It will be a long winter, maybe full
of hurt and confusion for Sakura… It may be time to say good bye to all
the past sunshine. Yet, yet the winter will be over when spring comes once
“No, Meirin. Read my lips. I am certainly not going to ice skate,” Syaoran slipped away his arms from Meirin.
Their class was on a field trip, which happened to be at the ice skating rink.
“Come on, be a sport!” Meirin persistently grabbed onto his jacket.
“I do not like cold places!”
“Achoo!” Sneezing, Meirin muttered, “Neither do I. But no need to be grouchy.”
“Wow, look!” There was a hush among the students as they watched Erika and Eron on the rink, as they glided along gracefully.
“They could be in the Olympics,” awed Chiharu.
“The Olympics started when…” Takashi started.
“Oh shut up.”
“Strange, but these days, I never seem to get beyond my first sentence.” Takashi tried to look hurt and disappointed, with sad puppy eyes—if he did have any eyes.
Chiharu relented, “Oh fine. I’ll listen to you if you promise to take me somewhere.”
Chiharu stared back beseechingly, clasping her hands tightly. “The biggest event this winter.”
“You’re impossible. The Winter Wonderland, of course!”
“Oh. Then, you’ll listen to my story?” He gave a grin.
“If you ask me very nicely, I will.”
“Okay then.” Kneeling down on the ice rink, he raised a hand and asked gallantly, “Chiharu, may I have the honor to ask you to the Winter Wonderland?” He spoiled the image by slipping and sliding flat on his face at Chiharu’s feet.
“Yes, even if you are the most unromantic
person I’ve ever met,” Chiharu accepted sarcastically as she slapped her
forehead, yet managed to smile.
“Hanyaan. It’s so sweet how those to always bicker.” Sakura sighed by the benches. She fiddled at her white skate laces.
Skating towards her, Tomoyo asked, “Aren’t you going to skate?”
Shaking her head, Sakura answered, “No thank you. I’ve had enough skating experiences. Being frozen, back in elementary, drowning few days ago— that’s enough.”
“You can’t drown from a rink.”
“I’m not taking any chances. I think I’ve had quite enough of winter.”
Gliding over, Eron said, “Come on, Sakura-san. Don’t you like skating? You always roller blade to school.”
Before she could protest, he took her hands and led her to the rink.
“Hey!” Sakura squealed, wobbling.
“Hey what? Come on, let’s have some fun,” Eron said, his hazel eyes brilliant.
Sakura brushed back her wispy golden brown hair and succumbed to Eron’s persistence. Yet, her knees wobbled as she recollected the thin ice and being trapped underneath. She closed her eyes, trying to maintain balance.
CRASH! Bumping into someone, she fell flat on her bottom.
“Hey, watch out!” Syaoran exclaimed, trying to get up, and slipping on the ice again. Steadily shifting his weight onto his leg, he quavered then stood. Then he fell flat back down since Sakura was stepping on his skate lace. In a huff, he got up and glided off.
For some strange impulse, Sakura had the urge to stick out her tongue at him, yet, she restrained in time.
“Class,” the sports teacher announced. “The ice skating relay races will begin. Gather here!”
A crowd of chattering Seijou junior high students gathered. Two by two, the relays began. Eron and Erika were among the fastest. So was Tomoyo. Soon, Sakura found that she was the last one left in the line. So was Syaoran, on the opposing team. She grabbed the red baton from her teammate at the same time Syaoran grabbed the blue one from his side.
Taking a deep breath, she heaved her legs and glided forward.
“Go Sakura-chan!” Tomoyo cheered from the corner, though she was on the other team.
“Tomoyo-chan! She’s on the other team!” Naoko scolded. “Cheer for Li-kun!”
“Oh ho ho…” Tomoyo sweat dropped.
Gaining speed and rhythm, Sakura lunged forward. So did Syaoran. By then, they were neck to neck, and both of them could feel the same cool air blowing on their face. The tension was rigid.
