A/N: Ta-daaaaahhhhh! Here's chapter 5, YAY! I finally got around to actually finish it, thank God. Strangely, I got the urge to write it again after finishing the first chapter of my new fic, Queen of Hearts. Read that one too if you have the time *cough*plugging*cough* Ahem, anyway. This chapter has been graciously betaed by KyteAura-chan as my dear Caty-chan is quite busy at the moment ^^ (you still ROX, Caty-chan, good luck with your manga!) Oh by the way, she's going to make a doujinshi of Oreo ^^ isn't it great of her?! Yay!
Thank you so, SO much to all those who reviewed! They helped in waking me up ^^ And I'm really sorry for taking so long. Hopefully chapter 6 will get finished soon! Hehe!Chapter 5
Eriol slowly opened his eyes, half-sitting up and blearily staring at his surroundings. Where was – oh. He was in Tomoyo's room. He couldn't remember the exact events that occurred the night before, but somehow he ended up sleeping with Tomoyo again.
He felt his face go warm at that thought. Well it's not like Tomoyo and I were sleeping together, as in sleeping together, Eriol reasoned inside his head. We were just…sleeping. Together.
That didn't make much sense. Eriol rubbed his eyes and turned over to reach for his eyeglasses on the night table beside the bed. And that's when he finally realized…he was alone in the room. Where was Tomoyo?
And someone was retching in the bathroom.
He ran to the bathroom and flung the door open. Tomoyo was bent over, coughing, her hands gripping the sink tightly.
"Are you okay?" he said, his voice cracking. Stupid question. Does she look like she's okay, you moron?
Tomoyo nodded, then quickly wished she didn't because the simple action made her head spin. She shut her eyes tight, taking slow, deep breaths. Eriol watched her in apprehension, having no clue as to what he was supposed to do. When the world finally stopped spinning, Tomoyo slowly opened her eyes and turned on the tap to splash water on her face.
Eriol grabbed the towel hanging on the wall and stepped forward, gently turning Tomoyo around so he could pat her face dry. She closed her eyes and sighed, leaning towards him.
"How are you feeling?" he whispered.
She wrapped her arms around his waist before answering. "I'm fine," she said, resting her head against his chest.
"Are you really?" he asked doubtfully. He reached up to stroke her hair. This was nice. Isn't it incredible how the mushiest moments can happen in the weirdest places?
"Yes." A pause. "No."
He gave a little chuckle. "Yeah."
"I feel sick."
"To be perfectly honest, I feel really sick." Tomoyo buried her head deeper in his chest, smiling mischievously. "In fact, I feel so sick right now that I could barf all over your shirt." She stifled a giggle, expecting him to jump away from her.
He didn't move. Tomoyo raised her head to find him looking solemnly at her. "I don't mind if you barfed on me, if it'll make you feel better afterwards," he said seriously.
She laughed. "Silly," she said affectionately, deep down touched by what he said. "If I barf any more this morning, it'll be my guts coming out next."
He frowned. "How do you feel, honestly?"
"I don't feel like throwing up anymore, but I'm rather dizzy and my head aches."
"Come on, let's get you out of here." Eriol guided her out of the bathroom.
Tomoyo groaned. "Ohhh…the world is spinning again…"
He looked at her worriedly. "I'd carry you, but now I'm too afraid that I might drop you and break your neck or something."
"It's okay." She smiled at him weakly. "Where are we going?"
"Back to your room, of course."
She gasped, her eyes going wide. "SHIT! I haven't made breakfast yet! Turn around, lead me to the kitchen—"
"No way!" he said vehemently. "Are you crazy?! You can't even stand up properly and you're thinking of making breakfast. God." They reached her room, and Eriol pushed the door open with one foot. "I'll make it, okay?"
Tomoyo giggled as she slowly sat down on the bed before lying down. "Are you sure? I don't want to be poisoned."
Eriol gave her a look of feigned hurt. "I can fry stuff, you know!" Tomoyo just stared at him with wide eyes, her eyes sparkling with mirth. He put his hands on her shoulders and looked at her in the eye. "Listen, I'm doing everything today."
"You don't have to, I—" she started to protest, but he cut her off.
"No. Listen to me – I really shouldn't allow you to do so many chores around the house even if you want to—" he raised his voice when she opened her mouth to protest again, "—because…well, you're tiring yourself too much. Let me do everything today. Even just for today, okay? You – you just stay here and rest. Alright?"
