“Yes!” Tomoyo Daidouji replied, smiling as she sat in her desk at the school.
Erika asked, “What’s it going to be about?” She could already imagine herself being the star.
“Well, it’s going to be a modified version of the story, Romeo and Juliet.”
“Romeo and Juliet?” Many girls clasped their hands with a lovey-dovey expression. “How romantic!”
“I said, modified version,” Tomoyo corrected.
“Will there be auditions and preparation and everything?” Naoko asked. “I think I’ll like to be in the set designing crew.”
Sakura smoothed her uniform skirt and tidied her notebooks. Another busy school year had started. Tomoyo and everyone had long since returned from New York, and life was starting to get on the boring side. Kero-chan had resumed his marathon video-game challenge (but he still was mad at her for leaving him behind last time.) Though Sakura had hoped that the trip would make her closer to Erika Chang, unfortunately, she came to a conclusion that she liked Erika even less now.
Tomoyo frequently passed letters with Eriol,
and Sakura heard that London life was pretty dull as well and that Miho
and Eriol both were ditching school for the time being. After all, Eriol
decided that he had enough education for two lifetimes, while Kaho Mizuki-sensei
could teach Miho Tanaka, her cousin. Meanwhile, Syaoran was back to his
distant, “I-don’t-know-that-you-even-exist” self. Well, that’s not exactly
true… either, a voice inside her told her. Oh yeah. Her brother, Touya
Kinomoto hated Syaoran more than ever. Yet, already, the events in New
York seemed like a haze. Another wistful collection to her stupid memories.
Slightly grinning, Sakura looked across few desks at Eron Chang, Erika’s
charming twin brother. He caught her eye and winked. The only person who
she had grown closer to on that trip was Eron-kun. She decided that liked
him even better than before.
From behind Sakura, Syaoran sighed, seeing the direction of her gaze. Didn’t I tell her to distinguish her enemies from her allies? She’s just no good at it.
Their teacher, Terada-sensei (who moved to Seijou Junior High, Tomoyo wondered why) cleared his throat and began, “I’m glad to see that all of you seem to be excited about the major musical production, which is to be called ‘Star-Crossed.’ This will require time and preparation, as well as lots of effort and enthusiasm from all of you. I’m sure all of you will be able to participate in this production, whether as actors and actresses, costume and set designers, technicians, or just helpful extras to smooth the way along. The theme of the musical would be based on the outline of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, however will have many modifications, character alterations, not to mention requirement of students to be able to sing, act, dance, and even sword fight! (There was a whooping among the teenage boys of the class.) The auditions for ‘Star-Crossed,’ would be held in a few weeks, on February 14th (students shouted ‘Valentine’s Day’) and after that, the scripts will be available and our school would become very busy until summer. (Everyone groaned.) This will be the biggest production in years, and Seijou High and even the Tomoeda Elementary students, not to mention parents would be eager to help.” (Everyone cheered.)
“I want to be the heroine,” swooned many girls after class.
“I bet you would be good,” Sakura told Tomoyo. “Everyone knows how well you sing.”
Smiling, Tomoyo replied, “I’m not going to be a part of the cast, however. Are you trying out, Sakura-chan? You have to!”
“How did you know about the school production before Terada-sensei told us, anyway?” asked Meirin, packing her books in her bag after class ended.
“Actually,” Tomoyo began modestly. “I was asked by the directing teacher to be Assistant Student Director.”
“WHAT?!” Many classmates exclaimed.
“What’s that?” Erika asked.
“Well, I generally help out the Director-sensei and organize and look over the details, such as costumes, set, cast, chorus. You know. Kind of like a manager.”
“Wow,” Sakura awed. “Of course Tomoyo-chan will fit the role perfectly. You’re good at everything. But too bad you couldn’t take the leading role.”
“Oh ho ho. That’s why I hope you will audition, Sakura-chan.”
A sudden surge in Sakura’s heart filled her, and she had a wild wish that she could be a leading character. But, she pushed it aside.
For the next few days, no one could talk
about anything else, except the musical, Star-Crossed. An excitement surged
throughout the whole school, and students were busy preparing for auditions.
Others were already started on the orchestra and scenery paintings. Even
the school classes had taken a Romeo and Juliet fever. In gym class, they
took fencing. With no surprise, Sakura and Syaoran excelled as the best.
After all, Sakura didn’t have the Sword card for no reason, and Syaoran
had been training with the sword since 7, when he first could hold it up.
Except once in he relapsed a while to Chinese sword fighting to everyone’s
amusement. In literature class, everyone studied Shakespeare, in history
class, they learned about the Renaissance and Middle Ages, in science,
they learned about stars, since their teacher insisted that astrology directly
linked to the fates.
“What’s the plot about, anyway?” asked Meirin, running a comb through her thick, glossy jet-black pigtails.
“It sucks that we can’t get the scripts until auditions are over,” Erika complained, checking her flawless face in the mirror. All the girls were rather developing a “movie-star” complex.
Popping out of nowhere, Takashi Yamazaki began, “Star-Crossed is about astronomy. (“How boring!” exclaimed Erika in horror.) It will be a story about how the stars were discovered by the scientists. Plus, the students will have to dress up in big five pointed star costumes, which will cause a problem because there won’t be enough room on stage. Therefore, they would take up all the auditorium space, and the audience will have to watch from outside—“
“Wow…” awed Sakura, believing her classmate. The rest looked in disbelief.
“Shut up, Takashi-kun!” Chiharu shoved him aside.
“Actually,” Tomoyo began, switching on her over-excited mode. “The basic plot of Star-Crossed begins like this: There are two blood-sworn, feuding families, the Capulets and the Montagues. Ever since generations ago, they have been arch-enemies because they were constantly fighting over the missing five treasures of Verona. These five, priceless treasures were the Ring, the Necklace, the Earring, the Sword, and the Mirror. So far, each side had two of the treasures, and only the Mirror was left to find.
“Now, the Capulet’s have only one daughter, Juliet. Usually, in the past, it was the son’s job to carry on their family name and continue to find the missing Five Treasures. However, Juliet was the only child and she grew up like a boy, carrying on the tradition to find the treasure. Her cousin, Tybalt, the Prince’s relative Paris, the Nurse, and her Mother and Father all play important roles.
“On the Montague’s side, Romeo is the only son in his family, and carries on to find the last missing Treasure of Verona. His friends, Mercutio, Benvolio, and all his other relatives support him, as well. Plus, he likes Rosaline, the most beautiful girl in Verona, who is also the Prince’s relative.
“So, eventually, Juliet and Romeo becomes fierce rivals in finding the Mirror of Verona. One day, there is a Masked Ball at the Capulet’s and Romeo and his friends sneak in, to spy on them. However, he meets a strikingly familiar girl and for the first time actually talk, treating each other like humans since they don’t know it’s each other because of the masks. They finally had found someone who understands each other’s feelings. Each of them are unhappy with their life, and want an escape from the pressure and their name. Then, Tybalt and Paris, who likes Juliet, figures out that there are intruders at the ball, and a huge brawl between the Montagues and the Capulets result. In the process, Romeo’s mask slips off and Juliet learns that the sympathetic stranger who she had lost her heart to was actually her sworn enemy.
Clasping her hands in front of her, Tomoyo finished off, “So, the tragic story or the two “star-crossed” lovers flourish, in the confusion of rivalry, love, and family honor.”
“How does it end?” asked Sakura, enthralled by the complex plot.
“It’s a secret.” Tomoyo smiled merrily. “You’ll find out when the scripts are handed out.”
“See, you bongo-head,” Chiharu shouted, strangling Takashi. “The musical isn’t about astronomy, it’s about two lovers who were ill-fated by the Heavens. That’s what the title, ‘Star-Crossed,” means.”
“Still, astronomy makes sense,” protested Takashi as he his head swayed back and forth from Chiharu’s fierce hold on his neck.
