Hi, everybody. I am extremely extremely sorry for making all of you wait for over a year for the fourth installment of this story. So many things have happened over these months, and I hardly have the time and energy to update. Anyway, here is the fourth chapter, please enjoy even though the length may not be that satisfactory.
Character's thoughts in Italics
Chapter 4: Situations
As Sakura lifted her willowy fingers to string out the last series of notes, the diners, and even the passersby have erupted into thunderous applause. Unbeknownst to her, a pair of dark eyes watched her with silent appreciation from one end of the lobby.
After being told that her working hours are over, Sakura strolled over slowly towards one of the staircases, intending to change out of her dazzling outfit back into normal clothes. Just as she is reaching the second floor landing, uneasiness flowed over her unexpectedly. Suddenly, she felt that something is not right, but is unable to place it more specifically.
You must be dizzy from all that playing, stop being so paranoid. Sakura reminded herself in an attempt to calm her nerves.
Trying her best to ignore the ramblings going on inside her mind, she started to move at a faster pace towards the dressing room door. Grabbing the door knob, she swung the door open and slid in. Feeling somehow relieved, she started to unlock the cabinet where her clothes and belongings are kept.
Suddenly, her body grew frigid as she felt the weight of a hand on her left shoulder. Taking a deep breath, she swerved around, only to be confronted by two unfamiliar men garbed in black suits.
"Miss Haruno, we're extremely sorry for our rude intrusion. But, our master insists on meeting with you in private." One of the men spoke, not letting Sakura have any chance of talk.
A creak of the door brought Sakura's attention to the group of similarly clad men who are now filling up the room at a steady pace. Finally, her eyes now rested on the familiar figure who stood in the doorway. Green orbs widened considerably while taking in the reddish brown hair, the unwavering steady gaze of those jade eyes, and the ever distinct kanji tattooed on his forehead.
"Gaara…" her mouth fell slightly open, unable to take her eyes off the figure.
As the man called Gaara moved forward towards Sakura, she instinctively inched back a little, keeping a safe distance between them.
"Why are you moving back? Aren't you glad to see me? Sakura…you have become even more beautiful since our last meeting." Gaara's smirk widened as he eyed the lustrous pink hair and the alabaster glowing skin.
"Erm…Sabaku-san, I don't understand why are you still interfering with my life, haven't you ruined it enough already? Please get out of here before I call the security." Green eyes shone with steely determination, words laced with frost.
As she spoke this, Gaara's expression grew serious, a flicker of indignation seemed to ignite in his eyes. Sakura caught it, and was beginning to feel uneasy under his smouldering gaze.
"You should have known it, Sakura. You have been the object of my affections ever since we met. My feelings for you haven't changed the slightest, I have been looking for you for a year now…" As he trailed off, Gaara kept his steady gaze focused on the flustered pink haired beauty.
Urgh, for goodness sake!! How the HELL did he manage to find me?! For once, I thought it's good bye to my dreadful past! I must think of some way to escape… Quick, Sakura! Use your "oversized" brain to conjure up some kind of excuse!
"Excuse me, but I have to change out of my attire now. So, PLEASE get out of here before I report you to the security for sexual harassment." Sakura fought down her emerging less known inner destructive self's urge to just punch the living daylights out of the persistent redhead.
Upon sensing the dangerous aura emitting from the pink haired lass, bleached barely noticeable eyebrows furrowed in displeasure. Even after all this time, the girl's distaste for himself still remains, if not, it had only grew stronger than before. This is turning out to be more than he could handle, provided he only has a limited amount of time to get her out of here before someone takes notice.
Not wanting to lose any more time, Gaara grabbed Sakura suddenly by her shoulders while starting to force her out of the door. With both of her hands restrained, it has become almost impossible to perform any insane punching techniques on him. Mustering up all her power, she began to scream – in a glass shattering pitch that is even shriller than Ino's banshee like shriek. Hoping desperately that this will attract the attention of some unknowing passer-by.
