There were specific reasons Tenten hated parties. Whether they be in bars, clubs, or in someone's house, they were always the same—excessively loud with an almost constant stench of sweat and cigarette smoke permeating the air.
But that wasn't the worst part.
The worst part was in the form of the man standing right in front of her, desperately trying to flirt his way into her pants.
Tenten fought the desire to roll her eyes, her hand gripping her glass of liquor a little tighter as the man—Deidara, he had said his name was—grinned at her, his arms gesturing animatedly as he spoke. He was telling her a joke, having to shout over the loud music, but she wasn't listening. She hated when men hit on her—not that it happened often, but still—as though they were God's gift to women.
She realized he had stopped speaking, giving her an expectant look that suggested he was waiting for her reaction, and she let out a polite chuckle in response. She didn't want to be here, but she wasn't a bitch. She would be as polite as she could be until she could extract herself from the situation.
Then she would find Temari and strangle the life out of her blonde friend for dragging her to this damn bar.
Usually, Tenten didn't mind having a drink in a bar with a nice atmosphere, but not tonight. Her friends, Ino and Sai, had finally decided to tie the knot, and this was supposed to be their engagement party. Not the kind of place Tenten would have chosen for a party herself, and she hadn't wanted to come, despite having been friends with the blonde since college, but Temari had made her.
Everyone was here. Tenten had caught glimpses of Naruto and Kiba playing a loud game of pool in the corner, Naruto's girlfriend, Hinata, sitting quietly as she watched them, a shy but happy smile on her lips. Sakura was sitting in a booth with her boyfriend, Sasuke, the woman talking enthusiastically while her counterpart remained stoically silent. Tenten still didn't understand what the pinkette saw in the moody raven-haired man, but he made her happy, so Tenten couldn't complain. Shikamaru and Shino were sharing another booth in the corner, the pair looking almost as uncomfortable as Tenten felt, and she decided to make her way over and hang out with them for a while, away from the loudness of the bar.
She had barely even arrived and had only gone up to the bar to get a drink, where she was rudely intercepted by this man who still had not stopped talking.
Did he ever shut up?
Unable to hold back the sigh, Tenten took a long sip of her whiskey and enjoyed the way the golden liquid warmed her throat on its way down to her stomach.
Maybe if she drank enough, she wouldn't feel so annoyed.
"You wanna dance?" The man—Deidara, she reminded herself again—tried to lean closer to her ear as he spoke, but Tenten stepped away from him, making him repeat the question a little louder.
She shook her head, wondering if her face was still impassive or if he could see her impatience creeping onto her features. "No, thank you. I want to go sit down."
He looked around, his lips turning down in a frown as he noted the full tables. "I don't think there's any spare tables, but we could find a more secluded corner and talk, yeah." He ended the sentence with a suggestive eyebrow raise, and Tenten had to fight the desire to roll her eyes again.
"Actually," she started, taking another small step away from the overly friendly blond. "I'm here with friends and would like to sit with them."
"Oh?" His eyes widened before what she imagined was supposed to be a flirtatious smile graced his lips. "I wouldn't mind meeting your friends. Where are they sitting?"
She had tried to be nice. Hell, she had spent the last ten minutes listening to his attempts of flirtation. But he was getting on her last nerves.
"Look, I'm sure you're a nice guy," she said, trying to keep her voice even without letting her irritation seep through. "But I'm not interested."
"Don't be shy, yeah," he replied, unfazed at being turned down. "I'm sure you'll change your mind once we get to know each other."
Tenten opened her mouth to say that no, she would not be changing her mind and could he please leave her before her patience snaps and she punches him in the face, when she felt an arm snake around her waist, causing her to squeak in surprise. A large hand pressed against her hip, pulling her close to a warm, hard body. She barely even had time to register what was happening before the person spoke.
"I am sorry for being late, my love," the smooth voice rumbled from beside her. "Is this a friend of yours?"
Tenten knew what the stranger was doing immediately, and although she didn't appreciate that he had assumed she needed help, she was secretly grateful for it.