“It’s awfully complex,” Meirin said, recounting the plot point by point. “So there’s the Capulets and the Montagues, something about the Five Treasures, Juliet, Romeo, Rosaline, Paris… AHHH! I give up!”
“So, the main characters are Juliet Capulet, Romeo Montague, Paris, and Rosaline, both the Prince of Verona’s relative?” Rika asked, quick to catch on.
“Right!” Tomoyo replied. “Basically the love rivalry springs among those four.”
All the girls were raving to be one of the heroines, the beautiful Rosaline, Romeo’s love.
“I want to wear pretty ball dresses and jewelry!” swooned Chiharu.
“And dance with my Romeo!” giggled Erika, pretending to waltz in the hallway, during lunch-time. A crowd had gathered around the audition sign-up sheet, posted up on the bulletin board on the wall outside of class.
“And be the most beautiful person in the whole musical!” ended Meirin, flicking back her glossy hair confidently. Chasing Syaoran, she begged, “Hey, Syaoran, are you going to try out for Star-Crossed?”
Scowling, he replied, “Why would I try out for a silly musical?”
“I want you to be my Romeo!” exclaimed Meirin.
“No. I’m not going to sing or act and that’s final! I’ve had enough of the stage for a lifetime.” An image of being Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, back in fifth grade popped up in his mind. The people who had attended Tomoeda elementary remembered this and started giggling. They stopped at once when Syaoran glared at them.
“Li-kun, I think that this time, they’re going to get the sexes straight this time,” Takashi commented, remembering fifth grade.
“Anyway, this whole thing is so stupid and a waste of time.” Syaoran crossed his arms, remembering how Sakura had been the Prince that time.
Angrily, Sakura stated, “It’s not stupid! Don’t you have the school spirit? It’s going to be the biggest production in years!”
“So?” Syaoran raised an eyebrow. It was the first time they had spoken in quite a while, especially since things were quite peaceful in the Tomoeda neighborhood these days.
Slyly, Meirin shrugged her shoulders and said, “Oh, I know you’re too scared to audition. Don’t worry, we all understand. Right Sakura-chan?”
Sakura nodded. “I bet he won’t even get the smallest part in the production.”
“Fine! I’ll do it! We’ll see if I don’t get even the smallest part.” Syaoran was turning bright red with his effort as he scribbled his name onto the long list on the wall. “Who says I’m too scared to audition?”
Then, Meirin grinned wickedly, “Thinking about it, Sakura-chan, are you even going to try out yourself?”
Slowly, Sakura blushed, “No-o. Obviously I won’t get in.”
“Who’s calling me coward, then?” Syaoran’s arms were on his hips, accusingly.
“Sakura-chan, you should try out,” Tomoyo encouraged.
Her lower lips trembled. Sakura admitted, “Fine. I’m too scared to audition.”
Narrowing his amber eyes, Syaoran glared at her. He thinks I’m a coward. Defiantly, Sakura lifted her head to face Syaoran and said, “I will audition, satisfied? Then we’ll see who’s the scaredy-cat.” She neatly printed Kinomoto Sakura, on the audition sign-up list.
“That’s my Sakura-chan!” Tomoyo exclaimed, video-taping the pre-audition sequence.
Once again, Syaoran and Sakura firmly shook hands over another silly bet, which both their prides depended upon.
“Hoe-e!” Sakura plopped down on the couch in Tomoyo’s big room after school. Clasping Tomoyo’s hand, she begged, “Tomoyo-chan, you’ve got to help me! I don’t think I can audition. I’ll be lucky enough if I get the part of a servant or something!” When the maid brought the tray of tea, Sakura drank a cup, one-shot and resulted in burning her tongue.
Soothingly, Tomoyo said, “Don’t worry. I’ll help you prepare. I’m sure you’ll do fine.”
“It’s all because of the stupid bet with Syaoran-kun.” Sakura poured another cup of tea.
“Don’t tell me you have another bet with the brat,” Kero-chan exclaimed as he dug into a strawberry shortcake. “Anyway, who do you want to be in the musical?”
Twiddling her thumb, Sakura said, “Well, this is in my wildest dreams but I kinda want to be Rosaline. But I know I won’t be able to get such a big part, anyway but… Hoe-e…”
“Nonsense! Remember, you were wonderful as the Prince in Sleeping Beauty!” Kero-chan encouraged. “While the Brat was Princess Aurora… it was hilarious!”
“That’s different…” Sakura sighed, gulping down her third cup of tea. “I was too young to know stage fright. Plus, I was more busy thinking about Yukito-san who was in the audience. Anyway, we didn’t have auditions then.”
“Still, I’m sure you’ll do fine!” RING
RING. “Oh? Telephone? I wonder who’s calling…” Taking out her handphone,
Tomoyo said, “Excuse me, for a second, okay?”
In the next room, Tomoyo said placing the phone to her ear, “Hello, this is Daidouji Tomo—“
“Tomoyo, I’ve got a big favor to ask,” came a guy’s voice.
“What is it Syaoran-kun?”
“Umm. Well… You see,” Syaoran stammered into his handphone.
“Well, it’s about the audition. I cannot. I repeat, I cannot sing or act or anything and I—I need some help. You know. That bet with Sakura… Please?”
“Oh, that’s no problem. Of course, you want to look good in front of Sakura-chan. Right? Especially on Valentine’s Day.”
“I-it’s not anything like that!” He shouted into the phone.
“Like what?” Tomoyo prodded, innocently.
From the next door room, Kero-chan commented,
“Did you just hear the Brat’s voice?” Sakura shook her head.
“NEVERMIND!!! Well, what time would be good for you? I’ll go over to your house if you want me to. Er—I mean, I will be really grateful if you would help me umm…” Syaoran stumbled.
“How about at 5?” Tomoyo helped out.
“Great! I mean… um, thank you. I think you understand that I really can’t loose this bet because everyone including that bastard Eron heard about it and I—“
“Okay, see you later, then!” Tomoyo left Syaoran to ramble on by himself.
When she returned to her room, Sakura asked, “Who was that?”
“Oh no one in particular. Now, let’s get you ready for Rosaline! Do you want to start with the singing?”
Nervously, Syaoran rang in at the Daidouji Mansion gate at 5. For some strange reason, Sonomi, Tomoyo’s mother got the door herself.
“Why, you’re Tomoyo’s cute friend, the one from Hong Kong, right!” Sonomi exclaimed, as he bowed. She pinched his cheeks and awed, “You grew a lot, didn’t you! I remember you were in fifth grade when you last visited. Wow, a tall young man now! How fast everyone grows. I remember my Nadeshiko at this age. Before she met Fujitaka-sensei!” She pinched Syaoran’s cheek harder, as if her anger poured out, ignoring his screams of agony. “Oh ho ho. Sorry. I got carried away. Now come on in. You know, you remind me of someone… I just can’t remember who…”
“Syaoran-kun! Come on in!” Tomoyo led him to her music studio room. His mouth dropped at the equipment in it.
Sitting down a stool, Syaoran commented, “It’s strange. It seems like your mother doesn’t remember my father. She said that I look like someone, but she can’t remember who.”
Tying back her long violet hair, Tomoyo replied, “I think that either Nadeshiko-san or Ryuuren-san altered her memory so that she won’t remember that well. You know. My mother hated anyone who came near Sakura-chan’s mother. I tried questioning my mom last time and…”
Sonomi twisted her scarf, trying to strangle something. “Li Ryuuren? God I hate him, hate him, hate him. He was the best looking high-schooler and everyone used to be crazy about him... And I hated him! The only person I hate more than Fujitaka-sensei.”
“Why did you hate him, Mother?” Tomoyo asked.
“Because… because…” Sonomi paused to think. “Strange… I don’t remember why I hated him so much.”
“Oh.” Staring uneasily at the room, Syaoran began, “Um… I don’t think I really want to do this anymore. Thanks for your time… I better go.”
“What are you talking about! Do you really want to lose to Sakura-chan?”
“No-o. Okay I’ll do it. What do I have to do?”
