Middle of Nowhere
Sakura-chan Master of the Clow
Chapter 15: 종이심장 Paper Heart
Summary: Sakura is the loner, the nerd, the freak of her school. Syaoran, the popular heartthrob. She's been picked on ever since she could remember which has made her close off to everyone around her except those she feels truly comfortable and close with. One day, Syaoran's "buddies" make a bet: go out with Sakura for two months and have her fall in love with him before dumping her. But, he cannot fall in love with her. Can he get her to tell him she loves him? Or will he fall hard?
Disclaimer: I do not own any original characters from CardCaptor Sakura. All belongs to the wonderful members of CLAMP. I also don't own any songs or inspired quotes or excerpts that may appear in this fanfiction. All belongs to its corresponding owner. The story line for this fanfiction, however, is all mine so please no copyright.
Announcement: Back with another chapter! And this time I didn't take a year! Woot! This chapter is for my good friend ShinigamiChop55, happy birthday! A lot of SakuxHaru moments in the chapter, surprisingly. Please read and review!
In a daze Sakura entered her home, closing the door silently behind her. Sighing, she leaned her back against it, not sure if her face felt hot because of the warmth from inside the house or something else. She heard something soft call out to her and looked down to see a big golden fur ball nuzzling her feet. Smiling, she leaned down to pet it.
"Hey, Kero," she said softly. "I'm home." The cat responded with a small mew. She took off her shoes and replaced them with her house slippers before continuing inside the rest of the house. She poked her head in the living room to find Haruto sitting on the floor in front of the coffee table, books and notebooks already spread out. "Hey," she called out softly.
He looked up and gave her a small smile. "Hey," he answered back. "I'll wait here; you can change out of your uniform first." She nodded and went up to her room, Kero following in her stead.
"Oh, Kero," she sighed, closing her door. "What should I do now?" The feline merely tilted his head in response. She bent down to scratch him behind the ears. "I don't suppose you could help me with boy trouble."
At that the cat hissed and she laughed. "I know, I know. Sheesh, sometimes I wonder who's more protective; you or Onii-chan."
Kero leaned forward to nudge his face on her knee.
Sakura pet Kero for a little while longer before changing into something more comfortable and heading downstairs with her backpack. She and Haruto always did at least one hour of homework together before starting dinner. When it was her Father's night, he let them study together until dinner was ready. Tonight happened to be one of those nights Fujitaka has to teach an evening class so Sakura was in charge of dinner.
Sakura flopped down beside him and took out the necessary materials for their first subject and got to work. Not even twenty minutes had passed when a hand waving up and down in her line of vision snapped her back to reality.
"Wha—huh?" Her jade green eyes meet with Haruto's dark brown ones full of concern. "W-where were we?" she asked nervously, picking up her notebook to cover her face.
"By the looks of it," said Haruto, "you're still on page one." Sakura's shoulders visibly sagged. "Come on, you can do it. Problem 5 isn't that hard."
"I-I know. I just have a lot on my mind today. Districts is, like, a day away."
"Sakura," Haruto called out, placing a hand over her trembling one, "I know Districts isn't what bothering you." Sakura sighed and put down her book. "Do you want to talk about what happened between you and Li-kun just now?"
Sakura's eyes met Haruto's in a flash. "I . . . well—" Sakura looked down at her lap where a peaceful Kero was happily sleeping. Almost as if sensing her discomfort, Kero awoke and lifted his head to look at his owner and nudged her stomach, encouraging her to continue. "I-it's just that . . ." Sakura closed her eyes and said a tad bit louder than intended, "Syaoran-kun confessed to me."
There was silence. She could still feel Haruto's hand on hers so she knew he was there, but her mind was wondering why he wasn't saying anything. Courageously, she peaked and eye open and quickly shut it again when she saw he was indeed looking at her. "W-well? Aren't you going to say anything?"
"I guess," she heard him say, "the appropriate thing to say would be . . . finally?"
Sakura slowly opened her eyes and turned her head to properly face him. "H-hoe?"
Haruto chuckled. "Hey, what's that look for? It's pretty obvious he has feelings for you."
Sakura blinked. "H-HOE?!" she exclaimed. "What do you mean by that? S-since when?"
