Trust Me
June: Leap of Faith

The strength exchanged for the pain...

Damn it.

Just fucking damn it.

What the hell was I thinking?

For days I continue to dream about her, and it's not helping our current relationship right now.

I know she's not ready, I know she won't agree to this, so I have to stop myself and stay away from the temptation to just... take her. I don't want to be another guy who wants to get it on with a girl, girlfriend or not. This is something that's... shared and reserved for- ch. What the hell am I even saying?

"Man, you're in deep shit."

I glare at Kiba because he was not helping at all.


I sigh.

"Dude... just tell me what's wrong."

I close my eyes and lean back. "I feel like I'm already dead when I'm marked as missing in action." I admit without making a pause. "Like I'm lost in space and can never be found again, like I already drowned in the open sea..."

Kiba whistles in awe. "That bad huh?"

"I... love her too much." I say in the end.

"So tell her."


"I mean… you could have tested it out, right?"

"I can tell she didn't want to."

"Well, maybe you should have explained it to her, your dreams I mean."

"Kiba, seriously?" I look at him while raising an eyebrow, and he ends up rubbing the back of his neck, all the while muttering "yeah, not gonna work."

I let out a deep sigh and let my forehead fall onto my right palm, my eyes shutting upon contact as I try to figure out this mess I've gotten myself into.

"Uh… dude, you're gonna be late if you don't leave now."

I blink and look at Kiba, and then at the wall clock hanging above the living room's TV, and a curse left my mouth. I stand up from the couch and grab my motor and house keys from the coffee table and run towards the front door. I lean against the wall and put my black boots, tying the knots as fast as possible before grabbing my helmet plus a spare one, and a jacket that hung from the coat rack nearby.

"I'll drop by later!"

I didn't bother to respond to Kiba's farewell, nor did I even close the door when I left my place. I trust the asshole would do that for me.

I mount by bike and put on my helmet, afterwards, started the ignition and had the engine warm up a bit first before pushing back its stand with my foot. I let out another sigh before pulling out of the garage and heading over to Sakura's house.

Even if we had a little argument, I still pick her up and take her home to keep her safe. I'm not about to take any chances with how she can be prone to trouble, and how her damn ex could still be planning to get her when she's alone. And with how our relationship's going right now, she's more than likely to be vulnerable to that guy's assault.

Standing at the front of their home never really did pose a problem to me, nor did it ever make me feel any anxiety. But right now, instead of the usual feeling of comfort or being welcomed, I feel as if the area was too cold.

Despite her parents not knowing of our current status, I still feel like they should have sensed something, or at least had a little hostility perhaps – but they treat me like always. They smile, they laugh, they tell me stories – they still talk to me.

"Oh, there she is."

I look from her father to the stairs where Sakura is coming down from, her head was hanging low, and she didn't look like she had a good night's sleep.


"Dear, are you sure you're going to work?"

I always agreed with Kasumi-san, but I couldn't find my voice at the moment because I can feel the guilt eating me up from the inside when she stops a few feet away from me. I can see how tired she is, how her eyes had barely noticeable bags – probably hidden by a concealer or something.

"Yes mom, I can still tend to flowers."

Ikichi-san approaches his daughter and places a hand on her forehead, a sigh escaping his lips as he gives her a tiny smile. "At least you're not coming down with something."

I continue looking at her, as if silently telling her to just skip work and get some rest, but she does not do so and just turns to me, a small and forced smile on her lips. "Sasuke's taking me there and back anyway. I'll be fine."

And with how her parents dropped the topic, it only confirmed that they did not really know what happened between their daughter and I before we had a bit of distance from each other.

"You two take care now." Her mother says with a smile, and I return it with a small one of my own and a nod, before taking Sakura's hand and leading her to my bike. I turn to face her and put the extra helmet on her like always, and without thinking, I lean my forehead on her helmet-clad head and close my eyes. My hands are on both sides of where her cheeks would be without the helmet, and from the way her body had grown rigid, she did not expect my actions.

"Aww… that's so sweet!"

I would have smiled at Kasumi-san's reaction, but right now, I can't bring myself to do so.