Together, they pumped their legs even harder, as the blades of their skates sliced and sheered at the ice. As they turned the corner of the ring, they were dangerously close to bumping into each other. Sakura closed her eyes thinking, when did we grow to be so competitive?
“Back off!” Syaoran called.
Sakura swerved gracefully around the corner, inching ahead.
Immediately, Syaoran followed the same technique and passed her. They were getting near the endline. All the students were cheering.
Suddenly, Erika shouted, “Hey, watch out!”
Syaoran and Sakura’s eyes turned round as they passed the finishing line and headed towards the rink edge, unable to stop because of the momentum.
“Hoe-e! I… don’t like where this is heading…” Sakura trailed off.
“Neither do I!” Syaoran answered.
“Use your brakes!” Someone called.
Another person responded, “Silly! Skates don’t have breaks like bikes.”
Meirin called, “Slow down!”
“What do you think we are trying to do?” Syaoran asked, as the edge came flying towards him.
“Those two will bump into the…” Tomoyo whipped out her video camera.
CRASH! BAM! BOOM! Both Syaoran and Sakura collided in the ring around the ice rink and fell back, birds flying around their dizzy heads.
“Ouch, that must hurt,” Rika murmured.
“AND they bump into the wall! Goal in!” Takashi exclaimed, holding an imaginary mike to his mouth, pretending to be a sports spectator. “Looks like no broken bones, bloody noses, or deadly injuries. In fact, quite all right!”
“You call this all right?” Meirin exclaimed, running—more like wobbling on skates—to Syaoran. Erika reached there first, bending over Syaoran.
“Syaoran-kun! Are you all right?” Erika asked, concerned. Many girls raised a skeptical eye. Many guys were wishing that they had crashed into the wall.
Both Syaoran and Sakura got up, spiral eyed. Leaning on the rink wall, Syaoran heaved himself up. Immediately, Erika skated next to him, fussing about the accident.
Wrinkling her nose in disgust, Meirin commented, “I guess he could have at least asked you if you were not hurt.”
Sakura shook her head.
“What else would you expect from him?” Eron added. “Come on. Up you go.” Pulling Sakura up, he murmured, “Too bad you didn’t win him.”
“Oh yeah. So, did the Red Team win the relay or did the Blue Team?” Asked Naoko.
The sports coach answered, “Looks like it was a tie.”
“A tie?” Echoed the dismayed students.
“All that hassle for nothing,” Meirin shook her head. Rubbing his head Syaoran nodded. That's why he hated winter.
* * * * * *
“Erika, dear. It was not very nice to enchant our dear little friends’ skates with slipping potions,” Eron drawled, amusedly as he fetched some hot drinks.
“So? It was fun,” Erika shrugged, sipping on the drink, looking slightly sheepish.
“What? Watching them fall or watching them grow tense around each other? What exactly do you have in mind to do with the Little Wolf?”
“I don’t know…”
Their hazel golden eyes met.
* * * * * *
“It’s seems like he’s avoiding me these days.” Sakura said, pulling on a loose white sweater.
“Who?” Tomoyo asked, trying to act innocent.
“It think I hate him, sometimes. It’s such a strange, strangling feeling.”
“Oh… I—it’s just a natural impulse, I guess.
Oh ho ho…” Tomoyo sweat dropped.
“Are you trying to hide something from me?” Years of knowing Tomoyo let Sakura know that something was amiss. Tomoyo looked away.
“Anyway, this is why I hate ice skating. My body aches all over.” Sakura rubbed her back. “I just feel bad that my opponent was Syaoran-kun.”
“Yet, I thought you hated him…” Tomoyo commented,
“Maybe. No. Oh, I don’t know.” Sakura cast her eyes down.
Sitting down next to them, Meirin said, “But he used to like you. I out of all people know.”
“Guys are just difficult to deal with. He’ll get over it. Maybe he’s going through adolescent moodiness or something. Don’t mind him.”
“I—I need to go to the bathroom.” Sakura excused herself. Walking down the hall, she found that she was facing Erika. Great. The last person I want to see right now. Strange, why do I feel this way about Erika? She never did anything bad to me.