"You seriously didn't know?" Haruto couldn't help but laugh. "Come on Sakura, if someone as naive as me can see it I'm surprised you didn't catch on to it. It's even more surprising that you didn't shut yourself in your room and hid under the blankets the rest of the night."
Sakura pouted. "I wanted to . . ." she mumbled, caressing Kero to keep herself busy. "But I couldn't leave you here alone all night."
"Aw don't be upset," Haruto said, patting her head as if she were a little kid. "Hey, didn't you say he told you he liked you before too? Why is this time any different?"
"Huh? Ah, well . . ." Sakura blushed and looked down, paying more attention to petting Kero. "I don't know. When he told me on our first date, it was more like he was pulling words he thought I wanted to hear together—like he was forcing them out. But this time . . ." Sakura's hand paused. "This time," she said again, turning to look at him, "he was being sincere. The look in his eyes . . . I have never seen him look so vulnerable yet serious at the same time. He looked so determined to get his feelings across so there wouldn't be any misunderstandings."
"So what did you say?" Haruto asked. "After he confessed, I mean."
"I couldn't say anything. I was too shocked."
"Then what did he say?"
"He said," Sakura sighed, "that he wasn't expecting an answer anytime soon. He just wanted to tell me how he felt and then . . . He left."
Haruto frowned. "That's it?"
"Well he said some pretty cheesy stuff before that, but yeah."
"Oh really?" Haruto's smile turned into one full of mischief . "Like what?"
"Like how he constantly feels sick whether it's being away from me or with me, like he's going crazy, but I'm the only cure."
Haruto blinked. "Wow," he said after a brief pause, "love can even make someone like Li-kun say such a cheesy thing. I guess that means no one is immune."
"H-hoe~ Do you think he really meant what he said?"
"You said you saw it in his eyes that he was being sincere about his feelings, right?" Sakura nodded in response. "Then with that—along with the super cheesy analogy he made—I think he really did mean everything he said."
"Oh?" Sakura blinked.
Haruto smiled. "Let me give you some words of wisdom." He took her in his arms and leaned back until their backs hit the edge of the couch. Sakura tilted her head up, showing she was listening. "When a man falls in love, he falls in love . . . hard. You could say we're even worse than girls in that aspect."
"Well yeah. When we fall for someone it's like we love them for life, or it feels like it anyway. Even if they're not the right one for us, we try to convince ourselves that there's no one else other than that person. It really does feel like we'll go crazy without them—of course that's where restraining orders come in."
"Ah, some really do go crazy."
"And those are the ones you have to watch out for," he said, poking her nose. "But for the rest of us, it takes time, but we heal and look for the one we're really supposed to love."
"That's really sweet actually," she said. "And for the longest time Onii-chan has always described men like animals—like the only thing they're interested in is well . . ."
"Sex? Well he's not completely wrong." Haruto laughed. "Haven't you heard the phrase, men are like wild animals?"
"Yeah, but still," she said, "it sounds a bit sexist—stereotype your own gender like that."
"We say it to warn you," he said, his voice now serious. "There are good guys out there who truly and wholeheartedly love someone with all their being, but there are a lot more bad guys who only look for someone to fill their needs temporarily. Those don't care about the person at all, they just see what they like on the surface."
"Which one do you think Syaoran-kun is?" Sakura asked quietly.
Haruto paused, looking up to think properly. "Despite his reputation, he seems to be one of the good ones."
Sakura squeezed his hand lightly. "How can you be sure?"
"You can say it's male instinct," he answered, smiling down at her brightly and Sakura reciprocated. "So, should we get started on dinner?"
"Sure," said Sakura as she got up. She dusted herself off and extended her hand to help him up. "What are you in the mood for?"
"Spaghetti!" Haruto exclaimed whilst throwing his hands in the air enthusiastically. "I already took out the ground beef to defrost as soon as I got in."
Sakura laughed. "Okay, spaghetti it is."
"So what can I help with?" Haruto asked cheerfully as he followed Sakura into the kitchen with a bounce in his step.
Sakura paused her extended hand on the refrigerator door and turned to face him, smiling weakly. "Um . . . why don't you take care of the pasta and I'll take care of the sauce."
Haruto pouted. "I can help with the sauce. The pasta doesn't need as much attention." Seeing her skeptical that's-the-point look he added, "How about I just stir it occasionally for you?"
Sakura sighed in defeat. "Okay, but only when I tell you."