"…Sakura." I breathe out her name softly, but I guess she could still hear me. "…Take… better care of yourself." I open my eyes and pull back, afterwards, put my own helmet on and mount my bike, then I wait for her to get on behind me. When I feel her arms around my waist, I push back the stand and leave their driveway, feeling her grip tighten around me – and I couldn't help but smile at how she still isn't used to this.

The ride was always quiet, given that the sound coming from the engine would have drowned out whatever conversation we would have had, and that the helmet on her head would muffle her words, so it was more or less the only thing normal since our dispute.

Upon arriving at the flower shop, I glance back at her as she gets off and removes the helmet, and then hand it back to me. I take it from her and look at it, and then place it atop my bike when I got off and removed the headgear as well. I look towards her to see her head still lowered, and I couldn't stop myself from placing a hand at the back of her head, making her look up just as I lean down and lightly kiss her lips.

When I pull away, her eyes are wide and staring at me, but I just lean back again and plant my lips on her forehead, before wrapping an arm around her shoulder and leading her to the shop.

As always, Ino has a large grin on her face while looking at us, but I've gotten used to it so I just ignore it and remove my arm from Sakura, afterwards, pull off my jacket and grab the apron from the hook that was attached to the wall of the shop. I pass one to Sakura, and then put on mine and begin working.

As promised, Kiba arrived around four in the afternoon and had since then been talking to me about things that did not really matter so much.

"Damn it! Fucking asshole..! I wish you'd just go to-"

I look towards Sakura at the same time as Kiba did, and I involuntarily raise an eyebrow at her sudden outburst, all the while debating whether to ask her if she was on something or what.

"Um…" her cheeks turn a shade of red as she looks back at the flowers. "Bee."

I almost snort at that.

Like hell I'd believe that.

Ino had already left when the day drew close to an end, and I took the liberty of locking the store up, hearing bits and words of what Kiba and Sakura are talking about.

Once I'm done, I stand up and walk over to the asshole when I heard him mention about a stick having up an ass being my job, so I clench my right fist and throw a punch at the back of his head, the force making him stumble forward a bit, but not enough to hurt him.

"Don't you have a date to go to?" I tell him as I pass Sakura a helmet.

"Well, yeah, but… will you…" I note how he takes a quick glance at Sakura before turning back to me. "…her?"

I know he's worried, but really, this is something I want him to stay out of because it's my relationship with Sakura, it's something we're supposed to work on ourselves and not drag anyone else in.

"Just go." I say to him.

"Fine, jerk." He sends me a grin and enters his car to leave the two of us. I still wonder how the others got to convince him to take them all here, since he never really likes the idea of other people inside his car – teammates or not.

Silently sighing, I look at Sakura, seeing her staring at where Kiba once stood, and I muster up the guts to ask her if she wants to come over.

"Huh? Sorry, what?"

I sigh and let a small smirk take over my lips and put my helmet on just as I mount my bike.

"I asked if you wanted to come over at my place."

"Oh…" She puts her helmet on and gets on the bike. "Sure." and she wraps her arms around my waist as I start the engine. "Just don't poison me with your cooking…"

I almost laugh at her joke, but the fact that we haven't exactly made up is nagging at me to not let everything be okay too soon; not until I've at least properly apologized or something.

"Hn. Don't worry, we're having take out." And I pull out of the driveway and head back to my home.

Upon arriving, I ask her what she wanted for dinner, and she mentioned something about anything with rice, so I had to blink a few times before wondering what exactly she wanted and meant. Rice balls or sushi? Maybe omelet rice or beef bowls…

I have no idea.

I settled for a beef bowl, and she said she'd have the same, so I dialed a place where Kiba and I had dinner last time and ordered for two beef bowls.

After that, we just sit at the couch in the living room and wait for our orders to arrive. The silence didn't feel comfortable, unlike before, and I'm not much of a talker, so I don't know what to say.

I keep glancing at her from time to time, and she only keeps her head lowered, and I notice how I'm a bit miffed at the distance there is between us – the space that is, given that she doesn't seem to want to sit close to me.

