Gallery of Broken Hearts
(01: the breakup business)
'Honeybun, I miss you. Won't you pretty please text me back?'
The cell phone trembled within the girl's grasp. She stared at it expectantly, holding her breath with each sluggish second. Desperate for a distraction, she threw open the metal door in front of her, revealing a locker plastered with pictures of a couple. Glittering stickers of hearts and rainbows and stars bordered the collection of photographs. To her, it was a display of her devotion and love. To anyone else, it was a shrine.
'My heart aches without you! I'm too sad to go to class, Booboobear. I need your comfort.'
No response. The quiet hallway began to echo with soft footsteps.
"He doesn't answer your texts right away, does he?"
The girl spun around, her eyes twinkling with tears. Through a blurred vision, she identified her classmate. "Syaoran Li… what are you doing here?"
"That's not important right now." His lips curved into a dashing half-smile. He approached the tearful girl, examining her with concerned eyes. "Kisa, you look like you're about to cry."
The dejected girl remained silent. Like a bad habit, she checked her phone despite its lack of activity.
"I bet he doesn't always answer your calls, either," Syaoran continued, watching as Kisa's fingers typed out another pathetic, heartache-filled text message. The fingers stopped as Syaoran's sentence ended. She looked up at him and he saw the pain reflected in her eyes. Syaoran lifted a hand to rest it upon the girl's shoulder. "You know… if we were together, I wouldn't miss a beat when it'd come to answering your texts and calls."
Kisa drew away from his hand; but in the way she held her breath it was quite obvious that his touch had an effect on her. "Oh?" She eyed him curiously. "What makes you say that?"
"You really don't know?"
"Don't know what?"
"How gorgeous you are, that's what." In fact, Kisa was a rather plain girl— almond-shaped eyes, a round face, dark hair— but Syaoran expertly masked the insincerity in his words. Kisa's eyebrows rose in surprise at his reply and even more so as his face neared hers. She felt her knees nearly give out beneath her as she sensed his warm breath lingering at her neck.
Syaoran's face continued to move toward her, and this time Kisa didn't step back. Instead, she watched his lips. They looked so full, so smooth, so inviting…
"Kisa, you deserve someone better than that douchebag." His hand rose again and he pushed a lock of black hair from her cheek. Kisa appeared as though air wouldn't pass through her lungs anymore. Syaoran's hand traveled across her cheek to her chin, gently using a single finger to tilt it upward. His eyes gleamed charmingly as they locked against her yearning gaze, and his silken voice lowered to a whisper. "You deserve the world."
Kisa's cell phone clattered to the ground as she seized him in a fierce kiss. Syaoran internally patted himself on the back. Was this a new record? It hadn't even been fifteen minutes.
"Kisa!" An infuriated voice bounced off the hallway walls and the girl hastily broke away from Syaoran. Her eyes widened with fright as she noticed her boyfriend angrily storming toward them. He stopped several feet away from them, shaking with fury and pointing accusingly. "How could you?"
"Kenji! I…" Kisa trailed off as her back pressed against the line of lockers. Her voice trembled and her eyes welled with tears once more. "I didn't… I didn't mean to!"
Syaoran calmly stepped aside as Kenji exploded with rage.
"Bullshit!" the boyfriend yelled, his hands balling into fists. "This could have easily been prevented! I don't care who tries to get in your pants— you clearly don't have any self-control!"
"No, that's not it! I do have self-control! I don't know what came over me! Kenji, you know I love—"
"Don't you dare say it. You said I was your one and only…" Kenji's anger began to dissipate but the heated tension still hung in the air. "I guess I was a fool for believing you."
Tears spilled down Kisa's face, hot and relentless. "I meant that. I really did—"
Kenji held up a hand, silencing her. He shook his head in disappointment. "I can't be with you if you're swayed this easily." He stared at her with darkening eyes. "It's over."
"I don't want to hear it."
