1. Before and after
1. Before and after
Summer had always been her favorite time of all. It was in the life residing in its vibrant warmth, in the hope and soothing of the golden sun, and in the infinity of azure sky sheltering dreams.
To be able to share such a moment with someone else had never crossed even her greatest dream. She had thought she was not good enough and thus would end alone. Living had been just a matter of duty…
And then he entered the picture -it took Karin's intervention, a conversation, and her courage. That subtle kindness and air of protectiveness instantly pulled at her heart's strings. She felt safe with him, so safe she decided for one last time to reach out to someone.
Too many people didn't know the short span of sadness or anger they sporadically felt was someone else day-to-day life. Too many times people cared about physical injuries in disregard of mental ones. Too many times people ignored, laughed at or belittled that small population that couldn't find a break through the darkness in their head, heart and life.
Never did they realize it was not far from mocking a victim of cancer, because the pain was real. But they kept labeling them 'creep', 'lazy' or 'whiny emo' who couldn't get over their selves, never realizing they needed cure as much as if they were bleeding before them.
All her life, she had been that 'freak'; all her life had always been an accident, an error her parents could have avoided if her mother passed her period at that time. From her parents' divorce to her mother getting married again, from her isolation by her peers to her uselessness, she had thought about putting an end to everything.
She had been a coward, a pathetic excuse of a life and waste of a space. Yet, she hid her feelings behind fake smiles, excessive kindness that made of her a face easy to forget about, a dummy easy to look through.
He hadn't looked through but at her, and ever since that day she sheltered at the warmth of his friendship.
Around that time, her heart learnt such shocking new and raw concepts. Her heart began to overflow over and over again. Every time she was near him, emotions would baffle her as hard as a wrecking ball, breaking her bones and putting them back together. It had been hard to breathe, beautiful to live, wonderful to exist…
Until him, she never knew what happy meant.
It had been in his words, in his intense eyes like burning charcoal, in his little cruel smile that pulled her out of that deep dark hole, in his friendship, in his drive, in his presence, in his kindness, in his views of life… in everything that constituted him as a person.
He showed her life; he opened her eyes on how life really was by sharing his mind. He showed her that someone could care about her; someone could be kind and even feel protective of her. His friendship, his mature and silent presence saved her, showed her she wasn't alone in the world and didn't need to continue to live an empty and numb life void of any hope or light.
Darkness was not a place for anyone to live into, and she didn't have to go back there.
The world didn't owe her a thing, so she didn't. She never asked to be born in this world, but now she was there she could as well do something out of it. She wasn't useless; she just had to find and to do something, anything she wanted to.
He gave taste to life, and color to the world that had been otherwise grey ever since she remembered.
When she was finally overflowing with happiness, he showed her that someone could return her love and could see her as a woman, as someone to be intimate with.
Soon after, they started living together. For someone like her who grew up feeling like a waste of space and thinking no one would ever look at her, living with him put every definition of heavens to shame.
Hinata wasn't a desperate and encaged little girl anymore, but a woman having objectives and dreams. He gave her something to live for; he gave her a home and everything along. But what could she ever do for him?
Waking up an hour ago, she has been staring at his harmonious gorgeous traits. Her pale eyes were wide awake when the sun rose, slowly wrapped him in a golden halo. The morning light underlined his beautifully drawn eyes, straight nose, sculpted mouth and fine traits –he had such gorgeous eyes she never got tired to stare at, closed or opened.
There was a gentle warmth pouring from him to her, enveloping her in a cozy embrace.
Again he was the one to give by taking her away to a recluse place for summer, where they had been staying for two whole months away from everyone and everything. As expected from country side, the nature was beautiful. The azure sky had amazing sun rising and breathtaking sun setting; the landscape was full of multicolor large fields of wild flowers and a vast verdant complimenting the place, and dusty roads reminding those old films full of sweet nostalgia.
There, they had done so much and she discovered more about that mysterious man that meant the world to her –he loved journeys and taking strolls a lot. They discovered so many places, all of which were amazing beyond words.
She watched with amazement when he squeezed his eyes and massaged them. He frowned while running fingers through his unruly hair then looked at his left. Their eyes met, his dark grey ones shining. His face softened, and the infinitesimal of smiles stroked his lips.