It's a lot different when we're with the others, because she seems to not want anyone to know about our problems, so we act normal in front of everybody; heck, even my dad or my brother can't tell that there's a problem. Not even mom or Mizuki-ne asked about my relationship, so I guess they're not aware of what happened, nor do they suspect anything.

When I finally decided to speak, the doorbell rang, causing me to sigh and stand from my spot and head over to the front door. I pull out my wallet from my back pocket and pay the delivery guy the right amount, leaving a tip for him as well, before taking our orders. I look towards Sakura who looks back at me, and I gesture with my head to the kitchen and she nods in response and follows me.

Again, another awkward silence pass, though from the looks of it, she seems to be in deep thought to notice how unusually silent it is.

By the time we finished eating dinner, I pick up our trash and dispose of them, just as she called me name.


Her voice was soft and hesitant, so I go for a safer approach. "You need anything?"

"No, I'm fine…" and her voice only grows softer. "But I… well…"

I can feel how she's nervous, so I take her hand in mine in hopes of giving her support or comfort, as well as to ease her worries. I tug at it for a bit and lead her back to the living room, wondering if there'll be a conversation this time or not.

However, I did not expect her to break free from my hold, and I turn to her, unsure of how to react from what she did.


"What's wrong with us?"

The way she asked and looked at me in the eyes meant she had something in mind, or at least she wanted something to be done.

"What do you mean?"

Stupid, I know. But I want to make sure if we're thinking of the same thing.

"The last time we… ever talked, we had an argument."

I have been considering it as an argument, but when I think back, it's not entirely like that.

"I wouldn't call it an argument." I tell her, and I was unable to hold back my next words. "You were just being annoying at that time."

Having constantly tempted me and everything…

"And am I being annoying to you again?"

Different type of annoying, so…

"In a way, yes, you are."

"Ugh! You're being annoying too! Why won't you just tell me what's wrong? Or why you acted that way?"

I'd tell you, but I'd be too embarrassed to even get the words out right, so…

"It was the only way I could think of." I say instead, thinking that she could have been asking about my behavior after the incident, rather than during.

"For what?"

…She just had to ask.

"It's… better if you don't know." I say, forcing down the blush that threatened to spread across my face.

"And what makes you say that?"

I let out an exasperated sigh at this and pinch the bridge of my nose. "Sakura…"

"Don't tell me to drop it Sasuke!" She yells all of a sudden, making me look at her. "Don't tell me to forget about it! I don't understand you, even if I try to! What are you implying? What are you planning?"

I can feel my head beginning to ache with all her questions. "Sakura, please…" and I try to get her to stop before I just snap.


"Do you even love me?"

That… that was just too much.

"Or are you like Riku?"

I glare at her after that, because to even question how I feel for her is a bit harsh, but to compare me to that bastard is crossing the line.

"That's just going too far."

"Just answer me damn it!" And from where I'm standing, I can see a few tears leak. "Just admit that all you want from me is sex!"

And without realizing it, I have her against the wall, her wrists held tightly by my hands as I narrow my eyes at her.

Her eyes meet mine, but the rage was consuming me, and I know I'll end up hurting her if she says anything, or start accusing me of something. I know this won't end well if I make a mistake, if I say the wrong words or do something that may hurt her physically.

"And if I said that's what I want?"

I hiss out, all the while trying my best to calm down, but unable to do so because damn it I am too pissed. She just fucking compared me to that bastard and even concluded that I don't love her and only want her for pleasure.

It hurts.

"Do you honestly think I'm as low as that bastard?"

And replacing my anger is sadness, because goddamnit it's painful to know that she thinks of me as that, it's just too damn painful.

"If all I'm after is sex, then why would I bother committing myself to you?"

Her eyes shut all of a sudden, and more of her tears came flowing.

"Why would I give you the most important thing in my life?" I sigh softly and lean in. "Why would I entrust it to you?" And my forehead meets hers as I close my eyes and breathe in her scent. I try to calm myself down, try to just forget about the pain there is, try to ignore what she said and just go back to the way we were before. "How could you think of me as that kind of guy?"

And I question myself as well, wondering if there was something else I did to make her come up with such thought besides having almost taken her.

"How could you even compare me to him?"

