There are two things you need to know before you read my story: (a) this is a love story, and (b) I'm really materialistic.
I say the first as a warning, a disclaimer. You get no car chases or conspiracies here, just sap. I say the second because a love story always seems to imply that one or both of the participants are perfect. Not that my materialism is my defining characteristic, but it's something that can't be mistaken for endearing, like stupidity or klutziness. Besides, I'm really not stupid or klutzy.
You'll notice that I mentioned that at least one of the main characters in a love story is expected to be perfect. Well, here's the thing about my love story, and this is what makes it kind of interesting: the only person it involves – at least at the moment I really fell for the first time – is myself.
To me, a love story implies drama, and a drama implies the kind of soap operas that played in the early '90s, the kind of soap opera that my nanny would switch to from a much better show involving a talking rabbit.
This love story, not so much. I mean, there were tears and triangles and betrayals and kissing in the rain and all that good stuff, but that all came much later. The story started, as all good things do, at a garage sale.
I make it a point never to buy used things. I mean, I don't even get books from the library. I like my things fresh, untainted. But Naruto, he loves things like that, things that come with a story attached. He's the one that dragged me to that garage sale that fateful Sunday in September. Shikamaru made some excuse about buying a new car, so I was stuck with no ride except Naruto. He promised to take me to work, but only if I went to the stupid sale with him.
"Sakura-chan, look at this! Pogs!"
"What are you going to do with Pogs, Naruto? No one even has them anymore."
"I know!" Naruto beamed at me. "I'll be the only one on the block with them! I'll be so cool!"
Naruto lives in his own little word, one with sunshine on crack, and way too many exclamation marks.
"Whatever you say, Naruto." My hair was starting to stick to the back of my neck – it was a surprisingly hot day – and I asked, "Can we go yet?"
"After I buy something," he said. I should mention that, by this point, Naruto had already bought a snow globe, an orange lava lamp, and a ratty old journal. "You want anything, Sakura-chan? Look, they have some nice necklaces."
"No thanks," I said. "Come on, already. I'll buy you lunch if we leave now."
Naruto was only too eager to leave after that. Naruto's one of those easy-to-please types. God knows what he ever saw in a girl like me. He bought the Pogs (idiot) and drove me to work. I worked in a pet store, which I kind of hated, but I was in charge of the puppies, which I loved.
"Can I play with the dogs today?" Naruto asked when I bought him a burger from the food court. Ramen is his favorite, but I didn't have the time for Ichiraku.
"You should sell foxes. I would buy one."
"Well, Naruto, you happen to be one of a kind. Thank God."
"That's mean, Sakura-chan…"
We had a lot of dogs. My favorite was this tiny white furball named Akamaru. Akamaru barked up a storm whenever anyone tried to buy him, so he had been in the store as long as I was, but he loved me. I would've gladly taken him if I had any way to take care of him, but I really only ever went home to sleep.
Naruto played with the dogs while I cleaned the store. I didn't really have to deal with any of the other animals, but the store was everybody's responsibility. My coworker Hinata had had her shy little eye on Naruto for ages, so I asked her to switch jobs with me for a while. She went off to brush the dogs – which, naturally, Naruto was only too eager to help with – while I took over the counter.
I was just adjusting a display of squeeze toys when the door opened and in walked, I am not kidding you, the most perfect boy ever.
You know how I keep saying that my love story doesn't involve anyone perfect? I wasn't lying. Sasuke – the one who walked in that day – isn't perfect, but he's perfect looking.
Oh, and he's also – as I noticed right from the get-go – a Wishmaker.
A lot of people don't believe Wishmakers exist. My mom does, though, and since she is the most practical person ever, I've always believed that they did, too. She wouldn't ever say why she believed, but come on. How else do you explain the good things that happen in the world, those miracles that can't be explained any other way?
Three ways to recognize a Wishmaker: they're outrageously good-looking (well duh, they have the power to do what even plastic surgery can't); they have this aura around them you can't really explain or understand unless you know what it is; and they're assholes.
Well, okay, that last one I added myself, after I met Sasuke. He doesn't appreciate my theory.
Anyway, that day Sasuke came into my life, I knocked over my meticulously-arranged pyramid of toys, turned the exact shade of my hair (pink, if you're wondering, and no, I don't dye it. I'm just special), and asked, "Can I help you?"
