Think I'm in Love
A/N: So I'm thinking about turning this into a series of oneshots... so, it would have a basic plot, but instead of being continuous it would be like... episodes? Or else I could leave it as it is. PLEASE REVIEW! This is my first time writing in first person, and also the tense is kinda weird.. but, whatev. I'm EXPERIMENTING I tell you!
Um right. Anyways, enjoy.
Summary:[AU [Oneshot [ShikaTem Usually Temari's dealings with men involve her glowering and them scampering off as fast as their legs can carry them in the other direction. So why is this guy giving her his phone number?
This place is a dump. A fucking dump. I can't believe they made me come here. They didn't make Kankuro or Gaara do this stupid fucking summer-away-from-home deal, did they?
But I am getting back into that bitching slump, and I really need to stop.
I'm standing in line at this Internet cafe, waiting to pay for fifteen minutes to make an international phone call. I do this about once a week, and have been doing so for about, oh, six weeks now. Six weeks of this stupid dump. And, okay, I admit it: it's actually a fairly nice area...i.e., not a dump. But I feel alone. And working at that stupid ramen bar is getting really old. Hell, it was old within the first two hours. There was that idiotic blond kid who I later realized came to the ramen bar every single day for lunch with all of his idiotic friends, like that pink haired girl who's always yammering on and on about her precious med school, and that brooding dark haired guy who just sits there like a brood-and-glare machine (so boring...it's worse than Gaara, because at least Gaara has violent rages. This guy just sits there. I'm serious. That's all he does.) and of course that freak with the bowl cut-
Crap, I'm whining again. One of these days I'll stop, I swear.
Anyway, every week I come here. The coffee is expensive but I'm not addicted and it's only once a week, so I feel okay about indulging. And I must admit, it is better than back at home, where the coffee-like everything else there-seems to have sand in it, no matter how careful you are about keeping it away from sand.
And it's always the same guy at the cash register. He's fairly tall... taller than me, anyway, which is definitely saying something. He's probably a little over six feet; the only reason I'm saying that is because without my boots, I'm a good 5'8". With the boots I'm about six feet, and even with my boots on he is still a bit taller than me. Ever since I started coming here he's been almost-flirting with me. And yes, in case you were really wondering, he's cute.
Or at least, he would be. If he weren't always looking so pissed off.
I guess a lot of people say that about me, too. 'Oh, Temari—you're so gorgeous when you smile. Oh Temari, when you laugh it lights up your face.' Yeah. Well. Whatever. I can't help it if I am perpetually pmsing, now can I?
The answer is no, idiot. Besides, usually when I'm laughing it's at the misfortune of others.
But yeah. I guess I should rephrase my earlier statement: he isn't always so pissed off. He's always trying to piss me off. I guess it's the Konohan way of flirting.
Like right now. Oh my god. I swear to whoever is up there that I am going to rip this idiot to shreds if he says the word "troublesome" one more-
"Troublesome foreigners and their inability to give exact change..." he mutters, picking coins out of the till one by one, so painstakingly slowly... My left eye is twitching.
"Can you just give me the phone?" I snap. It took me only one of these episodes to figure out how to say that phrase in Konohan, and at this point I even sound like I'm from Konoha myself. He looks me in the eye—quite a feat, most guys don't manage that, whether it's because of my towering height or how intimidating I am on the whole—and raises a eyebrow like he's trying to decide what from his arsenal of rude comebacks to use. If I weren't the one dealing with him I'd find it sexy how impossible he was, but at the moment I really just can't deal with this. Scratch that, at any moment I really just can't deal with this. I have absolutely no patience. I do not suffer fools. He sighs and leans on the counter. Oh, great. Now he's going to waste another five minutes of my time at least. Why didn't I just keep my mouth shut?
"Maybe next time, if you're so concerned with time, you'll bring exact change like I've so kindly asked you to for the last six weeks." He drawls, his mouth twitching because he is so obviously repressing a grin. I narrow my eyes at him—this usually works with especially annoying guys—and slam my hands down on the counter.
"Fine. Now. Phone?" I hold out my hand, expectantly. His mouth does that infuriating twitch again, and he grabs a piece of paper and a pen. He scrawls something on it and places the slip on my open hand.
I glare some more and then crumple the note and shove it in the pocket of my miniskirt—it's a phone number—and hold out my hand again. He chuckles and reaches to where the international phones are and gives me one of them.