Moving her arm to rest along his back, she looked up with a wide grin, a grin which threatened to falter when she saw the face of the man who had deemed to rescue her.
To say he was handsome would be an understatement. He was breathtakingly beautiful—and yes, Tenten didn't mind calling a man beautiful. He had black hair that rested just above his shoulders, and although Tenten didn't usually like men with long hair, it seemed to work for him. No, she corrected herself. It definitely worked for him.
His pale, lavender eyes met her brown ones and Tenten had to stop herself from gasping. His eyes were mesmerizing, and although they seemed familiar, she couldn't figure out why.
Deidara took a step back at the appearance of the newcomer, his hands out in a placating manner in front of his body. "I, uh, didn't realize you were taken. Sorry man, I didn't mean anything by it, yeah."
"No harm done," the newcomer replied. "But if I catch you talking to my girlfriend again, I will not be so polite."
Tenten watched Deidara go, relieved to have finally gotten rid of him—though, she supposed the newcomer was responsible for that, not her.
Their arms were still around each other and Tenten suddenly felt very nervous. It wasn't that she wasn't used to guys—she had plenty of male friends—but he was a stranger. A beautiful stranger. She extracted her arm from around his waist and stepped back, feeling every movement of his arm as it fell away from her body.
Was it wrong that she felt bare without it?
No, that was stupid. She didn't even know the man and he had barely been holding her for a couple of minutes. Maybe she was just missing the feeling of physical contact. She may have a lot of male friends, but she hadn't dated anyone in a very long time.
"Thank you for that," Tenten said, forcing her head up to look him in the eye with a smile. "He would have left eventually, but he was being stubborn."
His lavender eyes were intense as they bore into hers, and Tenten could feel herself flushing at his attention. "You are welcome."
Neji didn't know what possessed him to help the dark-haired beauty. He had only just arrived at the bar and was looking for his cousin when he spotted the woman, looking uncomfortable as a man with long blond hair tied back in a high ponytail chatted her up. Her fingers were tapping her glass impatiently and her eyes continued to sweep the room, as if looking for a way to escape the man's attentions.
It wasn't in Neji's nature to help others, not really. He had grown up in a wealthy family, spoiled from the day he was born by his parents, and from a young age, he tended to only do things that would benefit him. But as soon as his eyes had locked onto the woman, noting appreciatively the way her jeans hugged the curves of her ass, he was lost. His feet had made their way to her without his brain directing them and before he knew it, he was pulling her close to his body, relishing the feel of her softness pressed against him.
She was staring at him now, head tilted back slightly so her eyes—the colour of warm chocolate—could peer into his, a smile on her pretty pink lips. She was thanking him, he knew that, but he couldn't hear her words, too caught up as he was in staring at her features. Would she mind if he leaned down to kiss her? Probably, given the fact that she had just gotten rid of the last man that intruded into her space. Still, it didn't stop Neji from staring at her lips, imagining what they would feel like pressed against his own.
Absentmindedly, he realized that she looked vaguely familiar. But surely, he would remember a woman as attractive as this one. A frown tugged his lips downwards as he wondered where they may know each other.
He was staring.
Tenten wasn't sure whether she should say something or not. It wasn't like she disapproved of his staring—not like she had disapproved of Deidara's attentions. But he hadn't replied to her and she was beginning to feel a little embarrassed. Especially when his lavender eyes kept flicking to her lips.
Did he want to kiss her? Tenten was tempted to ask him to do just that, but she didn't think it would be appropriate. He had helped her, yes, but that did not mean he was interested in her.
Besides, she reminded herself, he's a stranger!
Someone jostled her as they walked past, knocking her to the side. The man's arm sprung out like lightning, keeping her from toppling over, and breaking whatever moment they were having.
"Thank you," she said again, stepping back from him.
"You are welcome," he replied in that same, smooth tone. Tenten shivered despite the warmth of the bar, unable to turn away from his intense gaze.