"Do you sell weasel food?" were the first words Sasuke ever said to me, and I'll never let him live it down.
I must have looked surprised, because he explained, "They're for my brother," like that was supposed to make more sense. "It's his birthday today."
"Um. No," I said. "Your brother's a weasel?"
"In all but shape," he said. "Do you know where I can get some weasel food?"
I almost asked him why he didn't just conjure it for himself. Wishmakers aren't like Genies – they can use their magic without a wish, and they don't need a master. They pretty much do what they want, though they live by some sort of code. I don't understand it.
"If it's a gag gift," I said, "You could just buy him a toy. Or Bitter Apple spray. It's for dogs, but…" I waved to the spray, and Sasuke walked over to the shelf, picked up a bottle. "It's to discourage dogs from chewing things they shouldn't." Sasuke smirked, eyes flashing up to mine. "Just, uh, don't let your brother ingest any. That could be bad."
"I make no promises," he said, and set down the bottle. "I'll take it. Give me a box of treats, too. I can train him."
"You're such a nice guy," I said, but I obliged. I'm all for mocking. I rang up the order, Sasuke paid, took his bag, left. And I was left staring after him. I'd never thought I'd meet a Wishmaker.
I told Naruto about it later, when he was driving us back to campus. Naruto believes in anything, from magic to Pokémon. This kind of thinking gets him into trouble, but it makes him a good person to talk to.
"Aw, man. And I missed it!" he said.
I was sitting in the passenger seat, looking through Naruto's garage sale purchases. "This is such a load of crap."
"Why didn't you tell me, Sakura-chan? I wanted to see him!"
"Honestly, Naruto, what are you going to do with someone's old diary?"
"Are you even listening to me?" He glanced at me, at the journal in my hand. "And I'm going to read it, of course. Most things come with a hidden story – this one's already written for me!"
"I don't understand you," I said, and tossed the book into the backseat with the rest of our things.
Naruto took me all the way up to the North parking lot. The South would have been better, but Ino happened. She came running up to the car, flung open my door, and screeched, "My laptop's busted, my essay's due in the morning, take me to the mall," so of course I had to get out of there. A hysterical Ino is a terrifying Ino.
"Hurry, hurry, hurry," she urged, and I rushed to grab my things from the car – my purse, my bag, my jacket (I really don't know why I had bothered with it that day) – and booked out of there.
I always finished my work on time, but my friends just refused to follow my lead. It would have saved them so much trouble if they did. Instead, while Naruto chauffeured Ino to buy a new laptop charger, I took a shower, washed off all the grime and sweat from my day, then settled down with the paperback I had been carting around in my purse all day.
Which was when I found the journal.
Like I said, I'm not into used things. So I don't really know why I picked up the journal, while I opened it and began to read. Naruto's words stuck, I suppose, and I had always liked a good story. So instead of reading about Lizzie Bennet, I learned about Inuzuka Kiba.
And, as it turned out, he was pretty interesting.
Yeah. Understatement of the year.
Kiba's first entry went something like this: Dear Life. Stop sucking. His next entry read: This is getting old. Number three was: Someone, read me, please.
You can see why I read on. For one thing, the entries were only a line long, two at most. For another, "Read me"? The guy was clearly unhinged.
But I might have been too, considering how hard I fell for him.
The entire journal took me maybe an hour to go through. He ended with If you read me, I will devote my life to you, and the next page was blank, so I tossed the book down, still open, onto my bed, and stretched, ready to turn in for the night. I stood to brush the tangles out of my hair and lay out my clothes for the next morning, wondering about the Wishmaker I had seen earlier (I actually didn't know his name yet, then). When I turned out the light and returned to bed, the book was still open to that page, only the page wasn't blank anymore.
It's about time, the page read. What's your name, sweetheart?
Which was how I fell in love with a book.
You know, I'm not entirely sure of what the pairing's going to end up as. I'm just as likely to make it a MinaSaku as I am a SasuSaku or KibaSaku, you know.
You might see some similarities to Serendipity in the basic premise of this book. Sorry. But the fic itself will be pretty different.
Comments, especially on the writing style, are, as always, appreciated, and next chapter will be longer.
Blanket Disclaimer: I own nothing someone else does.