I Want You Back
Summary: Five years after leaving Sakura, Syaoran realized how wrong he was for leaving her. But will he be able to bring her back, now that Sakura has become indifferent to him and is about to be wedded to one of his famous co-actor…?
Disclaimer: CCS is not mine and could never be mine.
Chapter 10: Broken Mirage
…"Will we stay like this forever?"
"How is he…?" as Eriol asked the woman… in front of him…
…The woman just smiled a small smile at him while she averted her gaze towards the bed…
...The two of them suddenly became quiet,… as they watch Syaoran's chest rise and fall, ... while he lies unconsciously on a hospital bed…
Ten hours ago…
Knock. Knock. Knock.
"Come in!" Tomoyo's lively voice rang throughout her office, letting the person just outside it hear her perfectly.
Slowly as ever the door partly opened while it let out a short creaking sound, making Tomoyo look at the door instead rather than study the details of her designs on her working table.
'Hmm, who could that be?' a part of her couldn't help but anticipate and wonder who had graced her office when the day in their company had only started. However as the door was left ajar for a short time, Tomoyo became excited and giddy like a grade school student when she saw a woman with cascading auburn hair entering her office. And when the person was finally inside her office, Tomoyo cracked a goofy smile.
"Ne, you're quiet early Sakura." Her voice was a bit taunting but actually more playful.
Suddenly Sakura, who had a sheepish smile the moment she entered Tomoyo's office, changed and mirrored the smile Tomoyo was showing her.
"A miracle. I know." She then flaunted towards her best friend, extended her hand that was holding a long folder and said, "Here. I thought you might need this a.s.a.p. That's why I decided to head to your office as soon as I got this list from my office."
Tomoyo then quirked one of her eye brows at her best friend and asked, "Uhmm, thanks. But what's this?"
Sakura who was smiling goofily at her best friend gasped lightheartedly and exclaimed, "Why my dear best friend! That's the list of models you asked me to compile because you want to see and contact them for the upcoming auditions for our company's fashion week!"
Tomoyo's mouth suddenly formed an 'O' shape as she processed what Sakura had said to her. And after a few seconds she then mouthed "I see." At Sakura and stared plainly at her. And Sakura reciprocated Tomoyo's action too; by staring back at her.
Slowly, Sakura's eyes started squinting while her lips turned upwards, her cheek bones becoming more noticeable.
A few seconds after, anyone who would pass by in front Tomoyo's office would hear a hearty laughter shared by two women within the confines of the office.
"Hey, I think your brain is malfunctioning at the moment." Sakura joked while her index finger patted the side of her right eye because of a tear that had escaped when she had laughed so hard.
"You just caught me off guard." Tomoyo defended herself as she rubbed her tummy to soothe it from the pain she felt while laughing her heart out just a few minutes ago. "Besides, lately I've been having less and less of sleep because of these designs. I was so busy tailoring these designs." Tomoyo's hand who was busily rubbing her stomach a moment ago, was prolifically arranging the papers and sample cloths on her desk for Sakura to see.
Sakura then hovered at Tomoyo and looked closely at the designs that her best friend had created. "Wow. You're really great… for you to be able to create such designs in a short amount of time."
"You've realized it just now?" Tomoyo's eye brow shot up while her mouth formed a playful smirk as she looked at Sakura.
Though she was waiting for Sakura to rebut her, all her best friend did was, stuck her tongue out as an answer.
"Anyway, I was wondering." Sakura then allowed her eyes to roam Tomoyo's office, finally noticing the mannequins with the actual designs on it. "What's the theme of our company's upcoming fashion show?" However, before Tomoyo could answer Sakura, Sakura decided to turn around, moving away from Tomoyo's working table. Just then a brown leather couch caught her attention, which was located near the ceiling-to-floor windows of Tomoyo's office.
'Hmm I missed sitting on that couch.' So Sakura headed towards it and when she finally reached it, she allowed herself to sit comfortably on it, crossing her legs and resting her hands on her lap.
Tomoyo who was waiting for Sakura to settle down, began explaining when she found her finally sitting down.
"Basically the theme revolves around blossoming relationships. But our group and the marketing department haven't decided yet on what title we should use. Well, title that could really depict my designs and fit with the next season which is summer and definitely catch the attention of many." Tomoyo said with as a matter- of-fact voice.
"Oh, so there's no title yet." Sakura bemused while she stared at her best friend.
"Yup. Anyway, that's not really a major situation that we should really, really, really worry about." She then paused to catch her breath before continuing. "The thing that the marketing and my department, especially me, are really concerned about is: will we be able to find a female model that would flawlessly fit and show off my designs and perfectly depict the theme. And aside from that! The hardest thing that will be asked from her is: could she pull of the stunt of modeling with her male partner on the ramp."
"I think you wouldn't have that problem Tomoyo. We have major endorsers and models for our company. I'm sure those models will be able to carry themselves well, even if they ramp at the same time with another model. I'm pretty sure myself that you'll be able to find one." As Sakura tried her best to assure Tomoyo.
"I don't think so Sakura… I know almost all of our endorsers and models, but none of them could really fit perfectly in my designs. And besides, the marketing department and my department had agreed that we needed a new face. Someone that would exude her beauty from within with ease, serene and giddy and all a woman should be without the pressures of media and so on."