Crisp footsteps echoed down the corridor way, as one could spot a sleek figure clad in a Chinese style, long swishing black robe, moving gracefully along the wall. One may often wonder, why on earth did the president of the Uchiha Corporation choose to possess such an unique dressing sense. Why robes, out of all those formal business suits? However, Uchiha Itachi is not one who reveals himself, much less, the reasons for his dressing sense. Thus, the answer remains a mystery up to this day, and one could only assume that his odd preference is due to his reserved nature.
As the footsteps neared the landing of the second storey, it suddenly came to a halt. Being one who possesses an acute sense of hearing, Itachi thought he heard some faint cries for help some way ahead. Trusting his sharp instincts, he glided smoothly along towards the source of the voice.
Suddenly, he saw two figures, a male and a female, moving towards his direction. The male seems to be walking at a brisk pace, while the female is struggling against his grip and screaming angrily. Even though Itachi is not one who bothers to involve himself in others' business, but this is his property, and he can not tolerate such misbehaviors within his territory.
"What is your business here, may I ask?" Placing himself before the intruders, eyebrows raised in question. A glance at the red-headed male confirmed his suspicions that he is not a hotel staff. Turning his attention to the frantic female behind, his eyes widened slightly in recognition. Flowing pink hair, snowy complexion, rosy lips and most striking of all, a pair of dazzlingly brilliant green eyes, which are flashing with anger at the moment.
Before allowing his thoughts to dwell on the pink haired harpist, a deadly blow aimed directly at his face came rushing down at an amazing speed. Given the sudden change of events, anybody else would not have the time and ability to dodge it. However, Itachi does not belong to the 'anybody' category, owing to his fast reflexes, he is able to swerve out of the way before a loud thump landed just inches away from his right ear.
"Impressive, but predictable nonetheless." Itachi remarked casually, expression unmoved at all by the scene which had just taken place. In truth, Itachi has always possessed a peculiarly high level of sensitivity to aura changes in other people. Upon his arrival, he was already alarmed by the enormous amounts of negative aura waves emanating from the red head. Therefore, Gaara's sudden maneuver had been more or less within his expectation.
Sakura regarded the ebony haired young man in awe, she knows Gaara's temper well enough, no one has lived through the brunt of his anger, yet. Casting a worried glance at Itachi, she never thought that some stranger would be involved in the personal feud between Gaara and her.
I have to put an end to this soon, what if somebody sees this and reports it to the upper management? I'll be fired for sure, but I can't afford to lose this job! Think fast, Sakura!
Inhaling deeply, she inched her fingers soundlessly towards her mobile phone lying nearby…
A moment later, the sound of ring tone reverberated throughout the entire room. Jade eyes narrowed in evident irritation, whipping out his frantically beeping cell phone, Gaara held it to his ear impatiently. A shadow of rage passed over his facial features, his mouth straightened to a grim line. Several minutes later, he snapped the phone shut, shot a look at one of the man in black suit and they began filing out of the room.
"I'll be back for you, Sakura. Remember, you're mine." Gaara fixed his gaze on the flustered girl for a moment before turning to stride out of the doorway.
Phew...that was close. Luckily, I have Temari's number with me, I think she has managed to make up some kind of false emergency to lure Gaara away. Hope Gaara doesn't direct his anger at her once he found out it's a farce, though I know she'll handle the situation pretty well. Thanks, Temari. I owe you one.
Heaving a great sign of relieve, Sakura now turned her attention to the other presence in the room, only to find a pair of onyx orbs staring at her intently. Now that she has the time to observe him, it somehow occurred to her that this person looks kind of familiar, but she can't exactly put a finger on it.
I must be mistaking him for someone else, but I don't really remember knowing anybody who looks similar to him. Anyway, I think I have to thank him for his help first.
"Erm, thank you for helping me to fend off that man just now. Are you alright?" Sakura asked out of embarrassment, unaccustomed to talking casually with a stranger who had just witnessed her most awkward moment seconds ago.
"I'm fine, honored to be of service to such a beautiful lady as you. You are new here, I assume? Your have breath-taking skills for such a young harpist." Itachi replied, expressions softening at the sight of Sakura.
