Chapter Eins

A Dali painting I capture in my camera

A spray of grass-smelt breeze

Another touch of a sorrow

And we have a goodbye

The window shuts

The key locks the chapter

Of what was an ongoing story

The quill takes a pause

The ink dries

Immortalization is finished

For now

If I should tell a story, how would it start?

Let's try from the timeline of the present arc and let history unfold as we get intimate with the characters involved in this story, shall we?

All right then, we shall begin with a darken skies of cerulean and amber hues that meshes together into the form of what we call sun down. It is the year 2005 and the time of an ending will lead us into the start of a few individuals' lives.


The scene is set in the kitchen of a typical contemporary split-level apartment in Osaka. The clock reads 6 in the evening. Amongst the crowd that gathered on this particular day were three guys, they were responding to one particular girl's announcement.

"Hinata-chan, why? I thought you wanted to continue onto postgraduate studies in health sciences?" Naruto asked for he was very shocked at the news.

The 22 year old girl of slender proportions and shoulder-length raven hair smiled. She was attempting to offer a more cheerful front but wasn't too successful. It would seem that the expression in her pearl-colored eyes was not alleviating some of her friend's anxiety levels. She was leaning against the counter top whilst facing the rest. The kitchen was a bare place with no stools for they never got around to buying any. University life kept things busy and somehow it was more fun living without them. There were many fond memories of her and the gang as they invented innovative ways to accommodate guests and themselves and eat without those stools or any dining furniture. It was good times but it had to end some time.

"It wasn't just any last minute impulsive decision. It was something that has been weighing on my mind since the start of final year, and after some discussion with Shikamaru, I decided that I can no longer delay taking on the role full time. The company needs me."

Her good friends who have seen her through university were sad. So was she. They've slaved over projects and essays together, shared cooking chores and went grocery shopping together. She was going to miss them so much and the 3 years of freedom she's had away from responsibilities and duties. They were the only ones who were willing to take her in when she was thrown out of the house for being rebellious and unfilial. They were the chums that were always there for here, in rain or shine. She teared but refused to cry. She's had enough with crying.

"What about Kiba?"

She paused in silence before looking at Shino. Her heart grew sad but she had to be firm about the whole thing.

"We broke up for a while now. There's no need to tell him."

Kiba, her sweet boyfriend of 1 year and her first one as well. They broke up finally after months of strenuous emotional entanglement brought on by her work, studies and other 'problems'. She knew in her heart that she had to let go. They were both not happy in the relationship.

But she will take the happier memories with her to Tokyo where she was to attend her conference as director or Konoha Corporations, a company she had painstakingly set up with another 3 of her really good friends whilst they were younger. The funds came from a major lawsuit they won a few years back, coupled with some sponsorship from some of her father's friends; it was set up as advised by Shikamaru, her most trusted advisor and personal assistant. They had initially left the company in the hands of a few trusted people who used to work for her father while they each went to pursue a basic university degree. From a humble company of three, it now stands in Forbes' list of companies to watch out for, with 3 thousand odd staff in its employment all over the world dealing in investments and property acquisition.

A rather great feat for four girls, who worked during their free hours in the respective offices set up in the various cities in Japan. No one would have ever thought they would make it. But they did. Somehow.

"So you are leaving tomorrow?"

"Yeah, I'll be boarding the morning flight to Korea for a short meeting before detouring back to Tokyo for a conference the day after."

"Soka." Naruto nodded at first, putting up a brave front but soon caved in to his emotions and sobbed as he hugged the girl. She hugged him tight. Once a time not too long ago, she would give her everything for his boy and in a way, she still would for he remains a dear friend to her, for he never fails to put a smile on her face no matter how bad things got.

She choked back the tears.

Shino pat her on the shoulder. She released her arms from Naruto and gave him a hug. Shino, the one with the quiet strength and the one who consoled her the most especially during the period prior to her breakup with Kiba, he was a gentle and intelligent man with a great future. He would continue his research into entomology at the university under the guidance of the professors there.

Chouji, the chef of the group. He was the man of the kitchen who would murder any one who left the kitchen in a mess or call him fat. He was also the guy who took good care of their diet and welfare. She was going to miss all the sumptuous food that was laid on the table when classes ran late and whenever any one got sick. There was a never-ending supply of food in the fridge and somehow, the place was more homely with lingering gourmet smells that roams into the living room and welcomes the person back from university.

They kept her company all night as she packed. The movers had came in earlier to pack away most of the things that were to be shifted to the apartment Shikamaru acquired in Tokyo for her.

What would she ever do without that boy genius?

Shikamaru stands as a personal assistant in title only. He, however, is more than that. He came into her employment when she was a 16 year old, on her lawyer's recommendations.

With an IQ of 200 over, he could've easily gotten a scholarship to study and have an academic career but he gave it little thought.

He came to work for her only because he found it too troublesome to study.

Gracious. Who would've thought?

In any case, he soon came to do more than just organize her life. He became her financial advisor, property agent, essay proof-reader, and many other roles. He truly became a very trusted friend especially in the world where she was Hyuuga Hinata, estranged daughter of the infamous Hyuuga Family and one of the four directors of Konoha Corporations.

Hyuuga Hiashi could take it no longer and had her place as heir to the family replaced by her sister, Hanabi. To him, she was a failure and a disgrace that should have never been born. She could not live up to his expectations to be groomed into the leader of Hyuuga Corporations.

She was the weak link in his eyes.

She left finally after high school. With her education fund in hand that she saved over the years, she proceeded to pursue a degree in psychology full time in Osaka. But now, she had to return to Tokyo where she needed to face the very past she thought she left behind.

The humiliation, the shame and all the agony and disappointment, she had to go face it once again.

She looked at her few luggages.

"How sad. My life for the last three years can be summed up in 6 boxes and 3 luggages."

They laughed.

They were sitting in the middle of her bare floor and eating Chouji's last supper for her. A feast of her favorite Curry beef with rice, pickled seaweed and egg custard that gave her a nice warm feeling inside amidst the misty evening that lay outside, she was contented. It will a long time before she gets to eat his cooking again.

It was a thought that saddened.

I want to stay with everyone. I'm contented to live in the shabby apartment with its sparse furniture and the roof that leaks. I feel safe. I'm happy.

If only I could be free from reality and live this dream for eternity.

If only.

She looked around her.

The people smiled.

One classic moment frozen in time.

One memory to keep loneliness at bay.

One life she will never forget.

One last chance to be.

One person called Hinata.

One face without the masks.

Author's note:

Hi everyone,

Ok this story wasn't something I planned to do, so I'll only continue with this if everyone thinks its a story worth finishing. All right then, I'll be off now. Drop a note ok?