"Hmm… I guess you're right. That is a major problem. I hope you'll be able to find her this week. It's a good thing that our company has decided yesterday to hold the fashion week three weeks from now. Better than the original schedule of two weeks from now." Sakura's attention now focused on her hand and the glittering ring on her left ring finger.
"Yeah it's a good thing. It's also good that our fashion week will still be able to welcome the coming season." Tomoyo stopped, her gaze dropping on the designs in front of her. "I guess the plan of hitting two birds with one stone through our fashion week would definitely be feasible." As her hand started holding the papers resting on her desk a while ago.
"Huh? What do you mean, Tomoyo?" Now, Sakura's voice was enveloped with curiosity as she, forgetting the gleaming diamond ring on her finger, directed her gaze at her best friend.
"It's because the management has decided that instead of having a separate launching event for the new endorsers, the fashion week will be used to introduce them to the public." Tomoyo then leaned herself forward letting her right elbow rest on her desk while her right hand held a piece of paper or two of her designs, unmindful of the puzzled look that Sakura directed at her. "So, we wouldn't really have a problem with the male models." And Tomoyo made a knowing look at Sakura.
"Ah. I see" Sakura finally relaxed, as soon as she heard Tomoyo's explanation, not really noticing the recent look her best friend showed her.
Then the a moment came wherein the two of them became silent, only hearing the rustling of papers, the steps of people outside Tomoyo's office and a few conversations of 'hi-hello exchanges' by co-workers.
Suddenly Sakura was able to process the last statement that Tomoyo said. 'New endorsers means…' Yet, her thoughts about the new endorsers were cut short when she remembered what Kazuma told her after the meeting her had with the management.
"Hey." Kazuma said as he leaned himself on the door frame of Sakura's office.
Sakura, who was busy fixing the papers and folders on her desk that time suddenly jerked due to surprise.
"Sorry, didn't mean to surprise you." Kazuma then smiled lovingly at his fiancée, his head tilting perfectly to rest on the door frame, while he crossed his arms in front of his chest. "Anyway, we are done with the meeting. I'm guessing that you're good to go…" he then stopped and checked his phone for the time and said, "after a minute or two?"
"Ah…" Sakura who was still busy that time only looked at Kazuma for a second or two before returning her gaze at what's on her hand at the moment: papers, papers, papers and lots of folders. "Sorry. I'll be ready in a minute. I'm almost done." And while she was busy fixing the folders, she decided to ask Kazuma, "So how was the meeting?"
"Hmm… Almost like the previous meetings we had. Except that now, we are joined by the new endorsers and models…" he then paused, extracting himself from the door frame as he sauntered towards Sakura. "Just found out that I won't be able to participate this coming fashion week."
And this made Sakura stop arranging the folders to stare at Kazuma with a dumbfounded look. "Huh?Why?" not really sure on how she would question him.
By then Kazuma, who was standing side-by-side Sakura, decided to tuck the loose hair lock of Sakura behind her ear. "I'll be gone for a week that time. Family business. I need to represent our company that's based in U.S. I just found out this morning. Same day I found out that our fashion week would be moved."
"Oh. Yes. The management decided to move it." as she remembered her earlier meeting with the management. "One week." she said, disappointment evident in her voice.
"Yup. So don't miss me too much." Kazuma joked when he noticed the change in Sakura's voice.
He then yelped a playful "Aww!" when Sakura lightly hit him on his arm.
"Anyway, it's a waste that Kazuma wouldn't be able to be a part of our major event three weeks from now."
"Oh! Yeah I just heard about that last night. It's a waste, really…" Tomoyo's voice was then laced with regret while she scrutinized some cloths and designs. "I was picturing him in my line up for the upcoming fashion show, sort of like welcoming the new endorsers and new models. He's the best model I could think of to do that thing." Tomoyo released a sigh before she looked at her best friend. She then decided to stop whatever she's doing to focus on Sakura. Slowly, she leaned her back on her swivel chair, allowing herself to release the tension that has been forming on her back.
Sakura, who at that time, kept looking at the mill flower beside the door, appreciating the beauty of it silently, added, "He really couldn't help it. His parents asked him to go overseas, I think, in U.S. Yeah. It's U.S. from what I remember to represent their family company there."
Suddenly, Tomoyo chuckled, making Sakura confused as she looked at Tomoyo.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to laugh…" Tomoyo's hand was on her mouth, trying her very best to suppress the laughter that wanted to come out. "…but your man Sakura is really a multi-tasking person. A model, an endorser, a theater actor, a show business personality and even a businessman who is considered to be an heir of some multi-million dollar company!"
Finally understanding why Tomoyo had reacted such way, Sakura visibly relaxed on the couch and smiled.
"Yeah I couldn't really believe it myself when he said it to me before." She then released a soft chuckle as she dropped her gaze on her engagement ring again.
Noticing the change in Sakura's action, Tomoyo unexpectedly asked Sakura, "Anyway, how was your venue hunting with Kazuma yesterday?"
"Actually, it was fun." And for a moment Sakura's look became dreamy as she remembered the picturesque view of the venue. Suddenly, she remembered that Tomoyo's waiting for her. So she then slapped her cheek mentally to wake herself from dreamland before continuing. "We finally found a place for the reception, very lovely and near the chapel where our wedding ceremony would be held." as she held a serene smile on her face.