"Yes, this is my first day of work in fact, don't know it was so messed up, I'm sorry for any inconvenience caused. Oh, thanks for the compliment, it's really comforting to know that people appreciate my performance. I still have a long way to go though, so it's always good to have feedbacks from the audience." Eyes shone with joy, happy that someone just complimented her on her performance.
Sparing a quick glance at her watch, Sakura gasped slightly. Goodness, it's so late already?! Ino is probably worried to death right now, I think I'm going to get a scolding from her again.
Stuffing the scores into her tote, she turned around and thanked Itachi again, before walking towards the doorway.
"Wait, Sakura-san. It's inconvenient for a girl to go home alone at this late hour, please allow me to drive you back," Itachi called out. In truth, he is reluctant to admit that he has taken a newfound interest in the lively girl, and felt the desire to know her better. Without giving her a chance to refuse his offer, he held onto her shoulders gently, while steering her out of the door.
Sakura was slightly taken aback by his actions, nevertheless, unlike Gaara, she knew he meant no harm. Moreover, she couldn't find any valid reason to reject him, and it wasn't everyday that a handsome, mysterious stranger escort you home, right?
Walking slowly up the stairs, Sakura's mind went over the events that happened to her during the course of the day. So many things have happened in her first day of work, first Gaara, then, the stranger, all of these were making her tired and slightly dizzy. Thinking back to the returning trip just now, the whole journey had been pretty quiet and the atmosphere somewhat awkward actually. The reticent man only gave his name as Itachi, upon further enquiry, she was told that he worked in the same hotel as her, too. Nevertheless, he didn't reveal any details about the kind of job he is doing and his position, and she thought it would be impolite to ask him then. Nevertheless, she has a pretty good impression of him, and he also seems to be enjoying her company a great deal, though he did not say it.
Well, at least something good happened to me today... Sakura thought to herself as she took out her keys and started to unlock the door.
The next morning, a persistent series of phone rings woke the pink sleeping beauty from her sweet dreams. Half tumbling out of her bed while muttering complains, Sakura grabbed her cell phone and snapped it open in irritation. I should have switched it to silent mode yesterday!
"Yeeeessh, what is it?"
"Good morning! Sakura, this is Anko. Listen up, I need you to come earlier than usual for today, the hotel is having some very important guests coming over and you have been chosen to stage an exclusive performance. Can you make it at about eleven thirty? After you have finished changing, please come down to my office and I'll bring you to the designated location. The president and vice president of our hotel are going to be there too, so give it your best shot!"
"Oh, no problem. See you later then."
Glancing at her bedside clock, the hour hand pointed to ten. Looks like I have to start getting ready.
Words can't describe how relieved I am when I finished this chapter, I actually thought I'm never going to finish it. I apologize again for the extremely long wait, and THANK YOU to everyone who has been supporting this story and sending me emails to remind me to update it. I really really appreciate all of your support.
Furthermore, I want to thank all those who have reviewed and given their helpful suggestions, you people are the BEST!!
Special thanks to the following people:
Doctor Meowzie, Kawaii Koneko92, silent nox2, Zakurrah-chan, sky, nuttdragon(aka. The F.I.), sakura-fan, yume-chan29, Selkie no Karura(Kirei), animevivverz, ren-ta-chan, Blue Sonnet, iluvanime493, BaBy-U-AmaZe-Me, FormerAurora, Taco, Mistress DragonFlame, Chibi Togiretogire tenshi-hime, Aya, alaine, Kya-16, Sperx, -'WhoevaICanBe'-, l1xneko ninjax11, Renee Reginal Lynn, sasukerocks, sakura5584, Inu Kaiba, rebel-girl, smileforme x3, Lil Devil 66, hakusho14.
Last but not least, thank you everyone who have been supporting this story, regardless of whether you reviewed or not.
For those of you who are puzzled with Gaara's appearance in the story, actually he is just a plot device to create an opportunity for the chance meeting between Sakura and Itachi. He would not be playing a very significant role here in this story, so, it won't become a GaaraSakura fiction.