This is my first attempt in writing a oneshot for NARUINO pairing. Read at your own risk. Comments, Suggestions and Criticisms are very much welcome. Also i've made a NARUINO amv entitled SWEET ESCAPE. For those who are interested, please check out the vid at youtube. oh, and please dont forget to leave a comment. Thank you very much.

Yamanaka Ino still can't believe that a few moments from now, she'll be exchanging vows and fully commit herself to the man she loved. She took one last look at her reflection in the full-length mirror, and was astonished with what she saw.

Since this was a special occasion, she decided to wear her hair down and get rid of her usual high ponytail. Her waist-long platinum blonde hair cascaded down her shoulders, styled in such a way that she resembled some kind of goddess who just descended down to earth.

A glistening tiara holds her veil in place, the front covering up to her elbows and the back as long as the train of her gown.

Her shoulders are exposed, making her smooth and fair skin visible, complemented with her cream-colored bustier gown, adorned with golden beadworks. She is, without a doubt, a breathtaking sight and is absolutely far from the Yamanaka Ino she used to know.

"Whoa!" a flabbergasted pink-haired Haruno Sakura cried as she entered the room. "I didn't know you would look so ravishing in a wedding gown, Ino-pig!" she said while eyeing her blonde friend from top to toe. Sakura has been Ino's best friend ever since the two learned to walk.

"Well, frankly speaking, neither do I," she admitted. "And did I hear you right, Forehead? Was that a compliment you gave me?" the blonde's aqua-colored eyes focused on the jade ones of the pink-haired woman.

"No, that was a sarcastic remark, dimwit," Sakura rolled her eyes at Ino.

"Now I know why they gave me a bouquet of pink roses… They knew that I can find another use of this," Ino said as she inspected her bouquet. "I just hope the florists left the thorns!" she finished as she prepared to hit her pink-haired friend with her bouquet as a baseball bat.

"Hey! Watch it would you?! We could never find a replacement for that in time you know!" Sakura prompted the blonde as she ducked in case the blonde tries to hit her.

The argument was put off when they heard a knock and the door opened, revealing another woman in the entryway, this time a brunette.

"Ino? Sakura? Are you two done fighting? You do know that the whole entourage is waiting for you, right?" the brunette reminded the two ladies.

"Oh Tenten," Ino rushed and gave the brunette a hug, her two buns, nowhere in sight. Instead, her hair was arranged in a classic French twist. "You can really be a bitch when you want to, did you know that?" Ino candidly asked the brunette.

"Well, I'm sorry for that, I just had to remind you that we don't have all time here," Tenten crossed her arms in front of the two, making it to appear that she got offended by Ino's remark.

Ino and Sakura chuckled, and in a few moments, Tenten joined in. A few minutes after they've cooled down,

"I'll really miss you guys," Ino finally said, her eyes shimmering with unshed tears.

"What are you saying Ino-pig?! We'll still see each other right?" Sakura asked her friend.

"Of course we will. It's just that it won't ever be the same again. I can't hang out with you guys as often as I used to, and that's what I'll miss the most," Ino told her two friends as she lowered her head. She can't afford to look these two closest friends of hers straight in the eye.

"Awww… don't worry Ino, we'll always visit you as often as we could. He wouldn't mind, would he?" Tenten inquired.

"No, he wont," Ino simply said as she forced a smile.

Meanwhile, a spiky blonde-haired male, formally dressed and impeccably groomed, revved up his car's engine as he traveled along the busy streets of Konoha.

"Damn!" he muttered to himself. "How could I be so stupid?!" he continued as he shifted gears. His knuckles almost turned white as he gripped the steering wheel and was on the verge of swearing when he saw the traffic jam in front of him.

"Ino-chan, please wait for me…" the blonde male whispered to himself as he reminisced the last time he saw her.


"I wonder how it feels when you're already in front of the altar beside your spouse-to-be…" a daydreaming platinum blonde girl uttered as she sat side by side with her blonde boyfriend under the vast blue sky, on top of the tallest hill in Konoha. They were both spending their leisure time by sightseeing.