While Sakura was getting out the necessary vegetables and condiments, Haruto filled a pot with water for the noodles, adding a dash of salt into it under Sakura's instructions. After washing the vegetables, before doing anything else, she cut the outside of an onion and put a few of the onions shells into the boiling water for the pasta—she decided to let the meat defrost a bit longer after seeing it was still a little bit frozen.
Haruto watched her while she chopped the remainder of the onion with expertise as he waited for the water to boil. "So what are you going to do next?" he asked after a while.
"Well first I have to let the meat defrost a bit more and then cook it; afterwards I can add vegetables so the flavors blend together with the natural juices."
"Not that." Haruto chuckled. "I meant about Li-kun."
Sakura's hand faltered. "I—I haven't really thought that far ahead," she answered, resuming to mince a couple cloves of garlic. "I'm still in shock, to be honest."
"Do you think you would like to go out with him?"
"Tomoyo-chan would love that," huffed Sakura. She looked up at him over the rim of her glasses and said, "What do you think I should do?"
"That's not answering the question," he said. "It depends on how you feel; no one else knows what's going on inside you but you. Don't' think about what other people will say, follow your heart."
"Well . . . I—" Sakura hesitated. "You know, I don't really know how to do that."
At the saddened expression on her face, Haruto put an encouraging hand on her shoulder. "It's easy!" he said smiling. "How about I help you?" Sakura turned her attention back to the vegetables but nodded to let him know she would be listening. "Well, first thing's first: do you like him back?"
"Well . . ."
"Well . . .?" Haruto repeated when she didn't say anything else.
"I don't know . . . if I do or not," she answered. Haruto hung his head and ran his hand through his hair.
"This is going to be harder than I thought," he said, feeling dejected. Then he remembered something. "Didn't you used to have a crush on Yukito-san? And what about Kyouta-kun?"
Sakura's face reddened at that. "T-that's different!"
"How so?" he challenged, hand on hips. "You still like them, don't you?"
"W-well, yeah, I guess . . ."
"Then?" He raised a brow. "What is so different about your feelings to Li-kun compared to them?" He saw her mouth move but her voice was too low to hear what she said. "What was that?"
"They haven't confessed to me, okay?" Sakura pouted. She added the ground beef to the pot and started smashing it apart with a wooden spoon. "I don't think I had feelings for him before, and I never really considered the possibility until Syaoran-kun confessed—I always assumed he was playing some game or something but I felt his sincerity today for the first time. And now . . . I don't know if whatever I'm feeling is the same of what I feel for Yukito-san or Kyouta-kun, or if I'm just flustered because for the first time someone told me they liked me and meant it."
"Ah, so there can be feelings like that too," he murmured.
Sakura gave him a weird look. "Okay, um, the water is ready; you should probably add the pasta now."
"Ah, okay, a box and a half, right?"
"Yup," Sakura confirmed as she added the chopped onion in with the meat and stirring them together. "What do you think I should do?" she asked after a while. "Should I go out with him?"
"Like I said, it's how you feel. No one can know best but you."
Sakura pouted. "You're no help."
Haruto laughed. "Okay then how about this: do you think you could like him like that?"
He saw her bite her bottom lip in thought and waited patiently for her answer.
"I think," she said carefully, "maybe I could."
Haruto gave a small smile at her answer.
"He really does seem to care about me, he stands up for me, it feels like we've been through a lot these past few weeks, and somehow he's become a really dear and close friend."
Despite all the positive points she was making, he knew that there would be a: "But . . .?"
"But," she said with a sigh, "being with him would just make things more complicated." She added the rest of the vegetables in and stirred briefly before taking one of the cans of tomato paste in one hand, and the can opener in the other. "I would become public enemy number one, and I'm not sure if I'll be able to face all that on my own."
"But you wouldn't be alone."
Sakura turned to face him.
She didn't need to say anything, or had time to anyway, as he already knew what she would ask by her questioning look. "It takes two, Sakura," he said simply. "You wouldn't be the only one in a relationship. Although you would be the one to receive most of the heat, I know Li-kun will be there for you to protect you as best he can."
At that Sakura gave a small smile.
"And me too. I will always stay by your side. Even if the whole world turns against you, I will stay with you, and support you in whatever you decide to do. And I will fight with you against anyone who tries to hurt you."
