitely not the right time or place, but I have to, I mean..." She shook her head. "Please, don't be upset. It just happened –"
"Hey," Syaoran cut her off softly. "What is it?"
"It wasn't intentional." She continued to ramble, "And I can explain later, but I really need to tell you now. I know I already said that my timing is horrible, but I couldn't think about anything else and –"
"Tomoyo, what's wrong?"
There was no other way to phrase it. "I kissed Eriol."
Syaoran stood silent for a moment, and then... nothing. Absolutely nothing. He instantly looked away and Tomoyo misinterpreted his gesture.
"Please, Syaoran..." She pleaded, touching his arm. "Let me explain. You have every right to be angry, but please."
But that was just it. He didn't feel anything. No pain. Not even betrayal.
Had he really reached this point? Syaoran knew this was bad. It was only recently that he became unwillingly acquainted with the feelings of jealousy, but at this moment, that familiar feeling wasn't even present in the slightest. This was really bad.
"Tomoyo –" His response was interrupted by the announcement that the show was about to resume shortly. Though it wasn't proper etiquette to leave, they couldn't find it in themselves to stay any longer.
"What's going on?" Sakura asked worriedly when she met up with them near the entrance. "Why are we leaving?"
Syaoran didn't respond. He didn't know how to. Tomoyo was forced to step away for a few minutes to say thank you to the people who gave her the tickets.
Sakura shifted her weight awkwardly. It quickly became clear to her as to why they were leaving early. "Um... I guess I have to tell Meiling not to come anymore."
He was surprised. "She's coming?"
"I asked her to," Sakura admitted. She wanted to give Syaoran and Meiling the opportunity to talk. So when she learned that Syaoran attempted to invite Meiling for tonight, she continued the job behind his back, not knowing that he only did it because Tomoyo expressed that intent before.
After sending a quick message, they spent the next few minutes silently standing side by side in the lobby.
"I just... I don't have anything to say," Sakura finished lamely.
He couldn't help but snort. "Since when did you run out of things to say?" He regarded her for a moment, mistakenly concluding that she was still upset over her break up with Yukito. Not wanting her to dwell on it, he talked lightly, "Let me guess, you're probably disappointed we're skipping dinner?"
She glared at him. How dare he make a jab at her eating habits? "I don't think that's the case." Her eyes narrowed. Syaoran wasn't vain but he made sure that his body was taken care of. "I actually think that it's good for you." She poked him in the stomach. "See, you're getting a little soft there. My finger is disappearing –"
He slapped her hand away. "Funny." Syaoran tilted his head to the side. "But now that you mention soft, I think you're arms are getting a bit... flabby." He ended his statement with an innocent smile.
Sakura gasped, hugging her bare arms to her chest. "How dare you! They are not!"
"You should put more time in the gym to tone it." Syaoran continued to bait her, "But I don't know about the face. You're cheeks are becoming rounded. Aren't you supposed to lose –"
She grabbed his wrist, digging her nails to the exposed part of his skin. "You're going to pay for those remarks. Just wait until we're alone and –"
"Ooh, that sounds – ouch, okay, okay. Let go."
She squeezed harder before letting go. "I'm going to find Tomoyo." She huffed before walking away.
Syaoran rubbed his wrist while looking at her indignant form. At least she wasn't acting depressed anymore.
Eriol was about to enter the theater again when he saw Tomoyo standing a few feet away from him. His breath caught at the sight of her. He wasn't expecting to see her here. She wasn't a fan of these shows. In fact, among them, he was the only one who truly appreciated this type of performance.
His thoughts were shaken away when he noticed that she looked miserable and lost even though she was surrounded by a group of people. She was nodding and smiling politely, but it was obvious to those who knew her that her heart and mind weren't in it.
His need to remove that unhappy look on Tomoyo's face was instinctive. She seemed so small that he just wanted to go and comfort her regardless of what happened. However, the wall he was trying to build stopped him in time from making an irrational move. It made him think of the consequences, which might worsen things between them. Neither of them was emotionally ready to talk to each other.
With one final look, Eriol decided to leave. He was trying to get out of the building as quick as possible that he almost missed Syaoran standing alone in the lobby.
Syaoran was still looking at the direction Sakura disappeared off to. There was an amused smile on his face when he saw the nail marks on his skin. She sure wasn't holding back awhile ago.
Eriol suddenly saw red. His already unsteady state fueled his anger. How could Syaoran just stand there and smile while Tomoyo was obviously troubled? How could he look so carefree while she was trying her best to hold herself together?