Flicking out a notepad and ink pen, Tomoyo read off, “Okay, there are three parts to the audition. The good news is that since we don’t have the script yet, we can choose our material to audition with.”
“What kind of good news is that?” Syaoran muttered.
Choosing to ignore him, Tomoyo continued, “First, you have to sing a song of your choice. It needs to be a ballad song. No rapping.”
“Don’t worry. I can’t sing, let alone rap.”
“Then, you have to act a short segment of your choosing in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.”
Looking aghast, he exclaimed, “That boring stuff? I’m not going to go around reading that junk and sighing, ‘But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?/ It is the east, and Juliet the sun.’
Dryly, Tomoyo commented, “How do you already know that stuff? And you memorized Shakespeare?”
“I-I-I… I took Shakespeare in my class in Hong Kong!” Syaoran turned red.
Smiling, she said, “You know guys memorize those kinda lines to win over girls. You can try it to!”
“Oh yeah. And lastly, you have to dance.”
“Yes, dance. You know, move your body with the music…”
“I can’t… dance!” Syaoran shouted in frustration. It was going to be ten times worse than his expectation!
“You’ll have to. Don’t you know how to waltz?”
“Tango? Ballet? Jazz?”
Frowning, Tomoyo pondered over it for a
moment. Then, an idea struck her. She whispered it to Syaoran. When he
heard it, he brightened, and then turned doubtful again.
“On to the singing. Ready?” Tomoyo flicked on several switches on her stereo boom box after some prep. “I’m going to record your voice, so that you’ll know how you sound. Now, sing any song of your choice.”
“I wouldn’t have bothered, if I knew it will be this complex,” Syaoran said, fingering the wireless microphone. Tomoyo always had the latest technology. He adjusted the mouthpiece and made sure that the earphone was secure. “Wait, I don’t know any songs.”
Sighing in despair, Tomoyo said, “Well, I just want to see what level you are at, so just sing ‘Happy Birthday’ or something. It’s okay. Just try your best.”
On the piano, Tomoyo played several introduction bars, and then indicated him to begin. Syaoran opened his mouth. No sound came out. After four tries, Syaoran managed to pull through the song.
Sighing, Tomoyo said, “Okay, it is obvious that we have lots of practicing to do. Singing is the most important part, and for one thing, you have to sing much louder and stay on rhythm. (Syaoran’s head dropped.) The good news is, you have a good music sense and your voice has a nice ring to it and a marvelous range. (Syaoran looked up, hopeful again.) Here, listen to me sing, and notice where I put the emphasis and what kind of rhythm and tone I use, and we’ll get you in the Tokyo Top 100 Chart, in no time!”
“Have you been practicing?” Meirin asked Sakura as they gathered for lunch.
“Yeah. Kind of.” Sakura didn’t mention that she had been practicing every spare moment she had, until her voice turned hoarse. “Have you?”
“Yup. And I make Syaoran read Romeo’s lines in the play Romeo and Juliet, so I can get a better sense of the feeling. You know. Plus, it helps both of us prepare. Not that Syaoran seems to be improving or anything.“
“I make Eron read the lines while I practice. Can you believe it? He wants to be Paris. As if he’d get such a big part,” Erika said as she opened up her lunch box.
Sakura started to get worried. She was the only one who didn’t have a guy to practice the acting parts on. So far, her song was coming along better than she expected, with the help of Tomoyo, but the acting worried her.
“Do you all want to be Rosaline, too?” Chiharu asked, joining the table.
“Yeah,” agreed everyone else. They all wanted the glamorous role.
“Wow, your lunch looks delicious, Meirin!” Rika commented.
“Syaoran and I packed it together, that’s why. See, he made the dumplings and I made the egg rolls.”
“Li-san made that?” giggled several younger second year girls. They whispered, blushed and walked away.
“What’s wrong with them?” Erika asked raising
an arched eyebrow. “They look love-struck or something.”
“Thinking about it, Valentine’s Day is coming up,” Chiharu said.
“And, the audition is on Valentine’s Day! How exciting!” Tomoyo exclaimed. “Who are you giving Valentine’s Chocolate to, this year, Sakura-san?”
Blankly, Sakura said, “Hmm, I guess my father, brother, Yukito-san, all my school friends… oh, my great-grandfather…”
“No no no!” Tomoyo interrupted. “Don’t you know the school tradition?”
“There is a tradition in our school that if a girl gives a box of chocolates and a red rose to the boy she likes on Valentine’s, and on White Day, the same boy returns a box of candies with a white rose, he accepts her feelings! Isn’t it romantic?” Tomoyo turned star-eyed.
“I know!” the rest of the girls sighed.
“Are you giving chocolates to Yamazaki-kun again, this year?” Naoko asked.
Clenching her fist tight, Chiharu shouted, “NEVER! Do you know last year, what he did? Instead of giving me candies and a rose when I gave him chocolates with a red rose, he gave me a hard-boiled egg. And you know what he said?”
“I said that the egg was white,” Takashi finished off from behind Chiharu and snatched a sandwich out of her lunch box. “I really liked the Godiva chocolates last year, Chiharu-chan. Please get me the triple-deck kind this year, with the caramel filling. I don’t like the almond kind. Oh, and my Mom liked the rose very much. But she prefers pink ro—“
POW!!! Chiharu had slapped him and ran off, shouting, “Takashi-kun, BAKA!!! You don’t even understand my feelings!”
As Takashi gazed off to the distance, where Chiharu had run off, he opened his rarely open clear brownish-hazel eyes for once, and frowned.
“Who are you giving the chocolate to, Sakura-chan?” asked Rika.
“M-me?” stammered Sakura… Gazing out the window, Sakura could see a boy with chestnut brown hair dribbling the ball across the soccer field. His movement was ruthless and agile, as he dodged every other player in the field. However, from the other side streaked a figure with long dark bluish violet hair, pulled back into an elegant ponytail, dashing beside the brown-haired boy. The younger junior high school girls were cheering for these two young men, who were last year’s soccer champions. Sakura ducked when Syaoran suddenly gazed in her direction, all the way from the soccer field.
Cough. Cough cough. Sakura stretched and cleared her throat as she slumped on her bed. She hoped she wasn’t coming down with a sore throat. The auditions were tomorrow.
“Are you okay?” Kero-chan asked, hovering beside her on the bed.
“Yeah. I’m fine. Just practiced too much.” Then she started coughing again.
“Kaijou? Are you all right?” Touya asked from his room.
“I’m fine!” called Sakura across the wall. Tomorrow was Valentine’s day. Too bad. If it had been five years ago, she wouldn’t have hesitated to give Yukito-san the chocolate and rose. But now, it was different. From her drawer, she slipped out a picture of her and Syaoran, taken in the Central Park, in New York. It was one of the few pictures she had taken with him. She stared at Syaoran. More than anything, she would have liked to give him the chocolates she had bought at the store, earlier that week. But, she was too cowardly. Off the top of her head, she could name five girls liked him. And what was the chance that he would return her a white rose on White Day? Then, there was that silly bet. What if I don’t even get the smallest part in the musical? Then…
“Do you like him that much?” Kero-chan asked.
“Who?” Sakura asked, slipping into her blankets.
“The Brat, who else?”
“W-what are you talking about?” Sakura turned pink, her heart thumping under her soft cotton pajamas. Protectively, her hand went over her crystal necklace. Was her feelings obvious that the most senseless stuffed animal like Kero-chan could decipher it?
“Then why are you looking at that photo and blushing? Are you going to give him a red rose tomorrow?”
“GOOD NIGHT!” Sakura flicked the lights off. That night, she had a nightmare that at the audition, she had no voice, and in the end, she landed with no part. Everyone laughed at her. Then, she was holding a red rose. For some reason, she was trying to give it to Syaoran, but every time she tried to reach him, he walked further away with a sad expression. Suddenly, the image changed and this time, a girl with wispy long violet hair was reaching out for a tall young man. Yet, he continued to walk further away from her. “Wait, wait for me! Don’t leave me!” The girl shouted.
