I'm on a roll, aren't I? Still not even close to owning Naruto.
the perks of public transportation
That was the only phrase that came into my mind as I rushed into Port Authority at five in the freaking morning.
I'm probably supposed to be at work by now, but there was an accident on the road near my apartment, and I couldn't even leave my block for like, ever.
Of course, if I told my boss that, he'd laugh in my face.
Really, this shouldn't be that big of a deal. I mean, things happen, right? No biggie.
I'm never late to work. Like ever. Granted, I've only had this job for six months now, but still. I'm never late to anything. It just isn't like me.
Although, I have to admit, I'm glad I still got a bus ticket for my normal schedule, because I'd be in even deeper shit if I missed it. If I'm lucky, I'll only be a few minutes late.
People must really think I'm crazy right now, and I don't blame them one bit. Just picture me, a short pinkhaired woman with green eyes running frantically across Port Authority with a Dunkin' Donuts Coffee in her hand. Yeah, not pretty. Were there always this many people here?
This many obstacles?
Probably, but I'd always been on time, so I never had to worry about it.
Well, this is the Big Apple, after all. I mean, what was that one movie where that princess ran all around the city in a ballroom gown again? Oh right, Enchanted. Yeah. And no one stared at her weirdly (I think). So I should be good. Totally fine.
In a rush, I forgot my hat, scarf and gloves. Which totally sucks since it's January. So now, I have to rely on the miniscule amount of heat that's radiating from my coffee to keep me warm. Great. I think my toes are going to fall off. They probably already have, but I'm too numb to feel it.
How the hell did I manage to walk out of my house like this anyway? What a way to kick off the New Year. Good thing I didn't make any resolutions or anything, because after today, I doubt I'd follow them anyway.
Besides, it's the same thing every year: make a resolution, uphold it with fierce determination for a few days, then forget all about it by the time February rolls 't anyone ever get sick of letting themselves down so much?
So, I finally got to my bus. Great! Except…there's no seats left. How is that even possible? Because obnoxious people like to take up two seats, that's how. Losers.
So, I'm squinting and doing that awkward bus shuffle where you try to find a seat and everyone's eyes are like, glued on you, and let me tell you, it's not fun. On top of that, everyone's crap is hanging out into the aisle, making it nearly impossible for me to get by.
Wait, what's that? Alas, a seat! I nearly dance in triumph but I (just barely) restrain myself.
As I approach my seat (which is all the way in the back), I notice that the window seat is occupied. Sitting there is a young man – probably around the same age as myself – reading a book and listening to music. He's facing the window, with his eyes and ears blocked out from the world. It didn't take much to figure out that this guy didn't want to be bothered. Desperately, I looked around me to find another available seat, but there was none. To top it off, the bus started moving.
Sitting there is a young man – probably not much older or younger than myself – reading a book and listening to music. He's facing the window, with his eyes and ears blocked out from the world, which means that he most likely doesn't want to be bothered. And oh god, I've already begun analyzing him. I searched his face again, and apparently, he hadn't noticed me. Or he was really trying to ignore me. Either way, I had to get his attention somehow and oh god, I'm already analyzing it.
I had a bad tendency to micro analyze almost everyone around me. Luckily, I was able to keep my thoughts in my head, but I knew it was a bad quality. I just couldn't help myself, though. My brain automatically starts the analysis before I can even comprehend what it's doing.
Upon sensing my presence, he looked up at me. Almost immediately, I noticed how his pale skin (complemented) contrasted with his dark, charcoal eyes. And his jet black hair, which looked soft even though it was tousled into spikes.
Overall, he looked disorganized and arrogant. The way his back turned towards the window and away from the world. Or the way he glared up at me with slight annoyance as if I was bothering him.
This guy definitely wasn't your social butterfly.
However, as I may supply helpfully, he more than made up for his apparent lack of attitude with his erm, good looks. I know that looks really aren't all that because like, they fade with age, but it didn't really hurt that he was nice to stare at.
I thought that only old hobo men rode buses. Apparently, that's not the case. Or maybe I was just super lucky. Yeah, let's go with that.
"Um, can I sit?"
My own voice startled me, because I realized now that the bus was now in motion, and I better sit down before I get kicked off.
The responsive noise that came from his throat was most definitely not a word, but if I could put it into letters, it sort of sounded like a, "Hn."
Perplexed by his animalistic grunt of a reply, (yet having no alternative option) I sat down.
"Thanks." I breathed, still out of breath from running. Thankfully, the bus was much warmer. Silently, I flexed my singers and wiggled my toes as they defrosted. He nodded at me in response, and went back to reading.