Before Eriol knew what was happening, he was already marching towards Syaoran. He turned him strongly using his shoulder before delivering a punch straight to his jaw.
Few people who were hanging around the lobby gasped.
"The fuck..." Syaoran raised his hand and saw blood. His teeth managed to cut the side of his lip. He glared menacingly at the fucker who hit him, only to be taken aback when he saw who it was. "What the hell?"
Emotions that Eriol was trying to suppress were making themselves known. "You asshole!" He shoved him hard.
"What the hell is your problem?"
He shoved again. "My problem is that you're a fucking asshole!"
Syaoran was getting pissed. "Don't push me." He shoved back roughly. "I'm letting that hit go once but if you ever fucking try to do that shit again, I won't hold back."
The atmosphere was harsh as both men assessed the situation. Before either of them decided that they didn't give a fuck, two security personnel arrived on the scene.
Meiling was rushing inside. She already missed the entire first half. Then again, it didn't matter. She was not here to watch. She just decided that it was time to make peace and accepting the invitation was her way of showing it.
A commotion on the side caught the corner of her eye. Who the hell was foolish enough to fight in a place like this? That behavior was shamefully unacceptable! 'Losers.' She snickered to herself. Who was she to talk about manners? She was the one who was so late. Dismissing the incident, Meiling dug through her purse for her ticket. She was looking for directions for her designated seat entrance when they passed by her.
Her mouth promptly dropped open. "Whoa, whoa, hold up." She tore through them. "What is going on here?"
Nobody paid her any attention. Syaoran and Eriol were too busy glaring at each other while security tried to restrain them.
Meiling wasn't the type to back down. She continued to force her way in and demand answers until she ended up being escorted to a small room with them. "What the –" She blinked, bewildered. Shaking herself out of it, she turned to her friends, who she unknowingly dubbed as losers not long ago. "Seriously guys, calm the fuck down." She tried to talk to them but she was getting nowhere.
Having no other option, Meiling handled it from there. She assured the security team that there was no problem and no investigation was necessary. Her persuasive personality, combined with their status in society, convinced them to overlook the incident. In spite of this, they still needed to stay inside the room while the situation outside was being diffused.
Meiling stood with her arms cross in front of her chest. Syaoran and Eriol were sitting on the opposite side of the room. "So...?" She leveled them with a look, but once again, she was ignored. She was starting to get irritated. After helping them out, they were going to treat her this way?
The door burst open and Sakura walked in with Tomoyo in tow. "Oh no, what happened?"
"That's what I'm trying to find out," Meiling gritted out.
Tomoyo froze. She was utterly shocked. Syaoran and Eriol never engaged in a physical fight with each other. Ever. Not even when they were kids. Her mind was going a mile a minute, trying to figure it out. What the hell happened to them?
"I was on my way in when I saw them," Meiling explained in a low voice. "I never thought..." She trailed off, letting out an aggravated sound.
"Didn't you get my message?" Sakura asked. "We were about to leave."
Meiling checked her phone and saw the unread text. "It was on vibrate." She muttered, "Too late now."
"We couldn't find Syaoran but one of the guards recognized Tomoyo and told us you were here," Sakura relayed to Meiling quietly. "So you don't know why?" She gestured to them.
"No." Meiling sighed. "They won't talk."
Sakura glanced around again. Eriol was burning a hole through the wall while Syaoran was trying to ice the side of his face. She fidgeted on her spot, busying her hand by wrinkling the side of her dress. At his third hiss, however, she couldn't take it anymore. She walked towards Syaoran and held out her hand. "You're pathetic."
He gave her the evil eye before giving the pack of ice. "Thanks for asking how I'm doing."
"Yeah, well, you're doing it wrong."
"So you're the expert in this area now?" He winced from the pressure and the cold when Sakura placed the ice back on his face.
"No. It was just painstakingly obvious that you were missing the spot. Like I said, pathetic." She moved a little and wiped the dried blood with her thumb. "Does it hurt?" She murmured.
"Don't worry, kitten. You punch much stronger." He raised his wrist. "In fact, if you clawed me a second longer, I'm pretty sure I would have bled more."
"Don't tempt me to give you a black eye to match that swollen lip."
Meiling didn't know whether to be amused or annoyed. She couldn't quite hear what Sakura and Syaoran were talking about, but it was obvious that they got lost again. They sure didn't choose the time and place. Unfortunately, Tomoyo chose that moment to snap out of her daze, and her eyes widened with what she saw.
