Before tonight, Sakura had never drank. Well, that wasn't entirely true. Sakura's father had let her have a glass of wine on her 18th birthday. Did that count? Sakura wasn't entirely sure, however, all she knew now was that she was drunk. Hell, she was very drunk. She thought.
Tomoyo had convinced her to come to Eriol's place that night. It was only a mere 4 hours after their exam period had ended, and Tomoyo, predictably, was invited to the biggest party on campus. Sakura had never been to a college party yet this year (or at all, but Tomoyo didn't know that). The last class bash, or whatever it was, celebrated the relief students felt in that they didn't have to cram anymore but also the thankfulness that they hadn't seen their final grades yet. Sakura figured there was plenty of reasons to celebrate. She was certain she passed her Stats final, and her take-home exam for Psych was a total cinch.
So why shouldn't she have a shot or two?
Or five. In thirty minutes. Sakura was a mere five feet, and not much else. Her body felt weightless, and her head felt slightly hazy. What this what drunkenness felt like?
Sakura held her drink high above her head as she navigated the crowd. Eriol Hiiragizawa's mansion was currently a maze of people, primarily constructed of frat boys, science majors and other randoms she'd seen around campus. Elbows jetted into every pathway while clouds of marijuana flooded the air. It was as if the entire living room blended into a kaleidoscope of body odor and bad choices; bodies pushed past her and into her. Rather than throwing a fit, like a normal person might, Sakura giggled. Why was everything so funny all of a sudden? Sakura was fairly certain that Naoko Yanagisawa just split the entire contents of her red solo cup all over Sakura's backside, but she didn't seem to care. It was just so, so funny. What a great party.
She couldn't remember where Tomoyo had gone, or how long Sakura had been alone. All she knew was blaring house music; it was hardly familiar, but easy to dance to. She bopped and swerved through the endless bodies as if she was going somewhere, but she didn't have a real destination. She could lose herself in this moment, dancing to the beat. It poured through her veins, and she wanted to consume every drop…
She danced past Takahashi Yamazaki, and prayed she'd be able to sneak by without him noticing.
"Great party, huh?" he said, above the now dull drone of conversation and music. Fuck. He noticed her.
Sakura turned to face him and nodded, grinning a little. Dear God, if there was ever a time to get caught in the midst of Takahashi's stories, it was not now. Sakura usually had the patience to listen to him talk for a few minutes or so before class, but the alcohol was inhibiting her ability to run away. She was trapped.
Unable to say more than a silly giggle, Sakura covered her mouth. She hoped this would somehow stop the stupid sound she was making. Takahashi seemed to receive this as an invitation for conversation. Oh, shit. Here we go.
"It's great to see you out of the library! Finals are a killer, wouldn't you agree, Sakura?" he laughed and Sakura shrugged, unsure of how to answer. Weirdly enough, Takahashi wasn't rambling as much as he usually would. Maybe the drinking made him a little less annoying and a little more sociable?
Sakura pulled her drink to chest level now that she wasn't moving so much. She pressed her cup protectively against her bosom. "Totally," she managed to say. Takahashi coughed nervously, his eyes shifting back and forth.
"Do you think you did alright?" Takahashi asked, leaning in closer. Sakura could smell his cologne, mixed with a fresh breath of cigarettes. Just delicious. She also noticed the stubble on his neck, which was not an uncommon sight this time of year. Most boys put shaving on the back burner during exams.
"I did as well as I think I did! Haha!" Sakura could tell Takahashi didn't really understand her reply but he was liquored up enough not to care. He persisted, "Oh well, I know you aced it!"
Sakura felt the blush creep up her neck and behind her ears. She wasn't sure if it was Takahashi's sudden forwardness or the heat flooding around the room.
"Enough talk about school, it's over and done with for the year! I'm glad you're having a good time," Takahashi rested his hand on Sakura's shoulder for a moment. Sakura never said she was having a good time. She shrugged his hand off immediately and took a large sip of her drink. Oh boy.
