Love. It Just Happens.
I have never been good at romance. I have never understood love, nor the desire to hopelessly chase what you obviously can not have. Yet everyday he comes in and buys one single red rose just to see her; the blond he has secretly declared as his goddess. The one girl he has set his heart on and the one girl he can not have. Today is no different. I watch from the alley beside the flower shop as he exits the store holding a solitary flower, his heart swelling with emotion and his wallet thinner then the day before.
I wonder what he does with all the roses.
"Hold up Shino!" Her voice is warm yet clear like an early summer's day, her eyes no doubt reflecting the friendliness in her voice. "You forgot your stamp card! You almost filled it up; a few more visits should do it."
I watch comfortably as the interaction between the two takes place. As usual she does all the talking while he betrays no emotion.
"Thank you." His words are quiet yet confident.
As Shino turned to continue on his way, our eyes met; and I believe for one brief moment he shot me a smug smile as if challenging me. To what, I can only guess. Hmft, as if I would bother trying for her heart, I have no reason too. After all, her heart has already been claimed.
I have the fleeting urge to taunt him, but that thought quickly passes. Too much effort. Instead I lean back on the brick wall of the flower shop, careful not to block the side door beside me, and situate myself to watch the clouds. As always they are calming and I lose myself to their mesmerizing shifting of shapes.
I am not sure how many hours had gone by before I was shocked back into the real world by a bucket full of cold water.
"I'm so sorry! I didn't think you'd be here by now." Ino's voice sounded like she was genuinely sorry and a little surprised. "You're a bit early."
"I'm a bit wet. Do you have a towel?" Was my best reply.
She momentary disappeared into the shop while I did my best to wring out my shirt. What the hell was she thinking dumping water out the door with out looking? It wasn't as if she wasn't expecting me. But I guess in all fairness to her, I was early.
"Here use this." Ino threw me a small towel, "That's the best I can do; we don't usually carry full size towels."
"Well you should." I retort harshly. Perhaps too harshly.
"Well it's not like it is normal to be lurking in the alleyway!"
"So what are you doing here so early? You know I don't get off till four."
I toy with the idea of confessing that I take joy in watching the bug man's useless attentions towards her.
"Get back to work. The sooner you get your work done the sooner we can go."
Lame, lame, lame.
"You seriously need to learn some people skills." She scoffs before she turns her back to me and returns to her work.
Ok I admit I could have chosen my words better. I follow her into the store with intentions to return the towel.
"Oh Shikamarukun!" Ah yes, the mother. As nice as mothers comes, I still can not warm up to the gentle taunting they practice when there is men around their daughters.
"Hello Mother," for whatever reason she insists that I call her mother or mom despite the fact that she clearly is not my mother, nor do I need an additional one. Yet I still call her mother. Easier to not argue with the woman, it's not worth the trouble. It's funny how very much Ino is like her mother in that respect.
"Come to accompany my daughter home again? Why don't you just ask her on a date? You know that Aburame boy has been around here looking for her."
And so begins the taunting.
Its amazing how one woman could project her voice so loudly when vexed.
"If you're not careful you will lose her to that Aburame boy." She points out.
"Then let him ask her out."
Good, that shut them up. "Thank you for the towel." I hand Ino's mother the towel and turn to walk out the front door. "I'll wait for you outside Ino."
Don't get me wrong, Ino is a very pretty girl, in fact too pretty for her own good, and to say that I was not interested in her would be an outright lie. But I don't see why I have to act so superficial and almost fake just to get her attention. It is one of those things where if we were meant to complete each other then there is no need for the extras, why go through all the trouble to obtain the same goal? It is like that with the jutsu too, think about it, Ino's mind switch jutsu works perfectly when combined with my shadow jutsu right? Would it work nearly as well if it was combined with one of Shino's bug related jutsus?
Love is something that happens when it happens and works when it works. And I have already thought too much on the subject, anymore and I will fall into the same trap as everyone else, caring home a rose on a daily basis. 'If you want her just tell her.'
"Hey ready?" Ino's voice cuts into my contemplations. "Are you ok? You look a little perplexed. Actually never mind you always look that way."
We walk in silence for a bit before she speaks up again. "Sorry about my mom, but you know her, she's like that."
"You could humor her a little; perhaps she'd lay off a little."
Humoring the woman would mean falling into the trap, the game of lovers that everyone seems so keen in participating in. It is Not worth it.
"It's not like it's that bad. I am one of the prettiest girls in town." Ino jokes. I don't reply. Why encourage her vanity?
"Perhaps I should go out with Shino, after all it's not like you'd care anyways."
"Hmm." I still stand by my belief that if it's meant to be, it will work out without me having to chase her around like a lost puppy.
"FINE! Perhaps I will!"
Oh? Did I say something wrong? I look at her blankly examining her face for some clues.
"Did he declare his feelings for you?" I ask.
That was sooner then I thought. I'm impressed. "Well do you reciprocate his feelings?"
Ino remains quiet. I caught her bluff. See I have nothing to worry about.
"He wrote me some poetry." Ino states shyly, some pink color rising to her cheeks.
I'm not sure if this statement is an admission of something wanting or just a plain fact she is using to stir me up. Either way I'm impressed that Shino could not only make Ino blush, but also managed to write love poetry! I hope she is not expecting me to write her poetry.
"Was it any good?"
"You're an idiot." Ino spits out.
Shit, what did I say this time? Ino begins to walk off. Anything witty I can say in this current situation escapes me and for once I feel like I have lost control. In desperation, perhaps determination, I grab her wrist. She turns to look at me, hurt in her eyes. Hurt brought about because of me? I take a good look at her, she is beautiful. I feel a swelling in my chest and every ounce of common sense and formality eludes me. This is why I don't understand love. In a way it is comparable to being drunk. You lose all control and end up doing something stupid. God I hope I don't do something stupid.
So I kiss her; so much for not doing something stupid.
I don't know how to answer her so I clam her lips again. This is one fine way to keep women quiet. But what about the effects on the man? It is quite intoxicating. I lose myself in the kiss.
At precisely the right moment, and not a second too soon I break our intimate moment. Still in the afterglow intoxication, I pull her close, wanting to feel her near me. It is only then that off to a distance I see the outline I know too well; Aburame.
"Lets go home Ino."
After that day I never did see the Aburame boy come by the flower shop again. I guess he lost in this game of love. Despite all his efforts, it is still I who walks Ino home everyday, and it is only I who savor her kisses and attentions.
Like I said before, I never understood love. It is something that just happens.