A/N: Warnings and disclaimer on the first chapter. Thanks for the reviews. I really do apologize if this took so long and for the quality of this chapter. Even I had to read the previous chapter to see where I left the story. This is much shorter and I don't know but I feel it's a bit detached and rushed? Well then, please read.
CHAPTER 8: ALL THESE QUESTIONS without ANSWERS
Few months later...
Since that night, their relationship gets bleaker. While it was the first time the both of them didn't spend the night at their home, it didn't take long before it almost became a routine. The only excuse Neji can come up with was work, how demanding it was, eating up most of his hours and Naruto wasn't as adamant to fix that habit as before. He spent some nights alone in the cold bed, thinking over and over what going on, until his mind and eyes gives up. It was really a new world once you get married. All the butterflies and rainbows instantly changes to an ominous atmosphere. Before marriage, Naruto knew Neji works hard, far too hard for his liking but he told himself he'll accept it no matter what, and because they love each other, they can compromise. He didn't need to change him; he just needed for Neji to understand that he has his part to play. It's what marriage is about right? After love comes compromising. But they never even reached that point. As soon as they were bonded, Neji took flight to slave himself. His plan on having a serious talk with him was left in the drain. It seems the marriage was just a hurdle Neji has to pass to fully commit himself to his work.
What went wrong? Whose fault was this?
Naruto will always bombard himself with such questions, even when he's in the middle of organizing events or at the critical moment of overseeing a wedding they're in charge of. Questions will suddenly pop on his mind which will render him staring at nothing in particular. His friends slash staff has been worried of him whenever he acts that way but he always pretend it was nothing important, just simply zoning out. But the stares boring into him prove that they don't believe his words, not when his eyes look dead and his smiles forced.
It's not making love, it's simply sex.
Naruto firmly believed that sex will always be an essential factor in their lives. It's not something to resort to when you want to release your desires, it was more than joining two bodies, it's making love, showing love, but between Neji and him it was simply reduced to sex, to a physical activity. The connection was only for physical, emotional isn't present anymore. Whenever Neji wanted to have it, Naruto will comply because at the back of his mind, it's still something that proves they're a couple and not strangers and that thought somehow made him happy despite everything. Yet a nagging feeling will tell him he's pitiful in his state. It's only his body needed by his husband, it wasn't his whole self. It wasn't about Naruto anymore.
Does he love me still? Does he still want me by his side?
Whenever he comes cross those questions, his heart will clench painfully. Because the thought of Neji not loving him anymore was killing him slowly and living without him was almost as good as living in hell all his life. They have shared years of their lives. It wasn't always perfect but for someone like him who doesn't have family, every moment he spent with Neji was considered precious and special. It's only then that he feels loved and wanted, cared for and treasured and the mere thought of losing that man who's been a part of his life is almost making it hard for him to breathe.
What if he found some—
That was the only question that Naruto will never ever permit to form in his mind. While he doubts Neji's dedication to their marriage, he still trusts his husband. Neji may neglect him at times, choose his work over his happiness but he will never cheat on him. They have been together for more than four years and while there are others who tried to catch his husband's attention, Neji has been faithful. There's no reason to doubt him now, much more because they're married.
So the blond after going through the same questions will end up thinking that if only he owns a company, a really big conglomerate at that, these questions will be irrelevant, they would even be non-existent. If only he does.
Naruto looked up from the newspaper he's reading to see his husband in full office attire, approaching him. He then felt the lips make a brief contact on his right cheek before the man took a seat across the table.
"Good morning love. You're up quite late." Naruto said as he continued staring at the brunette.
The brunette looked at him, "I don't have lots of appointment today. In fact I'm only supposed to meet up a client and then I'm done."
The blond nodded and stood to get his husband his cup of coffee. He placed it in front of the executive. "That's good. You're coming home early."
Neji hummed. "Yes. Let's go out for dinner?"
Naruto almost clapped after hearing his husband's offer but abruptly wilted when he remembered something. He pouted in obvious disappointment. Why of all days did Neji choose this day to invite him to a date?
"I'm sorry love. Remember the out-of-town project I was talking about? It's scheduled today. I'm leaving this afternoon. We can have that dinner once I get back home. It'll only take me three days."
The brunette shrugged. "Sure. As long as I'm free. Who's going with you?"
"Ino and Shika plus Kiba and some other staff. Hinata, Ten ten, Shino and Chouji will be left to deal with the office. We aren't in a hectic schedule this month that's why I can leave to attend to some out of town projects. How about your work love?"
It's very rare the past months for them to sit down together in the kitchen or dining table and discuss what's happening in their lives. Though both knew of how work is dominating their lives, they don't further talk of it any deeper. For one, Neji wasn't interested in what Naruto does for a living, he thinks of managing events more of a hobby than a proper job which Naruto will retort with the brunette being unappreciative of such art. With Naruto, he was as clueless as hell when it comes to the brunette's work. He just know that his husband holds a high position in their company and has something to do with dealing with outside forces such as clients and the society as a whole as his main responsibility. It sounds too complicated for Naruto anyway.