Tomoyo could feel her heart swelling as she stared at the man in front of her. He was…a jumble of words came to mind – devilishly handsome, incredibly smart, talented, mischievous, sweet, kind, caring – but to sum it all up, he was…amazing. Her eyes welled up with tears of joy, and she nodded quickly to prevent him from seeing them.
He grinned. "I'll be back in a few minutes."
Eriol went to the kitchen, humming a tune under his breath. He wasn't kidding her – he really does know how to cook. Only when it comes to frying, though. All the other stuff – baking, broiling, whatever – he didn't have any idea. In no time at all, the bacon and eggs were fried, the bread toasted (rather perfectly, he noted with pride.) He went on to make fresh-squeezed orange juice. He arranged everything on a breakfast tray, adding a small vase of flowers (the plastic ones) for effect. He stepped back to admire his work. Not bad. He picked up the tray and carried it carefully to Tomoyo's room.
She was dozing lightly when he entered, and woke up immediately at the sound of the tray being placed on the night table. Her eyes widened. "Wow, Eriol…I…"
"Ta-dah!" he said triumphantly. "Your breakfast, mademoiselle."
"I think you made too much," Tomoyo said, picking up the fork and sampling the eggs.
He picked up the tray again and settled it on the bed between them. "Correction, then. It's our breakfast."
She giggled. "Good."
They ate noisily for the next moments. For some reason, Tomoyo kept giggling once in a while. (She was still pretty tickled over the fact that Eriol made breakfast.) And Eriol insisted that he be the one to feed her. (Tomoyo: "You're crazy. Oh, fine. Only if I get to feed you, too!") She looked up one time to find his mouth covered with breadcrumbs, sending her into another fit of giggles.
She leaned over and wiped the crumbs away with a napkin. "Honestly, you eat like a pig, Eriol," she teased, causing him to throw a tiny piece of bacon at her and thus starting a mini-food fight between them.
Tomoyo had picked up the glass of orange juice and was drinking blissfully when she happened to glance at the calendar hanging by the door. She saw the date marked red and spluttered, sending juice flying everywhere.
"What's wrong?!" Eriol asked in alarm, moving closer to pat her back. She shook her head, unable to say anything for the moment as she coughed, thumping her chest with one hand as the other held the glass tightly.
When her coughing had ceased, she drank a bit more of the juice, set down the glass, buried her face in her hands and wailed. "Oh nooooooooooooo—"
"What? What?" Eriol asked confusedly. "What's the matter?"
Not looking up, Tomoyo pointed to the calendar as she continued to sob.
He left her side to peer at it closely. August 20. That's today…"Dinner…with…Takashi Yamazaki and…Chiharu Mihara…" he read. "Huh?"
"It's today!" she shrieked. "They're going to come over here tonight and have dinner with us! Have you forgotten? I can't believe I forgot! I was going to cook for all of us but now I can't because I can't even stand up without the world shifting under me and—"
"Tomoyo," he began, suppressing a nervous laugh. Uh-oh, mood swings. He hoped he could handle it. "It's okay!"
"It is so NOT okay," she raged, glaring at him. "Who's going to cook now? Don't tell me we're going to order out! I hate ordering out—how could have I forgotten?! Oh my god…Eriol, call them and tell them maybe we should move our date…tomorrow, I don't know…when I'm actually feeling alright!"
He sat beside her again and gently drew her into a hug. In an instant, all the fight went out of her and she clung to him, sobbing.
"Try not to stress yourself too much," he said softly, running his hand up and down her back in an attempt to soothe her even more. "We don't want what you just ate to make an appearance, now do we?"
"Thank you so much for reminding me about vomiting," Tomoyo said sarcastically, her voice muffled beneath his shirt.
"We can't change the date of our dinner with Yamazaki and Chiharu now," he reasoned. "If we're going to change it, we should have done it days ago. They might have other engagements on other days, which is why they agreed to this date."
"But…but…" she looked up at him, teary-eyed. "Who's going to cook our dinner?"
He went still for a few moments. Then he said, with a huge sigh, "I will."
"Hey, I cooked breakfast, remember?" He gave her a grin. "Dinner should be a piece of cake. And remember, I told you I was going to do everything today. You're still going to stay here and rest."
She wiped her eyes and smiled at him happily. "Eriol…" She buried her face in his chest again. "Thank you."
He hugged her back, heaving a huge sigh of relief. Mood swing abated. Whew.
Now on to the harder part, he thought. The actual cooking…
Eriol frowned thoughtfully at the cookbook propped open in front of him.