Especially since I pulled back and tried to do something to not be tempted.

I loosen my hold on her when I can feel the anger and pain subsiding. I place one hand against the wall next to her head while the other slowly but hesitatingly brushes away some strands of her pink hair.

"Did you… actually think I could do what he did… to you?"

Because I can never really forgive that guy for what he almost did to Sakura, and for her to have thoughts of me doing those things when she doesn't want it is… it's just…

"Sakura I…" I open my eyes and look at her this time. "I'm starting to think that you never trusted me."

Because I'm scared to ask if you even do love me.

"That's not true!" She tells me almost immediately, and her hands move to grip the front of my shirt, as if she was afraid I'd leave. "I trust you Sasuke! I really do!"

"Then… why did you-"

"I'm sorry!" And she lowers her head, making contact with my chest as her body shakes and she sheds more tears. "I'm so sorry…"

She continues to apologize, over and over again, causing my gaze to soften as I gently grasp her shoulders, but stop and end up pulling her body close to mine, embracing her as if it was the first time. I let her cry her heart out, let her apologize, and I just stay there and hold her, running my hand down her hair to comfort her.

"You're being annoying again." I tell her in a soft voice and place a kiss on her forehead. "Stop apologizing."

"Sorry, I just…" she lifts a finger to wipe her tears away.

"Look," I pull her back into an embrace, my head tilting to hers just to feel her some more and hold her closer. "At that time, I really was tempted…" and I may as well tell her, because she deserves to know the truth. "…that's why I kept my distance, so that I won't be able to do anything to you."

Anything against your will.

"Then, how come you acted normal around other?"

"I don't want them involved in our own problems, because I want us to fix it. I was much more at ease when there were other people too, I was assured that I won't do anything to you."

"What about now..?"

I almost let out a laugh but settled for a smirk instead. "You're not doing anything to tempt me Sakura, what do you think?"

"Well, just making sure…" she murmurs. "I'm… I'm really sorry."

"I know, I'm sorry too."

And finally, I once again get to see that smile of hers. I return it and lean down to kiss her softly, smiling at how hers just grew wider.

"One question," and I nod. "Why did you only tell me now?"

I sigh inwardly at this and fight the urge to roll my eyes. "Kiba's not here to give out remarks."

"I… hate you."

"Dude, come on! Enjoy yourself! Let loose!"

I glare at Kiba and then at the dancing group of people who were close to possibly getting it on with their clothes still in place. I never really understood why people enjoy going to a club and dance – rather, grind against each other; what's more is how some would come here to have one night stands, but it's not just the men who are annoying, because even the women here can be a bit daft.

Seriously, why were such clothing and then go on accusing guys that they're undressing you with their eyes? Cover up or something!

"Man, those girls are checking you out!"

"…I have a girlfriend Kiba." I tell him with a scowl. "And I just made up with her last night, and then you suddenly bring me here, of all places."

"Come on! You're my best friend and I need you here!"


"Ugh! Why must you always think I'm gay for you?"


"Okay, I meant I need you here to help me meet some girls!"

"…You can talk can't you?"

"Hey, my looks are enough, but coupled with yours, we'll own 'em!"

"…Not interested."



"Hey! There's a couple of 'em approaching us!"


"Show some interest for my sake!"



I sigh and try not to let my head fall onto my palm in exasperation at how Kiba greeted the two girls all of a sudden. Now they pretty much have an idea that he's interested.

"You two need some company?"

I refuse to look at the girl who asked, nor did I even bother to glance at her friend's way. Instead, something else caught my attention, and I almost smirk upon confirming who it was.

"Yo dude! Come on! She just asked if you wanted to dance!"

I turn to Kiba, and then at the two girls, one of them looking at me expectantly. I let out a smirk aat how confident she was that I'd accept. "No thanks," I tell her. "I'm with my girlfriend." And I turn from them to head straight to where Sakura is, not really caring if Kiba would follow or stay behind.

Many people were in the way, but I didn't mind them and just focused on Sakura, trying to read her lips and the girls' in order to see if they're talking about something I'm not supposed to know, or perhaps exchanging secrets meant for their ears only. Pretty soon, I was getting closer, close enough to hear Sakura's next words.