"Quite busy as you know. I am handling one of our most valued investors and he may be expanding more of his business that will require our partnership. We have to give him special treatment as he can further bring more revenue to the company."
Naruto nodded. Both of them are earning more than they need but they can't even plan anything to spend the money that's piling up. Naruto thought one day he can book them a trip somewhere far and definitely no one can intervene, no work, no superiors nor any sudden appointments and meetings.
The blond stared at his husband who was sipping on his coffee while reading the newspaper he abandoned. He coughed. "Do you think one of these days, if our schedule permits it of course, we can go somewhere? Like the beach or wherever you want. We can definitely relax and relieve some stress."
Neji put his coffee cup down and looked at the blond. He saw the hopeful glint in those blue eyes which reminds him of the ocean. He knows he's been neglecting Naruto somehow but the need to be with his husband wasn't as great as before when they weren't married yet. He does not know of the reason for that but he guessed it has something to do with their relationship's status. Being a couple gave him an assurance. He knows that whenever he comes home, Naruto will be on their bed, just for him. Naruto was now his, legally and exclusively.
"Yes. We definitely need that."
Naruto smiled brightly. "I'm glad you think so. Let me know if you're not too busy in the office. I'll immediately set that plan up." When the brunette nodded, Naruto grinned. He glanced at his wrist watch and saw that it's time to leave. Feeling a bit of disappointment that his time with his husband was cut short, he sighed sadly. "I have to go now love. I'll see after a few days, alright?"
Neji stood from his chair and approached his blond husband. He immediately noticed the dark circles around his eyes and felt a bit of guilt. Gently, he cupped the tanned face in his hands gradually caressing the scars. He saw Naruto looked up to him, his eyes somewhat confused but also a lingering stare reflects from the pair of azure orbs. He stooped down to kiss his husband before whispering, "I love you, Naruto."
The blond looked momentarily dazed before he flashed a beautiful smile. "I love you too, Neji. I'll be going." With that, the tan guy left their household.
"Neji, I spoke with Mr. Kishimoto just now and he said there's a problem with the contract you drafted for his next investment. He demands you meet him and sort things out as soon as you can."
Neji simply nodded, still absorbed on his documents. They were inside the meeting room but the agenda has been already discussed and the two of them are left to talk of some other transactions. The Uchiha put his pen down and clasped his hands on top of his own papers.
"I have heard that you're seeing a lot of his daughter these past months. Is that true?"
The question snapped the brunette from reading. He slowly raised his head to face his superior who was clearly waiting for an answer. Indeed he was meeting with Nanami Kishimoto lately but those were all for business. Clearly, the old Kishimoto wants him and his daughter to get to know each other in a different light other than just business associates. The woman was gorgeous, well-mannered and intellectual, with her high status in the business world and her sharp mind for making good decisions; she's really a great catch. The fact that she wasn't discreet with her feelings for him made Neji a bit weary of meeting with her any further. He's a married man who has someone he loves dearly but he also knew that he has his limitations. He has a hunch that the father has a hand with Nanami handling most of the transactions that involves Neji. He doesn't want to admit it but he can smell trouble brewing.
The raven nodded, not averting his eyes from the brunette. "I trust there won't be any problem with the Kishimotos'. They are one of our most valued partners and investors."
The President nodded. "Good. Now I want you to sort that contract as soon as you can. You're dismissed."
Neji stood and gathered his things. He politely bowed to the other man and left the office. As soon as he was back on his own chair, he dialled his client's number. It didn't take two rings when the familiar voice floated.
"Neji, I was expecting your call. I believe Mr. Uchiha told you of the glitch in the contract."
The brunette hummed. "Yes Mr. Kishimoto but I was confident that contract was perfect when we discussed of all the clauses and stipulations. I am afraid I missed your point."
"Ah well, I made Nanami read it and she said she has one or two concerns which she wanted to discuss with you."
Neji almost groaned. The woman was meticulous and even though she's practically the President of Kishimoto Industries she takes business with him on a personal level when there are others who can just handle it for her. "Of course Sir. When is a good time for her?"
"I suggest you call her. I don't know that child's schedule myself."
"I see. Then I'll make the call. Thank you for your time."
"It's nothing Neji. I'm sure the two of you can work something out."
Neji rubbed his hands on his face. It seems the old man hasn't given up of the idea of having Neji as his successor. It must have been his fault too. He hasn't given the man his answer even though he made it obvious that he values his married life with his husband. Deciding he needed to settle the matter at hand first, he quickly dialled the woman's number. After a few rings, the melodic voice assaulted his ear.
"Good afternoon. I called to discuss the contract. I'm sure you know of what I'm talking about."
Neji heard the woman scoff. "Always to business, I see. I'm quite busy right now to accommodate you. But if you have time to swing at our house later tonight, that'll be good. Father will be delighted to see you."
A voice in Neji's head was telling him it was a bad idea but another part was pushing him to just get the hell with it. The sooner he meets up with the woman, the faster they can make amends on the issue. Yet their meetings have been getting more frequent one after another which Neji only finds suspicious. Some meetings don't even cover business related matters but more on mingling with the father-daughter duo. Refusing those invitations won't do his reputation and the company as well any good and so he had to play along. He can't help but presume that Nanami and his father are taking advantage of their positions. As much as he hates it, he can only go on with the flow. Good thing Naruto is in his out of town project. He wouldn't have to explain why he'll have to go over a client's place that late.