"What are you doing Hinata?" he asked, his seductive dark voice rough from sleep
His husky and deep voice was the most beautiful of all sounds, keeping her heart beating like crazy whenever it melted in her ears like honey on tongue. She would always let him talk first and as much as she could make him.
She smiled so broadly all her teeth could be seen.
"I'm contemplating you" she whispered as thought he was still sleeping
He smiled more obviously. She giggled.
"Of course it's in your head"
"Meanie Sasuke-kun!" she said and jumped on him
The sun was shining past the lacy yellowed curtains and through the wide windows, and filled the room with a mist of buttery sunshine. The warm gilded air washed their room with a haze of golden light that turned the room into a panel of bright halo of colors looking as though it came from a fairy tale -the cream-colored walls glowed with light, the few furniture gleamed deep red like wine, while the floor was a pool of light. The balmy, soft warmth of everyday poured into the room, heavy with velvety smells of wild flowers and the gentle breeze carrying away birds' plaintive and strident songs.
In the middle of that shiny panel of glowing colors, Sasuke lied there like something out of a dream. Summer had always been her favorite time of all, but having Sasuke bathed in the sunlight reflecting on his creamy skin, turning his eyes into a glowing grey and hair shining dark blue was something out of heaven.
Sasuke looked shocked, his eyes exaggeratedly opened and his soft lips slightly parted. Hinata bit her lips, trying to tame her maniac smile.
"Did you call me meanie?"
"Of course! You're a meanie, meanie Sasuke-kun" she pouted and puffed her cheeks
"Let me show you how really mean I can get"
They wrestled on the bed. She wouldn't stop laughing. He tickled her everywhere, asking for her apologies but she denied him. His hands were everywhere, waking slowly but surely all her nerves' ending. She curled up, and then his lips continued his hands' job. Her neck, her back, her arms, her sides, his lips reached everywhere and her laugh wouldn't stop echoing, rolling from her body trembling from love and joy.
He finally poured a rain of pecks on her lips and gently kissed her long. Her mind didn't get back on track until she went from being under him to sitting in his laps. They resumed kissing; their body so flushed together there was no place for even a hair to glide through. Yet it didn't feel enough, like they weren't close enough, like they couldn't get enough, not matter how hard Sasuke would close his big arms around her, no matter how her frail arms desperately clung to him as a drowning man to a lifeline.
"If only we could get you smaller…"
To be loved back was the most beautiful of all things. It was the truth and only reason for life, she thought. Because at the end of the day, life was just a succession of events no matter bad or good. Love was the key to make the difference.
"I could put you in my pocket"
"I would love that"
"You really look like a cute little doll" he said and pinched her cheek again
As she was now, it didn't matter anymore that no one ever looked at her; it didn't matter anymore that she was so different from others; it didn't matter anymore that she was from the small crowd that had to fight to be normal; it didn't matter anymore that her parents didn't care that much; it didn't matter anymore that she had her virginity forcefully taken away; it didn't matter anymore that she wasn't that 'special one' that would bring a change to the world. Nothing mattered but him and their common future.
"We're going back tonight so we'd better pack up now"
Too many people had never cared to stay long around, yet it didn't matter anymore. She didn't know how long he would stay, but he was there for now. There was no time to lose, because without her savior, darkness would come back.
"Yes, but let's packing later…"
"What are you thinking about?"
"I want to take photos"
"I don't talk about that. You look sad"
"It's just… It's just that the best of all summers just ended"
"We're going to have others"
"You never know…"
"You might try to run away?"
"As if I could" she huffed and puffed her cheeks again to make him smile
"You can." He smiled, and pinched her cheeks "That's why we should marry as soon as we get back"
Her chest swelled again, a lump forming at the base of her neck. How many emotions her body would take before giving out was still a mystery.
Her eyes stung and betrayed her, and tears slid down her hot cheeks. She smiled through her blurry vision and hiccups, and caressed his face. The first time he proposed to her, she cried the whole afternoon. He never asked, just made love to her and cradled her to sleep.
