Predator and Prey
...and see if you can fly.
The heaviness of the darkness began to ebb away as she felt herself being lifted into consciousness. Sakura inhaled a familiar odor that was pressed against her nose. The scent traveled through her nostrils, the passageway of her throat, and into her lungs. It triggered a memory of her association with that smell.
Ever so slowly, she peeked through her blurred sight, noticing she had difficulty with a particular eye. Blinking a few times, she could distinguish the hazy objects around her as the same ones in her bedroom. There was a twinge of a feeling to vomit, so she swallowed to suppress the sensation. Assuming it was just another ordinary morning, she began to stir on her bed in order to stretch her limbs.
Pain erupted when she attempted to sit up, a small whimper escaped from her throat in bewilderment, quickly forcing her to freeze in her position. It took her seconds to figure out that the still position she was currently in actually eased the pain. Slowly and softly, she breathed in and out. It was difficult because her face was throbbing and she felt extremely unsteady as she swallowed again to alleviate her parched throat.
When she decided it was safe to move a little, the first thing she did was touch her forehead to move the loose strands of hair covering her eyes. Lowering her hand, she accidentally touched her swollen cheek and her fingers brushed against something stuck onto her face. Curiously her index finger ran over it a few times, she determined that it was a bandage from its shape and texture.
Sakura shut her eyes and encountered a strong headache. It was too bright in this room. Carefully, she raised her arm and created shade for her eyes while she groaned in pain.
This only meant that her mother already seen her in this horrible state. She sighed worriedly, not having a clue of what to say. She will definitely be questioned about her battered condition. Sakura contemplated whether to tell the truth or not as other false explanations entered her mind. She quickly deemed them as foolish because no one was really going to believe that she accidentally ran into a door or tripped while walking on pavement. But she has not seen her own appearance yet, so perhaps it was not as awful as the pain felt.
Then again, telling the truth was easier in this situation, although, she knew she had to keep some things to herself to not worry her mother. After making the decision, she tried once more to lift her upper body into a sitting position. Her lower back prohibited her from completing the task. A sharp pain struck whenever she moved.
There was a sense of grogginess she could not seem to shake off; therefore, once finding her glasses on the drawer next to her bed, she forced herself into the bathroom as much as it hurt. What she saw in the mirror was a deathly pale girl, hair very astray and a majority of it loose from the braided pigtails, with a large bruise on the side of her face. Eyes did not linger on the small bandage located there as she stared at the swollen eye and gently embraced her torso.
Just the mere sight of herself made her feel more battered than what she really was. It was not a sight she was used to seeing of herself, especially when she had difficulty believing that such violence actually happened to her. Unable to bear seeing herself in this manner, she began to remove her clothing for a shower. Tiredly, her hands rose to slip off the hair elastics from the messy pigtails. Fingers did not bother to comb out the braids like usual. Sakura completed the task cautiously and stepped into the tub.
Again, the heat of the water proved to be helpful to her sore body as she ran her hands all over to relax tense muscles. Sakura placed special attention to her lower back and discovered that placing a bit of pressure did not emit the same amount of pain as it did earlier. Whilst standing under the showerhead, she was able to count and feel the tender scratches and bruises underneath her fingerprints, occasionally wincing at the pain, with closed eyes. It seemed like animals had attacked her instead of some teenage girls.
Sakura turned around to face the showerhead while being careful not to let the water touch her bandaged cheek, and let the water flow onto her as she finally took all of it in. This was the first time she was beaten by several girls. Honestly, she never thought she was that much of a bother to people to induce this level of violence. But now, they had a reason to. And that reason was because she was his partner.
That bastard isn't even worth this pain. Her unseen, fuming side uttered as it repeatedly echoed in her thoughts, urging her to repeat it aloud. As the words started to form to finally make it reality, another horror set within her mind.
What would those girls do if they found out that she was also his tutor? What would they think if they knew she had been on that terrible motorcycle, in his house…?
Her spirit felt heavy, knowing this turmoil was not going to end anytime soon, at least until she got out of high school, but that was months away. She needed to find a way to get out of this problem. After all, it was easier hiding among crowds than being in the spotlight to be scrutinized by people she was afraid of. Thoughts and thoughts entered her mind, both overlapping and falling short of producing an answer that would set her free.