Sakura's smile grew brighter and she dropped the can opener on the counter to wrap her arms around Haruto in a tight warm hug. "Thank you, Haru." He felt her cheek nuzzle against his chest. "I'm so glad your back."
"Me too." He patted the top of her head, returning the hug. "Well, hey, we should finish up, I'm starving."
Sakura laughed. "Okay."
The following day, Sakura and Haruto left Sakura's house together to go to school. "Thanks for letting me stay over, and washing my uniform."
"It's no trouble—it was about time I did the laundry anyway." Sakura took his hand in hers and smiled a warm smile. "I should be thanking you. You wanted to stay to make sure I was all right, didn't you?"
"Well, I couldn't very well let my best friend agonize all night by herself, now could I?"
Sakura laughed. "I still can't believe we can both fit on my bed."
"Well I still can't believe your dad let us both sleep on your bed," Haruto remarked. "He trusts you way too much."
"Not just me, but you too," said Sakura. She gave his hand a light squeeze. "Otou-san knows you and knows you wouldn't hurt a fly—mainly because you're scared of them—"
"Anyway," continued Sakura, "I was thinking, if Otou-san is all right with you sleeping over for one night, I'm sure he'll happily agree to have you move in with us."
"You know my parents would never ask for your family to do such a big favor, they would want to still send rent money at least."
"They can if that makes them feel better, but it would be a whole lot cheaper than what they're paying for now. And you'll be eating better for sure so less money for food expense, 24/7 access to our washer and dryer for free and you can live with your bestest friend in the whole wide world," Sakura finished in a sing-song voice. "It will be just like when we were little, except we live together instead of just being neighbors."
Haruto smiled and patted her head. He knew she hated when he did that ever since puberty hit and his height started exceeding her own—it made her feel shorter than normal; like she was a small child he was taking care of when in reality she took care of him more.
"I'll have to talk with my parents, but honestly, I was thinking of getting a part-time job so they wouldn't have to spend so much on me."
"You can still get one. I can get in a good word for you in one of mine. You know, after Districts and everything," She was watching him and noticed his hesitation. "Oh, come on," she said, "it happens all the time in those American shows you show me."
"That was the Disney Channel, which shouldn't be a reliable source for this, and it happened like twice. Besides where will I stay? I have my own stuff and I doubt it will all fit in your room."
"You know we have a guest bedroom, you can stay there—no matter how much Touya-nii likes you, there's no way he will let you stay in his room—even if he's living in another city now."
"You've figured it all out, huh?"
His lips tugged upwards seeing her bright smile. There was really no winning when it came to her. He knew he couldn't say no to her for long—he had always preferred seeing her smiling than anything else.
Sighing, he ran a hand through his bangs. "I'll have to talk to my parent, which will eventually talk to your dad. If both sides agree, then maybe I can move in with you."
Sakura hugged his arm, slightly tugging down at him along the way. "It's gonna so much fun! We'll have crazy adventures every day."
"You know that only happens on TV, right?" Haruto laughed. "The most exciting thing to happen would be if you let me cook dinner by myself one night."
Sakura pouted and slapped his arm. "Shush, don't ruin this for me before it starts."
"Speaking of ruining things before they've started, are you going to run away from Li-kun until you've sorted out your feelings?"
Sakura gapped at him. "W-wha—? What are you talking about? You really think I would run away from someone who confessed less than 12 hours ago just because I have mixed feelings and will probably be embarrassed every time I see him now?"
He didn't say anything but his expression said yeah, I really do causing Sakura to huff out.
"P-please I'm not like that."
Yes you are, his eyes told her.
"I hate you."
"Love you, too," he replied with his own sing-song voice.
Despite her claiming not to be avoiding Syaoran, she had dragged Haruto to the front of the Drama Room as soon as they entered the school—a place Syaoran didn't go to unless they had rehearsal for Districts—until the first warning bell rang.
"You do know you have practically every class with the guy," Haruto commented as they neared their two classrooms. "You can't avoid him forever."
"I am not avoiding him."
Haruto smiled and shook his head. She was avoiding his eyes and shuffling her feet—signs he knew well when she lied. "Well it seems like the person you're 'not' avoiding hasn't made it to class yet so you're in the clear."
Sakura looked behind her and sure enough his seat was empty and not a growing crowd of girls in sight. Despite her classroom looking normal for once, she found it a bit odd to see it as such.