"There's lots of guys here with their eyes on you tonight,"
Sakura peered around the room. At least half of the people she saw were fixated on them. She hoped Takahashi wouldn't get too creepy with so many people watching. Or would he? Nah, Chiharu was across the floor, sitting on the couch with some girlfriends... Sakura prayed she wouldn't be mad at her. She sipped her drink again, brushing off his comment.
"Maybe you'll get lucky tonight!" Sakura spat the liquid onto the floor in immediate shock. She felt her face get hot. Takahashi laughed nervously but he knew he'd crossed the line. How awkward. He really doesn't know social rules at all. Across the room, Chiharu stood up with immediate purpose. She moved towards them; Sakura wasn't sure if it was to save her or scorn her.
Suddenly, there was a loud foreign sound that danced its way into the house from the open window. It roared, it sounded like… a putter? Several people turned to look, and others fidgeted nervously. Takahashi was one of them. At this moment, Chiharu had placed her hand around his waist. Busted.
The roar gunned louder and Sakura became aware it was an engine. A beam of bright light began to shine through the window, and a girl whose name Sakura couldn't recall asked loudly if it was the cops. A friend shushed her and the rest of the room went quiet. The music played even louder amidst the silence.
A group of frat boys approached the window to investigate, and while Sakura could barely see thanks to her stature, she creaked her neck to see past their hands on the window.
"Who the hell invited him?" one of the guys shouted, pulling away from the pane to glare at the other partygoers. His accusatory glare startled Sakura. What on earth? She frowned as the engine cut off. "That dirty bastard parked on the lawn!"
Sakura's eyes widened. Someone parked on the lawn? How rude. What kind of smug brat had the nerve to park on Eriol's nice lawn, especially when he appeared so unwelcome?
"I cannot believe she told him about tonight!" Chiharu's voice echoed through the air. Sakura turned towards Chiharu's shaking head. Her hand that was on Takahashi's waist had crawled its way to his ear. She tugged at it not so lightly. Takahashi winced from pain. Sakura's eyebrows furrowed; well, that's what you get.
"If you heard it from me, I told her not to tell him about this shindig. He is going to be nothing but trouble!" Chiharu howled, all-knowingly. At this point, the crowd began to resettle into party-mode. Sakura became confused by Chiharu's statement. Was she talking about Takahashi or someone…else?
"Who…?" Sakura asked to no one in particular, turning around to get another gaze at the windowpane. While the light had stopped beaming through, she couldn't see anybody on the lawn. Just a bunch of beer bottles and solo cups.
"You'll see," Chiharu giggled, turning her attention back to Takahashi. Chiharu's fingers danced around his collar as she whispered in his ear. Sakura felt uncomfortable watching but she hoped Chiharu would mention something else about said person who was 'trouble'. What did trouble even mean, anyway?
Sakura turned back towards to window, still curious. Two girls replaced the group of boys. They stared outside with beaming looks in their eyes, but from Sakura's distance it was too dark to really see what was out there. She eavesdropped.
"Did you see him?"
"Naoko, don't look!"
"I can't help it, he's so bad! Look at that bike! Oh my gosh!"
"Can you even believe it? Him and Meiling?!"
The girls giggled into their hands, attempting to keep their breath from fogging up the glass they could see so clearly through. One of them began to tug at her skirt with anxiety while the other slapped her hand in disapproval.
Sakura's eyes rolled. She tried to look past one of their heads to see, but she could only make out a shadowy group of people in front of what must have been the motorcycle they referred to. The girls began to squeal and Sakura sighed. What the hell?
She began to feel frustrated as the booze's effects began to ware off. Who was this guy? Meanwhile, where the hell was her best friend? Sakura looked around the room for answers but everyone was occupied—especially Chiharu and Takahashi. Blergh. Sakura overheard the girls once more—
"Do you think they'll get in a fight? Itsuki been begging for one!"
"Rika, don't talk like that! If they fight they'll call the cops for sure!"