The only method that kept coming up was to simply complete her job as a tutor and help him improve so she could go back to being invisible. It was not ideal in any manner, but common sense pointed out that in most instances when she obeyed, the consequences were not so severe. Her hand lifted to shut off the water as she stared at her toes. There was that desire to simply run away and have another person solve this problem for her.
As she changed into her pajamas, noticing that it was dark outside, she came to the thought of how she arrived home. All her movements slowed until they stopped as her mind began to retrace the day.
She lost consciousness, so she could not remember a single thing, except pain and humiliation. Assuming that it was he who brought her since she was at his house, she could not figure out exactly how he brought her home if she was unconscious. It was not possible for him to hold her up on his motorcycle, right? Feeling a headache coming on, she did not want any more pain so she pushed that away from her mind. Quietly, she left her room to peek into her mother's room where she was startled by eyes staring back at her.
Relief instantly set in worried eyes, also releasing the pursed lips her mother held as happiness also showed to see her daughter up and about. "Sakura! Are you all right?"
All Sakura could do was nod, until her mother beckoned her to near. Her mother must have awoken when she heard the water run in the bathroom. "Come here, I was so worried about you."
Sakura welcomed the warm embrace of her mother and the comfort of the bed.
"I don't know what to think. I almost fainted from panic. You almost frightened me to death when you didn't come home. And when I saw you, I wanted to take you to the hospital, but he said it wasn't that serious. But, my god, your beautiful face! How could this not be serious?" Her mother cupped Sakura's face, tracing the swollen eye. "Does it hurt?"
Her mother's eyes were shimmering with tears as they inspected Sakura's face. "I was ready to call the police when you were late coming home. I figured that maybe you were tutoring, but after it got dark…oh, my little girl."
There was such a comfort her mother provided that Sakura was not able to receive anywhere else. With the coaxing, all troubles began to leave her mind just like when she was a child.
"Do you want to go to the hospital?"
It did not sound so bad at this moment, but there was an issue of transportation, even more so that it was night time. "No, I'll be fine."
"You were unconscious for a while. I feared you suffered head trauma."
"I'm okay now, mom."
The mother hugged the child and began to rock her gently until both were in a state of peace. "Is he the one you are tutoring?"
She nodded slowly, uncertain of what to say if her mother asked more questions, instead her mother said, "He's such a nice boy."
"He took care of your wounds. He said that some girls from your school were angry with you. But why would they want to hurt you?"
"...I don't know."
He took care of your wounds….
"Where do you feel more pain?"
His annoyed tone vibrated inside her head.
The next morning, Sakura awoke on her mother's bed after having been rocked back to sleep. However, her mother was nowhere in sight. Sakura assumed she was downstairs, making breakfast. Worried about her mother's low energy, she went down to the kitchen, purposely avoiding looking in any mirrors on the way there. Sakura did not have to see her reflection again to know her swollen eye was still the same.
While her mother served breakfast, Sakura watched her carefully to make sure she did not have a fainting spell and injure herself. Her mother sat down at the table with her, "Honey, I want to talk to the head of the school."
Immediately, Sakura protested, "No it's fine, mom. I won't get into any more trouble."
Her mother's face was in disbelief. "Sakura," she said in a serious tone, "I don't know why those girls attacked you, but I'm sure it wasn't your fault. You were never involved in any fights at school."
"Please, it won't happen again."
"How can you be so sure if those girls go unpunished for what they did to you?"
Sakura was sure her face was even more unbearable to look at right now. "Just...don't...please," begged Sakura, "I'm fine now. It'll get better when the swelling goes down."
At the mention of that, her mother hurried to get a plastic bag and put some ice in it. "Here, let me place it for you."
Her mother pursed her lips when she once again observed her daughter's face. "I'm going to call him anyway," Sakura looked desperate at her mother's persistence, "just to inform him that you won't be attending school today."
Sakura spent the rest of the day with an ice bag on her face, not daring to move her body much. She also stayed in the same sleeping attire as she lay on the couch. It was true that she hardly missed school since she was not the type to get sick frequently, only the few times when there was a contagious cold or the flu going around.
