Summary:

Sakura Kinomoto never fit in. After her brother and father die in a tragic car accident, she is sent to live with her grandmother. At first Sakura hates the quaint, country town- but after accidentally getting a job at the local diner, she begins to make friends for the first time and learns to appreciate life for the little things.

Chapter 1: Welcome to Hell

My name is Sakura Kinomoto. Welcome to my personal hell.

"Well, hopefully things will be good for you in Tomoeda," My ex-neighbour said as she patted my shoulder awkwardly, walking along the train platform. I looked at her hand and sniffled. She sighed. "It's going to be okay, I promise."

I was sick of hearing that. What gave her the right to tell me it was going to be okay? She didn't know. I understood she didn't mean anything by it; nobody really meant anything.

"Living with your grandmother in Tomoeda will be the perfect change of scenery." Another sentence that'd she'd repeated too many times. I cringed every time the 's' sound of scenery rolled off of her tongue. Shut up, I thought.

After the accident our neighbour Monoke, took me in. I think she felt as if it was her responsibility because nobody else wanted me (or was there to want me). I could tell she didn't really want to because she was never exactly affectionate towards me. It wasn't as if I was expecting her to read me a bedtime story every night but there was nothing worse than empty 'have a nice day' s and 'good night's. And now, when she was trying to offer some support it was really awkward.

I stayed silent as she checked her watch. She mumbled something about how it was time for me to go and that when I get to my grandmother's place I should call her. I contemplated but decided it was unnecessary.

The train pulled into the station and my bags were packed aboard. I hugged Monoke goodbye, knowing that it would probably be the last time I would see her. It wasn't like either of us cared except we knew there was an expectation of intimacy. I stayed cold and silent- the same way I'd been the past few weeks.

When I got to my seat I looked out the window and watched all of the people wave to their departing relatives and it only made me realize so much more just how alone I was. I'd always denied it but as I watched the only living person who I was remotely acquainted with walk away the painful stab of emotion struck.

Slowly but surely tears slipped down my cheeks.

It hadn't always been like this.

My first real memory is from when I was five, and I got to see Tokyo Tower for the first time. In it I am wearing a white sundress and a hat too big for my head. I am sitting on top of my father's shoulders. My mother and brother, Toya, aren't far... they are standing close as we all stared at the entity that was Tokyo Tower.

It was really, really sunny but there was a soft breeze. I can still see my mother's long, raven hair flowing through the wind and I can still hear Toya's laugh.

I remember dropping ice cream on my mom's new dress and being terrified that she would get angry. Of course she didn't, she just wiped it off and bought me a new one.

The rest of my early memories consist of my family doing everything together. We were happy. Our apartment was falling apart from the inside and my clothes were second hand, but we were happy. Dad said that happiness was all that mattered.

It switches to a blur the winter I turned seven. That was when my mom got sick. I don't remember anything at all, but I do know that was when we were the hungriest because we had to pay numerous hospital bills. Toya also became my guardian. He took care of me when our parents couldn't- and the moment my mother passed he made it a personal goal to help my dad every way he could. When he turned sixteen and was eligible for a part-time job, he didn't just get one. He got every one.

We'd struggled a lot with money, which meant we'd lost our apartment one month after my mom left us. And then another six months later we lost another. It was a vicious cycle, we were always moving.

With all of the moving around, I'd never really gotten time to make friends, let alone learn how to make friends. I became quite shy around people and got into the habit of stuttering around new ones. With my non-existent social skills, I'd pretty much only find friends in my family- the only ones who didn't laugh at me.

We finally got on track when I turned 14, when my dad got promoted and we were in our middle-of-the-city apartment permanently. It'd been my favourite apartment to date, because I got my own bedroom and the neighbour, Monoke (sound familiar?) was actually really nice.

We'd been in our apartment for two years when they got in the accident.

One afternoon I came home to find a note pinned on the fridge- informing me they'd gone out for groceries. I'd waited for my dad and Toya for three hours until the phone rang. They were walking along the sidewalk when a eighteen-wheeler lost control...

I went into a blank after that, and I don't remember the next few hours. From what I've been told, Monoke had came over with the intention of stealing some of our baking goods (like usual) and found me passed out in the bathroom.

After that Monoke took me in for the time being. During my short yet painful stay at her apartment I'll admit I felt a little crazy. I cut off my waist-length hair to above my shoulders and stopped speaking. Nothing felt real. How was I even alive?

The authorities and lawyers searched for some time until they finally found my grandmother.