She gasped, becoming paler as seconds passed. She met Eriol's eyes. He wasn't paying attention to what was happening on the other side of the room. He was too busy looking worriedly at her. Tomoyo averted her sight quickly and gazed pleadingly at Meiling.
Meiling was effectively caught off guard. It took everything in her not to look down when she realized that this was it. She detested that she was going to be the one who would confirm the fear in Tomoyo's eyes. There was no use trying to hide it from her anyway. She saw it herself. It couldn't be denied.
A small nod from Meiling was all it took for her breath to be knocked out from her. Tomoyo took a step back and the action caused Sakura and Syaoran to look. Sakura dropped her hand while Syaoran stood up.
"No..." She blinked quickly. "This – this isn't right." She began breathing heavily. This wasn't supposed to be.
Tomoyo turned around and fled the room, ignoring the voices calling after her.
Eriol stood up, about to follow her, but Syaoran stopped him. He was ready to argue but Syaoran stood his ground. This was long overdue. "Stay. I mean it."
"Tomoyo!" Syaoran was sure he rounded the block twice now. Where could she be? She couldn't have gotten that far. A few minutes more and he found himself standing on a more secluded part of the neighborhood. Syaoran was about to go back when he heard quiet sniffles. He turned around the corner and saw her sitting on a stone bench. The lone lamp beside her flickered at random intervals. It was struggling to keep its light. "Tomoyo?"
She tensed, indicating that she heard him. "Go away."
She looked up, her eyes glistening. "W-why?" It was one word yet it held so many meanings. "Why couldn't it have been me?" Her voice cracked at the end.
Syaoran clenched his fist. He knew what she was talking about. Tomoyo saw what he spent days thinking over. She saw what was there all along. It only took that one moment for her to realize what Syaoran should have long ago.
Her chin trembled. "Why, Syaoran?"
"I..." He was suddenly at a loss on what to say, but at the same time, he knew the words he needed. And so for the first time in his life, Syaoran uttered the words out loud, "I'm sorry."
And for the time ever, Tomoyo shed her tears in front of him.
He wanted to reach out but his touch seemed to burn her. Everything she had been trying to hold back was now pouring out of her through her tears.
It was such simple question, but no answer could make her feel better. Nothing could make the pain go away.
"It hurts." She whimpered. "I feel like I'm dying." And she was. Inside.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
She tried her best to get the words together. "I w-was happy." She hugged herself unsteadily. "At the day of our wedding, I woke up feeling that it was the happiest moment of my life. I thought my d-dream was coming true." She hunched more, closing into herself. "When you proposed, I was happy again. So, so happy." That memory seemed so far away now. It didn't even seem real. "I thought to myself..." She began shaking. "I thought... this is it, Tomoyo. The man you love is finally –" Sobs wracked her frame. "I – I w-was so ready to spend the rest of my life with you."
Syaoran closed his eyes tightly. He was hurting the woman he loved dearly. No matter how he tried to avoid it, he still ended up in this fucking place.
"I love you, Syaoran." She had done nothing but love him. "But it's not enough." Tomoyo crumpled. She loved him. She was willing to accept the parts he could give. She was willing to wait until he could give it his all. She loved him that much that she was willing to do it for him. "But It'll never be enough."
Tomoyo was far from perfect. She tried to be but it was impossible because underneath it all lived a very insecure little girl. No matter how she looked, no matter how she acted, she was still the same girl chasing after the man she wanted.
"I'm sorry." Syaoran kneeled down next to her. A tear escaped from his eye. He fucking hated this. His apology wasn't going to change anything, but it was all he could do. "I'm sorry." For not telling her sooner. For letting it go as long as it did. For breaking it up.
For not being able to love her.
"I'm so fucking sorry."
Tomoyo continued to cry. The tears wouldn't stop coming. 'Make it stop...' She wanted to be numb. She didn't want to feel anything. 'S-stop... please...'
Syaoran could only watch helplessly as the pain consumed her. Seeing her like that was more than enough to hurt him. "Tomoyo..." He was angry at himself. He did this to her. More tears gathered at the corner of his eyes when he finally realized the damage he did to her.
He made her this way. His constant rejection affected her. Even when they were engaged, he couldn't let her in. She knew that. She felt that. But still, Tomoyo tried so hard. She tried and tried until she lost herself. Until she broke down. Until she felt like she needed to earn approval just to be accepted. Her need for validation started to define her.