Admittedly, it felt nice to be at home while doing nothing. Of course, she will have to catch up, but she was so tired and did not want to think. Instead, she concentrated on icing her swollen cheek and lower back. However, her rest came to an abrupt pain when her mind travelled backwards to the subject of school.
Gasping, she looked around her living room, searching every corner before getting up. Grunting at the pain, she continued to head upstairs. The short hall was empty. She hurriedly decided to check in her mother's room before going into her own. It all had to be in there. She repeatedly wished.
The light illuminated the room, helping her to scan for the desired objects. When she did not see them immediately, she began to look around. When it became clear that her school belongings were not in the house, she started to assume the worst. Her bag and books were missing. The last thing she remembered was seeing them on the concrete ground after being driven off on his motorcycle.
Slowly, she began to lower onto the edge of her bed, deep in thought. Was it possible that maybe he could have...?
Thoughts continued as Sakura tried to cease her worries.
At home, she sensed her mother's boredom and frustration of only staying in the house. They were sitting in the living room where the television barely received any attention from the two, especially when both minds were preoccupied.
Sakura inaudibly sighed. She did not want to see her mother in such a depressed and powerless state. Her mother had taken on an independent role of working full-time and providing for Sakura long ago. It was a tough business for a woman, but she gained a respectable position in the company she worked in.
"What would you like for dinner?" her mother asked.
Sakura turned her head towards her mother's voice and shrugged. "I'm not really hungry."
Sakura had not told her mother about her lost schoolbag yet. Her mother was not only the type to offer advice, but also to find solutions, which meant taking over Sakura's problems. It seemed to have always worked out that way whenever Sakura had too much to manage as a child, and her mother acted in place.
When she stopped to wash her hands before dinner later on that day, she looked up in the mirror in hopes of decreased swelling and faster recovery; instead she was transfixed on the bandage on her cheek.
Blinking, she wondered where her mother obtained bandages with ninja weaponry imprinted on them if all they had were the regular ones without any design. When realization finally kicked in, her hand instantly reached up to tear the little strip away, ignoring the sting of the harsh pull on her skin, and disposed of it in the trash can.
The light switched off, and the girl went downstairs.
Almost ironically, the dread she felt a day later was strikingly similar to the first day of school, swirling around in her stomach. She was reminded of her child-self staring at the other playful children, looking forward to all becoming her friends. Lacking the closeness of having siblings, she did not know how to introduce herself to others her age, mostly because she was used to keeping to herself.
So when she entered a room full of excited children, she felt paralyzed, comparable to how she was now at the front doors of the school. Nervously, she repeatedly adjusted her glasses to protect her bruised eye. She had hoped that it would look better by the time she returned to school; it had not, much to her disappointment. Fortunately, her mother had a solution that morning.
"I don't want you looking like that when you return to school. Go to my drawer there, you'll find what you need," her mother said.
Sakura was surprised to find makeup. Her mother was always natural and hardly spent time grooming herself. She picked up a circular container and did not have a clue on how to apply it correctly. The last time Sakura had seen her mother with makeup was from a party long ago.
Eyes returned to the drawer and spotted other facial products. Did her mother really use these? Honestly, Sakura has not seen her mom put on any sort of makeup as she dressed for work. Were these old?
Those are probably meant for you.
Did her mother want to cover up more than the bruises?
No, she is my mother. She loves me.
Never in Sakura's life has her mother even reprimanded her. Much less tried to push Sakura into doing something she did not want to do.
Recalling that memory of playing in her mother's room where her mother was readying herself in front of a mirror, she picked up the brush and dabbed it softly on the powder before putting it on her face. The shade was paler than her skin tone and was barely covering the ugly green and purple bruises, including her acne. Thus, she put on more, but it just made her look pale as death.
At least it looked less noticeable, not to mention that her thick, purple-framed glasses covered up most of the bruise around her eye thankfully. She had to be careful around the cut that was healing slowly on her cheek. Involuntarily, the new bandage of her cheek reminded her of the one that previously occupied it.
Of course there was nothing threatening about a bandage designed for children. It was the fact she had no idea why he helped her by tending to her injuries that was a bit difficult to grasp.
That bandage of ninja weaponry was so childlike; something completely opposite of what he was viewed as, particularly in her perspective and experience.
"Sakura. You're going to be late for school," her mother mumbled from the bed.
