bright lights

The first time I see her is across the dance-floor of a crowded night club, the strobe lights flashing and the floor pulsing to blaring trance music. She is sitting alone at a small table in a secluded corner, away from the throngs of dancers. The colored lights could be deceiving my eyes, but her hair looks like a natural pale pink, unlike the dyed antifreeze greens and electric blues that color the hair of many of the clubbers.

And—get this—she is reading a book. Amidst the music and the dancing and the alcohol, she is reading a book. Not just any book, either; the book is large and thick, and it looks like a medical text.

In an effort to get away from the women hounding me, I slip through the crowd towards the girl, my eyes locked on her. She is petite, barely over five feet, with a slender waist, narrow shoulders, thin wrists and small hands. I am reminded of a Cupie Doll.

When I finally make it through the hoard separating me from her, I approach her table. The girl is hunched over her text, almost as if in self-defense. She is wearing a spearmint green halter-dress, which I discover is the exact shade of her eyes when she looks up—up at me. Her face is all big green eyes and long eyelashes and peachy skin, with a small nose and full lips. She is very pretty in a little-girl, almost-too-cute kind of way.

She raises a slender eyebrow at me, as if asking, Is there a reason you're staring at me…?

I glance at her book. It is, indeed, what I thought it was. "You're reading a medical text," I point out (the obvious) to her, slightly incredulous and slightly intrigued. "At a night club."

The corner of her mouth quirks up. "Congratulations, you're aware of your surroundings—which is more than I can say for a lot of the people here," she says, and I have no doubt that she is referring to the numerous people drunk almost to the point of passing out that gyrate around us.

I pull out a chair and sit down at her table, uninvited. I prop up my chin on my fist and regard her from across the table. "Why would you bring that here in the first place?" I ask her.

She smirks faintly at me. "Because some people have medical classes in the morning," she informs me. She casts a bored and slightly contemptuous glance over the room. "And it's not like there's anything better to do here, anyway."

"You could dance," I press her, curious about this green-eyed girl that speaks clearly and intelligently, a refreshing change of pace in my current surroundings.

She snorts quietly. "That's not dancing—that's dry-humping while spasming," she asserts, and, watching the dancers around us, I can't say that I disagree.

"So why come here?" I ask.

She sighs. "I'm here as a chaperone," and her (green, greengreengreen) eyes flick over to where a scandalously dressed blond girl is dancing with what appears to be five guys at once.

I look to where Naruto is attempting to chat up a voluptuous brunette. "I know what you mean," I mutter.

She looks at me, her eyes glinting with something I cannot identify. "Do you have a name?" she queries.

"It's polite to give your own name first," I tell her imperiously, adding, "But I'm Sasuke."

I think it is amusement that makes her eyes sparkle so. She reaches across the table, extending her hand for me to shake. "Hello, Sasuke," she greets, unnecessarily formal. "I'm Sakura. It's nice to meet you."

I grasp her hand, which is soft and warm. "Hn." I release her, and her arm retracts back to her side.

She tilts her head at me, her eyes slanting. "So, would you consider me rude if I kept reading? We were assigned to read chapters eleven through fifteen for tomorrow, and I'm only on chapter thirteen."

I motion for her to go ahead, smirking. "Be my guest."

She smiles at me, a small smile that I think I would like to see again, and resumes poring over the text.

For the rest of the night I sat with her—Sakura, who is just a little bit odd and may be very, very special.

(ii)

The next time I see her is at a charity event held by the world-renowned Dr. Tsunade, who also happens to teach a few advanced classes at the Tokyo Medical University. The cause is to raise money for cancer research, and all of the elites are here.

I am here, representing the Uchiha Corporation. My corporation is one of the leading benefactors, and I am making the necessary small-talk with the CEO of some company or another when I see her.

Sakura is leaning against the wall, wearing a black satin gown with her longish hair pulled up in an elegant, sophisticated up-do. She looks good, but I think I like her better with her hair down. Her posture tells me that she is uneasy.