"Peanut Chicken," he murmured, tracing the words with a finger. "8 half boneless chicken breasts, skinned…check. Vegetable oil…check. A can of stewed tomatoes…check. Garlic powder…check. Ginger…red pepper…check. And last…peanut butter. Check." He blinked. "Peanut butter?" He laughed aloud. "Honestly, what is it with that woman and peanut butter?"
Other items: spoons, cooking oil, skillet – check. "Ready to roll," he announced to no one in particular.
"Eriol?" came Tomoyo's faint voice from her room. "Is everything okay?"
He sighed, shaking his head. "Yes!" he called back. "The kitchen's still standing."
"Don't joke," she yelled hoarsely.
"Relax! Everything's fine. I told you to sleep!" No more sounds came from her room, although he heard a faint thud. He grinned, sure that she threw something against the wall.
He turned his attention back to the cookbook. "'In large skillet'," he read slowly, "'cook chicken in oil over medium-high heat about 4 minutes per side or until no longer pink in the center. Remove chicken from skillet.'" He scratched his head. "Okay…that part looks easy. Hmm. 'Add tomatoes, garlic, ginger and red pepper to skillet, cook 2 minutes. Stir in peanut butter.' Ugh. Maybe I should just leave the peanut butter part out? Nah, she'll definitely be mad. 'Return chicken to skillet; heat through. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and peanuts, if desired.'"
He scratched his head again, frowning more deeply. "That's it? No other instructions?" He squinted at the picture of the finished dish in the book. "Sounds easy to make…and looks delicious…I wonder if I can cook it to look like THAT?"
He rolled up his sleeves determinedly and donned an apron. "Here goes nothing," he said aloud.
"Um, Eriol…" Tomoyo squinted at the plate, looking peering at the objects more closely. "Is this…the chicken?"
"Yes," Eriol moaned. His head was leaning against the refrigerator door, where he had been banging it for the past few minutes.
She popped a piece of the so-called chicken in her mouth and chewed thoughtfully. Eriol lifted his head to look at her reaction with trepidation.
Tomoyo swallowed. Then she smiled cheerfully. "Still tastes like chicken!"
Eriol moaned loudly and proceeded to bang his head on the door again.
"Stop doing that," she ordered. "I mean it."
"Don't you know banging your head around reduces your brain cells?" she scolded. "Look. It really does taste okay. In fact," she looked around. "You did everything pretty right. Well, except that you burned the chicken—"
"I did fine?" he said, brightening.
"Yes," she reassured. "Really. We just have to scrape off the burned marks and it'll be okay. Although…" she trailed off thoughtfully. "The chicken you cooked properly is just about for two people…"
He sighed, staring at the totally burned chicken in the trashcan. "Is there any more chicken left?"
She shook her head. "No. And it's too late for that." She ran her fingers through her hair and sighed deeply.
"What?" he said, watching her.
She shrugged. "I guess this means I have to submit myself to the evils of take-out?"
"Alright!" he said happily. "What's so evil about ordering out anyway?"
"The ordering itself," she replied, making a face. "I hate ordering on the phone. For some reason me and the person on the other end of the line always end up shouting at each other." Then she perked up. "You know what? I'm craving for pizza."
He laughed. "Sounds okay. Leave the ordering to me, then," he said, walking out of the kitchen to get the cordless phone.
"Eriol?" she called out. "Aren't you forgetting something?"
"What?" he asked, punching in the phone number of the pizzeria down the street.
"You have to clean the kitchen up," she reminded him sweetly.
"That dish was delicious!" Chiharu proclaimed.
"Eriol made it," Tomoyo said proudly.
The Peanut Chicken was the first thing Eriol and Tomoyo's guests had devoured before they all attacked the pizza. And Eriol hadn't even tasted what he cooked—but if they deem it good, he wasn't complaining at all.
Yamazaki choked on the Coke he was drinking. "Seriously?!" He glanced at his best friend, who was quite pink in the face and looking pleased. "I actually ate something Hiiragizawa cooked, and I'm still alive?" He shook his head. "Wow."
"Hahahaha," Eriol said sarcastically, but he was grinning.
"Wow is right," Chiharu agreed. "I didn't know you knew how to cook, Eriol."
"Actually…" Eriol said, trying to look modest.
"It was more like trial and error," Tomoyo supplied helpfully.
"Right." He stood up. "Are you all finished? Why don't you two—" he nodded to the women, "—go into the living room while we clear the table and wash the dishes?"