She closed the compact, but instead of putting it back inside the drawer, took it with her in order to place it inside a smaller bag intended to substitute her missing schoolbag. Just in case.
When she stepped inside the school building, she honestly wondered why she even bothered to conceal the bruises if no one looked her way as she was pushed from side to side by the moving crowd of students. Yet she was always aware of her every movement, leading her to believe that everyone did as well. It was such a false fear that added unnecessary stress in her life.
Sakura had trouble sleeping the last night. She wanted to cry about her missing belongings. Her assignments were in there. The school books that were in her possession the day she was attacked were worrying her the most because they were school property.
She juggled her thoughts between two people. One she dared not name and the other was nowhere to be seen yet. Eyes searched for a particular girl. What would happen if she crossed Ami's path? Would Ami point out the makeup, make a joke that all the makeup in the world could not fix Sakura's ugliness, and laugh at her?
Just as she turned a corner, there was the girl that always taunted her. Ami was having a rather loud conversation on her mobile phone. Sakura took this opportunity to slip past the laughing girl with her head down. The small gazelle managed to avoid the jackal. Sakura hoped that it would be the same in the history class they had together where she was sure Murahama-san would ask each pair if they started on the project.
When was that project assigned again? Why did she have a difficult time remembering how long it has been? She was sure the project was not going to be due for a while, but she made a mental note to check her agenda when she arrived in class. Thoughts halted, she recalled her agenda was also in the missing schoolbag.
What was she to do about this? A dark jacket came into her vision as she headed for her locker. Sakura stopped, and her eyes followed the unknown boy walking away with his friends. Eventually, she would have to ask him. Communicating with him was one of the last things she wanted to do.
"So, Shino…" began Naruto. "Do you think Hinata-chan will-"
"She is related to Hyuuga Neji."
"I keep telling you she's nothing like that bastard!"
"She may not be, but the matter of the fact is that Neji would never allow you to date her."
"He doesn't own her!"
As Shino and Naruto droned on, Sasuke averted his attention in the direction she was in, at the same table with the other nerds. There was a glare on her glasses from the sun leaking out of the windows above so he was unable to see the bruise that was still healing. What did stand out was her different skin tone; it was more obvious in the sunlight, indicating she probably was hiding the bruises with something.
To say that he found her lying on the ground on mere coincidence is a lie. He had been following her as she walked, unsurprisingly lost in her thoughts. He wanted to make it clear he will not be contributing to this stupid project assigned by Murahama. He decided it would be more fun to ride his motorcycle so dangerously close so she would freak out, but the rate she walked was ridiculous, so he rode on ahead and stopped by a tree. She was oblivious to everything around, especially to the angry girls advancing behind her.
He did not know any girl by name and watched as one purple-haired girl spoke out, stopping the ugly nerd in her tracks as the rest surrounded her. He could not hear anything that was said from the distance.
It never crossed his mind to help the nerd out of that situation. It was quite the opposite; he was too interested to see what she would do. After all, she did have an aggressive side that no one saw.
The pink head disappointed him when she did nothing. Perhaps the nerd did not deserve so much pain when she was attacked by all those girls, but then again, what was wrong with a little experience? How else was she going to take out her claws as small as they are? Surly this nerd had an ounce of pride underneath all that weakness?
"Hinata-chan is nice. I'm just going to give her this flower," announced Naruto as he showed them a tulip.
Sasuke had enough of Naruto's cheesy antics and headed out, choosing to exit through the door closest to her, but not bothering to glance her way.
The air around Sakura felt easier to breathe in as he walked out of the cafeteria. She had noticed him when she came in a while ago, and was relieved to find the students she sat with before still here.
Now, that he was no longer in her sight, she was able to focus on her food, and the people around her. Sakura so much wanted to start up a conversation. She thought of the words, put them in a structured sentence, and said it in her mind. It was right there, at the back of her throat, but she thought too much about it. Sakura worried about her voice cracking, or perhaps mispronouncing because it certainly has happened to her a few times before.
This group was naturally a quiet bunch, so the pressure was not that unbearable. Sakura's eyes looked up at the students sitting in front of her. Maybe they had the same worries in talking as well?
It was hard to tell when not one of them looked back at her.