The locker door slammed shut, concealing the glitzy collage of the formerly-happy couple. Kisa sobbed harder, hiding her face in her hands as she ran off. Several seconds passed by before the two teenaged boys exchanged glances. After the brief moment of silence, Kenji's glare faded into an expression of pure amusement.
"Damn, you're pretty good." Kenji laughed.
"I know," Syaoran replied, his voice evidently cocky. "But your performance was brilliant, too. Some guys aren't as convincing."
"Well, the guys on the basketball team were right about you." Kenji reached into his pocket, fishing out a wad of bills. He handed them to Syaoran and continued speaking as his classmate counted the money. "You're freakin' pro at setting up the perfect breakup scenario. I seriously could not stand her anymore— and her stupid nicknames for me… Honeybun, Booboobear, Lovemonkey, Bubblebutt, etcetera. Oh, god. Every time I tried breaking things off, she wouldn't have it. She was always in denial. I'm so glad I was told about your business."
"Yeah, that's usually the case." Syaoran pocketed the cash, his mind reviewing his past cases. Clinginess, paranoia, obsessiveness… these were, more often than not, the main traits possessed by the girls he was paid to seduce. This way, the breakup would be the girls' fault. This way, boys could keep a clean reputation and avoid the titles of "jerk," "asshole," and lastly, "heartbreaker."
The final title belonged to Syaoran, and he was perfectly fine with that— as long as he was getting paid to be one.
"And how she would call me every hour, on the hour… I wanted to die…"
He didn't realize that Kenji was still ranting about Kisa, but pretending to listen was yet another one of Syaoran's gifts. He nodded, as if he could relate to Kenji's buildup of annoyance.
"You're a free man now, Kenji!" Syaoran told him, shaking hands with the newly-single boy. "It was a pleasure doing business with you."
Kenji let out a whoop of happiness as he turned around to return to class, rejoicing about finally being able to change his relationship status on Facebook. Syaoran let out a sigh of content, wetting his lips. It was nothing short of what he had endured before, but they were a little sore. Kisa was yet another nibbler.
All of a sudden, Syaoran's ears perked. He slowed his breathing and listened— Was someone watching him? His gaze wandered down the hall, but he saw nothing. If he had looked a few seconds earlier, however, he would have caught a glimpse of auburn hair and a pink backpack. He crooked an eyebrow, dismissed the thought, and decided to walk to History.
The amber-eyed heartthrob sauntered to the far end of the classroom and took a seat.
Surprisingly, these curt words did not belong to Syaoran's teacher. They were soft and high-pitched. Fragments of a melody, Syaoran thought, but he would never admit this.
"What's it to you?" Syaoran muttered over his shoulder.
"I know what you've been up to, Syaoran."
"You don't know what you're talking about."
The chalk scraping against the board halted. A stern voice sounded from the front of the room. "Syaoran Li. Sakura Kinomoto. Please stop talking back there. I would expect Tomoeda's top two students to be more attentive than this."
"Sorry, Mr. Tohno," Syaoran and Sakura apologized in unison.
"Meet me at the amphitheater before lunch ends," Syaoran hissed at Sakura. He heard a tiny grunt of affirmation.
"Food, food, food!"
Sakura grasped Tomoyo's hand, excitedly dragging her toward the cafeteria. The dark-haired beauty let out an exasperated sigh but smiled fondly nonetheless.
"Sakura, are you on your period or something? You seem to be more excited about eating…"
They added to the growing line of ravenous teenagers. Sakura reddened and huffily replied, "I'm not! I'm just in a good mood." She reached for a tray and an empty plate before casting her best friend a side glance. "Besides, you would know if I was on my period, considering our cycles are in synch."
Tomoyo merely giggled. The line inched forward. Sakura's stomach grumbled and she continued to talk listlessly. "Plus, I'm not acting pissed and paranoid about leaking." She sighed. "You're so lucky that your flow isn't as heavy as mine!"