"Well, I'll see you in between breaks!"
Haruto slipped inside his classroom before she could get a word in. Begrudged, she entered her own and muttered a soft "good morning" as she walked to her seat, making as little eye contact as possible having feeling the death glares directed at her. She looked around as she took out the necessary materials and found her classroom almost full.
She glanced behind her at the empty seat and frowned. Syaoran liked to be the first in class; it was rare to see him cut it so close to the final bell. Every time the doors slid open her eyes quickly followed to see if it would be him. But it wasn't.
Come to think of it, she thought, he wasn't waiting for her at the usual spot to walk to school together like he had been the past few weeks. Her mind became clouded thinking of the possible reasons. Maybe he got sick. Or maybe he was just bluffing last night. Maybe he really didn't like her. Maybe he—
The final bell rang and the front door slid open and like the past few times, her eyes wandered to it expecting a certain messy brown haired boy. Instead she got her homeroom teacher. She had almost given up when the back door slid open and in entered the person she had unknowingly been hoping to see. A small smile formed on her lips and her eyes followed him. He however, didn't as much as glance her way even when he had already sat down. She nervously opened her mouth to greet him but the teacher's voice calling for attention cut her off. Sakura quickly closed her lips and faced the front.
The rest of the day went pretty much the same: girls swarmed or dragged him away during breaks so Sakura couldn't get even one word in with him when she left to hang out with Haruto outside their classroom. Today he didn't seem to be bothered or try to escape to be with her. It wasn't until lunch time when he got up on his own and left without saying anything to her that she figured out that he was the one avoiding her. When she came to the realization she knew he wouldn't be joining her for lunch. She packed her stuff and headed to Haruto's classroom to eat with him instead.
"Hey, man, didn't expect to see you today."
Syaoran raised a brow at Jun. "Why wouldn't I be?"
"You've been eating lunch with Kinomoto so much, we figured you wouldn't join us for a while," Ryouga explained.
Syaoran mouth an O as he placed his tray down on the table. "Today I thought I'd join you guys."
Jun looked over Syaoran's shoulders, his eyes scanning the cafeteria. "You didn't bring her this time?"
"She's still scarred from the last time." Syaoran gracefully split his chopsticks in two. "I thought I'd let her eat with her friend for once."
"You're not avoiding her, are you?" Kou spoke up for the first time.
"No, why would I?"
Kou shrugged. "Not sure. You wouldn't have a reason unless . . ." Syaoran's face was blank but the other two leaned in at the dramatic pause. "Unless you actually like her."
The other two turned to look at Syaoran and he didn't like how they were looking at him, ready to pick out every little thing he said if he did admit to it. He merely raised a brow at them. "You're kidding right?"
The other two chuckled. What was the possibility Li Syaoran would come to like Kinomoto Sakura anyway?
"I'm just looking out for you. You can't win if you avoid her."
Syaoran's eyebrows furrowed at the last part, but quickly brushed it off. "What, I can't eat with my best friends every now and then?" Syaoran smirked. "And don't worry about me, I'll be fine."
"Oh, so she's your girlfriend then?"
"Hey, good job giving him this one, Kou," Ryouga said nudging his friend. "We could win this time."
It took Syaoran a good second to catch up on what they were talking about. He quickly composed himself and his lips pulled up to his signature half smirk. "Don't get ahead of yourselves."
"I don't know, the sun is shining on our end," Ryouga said.
"It's been almost a month and you can't get her to be your girlfriend?" Kou said, "I bet you haven't even kissed her yet."
"Actually I have," Syaoran retorted. "And I'm taking my time with her."
"Ah, but that's something you don't have," Kou said.
Syaoran gave him a cheeky smile but didn't say anything because he knew he was right. But now, he wasn't sure if he cared for it or not.
"Are you sure about that? It seems like a little far-fetched."
"Positive, Haru. He's avoiding me, I know it." Sakura took a sip of her milk tea. "He hasn't said one word to me all day."
"Not even a good morning?"
"Have you tried talking to him?"
"I couldn't—his ever loving fans surrounded him the second classes ended. It was impossible to even see him through that crowd—and I sit in front of him."
"At least he can't complain I'm stealing his thunder." Sakura looked at him confused. "Hey, you gotta admit I was pretty popular when I first transferred."