However this action of her didn't last when she remembered the reason why she has to go back to her office as soon as she had handed the folder to Tomoyo.
The face that was so calm awhile ago had been tainted with worry as time passed by. Though she knew her action might be disrespectful for some, she still insisted on doing it, raising her left arm to check her wrist watch, completely aware that Tomoyo's observing her and probably thinking that something's up with her.
'6:40 a.m.' and relief was plastered on her face finally replacing the worry she had a while ago.
'Still early. Guess I still have time to tell Tomoyo… It's… now or… never.' She then returned her gaze at Tomoyo finally proving through her best friend's stare at her that she knows something's going to happen.
"Uhmmm…." Sakura said timidly at Tomoyo, not really knowing where to start on how to tell Tomoyo the events that happened to her just yesterday.
"Hmmm?" Tomoyo replied with a calm tone, trying her best to pacify Sakura's emotions, knowing fully that Sakura has been experiencing some emotional turmoil at the very moment.
As second became seconds, and seconds turned to minute and thus becoming minutes, Sakura's reply was still the famous pregnant silence. Just when Tomoyo was about to question her best friend again, Sakura suddenly sighed, making Tomoyo stop on what she was planning to do.
"I decided to talk to him."
And it shocked Tomoyo-completely-to the point that she didn't really know what she should say. Her thoughts were suddenly jumbled, something that don't usually happen to her. It made her feel uneasy and a bit irritated with the way she has to compose her thoughts. And while she was busy with it, she didn't even notice that a minute or two has already passed them by. Silence only the filler of the moment.
When she finally had it, she coughed a little, and said "When you say him, were you referring to…"
However Sakura cut Tomoyo and said "Kazuma", making Tomoyo confused, showing it perfectly through her eye-brows that were scrunched on her wonderful forehead. "I thought you were going to consider what I told you the other day." Her disappointment evident on her voice.
"I am considering it… but I'm not yet ready Tomoyo… you know… to face him." Sakura then took this opportunity to look at her best friend while she smiled a sad smile. "There are some things that I need to do first before I could finally talk to him Tomoyo-to officially close that chapter of my life." She then stopped for awhile to catch her breath, trying her very best to not let her emotions go all out, slowly closing her eyes, arranging her thoughts before she could speak again.
"What we talked about the other day was really an eye-opener for me. I know that you know that I'm not that better at all. That I worry too much, that I am not seeing things properly… And I really thank you for that, you know… for letting me see clearly. And now, what I want to do is…" She then paused, opening her eyes, looking intently at her best friend.
She wanted assurance, assurance from Tomoyo to continue. And when Sakura saw Tomoyo nod her head, signaling her to go on, she let herself talk. "…be able to face this properly. I want to really do it step by step. I don't want to just wait and hope that everything will be… will… just be okay. Now, I know that for everything to really be okay, I have to face it. I have to accept it but I have to do something." Sakura then took this opportunity to stand up, turn her back at her best friend and look at the sky scrapers through the ceiling-to-floor windows. She then stepped forward allowing her hand to rest on the cold glass.
And all of a sudden, Sakura's emotions went haywire, making her unfocused, and very emotional.
"Oh, gods. How should I say this?" she breathed out to herself as she leaned her forehead, allowing it to feel the cold glass in front of her.
"I…" her sight now became blurry, tears wanting to escape from her glazy emerald eyes.
'No more please.' She pleaded to herself. She then shut her eyes, hoping that no tears would escape from it. 'Please… please don't cry. Enough already.'
Yet, deep within her heart, she knew that what she really wanted to do is- cry-cry all her heart out and let everyone dear to her see how broken she actually is. She had never really given the people around her to see her. Because the last time that she had exposed her very heart was five years ago, and that was the only time she allowed someone to see how fragile she actually is. That was the only time she allowed someone to see all of her; the person she actually is-how hurt, how pained, how betrayed, how broken she truly is. So no matter how dear the people she cherishes are to her, she won't allow them to see her again.
Even if Tomoyo had seen her with tears travelling silently down her cheeks after the break up, it was too late. She had already pent herself up in her own little world that she had build for herself.
"Hey Sakura!" Tomoyo shouted; her footsteps were loud as she headed downstairs. "Did Syaoran leave already?! I heard the gate..." However, the moment she reached the dining area, all her words left her. She became rooted on her place, solemnly looking at Sakura- who was sitting on the floor, hugging her knees, tears silently falling from her red rimmed eye- in front of her.
"Sakura…" Tomoyo's hands were slowly reaching out for her. Carefully as ever, Tomoyo brought herself down to Sakura's level, letting herself kneel down, allowing her hands to embrace Sakura.
"Sakura…" her voice was full of sympathy, full of questions and worries.
"Sakura, please tell me what happened." Tomoyo pleaded, her voice shaking. "Please…tell me how I can help you."
"Syaoran… it's…" Sakura's voice was so melancholic but at the same time distant. "It's over between us." It was like a gasp when Sakura uttered those words. Yet she never answered the last plea of her best friend. And after a deafening silence that enveloped them, Sakura just stayed within Tomoyo's tight but warm embrace, silently allowing herself to let a few of her tears stain her cheeks.