"A-anyway, I should go. My friends are over there," she pointed in the general direction of where Shikamaru and Shino were sitting while silently cursing herself for stuttering. She had never stuttered before in her life!
The man turned to the direction she was pointing, his gaze lingering before turning back to meet hers. "I have some friends that way as well. Shall I walk you to your destination?"
Tenten nodded her head dumbly. He placed a hand gently at the small of her back and followed her as she weaved her way through the crowd towards where her friends were sitting, all the while wondering if she could convince him to stay with her a little longer. Maybe get to know each other?
Unless he already had a girlfriend. Tenten stumbled as the thought crashed into her, barely registering as he held her elbow to steady her. She sent him a quick, strained smile before picking up her pace. Why hadn't she thought of that straight away? Of course he would have a girlfriend—how could he not?
Tenten suddenly felt silly for being attracted to him, especially after only just meeting him. She wasn't the type of woman who could attract a man like this. It wasn't that she was unattractive, but she had enough experience to know that once a man found out how into sports she was—and how much of a tomboy she was—they would be turned off. And this man—this beautiful stranger—looked very much like he hadn't played a game of sports in his life.
Of course, she had had a few dalliances during her college years—Kiba being one of them—but that was purely out of a bored curiosity on both their parts. They had only ever gotten to second base and had quickly realized how weird—and gross—it was for them to be a couple when they only saw each other as friends.
So yeah, Tenten didn't have a lot of experience with men of this sort of... calibre.
"Are you all right?"
Tenten jumped at hearing his voice so close to her ear. He had leaned down to whisper instead of shouting above the din, and the combination of his breath against her skin and the rumble of his voice had her suppressing another shiver.
"Y-yeah, thanks," she replied, turning her head towards him only to bite back a gasp at how close they were. His face was mere inches from her own and she could feel each exhale he made caress her cheeks and lips.
Speaking of lips… Tenten licked hers subconsciously and the man's eyes immediately locked onto the wet appendage. The lavender darkened to an almost violet colour and Tenten stopped breathing altogether as she watched him in stunned fascination.
Another jostle—she really did hate crowded places—this time against her back, had her careening into the stranger in front of her. She was half relieved that her lips didn't smack his while she fell into his arms, like in one of those silly Korean dramas Sakura made her sit through. But a part of her was also disappointed as well. Why couldn't she be the heroine of a romance drama, where she is saved by a handsome stranger who falls quickly, deeply, and madly in love with her? Would that be too much to ask?
Of course, if this was a romantic drama, she would no doubt have to fend off a jealous ex-girlfriend and have water thrown at her face by his mother (or grandmother, maybe even both). That was something Tenten wasn't keen on, and she was glad that real life wasn't so dramatic.
For the second time in one evening, Tenten extracted herself from the kind stranger, throwing him a brief smile while mumbling a 'thank you' that she knew wouldn't be heard over the noise of the bar. And then, she turned and walked away from him, almost powerwalking the rest of the way to the table.
By the time Tenten made it to Shikamaru's table, Kiba, Naruto, and Hinata had joined them. Naruto was mumbling something about a 'cheater' while Kiba grinned and punched him in the shoulder, looking very chuffed with himself.
"Hi, guys!" Tenten beamed at her friends. Her heart, which had been pounding vigorously since she first laid eyes on the handsome stranger, was finally calming down. She slipped in beside Kiba and he immediately threw his arm around her shoulder, ruffling the hair she had spent all of five minutes brushing and putting into a bun. She sent him a mock glare and shoved her elbow into his ribs.
"We've been waiting forever," he whined. "Where were you?"
Tenten rolled her eyes. "Don't get me started. Temari wanted to get here 'fashionably late' for some reason and when we finally arrived, I went to get a drink at the bar only to be stopped by an overly friendly guy who wouldn't stop talking. It was almost impossible to get away from him."
"Damn, I would love to have seen that!" Kiba laughed at what Tenten could only assume was an image of her trying to fend off a male admirer and she couldn't help but feel irritated by it. Why would it be so funny?