Under her breath, Tomoyo mumbled, "Syaoran's on lunch duty."
In the crevice within her chest, Sakura's heart nearly popped in embarrassment. The rosy color drained from her cheeks as she faced Syaoran behind the food selection. He was smirking at her knowingly, wielding a scoopful of mashed potatoes. As if the situation couldn't get any worse, Sakura's stomach emitted yet another loud and unattractive gurgle.
Sakura willed herself to become transparent, but she remained as visible as ever. Struggling to maintain an unfazed appearance, she simply lifted her tray. "Just pile it on."
"Here, you can have an extra serving," Syaoran teased, plopping several mounds of the creamy substance onto her plate. "Is that heavy enough for you?"
Damn you, Syaoran Li.
"Yes," Sakura replied monotonously, rolling her eyes.
"You should move. Your gluttony is holding up the line."
Damn you to hell.
Without another word, Sakura rushed through the rest of the lunch line. She slammed her tray upon the closest vacant table and promptly dropped onto one of the chairs. Ignoring her food, she bent down and pressed her forehead against the edge of the table in humiliation.
"I was such a dummy in front of him!"
Tomoyo joined Sakura at the table, patiently waiting for her companion to continue. She knew this girl well, and she understood that the outburst was only the beginning.
"And… and he's such a jerk!"
"Oh, Sakura," Tomoyo sighed, piercing a straw into her tiny carton of apple juice. "Since when did you start caring about what Syaoran thinks of you?"
Sakura slowly lifted her head from the table; her face was etched with dread. "He caught me talking about my menstrual cycle, Tomoyo. Blood in my panties." With that, Tomoyo nearly choked on her juice. "Not exactly the most appetizing subject for lunch."
"You know, you're right." Tomoyo cleared her throat, patting her chest as she tried to breath normally. She wiped the excess juice from the corner of her pink lips.
"Now, I'm too depressed to eat," Sakura grumbled, pushing away her tray of food. "He's going to be mocking me for weeks!" She deepened her voice and scrunched up her face. "'Is that heavy enough for you?' Har har, I'm Syaoran and I think I'm the funniest guy in the world, but I'm actually an annoying piece of sh—"
"Calm down, Sakura," Tomoyo began to reason with her with a steady, tranquil voice. The bulging vein near her friend's temple seemed to be on the verge of exploding. "Try not to stress over it."
"Okay, okay." In an attempt to calm herself, Sakura inhaled sharply through her nose and exhaled slowly through her gritted teeth. After a moment, Sakura placed her elbows on the table and held her chin in her hands, grinning delightedly and devilishly. It was a frightening combination, Tomoyo had to admit. "Besides, I have a plan to put him in his place."
"Hm? And what does this plan entail?" Curiosity began to sparkle in Tomoyo's silvery eyes.
"Let's just say that I found out something pretty scandalous about Syaoran Li… and I'm going to use it to my advantage."
"Sakura, you're so strange." But Tomoyo's tone was lighthearted. She reached her fork across the table, aiming for Sakura's untouched macaroni and cheese.
"Hey!" Sakura smacked Tomoyo's wrist. In the voice of a selfish child, she whined, "Mine!"
Tomoyo raised an eyebrow, retracting her utensil. "You said you weren't hungry anymore!"
"I changed my mind."
"Goodness. You might as well be on your period."
Sakura shoved a forkful of macaroni into her mouth and chewed noisily, ignoring Tomoyo. "Cheese, cheese, cheese…"
The amphitheater was often the designated location for many of Tomoeda High's social and academic events, sparked to life by the activity of the student body. But on this particular day, it was merely a slope of stone stairs stretching around a field. Syaoran leaned against one of the metal railings, staring into the distance, his hair tousling in the wind. As Sakura approached him, she surveyed the eighteen-year-old's appearance: bronze eyes glazed with laid-back confidence, his hair a sleek chestnut mop, an effortlessly attractive slouch. No wonder why he was paid to—
Sakura pulled back the reigns on her thought process. Externally, sure, Syaoran was easy to stare at. But internally, he was a prick. She often fantasized about punching him square in the face and getting away with it.