“Hi, Sakura-san,” she said in a sweet tone, flicking back her glossy hair from her shoulders. “Good, I wanted to talk to you for ever so long.”
“Oh, nothing important.” Suddenly, her voice became cool. “So, Sakura-san. If it is nothing too personal, will you mind telling me something?”
For some reason, Sakura felt that she was dreading the question. She fiddled with her long golden brown hair, nervously, answering, “S-sure. What?”
With beautiful glinting gold flickering eyes, Erika asked, “So. What exactly is your relationship with Syaoran-kun? Of course, you don’t have to answer if you feel uncomfortable.”
“My relationship with… Syaoran-kun?” Sakura squeaked. Her heart pounded faster. What is my relationship with Syaoran? Rival? Friend? The person that I used to like? All their moments together vividly flashed back to her memory. The time that he told her that he… liked her. His smile. The way that the sun light highlighted his dark brown hair. His level amber eyes. How he told her he loved sunrises… for they marked another beginning… which may bring anything. How he had turned a cold shoulder on her. His distant eyes. Silly childhood memories.
Laughing an octave higher, rather nervously, Sakura said as if in amazement, “Me and Syaoran-kun? Oh, we’re only classmates. I just know him from before he went back to Hong Kong. But we have absolutely no relationship.”
Smiling, Erika said, “Oh really? So, you don’t have anything special between you and Syaoran-kun?”
“R-right. Absolutely nothing between us.”
“That’s great! So… you wouldn’t mind if I asked Syaoran-kun to the Winter Wonderland, would you?”
“N-no. Of course not. It's none of my business... It will be wonderful.”
“That’s very sweet of you. In fact, since you don’t mind about me and Syaoran-kun being together, I don’t see any reason why we can’t be close friends, from now on!”
“R-right,” Sakura forced a big smile. As Erika sauntered away, she let the smile drop.
* * * * * *
Angrily, Sakura scrubbed out her pencil mark with her eraser. f(x)=2x+1. Flopping on her bed, she looked at her wrist watch again.
“Why are you keep on looking at the time? You’re making me nervous,” Kero said.
“Hmm? Oh. I have to meet Syaoran-kun at 5.”
“He needs to give me a music book for the concert coming up.” Gravely, Sakura got up, and pinned her hair.
“Have you been having bad dreams again?”
“Sorta,” Sakura admitted, pulling on her gray winter coat. "Especially about drowning."
“Well, don’t get depressed because of the brat,” Kero said, resuming his video game.
She refrained from saying, “He’s the main reason I worry so much these days.” I try not to think of him, yet he always pops into my mind. “It’s so strange, Kero-chan.”
“What?” Kero asked.
“Long ago, whenever I thought about Syaoran-kun, I just had a happy, warm fuzzy feeling. But,” She wrapped a wool scarf around her neck. “But now, I just have an empty, wistful feeling.”
“Did he call you stupid again, or something? Then, he didn’t change much did he? Hey, I won!!!” Kero-chan cheered, as he passed the final level of a video game.
“Bye, Kero-chan!” Sakura tried to wave cheerfully.
She crashed straight into Touya.
“So, where do you think you are going, kaijou? It’s dinner soon.”
“Hello, onii-chan. Didn’t know you were in already.”
“What’s with you these days? You sound so… un-Sakura-like. If it’s that brat…”
“Nothing. See you later.” Sakura stepped out of the house, feeling the full blast of icy winter wind. She trudged through dirty snow, to the meeting place.
* * * * * *
Absentmindedly, she shuffled the ground with the toes of her boots, waiting for Syaoran to come. The trees around her was sugar frosted, while the road was slippery with old snow. A smoky steam came from her breath, mixing with the air in wispy clouds. In ways, she was dreading for him to come.