'Stop Sakura. Crying will lead you nowhere.' She told to herself. 'Focus on what you have to say… on what you have to do…' And she did focus on her goal for the day. And that is to allow Tomoyo to see her; her true self. She needed Tomoyo to fully understand what's going through her, that what she really wanted is to be free again and live the moment, not behind fears and worries. What she needed to do is help herself by first stepping out of her little world. Break the mirage she had put around herself and allow those people special to her to actually help her. And this is the first step she had to take.
"I just want you to know that I'm scared Tomoyo." Sakura finally let it out."I'm scared that I might not be able to do things properly. But at the same time I'm scared of leaving the place I used to live in for so many years…"
"But then, I realized that if I continue to allow my fears and worries to rule over me, nothing will really happen to me. I'm tired of walking the safe side. I'm tired of closing myself to the world. I'm tired of people close to me always walking on a thin rope whenever they are with me. I'm tired of letting my father, my brother, you and especially Kazuma to always wait for me; unsure of the time on when I would finally allow everyone in again. I'm tired of wasting my time Tomoyo. I want to do this right this time… focus on what's really important to me." She then stopped for awhile, releasing the tension she had felt by breathing out.
And after a few seconds, Sakura continued "…And for me, that is Kazuma." Sakura then took this time to turn around and face Tomoyo. And when their gazes met, Sakura opened her mouth again and said "Kazuma…" Sakura stopped as she closed her eyes. "…he's the most important guy in my life, aside from my dad and my brother. He's my now." She then opened her eyes, allowing Tomoyo to see a glimmer in her emerald eyes. "That's why I have to talk to Kazuma first before I could talk to him. I have to allow Kazuma to see the real me… I want him to see all of me. Not just the Sakura who's so cautious of everything. Not just the Sakura who smiles when she has to... I want Kazuma to see all the other sides of me… Maybe… it'll take me some time. But right now, what really matters to me is for him to see me-my broken self who is afraid to trust, who feels unworthy of his love and affections. I feel that if I talk to Kazuma first, it will really help me fix myself, to really open up. And I know that if I am finally out in my own little world, that's the time that I could really face him Tomoyo. I know that it is not going to happen anytime soon, but, I am hoping. I am hoping that when the time comes that I could finally talk to him, there will be a smile on my face, allowing him to see that though I have been hurt, I was broken, I became stronger and better person because of what happened between us."
"Wow…" Tomoyo gasped after hearing those huge words from Sakura. "I really don't know what to say. I'm surprised that's for sure." Tomoyo then smiled before continuing. "Honestly, I never thought that you would actually take a huge step just after we had that talk. I was thinking that, you would need time to process everything."
"Yeah, that's what I thought so at the beginning." Sakura interjected. "I thought that's what I would do. However, when I saw how Kazuma looked at me yesterday… I just knew that it's time." Sakura then smiled when she saw Tomoyo stood up from her chair and walked towards her.
"So… when will you talk to Kazuma?" Tomoyo asked when she was a foot away from Sakura.
"Hmm…" Sakura then raised her left arm again to check the time and when she saw that it was already 7:20 she shouted, "Hoeeeeeeeee! I have to hurry! We'll meet early in my office!" However, Sakura stopped on her tracks when she heard Tomoyo laughed.
"What's wrong?" Sakura was confused when she saw Tomoyo started clutching her stomach while she laughed out hard.
"Nothing…" "It's just…" "that…" "you…" Tomoyo tried to talk in between her laugh.
"Don't mind me." Tomoyo then tried her best to suppress her laughter. "It's just that I'm really happy for you. I'm so glad that you are finally taking the risk. I'm relieved that you are really doing something for yourself." Sakura who was looking at Tomoyo suddenly noticed that Tomoyo's eyes had become watery. If it's because of the intense laughter Tomoyo let out awhile ago or because of the way she became emotional, Sakura didn't really know.
"I'm really glad Sakura. And you know what. I am imagining that I'm patting myself at my back right now." She then cracked a smile at Sakura. "I am so glad that I talked to you that way the other day!"
And Sakura smiled sincerely at Tomoyo while she reached for Tomoyo's warm hands. "Yeah… me too. Thanks Tomoyo. I'm thankful that you did that." She then squeezed Tomoyo's hands lightly to let her know how much she appreciated what Tomoyo did for her.
"You know I will always be here for you Sakura." And out of the blue, Tomoyo caged Sakura into a tight hug. "I'm just here for you. If you want someone to talk to I'm just here… No matter what happens, I'm just here for you." And Sakura's tears started falling. When Tomoyo suddenly broke their embrace and held Sakura away from her, she exclaimed, "Hey! Stop crying! You're going to make me cry! Make me cry on the day of your wedding! Not now!"
With that, Sakura's tears stopped falling. "That's a good way to break the moment, ne Tomoyo?" she then smiled a goofy smile before she said "Anyway, I should get going. I really have to go back to my office. I feel like there's something I have to do before Kazuma and I talk."
"Well then, go on!" Tomoyo then started shooing Sakura out from her office. When the both of them finally reached the door and Sakura had finally exited her best friend's office, Tomoyo suddenly said, "Anyway, don't expect Kazuma for another thirty minutes or less! Because he'll be meeting me first!"