“We are star-crossed,” he replied in a low tone, and melted into the shadows.
Valentines Day, and the day of the musical production auditions…
“Pretty!” Everyone exclaimed at the pink, red, and white decorations of the school, with streamers and balloons everywhere. The whole Seijou Junior High School was excited about the auditions to be held in the afternoon. During the whole morning, girls were chasing guys to give chocolates and roses, even teddy bears.
Sakura groaned, “When has this school turned so lovesick?”
“You won’t notice it so much if you go along with it,” Meirin commented, holding tight a box wrapped with pink paper.
From her bag, Sakura slipped out a narrow box with red ribbons tied around it. “Actually, I have mine, too.”
“Who are you giving it to?”
Shrugging her shoulders, Sakura said, “I don’t know. I just bought it because something felt empty if I didn’t.”
“I ordered mine from a magazine catalogue,” said Rika. “See?” She showed everyone the latest issue of a popular girl’s magazine. “You know the ad on this page? I think it’s so romantic and pretty! The models are so cute! I’m going to rip it out and hang it on my room wall as a poster.”
“Where?” The girls gathered around the magazine to look at the ad where a young man with brown hair, dressed in pure white, with majestic feather wings extended from his back caught in his arms a slender, graceful girl, dressed in a flowing white dress, her golden brown hair woven with yards of narrow satin ribbons, fluttering in the wind. He was holding her midair, and in the background was the tall Empire State building surrounded by the business of New York City.
“It’s beautiful!” exclaimed Chiharu, leaning her head against her cheek. “Like a fantasy that only happens in stories. How romantic… Angels in New York! Strange. Don’t you think the models look familiar?”
“Really, they do! That guy kind of looks like Li-kun… and wait, this girl looks like you, Sakura-chan! How interesting! Do you know anything about it? I heard that you guys went to New York for winter vacation.” Rika said, tilting her head at Sakura.
A big drop of sweat rolled down Sakura’s head. “He he… What a strange coincidence.” She shot a warning look when Meirin was about to blab the secret off.
“How about you, Li-kun? I can swear, that’s you, or your twin,” commented Takashi, when he learned what the commotion was about. “Did you know that every person has their twin, somewhere else in the world…”
Even Syaoran had come to look over Rika’s head. To his surprise, the picture had developed better than he thought. He could hardly recognize himself, though. It seemed so distant, yet somehow distinctly clear and lovely. Mike Kant, the talented young photographer had done his job well. Later on, her forced Meirin to go buy the magazine, also, since he was to embarrassed to buy a girl’s magazine.
At the same moment after looking at the advertisement, Sakura and Syaoran looked up at each other. They both blushed and looked away. The Valentine’s Day advertisement in Rika’s magazine convinced Sakura. She would give the box of chocolates to Syaoran.
Biting her nails, Meirin exclaimed, “Aren’t
you guys nervous about the auditions this afternoon?”
“I’m never nervous,” stated Erika, tossing back her thick, wavy hair. All the guys in the class stared at her admiringly but many panicky girls looked wary.
“It’s an hour until auditions!” Meirin exclaimed. “Ohmygosh! My hearts all jumpy! Isn’t yours?”
Syaoran shook his head, afraid that his voice might betray him. He stared at the pile of chocolate boxes on his desk, Meirin’s the biggest one of all.
“Who gave you all those other ones?” Meirin asked, helping herself to a chocolate covered cherry.
“I don’t know.” Syaoran sighed. He wanted to find Sakura before auditions and just have a talk with her, maybe wish her luck.
In the hallway, another classmate, Tomaki, the jerk that had asked Sakura to dance with him in the Winter Wonderland was flicking back a lock of his silvery blond hair, saying to a group of admiring girls, “Okay, form a line, and I’ll accept the roses one by one. Be patient, I’ll get to you eventually.”
“Where’s Sakura-chan? Let’s go wish her
luck before the auditions,” Meirin suggested, wondering who Sakura would
give her box of chocolates to.
Where’s Syaoran? Briskly, she walked down the hallway, her bag hung over one shoulder. She wanted to give him the chocolates before auditions. Also, she was afraid that if she didn’t give him now, she’d never find the courage to. It was easy enough 4 years ago. Why should it be any different now? Quietly, Sakura peeked into the music room. Was he practicing in there?
As she was about to enter, she collided into someone. Boxes of flashily wrapped chocolate flew everywhere.
“Oh, Sakura-san, I’m so sorry! I couldn’t see where I was going because of all these chocolate boxes. Are you hurt? Gosh, I was so clumsy!” Eron was all remorseful, his golden yellow eyes full of worry. “Here, let me help you up.”
“I’m okay. I hope the chocolates didn’t get crushed though,” Sakura said, brushing her plaid uniform skirt and standing up. She helped Eron pick up the boxes. Finally, picking up the tenth one, she observed it and commented, “Wow, this person must like you a lot. She made ten roses out of red origami paper! That’s really sweet.”
Sighing, Eron said, “I really appreciate it, but the problem is, she hasn’t even talked to me once. I don’t know how she even knows me.” Looking at Sakura, he said directly, “I like girls that I can talk to and get to know.”
“Oh.” Sakura blushed. “Well, here. Do you think you can carry all these boxes on your own?” She handed the prettily decorated box back
At the moment Sakura was returning the box of chocolate that Eron had dropped, Syaoran walked by that doorway. Syaoran and Meirin’s eyes turned round to see Sakura hand Eron a chocolate box. Eron saw them first and said a little loudly and too sweetly, “Thank you Sakura-san. It was really nice of you.” He left them to think that he was thanking Sakura giving him a box of chocolate, not for helping him pick them up.
A little too late, Sakura turned to see Syaoran by the doorway, with an expression of hurt and confusion clearly written on it. And she realized what he must have interpreted the scene as. As a denial sprang to her lips, of “No Syaoran, it’s not what you think,” Syaoran had already walked off briskly, leaving her to gaze down the empty hallway, clutching a red box to her chest. Now, she could no longer give it to him.
Disgustedly, Meirin commented, “I really didn’t know that of you, Sakura.” She chased after Syaoran.
As she tried to follow them to clear the misunderstanding, a cool hand gripped her wrist. She looked back in surprise.
Eron said, “Do you have to go after him?”
“Do you have to like him?” Slowly, he gazed at her with his mysteriously flickering hazel eyes, sprinkled with dazzling golden specks.
“What are you talking about?” Sakura stammered, feeling her blood drain cold. The firm hand gripping her wrist felt like ice.
He let go of her hand. “I’m just saying, there are better guys out there, you know.” Then, he smiled that lazily charming smile. “Come on. Let’s go to the auditorium for the auditions.” Gradually, Sakura relaxed again.
“I really didn’t know that of Sakura. She was giving the chocolates to Eron-kun! That sly, two-faced little… That’s why she didn’t tell me! She doesn’t deserve you. It was stupid of me to try and give you up. No one out there can like you as much as I do.” Meirin crumpled her music sheet, as she plopped down in the chair beside Syaoran, in the auditorium.
“Knock it off, will you?” Syaoran furrowed his dark eyebrows down. Why Chang Eron, out of all people? At least he thought she had better taste.
“Are you sure?” Tomoyo asked. She thought that she knew Sakura better than anyone else.
“We saw it with our two eyes!” Meirin crossed her arms and scowled.
At that moment, Sakura and Eron entered the school auditorium. Several heads turned their way.
Some girls started talking loudly, “What’s her problem?”
“I thought she had something for Li-san, now she even got Chang-san?”
“What a turn coat!” Another girl stated scornfully.
Catching some of the accusations, Sakura blushed angrily.
“Don’t mind them,” Eron reassured her.
Sorrowfully, Tomoyo said, “I would have thought that you would tell me, Sakura-chan.”
“What?” Sakura stashed the ungiven chocolates deep into her bag as she sank into one of the chairs in the auditorium. Syaoran… Why?