I don't thank him and snatch the phone from his hand—our fingers brush and his are warm, damn me and how easily I blush—and I stomp over to the other side of the cafe and plunk down in my usual chair. I'm still looking back occasionally and glaring, and he's just smirking. Finally, he stops paying attention to me as I dial home.
"This is Gaara." My brother's gruff voice comes on and it startles me. It's so weird to switch back and forth between languages.
"Hey. It's me." I say, tugging absently on a pigtail. The guy has stopped looking at me—probably is getting used to my fabulous legs that I'm always showing—because a rotund guy with spiky hair and earrings almost identical to ponytail-guy's earrings is chatting with him. They are snickering about something.
"Temari, why do you bother calling so often?" My brother sounds distracted and a little out of breath. He was probably working out. I fight back a sigh. Any time I call home I am reminded of why I didn't even put up that much of a fight about spending the summer here. Back in Sand, during the summer my brothers are always sparring and working out, and I'm odd man out. On top of that, I guess I'm just as alone here as I am there. I'm not exactly popular, I guess because people consider me rude and standoffish.
"I don't know. I guess to let you know I'm still alive, you asshole?" I sneer. I really am pmsing—my eyes are stinging with tears. Usually my brothers don't bother me. We're all horribly mean and rude to each other, and it's just the way things go. But the fact that calling once a week is apparently too clingy pissed me off, and I guess I'm just hurt. I look over at ponytail-guy, and he's, for once, not at the counter, but instead playing chess or something with the fat dude. He's concentrating very hard, and I'm guessing that he's winning, because the fat guy is looking really angry. His face is ruddy with frustration and anger, and his meat pie hands are fisted.
"Well if you die I'm sure they'll call. I have to go. Bye." Gaara hangs up before I can say anything else. Whatever. It's not like Gaara's much better than a brick wall in terms of conversation anyway. I stand up, smoothing out my dark red shirt and denim skirt. I give a little tug to my combat boots, and walk back over to the counter and put the phone down. Ponytail guy looks up at the sound and smirks at me, but returns to his game.
This summer I've called a tiny apartment that I share with three other people home. My bed is a futon and I at least get the living room to myself. There isn't any furniture, which is fine. We're all foreign students and spend all day working various minimum wage jobs, so furniture isn't really necessary. By the time we all get home it's late at night and we're too tired to do anything but fall into bed and sleep like logs until six hours later when our alarms go off.
Luckily for me, I get one day off each week. Although, technically, I wouldn't mind working through today too. I don't know anyone here so it's not like I can spend the day with my friends. Then again even if I lived here I probably wouldn't have any friends anyway, so I guess... whatever.
I take out the crumpled note as I saunter back 'home.' It says 'Nara Shikamaru' in messy handwriting, with each letter barely formed, like he was too lazy to even finish it, and then a phone number. Nara Shikamaru. Weird name. And I don't have a cell phone, which I'm sure he guessed, so my only option is to call him via pay phone.
Five torturous days go by. No, seriously. Within those five days, my especially neurotic side bulges out and goes nuts. Day one: I spend the rest of my day off milling around shops, trying things on (but they're always too short for me, seeing as I'm basically a giant. All the girls here barely reach 5'1"... and then there's me.) and constantly pulling out the note and staring at it, then getting embarrassed and shoving it back in my pocket. Day two: on the way to work, I pass by three different pay phones and nearly go insane, because then the rest of the day at work I can't stop thinking about the note. Day three: During my walk to work I throw out the damn note, and for about five minutes feel content—but then on my first break I bolt back to the trashcan, and fish it out, even though it's covered in grease and other trashcan contents, and I have memorized the number and name at that point already anyway. Day four: on all my breaks I hover around the pay phones, managing to dial halfway through the number several times. It's just that... well, no guy has ever deigned to give me his number before. Ever. Any time it gets to that point with a guy, I've already scared the guy away. I don't know why I do it. Really. I just... I don't know. Anyway, onto day five: On my way back home I pass by the last pay phone before cursing out loud, sprinting back to it, and dialing the number fast before I even have the chance to hang up again.
There are three rings before there's a click and he finally picks up.
"Nara Shikamaru here." Comes that already familiar voice. Suddenly, I feel horribly tongue-tied. What if my Konohan isn't good enough to have an actual conversation yet? I haven't actually talked to anyone yet, but I haven't noticed because I never talk to anyone much, not even at home. Conversation is...limited, I guess,when it comes to my brothers and parents, and as I said before, I have no friends to talk to anyway. Wow, that sounds really pathetic. "...Hello? If this is a prank call, then could you stop being such a-"
"drag?" I finish hesitantly for him. My voice sounds weird and dorky even to my own ears—my accent makes the word sound so much different than when it's coming out of his mouth.