Almost routinely, Sakura headed into the girls' restrooms, just before lunch hour was over. She intended to wash her hands, but most importantly, see how obvious the bruises were. No one had commented on her face so far. She tried very hard to conceal her face behind her bangs and glasses during lunch time.
The makeup powder felt so drying on her skin. There were times in her previous classes that she wanted to put the powder compact in her pocket or sleeve so she would be able to check. It was a risk because the small mirror would have reflected light and most definitely captured someone's attention. After imagining the situation she thought it would provoke, she did not want students to immediately think she was wearing makeup to enhance her looks.
Enhance? Don't you mean cover up the ugly?
No one in the girls' washrooms was paying attention to her as Sakura peered in the mirror. Immediately, she was able to zoom on the pale surface of her face. It looked flaky, especially near the eyebrow area. It was extremely noticeable. How did girls manage to use this correctly and look flawless? She wanted to go home and wash it off.
There were a few scars and bruises that were still healing, and the sight of those on her body made her shake in remembrance of the cruel incident. The makeup she used caused more acne to appear. But there was one thing that made her quiver the most.
There was bruising at the joint on her arm. She remembered the needle and the clear substance. The tightness of the rubber…what did he inject into her?
Her hand reached up to her cheek. What else did he do to her while she was unconscious? Tears began to form at the endless thoughts entering her head.
Sakura does almost everything to avoid having her name called out or else it would cause some remark or insult. She genuinely does not wish for any attention. Her body was already well hidden underneath the clothes she wore. If only it were that easy to hide her face, which she worried over the most. She did not want people staring at her longer than they always had.
Murahama-san made it clear she expected students to have already started on gathering research. "Use the library. I'm not keen on internet sources for several are unreliable. If you must use an internet source, I must approve it first."
Sakura was rewriting the due dates on the sheet of paper she used to catch up on all the assignments from her classes. The annotated bibliography was due in two weeks. Looking at the dates was helping her remember what was written in her lost agenda. The assignments were fairly spread out, which was a relief.
Before heading home for the day, Sakura knew something had to be done in order for her to be able to complete her assignments. Hatake-san's door was open. She peered in first to check if he was available to talk. The man seemed to be finishing up his day as well.
"Ah, Ms. Haruno. Come in."
"I don't want to take up much of your time, but I have a problem."
"What can I do for you?"
Sakura inhaled deeply.
The weight of the textbooks was not much of a bother rather a great relief for her. Hatake-san was extremely understanding and allowed her to borrow the textbooks she had lost. It did not matter to her that some of the copies were worn and beat up at all, even if Hatake-san complained of the school's inability to provide its students with better equipment and such.
Shifting the books in her arms, she pulled them closer to her chest as she walked home. There was no use in crying over a lost agenda or whatever she had in that backpack. They were easily replaceable. The shoulder bag she currently wore was less sturdy, but that just meant she had to pick out better what she took to and from school.
Her spirits were dampened a bit when her mother greeted her differently today.
"How are you feeling? Does your face still hurt? Did those girls bother you again?"
"No. Everything was..." she began trying to find a word that would both ease her mother's worries and accurately sum up the day, "normal today."
It was not enough for her mother. She probably did not know what normal meant to Sakura in that high school.
"Please don't hide things from me. I want to know what's going on in my daughter's life."
Sakura looked at her mother's face directly as she spoke, "Everything's fine."
The older woman walked around the small table in the living room to approach her daughter. "I won't ever allow them to hurt you again. Sakura, I still don't understand why they would even do that to you."
"They don't like me."
"Why not?" her mother asked in complete disbelief.
"Because I'm..." she faltered as her inner voice answered –a nerd – "becauseof how I look…"
"Nonsense," her mother said, "If they are judging you on how you look, then it's a shame that's how their parents raised them."
Sakura did not respond.
"Sakura, dear. If it bothers you so much, maybe a change would be helpful. How about your hair? It has gotten quite long. Do you want a haircut?"
"Um, I'll think about it. Thanks, kaa-san."
For some reason, that suggestion made Sakura feel rejection in her own home. She knew her mother's intentions were not to ridicule her. However, her mother never said anything about her appearance before.
What disturbed Sakura was her mother talking about that subject. Of course, Sakura was aware, but she had the choice not to look at a mirror. She did not have to see herself and that provided a sense of invisibility.