"Neji! You're here!" Hinata jumped out of her seat, rushing over to greet the person whose name sounded vaguely familiar to Tenten, though she couldn't remember why. She turned in her seat to see who her friend was greeting, curious, and her mouth dropped at the sight before her.
The dark-haired beauty had stopped at the table he was heading to. Not only had she stopped, but she sat down and chatted with them as though they were old friends.
That was unexpected. But finally, her face came to his mind—a photo Hinata had sent to him when she first started college five years ago and met her new roommate. She had told him the roommate was very nice, though a little louder than she was used to, but they got along well. He recognized the face now. She was a little older, of course, and her hair longer, but it was definitely her.
What had Hinata said her name was?
"Neji!" His cousin moved around the booth to fling herself into his arms. It was uncharacteristic behaviour, but he supposed she had been living out in the world for a few years now, so it was only right that she would grow as a person and not be that shy, quiet little girl anymore. The realization hit him hard—she was a woman now. A woman who had a boyfriend, going by her last email to him before his flight back to Japan a week ago.
He smiled as he briefly returned her hug before setting her back down. He noticed the booth full of people watching him, though the blond didn't seem jealous of their interaction. No doubt Hinata had told her boyfriend that her cousin would be coming tonight.
What did surprise Neji, though, was the flare of jealousy he felt as he watched his dark-haired beauty cuddled up against another man. Her eyes were wide with surprise—no doubt she hadn't realized he was heading to the same table as she—and the man beside her prodded her shoulder with his free hand, leaning close to her ear to whisper something.
She blushed, a pretty pink that spread over her cheeks, and bit her bottom lip at whatever he had said to her before turning to jab her elbow into his side again.
They seemed very close, but he wasn't certain whether they were together or just friends. Surely, if he were her boyfriend, she would have told the jerk at the bar and he would have left her alone a lot sooner. Maybe, despite her appearance, she liked the attention of other men on her?
But… no. That didn't seem right either. She had genuinely looked frustrated when the blond at the bar was flirting with her.
Neji lightened, thinking that perhaps they weren't a couple after all, though he still sent the guy a glare when he tucked Neji's dark-haired beauty closer to his side.
"Come and sit down, Neji," Hinata said, pulling on his hand. "I want to introduce you to my friends. Some of them, anyway. The others are somewhere here, but I'll introduce you to them later."
Neji followed her, a little too eagerly if he were to admit it to himself. Not because he cared to know these people. He had enough friends—one friend really, but it was plenty enough for him—but he was curious to learn about one person in particular. And he was more than delighted to find himself sitting directly across from her, her cheeks still flushing prettily as she tried to disentangle her friend's arm from her shoulder.
Tenten couldn't keep the blush from her face. Especially not after what Kiba had whispered to her. Now she was desperately trying to move away from him so that Neji—Hinata's cousin, she finally realized, remembering some photos she had seen of him over the years—didn't think they were a couple. Was that too late already? They looked pretty friendly together, but that was just because she had known the canine breeder since they were in high school.
She stole a glance at the lavender eyed man across from her as she took a sip of her whiskey while Hinata introduced him to everyone at the table, but he wasn't looking at her. Instead, he was glaring very pointedly at Kiba, who seemed to think it was quite amusing, and he squeezed her shoulder in response to the newcomer's stare.
"Stop it," she hissed, turning to send him a glare of her own. She thrilled to think that Neji could be jealous of the attention Kiba was giving her, but she also hated the thought that he might believe they were dating.
Kiba grinned at her attempts to push him away, leaning closer to her ear again. "This is so much fun, Tenten," he chuckled. "He barely knows you and he's already this jealous. Should we see if we can make him hit me?"
"He won't need to. I want to hit you already." She stood abruptly, pulling him up by his collar as she went. "Go dance or something."
The pout he sent her way usually had her caving in seconds, giving in to any of the crazy schemes that he cooked up in that brain of his, but she wouldn't be swayed this time. She really liked this guy—despite having only just met him—and she didn't want her idiot of a best friend ruining any slim chance she might have.