"What!?" But the moment Sakura faced Tomoyo, the door of her best friend's office had finally been shut making Sakura say, "Tomoyo! How could you! Anyway, don't keep him up for too long! I need to see my man as soon as possible!" she knocked hard on the door to catch her best friend's attention. And when she heard Tomoyo shouted "I will! I love you!" Sakura stepped away from the door, her hands on her waist while muttering. "I knew it! That's the reason why you were laughing awhile ago!" And as soon as Sakura turned around, she didn't expect the people from the second floor to be actually looking at her, some of them had been smirking, others trying their best to hide the laughter they wanted to let out.
'Uh-oh.' And her cheeks became warm.
Though she knew almost everyone from the floor, she still couldn't help but get embarrass. She could feel the heat radiating off from her cheeks. And she knew quite well that, she's blushing-scarlet red at the very moment-which doesn't help her by the way.
'Damn. Way to start my day! I have to scram… fast!' She then hastily bowed in front of them and rushed towards the emergency staircase that was located on the far end of the floor-where people don't usually use or pass by and considered to be an area away from 'civilization'.
'Yes. Emergency exit right now would be faster than elevators! People would fall in line just to use those!' She thought while she headed straight for the stair case. And when she reached the door, she whipped it open, readying herself for a short marathon she'll do for her to reach her office-which was located at the fourth floor of the building.
However she became rooted on her place when she saw someone familiar to her.
Chestnut unruly hair with amber eyes that seems to be staring at her…
'It looks hazy.'…and then she let out her breath that she was unconsciously holding in when she saw him.
'Wait. That's not how his eyes would usually look.' All of a sudden, Sakura squinted her eyes, trying her best to focus her gaze at the man in front of her. Just then, she noticed that it was not just his eyes that look quite odd. It was also the way he was carrying himself.
He was dangerously tilting forward.
And from that moment on, she knew that something was wrong with him.
Suddenly, everything around her didn't matter. All she could see was him closing his eyes and his body falling towards the hard cement floor.
It felt like everything was in slow motion. An event that's almost like the movies; where the lead actor and actress felt like their world had stopped spinning-where only the two of them matters.
However, for her, her world started slowing down for another reason.
It was because she was so focused on moving herself out from where she was standing to simply catch the man in front of her.
That's mainly it. Everything was nothing to her. All the noises within the floor seemed like just a buzz to her compared to the heavy beating that her heart was doing.
'Will I be in time to catch him?' worry was running through her mind and heart as she started sprinting towards him, extending her arms wide to catch him.
And after a split second, all she could do was shut her eyes tight as she felt his weight on her arms, while the two of them slowly sank to the floor.
'Oh gods!' she exclaimed silently when she felt the coldness from the floor seeping through her clothes. Slowly as ever, she opened her eyes and looked down at the man in her arms. And as she stared at him for a minute or less, she couldn't help but remember something that happened to them years and years ago.
'Hmm maybe Syaoran's at our usual meeting place by now.' Sakura silently mused to herself as she trekked their school's corridors, stopping once in a while to greet her classmates and friends. As soon as she reached the stairs, she silently went down and headed towards the main entrance and egress of the school, her anticipation building within her.
By the time she was out from their school building, Sakura's anticipation was momentarily forgotten when she felt the warm rays of hitting her creamy porcelain skin. She then released a calm smile as she started appreciating their school day. Indeed the day was quite lovely that time. She could feel the wind calmly brushing past her. Everything was so serene. Slowly, she turned to her right, when she remembered the reason why she went outside their school building just as soon as their dismissal bell rang. And when she saw the man she was looking for standing beside the cherry blossom tree, she can't help but smile sweetly.
'Oh good! He's there already! Guess I could give him Tomoyo's gift for his fifteenth birthday tomorrow.'
Excitedly, she started sprinting towards him, not noticing the intense admiring look that some of her male schoolmates gave to her. And by the time she reached the cherry blossom tree, she failed to see the intense glare that Syaoran has been giving off at those male students.
And when she was just a foot apart from Syaoran, she suddenly exclaimed, "Hey Syao—"
However she was cut and surprised when Syaoran suddenly placed his forehead on top of her right shoulder as his arms lightly encircled Sakura's waist.
"Hey… what's… wrong?" Sakura, who was shocked with Syaoran's action, tried her very best not to mind the sudden erratic beating of her heart.
"I'm just tired. I hope you don't mind me resting my forehead on your shoulder for awhile." His hold onto her was becoming tight.
"No… I don't mind." As slowly as ever, the moment she felt her heartbeat coming back to its proper rhythm, she let her hands rest on his back and said "Anything for my best friend."
Unexpectedly, she felt Syaoran remove his forehead on her shoulder. And when she thought that, Syaoran was done with his small favor from her, she didn't expect him to place his chin on top of her head.
"Yeah…thanks" he said while he clutched onto her tightly, not letting Sakura hear the last word he uttered "best friend." As if hating that description.
"Huh? You said something?" Sakura tried to move her head to meet his gaze but failing miserably.
"I said thanks." And he then sharply breathed in while he hugged Sakura tightly, letting those male admirers of 'his best friend' see the moment he was having with her, smirking secretly when he saw some of them leaving the school grounds dejectedly.
However, Sakura's trance was suddenly cut short when she felt the way the man in her arms breathed on her chest. And when she looked at him closely, she could see how small beads of his perspiration appeared on his forehead.
'He's breathing hard.' She then started panicking.