Absentmindedly, she fingered the end of a braided pigtail. Having her hair cut is too much of a change. They will notice. And they would have something to say about it.
It was best to avoid being seen.
He had eyes of a hawk as he spotted her in a crowd and led her towards the back of the school building after classes had ended for the day. She was certain it was her hair color that made it so easy for him and contemplated whether to change the pink to a brown.
Would she look better with a muted hair color? She thought to herself before coming to a stop behind him.
"We're leaving," he stated and handed her a helmet.
Sakura spoke, "I need to tell my mother."
"That's Kakashi's job," he said and pushed the helmet onto her arms for her to take.
For the first time, she realized that there was always someone who knew her whereabouts. She trusted Kakashi. If something really went wrong, wouldn't he be the first to know?
Although she figured the solution to this problem was to simply complete her duty as his tutor, how could she if he was nowhere in sight? If they were in the library, she could tolerate this. There was no such tutoring here anyway. He had left her in the living room by herself. What was she doing here wasting time?
In truth, only twenty minutes passed. Her constant monitoring of the time made it seem extensive. Perhaps she should she start working on her own assignments at the very least. There was slight hesitation at the thought of it because it meant she accepted that she was going to stay here for a while.
What would really happen if she were to simply walk out the door? Yes, she had a very good idea of what he was capable of, but at this very moment, he was absent. Another thought emerged as she explored options. She was unable to stop thinking about the day where she lost consciousness. Yet, should she just let it go? She did not think it smart to simply ignore what happened, especially when it occurred to her.
What else could he have done during her unconscious state?
Closing her eyes, inhaling shakily, she asked rather lowly, "How did I end up at my house?"
Sakura swallowed without opening her eyes, and repeated the question louder. Continuing, she asked, "Why can't I remember anything?"
With her eyes shut, she was able to feel him return to the room. Sakura intended to question him if he knew where her schoolbag was, but another inquiry won.
"What did you inject me with?"
Her eyes opened. Sakura miscalculated where she thought he would be standing.
Sasuke contemplated whether to tell her. "Does it matter? You're not dead."
Sakura still felt uncomfortable with the fact she was unconscious.
He answered with a short command, "Wash that stuff off your face."
It was a mixture of embarrassment and resentment that left her immobile on the couch she sitting on. Embarrassed that he had noticed the powder on her face and offended he dared to tell her what to do again.
"You look sick," he continued.
She did not want to hear more, so she went to the bathroom she knew from that floor. She turned the faucet on. It flushed down more water than she anticipated and splashed onto her sweater. Carefully, she took off her glasses to set them down near the sink. Cupping her hands, she collected water and neared towards the sink when there was enough.
Why does he care if you look sick?
She wondered as the cold water hit her face.
Sakura did not need her glasses to know that he was watching her. Sakura put her glasses back on after using a towel to dry her face. She decided not to face him as she folded the towel in order to give herself something to do and ease the tension.
In the mirror, she saw an object he offered to her, and she felt like she had no choice but to take it.
Before she had the chance to look at what he gave her, he spoke, "We're leaving."
In disbelief, Sakura exited the bathroom to follow him back to the living room. She could hear him reach for the keys he had left on the table. Turning to her belongings, she began to gather them up. She did not care about why or how long she was here. She was going home.
How can you be so stupid to think you were going home?
He had driven into the city. It scared her that he didn't stop at the stoplights. Rather, he sped up and took abrupt turns. Sakura didn't dare look at the people driving in cars, honking as most yelled obscenities.
Once he neared the sidewalk, he stopped and turned the engine off. He got off and she dismounted as well because she was afraid of falling off.
Sasuke proceeded to go in a direction not far from where he parked and entered a building.
Curiously, she observed the building, but nothing in particular stood out. She hoped it was a short visit. Why did he have to take her here?
The sound of a car approaching prompted her to turn towards the headlights. A window rolled down, revealing a man that was smiling at her.
Sakura looked at the motorcycle. Why did he have to leave her here with it? She felt very uncomfortable in the situation of a complete stranger acknowledging her out of nowhere.
"Did you hear me? How much?"
"Um...not for sale," she answered as she started to move onto the sidewalk.