As I settled into my seat, I couldn't help but glance back at him. With the way he was prepared, I bet he had a long ride ahead of him.
Curiosity spiked within me then, and I peered over, trying to see the cover of his book.
Either he was keenly perspective, a psychic, or I was just being extremely obvious, because I could practically feel his piercing gaze. I soon saw him lift the cover into my line of view. I blinked, somewhat shocked by the action.
"Oh," I blushed, feeling my face getting hot, "is it any good?"
He shrugged noncommittally, and at this point I was seriously beginning to wonder if this guy knew how to talk at all.
That awkward bus silence ensued. Everyone around me, absorbed in their own little world, exhausted and annoyed. Should I continue trying to talk to this guy? I had a feeling he'd bite my head off if I said another word to him, but I couldn't stand the silence for a minute longer.
"So where are you headed?" I questioned conversationally. I figured he wasn't used to random strangers trying to talk to him, because he arched his eyebrow in bewilderment. I could pretty much hear his thoughts screaming at me, Who the hell are you and why are you talking to me? I didn't blame him. I freaked myself out sometimes too.
"Work." he replied curtly. Well, duh. Where else would he be going at - I subtly checked my watch - 8:30 in the morning on a weekday? But I didn't voice my thoughts because I was still partly shocked he even gave me an answer at all. Instead, I gave one of those oh-I-see-nods.
Figuring the conversation was over, he stuck his earbud back in and continued reading. I sighed in defeat and took up the hobby of staring out of the window.
A few bus stops later, I was finally at my own. I was thankful that he didn't have to get off at the same stop or before me, because then I'd have to shuffle awkwardly as he walked past, and ugh, it'd just be weird.
That being said, I gathered my stuff and looked over at Mr. Antisocial to say goodbye, but he was completely immersed in his reading to have noticed. Mentally, I shrugged, walking off the bus. Oh well.
At least I didn't have to sit next to some creepy hobo.
So I convinced myself that I was not late again on purpose.
No, I definitely didn't try to be late in order to be on the same bus as Mr. Antisocial.
But when I climbed on - coffee in hands this time - and he was sitting in the same spot, I smiled in giddy excitement and didn't hesitate to sit next to him. He looked up, his eyes going from shock, to realization, to annoyance all in the span of three seconds. "Oh great," he muttered, "it's you."
I grinned, simply happy that he remembered me. Then again, how hard would it be to forget a girl with pink hair?
"I have a name you know. It's Sakura."
He rolls his eyes. "Right."
This weird routine we've settled into makes me happy.
Every day, I'm late, and every day, he's there. We have (brief) idle conversations sometimes, like on the days he forgets a book, or his ipod. Because without one of those distractions, there's nothing stopping me from talking to him. He tolerates me, I know. But he's just so interesting. He draws. Sketches, he says. He works for a family owned company that he will one day inherit. Also, he really loves classic lit. I try not to get too excited about the last part, because I can totally envision us having in depth conversations about Orwell and Huxley and dystopian societies (those are my weakness).
Strangely enough, I haven't learned his name yet.
You'd think my boss has gotten mad at me for coming to work late for the past two weeks, but he hasn't said a word. Maybe it's because the holidays just passed, so maybe he's still feeling a little jolly? Whatever, if he says something, I'll have to stop of course.
"So what are you listening to?"
He looks up, pulls an earbud from his ear and places it in mine. I try not to think about the way his thumb felt against the shell of my ear.
I close my eyes and scoot a little closer because hey, the wire is only so long. The bus ride goes a lot quicker.
That's how we start the routine of us sharing his earbuds every morning.
It's February, and a terrible storm hits.
Me, being the good worker, has decided not to call out of work today like I want when I make my way onto the bus and find my bus partner's seat empty, I supposed not all of us were as perfect as me. I smiled, sat down in his seat, and waited to reach my stop.
The following week, he's there again.
"Hey, loser. Played hookey last week, did you?" I tease.
He shrugs, not at all ashamed, and hands me an earbud. Before taking it though, I look at him seriously. "Wait, before we start listening, I have a question."
I take a deep breath and ignore the hammering of my heart. "What's your name?"
He smirks and exhales, before shaking his head. I guess he'd hoped for a better question. After a few moments of silence, I'm pretty sure he's not going to answer me, so I put his bud in my ear, listening to the music.
It's only after a few songs that I hear, "Sasuke. My name's Sasuke."
I turn my face away from him to hide my smile.