It was her first time to see him like this, so weak. Honestly, she was shocked to see Syaoran like this. Yet, she couldn't also deny that there was a part of her heart that suddenly wrenched.
Though she didn't like the feeling she just felt, she tried her best to focus on what is really important, placing the 'other feeling' she's experiencing aside.
Knowing that that the situation she is at the moment is serious and could really be critical, she knew that she has to do something. And she did what she thought she could do at the moment.
"Somebody... help me!... Please!" 'Please! Somebody!' "Help!"
However, a minute had passed and no one has come up to them to help them.
'My god!' Sakura started getting worried more as another minute passed them by.
'Damn!' and she became restless. 'Please lord! Help!' She then averted her gaze at Syaoran. She can't leave him here alone.
"Syaoran!" her voice was weary, hoping that maybe he would stir and wake up so she could assist him outside the emergency exit. "Syaoran! Please!"
Nonetheless, she really knew that it was a wishful thinking. She already knew that Syaoran won't really open his eyes and stand up while she assists him outside.
Suddenly she shook her head while telling herself,
'Stop thinking about the other things! Focus!' … 'Time is running out. Every second is precious!'
And out of the blue she remembered her cell phone. 'Cell phone! Yes, I could call Tomoyo!' Hastily, she decided to let Syaoran lie on his back and let his head rest on her lap. But while she was shifting Syaoran, a part of her was telling her, that she's not doing it all right. When someone's unconscious, one shouldn't move the person at all. One should wait for the medics or a person knowledgeable of the situation to act.
But what else could she do? For Pete's sake! She was panicking! Her thoughts were all around, hindering herself to act accordingly.
So by the time she had made Syaoran lie on his back, his head resting on her lap, she hastily freed one of her hands from holding him to get her cell phone from her pocket. However, as soon as she reached her pocket, her hope was cut short when she felt that her cell phone was not inside her pocket.
'Shit! I left it in my office!'… 'If only I brought my cell phone with me!... Crap!'
She then stared at Syaoran again, assessing the situation as fast as she could.
'If I leave him fast I could run and call somebody for help. But if I leave him something bad might happen and there will be no one beside him! What should I do?' panic completely showing through her face, her spirit torn apart on what she should do.
Yet a small voice within her erupted. 'Stop panicking!' And it was as if somebody had slapped her face on that very instant. Waking her up and making her think clearer, more composed and very alert.
"I shouldn't panic. I shouldn't panic." And when a good half a minute had passed, she decided to look at Syoaran again—observing him closely.
She can clearly see the beads of perspiration trickling down his forehead, his mouth that was slightly opened and lastly the movement of his chest.
Cautiously, she allowed her free hand to rest on top of his chest while her head dipped downwards, stopping when her ear was just a few centimeters above from his mouth.
Her instincts told her to do this. Feel his heartbeat and hear his breathing. And after a few seconds of intense concentration, she could tell that his heart felt like it was beating fast, he's breathing was still deeper, but better than the first few minutes he had collapsed.
Yet she knew that she needed to do more than feel his heartbeat and observe his breathing.
Quickly, she removed her hand from his chest when she remembered from her health class what she could do when someone collapses.
Check his or her pulse.
She raised her head and careful as ever, placed her index and middle finger, on his neck just below his jaw, and started feeling his pulse. And when she found it, she slowly lifted her left arm and checked the time.
7:26. As soon as she saw that it had just turned 7:27, she started counting Syaoran's pulse. A minute passed and what she found out alarmed her. Even though he's at rest, his pulse rate is up by a little than normal pulse rate that a person should have when he's resting.
With this, she instantly knew she couldn't leave him like this.
All alone in this place.
So she mustered all her breath, remembering the time wherein she was practicing as a cheerleader in their high school and shouted at the top her lungs hoping that everyone in the floor could hear her.
"SOMEBODY! SOMEBODY HELP ME!"
And she didn't stop her shouting.
"Good morning Kazuma!" the guard just outside the building exclaimed when he saw Kazuma.
"Morning Ken!" Kazuma who was wearing an aviator shades, contentedly replied at the guard in front of him, focusing on entering the Daidouji Designs Company without catching the attention of many fans just outside the building's area.
So when he finally stepped inside the building, Kazuma sighed, removed the shades he was wearing and carefully tucked it on his head. He then tuned to face Ken again and said, "See you later man!"
The guard who was busy looking at the area smiled back at Kazuma and nodded his head.
And as Kazuma walked a few steps farther from the entrance, he couldn't help but smirk and be amazed at the people waiting for their turn to ride the elevators.
'Jam packed.' Knowing that he wouldn't even get the opportunity to use the elevators, he had unconsciously walked towards the corridor where the emergency staircase is located.
Well, he doesn't usually ride the elevators of this building anyway because of one reason: too many people.
It's not that he doesn't like people. It's just that he doesn't like the stress he feels when people are trying to vie for a very small place inside a very packed elevator.
That's why when he's at the company; he always opted for the staircase. But… he doesn't mind it at all, using the emergency staircase. There's no excessive noise. No cramped people. No pushing.
Just him, the steps and silence.
"Why can't they appreciate the stairs?" he said silently, making a turn just to his right. 'It can be a good exercise…. Besides they won't really be that stressed because they won't encounter the excessive waiting, the pushing, and the cramping of people inside the elevator… Aside…'
However, his thoughts were cut short when a man suddenly called out to him. "Kazuma!"