His pout turned into a grin, as if he could read her thoughts, and he sent her a wink, causing her blush to reignite as his words rushed back to her head. Damn, Tenten, he had whispered. He looks like he's undressing you with his eyes. You gonna go home with him?
She most certainly would not be going home with him, but she couldn't deny that Kiba's words—and the idea that this extremely handsome man found her attractive enough to imagine her naked—had heat curling through her belly that had nothing to do with the whiskey.
Tenten was glad to see the back of her infuriating friend, and she sat back down with a sigh, forgetting to even try and look graceful. She inwardly winced, but then decided that it shouldn't matter. If he wasn't going to like her for who she was, then he wasn't worth it.
Deciding it would be best to distract herself, she turned to face Shikamaru, who hadn't said a word since she had taken a seat at the booth. "You aren't with Temari tonight?"
Shikamaru replied with a roll of his eyes, but she could see the hurt in their depth when he looked at her. "I'm surprised she didn't tell you. I'm in the doghouse."
Oh. Tenten thought back to when they were getting ready for the evening. Temari had seemed a little more subdued than usual, but Tenten hadn't thought anything of it. Now she felt like a cow. "What happened?"
"She said I forgot our anniversary."
"What?" Tenten stared at him in shock. "You forgot your anniversary? Don't you realize how special anniversaries are for women? Especially your first!"
"I know," Shikamaru replied, practically growling as he glared at her. "And I didn't forget. She's the one who got the dates wrong."
Tenten almost spat out the whiskey she was sipping, partly due to her friend's words and partly because of a foot that had started to make its way up her leg, caressing it. She sent a wide-eyed glance at Neji, who remained impassive at the conversation going on around him as he stared back at her. She felt her face heating again and determined to concentrate on Shikamaru and his tale of forgotten anniversaries. That was much easier to deal with than a very handsome man playing footsies with her under the table.
"Why do you think she got the dates wrong?"
This time a sigh accompanied his eye roll, and Tenten could read his lips as he muttered a quiet 'so troublesome' under his breath. "One year ago today, we went on our first date, but I didn't officially ask her out until a week later. So technically, our anniversary isn't until next Saturday. But she is being too stubborn to even listen to me."
That made sense. Tenten wasn't sure what she would think in that situation. She could understand both sides of the story, and despite feeling sorry for Shikamaru, it was also amusing.
"If Temari is refusing to listen to you, why don't you send her a message saying what you just told me. But leave out the 'being too stubborn' part. I'll talk to her tomorrow as well and let her know about the misunderstanding just in case she refuses to read your message." Tenten reached over to pat her friend on the shoulder. "Don't worry about it, Shikamaru. She'll forgive you in no time. Just… make sure you make the anniversary day extra special for her, okay?" She glanced to the other side of Shikamaru. "When did Shino leave?"
He shrugged. "I don't know. When we were talking, maybe. Anyway," he stood up from his seat, taking a moment to stretch his arms over his head. "I'm going to go. I've already said congratulations to the happy couple, and it's way past when I usually go to bed."
"Drive safely. And don't forget to message Temari." Tenten called to his retreating back.
She had forgotten about the foot sliding up and down her leg during her conversation, but now, as she realized it was only the two of them left at the booth, it was the only thing on her mind. Despite her jeans and Neji's shoes, Tenten still managed to shiver from the contact, and it took her far too long to build up the courage to meet his enchanting gaze.
"Hi," she said, loud enough for him to hear but not so loud that she was yelling.
He smirked in response, and she wasn't sure if it was because of her sudden shyness or the fact that they were finally alone together. "Hi," he replied easily, his smooth voice warming her body far better than any glass of whiskey could.
Tenten hadn't realized she had a weakness for voices until she met Neji. Or maybe it was just his voice she had a weakness for. "So, you went to a college overseas?" She knew it was an asinine question to ask, but she had to say something.
Neji stood slowly and Tenten felt a pang of hurt that he was leaving after she had asked him a question. But no, he wasn't leaving at all. Instead, he made his way to her side of the booth and slid in beside her, his arm resting casually against the back of the bench behind her head.
