|Disclaimer: I'm saving up money this summer to buy
CCS, but as of the moment, they still belong to CLAMP.
The Birthday Cake
Ah spring is truly in the air, not that you can smell it during nighttime, rather, it is more evident in broad daylight. You'll notice the buds that were at slumber in winter's lullabye, starts to bloom with spring's gentle touch. Or the trees growing new leaves in replacement of the ones that withered and died last autumn. In other words, the sakuras are in bloom, perfect for 'hanami'. But I didn't come here before you today for that, but for other, urgent reasons.
For you see, spring, meant his special day is just a breath away.
You may want to ask why bother, when birthdays aren't usually celebrated in Japan. Well let me first enlighten you with a little background information regarding our custom. We celebrate our getting one year older during the first day of the year. We go to shrines to pray then eat!
Anyway, I was over at his house, just like any other weekend, and we were baking cakes as christmas presents for some of our peers. For the strangest reason, his magazine, tossed carelessly over the counter, caught my interest. I flipped the pages out of curiosity. He noticed my sudden shift of attention.
"Oh... I see"
"Seen anything interesting?"
"Mmm..." I gave him a sheepish smile. "Now I know where she gets the recipe for the sweets she bakes."
He chuckled. "I usually throw it away, to spare the house from one of Spinel's sugar err.. attacks, but she always have another one. She may have stock full of recipe books hidden somewhere."
I gave out a laugh, it made him smile. Our moments together are always full of laughs and smiles, something I'll forever treasure. And it's becoming a habit you see, me spending the rest of the day with him, I mean, rather than filming Sakura-chan and Li-kun, who now have a life of their own, their offspring coming really soon. I'm going to be an aunt! I gave a stiffled squel at the thought.
And that's when I saw it. A birthday cake. I couln't help myself but ask..
"Uhhmm" He looked at me
"How does a birthday cake taste like?" I asked with all innocence, sounding like a ten year old. "I mean I've seen it in stores, but I've really never tasted nor made one before."
"Well my dear Tomoyo, they taste like the other cakes you make, except, they're made during birthdays"
He laughed. He moved closer and filled the gap that separated the two of us, then wrapped his arms around my waist. I responded by putting my arms round his neck. With his right hand, he tipped my head upwards so our eyes would meet. His eyes are the clear night sky, exquisitely beautiful, if there is such a term, captivating, deep and piercing. I've never seen any eyes lovelier than his.
"Why ask all of a sudden?"
He's having trouble with coherence. He's still staring at me. I could feel his breathing, uneven. I'm enveloped in warmth, his, or was it mine?
"Nothing" I still managed to choke out. "Just thinking"
"Ohh, then I'd better be careful" He rested his forehead on top of mine. "You thinking, equals trouble"
"Baka!" I playfully punched him on the ribs. He let out a chuckle. He caught me off-guard and did not waste any moment. He locked his lips with mine. Our passions blaze, but before I could pull him down the counter, I remembered the task at hand, we need to finish the cake. And so our personal business were cut short...for the meantime.
I need not to tell what happens next, but will go straight to the dilemma.
As I explained earlier, birthday's aren't usually celebrated in Japan, so I'm planning to surprise Eriol by baking him a birthday cake. I haven't told anyone, not my mother nor our helpers. It's four in the morning, my eyes still demand sleep that I deprived them of, present location, in the kitchen trying very hard not to make the slightest noise and waking everyone up. I gathered everything that I need.
That's when I realized, we're out of milk. Still in my night gown worn under a robe, I ran to the nearest 24-hr shop, three blocks away. I was utterly speechless when I found Eriol there.
"Tomoyo! What are you doing here? It's four in the morning, and mind if I add, in your nightgown?"
"Would you believe me if I tell you that I was doing an early morning jogging to get some fresh air?"
I quickly purchased two cartons of milk and start to heading back, noting that a certain someone is following me.
"So why are you out this early?"
I gave him an 'I'm-not-going-to-tell-you-the-reason-anytime-soon' look and stuck my tongue out. He chuckled. Have I mentioned that he looks boyishly cute when he does that?
"How about you, howcome you're up this early, I usually have trouble waking you up"
It's his turn to give me one of his infamous 'I'm-not-going-to-tell-you-either' smirk. Then I noticed the things he bought at the shop, coffee, sugar and some eggs.
"What are those for?"
"Really?" doubtful of his response.
Then uncontrollable laughter filled the night. I think we even managed to wake up a neighbor or two.
We left our 'arguement' at that for my house is coming to view. I bid him goodbye with a promise to pay him a visit later. I gave him a quick hug and peck on the cheek before running off to the direction of my secret passage which I had been using ever since Sakura-chan's card capturing days whenever I need to sneak out. Only Eriol and myself knows its location, for I kept it secret, even from Sakura-chan.
From the kitchen, I could see him leaving. He's really sweet, making sure I get home safely, and staying until I'm secured inside.
I rolled up my sleeves and began my work on the cake. The baking process went by smoothly, I managed to keep quiet the whole while and nobody even got suspicious, well maybe Eriol, but that's another story. It has been decided to make the cake stawberry taking into account it's his favorite, and mine as well.
I'm terribly sorry if this is taking so long, but I'll get on with the problem as soon as possible.
And so I made my way towards his house, cake neatly wrapped, with a ribbon on top, well this is a some sort-of present, and I wouldn't be Tomoyo Daidoji without my trademark ribbons. I reached his place, looking breath-taking as usual if I might add.
A knock, twice.
As expected, the door opened revealing a very hyper Nakuru.
"Tomoyo-chan!!! Hurry come inside...Eriol-sama's waiting inside the kitchen"
I made my way to the now memorized halls of Eriol's house towards the kitchen. He acknowledged my arrival by welcoming me halfway through the hallway. Within seconds our arms are tangled around each other.
"Otanjoubi omedetou Eriol"
He gave a quiet laugh. "I thought you have forgotten. Anyway, you're late, I have a surprise for you waiting in the kitchen, it's probably spoiled by now." he said scolding.
"Tsk. tsk. tsk. It's not nice to scold someone especially if that someone just went through the trouble of getting you a birthday present."
I handed him the box. He eyed the ribbons attached, my eyebrows twitched.
"Aww you shouldn't have... stop giving me that look, I was going to ask where are the frills." He smirked. I punched him lightly on the arm. He laughed.
"What's in it?" he asked with mock anticipation, ooh he's lucky it's his birthday for I want to wring his neck that moment. But of course I wouldn't do that even if it isn't his birthday. I smiled
He gave me a shocked expression, then began to laugh, hard. I was getting to get impatient. Didn't he liked my present? If he didn't he shouldn't have laughed that hard.
"So sorry Tomoyo, but come inside."
We went inside his kitchen. I saw the reason why he was laughing, on his counter, was a strawberry cake.
And so my dear friends, with the problem out in the open and circumstance laid out, we ask for your immediate assistance.
"Would you like a piece?"