This time his voice is wary. "...Who is this?"
I swallow. I really am not usually this timid. It's just... okay. I don't have any experience being in this situation. I've said this before though.
"Temari. From the cafe." I say carefully, avoiding complex sentence structures in case I screw up and sound like a moron. I am positive I'm capable of speaking more fluently and elaborately, but... I really don't want to chance it. I hate sounding stupid and I get the feeling this Shikamaru guy would never let me live it down.
"Oh. You." He laughs. "I was wondering if you'd ever call. Chouji bet you wouldn't... he said you looked like a totally troublesome bitch, no offense. But hey. I have more faith in you." He laughs again and I wonder who the hell Chouji is. But I don't feel like asking. Mainly because I don't really care. But the fact that he has "more faith" in me is... well, I feel all warm and floaty now, like when I won this one tournament a few years ago and got a trophy for it. Ah, victory.
"Why?" I lean against the side of the booth, tugging on my pigtail again. His tone is what I guess other girls know well to be flirtatious, but for me, this is new.
"Meh. Who knows." I can tell he's smirking and probably leaning against something, too. He's probably too lazy to stand up straight, ever.
"It is my accent. You find it alluring." I choose my words carefully, and am especially proud at the word "alluring." I didn't even know I knew that word, and I'm especially stunned at how flirtatious that was. So unlike me. ...Or is it? Maybe I am a flirt. Hah, that's a weird thought. But I guess I've never really been given the chance to flirt, anyway. I briefly wonder if he thinks I'm pretty, and I glance in the glass, where I can faintly see my reflection. Maybe I am pretty. ...Or not. Now I'm just acting ridiculous.
"Yeah, I guess that Sand accent does have a kind of sexy thing going. Mysterious and all."
"Too bad you Konoha people don't have a sexy accent too." I say back quickly. Now I'm getting better at this. I was always quick with the comebacks but people don't usually talk to me long enough to find that out. The scary glare I give them is usually enough to drive them away.
"We don't? Aw, that's a drag." He laughs again and it gives me goosebumps. I rub at my arm with my free hand to get rid of them; I feel like one of those idiotic slutty girls always draping themselves all over Gaara all the time. I harden my face again. I don't want to be like one of them. I need to be meaner again. "So, you called me in the end." He says, and I can't decipher the tone this time.
"No, really?" I say back sarcastically. Yes, that's more typical Temari. He snorts.
"Are we going to do this the cliché way, where I take you out to dinner on your night off, or do people in Sand do something different?" He's messing with me again. I want to glare at him, but obviously no point to that. Damn him.
"Eating is so boring." I say, smirking. Let's see if he can come up with something more interesting. ...Hey, don't look at me like that. I want my first date to be a good one, dammit. None of this crap that other airhead girls settle for.
"Damn troublesome woman. Fine... I'll surprise you?"
"Make it a really good surprise, or else I will be a 'totally troublesome bitch' as this Chouji of yours says." I retort. He's laughing again, and it feels inexplicably good to hear. He's got a nice laugh. It's real.
"Fine, fine." He pretends to complain, but I'm willing to bet my favorite pair of boots that he's grinning. "Friday night?"
I pause. So, it's really going to happen—my first date. Well, at eighteen years old, not a moment too soon, I suppose. "...Friday night." I agree.
I tell him where I live—he has a car and is going to pick me up!!--and then we hang up.
It's Friday night. I'm wearing a pale lavender short-sleeved tee shirt dress and fishnets and combat boots with a lesser heel than the ones I usually wear, with my hair in its usual wild pigtails. I guess most girls would go for a more feminine, sexy outfit... but this is who I am. And hey, at least my bag is feminine. It's a lavender clutch-style bag embroidered with little fans all over it. It's my favorite bag; I really don't know why. I just love fans for some reason. I wish we still lived in an age where it was stylish to carry them around. Then again, if we did then combat boots and fishnets wouldn't be around, which would majorly suck. Ah well. No fans for Temari.