"I'd say you're still pretty popular now," Sakura said, noticing a few girls huddled up and giggling while sneaking glances in their direction, which she was pretty positive those weren't directed at her. "So anyway, why do you think he's avoiding me now."
"I don't know," Haruto said with a shrug. "Maybe he just likes you too much and gets too shy around you right now."
Sakura looked utterly dumbfounded. "Li Syaoran, shy?" Haruto gave a well yeah nod. "Li Syaoran. Like . . . this is Li Syaoran, we're talking about."
"Yeah, I know." Haruto took a bite of the lunch Sakura had prepared for them that morning. "So?"
"So? So?! Haru, this is Li Syaoran we're talking about," she hissed, careful not to draw attention to them.
"And?" Haruto laughed. "Sakura, he's just a guy."
"Okay yes, but this is Li Syaoran."
Haruto raised a brow. "I think I have his name permanently etched in my brain now, thanks." He took another bite. "And what's the big deal? You were never one to care about status."
"I don't it's just that . . ." Sakura sighed and Haruto gave her an encouraging smile. "This sort of thing doesn't happen in real life. The whole 'most desired boy in school somehow ends up liking the school loser and they become a happy couple and prove everyone wrong with their undying love' thing. That only happens in movies or books or books turned movies, but certainly not in real life."
Haruto took her hand in his, rubbing his thumb over the inside of her wrist. "Sakura, you are not a loser."
"If I weren't would I still be bullied to this day?"
"That is not your fault." His voice was stern.
"I know," Sakura sighed, "But some days I wonder if it really is or if I did something to hurt them and not know it."
"I'm . . . I'm just a plain ordinary girl trying to get through high school and he's . . . He's too good to be true. Him even liking me is too good to be true."
"Sakura, you may not think so, but you are extraordinary. I see it, Li sees it, our friends from Drama are starting to see it. You have a special power and you don't even know it."
"Power?" Sakura looked at her hands and held them up to him. Haruto laughed and gently lowered her hands.
"Not that kind out power, although it's similar." Sakura tilted her head, her jade eyes both confused and expectant. "But I'll let Li tell you when he figures it out."
"Thought you said he already knows."
"He does," Haruto confirmed. "He just doesn't know that he knows, you know?"
"Okay, you lost me."
Haruto chuckled. "It's just how you are right now. It's obvious you like him but you just don't know it yet."
She felt her face grow hot. "Haru, I don't like him." Her voice trailed off to a soft whisper, as if her own voice were betraying her for lying. He gave her a look that said, are you sure about that. She groaned and flopped her head down on the desk. "I was so glad I made it this far without having to go through this in high school but look at me now." She peaked one eye through the curtain of her hair. "Can't you tell me what I should do?"
"I could—" Sakura perked up. "—But I can't tell you how you should feel."
"You're evil. You're enjoying watching me suffer."
"What? No." His voice was exaggerated and fake, and Sakura wasn't buying it. "Okay, okay, I would love to help you out in this typical teenage dilemma, but wouldn't you prefer for fate to tell you if you're right for each other?"
"And how would I do that? Go up the nearest temple and pray for a sign or get one those charm things?"
"That could work."
Sakura rolled her eyes. "Haru, I being sarcastic."
"So was I." He smiled. "Try talking to him. You might figure something out along the way. You two do make really good duet partners—trust me, the chemistry is there."
The bell signaling the end of lunch rang and Haruto's class slowly began piling in. He helped Sakura clean up and wrap their lunch boxes back up.
Just as she was getting up to leave he grabbed her hand. She looked back at him. "Promise you'll talk to him. I know you'll make the right choice."
Sakura smiled. "Everything will be all right."
Sakura swirled around on the tall swivel chair. There weren't a lot of books that had to be put away today so it took less than 10 minutes. She had already stamped the return dates on next week's card too. One of the librarians had stepped out and put her in charge of the front desk.
"Excuse me, I'd like to check these out please."
"Oh sorry I—" Sakura quickly circled her chair around. "Naoko-chan?"
"Sakura-chan! Wow what are you doing there?"
"I spend my free period as a student assistant here."
"That's so cool! I'll definitely come by more often to keep you company."
"Thanks," Sakura laughed. "It's just my luck to land the slowest period."
"That's a bummer." Naoko handed over her student ID.
Sakura quickly scanned the card and slid the books over the counter. She did a double take at the cover of the books.