"My boyfriend is an ex-soldier, what do you think would happen if he catches me dancing or flirting with a drunken guy?"

And I stop a few feet away from her and answer her question: "Said guy would be having a trip to the hospital."

The girls all turn to me, and Sakura was at a loss for words upon seeing me standing behind her.

"Go on Sakura! Dance and flirt with a guy! I wanna see Sasuke punch the living daylights out of him!"

I look at Kiba who was apparently standing next to me, and then give him a glare for even suggesting that.

"W-what are you two doing here?"

I look at Sakura at this and answer her: "This asshole-" I point at Kiba with my thumb. "-won't stop annoying the hell out of me until I agree to accompany him here."

"Why do you want Sasuke with you?"

Kiba grins at her. "All the ladies end up looking at us."

And this leads to Sakura twitching until she ultimately strangles Kiba. "You're using my boyfriend to get yourself laid?"

"Ouch! You hurt my feelings!" Kiba said in a fake hurt tone while trying to pull away from Sakura's grasps. "I'm not using Sasuke to get myself a girl, I'm only taking advantage of our friendship!"

"That's the same!"

"Sakura," I sigh and pull her back. "I'd appreciate it if you stop doing that."

She looks at me this time, and I can tell she's wondering why I want her to stop.

"You're causing a scene." I say to her, glancing at some people around us who were watching in amusement.

"Oh, sorry." And she lets Kiba go, her face turning red from embarrassment when I give her a smirk. "Well, since you guys are here…"

"What?" I raise a brow in amusement. "Disappointed that you can't flirt with some other guy?"

"Huh? No!" She retorts in defense, turning to me. "I never intended to!"

"Hn, good."

And I pull her to me, one arm around her waist while the other held the back of her head against my chest. I glare at some guys who were staring far too long at her and some other parts of her body, and I could feel myself grow possessive.

"Because you're mine." And I grab her chin to lift her face and kiss her lips.

I nearly smirk at how out of breath she looked when we pulled back from our kiss, but she seemed to realize this and quickly recovered from the kiss.

"Hey, Sasuke," she murmurs. "You haven't told me about your other job.

I figured she had been listening to my conversation with Kiba.

"Oh, that." I sit down with her after Tenten and Hinata asked me to join them since Kiba went off with some girl who flirted with him. "I was kind of forced to take that job."

"Which is..?"

I let out a sigh. "Teaching."

I look over at Sakura who is staring back at the kids I'm teaching, and then she ends up giving a nervous laugh at the violent and rowdy behavior the little tykes are displaying.

"Tell me again how you got this job?"

"Kakashi's friend is the owner of this school."

"So how were you forced?"

"Tsunade is a woman you would not want to mess with…"

She lets out a sigh, unsure of what to do while sitting there on the teacher's chair, when I'm just leaning against the desk with my arms crossed.

"I thought you teach them?"

"Hn." I close my eyes and end up sighing. "Their class is advanced."

"Wait, when did you start this job?"

"Last week."

"Then how can they be advanced?" And she suddenly grins. "How advanced are they?"

"Hn." I take the whistle that was hanging around my neck and blow on it, causing the once noisy classroom to be silent and still. "Sit down and get your notebooks and pencils."

The kids follow my instructions, and I can't help but smirk at the way Sakura is gaping at them in disbelief.

"Solve the problem I'm about to dictate, and I'll only say it once, got it?"

"Yes sir!"

Now this takes me back to NDA...

"Five plus ten is equals to fifteen, divided by five results to three, then multiply it to four to get twelve," I pause in order to give the students some time to catch up, their hands moving fast as they wrote down what I just said. "There is a class of twenty four students, and each would like to have an apple, how will you distribute twelve apples to them equally?"

Sakura gives me a look of confusion from my question, and in a few minutes, all the kids are raising their hands, wanting to recite their answers.

"Sakura," I look at her. "What do you think is the answer?"

"It's not possible, because… well, if each kid wants a whole apple, then only half the class will be able to receive one!"

"Hn, let's ask the kids then." I turn to one particular boy. "Nishiro, what's your answer?"