I excuse myself and approach her, my hands stuffed nonchalantly in the pockets of my suit. She notices me coming, and I can see the brief flash of confusion in her (brilliantly green) eyes before comprehension dawns on her face. She recognizes me.

I stop about three feet from her. "Hey," I greet carefully.

"Hi," she responds, watching me from under her eyelashes.

I gesture around us. "Why are you here?" I can tell from her body language and her stationary position against the wall that she doesn't belong here—or, at least, she doesn't think she does.

She frowns. "Dr. Tsunade is my professor at the medical university, and she invited me here as her top student. She said she'd introduce me around, but then she went and disappeared on me." She looks almost sulky.

I tilt my head and regard her, remembering the clever, unusual girl from the night club. I remember her enchanting eyes and her small hand. I straighten. "Come on, I'll take you around." I am well-acquainted with most of the people here.

She blinks at me before shaking her head. "No, that's okay. I'll be fine."

I shift impatiently. "I said, come on." I motion for her to take my arm.

She stiffens, clearly offended by my domineering attitude, before apparently having a second thought. She hesitates, watches my face, before cautiously sliding her hand to the crook of my arm. It's…pleasant. "Alright," she allows guardedly. "Thank you."

I nod and start off, ferrying her to all of the most important people first, people she should know if she's going to become a doctor. She is hesitant and nervous at first, but after a while she loosens up and speaks naturally. I can see the confident but not obnoxiously so girl I remember for the club reemerging.

I watch her conversing easily with the president of the Hyuuga Incorporation, and I decide that now is as good a time as any to back away and see how she manages on her own.

I slowly edge away from her, letting her hand slip from my arm. She doesn't appear to notice at first, but when I am about five feet away she abruptly turns to me, her eyes clearly pleading with me not to leave her.

So I don't.

(iii)

I don't see her after that. At first this doesn't bother me much. I have a lot to do at work and barely any time for much else, but after a while I start thinking about her. About where she is, what she's doing now. About whether she's thinking about me, too.

So I call around a bit and find out her phone number. I let the scrap of paper it's written on sit on my desk for almost an entire week before I work up the initiative to call her.

One ring.

Two rings.

Three.

Four, five, six—Hey, it's Sakura. Obviously I'm either not here or I'm avoiding you. Nothing personal. Leave a message at the beep and I'll probably get around to calling you before the month is out.

Bemused by her answering machine, I realize that I had called without knowing what I was going to say. My mind scrambling, I say at the beep: "Hey, it's Sasuke. Meet me at the Hokage Café on Thursday at three. Don't be late."

I hang up and realize that I hadn't left my number for her to call back at. I consider calling again, but that would sound stupid and desperate, so I decide to just go to the café, and if she's there, great, and if she's not, worse things have happened to me.

On Thursday I arrive at the café at 2:55, being the stickler for punctuality that I am. She is not there yet, but I'm five minutes early, so I order a coffee and settle down to wait.

2:59. The waitress brings me my coffee. She's still not here.

3:07. She's not coming. Berating myself for feeling so disappointed, I get up to leave just as she walks in the door.

A strange mixture of relief and dread fills me as she notices my table by the window and walks over. She is wearing faded jeans and a knitted green hoodie, and her hair is down, I'm pleased to note.

She sits down across from me and places her order with the waitress. The waitress leaves, and she looks at me. "Hi, Sasuke," she greets, watching me curiously.

I nod to acknowledge her presents. An awkward silence ensues, which I break by saying, "I told you not to be late."

She stares at me for a moment before breaking into quiet, breathy laughter. I hadn't meant to, but I made her laugh. I have to admit, I like her laugh.

When her laughter subsides, she grins at me. "Yeah, I guess I am," she admits without a trace of remorse. "But what am I late to, exactly?"

I honestly don't know. I hadn't gotten that far yet, really. So I answer a question with another question. "What do you want this to be?"

