LIGHTS

It started when I didn't want it to.

I knew it was wrong for me to fall in love with that type of guy. But I had always been ruled by my emotions, and once they overcome my common sense, there's no stopping it.

I first met him when my best friend and I were out having our usual cup of tea at a café near our apartment. Funnily enough, I was the last person in the shop who noticed him. Every woman present in the café was shamelessly ogling him, my blonde friend Ino, included. It wasn't hard to see him since the café is pretty much an outdoor one, with umbrellas stuck at the middle of every table for a bit of protection from the sun. I wasn't big on physical appearances. He was lounging nonchalantly on his chair, his table was just a few meters away from ours. He was wearing a loose black long sleeved shirt, but it didn't hide the lean physique he had underneath and black pants that emphasized his long legs. His hair was as dark as his outfit and it was held in a low ponytail. He should've looked feminine, but everything about him is pure testosterone.

As I've said, I wasn't easily distracted by outward appearances.

It was the way he was looking at me that caught my attention. My detailed description of him came afterwards.

It was rude to stare, and I should have flicked him the finger for doing so…but I somehow didn't mind. For the first time since I got over my first love, I felt completely woman. Ino, with her endless chatter didn't notice any of this of course. Just as well, I wanted this encounter to be kept a secret. It was my moment. Something that is deeply engraved into the deepest part of my memories, never brought up, but would always be there.

Sooner than I would've preferred, we had to leave. Ino still had a date with Shikamaru that afternoon. We passed by his table as we were heading for the exit. My skin tingled just by walking past the mysterious man.

I got stopped by the sexiest voice I've ever heard.

"You dropped your handkerchief."

More like my panties, I silently thought.

I looked down and saw a white cloth on the ground, I picked it up, all the time knowing he was staring at me. I muttered a small thank you before following my friend.

The smirk he gave was another one filed in the recesses of my mind.

"Sakura, I didn't know you started using hankies now." Ino said.

I was blushing the whole time.

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About a week, three days, and twenty-five minutes later, I was at the café again. I admit I've been here thrice after that encounter, but not once did I see him again, much to my disappointment . It, being my favorite place all over again for a whole new reason. Although at this moment I am inclined to disagree with myself, it was pouring real hard.

And today of all days I am friendless, and hanky-less.

Thirty more minutes later, I was already half soaked and my only shield from the rain was a pathetic excuse of an umbrella. The rain was showing no signs of giving up, I was about to get up and brave it when my luck started to change.

For the second time, I heard that wonderful voice again.

"Little girls shouldn't be playing out in the rain." There was his ever present smirk again.

"I-I'm not really playing." I just had to stutter, the lameness of my answer was bad enough. And did he just call me little? Boy, how I wish the ground would open up.

"Come on, I'll give you a ride." Wasn't I already in one?

"Uh, thanks."

I followed him to his car, and what do you know? I never got wet under his black umbrella.

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Our time together increased after that second meeting, and all those times I could remember clearly, but there are three which are the most special.

The first was right after the second time we met. I thought he was giving me a ride home, but it turned out to be our first date. I was so nervous and he was calmly driving, it grated a bit on my nerves how he could be so composed. But he was just so handsome that I immediately forgave him when he started speaking again.

"Where do you want to eat Sakura?"

I was surprised when he uttered my name, half because I didn't know how he knew another half because shivers started spreading down my spine.

"How did you know my name?"

He smirked once again at my shocked expression, my heart danced the conga.

"I heard your friend say it the last time."

"Oh." Was all I said, but I was secretly elated that he remembered me from that day.

"What's yours?" I finally found the courage to ask.

"Itachi."

Never, would I forget that name.

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My second special memory happened five months later. We were in his condo unit, sprawled comfortably in his king sized bed. My back was pressed against his chest and he was hugging me tightly from behind.

He was sleeping and somehow I didn't have the courage to look at his beautiful face. Instead, I settled for looking out of his window, watching the city lights, twinkling and mocking me as I dread the lightening of the sky.

I knew this wasn't going to last, as if my silent pain wasn't enough, my mind wandered through the conversation which was the beginning of a broken heart.

Flashback

He was staring at me as I was eating, as always I couldn't read what was in his eyes. I settled for a smile.

"Are you falling for me?" It was amazing how he could say such words without any emotion.

I felt my insides getting emptied, the hollowed feeling everyone was talking about was actually real. But I was proud of how poker faced I was, despite the loud beating of my heart.

"I think that's inevitable, I am a girl after all. But no worries, everything is as it is." I couldn't lie, but I can't say everything.

"Good. Because this is all I can offer, I'm not here to stay." Still in a deadpanned voice.

I just laughed and continued with my meal. Alternately trying to taste my food and hold the tears back. It was just ego hurting that time and I thought I could handle our unconventional relationship. I had no idea that everything would be so much more complicated.

I thought I saw guilt in his eyes, but maybe it was just a trick of light or because of my yearning heart.

The night ended as usual, him grabbing my chin for a deep kiss and me following him to the bedroom.

End of Flashback

My only source of comfort was the warmth of his fingertips lightly touching my own, at least in that moment I could fantasize that somehow, even just a little, he didn't want to let go.

No matter how determined I was to see the sun break through the night, I fell asleep, with my back still facing him. But I would always be awake when morning comes and his arms would leave me, his body would turn away. It was then that I'd look at his face, over and over thinking of the cliché…so near yet so far.

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It went on for a year or so, I stopped counting when I realized it just adds up to the pain. He had asked me again what were my feelings for him and I replied the same way. Secretly thankful that he had yet to ask me a direct question, then I wouldn't be able to hide.

My friends were all telling me to stop. That it was too much and I deserve someone better. But all of their advices were futile, in my eyes there's only Itachi. I fell harder as each day passed by, and he grew distant at the same pace as I was falling for him.

He would no longer kiss me when he meets me at his doorway.

Even the night when he would hug me from behind became rarer and rarer.

I began to detest the height o his condominium unit. The pretty lights below serve as a painful reminder that soon, I wouldn't see them anymore.

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"Sakura."

"Hm?"

"This would be the last time."

"…"

"You deserve better than this. I can't give you what you want."

"I see. Should I go now then?"

"Stay."

It was the first and last time I slept with my whole body facing his, both his arms were around me. His lips were softly kissing my forehead, my eyes. His embrace tightened when he felt the moisture falling down my cheeks.

There were so many things I wanted to say but I chose to remain silent and just savor the moment. I wasn't able to watch the city lights that night, but I was finally able to see the sun rise up in the sky. It soothed and killed my heart at the same time.

I had wished it wouldn't come, but the morning was before me sooner than I hoped. I had wanted to stop time and let the moment of the night remain, but I was agonizingly aware of the ticking of the clock. It was time to go.

It was the most painful experience unwillingly untangling myself from his embrace. Especially when for a moment he didn't want to budge. But I knew I had to leave. I guess in the end he knew I love him, but he didn't know how much, and it was something I'd rather keep, because I had already given him everything else. I wasn't sure if he was pretending to sleep while I was dressing and fixing myself up. But not another word was said as I kissed his lips. I opened his door and left. I memorized each and every detail of his surroundings, hoping to keep this last moment alive even in just my mind.

It was a hard lesson to learn. Love wasn't enough for him, I wasn't.

My love and his goodbye, it was my third memory.

END