This was what brought me here. Sitting in a train on the way to small-town Tomoeda to live with a woman who I've never conversed with in my life. She seemed eager that she actually had a granddaughter, because her own daughter had run out on her when she turned eighteen and hadn't heard from her since. (She didn't even know she was dead).

I knew Tomoeda wouldn't make me happy, regardless of what Monoke preached. I knew that I would never make friends and that I would never be close to my grandmother like I was with my dad or my brother.

As I sat on the train that morning, I felt a strange unease. This was unlike my usual numbness. What was to become of me? My entire family was dead when I felt that I should be.

When the train pulled into a town outside of Tomoeda several hours later there was only one person waiting. He was a good-looking Chinese guy about my age. He looked impatient and was patting his foot on the platform and was fiddling with car keys. I sighed. My lovely grandmother appeared to have forgotten me.

I stepped on the platform and began to squint. The late-June afternoon sun burned bright and hot, and I automatically remembered what Monoke told me about here. This place was close to a beach.

I sat down at the nearest bench. My stomach churned and my forehead sweat. It was going to be a painful wait for this old woman.

The Chinese guy saw me and began to speak. "Are you Hanako's granddaughter?" He grumbled and stepped towards me. I flinched. What the hell?

This guy obviously wasn't in a mood to waste time. I nodded and he raised an eyebrow. "Sakura, right?" I nodded again.

"Hanako sent me to get you. I'm Syaoran Li." He didn't make any gesture of acquaintance; there was no handshake or anything. "Those yours?" he said, pointing at my bags which had been placed on the platform by what I can only assume a train worker. I nodded again and he picked them up with ease. I watched in amazement- those things were super heavy. He was strong.

"This way," he said and I noticed that I'd been standing there a few moments because he was already many paces ahead. I trotted after him.

He approached an old pickup truck. He tossed my stuff into the box and got up front. I opened the door for myself and got in the front seat.

The seats smelt like sweat; I wrinkled my nose. He seemed to acknowledge this and rolled down the windows. The sun busted onto my face and I squinted again. I was not impressed.

"You're never pleased, are you?" he mumbled annoyingly. I assumed this was a rhetorical question because I certainly didn't want to answer it. I didn't.

Syaoran drove towards the parking lot exit and I settled into my seat. The road was smooth and I was tempted to sleep. He didn't try to talk to me as we drove which I was perfectly content with.

After about a thirty minutes of highway we turned onto an exit that lead us into the town. This was when I sat up and began looking around. Old, big country style houses were everywhere and the town smelt like a barbeque. My stomach growled as we drove through the middle of town square.

We turned right at the intersection and the houses started stretching farther apart. We passed by a small, one-level white building which had a big neon sign that said 'FOOD- TAKE OUT OR SIT IN'. I could smell hamburgers, french fries and pure, intoxicating grease coming from there. I almost fainted with delight.

I saw Syaoran mouth something that resembled along the lines of "Almost there," but he never actually spoke. We then turned onto a dirt road and passed a few more houses- you could see glimpses of ocean water behind them.

We drove to the very end of the road and pulled into the last house on the left. It was a traditional western-style home, with three levels and pillars holding up the deck. The original white color of it had faded into a dirty ivory and you could see paint chipping off the window shutters. Just around the porch that ran the entire length of the house, after the backyard, the beach appeared and I could spot teenagers out in the water.

Syaoran honked the horn and I flinched out of surprise. It had been so quiet; my ears rang and I covered them. He looked at me funny as he turned the key and got out of the car. I followed suit.

He got my bags and pilled them on the front steps. He also took a gym bag out of the back which I hadn't noticed before, but was the obvious source of the sweaty scent. He placed it on top of my luggage. I could tell he was being a jerk on purpose, but what I didn't understand was why he was unloading his stuff at my grandmother's. I didn't have the guts to ask so I didn't.

Suddenly, the front door creaked open and a short, over weight woman with a cheeky smile waddled towards us. "Hey Hanako," Syaoran smiled. Whoa, I thought. He smiles.

Hanako patted Syaoran's shoulder and thanked him for picking me up. Then she turned to me and gave me the tightest hug I'd ever had. I squealed with pain and I could almost feel my pelvis snap (It didn't, though).

"Oh, Sakura! I'm so excited to meet you, oh my goodness you look just like your mother," she said. She turned to Syaoran. "Doesn't she?" He shrugged. "I'm going to take these to her room, and then I have the night shift for work tonight so I have to get going," Syaoran said casually. He was obviously very comfortable around her.