Their eyes met.
"So, tell me, Sakura." Syaoran was not one to waste time when it came to these matters. His neutral voice floated to her in the light breeze. "What have I been up to?"
"Don't play dumb. I know you run your own stupid, secret business in this school. It took me a week to find out, but still… it's such an immoral thing to do! I'm going to have to report you to the principal. I'm sure he'd love to hear about this."
Syaoran rose an eyebrow, and Sakura couldn't help but feel a little defeated. She had harbored a slight hope that he would be infuriated at her discovery, but he remained as calm and unnerved as a still ocean.
"Playing snitch, huh? That's low, even for you."
Sakura felt a tingling heat rise to her cheeks; he was causing her skin to itch with annoyance. "Someone who goes around taking money to break hearts is low! You shouldn't—" Her response remained incomplete as her eyes caught sight of a bothersome scene beneath the stairs. Syaoran curiously followed the line of her vision… and he smirked. In the lower corner of the amphitheater, two of their classmates were engaged in a playful rendezvous, completely unaware that they were being watched. The girl threw her arms around the shoulders of the boy, giggling shrilly.
"You have a thing for Eriol, don't you?" Syaoran asked bluntly, eyeing the spectacled boy below them.
"What…? No." Sakura bit her lower lip, her eyes indicating otherwise. Syaoran couldn't help but sigh at how painfully obvious she was being.
"Oh, please. You're practically salivating over the sight of him, and I can tell you want to gouge Aiko's eyes out." Before Sakura could reply, Syaoran positioned himself in front of her earthy gaze, blocking her view of Eriol and his lady friend. "Then this piece of information should delight you: He recently asked me to help him break up with Aiko."
Unable to resist the topic, Sakura blurted, "Did he really?" She paused. "Well, she is kind of annoying…"
"Yeah, almost as annoying as you." Syaoran suppressed a snicker as he earned a very green glare of death. "But it's too bad I'm going to have to dissolve my business…"
As Syaoran trailed off, Sakura narrowed her eyes. "I see where this is going."
"Then you're not as dumb as you seem! Listen. Report me, and Eriol will probably be stuck with that Aiko chick for the rest of the school year. That's six whole months. We'll graduate and you'll never see him again. But if you keep my secret…"
"You'll help Eriol break up with her, because you're evil like that," Sakura finished for him, crossing her arms over chest.
"And I'll make sure they'll never get back together. Thus, increasing your chances with Prince Charming." His eyes lit up with slight relief as Sakura began thinking it over. He asked, "Do we have a deal?"
A sigh tumbled out of Sakura's mouth and she shrugged. "Yeah, yeah. Sure." She blinked as Syaoran held out a hand. She took it, he shook it— his skin was warm. "Deal."
"Well, I should get going now. I have business matters to attend to, if you know what I mean."
"Oh, and Sakura?" Syaoran's voice was filled with artificial sweetness. Sakura wanted to gag when he batted his lashes at her. He was straight-up taunting her!
"What?" The air around the auburn-haired girl began to vibrate with irritation.
"You've got some cheese on your chin."
A/N: I feel a little out of my element. I've grown accustomed to writing darker, angsty stories for Kingdom Hearts, but I've been wanting to try something new! So, how'd you guys like it? If there is any confusion regarding the storyline, please don't hesitate to ask. Basically, Syaoran gets paid to help desperate boyfriends break up with their annoying girlfriends. And if you've experienced/observed high school relationships, you'll know that there are a lot of relationships like that, haha. Now we just need to see how Syaoran and Sakura's deal plays out… hmm. I'd love for you to let me know what you think in the form of a review. :) I'd really appreciate it, but if you want to remain incognito, that's cool as well! Chapter 2 is already finished - it'll be released soon! This story will not disappoint.