"Someday you'll know," the spiky blonde replied as he gazed at his girlfriend's innocent face. His chest welling up with mixed emotions.

"Would you be the one beside me when that day comes Naruto-kun?" came the blonde girl's query as she looked intently at Naruto's azure eyes.

Instead of answering his girlfriend's question, he hugged her firmly and buried his face on the crook of her neck. He took in Ino's enticing scent and tried to relax himself though he knew that his silence would only arouse his girlfriend's suspicion. Then came the question he feared the most.

"What's the matter Naruto-kun? Is there something wrong?" Ino's face creased with anxiety. She recognized this unlikely behavior of her boyfriend and she knew that something was up.

"Is there something you need to be telling me, hon?" another question came from her, not even allowing Naruto to gather up is thoughts and answer her first inquiry.

Naruto swallowed the lump that was slowly forming in his throat. "Now's not the right time to tell her," he thought. "But I know that it'll only make things worse. It's now or never," he decided.

"Ino, I know that sooner or later you'll hate me for doing this," Naruto began. His cerulean blue eyes locked on Ino's aqua-colored orbs.

"Naruto, you're scaring me," Ino told her boyfriend. Since they've been together for 2 years, she's grown familiar with Naruto and his expressions, and she very much knew that it's something serious once he dropped off the suffix from her name.

"I was tasked by father to attend to our business overseas and..." Naruto paused for a while, as he thought of the right words to say.

"When will you leave?" Ino asked him, her gaze affixed on the farthest place her eyes could set upon.

"Two days from now," Naruto replied, almost choking on his words. "Ino, I'm sorry for not telling you about this earlier, I- " he was cut off by Ino saying,

"It's alright," she faked a smile. Her eyes closed, to prevent any tear from falling. "It would still be the same, ne, Naruto-kun? Tell me nothing will change between us," she asked, more of begging him for reassurance at the same time, hoping that his next answer would somehow chase her doubts away.

"I…I don't know…" was his only response.

"How long would you be away? 2? 3 months? A year?" she asked, diverting the question by trying to sound cheerful and all.

"Three years or so," he timidly replied.

Ino didn't answer. She can't, and she doesn't know what to say. Silence overcame the blonde couple, both too disappointed to talk about what's next.

Suddenly, Naruto held Ino's face and kissed her on the lips. He hugged her, wishing that this moment wouldn't come to an end. As much as he wanted to stay, he can't, because he's got responsibilities to do. True enough, being the heir of a business magnate has both its pros and cons. His act of desperation has come to an end when Ino broke their silence-filled kiss.

"I should go," she said as she tried to avoid Naruto's gaze. The gentle afternoon breeze blew her long hair to disarray.

"Why? Can't you stay with me, only 'til sunset?" he asked her. How he longed to straighten those silken tresses of her, but he chose not to, for he could already sense that she's grown distant to him in only a few moments.

"I…have things to do," lied the smaller blonde. She wanted to stay. Heck, she wanted to be with him, to be by his side. But the longer she spends more time with him, knowing that they are soon to be separated, makes it more painful. She stood up, brushing the dirt off her pants while still avoiding her boyfriend's stare.

As she was about to walk away, Naruto called out to her saying,

"I love you, and I always will…I'll try to be the man beside you when that day comes Ino-chan," he said. His voice was hoarse like he was on the verge of crying, yet he still managed to keep his composure.

"I love you too Naruto," Ino said. She didn't even look back. She was afraid that it will only make things difficult for her, for the two of them. She didn't even saw the blonde male's eyes brimming with tears as he watched his most treasured person walk away from him.

End of flashback

Naruto glanced at his watch impatiently and slammed madly on his car's horns. How will he arrive on time if this traffic jam keeps on getting him delayed? To his frustration, he got out of his car and began to run. If there's no way for this traffic to let his car pass, then he'll get to that church in any way, even if it means setting out on foot. He's lost her once; he's not going to lose her again.

A platinum blonde stood silently in front of the church's entrance holding a bouquet of pink roses on her hand.