He leaned in until he could speak without having to raise his voice. "It is a little frustrating having to talk over the noise. You do not mind this, do you?"
Mind it? Tenten was afraid she was about to swoon by being so close to him, while a part of her—a wild, reckless part that she hadn't even known she possessed—wanted to crawl into his lap and sift her fingers through his hair. Would it be as soft to touch as it looked?
She managed to nod a response and watched as that smirk touched his lips again. And damn if she didn't find that extremely hot.
"To answer your question," he continued, settling back against the bench as though he owned it. "Yes. I went to college in Sydney, Australia."
"Wow, that's cool! Did Hinata ever think of going overseas to study?" Tenten couldn't even imagine how expensive an overseas college life would be, but she was also jealous that he had already travelled so far despite being so young.
"Her father tried to pressure her into going, but she was too shy. She would not have handled another country very well."
No, she wouldn't have. Tenten remembered her first meeting with the woman. Hinata had barely spoken two sentences to her, and Tenten had to pry even those out of her. She had truly come a long way in five years.
"What about you?" he asked. She felt a lock of her hair being twined around a finger and blushed but didn't comment on it. Unlike the man from earlier, Neji didn't make her feel uncomfortable at all. "What was your major?"
Of course, he had to go and ask that. The one question she was embarrassed to answer. Not usually, of course, but for once, she had wished she had chosen a major that was a little more attractive. "I majored in Physical Education." She couldn't look at him as she said it, her eyes finding a pile of crumbs on the table and staring at that instead. "I like sports and I want to teach kids to enjoy it as well."
"That is commendable," he replied, shocking her. What shocked her more was when he tucked a finger under her chin and lifted her head to look at him. "But why do you look like this is something to be ashamed of?"
"I-I'm not ashamed of it. I just," she bit her lip, working it with her teeth until his finger pried it out of her mouth. His finger lingered on her lip, smoothing soft lines against it as if to erase the damage her teeth may have done before letting his hand drop. "Guys don't seem to like the fact that I'm athletic. I think they're intimidated or something." She shrugged, eyes once again breaking contact with his. "I'm not one of those girls who just does Yoga or Pilates to maintain a healthy body. Ever since high school, I've competed in a variety of different sports, and I join a lot of marathons each year."
He was silent for some time, long enough that Tenten began to regret saying so much. Her eyes found his again, unable to take the silence any longer, only to find him staring at her in serious contemplation.
"And men find this… unappealing?" he asked. She would have thought he was mocking her, except he had voiced the question with such seriousness, his eyebrows drawn low over his eyes as though he couldn't quite understand.
"Yes. They say they're fine with it, up until they see me actually participating in some form of sports." Tenten snorted, unable to help herself. "They especially don't like it when I beat them at something. Apparently, it hurts their manly pride."
"Ah." He leaned back slightly, his eyebrows lifting as he took in her words. Part of her wondered if he was just like every other man she had known, but he was still twirling a lock of hair around his finger, and he seemed to have moved his arm so it was resting over her shoulders instead of the back of the bench. Surely, that was a good sign, right?
He was still staring at her as well, and Tenten was beginning to squirm under his scrutiny. "Anyway, that's me. Tell me about yourself."
Instead of replying to her question, he asked one of his own. "You are not dating that… Kiba, was it?"
Tenten couldn't help laughing. They had tried a few years ago, but it had felt wrong to both of them, and they realized they were better off as friends. "God, no. Kiba is a good friend of mine. We've known each other for years, but that's it."
Tenten's eyes widened in shock at his admission. Neji sent her a smile, looking uncertain for the first time that evening until she smiled at him in return.
He untangled his fingers from her hair and pressed his hand against her neck, drawing her closer to him. Tenten's breath caught at his boldness, unused to men being so forward with her. Well, there had been that guy at the bar, but she hadn't been interested in him at all. This man, however, made her feel weak at the knees and she didn't mind one bit when his intense gaze never strayed from her face.