"Sakura, do you realize you have been consistently late for work for the last month and a half? I haven't said anything because I wanted to see how long you'd keep this up for, but this is getting ridiculous! You never used to do this. It's almost as though you're being late on purpose or something." Tsunade - my boss exasperates. I sigh. My charade was over.
"I'm sorry, it won't happen again. I...I guess I thought my clock in time changed." I lied, scratching the back of my head.
"Honestly, Sakura, what am I going to do with you? You're lucky you're a valued employee. Now get back to work."
I nod and return to my work, trying to stuff down the feeling of disappointment I felt.
I guess my days with Sasuke were over.
The early bus felt lonely.
And quiet. I sat very close to the front, because a lot of creeps sat in the back. I haven't taken Sasuke's bus for almost two weeks. And I haven't seen him since. Really, it was only a difference of twenty minutes. Twenty minutes later, I'd see Sasuke. Twenty minutes early, and I wouldn't. I doubted I'd ever see him again, actually.
It was strange how someone I knew so little, had such a big impact on my life in such a short amount of time.
Leaning my head against the seat, I opened the book I was holding and turned to page one.
It was the first book I saw Sasuke reading.
Today was Saturday. I had the day off.
Insert happy rant here.
Actually, I had a few errands to do today. I'd neglected my fridge for the last few weeks. Needless to say, all I had left was peanut butter and a few cases of ramen noodles. I needed to go food shopping.
So there I was, noon on a Saturday, at my local grocery store, shopping for fruit, soup, tea, and the cheapest brand of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal.
I pushed my cart slowly, taking my time. I had all day really, and nothing to do besides this. I'd gathered all my necessary groceries, and at this point was just wandering the store, when suddenly I realized I had a craving for strawberries. I headed back over to the fresh fruits and vegetables to claim my prize when I saw him.
I stopped in my tracks, eyes wide.
It was Sasuke.
He had one of those small baskets in his hand, and he stood near the tomatoes, holding one in his hand and inspecting it carefully.
I couldn't believe my eyes. I couldn't believe my luck. This had to be fate. Or something. Pushing my cart closer, I waited to see if he'd notice me, but he seemed really intently focused. I almost giggled.
"Sasuke," I called finally, once I was close enough. He looked up in surprise, eyes fixing on mine. I tried not to blush under his gaze. I'd forgotten how expressive his eyes were.
"Sakura." he stated, probably in as much disbelief as me. I smiled a little sheepishly.
"Hey. It's been a while, hasn't it?"
He nodded in return, but didn't ask why I hadn't been boarding the normal bus.
"So uh, I have a confession to make." I couldn't meet his gaze.
His lips twitched upward, "oh really?"
I took a deep breath. "So all this time I've been riding the bus with you, I was actually late for work each time. Because the first time I just happened to be late for work, but then I really wanted to get to know you, so I kept being late, and ...and...and then my boss found out and I got in trouble so I can't ride that bus with you anymore and I'm sorry." My rant left me breathless, and he just stared at me blankly the entire time. Once I was finished, he let out a small chuckle.
"You were late to work, on purpose, because you wanted to talk to me?"
I blushed, averting my gaze and muttering, "shut up."
But after a while, his laughter got the best of me and I started laughing too. It was pretty ridiculous. I risked my job just so I could talk to some stranger? Absurd.
He shook his head, "you're hopeless."
And I smiled, looking down, "yeah."
Monday morning and I boarded the bus, a little more at ease with myself. Sure, there was no Sasuke, but at least he knew now. At least I didn't have to feel like I abandoned him or something.
Damn, I should have gotten his number at the supermarket.
I wasn't too worried though. I was bound to run into him again.
As I looked out the window (I forgot a book today), I felt a presence looming over me. I turned to tell whoever the hell it was to go away because I didn't want to sit next to anyone, but my words were stuck in my throat.
"Sasuke..." I whispered in disbelief.
He sat down in the aisle seat, taking out his earbud and handing me one, just like we used to. He shrugged.
"I figured if you can't be twenty minutes late to work, I can be twenty minutes early."
The widest smile broke out across my face and I squirmed in happiness. I grabbed his hand and entwined our fingers without waiting to see his reaction. But from the way the tips of his ears got red, and he pointedly refused to meet my gaze, I figured the gesture was well reciprocated.
His fingers tightened around mine, and it was the start of a new beginning I didn't think I'd have.
Yeah, that was just a cute little thing had been lingering in my word documents for almost two years now. I polished it up a bit, but am still not completely satisfied with it. Regardless, hope you enjoyed!