With that, he instantly stopped, just when he was about a foot away from the door of the emergency staircase.
And Kazuma suddenly turned around to face the person and smiled back at him. "Good morning Eriol."
"You're quiet early." Eriol said when he was finally able to catch up with Kazuma. "I guess you're not fond of the elevators too."
"Yeah…" But before he could finish his statement, he suddenly felt his phone vibrated inside his pocket. Thinking that it might be important, he grabbed the phone from the side pocket of his jeans, looked at Eriol and said. "Sorry, I'll just check who messaged me."
"It alright. I don't it mind at all."
And Eriol saw how Kazuma smiled when he read the message sent to him.
"Sakura?" He unconsciously asked Kazuma.
"Nope." Kazuma on the other hand, showed his phone to Eriol, allowing the man in front of him know who had just texted him.
However, before Eriol could read the message, his attention was caught by the time on Kazuma's phone.
'Still early.' He silently mused while he proceeded on his next task: reading the message that Kazuma had just received.
Get here a.s.a.p. so you could fit the clothes that I designed for you. And after that, I'll gladly kick you out of my office so you could finally see my beautiful and ever gorgeous best friend!- Tomoyo
"Feisty lady." Eriol suddenly chuckled, his eyes perfectly showing how impressed he was with Tomoyo's antics after reading the message and returning the phone to Kazuma.
"Yeah. One feisty lady." Kazuma let out a quiet laughter too as he opened the door of the emergency stair case. As soon as they were about to take the step, their comfortable silence was suddenly shattered, making Kazuma stop on what he was about to do. Gradually, anyone who could see the two men would definitely notice how Kazuma's face turned so white just like the snow when he heard the familiar voice pleading again.
"SOMEBODY! SOMEBODY HELP ME!"
It was desperately asking for help.
'Maybe it's my imagination.' He silently tried to convince himself, hoping that the voice he was hearing was just a mirage.
But when he directed his gaze at Eriol-with a face that was plastered with shock and confusion at that very moment, he instantly knew and was fully convinced that what he actually heard was not a mere hallucination.
'It's real.' And Kazuma started sprinting, taking two steps at a time, following the voice he was hearing, worry perfectly etched on his pale face, leaving behind Eriol.
'Sakura!' It made him sick with worry. He had never heard Sakura's voice like that. He was used to hearing a happy, sometimes longing and reserved voice of Sakura. But he had never heard Sakura cry for help desperately.
Just this moment only. And it made him feel angry at himself. It made him feel like a total jerk for not being able to be at Sakura's side.
'Why can't I run faster than this?!'
"…SOMEBODY! SOMEBODY HELP ME!"
And whatever anger he felt at himself, suddenly went outside the window when he shouted "Sakura!" at the very moment he was about to reach the second floor of the building.
"SOMEBODY! SOMEBODY HELP ME!" it was a desperate plea as her voice became more strained.
'Please!' how she wanted to cry out of extreme anxiety! 'Why can't someone hear me?!'
"Please! SOMEBODY! SOMEBODY HELP ME!"
And her distressed thoughts were cut short when she heard someone shout her name.
Sakura instantly whipped her head towards the direction of where the voice came from.
Slowly as ever, relief started replacing the desperation, fear and worry she was feeling. And after a few seconds of waiting, she finally saw a familiar man with jet black hair and chocolate eyes full of worry and anxiety.
"Ka-zu-ma…" as if testing her fiancé's name for the first time. "…Kazuma…" She repeated, her voice quite raspy and weary from all the shouting. "Kazuma!"
"I'm here baby!" Kazuma exclaimed the moment he reached the second floor, rushing beside Sakura. "What happened?" His breath was short because of the running he did, his sight averted on the man lying on his fiancée's lap.
"Syaoran… he collapsed! I need help! Call an ambulance!" Sakura's voice became louder with every word she uttered. She then grasped Kazuma's arm tightly while saying "Help Syaoran!"
Automatically, Kazuma reached for his phone while his other hand rested on Sakura's back, and did what was asked of him.
"How is he Tomoyo?" Eriol asked the woman— whose hair was tied in a loose bun, perfectly showing her smooth pale skin on her neck— in front of him.
The woman just smiled a small smile at him while she averted her gaze towards the bed before she said, "The doctor just left five minutes ago. He said that the main reason why Syaoran collapsed was because of fatigue, lack of sleep, and slight fever... But he'll be good to go after a day of resting here."
"That's great to hear…" Eriol stopped just beside Tomoyo. Tomoyo who was busy at that time fixing Syaoran's blanket suddenly stopped on her action when she heard Eriol say "I'm sorry."
"What for?" she was puzzled and at the same time shocked.
"I should be the one taking care of these things…" However, before he could continue with his explanation, he was taken aback when Tomoyo shushed him by placing her soft delicate finger on top of his lips. "You had a lot to do a while ago. Not allowing this situation to be known by the paparazzis and media, cancelling on Syaoran's appointments…" Tomoyo said with a hushed tone. "Besides I'm one of Syaoran's closest friend. Doing this is something I want to do for him… and for you…" "you..know…" Tomoyo's pale cheeks awhile ago were now tainted by a rosy blush as she continued with her speech. "as your girlfriend."