My stomach is twisting around—I guess I'm nervous—and I keep pacing around the apartment. None of my roommates are home, otherwise I wouldn't be able to pace so freely. Also for a while I was throwing some of my belongings around the room. Hey, I'm from the Shukaku family. We're not exactly known for a placid, docile nature. My nerves are just getting to me. Horrific images of me tripping or saying something really stupid keep swimming in my mind's eye and I can't get rid of them. Also, for the first time in my life, I'm worried about my appearance. I wonder if he thinks combat boots are weird. And I'm pretty muscular. It's a feminine shape still, but... what if, say, my biceps, freak him out?
I'm just about to run and throw on something long sleeved when I get ahold of myself. I'm just acting ridiculous now. If I'm too muscular, then the hell with him. This is who I am. I'm proud of my strength.
Oh my god. That was just a knock on the door. Wasn't it? I hear another knock. Crap!
I clench my fists and stride across the room, and throw open the door in typical Temari fashion, and he's standing there, arms crossed over his chest. He's smoking and has on a dark green tee shirt and black jeans and black sneakers. Obviously we're not doing anything fancy, especially since his jeans are ripped and the white parts of his sneakers are kind of dirty. Thank god. I do not do well at fancy places. I can never figure out which of the forks to use first, and all the food is too weird and funny-tasting, and then I get frustrated and start throwing things, and well, it's all really pretty much downhill from there.
And when his jaw drops and his cigarette falls out of his mouth when he sees me, I feel like this evening can't possibly get any better.
But guess what? IT DOES!
He can't take his eyes off of me on the way downstairs and outside to his car, which is dark grey and parked outside. It's clean, but I'm guessing that's only because he's way too lazy to make a mess. I'm so stunned when he opens the door for me—guys never treat me like I'm a lady (mainly because I'm not)--that I just stand there in a stupor until he coughs discreetly and I glare at him and get in quickly, to hide my embarrassed blushing.
It's dark outside and already the city area of Konoha is lighting up. The stars are out but it's hard to see them with all of the bright city lights. It's an intensely romantic scene, and I can't believe I'm on a date in the midst of it all. It's so alien to me. At home on Friday nights my usual activities include sparring until I dropped from exhaustion, sewing/messing up clothing to make it more me, and trying not to think about the fact that I am a teenage girl sitting inside my room on a Friday night because everyone thinks I am too much of a bitch to be around.
Sometimes I hate myself.
We're driving away from the city; everything is darker here and the stars stand out much more. I'm seeing more and more why they call this place the Leaf country—even in the city there were trees all around, making it seem really... I don't know. Like somewhere straight out of the movies. An idyllic place to live. So opposite from Sand.
Now that we're outside of town there are many cute, quaint houses. They all have perfect gardens and you can see inside the windows, where families are sitting down to dinner, or people are sitting around playing cards. It gives me this nice feeling that is unfamiliar but... I don't know. I feel like it's something I've wanted for a really long time.
"Right there is where two of my friends, Sakura and Sasuke, live. I think you and Sakura would get along. You both are troublesome women." He laughs and I feel even more floaty, which is really not a word I like to associate with myself, but I can't say I don't want to feel this way. We drive by their house and slow down a bit. And ACK! It's that annoying pink-haired girl and the brood machine, sitting out on the porch amidst the fireflies, curled up together on a bench. We wave, and the pink haired girl—presumably Sakura—says, "Hey! I know you from Ichiraku!"
We wave once more and keep on driving. The houses are fewer and further between. It occurs to me that he might be, you know, insane, and is taking me to the woods to kill me, rape me, and put me in a plastic bag to rot. But I don't know... something in my gut tells me he's fairly safe.
The road is dirt now and I can hear a stream bubbling. The only light around is from the moon, fireflies, and the headlights of his car. Finally, we reach the stream I heard before. It's pretty wide, and it feels weird to see water just there. At home water is totally sparse, so seeing it so uncelebrated already makes me feel special.
Before I even register it, he's opened the door for me and standing there looking impatient. I smirk and stay put.
"Is this troublesome?" I tease. I really can't believe I'm flirting, but I guess I'm always kind of haughty. Shikamaru smirks and raises an eyebrow.
"Don't make me get you out of the car myself." He warns, leaning into the car a little. I roll my eyes and lightly kick him with the toe of my boot to get him out of the way. He offers me his hand to help me up but I ignore him—hey, I'm a feminist if nothing else, and can get out of the damn car on my own—and he just chuckles and closes the door behind me.
The air is warm and balmy, not like the air at home, which is stifling hot until late at night, when it's freezing. It's... pleasant here. The perfect temperature.
