Chapter One: It Starts off With a Drink
Seven months later…
Naruto sighed softly as he lifted the last shipment of notebooks that came in that day. Shifting the heavy box in his arms, he walked over to the shelf where the others were. He started putting them away, his mind far off. He was supposed to go out on a date with Hinata tonight but by the looks of things around the store, he'd probably have to stay after to unpack the rest of the shipments. The shelves were looking kind of bare.
He pulled out his iphone and checked it; there were missed calls and texts from Hinata. He'd have to call her back once he's finished or he might end up hurting the girl's feelings.
Sighing, he tucked his phone away before he was approached by one of his best friends and co-worker, Kibe Inuzuka.
"Slacking off again, Naruto?" he teased him as he peered around the two heavy boxes that he was carrying.
"You know it," Naruto replied with his usual fox-like grin. He stood up and took one of the boxes from him, "Where do these go?" he asked and glanced around.
"Over there," Kiba gestured with his chin and the two walked a couple isles down, setting down the box and unloading the merchandise.
"So…" Kiba started as he unpacked, "I need to ask you for a favor."
"Depends on what it is," Naruto looked at the brunet curiously.
"Can you take over my shift tonight? I have plans that I can't cancel."
"Plans? For what?" Naruto asked, pausing in his unloading.
Kiba sighed, "It's Ino's and my one year anniversary today and she told me she wanted to do something special for it. So I made reservations at that really fancy place uptown, bought her flowers and a gold necklace, and I didn't realize that I'd be working tonight. So, help a guy out? Please?"
Naruto chuckled, "It's okay man, I'll take your shift," he checked his watch, it was about six fifteen.
"Thanks man," Kiba patted the blond's shoulder and stood up, "Well, I should probably get home then, I still gotta get ready."
"Yeah, I'd take a shower too," Naruto suggested and plugged his nose dramatically, "You kind of stink."
Kiba whacked Naruto on the head for that one.
After dishing out suitable punishment, Kiba turned and stalked off, leaving Naruto to nurse his aching head.
"So, yeah, I'm really sorry Hinata," Naruto's voice sounded on the other side of the line, making Hinata sigh in a sad manner, "But we have to cancel our date tonight. Too much going on at work. I'll pick you up in the morning for school tomorrow."
Hinata muffled another disappointed sigh, nodding even though Naruto couldn't hear her, "Okay, th- that's fine. I'll see you tomorrow," she says, trying to sound fine. She paused and hesitated for a brief moment before adding, "I- I love you, N- Naruto-kun."
He was silent for a brief moment, before an audible sigh was heard, "Yeah, I- I love you too."
He hung up.
'I can't believe that Naruto-kun cancelled on me again,' Hinata thought to herself as she waved goodbye to TenTen and Sakura and left the pizza place, too depressed to eat now. She'd been planning on meeting Naruto at the park for their picnic date, though she guessed that was down the toilet now, 'That… Jerk…'
As much as she wanted to be mad at him, she couldn't. As usual. It's been happening frequently now, Naruto cancelling on her and sometimes even avoiding her at school. Was she doing something wrong? She remembered when they would spend every moment they had to spare together, in the library reading books, 'studying' at Naruto's place, hanging out with him and his family and watching Naruto argue with his rambunctious cousin, Karin. She thought things had been going so well…
Maybe Naruto wanted some space?
She didn't know, Naruto was her first boyfriend.
What she needed was advice.
Pulling out her cellphone, she dialed Ino's number. She put the phone to her ear and listened to the other line as it trilled, approaching a bus bench and taking a seat.
Finally, Ino answered, "Hey Hinata! I can't really talk; I have a date with Kiba tonight!"
Hinata sighed, "R- Really? I- I just wanted to ask you for some advice…"
Ino was silent, like she was thinking. Before she finally spoke up, "Oh fine! Kiba'll have to wait. What do you need hun?"