"I see that we've got projects"
"Then we'll save for your dojo"
"I think opening a restaurant would be best"
"But you don't know anything about it"
"I've got the best of teachers here"
"But Sasuke-kun you love-"
"Not buts. We open the restaurant and work there together. You're studying for it anyway. But first, we need to get out of our current place because not only that dickhead-"
"S-S-Sasuke-kun! No bad words"
"Ah, such a softie" he chuckled, and pinched her cheek; she slapped lightly his bicep "That doesn't change the fact that we're going to get out of that hole. The rent went up when it doesn't deserve the 'hype'. After that we'll start saving properly"
"And later, we'll get our real home."
"And we'll create a baseball team –my favorite part of the plan"
He kissed her
"And we'll travel around the world"
"I'd love that"
"And take strolls on beautiful beaches, and country sides… and fields of wild flowers"
"Fields of wild flowers…"
"Where will we raise our children?"
"Towns are trash these days. It's either the periphery of town or the country side, where our restaurant will be opened"
"I hope our children take after you… you're perfect Sasuke-kun…" she blushed while peering through her lashes
"I hope to see lots of cute little Hinata blushing and running clumsily around"
They laughed at the weird picture.
"Then I hope to get little mischievous Sasuke-kun to pull pranks on their father for having teased me so much in the past."
"No way. That would be troublesome. Naruto is enough"
"I hope to meet him soon"
"You will. He'll get there three weeks from now on"
"Your favorite person ever"
"I've never said that"
"I'm happy for you" she giggled at his grimace
They kissed again, longer this time, stealing their breaths away. Sasuke put her back under him, kissing her as hard and passionate as he could.
"About you loving summer -it's not summer effects. It's just me"
"I'm not so sure, Sasuke-kun"
He laughed, and she stared again, her heart pumping like crazy.
"You're becoming more and more daring. You need some recall"
He would never know how much he meant for her because all the 'I love you' of the world were not enough, not even the millions of words in the dictionary. She just hoped he'd realized it through her acts and eyes.
"I love you so much Sasuke-kun"
The ringing phone went ignored as they let their passion consume their being to ashes. No one would steal their time away.
Hinata brushed all of her hair behind her head and then tied it into a low ponytail. In such dark event any obvious make up would not only appear as vulgar, but people would eye her –she hated attention. As usual, some eyeliner and pale peach lipstick made it up.
Giving one last look over at her stern expression, somber yet elegant make up and black long dress, she put on dark stilettos. Once done, she went out of her sumptuous room and down the large and everlasting stairs to the big and splendid living room. There were ten men all in black looking back at her.
One of them moved toward her and gave her a friendly elbow.
"Mrs. Uchiha, the car is ready. People already arrived at the mourning. They all are waiting for you"
"Thank you Obito-san" she politely said with a cool voice "let's move on"
"How are you feeling? Do you need anything Hinata-san" Obito whispered discreetly from their escort
"No, I do not need anything. All I want is for this day to end" she flatly answered
It was a fresh evening and the town was vibrant from live and colors from lampposts, building and establishments. Tokyo always felt like the whole country was out ramping through streets, unafraid of the tall glowing modern buildings, some carried away by scents from restaurants and most busy with their lives.
Quitting the crowd-filled streets, a handsome young man walked through a famous restaurant's doors. In no time, gazes and whispers followed him. But as always, he didn't care about the world surrounding him. It was better and less toxic in his personal world.
He checked his leather wristwatch and noticed with vague validation that he was a bit in advance. Women usually preferred to come late to dates, but it didn't matter. More time to prepare was always good. To his mild surprise though, his date was already there.
Missing the way her jade eyes twinkled or how she quickly checked out her appearance and stance, he went straight to occupy the opposite seat.
"You came early"
"Oh, I, uh, I wasn't that far away" she said pulling on her pale green dress, breathing heavily and being unaware of the envious stares boring holes in her head "anyway, it didn't bother me to have time for myself. How about you Sasuke-kun?" she asked, relinquishing on the way his name never failed to make her shudder
"It always serves right to come earlier on dates" he coolly said
"That's true" she quickly said, inspired by the word 'dates'
"So, how are you Sakura?" he asked
"Fine, I'm fine. And you Sasuke-kun?" she excitedly asked
"Fine" he answered without blinking. "Let's check out the menu"