Birthday: Eriol Tuesday
Eriol's been avoiding me all day because of the little incident with Kinomoto this morning. He's way too overprotective of her.
As a result, all day I hung out with the popular kids. It wasn't as fun as hanging out with Eriol though. All Riku wanted to talk about was soccer and the band, I had to endure Takashi and Mihara’s pathetic flirting, and Watanbe Mika would not stop offering to put me in contact with her reliable source.
Man, I really screwed up.
And my cheek still hurts.
Okay, I'll admit that I was kind of a jerk to her. And an ass. I kind of regret saying all that stuff to Kinomoto. Maybe Eriol's right. Maybe she really does have a reason for acting the way she does.
The phone rang in my room so I answered it instead of letting Wei, the family butler and Meiling and my legal guardian while we were in Japan, pick in up in the kitchen. It turned out to be none other than Meiling. Why bother calling me when you live next door?
"Hey Syaoran, do you want to go to a concert?" She asked me, her voice cheerful. It sounded like she already forgave me for this morning.
"Sure. When, where, who's singing?" I prompted my cousin and headed to the kitchen.
"Saturday at seven, Tomoeda Gardens, Sakura Athene," she answered quickly.
"How'd you get tickets to her concert?!" I demanded, knowing that it was sold out.
"Her grandfather's company, Amamiya Apparel, sponsors me in my gym meets. I got four free tickets," she answered lightly. I never knew Meiling had those kinds of connections.
"Sure, I'll come." I answered, rifling through my fridge. "Who else is coming?"
"Well, I invited Eriol, Tomoyo, and Sakura, but—“
"You have no ticket." I pointed out bluntly.
"I'm not done talking. Sakura couldn't come," she answered, amused by my interruption.
"Oh," I said quietly. Of course I was a second option. How could I not be one given my behavior that mroning?
"Listen, Meiling, I'm sorry for earlier. I wasn't thinking straight. It’s just that Watanabe said something and I reacted defensively because Kinomoto’s always so defensive, and—“
"Don't do it anymore." Meiling said, her cold tone sending a shiver down my spine. “You’re stronger than that, Xiao Lang. Be the better person.”
"But that's so hard to do! Not with all the pressure I get from everyone at school,” I burst out.
"She's delicate at this moment in time. I don't know why or how to fix this but she's endured this for seven years, Meiling explained quietly.
"Seven years? But how..."
I could hear the doorbell ring through the phone. “Crap!” Meiling exclaimed. “I forgot I was supposed to go to open gym and practice today. My manager’s going to kill me. Sorry, Syaoran, but we’ll talk later, okay?”
She hung up on me.
I’d never admit it to my father, but I missed the yellow house.
My father is a multi-dollar billionaire archaeologist and professor. When he and my mother were engaged, he bought two acres of green land using the earnings from his first major dig and built a humongous, luxurious mansion on half an acre of land. With one acre, my mother grew the plants and designed the landscape people see today. The result was a beautiful green maze of gardens and waterfalls.
People usually asked what happened to the last half acre.
For privacy reasons and his inability to let go of his humble beginnings, my father built a modest yellow two-story home with a sixty-four square foot backyard. Honestly, it looked like every other standard Japanese family home. The wooden fence with its secret gate between the mansion grounds and the modest house’s small yard was the only boundary between the two. It was no small coincidence that he chose a plot of land that was right on the borderline of the wealthy class neighborhood and the middle class neighborhood.
We lived in the yellow house after Kaa-san died. The memories of her in the mansion were just too much for him and Nii-san. That’s why the school directory lists the yellow house as my home address. When Meiling first arrived in Tomoeda, she went to the yellow house because she didn’t know we moved back into the mansion after the whole situation with Kaorin.
My cousins Yukito and Ayame live in the yellow house now, mostly because of me. They gave up their comfortable and familiar home in Tomoeda for my own career and safety. That’s one of the biggest reasons why I find it so hard to say no to anything Ayame asks of me. She sacrificed a lot for my sake.
I know why I can’t stay at the yellow house anymore. It doesn’t stop me from missing it.
I arrived at school the moment the doors opened at 7:15. Sneaking quietly through the halls until I reached the locker of a certain girl, I stopped and glanced in both directions down the hall.
No one in sight. Good.
I slipped a hand into my backpack and pulled out three items: a purple notebook with silver stars, a pen that wrote in a rose pink color, and a brown teddy bear with cream colored paws, stomach, muzzle, and ears. Positioning the bear so it held the notebook and pen using a silver ribbon to tie it all together, I arranged the items until it was to my liking.
I smiled in satisfaction and pulled one last thing from my backpack. Gently setting the typewritten paper next to the bear's side, I closed the locker door softly and quietly padded outside.
What to do now? Syaoran usually arrives between 7:20 and 7:30. I suppose I could go to the nearest Starbucks and order a drink while I wait for them.
A caramel macchiato sounds good.
Honestly, I couldn’t wait to see Sakura’s face when she got her gift.
When I opened my locker that morning, I was so surprised to see a brown teddy bear holding a notebook and pen in one paw. Picking up the typewritten note, I read:
To the birthday girl,
This teddy bear
will suit your needs
A silent confident
Pen to write your troubled thoughts
And a notebook just to match
This is my gift
So use it wise and well
A silver ribbon for you to use
To seal secrets you'd never tell
A Secret Friend
Whoever wrote this must have a lot of time on his or her hands. The gifts kind of made me feel like I was surrounded by people who loved and appreciated me. It was a feeling I didn’t get very often.
Meiling and Tomoyo walked towards my locker, where I was still unpacking my books from my backpack.
"Hey Sakura, whatcha got there?" Meiling said, pountingto the gifts I had received.
"Ohh... is that from your secret friend? You know, the one that gave you the CD yesterday?” Tomoyo asked, excited at the prospect.
"Yeah, it's from my secret friend. It's a rather comforting gift actually," I answered I'm still having a hard time adjusting to having decent people around at school, especially with my “yesterday-found-new-friends.”
"Good morning, ladies. What's all the commotion?" Eriol said, popping up behind Tomoyo.
"Sakura got another present this morning!" Meiling said exuberantly.
Eriol adjusted his glasses. "Really, Meiling?"
"Just look at her locker!" Tomoyo pointed out.
Eriol looked into my locker and read the note beside the gifts. He smiled and said,
"Happy Birthday, Sakura-san."
I looked at him weirdly. "My birthday's on Friday, Eriol," I stated bluntly.
My friend looked surprised. "But the note says it's your birthday."
I glanced at the piece of paper. "Then maybe the sender has an odd sense of humor. Great way to trash someone's reputation!" I said sarcastically. Of course, that was a totally ironic statement because I don't have a reputation to speak of.
The bell rang, signaling the beginning of classes. I passed by Li on my way to Social Studies. He opened his mouth to say something but I pretended not to notice him and continued walking to my Chemistry class.
Why should I care what he has to say? He's done nothing but be a pain and a nuisance in my life.
So why did his hurt face affect me so much?