How could Tomoyo forgive him when he wasn't even sure if he could forgive himself?
"I would have been happy..." She stated with uneven breaths. "If – if we got married that day, I would have been happy." The words were broken. The words were honest. "But..." The words got stuck in her throat. "But when... when I saw the way you were looking at her. You looked at her like there was no one else." She shook her head. It was so hard. She felt like she was suffocating. "I – I wanted to be on the receiving end of that look for so long." She almost whispered the words. "I kept wishing, hoping that someday... someday, you would look at me like that."
Tomoyo felt so damn vulnerable. She was bared open at this moment and there was nothing she could do to protect herself.
"I almost thought it wasn't going to happen, but... B-but... I saw it. And it wasn't for me." More tears fell. "You gave it to her so easily, unconsciously. Like there was no other way to look at her."
Syaoran gripped the ends of his hair. Her pain was too much.
"It wasn't for me. N-never for me." She sobbed harder, burying her face in her hands. "And it..." She choked on the next words, "It absolutely breaks my heart."
Syaoran tried to touch her again, but she flinched away. When her cries started to become uncontrollable, he ignored her protest and crushed her to him. Syaoran hugged her tightly, offering no more words there was nothing he could say to make it disappear.
"W-why?" With the little strength she had left, she started beating on his chest. "Why?" Desperately. "Why!"
Syaoran took it all. He sat there, not stopping her. The fight eventually left her and she fell weakly back into his arms again. They didn't know how long she cried, how long he held her. Time wasn't important.
Everything Tomoyo wished for, everything Syaoran himself thought he wasn't capable of... it was given to Sakura. Unconditionally.
She couldn't blame Syaoran. He tried. Goddamn, he tried.
She couldn't blame Sakura. She did nothing. It wasn't her fault.
Tomoyo cried into her hands. Who was she if not the woman who loved Syaoran? She had always, always wanted to be with him. It was what she wished for. How could she move on from that? Being with him was something she believed in all her life. She loved him too damn much that it spiraled out of her control.
With great difficulty, she extracted herself from his arms. "S-Syaoran." She tried to look at him, but her vision was so blurry with tears that she couldn't even focus. She lifted her hand and caressed his face. His tears were already dried. "I love you, Syaoran." She took back her trembling hand, never taking her eyes away from him. Her movement was unsteady and her breathing was erratic.
"Tomoyo." His eyes widened when he felt her put something small and cold into his hand. "What are you..." Syaoran fisted his hand, feeling the solid object digging inside his palm. He didn't need to look to know what it was.
She gazed at him, not hiding anything. She felt so raw. "It's not mine." The ring. His heart. "It doesn't belong to me."
His heart ached along with hers. Her action signified the end of them.
"Can you –" Tomoyo swallowed shakily. "Can you do me a favor?" At his nod, she continued. "Just one last time, I want to hear it. Can you tell me you love me? One last time."
Syaoran took her face gently into his hands. He met her eyes and tried to convey everything he was feeling. "I love you, Tomoyo." But it wasn't enough for them. It would never be. "I love you." It didn't change anything and it didn't take away the pain.
"Thank you." Tomoyo closed her eyes, letting his words wash over her. She heard them for what it was, for what it would ever be. "Can you do me another?" She opened her eyes again. "Can you stand and walk away from me?"
"What? No." Syaoran refused. There was no way he was leaving her here alone.
He stood up but he held out his hand to her. "We'll leave together." Tomoyo was special to him. She would always be. She was one of his dearest friends, and even after tonight, that fact remained.
"No." Tomoyo shook her head. "I just need to see it." She wasn't trying to shield herself. "I need to see you walk away from me." The emptiness in her heart was enough proof that it was real. It was over. But she needed this one more thing.
"I..." Syaoran looked conflicted. How could he expect her to do that? He couldn't leave her crying alone. He was about to protest again, but he saw something in her that made his decision for him. With his eyes shut, he nodded. He turned around and walked away. He didn't look back.
Tomoyo's hand flew over her mouth while the other clutched her chest. Just when she thought she had no more left, tears began making its way down her face again.
She was watching Syaoran walk away.
And this time, she wasn't going to follow.
AN: So that's Tomoyo's side. A look at the factor behind her issues and actions. Sad. :| She finally reached her limit. At least the only direction for her is to go up... right? Err, I think. LOL. Please don't forget to leave me a review. You know you want to. :) Thanks, thanks, and thanks!