"Hey, I love this series!"
Naoko's brown eyes widened. "You do? Is it any good? Other than Harry Potter I haven't read much of fantasy or magic. I prefer horror and mystery."
"Yeah, you'll love it, trust me. There is a bit of a mystery in them too."
"Well then, it looks like Li-kun's suggestion was a good one."
Sakura hesitated. "Li? As in Li Syaoran?"
"Is there any other?" Naoko laughed.
Sakura slid the now checked-out books across the counter. "Wow, I didn't know he read these kinds of things."
"Oh yeah, I saw him reading one of them over there—he helped me find them actually." Sakura looked over to where Naoko was pointing to. She saw Syaoran sitting in the same couch she normally sat in, book in lap. "Hey, would you like to join our book club?"
"A few of us in Drama have our own book club. It's nothing special—we just spazz about books before or after class, but you're welcome to join us anytime."
Sakura knew about the book club. It mainly consisted of the 'Inner Circle' of Drama. Her class vowed to not be like past classes and form cliques but there was always a few group of people who were closer than others, but overall everyone got along great. Hearing Naoko invite her to join in made her happy. "Really? That would be awesome, thank you."
"Any time, it was nice seeing you."
"Y-yeah, see you in class."
As soon as Naoko left, Sakura looked around at the near empty library. Gathering up her courage, she slipped off her chair and walked to where Syaoran was. She intertwined her fingers together as she grew closer.
"H-hey," she called out softly, "mind if I sit here?" Syaoran looked up and, it could have been her imagination, but were his ears always a bit pink?
She didn't expect him to agree so fast. She didn't know what else to say but, "Thank you." She nervously sat down. She kept sneaking glances towards the front desk; just to check and see no one would need to be kept waiting but mostly because she didn't know what to say to him.
"Naoko-chan was telling me you helped her find that book series," she said shyly. Glancing at the cover, she could distinguish it as the second to last book in the series—the last one hadn't come out yet. "I didn't know you were into them too."
"I wasn't at first," he answered. "But I noticed one of them among the books you always carry and thought I would check it out. I actually like it, it has a bit of everything."
Sakura nodded, not knowing what else to say. She remembered what Haruto said before, and took a deep breath. "So, um, can I ask you something?" She felt his strong eyes on her, but kept hers on her fingers playing with her skirt. "H-have you been . . . avoiding me today?"
He didn't say anything for a while. "I guess, I have," he finally answered. "I'm sorry."
"N-no, it's okay."
She could practically hear his smirk. "Yeah, I think so," she said. "I wasn't ready to face you yet either after, uh, yesterday."
"Is that something pink I see?"
Sakura touched her face nervously. "N-no." She heard a low chuckle come from him. Suddenly a thought came to her. "Hey, um, do you believe in fate?"
"To be honest, I haven't really thought about it," he said. "Why?"
"No reason, just that Haru and I were talking about people, and fate, and other stuff."
"So you two were talking about whether you and I were fated for each other."
Sakura laughed nervously. "Not exactly." She sneaked a peak and this time could see his condescending smirk.
"Are going to tell me what you're really thinking?"
Sakura turned fully to face him, not expecting him to have moved closer to her. Her face instantly heat up at the close proximity. She forced herself to look at him, but couldn't help avoiding his intense eyes at all costs.
"Haru," she started, "said we make good duet partners—that we have chemistry together." He looked at her expectantly. "But I don't know how I feel about you yet so I've decided to let fate decide."
His face tilted, his Amber eyes full of amusement. "How so?"
"Districts," she said, surprising herself at her own confidence. At his questioning look, she continued. "If we get best in show, I'll take it as a sign and agree to go out with you."
Syaoran's smile grew wider and caressed her cheek. She could have sworn he was getting closer but just as she thought their lips would meet, he pulled back and said, "All right. It's a deal."
종이심장 Paper Heart
The 3rd Album 'Red Light'
Anonymous Reviews from Chapter 13
Just a reader (Guest) Thank you so much! And, well, you're right about that. Things do take a turn soon.
Anony (Guest) You'll have to wait and see for the results of what happens at districts.
Guest Thank you! I will definitely write more!
reader (Guest) Ha ha, yeah wow. Thank you for reviewing.
Sakura-chan Master of the Clow
Updated February 23, 2015