Chiharu's mouth dropped open, and Yamazaki choked once more on his drink. Tomoyo opened her mouth to protest, but Eriol shook his head warningly at her. "Remember what I said, Tomoyo…"
She rolled her eyes. "Oh, fine! If you insist on becoming a total slave…Let's go, Chiharu!"
The other woman recovered from her initial shock and gave Eriol an approving smile. Then she shot her boyfriend a wide, amused grin before following Tomoyo out of the kitchen.
Eriol had just about cleared all the plates from the table when Yamazaki finally stopped coughing. "Eriol, you've totally flipped," he gasped out. "Clear the table? Wash the dishes? And to top it all off, YOU, cooking dinner?! Oh my god. Oh my freaking god—"
"Cut it out!" Laughing, Eriol threw the dishtowel right at Yamazaki's face. "Shocked, are you? There's always a first time for everything, y'know."
"But—but—" Yamazaki sputtered. "That was too many first times!"
Eriol didn't reply as he cleared the table all by himself, bringing all the dishes to the sink. Yamazaki stomped toward him and, grabbing the soap and sponge from him, began scrubbing the plates vigorously.
"Okay," Yamazaki said, as squoosh, squoosh, squoosh went the sponge in his hand. "I get it. About the first times, I mean. I totally understand. But you've got to admit it, buddy. You can't deny it. You are in love with her."
Eriol nearly dropped the plate he was wiping dry. "What?!" This time it was he who was sputtering. "That—that—that—"
"—is absolutely true," Yamazaki said triumphantly, starting to soap the dishes in a less vigorous manner.
"—'NOT'?" Yamazaki raised his eyebrows. "Was that what you were going to say? Okay, c'mon, tell it to my face."
Eriol just turned an interesting shade of red and didn't say anything.
"See?" Yamazaki crowed. "Honestly, I dunno why you can't admit it to yourself. What's so wrong about falling in love with Tomoyo? First of all, she's a total babe." He grinned when Eriol glared at him for that statement. "Well, she is. Don't tell me you haven't noticed. I mean, you, the total pervert who first introduced me to triple-X videos. Okay, she's pregnant now, but she's still a knockout. Second, I've only known her for a short time but she makes me feel like we're old friends. Definitely nice. And she's not nice in the grandma kind of way. I mean, there are times when she can be really sassy, you know. Lastly, Chiharu likes her, and that's saying something."
He sighed when Eriol was still unable to form a coherent word. "So," he continued, "I don't think it's a crime if you love her, you know. Although…" he trailed off. He scratched his cheek thoughtfully. "I guess I could understand what you're thinking about. I mean, your situation is really bizarre, isn't it? Tomoyo was your brother's girlfriend whom he got pregnant, then he totally turned tail and ran off and left her, then her father was all seething mad and demanded that your brother marry her, but your parents didn't want to and he didn't want to as well, then her father was going to sue all of you so your mother persuaded YOU to marry her and you, like the total imbecile like you are actually AGREED and it didn't even occur to you then that you've only spent eighteen years on this earth before throwing it all away by getting married to someone you didn't even know…then you guys actually got along, and slowly but surely you became reeeeeally close to each other and then this time comes when you have actually fallen in love with each other." Yamazaki finished his speech, not noticing he had been soaping the same glass for about five minutes now.
"I—" Eriol finally managed to say. He shook his head. "It…it's too…early"
"Early for what?" Yamazaki inquired, still holding the same glass.
"Early…to say that we're in love with each other," Eriol said in a quiet voice. He stared at the dishtowel in his hands. "I…I don't know. I really don't know. Right now I can't say that I love her…but I can't say that I don't, either."
Yamazaki gazed at his friend seriously. The change in Eriol was shocking, yet…pleasing. "You've grown up, buddy."
"Yes," Eriol smiled, thinking of Tomoyo. "I certainly have."
A/N again: The "Peanut Chicken" recipe is real, I did not make it up. (Kyte has even eaten it before—I haven't :P) I got it from our Del Monte Kitchen Recipe cookbook. Tomoyo, Eriol and all others are OOC as usual…I think. Reviews, as always, make me very happy ^____^
Btw, somebody asked if Eriol and Tomoyo are in college or something. No, they aren't. Tomoyo used to, but then she got pregnant and her father was so mad so she isn't going to college anymore. And Eriol dropped out because he didn't like his course. His parents want him to be a doctor but he wants to be a mechanic. ^__^ Weird, I know, but I'm just following the story based on what I watched in TV. The couple are living off on the money sent by Eriol's parents (their family is filthy rich).