“That you like Eron-kun.”
“WHAT?! Where’d’you hear that?”
Sighing, Sakura explained the misinterpreted scene. “And when she walked past, I guess she saw thought that I was giving Eron the roses and chocolates, when I was just picking up the boxes for him.”
Greatly cheered up, Tomoyo said, “Oh, I understand. I’m glad it was just that. I was worried.” Then thinking she said, “Wait, so you still didn’t give Li-kun the chocolates and the rose?”
“No. I don’t plan to, anyway. Not after this. And I can’t explain to him what really happened because, well…”
“It’s not like you’re his girlfriend, so it’s not like you’re cheating on him or anything, but you still want to clear your conscience, right?” Tomoyo helped out.
Nodding Sakura said, “There’s no one who understands me like you.”
“Oh ho ho. Of course. But it’s still not too late, though.”
Then, Sakura’s ocean green eyes widened in surprised. Gripping Tomoyo’s arm, she panicked, “Oh no! He’s coming this way! Why?”
Tomoyo turned around to see that Syaoran was walking towards them. Was he angry? Mad? Confused?
Casually, Syaoran walked up to Sakura, who gazed at him with round eyes, trying to keep an even tone. “Hey, just want to say, good luck before auditions. Hope you do well.” Managing a small smile, he slipped a hand into his pocket.
Relaxing, Tomoyo thought that it was real decent of Syaoran to act natural, even after the small incident.
Smiling brightly, Sakura said, “Hope you do well, too. Or should I say, break a leg?” He’s not mad! I wonder how he’ll do, though. I remember he hates singing… “Did you practice a lot?”
“Eh? Yeah, well, kinda.” He glanced sideways at Tomoyo, who nodded, smiling encouragingly. Practice wasn’t a word for the training that Syaoran had gone through in the short amount of time. Jokingly, he commented, “Our music teacher still hates me, so even if I lose the bet, it’s not because I didn’t try, all right?”
Warningly, Tomoyo said, “Don’t even think about losing, either of you.”
“That’s right. I’m sure we’ll manage fine,” Sakura said. He’s not mad at me? He can still look me in the face without detest, and warmly wish me good luck? Even after…
“ALL RIGHT! Mike testing! Ah ah. One. Two. Three.” The music teacher shouted over the noise in the bustling auditorium full of excited students, talking at the top of their lungs, some singing, some practicing their dance routine. There was a big clatter as several boys tumbled over each other. “WELCOME STUDENTS TO THE AUDITIONS OF OUR MAJOR SCHOOL PRODUCTION, STAR-CROSSED.” Everyone stuck their fingers into their ears because of the microphone volume. “Ahem. Anyway, when each student who signed up on the list will have their name called, they should come up to the center of the stage. Then, you will perform your say the title of your song, then sing it. Next, you would say several lines of your choosing from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. You can bring your lines up. (Students sighed in relief, for they found it impossible to memorize their lines.) Finally, you can perform a short dance routine. Remember, you have to show that you have coordination and rhythm, especially those of you who want a leading role, you must show excellent athletic coordination. Let us begin, and good luck to all of you! Remember, don’t be disappointed if you don’t make the cast, because there are plenty of other ways to support this production, and each individual is special.”
The judging teachers nodded from the front row, each with a notepad and pen.
THUMP. THUMP. What’s wrong with my heart? As the students began to file up to the stage, Sakura began to grow nervous. “One, two, three, breathe out.” Sakura let out a deep breath. “Breathe in low, let out.” Whoosh. One. Two…
“What are you doing?” Chiharu asked.
“Huh? Oh.” Sakura sweat-dropped.
“I taught her the breathing exercise which calms you down,” Tomoyo said. “Don’t worry. You practiced really hard, so I’m sure you’ll do fine. Didn’t I always tell you that you do better real life?”
“Are you still nervous over this? How childish,” Erika said confidently. Then she yawned. “I can’t wait till my turn. Don’t be too disappointed if you don’t get to be Rosaline, though.”
“What makes you so sure that you’ll get the part?” Sakura demanded.
Sweetly, Erika replied, “I’m always right.”
“You’ll see!” Sakura clenched her fists, burning with anger.
Yet, when Erika’s turn came, she proved to be pretty good with a good, loud voice. Her acting was convincing, and she proved her dancing skills in a pretty waltz.
Stubbornly, Sakura declared, “She’s not as good as she made out she’d be.”
“That’s my Sakura-chan!” Tomoyo smiled. Erika really was good, but Sakura would be better.
Half the school seemed to be auditioning, and their friends auditioned, as well as classmates they knew by face, and some students they barely knew. Some were good, some were awful, being off tune, off beat, and great dunces at dancing. Chiharu, who was still mad at Takashi did well, and thinking about it, Takashi, who came after her (who wanted to be Mercutio, another important role) performed superbly, as well, fitting the rather comical role perfectly. Rika had a soft, but pleasant voice and Terada-sensei, one of the teachers on duty nodded approvingly. Another eye-catching character was the lean, handsome, tall, Tomaki, who fit the role of the Prince of Cats, Tybalt, with his smooth acting and quick athletic sense. After all, he was the basketball star, and the girls went wild cheering for him afterwards. The whole cheerleading squad was there.
Surprisingly, Meirin was better than anyone else had ever dreamed. Actually, she was marvelous. Her song suited her well, fast tempo and catchy, carrying her strong, clear voice well. So, her boasting of her music skills weren’t false after all. She acted her passionate lines of Juliet with anger and vigor, steaming from her love for Syaoran… which would never work out for her, like Juliet’s ill-fated love for Romeo. Dancing was no problem for her. In fact, her audition was one of the best! When she ended, the auditorium broke out in a loud applause, and she gazed out at the crowd, panting and smiling. As she came down, her friends slapped her back in the back with praises.
“You were great!” Sakura told her. At this, Meirin’s anger towards her melted.
As she sat down, Syaoran gave her a thumbs up, and Meirin smiled, happily. Meanwhile, Erika frowned.
The next few auditions tended to grow a bit dull. However, as Eron’s name was called, a loud, shrill cheering from the girls echoed throughout the auditorium. It grew even louder after Eron finished, because with his charm and flawless smoothness, he pulled off the best guy’s audition so far.
Of course Syaoran scowled, and Tomoyo giggled. Then she noticed that Sakura’s face was turning paler as her turn approached. The rest of the auditions were monotonous, and no more outstanding performances were made. She noticed that Syaoran’s knuckles were white as he clenched the arms of his chair.
“Li Syaoran!” The music teacher called with a frown. How she disliked that boy! Why was he even trying out? He was hopeless at singing. Actually, he didn’t even sing during music class; that’s how bad he was.
Like a stick, Syaoran approached the center of the stage. He shuffled his foot and slammed his hand into his pocket. Then, he remembered it was bad manners and planted them down his side. He was deaf to the immense roaring in the audience. (The music teacher frowned at this.)
“Song title?” she asked, abruptly.
“’It’s So Hard To Say Good-Bye To Yesterday.’” He mumbled so fast, it sounded more like “’Isoardosaygoobyetoyesday’.”
At this, Sakura looked up in surprise. It was one of her favorite songs, actually, the one she was planning to sing. How ironical… She remembered one cold winter afternoon, when she had been waiting for him… When he told her…
Clearing his throat, Syaoran tried to begin. No sound came out. Not now! He cleared his throat again. The music teacher tapped her toe impatiently. Then, he saw Sakura’s glowing face in the midst of the audience, gazing hopefully. A firm resolution formed in his stomach.
Taking a deep breath, he began with a soft voice, “How do I, say goodbye, to what we had?” Dozens of images of Sakura in various battle costumes, fighting with him to capture the Clow Cards flashed in front of him. “The good times, that made us laugh, Outweigh the bad.” Sakura and him falling into a pond, squabbling over Yukito-san, practicing the kissing scene in Sleeping Beauty…
Students began to sit up in their chairs, listening intently to the entrancing words.