Shikamaru doesn't talk that much as he pulls a bag out of the back seat—if it's the bag he's going to use to dispose of my body then I'm going to feel really stupid...then again I'll be dead so I guess I don't have to worry about feeling stupid—and that's fine by me.
As it turns out it's a picnic. I help him spread a blanket out right next to the stream, where the air is a bit cooler, and we plop down and he pulls out an assortment of foods: sushi, a little bit of ramen, and rice balls with plums for dessert.
"I've never been to Sand. Traveling is such a drag." He finally says. He doesn't eat much, but I could've guessed that by looking at how slim he is. ...on the other hand I eat more than most guys, but thankfully I'm restraining myself here enough to look only slightly piggish. He's picking at a piece of sushi and I realize that a question was hidden in the confession.
"It's not very different. For me." I replied, trying not to wolf down too much at once. But the tuna maki looks sooooo good-no, stop it! I fold my hands in my lap. If I don't have my hands to eat with, then my only chance of eating will be to press my face into the plate of sushi—and hopefully I have enough pride to not do that here.
Shikamaru seems amused, but says nothing. He just lights a cigarette and starts smoking. The smoke curls in between the fireflies. It's a surprisingly beautiful image and my breath is caught in my throat. Shikamaru's dark eyes follow my gaze and he blows more smoke into the air above him. A ring of blue-gray smoke encircles the fireflies and then it disperses. I'm mesmerized. I've always appreciated things like this, but no one else ever understands it. Like the simple beauty of two traffic lights near each other with slightly different greens in them. But then again I guess the reason no one understands it is because I never tell anyone.
I hesitate—telling him would ruin my tough-girl image. But it'd also be interesting to hear his answer.
"I like it... when traffic lights, two of them, are right next to each other. And they are different greens."
Expressing myself is difficult. Even if we had the same language as our first language, I think it would be arduous to explain myself here. Shikamaru nods.
"But you know it's only the greens that they can't always seem to match." He takes a drag on his cigarette and I'm stunned. He understands why it isn't a non-sequitur to tell him about the traffic lights. He also apparently gets why it's nice to see two different greens.
We eat a bit more in comfortable silence, and then pull off our shoes—I have to remove my fishnet tights, and Shikamaru rolls up the legs of his pants—and we walk through the stream. The water is cold enough that it's refreshing. For a while, I'm afraid that Shikamaru will try to hold my hand, but he doesn't. His hands are shoved in his pockets, cigarette balanced precariously on his lower lip, as he wades through slowly.
We wander down stream aimlessly, but I don't mind. We're going so slow that it's not tiring, and the silence is still comfortable—a first for me. Usually other people hate silence and when they hang around me they get frustrated, because if I'm not insulting them then I'm silent. But Shikamaru seems perfectly content with the silence, so I feel relaxed.
After a while we stop and crawl up the bank and sit on it, letting our feet dangle in the water. Shikamaru's cigarette is almost out, and in the darkness it glows just enough to look like a firefly. He notices me staring at it and takes it out and puts it out in the dirt next to him.
The moment is hanging in the air, waiting to happen. I'm digging my fingers into the ground. It's not that I don't want it to happen... on the contrary, I definitely do. But I can't help it. I've never been kissed before. And I know I'm about to negate that statement, which is nerve wracking, to say the very least.
If I tried to explain it to anyone else, they'd look at me like they usually do: like I'm completely batshit insane. But I feel like I'm never going to meet anyone who is so like me, ever again. I can't imagine anyone else not thinking I'm a monster to some degree, and yet here is someone like that, right in front of me, looking unabashedly and unafraid at me.
I lean in closer a little bit (hey, this is still ME we're talking about. I'm very...forward...) but when my face is about an inch away from his, I stop.
"If Konoha is so much like home... then why don't you stay. Traveling is such a dra-"
I cut him off by planting a kiss right there on his lips. I just couldn't resist him any more though! I sit back, smirking at his stunned expression. He quirks an eyebrow at me.
"You talk too much." I say, putting my finger on his lips. He twitches and then shrugs, grabbing me and flopping back in the grass despite my lightning-fast reflexes. Hey, I could have blocked him. If I actually wanted to.
"You women think you can order me around. What a drag." He laughs. I kick him in the leg but seeing as we're all tangled up on the ground and I'm not wearing the boots, it doesn't exactly have the same effect. He laughs at me again and we settle into the grass, gazing up at the stars.
See. I TOLD you it got even better.