Was it possible to melt into a puddle by just a look?
Neji's gaze flicked to her lips briefly before meeting her eyes again. "I find a strong woman very attractive," he admitted, no trace of embarrassment on his features at the confession.
"You do?" Her voice was barely a whisper, but they were so close now that she knew he would hear her. Her heart pounded in her chest at his words, both elated and suspicious at the same time. How did she know he would stay true to them?
Fingers caressed a path along her cheek, and her entire vision was filled up by him. It was as though the loudness of the bar faded into the background and it was just the two of them alone, and Tenten decided she very much liked that idea.
Neji couldn't get over how beautiful Tenten was, and for the first time, he regretted not visiting more often over the years. If he had—and if he had taken an interest in learning his cousin's friends—he could have met Tenten a lot sooner. The knowledge that she had been here this whole time without his knowledge caused a blinding need within him. Not just a sexual need—though he couldn't deny that was part of it—but a need to make up for all the time they had lost by being separated. Now that he was living here permanently again, he would make that happen. If she was willing, of course.
"Most definitely," Neji replied, his voice dropping to a seductive purr as his eyes once again found her lips. He was dying to kiss her, but not until she was convinced that he was telling the truth. Would she mind if he told her that her physical prowess turned him on? "Besides," he continued. "There is only one particular physical activity that I care to excel in."
His smile widened a notch at seeing that pretty pink flush cover her cheeks as his words sunk in. He could see her mind working as she pictured just what sort of physical activity he was referring to. He couldn't stop his own mind from wandering there, and he felt blood rush to his loins at the images that ran through his mind.
He couldn't possibly have been referring to sex, could he? But even as Tenten tried to dissuade herself of the thought, she knew that had been exactly what he meant. "Do you?" The question was out of her mouth before she even had time to ponder it, and her face flushed anew as the desire to bury herself under the table consumed her.
"Do I?" he repeated, an eyebrow cocked as he tried to piece together her meaning. She knew exactly when he had, a slow smirk forming on his lips as his eyes turned violet once more. "I assure you, my chocolate-eyed beauty, that I am very adept at that form of activity."
Tenten feared that he would be able to hear the pounding of her heart as he moved closer, until their faces were inches apart. Was he finally going to kiss her? Her eyes locked onto his lips and her tongue reached out to wet hers in preparation.
A low noise rumbled from the back of Neji's throat. "You are teasing me, Tenten."
"S-sorry, I'm not meaning to." She darted her gaze away from his lips to rest on his shoulder.
"We just have one last item left to discuss," he rumbled, and Tenten's eyes flew back to his face, confused. What was left to talk about? He seemed tense, as though it was taking all his effort to stay completely still and not close the small gap between them. "Are you looking for a temporary companion, or a long-term one?"
"If you're meaning whether I want a one-night stand," she replied, finding the strength to maintain eye contact. "The answer is no. I don't do one-night stands. But I also don't have sex on the first date, either."
Neji's eyes sparkled at her words. "Then it's a good thing this isn't our first date. Or are you imagining that it is? Should I ask you to be my girlfriend now, so that there is no confusion when the anniversary comes around?"
Tenten laughed at his reference to Shikamaru and Temari's dilemma. She didn't think he had been paying attention, and her heart warmed at the thought that they could be together long enough to have an anniversary. Tenten's eyes closed to half-mast and she could hear the sultry tone to her voice as she answered, "I don't think it would hurt leaving it until tomorrow."
"Good," came Neji's whispered reply a moment before he finally closed the gap and kissed her.
It looks like I might just be going home with him tonight, after all.
This has been sitting in my writing folder for a couple months now. I'm not 100% happy with it, but I'm sick of going back to it to try and fix it, so this'll have to do. In case you don't understand the ending, Tenten isn't technically compromising her standards, she just found a loophole, is all.
As with all of my stories, thank you for reading. Please leave a review if you liked it. (I have a couple more NejiTen one-shots in the works, but I've been pretty slack lately...)