"This is it," Ino thought. She took one last look on the street behind her, searching for a familiar figure to come out of nowhere, but instead, she saw a bumper to bumper jam-packed lane. She sighed as she lost all her hopes.

The church choir began to sing which signaled Ino to start her march down the aisle.

Petals of pink and red roses were scattered along the walkway, setting a romantic atmosphere. Ino felt a drop of tear on her cheek as she slowly walked towards the altar. Despite of her decision to marry her two-year boyfriend Uchiha Sasuke, she felt that something was amiss in making this choice of hers. Though Sasuke had showered her with love, she knew that there's still something missing. And she very much knew the person who could fill in that missing piece.

A tall blonde male was spotted running across the Konoha's main avenue. Sweat dampened his black suit but he didn't pay any attention to it.

Naruto could already make out the church's highest tower and further increased the speed of his sprint. "Hang on Ino, I'm almost there," he whispered.

As he turned a corner, he was stunned with what he saw.

There she is, the love of his life, dressed magnificently in a wedding gown. She was walking arm in arm with a raven-haired good looking man as confetti was being thrown towards the two of them. She never looked so happy in her entire life, but her smile faded instantly when she caught sight of him.

He looked as if he just ran a thousand miles. His spiky blonde hair was unruly and she could almost trace the trail of sweat that ran down his cheeks. His mouth was agape and by judging from the look of his face, he was shaken beyond words. Still, with the surprised look and sweat, he looked so damn good; it made Ino's heart flutter.

They locked eyes with one another for what seemed like an eternity, neither blinking. Everything that happened for the last five years began to flash back.

Sakura noticed that her best friend was distractedly staring on one corner. She was dumbfounded when she saw who Ino was staring at. She whispered something to Sasuke which earned her a nod. It was not hidden to Sasuke that Naruto and Ino's relationship didn't have any formal closure at all. Now's the right time to put behind their back whatever it is that happened between the two of them.

"Go on, it'll be alright, I'll just wait for you by the car," he told her and kissed her on the cheek.

Seeing Ino being kissed by another man was too much for Naruto to take. He immediately turned to look away for he couldn't bear to look any longer if Sasuke was to capture her lips in a searing kiss.

It was only Ino and Naruto who were left by the church after Sasuke and the guests took their leave.

Naruto walked towards the two ladies, his heart beating intensely in his chest.

"Hi Ino-chan, it's good to see you again" Naruto faked a smile, his heart almost breaking at the mention of Ino's name.

"W-welcome back, Naruto," Ino stuttered. She couldn't believe her eyes. After five years of no communication, and of wondering if she'll ever see him again, here he is. Flesh and blood. Looking good as ever.

Noticing that she didn't add the suffix "-kun" to his name, made Naruto only sadder. "Thanks Ino-chan, only I didn't expect this kind of welcome," he said. Regret clear in his voice.

Ino couldn't take it anymore. The look in his eyes. The tone of his voice.

"What made you come back here?" Ino asked straightforwardly. "Business matters?" she filled in for him. She's mad at him for leaving her, but she can't deny the fact that a part of her wanted to hear from him that she's the reason of his return.

"No, I have only one purpose why I came back here in Konoha," Naruto began. "YOU," he finished and looked at Ino straight in the eye.

Ino thought she would melt when Naruto looked at her intently. She wanted to believe in him, in everything he is saying. But she knows it's too late.

"Sakura-chan called me and told me that you're getting married to Sasuke," he told her. "I immediately bought a ticket and flew back here," he trailed off when he saw Ino's eyes fill with tears.

"Why now?!" she stormed at him. "Why did you come back just now, huh, Naruto?!" her anger resurfacing once again.

"I just realized that even though we've lost contact and haven't seen each other in the past five years, it's still you that I love. It's still your name that keeps on resounding in my head," Naruto earnestly confessed.

"Well, you're too late," Ino told him sadly. "In fact you're only twenty five minutes late. If only you had arrived earlier," she spoke softly. Sorrow could be clearly seen from the blonde girl's eyes.

And with that, all Naruto could do was to accept the fact that he had lost the love of his life as she walked away from him, for the second and last time.