Rubbing her hands from the cold, she started humming to herself. “I don’t know… where this road, is gonna lead to... The good times, that made us last, outweigh the bad… And if it takes me to tomorrow, I hope it’s worth all the pain. It’s so hard to say good bye, to yesterday… And I’ll take with me the memories, to be the sunshine after the rain...”
A rough, yet smooth voice came from behind her. “Do you remember what this place is?” Before she could answer, Syaoran said, “This is where I finally told you that I had ‘special feelings’ for you.” He laughed mockingly. “Funny how we can look back to yesterday and realize how silly it was. It seems like another life time.”
Facing the other way, Sakura answered softy, “Oh.” She cringed at the mockery in the tone of his voice, and his frankness as he talked in an uncaring way.
“Here's the music book. You know, for the concert.” He handed it to her, trying to continue with his real motive. “While I’m at it, you probably figured it out, but…” Suddenly, Syaoran found it hard to continue. Both of them faced away from each other, back to back.
Sakura knew, but dreaded what was going to happen. She clenched her gloved fist.
Changing the subject, Syaoran fiddled with his gray wool scarf. “Gosh, I’ve known you for practically 4 years now. I can’t believe that all the crazy card stuff is over…”
“Yeah,” she replied.
“Right. We both know this, but I think it will be better if we just make this clear with each other… I hate it when things are hanging in the air.” Syaoran paused then continued, “You know that I don’t have special feelings about you anymore, right? All those things that happened back in those days before I left to Hong Kong is past.”
There was a terribly awkward silence, as a freezing gust of wind blew at them. Sakura’s hair whipped across her face, her ocean green eyes, expressionless.
“Right,” Sakura finally replied, her voice higher than usual, but calm.
“Good. I’m glad that we sorted the things between us. I don’t like it when things are uncomfortable... Don’t feel pressured about this, or anything. Nothing much has changed... Just now, we have things straight.”
“Okay. Well, I gotta go now. I have dinner duty tonight.”
They shuffled around in the dirty snow, uncomfortably and refused to meet eyes.
Syaoran fiddled with the zipper of jacket then said, “Good bye.”
“Bye, Sakura answered, automatically. She had not looked at him once since he came.
Even after he left, she was stood motionlessly,
with out any emotions or thoughts. A snowflake landed on her cheek. More
and more fell from the sky, swirling around in one motion with the gust.
Her bare hands clutched the music book. Eventually, a snowy pile
formed on her hair and shoulders. She closed her eyes, as sugary frosts
collected on her long lashes.
* * * * * *
“Kaijou! What in the world are you doing here?” Touya, bundled in his winter coat came. “Are you a baby, so that your big brother has to come fetch you? It’s past dinner time…” His midnight blue eyes turned round as he noted Sakura’s blank face, flecked with snow.
Sakura snapped to life again and shook the snow from her hair and coat. “Sorry. I forgot.”
“What’s wrong with you?”
“Nothing. I was just admiring the snow. Let’s go home, now.” Suddenly, Sakura gave her big brother an affectionate hug, snuggling her nose against his coat.
“Hey, watcha doing? Kaijou, is that really you?” Touya felt her forehead.
“I’m fine.” Sakura grinned. “But, I’m starving!”
“It’s a good thing father’s not coming home till late. Really, you shouldn’t be just standing in the snow, in cold winter weather. You can get sick.”
They walked silently back home.
As they ate their dinner Sakura suddenly asked, “Oniichan?”
“Hmm? Pass the tea.”
“Onnichan, what do you do when some one you… care for leaves, then comes back, telling you that person doesn’t care for you anymore?”
“You’re talking in riddles, Sakura. What’s your point?” Suspiciously, her narrowed his eyed and grabbed her shoulders, “You’re not making fun of me about Kaho, are you? I know you’re older and all, but…”
Wriggling out of Touya’s deadly grip, Sakura replied, “Oh no! Not at all. I wasn’t thinking about Mizuki-sensei. It was just a general question. And let go of me, it hurts!”
Touya loosened his hold. “Stop asking philosophical questions too old for you.”