"Cut every single apple into half!" He says proudly.

"Is that everyone's answer?"

"Yes sir!"

I look at Sakura with a smirk, and she gives me a sigh and a slight glare. "Was that a trick problem?"

"In a way," I nod at the children. "Alright, go back and play."

And the class was noisy once more.

"You see," I begin to explain to Sakura the trick of the problem. "It's not a typical math problem that you have to solve with your brains, it's more on values, since kids these days ought to learn more about morals and such. Education is important, that's true, but in this world, being the smartest kid in school can't exactly get you anywhere or everywhere with intelligence alone."


"Hn," I poke her forehead. "This class consists of twenty four students, if I had twelve apples today and they all wanted one, but realize only half will get a whole one, how will the other half be able to eat? Simple, one child shares with another."

"But… we all know how most people grow up and become selfish."

"Only if they're not taught properly and early; if people, no matter how smart they are, can only think like the innocent kids in this room, then maybe there wouldn't be too much problems in life," I end up smirking yet again as I remember something. "You'd be surprised at what their definition of love is."


"Aa. What's your definition of love?"

"An emotion that can cause pain, but also happiness; in other words, it's an emotion that can lead to either a positive result or a negative ending."

"That's not how they see it."

"Then, what's their definition of love?"

"See that girl over there?" I point at someone who had her hair up in pigtails. "She told me that love is when her mother and father still hug and kiss even after a huge fight." I then turn to another child. "That kid said that love is when his father is strict with him in school, but whispers how proud he is of him, no matter what his grades are, at night when he sleeps."

While looking at my students, I can't help but smile a bit, and I can tell how my gaze seem to soften at their bright smiles and energetic acts.

"You know, they all ended up asking me what my definition of love is," I murmur. "I told them that I thought of it as a hindrance at first, until I also became a victim of it." I shake my head at the thought and look over at Sakura who is waiting for me to continue. "When they asked me to explain myself, I said that love is when I'm with someone who goes by the name of Haruno Sakura."

And I can tell how red her face is despite her attempts of trying to hide it from me.

I am so tired right now, but seeing them leave one by one with their parents and giving me each a wide grin makes me feel a bit better.

It's pretty amazing how some kids have a tendency to make adults smile without really trying, and how a hug or concerned words from them can make even the heaviest of loads seem light.


I look from the window to one of my students who was peering at me with large and blinking eyes. I kneel down before her so that I can be in eye level with her, and I let a small grin spread across my face.

"What is it?"

"I was just wondering…" she utters without breaking her gaze from mine. "Why isn't Sakura-nechan here?"

I let out a laugh; they've been asking me about her all day, and even if I already said she had work, they still kept asking if she'd come again.

"She has work today." I tell her while placing a hand on her head. "When she's free, I'll take her here again, okay?"

From the way she is grinning, I'm pretty sure that the rest of the kids would love to have Sakura around again.


The two of us look up to see her mother standing by the door, smiling warmly at her daughter and nodding to my direction. I nod back and stand up just as Sayako runs to her mother and greets the woman with a hug.

Somehow, I don't have any trouble picturing Sakura with a kid of our own.

"Bye sensei!"

I wave at the two of them and then look around the room, checking if any of the kids left some of their things, or if there was anyone else who hasn't been fetched by their parents. Seeing the room "child-free," I walk over to the teacher's desk and fix my own things before taking my leave, nodding at the janitor who bid me a safe trip home before entering the classroom to clean up whatever mess there is.

I check the time on my phone and figure Sakura should be done with her shift at the shop by now, so I put my helmet on and start the engine of my bike.

In a few minutes, I arrive at the front of the flower shop, and I see her back turned to the doorway. From what I could see, she's talking to Ino about something, and I wonder if I should enter now or wait a little while for them to finish their conversation, but realizing that this is Ino and Sakura, then their talk wouldn't end too soon, so I just walk towards the door and enter the shop, just in time to hear bits of their conversation.

"Yeah well, you and Sasuke left early, leaving us with Kiba, who was drunk as hell! And we interrogated him about Sasuke's feelings for you since we're just worried and all. He sort of said the same words as what I said, and no, it wasn't how Sasuke worded it."