“I thought we’d get to see forever. But forever’s gone away.” With a quiver of emotion in his voice, Syaoran sang, “It’s so hard to say goodbye, to yesterday.”
For the first time that day, the entire crowd was silent.
Gathering confidence, Syaoran looked up at the audience and sang clearer than ever, “I don’t know, where this road, is going to lead.” Wistfully shaking his head, he continued, “All I know, is where we’ve been and what we’ve been through.” Clow Cards, Yue’s Judgment, Eriol, Destruction, and… love?
As the climax of the song ran, he gazed straight at the audience, drowning himself into a pair of emerald ocean pools that stared back at him. Slowly, he smiled his brave, melting smile which warmed the hearts of many. He held out a hand, his voice brimming with emotion and ringing strongly throughout the auditorium, so that no one could even breathe. “And I’ll take with me the memories… To be my sunshine after the rain.” Then, with a slowly pained look he ended softly, yet distinctly, “It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.” He gradually brought his hand down and clenched it into a tight fist, as if trying to clutch onto his cherished memories as his last note echoed throughout the room.
The state of the audience was unimaginable, all of them bolted at the tip of their chairs, brimming with tension, afraid to even breathe. That was how captivated they were by the song. At last, they relaxed. Then, they remembered to applaud. Whistling and cheering rang out like thunder. Girls shrieked, “Li-san, Li-san, wherefore art though Li-san!” People outside of the school wondered if there was a fire or something inside.
Even the teachers were stupefied. They all had regarded Li Syaoran as a rather silent, unsociable and scowling boy. Well, unique talent sprung from strange places. Out of them all, the music teacher was the most shocked. She shoved her glasses up her sharp noses and managed to gawk, her mouth hanging down. Was she looking at the right person? Was that the same young man she had so often scolded about being tone-deaf? The one who never sang in class? Then one she considered hopeless?
Sakura managed to squeak, “What’s with the song?”
Smiling, Tomoyo replied, “He refused to sing a love song… so…” She shrugged, then sighed happily, pausing her video camera for the moment. She had been videotaping all her friend’s auditions. Syaoran had pulled the song off better than her wildest imagination. If one thing he lacked during the practices was the emotion. After several tries, Syaoran could sing perfectly on note, and on beat. After all, he was a talented violinist. Unlike other male voices, he could sing clearly in all ranges, even the higher notes, which some guys had to screech and crack their voices, and the low ones, which came out flat for others. Eventually, he could full off the crescendo, the emphasis, the smooth ballad style, snappy rhythm and even the charisma with perfect breath control. Yet, somehow, Syaoran had managed to sound sincere and meaningful in his song today, something that no other student had done that afternoon. Now she could sigh in relief. She didn’t have to worry about the rest. The rest would come naturally.
After finishing biting her handkerchief to keep from sobbing in the middle of the song, Meirin stated proudly, “See, I told you that he’s good at singing! You didn’t believe me when I said that last winter.”
“How did you know?” Chiharu asked.
“I heard him at our school in Hong Kong… He got an award for the best all-rounder you know. Academics, music, art, sports, cooking… All the girls were crazy about him. He was good at everything!” Meirin started to boast, forgetting all his faults.
At last, the audience was silent enough to continue with the rest of Syaoran’s audition. He had greatly gained confidence by the positive support. He pulled off the acting smoothly; he had memorized the lines, unlike many other students. Many people slid off their chairs because the acting contrasted to the touching song. Syaoran chose lines in the fighting scenes and said them aggressively and confidently. In the tone that Kero-chan would comment as “Brat-like.”
Sweat-dropping Sakura commented, “That sounds more like him.”
“Oh ho ho… He refused to the romantic balcony scene, you see. He’s so stubborn. Hey, but at least he sounds convincing.”
“Did you help him for the audition?” Sakura questioned curiously. When Tomoyo nodded, Sakura said, “Figures. How else could he have sung so well without a marvelous teacher like you?”
“Hmm, I wonder what Syaoran’s going to do about the dance,” Meirin pondered. “He refused to tell me.”
A loud music with a fast beat blasted out. Everyone stared up with surprise as Syaoran threw off his school jacket, tie, and unbuttoned his white collared shirt. (Girls sighed in disappointment to see that he was wearing a t-shirt underneath. ^_^) Slowly, Syaoran moved into a clean cut Chinese marshal arts stance. Then, moving with the quick tempo of the music, he began a series of complex marshal arts punches, kicks, counter moves and slides. His movement was so quick cut and agile, yet firm and strong, that many people found it hard to keep track of the intricate, difficult moves with their eyes.
As the beat grew faster, Syaoran bolted up into the air and turned several somersaults with perfect ease. People oohed when he turned 3 consecutive somersaults across the stage without using his hands. When the music ended, he jumped down the stage with triple turn flip and a “Dragon Kick” and landed with coordination, then bowed.
When the cheering roared loudly once more, Syaoran finally blushed and hurried back to his seat, avoiding being pelted with a shower of roses.
Before Sakura could say anything, Erika flung up and said, “You were marvelous, Syaoran!”
“Thanks, Erika,” Syaoran replied appreciatively, for he still looked uncertain about his audition. A smile curved up Erika’s lips. Her Romeo. No one was going to get in her way. Plus, Syaoran was better than she had ever dreamed. If they could land in the leading roles…
But Syaoran had already walked away. Erika bit her lip.
“You did great, Syaoran-kun!” Sakura congratulated with full heart. Who cared if Erika got there first? “You sang so well, I felt tears in my eyes!”
“Oh, it wasn’t anything.” Syaoran turned red as he said this. “I just didn’t want to lose our bet. And I saw you in the audience, and I promised myself not to disappoint you. You were looking straight at me, as if you believed in me. And I told myself that it was no problem, that I will carry this out fine.”
“Really?” Sakura’s eyes were starry. With hawk-like eyes, Erika noticed this.
“What’s with the dance?” Eron remarked dryly, maybe jealousy.
“Oh…” Syaoran shuffled uncomfortably.
A cluster of second grade girls exclaimed, “Li-san, you that was so great! Just like in the Hong Kong action movies!”
It was another one of Tomoyo’s ideas. When Syaoran refused to dance, saying he could NOT dance, Tomoyo had come up with putting together some of his fighting moves to fast music, which was easy enough for him.
“He’s the only one who can jump off trees, turn somersaults to get to a person, and leap from place to place that fast,” Tomoyo whispered to Sakura, who giggled in return, remembering when they first met Syaoran. Anyway, Syaoran’s audition had been the most exciting, distinct, and popular one that afternoon.
Teasingly pulling at Sakura blue ribbon, Syaoran said kindly, “You better keep your side of the bargain.”
“Hoe-e! Don’t worry.” Sakura replied, clenching
her fist. “I’ll try my best.” Then she smiled. After the auditions, she’ll
give him the rose. Who cared if he returned it? What happened now would
make up her happy memories in her future. Anyway, Syaoran had lied. If
he could sing that song like that, the past happenings weren’t silly childhood
memories… There will be sunshine after the rain.
It was her turn soon. Then, as she stood up to prepare, someone stuck out a foot. Sakura tripped over. And at that moment, someone spilt a can of Coke all over her. She screamed as it dripped down her hair, onto her spotless white blouse.
“Sakura-chan!” Tomoyo started to help her up.
“Are you all right? How clumsy to trip
over just now! You better go to the girl’s locker room and clean up.” Erika
bent down to help her, yet there was a gleam in those golden eyes. Sakura
was pretty sure that Erika had tripped her and spilt the drink on her.
Now, she was pretending to be nice, and helped her. “Here take my handkerchief.
This is my locker key. You’ll find an extra uniform in there. You can borrow
it, since yours is wet.”
“That’s a good idea, Erika. You’d catch a cold with wet clothes.” Concerned, Syaoran was bent over, wiping some of the dripping wetness of Sakura with a handkerchief.