Hinata let out a relieved sigh, "Naruto just cancelled on another one of our dates."
Ino made a hissing sound, like the sort of sound a pan would make if you put bacon on it, "Ouch, that's the fourth date this month. Sorry, hun."
"I- It's okay!" The Hyuga says and pushes a strand of long black hair behind her ear, "I- I just—I don't know. I mean, things were great between us when we started dating. We were together nearly all the time, but now, things feel, different somehow. Have any advice for me?"
"Hm… Well it sounds like the honeymoon phase is over."
"The honeymoon phase basically means that you guys were so excited about your new relationship that all you two could do is spend all your time together, you were are so in love that you guys don't see each other's faults and you guys absolutely adore each other." Ino explained on the other line, "You two have to do something to regain that spark that started your relationship."
Hinata considered this for a moment, "Okay… But what exactly should I do?"
"That's up for you to decide honey, every relationship is different."
"Okay… Well what did you do for Kiba then?"
"I gave him my virginity."
If Hinata had been drinking something, she would've spewed it all over the ground at that moment. The shy girl sputtered and was at a loss of words, cackling could be heard on the other line as the Hyuga recovered from the shock.
"Tell me you're joking."
"Nope. Dead serious. But don't tell anyone, you, Sakura, Naruto and Shino are the only ones that know so far. And I don't want word getting around. I don't want people to think I'm a whore or anything!"
"U- Understandable, but Ino? Did that actually work?"
"Well, yeah. Things got dull, so I figured it was time. I'm seventeen, I feel like I'm old enough to make my own decisions. Besides, we've been dating for a year now. So I figured it was time. Now, don't think that I'm telling you to have sex with Naruto. That's between you and him, but if you want to fix your relationship with him before it crumbles away, then take my advice."
Hinata nodded a bit, "I- I understand. Thank you, Ino-chan."
"You're welcome. I gotta get back to getting ready, see you in school!"
With that, the two girls hung up.
Sighing, Hinata stood up again and began to walk in the direction of home. She stuffed her phone into her back jean pocket before stuffing her hands into her jacket pockets, getting lost in her thoughts.
She hadn't been paying attention and ran into a chest of a stranger, "Excuse me."
She looked up to see the familiar face of Sasuke Uchiha. He hadn't changed in the past seven months, which was the last time she saw him. His hair was styled in its usual duck-butt like fashion, his dark eyes regarding her interestingly. He wore a white shirt under a black windbreaker, jeans that were ripped at the knees and black high tops.
If anything, he looked a bit more intimidating now.
"Sas- Sasuke-kun?" Hinata stammered a bit and took a step back from him, her pale eyes wide as she stared up at him, "H- Hello there, it's… Been awhile."
Sasuke nodded shortly, and put on a small smile, "Hello, Hyuga," he greeted her back and stuffed his hands into his jean pockets, "Yes, it's been seven months since we've last seen each other, you haven't changed a bit."
"Thank you? Though I can't say the same about you," she commented and gave him a small, shy smile.
Sasuke chuckled softly and continued, "So, how have you been?" he asked casually.
"P- pretty good. Finals are coming up so I'm studying real hard. You?"
"I've been good, as good as it gets working in a shitty restaurant for little to no pay," he mused before his expression grew rather serious, "No, but seriously, how are you and Naruto doing?"
She hesitated for a brief moment, "We're doing great," she lied, "U- Um, just great. Naruto's the best boyfriend ever."
"Is that so?" he mused, "Hey, want to come get a drink or something with me?"
Hinata thought about it, "Um… I don't know."
"C'mon, we can get a few beers, dance a bit, have some fun. Live on the wild side for one night, Hyuga," he teased her lightly and offered his hand.
Hinata huffed. Well, she wasn't going to just go home and sit around, waiting for Naruto. She wanted to have some fun tonight, so she will. It wasn't like she planned on cheating on him or whatever, "Okay!" she took his offered hand, "O- One drink shouldn't hurt."