And Eriol's heart swelled with pride when he heard Tomoyo said those words 'as your girlfriend.'
Until now, the fact that he is now Tomoyo's boyfriend surprised him. Just a month and half ago he was a single man. Who would have thought that the woman he was pinning for so long was his girlfriend now?
Actually, who would have thought that his relationship with Tomoyo would abruptly change with just a short period of time?
From an acquaintance, to a friend and now as a boyfriend? The gods above him must really love him.
Yet, his wonderful thoughts were cut short when he heard Tomoyo speak again. "It was good that when he collapsed, Sakura was there. Maybe if she wasn't in a hurry that time and had taken the elevator, everything could have gone really wrong. Maybe Syaoran could have suffered a concussion since no one was there to catch him… Worst, we wouldn't actually know what had happened to Syaoran."
"You're right." The two of them suddenly became quiet, their fingers slowly lacing with each other as they watch Syaoran's chest rise and fall, relief washing through them now that he's breathing was finally even while he lies unconsciously on a hospital bed…
"…we wouldn't actually know what had happened to Syaoran."
And then there was silence that was accompanied by unending darkness. This was how Syaoran was spending his time inside his private room in a hospital.
Though there were times that he was conscious, hearing bits of his guests' conversations, wondering who they could be, wanting to know what they were talking about and what time or even what day it is, his mind and body wouldn't allow him so.
It's because the moment he wills himself to open his eyes and move his body, tiredness would cast a spell upon him, enticing him to sleep again. So no matter how much he hated it, his eyes would remain close, still making him one with darkness and his mind gladly entertaining unconsciousness, allowing him back in his own little fantasy world- his very own dreamland.
"Ne, Syaoran?" Sakura, who was leaning her back against his chest while his arms were around her waist, suddenly broke the silence they were sharing as the two of them stood outside their school grounds grounds.
"Hmmm?" and that was all he could answer because at that moment, he was captivated by the sweet scent of Sakura's hair, her soft but melodic voice and her warm and soft hands that held his arms.
Unexpectedly, Sakura turned her gaze towards Syaoran, her fingers lightly brushing his cheek and asked, "Will we stay like this forever?"
It was replaying in his dream again. An experience of his that he was certain that had happened between him and her years and years ago. A vivid memory, a moment he treasures. An experience where he tucked deep in his mind and heart that can only be relieved in dreamland.
A dreamland that felt like reality, where he could still feel how she lightly but passionately touched his cheek.
It was a gesture full of emotion and hope.
Though years had passed already, it's still a wonder, a question, a puzzle, for him on how she did it. How she could channel so much emotions, passion and love through a simple gesture.
However, no matter how much he wanted to solve the mystery of Sakura's touch, he knew that it would be a puzzle that would remain a mystery to him as long as he lives. A puzzle that he wouldn't be able to figure out because he only had bits of information left with him in his dreamland.
Yet, even if that was the case, especially when he is all alone in his room after the tedious schedule he had for his shootings, and modeling, he would still be glad that he had a few pieces of the puzzle. A few pieces such as Sakura's sweet cherry blossom scent and the feel of those touches she bestowed to him in his very own dreamland.
'I'd do anything to experience it all over again— to see her smile and feel her touches again.'
And sometimes, because of his intense desire, instances would fool him, making his dreamland one with reality.
Just like this moment, while he fights himself out from dreamland to finally meet reality again.
It was as if he could feel her touch again; her hand lightly brushing through his hair, slowly running her fingers from his forehead down to his temple and stopping at his cheek. And little by little he could feel the palm of her hand on his cheek, warming it, comforting him.
And from that moment on, he knew that reality was welcoming him back.
Yet, before he allows reality to receive him again, a part of him convinced his very mind that at the moment he opens his eyes, everything that he had just felt a moment ago, was all an illusion, a trick that his heart had been playing on him.
It was just a dream, a fantasy, a wishful thinking, a selfish desire.
No hoping. No expectation.
Therefore, by the time he was at the brink of reality and was almost leaving dreamland, he was a bit at eased with the idea that he had saved himself— especially his heart from an impending sadness that could shroud him if he let himself believe that the woman he loves, is beside him.
'White wall. A vase full of peonies…'
Slowly as ever, he allowed himself to be acquainted to his surroundings the very instance that he opened his eyes. However what he failed to get familiar with was the door of his room that had gradually closed.
'See. Nothing but an...'
But then, his thoughts were cut when he heard the door opened, and saw the familiar emerald beauty standing just outside his room with a small smile on her face.
"Oh. You're finally awake. I better call Tomoyo and Eriol. They're at a café just across the street."
To be continued…
A/N: woooooooooooooooooooow. Damn. Long chapter. Anyway! Review please! :D tell me how this chapter is for you. :) Personally, I like some parts of this chapter. The other was just okay for me. I don't know. Was it too long? Tell me :) please please. You didn't like it? Tell it to me through a review :D
Anyway, to those who reviewed my previous chapter and decided to follow it, thank you!. I'd also like to grab this opportunity to thank the following (because I haven't really thanked them properly): littlepuppylost, guest, vmc, ulq4schiffer, Kimiko17, James Birdsong and to all those reviewed my previous chapters. Your comments really helped me in writing my stories! I hope that you wouldn't lose interest in my story :)
Again to all my readers, thank you so much! And sorry for the typos when you see them :(