Sakura snorted. She turned around and tried to remember if she could get downstairs if she past by the bathroom down the hall. As she pondered, someone changed the music playing and a Korean pop group Sakura liked began to filter through the room.
Sakura felt calm again, and sat in a nearby chair. She glanced around the room as she began to feel more and more sober. Chiharu and Takahashi had broken apart from one another—she guessed Chiharu went to stick her nose into guy-parked-on-the-lawn's business. Takahashi started to approach Sakura once more and she coughed, trying to avoid his gaze.
Then, as if she had appeared from heaven itself, Tomoyo was standing at the living room's doorway. Sakura jumped to her feet.
Tomoyo was laughing and nodding her head as a cute boy whispered something into her ear. Sakura sighed. Tomoyo was usually popular with the boys. Sakura should've known what she was up to.
Tomoyo met with Sakura's eyes and she waived, beckoning her over. "Sakura!" Tomoyo grinned as she approached. Tomoyo reached for Sakura's arm and coaxed her into a playful twist. Sakura followed Tomoyo's example and suddenly they were dancing in the middle of the floor, among a group of guys Sakura didn't recognize.
They grooved among everyone, and Tomoyo gripped Sakura's hand tight. "Oh my goodness, have you heard?" Tomoyo said in a sudden interlude. Sakura bent her ear instinctively towards her. Gossip time.
"Did you hear? About how he actually came?" Sakura shook her head. "Sort of… who is it?" Tomoyo gaped at her, swinging Sakura's arms to the music. "You mean you don't know?"
Sakura mentally swore. Of course she didn't know! How was Tomoyo expecting her to? This wasn't abnormal for Tomoyo; she assumed everyone was as in tune as she was. Unfortunately for Sakura, she couldn't handle her own social life, let alone the intricacies of others'.
"Is it someone who Meiling knows?" Sakura asked innocently, in hopes Tomoyo wouldn't be too disappointed. She gave her the most incredulous look Sakura had seen in a longtime.
"You mean you just finished your first year and you don't know who Syaoran Li is?! Shame on you, Sakura Kinomoto!" Tomoyo huffed playfully. "I mean, not only is he the son of the richest business man in the country but he also is the cutest repeat offender in the district! I've heard he has quite the record, but I think its just rumors myself!"
Sakura played along with Tomoyo, laughed as if she'd heard it all before, like it was a distant memory put in the back of her mind she just needed reminding of. It wasn't. Sakura had never heard the name Syaoran Li in her life.
"So what is so great about him again?" Sakura's curiosity had peaked.
"Well, you know, him and Meiling were together in high school. There was this big scandal about it because their parents arranged their marriage. He's so bad, you know, he broke it off just before graduation because he had 'other things' to deal with, whatever that meant," Tomoyo gleamed as if she was on a game show and had just answered the million-dollar question. How she loved being in on things.
"Some people say that he had a secret male lover, and that's why they broke up. Some older guy from up North." Tomoyo said. Sakura's eyes widened. "Others say he had an illegitimate child and had to pay off the mother so she would keep quiet and not ruin his father's business prospects,"
"Which do you think is true?" Sakura asked, eagerly to know more and keep up the facade.
Tomoyo's grin widened and her eyebrows furrowed. "Both."
"I know that Chiharu told Meiling not to invite him!" Sakura exclaimed, eager to seem clued-in. Tomoyo nodded eagerly.
"Can you believe it though, a guy like Syaoran at this kind of party? Why would he even show up other than to cause some sort of drama? It's so exciting!"
"He parked on the lawn!"
"He did not!" Tomoyo shrieked, blushing. "He's just so bad, don't you think? Did Itsuki fight him? I heard they were going to fight if he showed! They hate each other! Their Dads are sworn enemies when it comes to work!" Sakura thought that made enough sense to be believable, unlike the other stories. Itsuki's father, as far as she knew, was another big business mogul with numerous shares in different sectors.
Tomoyo seemed to trail off- or at least to Sakura- into some ramble about Syaoran Li.
Sakura sighed as the girls continued to dance.