"Okay! Tell Tomoyo I said hi!" Hanako shouted inside the house and he moaned an acknowledgement. Tomoyo must be his girlfriend, I thought. Hanako turned back to me and looked into my eyes. There was one thing we had in common. We had the same big green eyes.

Syaoran left the house and skipped past us. "I hope you have a good time here," he mumbled to me shyly before he jumped inside his old pickup and pulled out of the driveway. I was rather surprised by his comment- I just assumed he didn't care. Or perhaps he was trying to impress Hanako, which was odd since she was an old lady. I then noticed she'd been rambling on.

"Sakura… it's okay if I call you Sakura, right? It's so wonderful to be here with you, we're going to be such great girlfriends! I can't wait for you to meet everybody here; oh they'll just love you! They all loved your mother, but then of course she ran off with your dad when she met him," Hanako talked until she realized she mentioned my dead parents. She stared at me as if she'd done the worse thing in the world.

"It's okay," I spoke for the first time that day. I was almost startled by the sound of my own voice, it was like a strangers. Hanako nodded and led me inside.

As I walked up the steps behind her, the first thing I noticed about the inside of the house was that she had every single light on. It was unnecessarily bright. I wondered why she kept them all on while the sun was out-which was bright enough to light up the whole place ten times over.

I heard the TV coming from the living room, which was playing some sort of soap opera. I looked into that direction and glanced around. All of the furniture was old fashioned and well-used. Hanako noticed this and began to rant about the program she was watching. I barely heard a word.

I nodded out of habit and all of a sudden I felt a rub of fur against my leg. I jumped and screamed, which resulted in me knocking into the wall and toppling over. On the floor I looked into the eyes of an extremely fat miniature schnauzer.

Hanako laughed and picked up the dog. She patted his head and said "Bad Wolfie! Don't scare Sakura!" I stood up brushed my butt off.

"He can be so bad sometimes," Hanako said. "Truth be told I don't know what I would do without him though. He's my baby," She explained. I petted the dogs head and he licked my thumb.

"I wouldn't know what to do without Syaoran either," I looked up at this. "The guy who picked me up?" I pretended as if I didn't know his name. I didn't want to seem weird.

"Mhm. If he didn't live in the basement, I wouldn't have anyone to open jars for me or build campfires. Speaking of which, do you like marshmallows? I just love s'mores," "Syaoran lives downstairs?!" I interrupted her.

"Oh yes! I forget he's there half the time, he's not a bother. Don't worry. Though I'm sure you wouldn't. He's cute, eh? He's about a year older than you are, turns 17 next month." Hanako raised her eyebrows. I was a little creeped out by this. Yay, I thought. My grandma's a perv.

"That's nice…" I mumbled, trying to show my non-interest. She then re-began her babbling about marshmallows, and other foods. She would ask me if I liked certain foods and I would nod absent mindedly, taking in the essence of my new home.

She led us to the kitchen, where she decided that she was going to make me a fabulous dinner because it was my first night there. She opened the fridge and pursed her lips. "What?" I asked. This was the most talking I'd done in two weeks. I guess Hanako had that effect on people.

"There's nothing good! I'm craving something junky, like fish and chips but I don't have any…" Hanako mumbled annoyed. She then jumped and grinned at me.

Surprised, I asked her what she was grinning at. "I know! We'll get Rush Hour," she said. "You've seen it; it's that cute little diner you passed by before you turned onto the road." I all of a sudden remember the white building with the neon sign and the greasy scent.

I nodded with excitement- I was craving a hamburger. "Alright! But I can't go if you do," she said. "I only have one bike and Syaoran took the car, so you'll have to go get the food and bring it back if that's alright. Or I can,"

"It's alright, I can." I protested, but gulped with nerves. I'd just have to find my way and place an order. The former was the one that freaked me out. My first impression on the people here- and knowing me I'd probably embarrass myself.

"Okay Sakura, here I'll write down our order and then you can just tell them and bring it back," Hanako trotted to a stand that held the phone and grabbed a scrap of paper and pen.

I looked out the window and watched the sunlight twinkle on the ocean water as she wrote down the order. I sighed and knew my summer was just beginning.

End of Chapter 1.

Waaaaaah! New story. I really, really, really like this idea. It's loosely based on "Keeping the Moon" by Sarah Dessen, it's really good so you should go read it!

But review the story first! And favourite. And alert. Pleasssse!

Signing off, xoxox

theminorcatastrophe

**EDIT: Haha, fixed the spelling mistakes. This story is FUCKING OLD.