"Not for sale," she repeated a bit louder.
The man chuckled, and continued, "Oh come on! I don't mind giving you a bit extra!"
It was not hers to negotiate with this stranger. What if he did not take no for an answer? There was no way she could stop anyone from taking the motorcycle. "I can't."
The man rolled down his car window more. "I'll make it worth your time. You look like you need a big dick for being such an unreasonable woman."
She finally understood.
"Come on, I won't reach another bitch in time. I have a full load to unleash on your face, baby."
Load? She did not know how to respond.
He grew inpatient. "Fuck this. I can get off by just having you watch me right here." As he unzipped his pants, he continued, "I don't even have to pay you."
It happened quickly. She saw a mound of black hair on his lower region, his hand was holding onto something, and she began to walk away, putting her hands over her ears as he began to shout at her.
"Come back, you slut!"
Sakura was heavily concentrated on getting away from the man that she did not see Sasuke returning.
"I told you not to move."
Sakura pushed herself through. Sasuke grabbed her elbow, tearing her left hand from her ear. "Obey."
He had the intention of dragging her back, but the car caught his attention as the man began honking.
Sakura pulled away to keep walking away from the man.
"Pathetic," Sasuke muttered. He let her continue to walk away and headed toward his motorcycle, ignoring the man who covered up.
"You her pimp? I like that she's different, man. What a mystery in baggy clothes."
Sasuke's eyes looked in the direction she fled. "Mystery, indeed."
"How much is an hour?" the man inquired as he became impatient.
"She's a virgin. It's going to cost you."
"Fuck. No kidding?"
He handed over all the money from his wallet. It was a decent amount and Sasuke did not bother to count it. Instead, he spoke, "She likes to be chased."
The man was overly excited that he left his keys in the ignition as he walked further down the sidewalk where she was last seen.
"Baby, why did you run off like that?"
The unknown man closed in on her from behind. He was not that much taller than her. His breath hot against her left ear. "I'll treat you really good."
She screamed. His hand went straight for her breast as the other held her tightly against him. Sakura tried to loosen from his grip by walking further. The hand on her chest disappeared. She nearly was able to run but he turned her around to get a better look at her face.
"You're looking hurt, sweetie. Are you into kinky things, baby? Oh, you're going to be begging for my dick!"
"No!" she yelled out.
"Come back to my car and let's continue this on my bed. Would you like that?"
The intrusive thought of being in this man's bed sent her into an extreme wave of disgust and bewilderment. "No. Leave me alone!"
The man was pulled back from her tiny frame, and slammed into the brick wall.
"What the fuc-?" the man was silenced with a punch to the face. He staggered sideways on the wall before falling. Once on the ground, he suffered a kick to the ribs.
Sakura moved away from the scene. Her hands returned to cover her ears as the man yelled out in pain. She looked at the street signs and did not recognize any that led to a main street.
"I told you to stay put," said Sasuke after a few minutes of being gone.
"Please get me out of here," she struggled not to cry.
Sasuke was already walking back to his motorcycle. Starting it up, he put on his helmet.
Her shoulder bag was in front of her, which created a barrier between her and his back, yet she held on tightly. Sakura wished she could erase what just happened. It was so humiliating for a strange man to approach her like that.
What else could have happened if he kept touching her? She thought about how the man whimpered in pain. It was all she could bear to see. She knew who saved her, but she had already ran away to actually see what was going on.
When he slowed down, she turned to see her home and she exhaled in relief. She could not get off and into her house fast enough. Unfortunately, she had to remove the helmet and return it before scampering away. Sakura intended to do so without a word or even turning to look at him. As she handed him the helmet, there was something in his hand as well.
Sakura stared it the currency he presented her with. Confused, she was about to say 'no, thank you' on reflex. Quickly, she shook her head and began to step back because she knew where that money came from.
He roughly took her hand and deposited the money by closing her fingers over it. "What makes you think I want it?"
If he did not want stolen money, then it was definitely something she intended not to keep. What if that man came looking for it?
He withdrew his clutch over her closed hand.
"Take the money."
Retreating from her, he spoke again as he prepared to leave. "Buy yourself something nice."
With that, he sped away, leaving the girl dumbfounded. It was time she received a reward for being such a good sport.