She seems thrown, but she pauses and thinks about it. I realize that she smell like peppermint and vanilla. If someone had mentioned the combination to me previously, I wouldn't have thought it a pleasing scent, but on her it worked. Well, I might add.

She looks at me from across the table, smiling slightly, her (oh, god, green) eyes bright and soft at the same time. "I think," she says slowly, considering her words, "that I want this to be a regular thing."

I process her words. "Then that's what this will be," I say finally.

She nods. "Cool."

We slip into an easy conversation, discussing literature and music and culture. She tells me about her classes; I tell her about Naruto's antics. She laughs; I smile.

When I watch her walk away, I think that Sakura may be the smartest, prettiest, most unique girl that I have ever met. And I want it to stay that way.

(iv)

We get together often after that.

"C'mon, Sasuke-kun," she insists, tugging at my arm. She has taken to calling me 'Sasuke-kun' now. I kind of like it. I still pretend that it annoys me, though, just because I can.

I slide a glance at her. "Why do you want to go to a park?" I want to know.

She rolls her (so, so green) eyes at me, as if it is obvious. "Because I want to."

I shrug, smugly pleased that she hasn't let go of my arm yet. "So go by yourself," I say, just because I enjoy pushing her buttons.

"But Sasuke-kun," she grouses blithely, "You have to be there to protect me. What if I get raped or mugged or pushed in the sandbox?"

I scowl good-naturedly at her. "Have you been diagnosed?"

She grins cheekily. "Diagnosed for having a severe case of Awesomeness Syndrome? Why, yes, I have. I can't say that I'm surprised."

"I can," I mutter, just so that she will have an excuse to playfully muss my hair, which she does.

"You're raining on my parade," she asserts as I walk with her to the park.

"Your parade is obnoxious," I inform her, pleased that her hand is still on my arm.

She sticks her tongue out. "See! There you go again. You're such a…such a rain-er."

I raise an eyebrow. "I am a 'rain-er'?" I echo condescendingly.

She pats my arm patronizingly. "Yes, Sasuke-kun, a rain-er. I can make up my own words, you know why? Because words do not control us. Words are simply vocal noises made by humans which are then assigned meanings. And who's to assign a meaning, anyway? I mean, baby gibberish has meaning to babies, so isn't baby gibberish a language, too? Isn't—"

I cut her off in the middle of her philosophical spiel. "If you're quite finished, Socrates, we're at the park."

She blinks, caught off-guard, but wastes no time in racing towards the swings, and I think that she might be beautiful.

(v)

We are officially dating now, Sakura and I. They actually posted an article about it in the paper. "Business Executive and Promising Young Doctor Get Together" or some such nonsense. Sakura is a practicing doctor now, and I pick her up from the hospital every day after work. The thought of her going home alone worries me, you see. I think it exasperates her, but she mostly puts up with my protectiveness.

Except for tonight.

She stamps her foot. "Sasuke-kun, would you stop being so…so…ugh! I know you're just trying to take care of me, and I think that's really sweet, but you need to trust me to be able to defend myself, yeah? I can walk myself home."

I decide to nip this situation in the bed. "Fine. You know what? You're moving in with me now. That way there will be no point in you walking home alone. Happy?"

"I—" And then she lets my words sink in. Sakura stares at me, her (green like sun-dappled grass) eyes wide. "Sasuke-kun…are you sure?"

I love her, I really do love this strange girl that reads medical texts at night clubs and loves to swing, but sometimes she asks too many damn questions. "I wouldn't say it if I didn't mean it," I mumble, only a little embarrassed.

She is still staring at me, so I take her in my arms and I kiss her, kiss the quirky, beautiful girl that is now mine.


My god I am on a roll. This kind of came out of nowhere. It was weird. And you know what? I think I might actually like it. Which is really weird. And unusual. (nods)

Disclaimer: I own nothing that is not mine.

Title change as of July 31, 2009. New note: God, my writing sucked in this one.