From what I could see, Ino seemed to be amused.

"It would be better if you actually heard it from Sasuke himself, since it would most likely leave a huge impact."

And I end up blurting: "I'm going to kill him for that."

The two of them jump a bit when after I made my presence known, and they turn to look at me, though I avert my gaze elsewhere and just glare at something else.

"He was drunk Sasuke," Ino said nonchalantly. "And we pestered him about it."

"What exactly did you say?" Sakura asks, as if Ino didn't say a word. "And don't even change your words."

"Hn." I breathe in for a moment and then look at Sakura in a serious gaze. If she wants to know, then I'll tell her everything. "I said: I would wait for Sakura to get over Riku, I didn't care how long it took, like how our commandants used to let us stand still under the hot scotching sun for the whole day and make us wait for them to dismiss us."

"Go on…"

"I would wait for her to come to me to tell me how she feels, and I would still wait for her to reach the position I'm in."

"Which is..?"

At this, I shrug and think back to the conversation Kiba and I had before he dragged me to the club the other night. "Lost in space and can never be found, no longer drowning in the ocean but already drowned, missing in action yet already buried six feet under," he kept his eyes on me. "In other words, I've fallen in too deep."

"How long..?"

"Too long," I tell her. "But if you're still not there, I'll wait longer."

"Not a little longer?"

"Wait until you make your final decision."

"How would you know?"

"Six steps," I say to her after looking at the space between us. "It's your choice if it's forward or backward."

She starts to take a step.


"Because whichever you decide,"


"I'll make sure you'll be happy with your decision."


"How?" She asks me and I let out a small smile: "Because it's either I'll be with you, or I'll leave you alone."


"If it's the former?"

I still keep the smile on my face. "You'll find the answer to the question: 'Is there such a thing as forever?'"


"And if it's the latter?"

"I won't force you into something you don't want."

There was but one step left, and that step alone can make a difference. But I'll keep my word, because that's how I am, how I'll always be.

"How do you know what I don't want and really want?"

"Then take that one step left and you'll know my answer." I tell her, my eyes not leaving hers.

"If I take this one step left, would you give me your real answer? Would you give me the first answer you thought of or felt?"

"I promise."

And she takes the final step backwards, and I move all of sudden and press my lips on hers, my arms wrapping around her waist and pulling her closer, as if my actions spoke of the words I've never uttered.

I love you.

I pull away in order for us to breathe, and I meet her dazed eyes and smile. "You stepped back because you're afraid." And she nods at me. "But I stepped forward, because you know you can't run away from your fears all the time Sakura, but I want you to know that I'll be with you to face them."

We were six steps away from each other earlier, and it was either she would close the distance between us, or move back to add another six steps in our gap. I told her I'll make sure that she'll be happy with whatever decision she made, and clearly, she wanted to test that out.

I know she wants to be with me, I can feel it with the way she smiles, laughs, talks, and kisses me. The way she returns my embrace and makes me feel so warm and content, and how her grip sends me the idea that she never wants to let go…

I know she loves me, and she knows how I feel, she knows I'll always be there for her, with her...

"You can run, but I'll chase you." I pull her closer to me, taking in as much of her warmth as I can. "You can hide, but I will find you."

She lets out a soft laugh and looks up at me: "And if I say I hate you?"

I press my forehead against hers and close my eyes as I lean in-

"I'll still say I love you."

-and kiss her.

you should be able to turn it into gentleness one day.

July: Closer to You

"You smile a lot lately, not to mention how you're just staring off into space at times and bam! That stupid grin is there!"

I try not to snort at my brother's choice of words but think about what he just said about my behavior.

"I don't know why but…" I can feel a smile on my lips as I lift a hand up to brush my fingers over them. "I somehow… like the feeling when I give her a soft and gentle kiss, it makes me happy just thinking about it, about her, about… us."

I ignore how Mizuki-ne and my mother squeal at my choice of words, and how my father is staring at me as if I've grown another head, as well as how my brother is gaping and unsure of what to say.

It didn't matter what they thought, because that's how I feel, that's how much I'm happy being with her.