The woman gave a satisfied hum. "Good. I'll be expecting you then, Mr. Hyuuga."
Neji wasn't insensible to miss the purr as the woman said his name. He ended the call and shook his head. Tonight he has to make sure that the father and daughter gets his message: that there'll be no chance for Neji to divorce Naruto and be in a relationship with her. He loves his husband enough and he doesn't need a woman to fill his life. Neji's only concern is his work and while he values their clients, he knows not to make stupid decisions that might endanger his established relationship with his husband.
Naruto got back home after five days, two days more than the expected time frame. The weather hasn't been great and they had to postpone a few events which really messed up the schedule of things. Good thing he was able to remedy it and apply some damage control. Throughout those days, his mind was half-filled with his last conversation with Neji. It seems that there'll be some drastic change in their relationship, something for the better. He wasn't exactly expecting anything because he doesn't want to get his hopes up and then have them crushed cruelly. He trusts his husband, there's no question about that but Neji's dedication has been dubious as they spend more time together in their marriage. But who is Naruto to question his husband? He loves him so and as long as he doesn't see anything that can threaten to tear them apart, he will hold on to the love that Neji speaks of.
He looked at the bedside clock and saw that it's already past seven in the evening. When he arrived at their house a few hours ago, he sent a quick text to his husband and then collapsed on their bed. He had a long trip and he was so exhausted that he slept as soon his back hits the mattress. Yawning and stretching his limbs, the blond took a shower before he head on the kitchen to prepare dinner. His phone has a missed call and few messages, from his friends and his husband. He read Neji's message first saying that he'll be coming around eight, which delights the blond. He has enough time to prepare their food. His friends' messages contains of checking if he got home just fine. He replied to every message and proceeds on cooking their meal.
The sound of the door opening snaps Naruto's attention. He was so engrossed on what he's doing that he forgot how time has already passed. He was just laying the plates on the table when he heard Neji's voice calling him.
"In the kitchen, love!"
A few seconds and his husband-in-suit appear. The brunette grabbed him from behind and engulfs him in a tight embrace. Naruto was taken aback momentarily before he snickers.
"Someone's being a big baby. Is this my welcome home hug? How's your day at the office?"
Neji let him go and stared at him. Naruto felt something was off. While his husband was serious most of the time, at the moment there was something that almost look bothering in his husband's face.
"Hey, something wrong?"
The pale guy held the tan guy's gaze for a moment before he was blinking. "No, no. Everything's fine. Welcome back. How was your trip?"
Naruto was still looking at Neji and decided to question his husband further in their bed. For now they need to eat. "Then take your seat. The food's done. I'll tell you everything that has happened. It was both amazing and frustrating at the same time but we all enjoyed it. I was calling you the first night to tell you that the weather in that place was bad and that I'll probably be extending my trip but you weren't answering. You're too consumed on your work Neji. I'm starting to feel that this isn't healthy anymore."
Neji looked up from where he was seating. Here was his husband who just got home after his out-of-town work wearing a very girly apron and now serving him his food. What in the world did he do to deserve such gem? Naruto is right; his work has become an obsession and he realized his mistake a little bit too late. If this was any other day, he might have retorted to such statement and insist that this is how he wanted to live his life. That he doesn't need someone nagging him and that Naruto should have understood him after years of being with him. But there was something that has changed Neji's perception of things. That mistake that will cost him the beautiful life he has with the man standing before him. He will not only lose the person that he loves the most, he will lose his future. Taking in the form of his husband who was sporting a rather concern expression on his face, Neji decides then and there that he will not let anything ruin his marriage with this man.
A/N: Hey, so a few things. Neji's an ass here because if he isn't, then this will be NejiNaru with no chance ever of SasuNaru. Just to clear things, would you rather I fix up Neji here and let him and Naruto remain in a happy relationship or proceed to my lovely SasuNaru pair, which I can't do unless I break the first couple. I mean I did label this as eventual SasuNaru but reading the reviews I'm having second thoughts, cause they sound like they would have prefer that Neji patch up his way of treating his husband. If we have that, then their marriage would be a happy one and there's no reason to get a divorce or should I just kill him (which is actually one of the original ideas I have for this fic)?
Some can't understand why Neji's acting the way he is. It's because his love is superficial that I myself think he really didn't need a lover: someone whom he'll come home and make love to. Naruto here has been more of a support to him. All those years, Neji just marks his presence essential but when his ambitions are taking over, he can prioritize it right away, knowing that Naruto will remain there, like a fixture. He loves Naruto but it's just not enough for him to make him the center of his life. I know it sounds really horrible for Naruto but that's the way this story goes. And there's where Sasuke comes in. You can probably guess what'll happen next. If this explanation doesn't seem acceptable to you, once again, you're free to turn back and forget this fic altogether. Oh, I'm not really ranting, just explaining, cause my brain's muddled up. This story's quite giving me the headache but I like it anyway.
Please review. I really welcome your thoughts!