Sakura ran out of the auditorium, the wet Coke sopping down her hair and clothes, blinking back tears. Why now? In the background, she heard Syaoran say, “Your really kind, Erika. It was really thoughtful to lend her your clothes.”
In the girls locker room, she changed her shirt and washed herself up. Angrily, she stared into the mirror. Slowly she walked out again. The auditions would be over by now. She missed out her turn.
When Tomoyo tried to reason to the music teacher, she replied, “Sorry, but Kinomoto-san was irresponsible and missed out her chance. If she wants to participate in the musical, she can be a part of the scenery painting crew, or the costume makers. It is not my fault she missed out her being in the cast.”
With extremely sad blue eyes Tomoyo said, “I’m really sorry about that Sakura-chan. I can’t believe such an accident happened right before your turn!”
“It’s all right.” Putting on a bright face, Sakura smiled bravely. “I wasn’t really prepared for auditioning, anyway. At least I didn’t make a fool of myself.”
“Gosh, I feel so bad for you, tough,” Erika
sympathized, patting her shoulder. “Too bad you missed out a chance in
being Rosaline.” Sakura clenched her fists and bit her tongue, trying to
This is my last chance. I better find Syaoran and give him the chocolates. Now or never. I hope they’re not all melted now. Clasping the box wrapped in red tissue paper, Sakura walked outside the school.
A loud voice called, “Syaoran-kun! Here you are. I was looking all over the place for you.” Erika caught up with Syaoran. “I just can’t believe how great you were!”
“Thanks. You were great, too.” Syaoran slung his bag over one shoulder.
“I just wanted to give you this.” Erika gave him a heart shaped box and a large, scarlet rose was pinned to it.
No, Syaoran. Don’t accept it. Sakura clenched her teeth tight.
“What is this? Thanks.” Syaoran accepted it without thinking over. Of course, he didn’t know the school tradition about the roses. All he knew about Valentine’s Day was told by Yamazaki-kun, which wasn’t much help.
“BAKA!” Sakura shouted from behind the building.
“Is someone fighting over there?” Erika asked, tilting her head to the direction, smiling.
“I guess,” Syaoran shrugged.
She ran, letting her legs carry her further away from Li Syaoran. Nothing was going right for her. Why? As she came to a deserted part of the school she panted for breath. Angrily, Sakura flung her box of chocolates into the air. The red rose was whipped away by the wind, while the pretty box fell apart and chocolates scattered everywhere.
“Are you angry, Sakura?” asked a young man’s smooth voice. A large, graceful hand swept up few chocolates. Eron emerged from behind a tree, and ate one chocolate, offering the other to Sakura.
“Let me guess. Love problems isn’t it? I’m really sorry you missed out the auditions though.”
“It’s all right. I can participate in the production in other ways. And I don’t have any love problems, Eron-kun.”
“Don’t bother lying to me, Sakura. I can see it in your eyes. But don’t you think you deserve better? Haven’t you tried your best? But what do you get now?” Eron moved closer to her ears. “Nothing.” Out of seemingly nowhere, he drew out a white rose and handed it to Sakura. “Think it over, Sakura. You’re too beautiful to hurt.” With cat-like grace, Eron walked away, leaving Sakura to gaze at the pure white rose. When she pricked her finger on a thorn, ruby red blood oozed out. It matched the pigeon’s blood ruby stud pierced on Eron’s left ear, which she had failed to notice before. Strange.
Where was Sakura? Syaoran sighed as he returned home. He wanted to make sure she understood that the bet was off and that it was trivial, that he had full sympathies, yet Sakura had disappeared. Or was she avoiding him? Was she with Eron again?
He gazed up at the dismal grayish blue sky. Just then, he spotted a red speck. Holding out a hand, he caught a crimson rose.
“Where’d’you get that from?” Meirin asked as she walked up to him.
“This?” Syaoran beckoned to the rose. “The sky.”
“C’mon. Do you think I’ll believe that? Please tell me that Sakura finally got knocked into her sense and gave you that.”
“I’m serious. It came from the sky,” Syaoran explained in exasperation.
“Yeah yeah yeah. Let’s go home now! Remember, it’s your dinner duty. I want some barbecued ribs, sushi, omelet, dimsum, chocolate cream cake, meringue…”
“It’s true, though! This rose was blown from the sky!” His protests were lost to Meirin, however.
A week later…
“Did you hear? The results of the auditions are posted up on the wall!” Naoko exclaimed, early in the morning, a week later.
As Sakura, Tomoyo, and Meirin walked up to the list, they found that a mob had already gathered around it.
Someone shouted, “Who got Rosaline?”
“I’m Rosaline!” announced Erika, emerging from the crowd.
“You’re so lucky!” Many girls screamed in jealousy. Sakura held her bag tightly.
“WAI!!! I wanted to be Rosaline!” wailed Meirin.
“Too bad, Meirin,” Erika patronized.
“What are you talking about?” Chiharu exclaimed. “Look at the list!”
Through the pushing students, Meirin read her name. Juliet Capulet… Li Meirin! “I’m Juliet!” she screamed, “I’m really Juliet!!!”
“REALLY? Congratulations! You got the leading role!” Sakura exclaimed, sincerely happy for Meirin. Folding her arms in front of her, Erika pouted.
“Wait, who’s Romeo then?” Meirin asked abruptly, unable to control her elation.
“LI SYAORAN!!!” shrieked the soccer fan girls. At this Erika smiled smugly. She could dance with him, then!
Syaoran was Romeo? Sakura was shocked.
“Count Paris… is Chang Eron-san!” Another cheer ran through the crowd.
As expected, Tomaki was Tybalt and Takashi was Mercutio. Unexpectedly, Rika was Lady Capulet, and Chiharu was Lady Montague, other important female roles. Sakura read down the long list of names, some she knew, some she didn’t.
“Wow, all our friends got pretty good roles,” Tomoyo commented. Then she realized Sakura looked dejected. “Sorry…”
Smiling, Sakura said, “Why? I’m glad that everyone got good roles. Now I can help!”
Just then Syaoran came walked past the hallway, looking half dead.
“Syaoran! Don’t tell me you just got to school!” Meirin exclaimed. “The bells about to go off any second!”
“Slept in,” Syaoran mumbled, trying to stifle a yawn.
“Did you see? The audition results are listed up!” Tomoyo said.
“AND YOU’RE ROMEO!” The whole crowd shouted.
“I’m what?” Syaoran blinked several times, not getting what they were saying.
“Romeo! The leading male role!” Meirin said.
There was a dazed expression on his face, and he walked straight into someone.
Balancing herself, Sakura whispered, “You didn’t sleep again last night, did you?”
With a worried look, Sakura said, “You should take better care of yourself! Especially since you got such a big role, you’re gonna be busy from now on. Oh yeah, congratulations on getting the part of Romeo.”
“Eh?” Looking fully awake now, he asked, “I got the part of Romeo? Isn’t he supposed to be the main character?”
“YES!” Meirin shouted. “Did you leave your brains at home, or something? We’ve been trying to tell you for the past 5 minutes!” Slyly, she added, “Or does everyone’s word not penetrate your brain except for Sakura’s?”
“Shut up,” Syaoran growled, blushing.
“Oh my gosh! Now, he doesn’t want to talk to anyone except for Sakura!” Meirin gasped in pretended shock.
“I said, shut up!” Syaoran tried to keep his ears from turning red as he slammed the classroom door.
“Today was the first day of rehearsal!” Meirin exclaimed, all giddy. She still couldn’t believe her luck even after such a hectic day.
“We finally got our scripts!” Rika exclaimed, clutching the pad of paper to her chest.
“I’m so curious what the whole story is about,” Chiharu added, plopping down on the chair in the auditorium. “I’m going to read it when I get home.” Everyone was excited after the first day of rehearsals. Although they had months of practice ahead of them, first time was always exciting, getting organized, slowly fitting together the scenes, and beginning the new songs, dances and acts, not to mention putting together costumes, scenery, prop, and matching along with the orchestra.