Making a face Sakura retorted, “I am a teenager, now. You can at least treat me like I’m old enough to ask difficult questions.” Then she poked her brother. “I know! You’re embarrassed because Mizuki-sensei… DUMPED… you!”
“Why, you little monster!” Raising his hands, he started chasing Sakura around the kitchen.
“AAAAHHHH!” She screeched, jumping over chairs and the kitchen counter. “Don’t chase me! I’m sorry, so don’t chase me!”
“Oh, no I won’t forgive you so easily this time. I’ll make you pay. In fact, I’ll never tell you anything about my past relationships again. GRRR.” Touya with his long legs took over Sakura.
Kicking his shin, Sakura escaped. “Stop chasing me, or else, I’m going to show all your college friends that picture of you when you were Cinderella in the high school play! “
“What in the world is going on here?” Fujitaka came in, brushing the snow off his trench coat.
“Otou-san! Stop oniichan! He’s bullying me.”
“Touya-san, treat you little sister with more respect.”
“But she—“ Touya was cut off by Fujitaka.
“You should act more responsible. After all, I consider you an adult now.”
Touya glared at Sakura, as she stuck out her tongue at him, then grinned.
* * * * * *
“Yeah, ‘niichan?” Sakura looked up from her bed.
Touya sat on the blanket of her bed. “She told me that she would come back again. And then, the next time I see her, we will be really good, precious friends.”
Sakura snuggled in her soft fluffy pillow, closing her eyes.
In a softer, gentle voice, Touya continued, “At first, when Kaho-san left, I was hurt and confused. Maybe, I still am in an unknown corner of my heart.” He looked down at Sakura’s soft face, with shut eyes. “At first, it was so hard to forget our time together. I never thought that it would end that way. But eventually, I got over with it. She told me that it was important for me to get over it, quickly, that I’ll find someone else. And the next time we meet, we will become really precious friends. In ways, I’ve hated her—no that’s not the right word, held a grudge, because she was always right. I got over her, knowing that it was time to say good bye when she left, but I think that I will always remember how I did love her, once, so long ago… but that’s gone by. I went on with my life, and I’m glad I did. Her friendship will last longer for me.”
Brushing a loose stand of hair off Sakura’s forehead, Touya got up, smiling slightly. He was about to leave.
‘Niichan?” Sakura asked, opening her eyes.
“Kaijou, you weren’t asleep?”
“No, I was listening.”
Grumbling, Touya muttered, “I didn’t mean for you to hear that. Okay now, sleep well.”
“G’night,” Sakura said. “And also…”
“It’s all right. But, I would think you are too old to sleep with a stuffed toy.” He said jokingly. Softly, he shut the bedroom.
Kero relaxed. “I’m NOT a stuffed animal! Umgph. Move you hand!”
Sakura removed her hand from Kero-chan’s mouth. “Sorry! But what if ‘niichan heard? You should be more careful!”
Before she fell a sleep, she muttered,
“It’s so hard to say good-bye to yesterday.”
Wish-chan: Does anyone know the
song “It’s so hard to say good-bye to yesterday” by Boyz II Men? It’s such
a good, meaningful song with great lyrics and tune. Don’t get too depressed
by this chapter, S+S fans! *_~. I believe in sunshine after the rain… *hint,
hint*(I shouldn’t be telling this but more ‘S+Sness’ (??) will come after
the long winter is over.) Thanks to everyone who e-mailed me! It’s really
encouraging and I really appreciate it. ^_^. I usually reply most e-mails
and questions. (Though I’m so scatterbrained and busy sometimes.) Please
comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. I usually reply all e-mails,
but as I said, I am scatter brained. If you want a reply, just write it
By the way, no I’m not getting revenge on Sakura for being so blind about Syaoran-kun’s *feelings* for her. (Syaoran: HEY!!) And no, Syaoran’s not gonna turn in to a major *^&*%. (Syao-chan: Y-you!) Don’t get too depressed by this chapter~ Oh yeah. And I believe in foreshadowing (predicting the future.) Every detail counts~