“Too bad about Sakura,” Erika commented,
patronizingly. She brushed back her sleek, wavy hair, then smirked.
Though Sakura tried to remain cheerful and helping, things weren’t working very well for her during the first few musical rehearsals. First, they put her in the scenery painting, which was fine for her, until she spilt a bucket of blue paint across the canvas. Then, the angry teacher sent her off to prop making. She had a miserable time, since she hammered her thumb more often than the nail and ended up with wood splinters in her soft palm. The orchestra refused to take her in, and she was sent off to the costume making group. However, when she botched up a yard of a silken cloth for Rosaline’s ball gown in the sewing machine, she was ordered to take the size measures of all the cast members with the measuring tape. Yet, she was too bashful to measure the length and width of some of the ostentatious guys, so wasn’t much help. Finally, she was used as a gofer, moving heavy luggage and photocopying various papers.
The directing teacher said scornfully handing files of folders, “Even you can’t mess it up, I hope!”
Hanging her head low, she tried to bite back her disappointment and ignore the tittering of students around her. By the end of a week, her arm was falling off, and her back ached from the heavy boxes she had to move. Once, she dropped a carton of fragile things down the stairs, never hearing the end of it from the teacher. Luckily, Eron helped her gather the things in no time. Another time, she copied a hundred papers of the wrong document. Again, Eron secretly got rid of the wrong papers and helped her photocopy the right ones.
Sympathetically, Tomoyo intervened and whisked Sakura away. To the teacher she explained, “I’m really busy, and I think I need someone to help me. Sakura can be my assistant manager.”
Disdainfully, the teacher agreed to this. At first, Sakura felt she was just a burden and even though she kept a smile on her face and attempted to aid Tomoyo all she could, she had the impossible feeling that she was useless. Tomoyo was busy organizing costume design, teaching the choir, and basically putting together the show, always helpful to all the students and greatly in charge. Everyone admired her talents, and never felt ticked off when Tomoyo corrected them or gave friendly advises. Sakura admired Tomoyo for this. In a way, Tomoyo was the glue and pillar that made the whole production possible.
However, in Sakura’s own discreet way, she started to gain the position of a person that everyone would turn to, especially when Tomoyo was too busy. She attended every rehearsal diligently to oversee that everything ran smoothly, helping out in numerous little ways that everyone fully felt gratitude to.
The most awful times for the directing teachers was when the sword fighting scenes had to be practiced. Most of the teenage boys were boisterous and out of control. Plus, they didn’t have much coordination with the narrow wood staffs, which were temporarily being used for swords until the real props arrived.
After one boy resulted in a bruise on his rib cage and another a lump on his cheek, Sakura intervened from her quiet position in back stage, “No, no, you guys have it all wrong. Here, you hold this here, and you have to face him this way. There. And you try to aim for the side. Practice the rhythm and beat. See, there you have it! Just hit a little bit more to the side.”
“Show us then, Kinomto-san,” Tomaki said, grinning, tossing her a staff.
“Yeah, show us!” Everyone echoed enthusiastically. Even people who were not in Sakura’s PE class had heard about her athletic coordination.
Blushing, Sakura stammered, “I can’t just by myself.”
“You can show us with Li-san,” Tomaki said, shoving ahead Syaoran, who shrugged when Sakura raised an eye.
Soon, they were facing a neck to neck fencing training, equally coordinated and balanced as each other. With the clicks of the staffs, they soon fell into rhythm and the beat was steady and quick. A large audience had gathered backstage.
Finally, Sakura, who was fully aware of Syaoran’s movements, saw his chest muscle flinch, and in a quick movement, struck down her ‘sword’ and knocked his aside. Then, she pointed it at Syaoran’s neck. For a while, they stood panting as everyone cheered, “GO KINOMOTO-SAN!” Wiping the sweat off her brows and tossing the staff aside, she accusingly said, “You didn’t try your best.” She knew that Syaoran had not used full talent or strength on her.
Shrugging Syaoran said, “Think what you want to.”
“That’s marvelous!” People applauded. Girls
sighed jealously since they thought it was cool to be able to fence. Especially
Not only did Sakura help with the fencing scenes, but she was always there to help each individual, when all other coordinators of the musical production was too busy. If someone was having a problem memorizing their lines, Sakura patiently practiced with them.
Sometimes, she played the violin while Rika or Chiharu practiced their songs as Lady Capulet and Lady Montague.
Rika commented, “How do you play the violin so well? It makes me feel as if I sing much better than I actually can.”
One time, Takashi Yamazaki came up to Sakura with a frown, after a huge fight with Chiharu. Fingering his short, spiked black hair, Takashi said, “I really don’t get girls. Why is she so mad at me for no reason? I just told her that her hairstyle was babyish.”
Sympathetically, Sakura said, “Girls are self-conscious, and you should make them feel more confident and secure. Chiharu really cares what you think, Yamazaki-kun, and she wants to impress you. However, when you say things like that, she loses her confidence. Let’s see… White Day is coming up! Why don’t you do something nice for her?”
“W-well, it’s embarrassing. We’ve been around a long time, the two of us. I mean, we’ve been friends since kindergarten. I’m not sure what she thinks of me, and it’s just uncomfortable, you know.”
“I think Chiharu-chan would like a box of candy, and maybe a bouquet of white flowers, her favorite kind. It’s nice to know that you have a friend that appreciates you. Gifts aren’t always just for serious commitment. They’re there to give you security and gratitude. Chiharu-chan would understand the deep meaning of friendship.”
Thinking it over, Takasi nodded. “You know what?” He smiled. “Thanks. I really mean it.”
Smiling Sakura hugged her knees, gazing at the bustling of students in and out. At first, she hadn’t been sure of what she was there for, but slowly, she began to feel that she did give the slightest bit of help.
Many people agreed that they wouldn’t know
what to do without Sakura everyday, who was always there to give a lending
hand and a smile, or just a sympathetic ear with endless patience. In fact,
she was greatly needed by everyone.
“Strange, I don’t know what we’ll do without that girl,” the music teacher said one day, as she observed Sakura struggling to help a timid young girl who was playing the part of Juliet’s little cousin, practice her lines.
“I agree, sensei. She really is remarkable.
After all, she’s Sakura-chan,” Tomoyo said, tidying her papers. Then she
sighed. These days, there was practically no opportunity to video tape
“Syaoran! Oh Romeo!” Meirin chased Syaoran across the stage. “Wait! Let’s go home together! Don’t leave me again like last time.” Syaoran tried to dodge through the students. “Wai! I hate you Syaoran. I can’t walk that fast!”
“You forgot your books,” Sakura called, chasing after them.
“Oh! Thanks!” Meirin grabbed the books.
“Syaoran! Wait!” Wiping her forehead, Sakura plopped into a chair with
exhaustion. And she thought that she would have had less work to do!
Wish-chan: Sob sob... He
he... Poor Sakura... Poor Syaoran... Misunderstandings... sigh... So, there's
a musical... Too bad Sakura-chan didn't get a leading role, ne? Still,
as I always point out, there will be sunshine after the rain.
Comments welcomed and cherished at email@example.com.
The fastests access to newest chapters and CCS odds and ends is at my homopage www.geocities.com/wishluv. Fanart up!
Also, I'd like to thank everyone who has
e-mailed to me or commented at fanfiction.net. Comments are the life and
blood of writers. I really appreciate it. All of you readers made
it possible for me to come this long. And this may sound scary, but the
real stuff hasn't begun yet! ^_^. Also, I really appreciate the person
posting it up at fanfiction.net, as well. Go see here fanfiction, too!
SPOILERS: (Highlight to read.) So, do you think that Sakura and Syaoran would always be split apart. He he... so many bad things happened to Sakura, ne. Nothing seems to be going right for her. But... Let me repeat this. I am an S+S fan. So, what can that mean? So, don't be too disappointed if things don't sound too bright for them now!