Hope everyone is well. Things are pretty busy with school but my huge writer's block magically vanished…for now. I am hard at work for both my stories and I am currently working on three new Naruto stories. Those probably won't debut for a while since I need to work the kinks and whatnot out of them and make sure they are in tiptop shape. I'm putting my new writing skills to the test so hopefully they will turn out well.
As well, I have been rereading over Tomboy to Princess and I am planning on fixing some chapter and replacing them, they will be the same chapters, I am just going to edit them and get rid of the grammatical errors and whatever needs fixing. I don't want to change anything completely since I like to go back to previous chapters and see how my writing has improved but I still have a long way to go. Of course Chapter 21: Kissing, Ladders and Whip Cream has been bothering me since I was so out of it and typed Kabuto instead of Kankuro. I face palm myself for that. Anywhere on with the chapter, hope you guys enjoy the latest chapter.
Chapter 25: Budding Feelings
"No silly, can't you see? You're in love! You're in love! You're in love! You're in love! You're in loveeeeeeeee!"
Sakura pounded her head in frustration as those words echoed on, making her ear ring. After she had been released from the hospital, it was all she could practically think about over the past four days.
Sakura pinched arm to bring herself back to reality. "Don't listen to that crazy lady, pshhh, you in love with someone, ha ha."
The butterflies twisted in Sakura's stomach again as she thought about the dreaded word. She loved her mom, her dad, her pet bunny Axel but she did not romantically love anybody. Did she?
Sakura wasted no time in hopping on her computer and looking up the definition of the word she desired.
love (noun) \ˈləv\
strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties maternal love for a child
warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion love of the sea
attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers
Sakura glared at the last definition, closing her laptop violently. She thought back to the symptoms the nurse listed, coming to her conclusion she was so madly in love with someone.
"Those are such general symptoms, they can apply to anything. I was in the hospital for almost having a concussion," Sakura scoffed at the ridiculous idea. She quickly pulled out a piece of paper and started listing names of all of the guys.
She immediately crossed out the names of Naruto, Kiba, Shino and Shikamaru since they were merely her friends.
She scribbled through Neji and Sai with her black pencil, their names destroyed on her paper. She tapped the pencil on her chin as she crossed off Tobi. That left her with Itachi, Gaara, Sasuke, Sasori and Deidara. She raised her pencil to mark someone off but found that she did not have the strength to do so. The five names taunted her, their names free from her pencil destruction.
She sighed and opened up her laptop again, fingers typing quickly as she looked up more information. She clicked on the first article that popped up and started scrolling till she read the title 5 Signs That You Are Falling in Love.
Her green eyes desperately scanned the page as she thought about the strange dream she had. She smiled to herself as she hopped on her bed satisfied. "That nurse doesn't know what she is talking about. I'm not in love."
She turned off her light and dived right under her sheets feeling sleepy. "Ahhh, nothing to worry about," she muttered as her eyes fluttered closed.
Sakura played with the beach waves in her hair that she had spent thirty minutes doing with her new curling iron. She smoothed out her outfit she had picked out this morning consisting of a blue pleated skirt paired with a white tank top and blazer. Her feet were already starting to blister in the high heels she was wearing.
Sign #1: You think about them when you're getting dressed in the morning.
Sakura walked up to her locker and started to spin her combination to get her books.
"Wow Sakura…you look different," Gaara said approaching her slowly.
Sakura closed her locker door and flipped her hair over her shoulder. "Oh just a little something I put together," she smiled lying through her teeth. "Took me all morning," she thought inwardly, growling to herself.
"I like it," Gaara grinned giving her his approval, "but you look great in everything anyway."
Sakura blushed taken back by his response. "Oh…thank you," she said suddenly nervous. "I have to get to class," she blurted out running as fast as her heels could carry her down the hall.
"Sakura," Gaara called to her. "We are in the same class," he reminded her.
Sakura stopped in her tracks and turned around slowly. "And it's this way," he pointed in the opposite direction.
"Oh…right," Sakura smiled, now walking back the other way. "I was just umm going to use the restroom," she said pushing on the door and escaping inside.
"Arrrghh, what is wrong with me today?"
Sign #2: You Forget to Eat
Sakura sat down on the bleachers in gym and watched as the class played tennis. Itachi sat down beside her. "You are not playing?"
Sakura sighed and watched as Gaara and Kiba hit the ball back and forth. "I don't have any energy."
Itachi put the back of his hand on her forehead and felt for a fever. Sakura pushed his hand away quickly. "I'm not sick; I'm perfectly fine," she said, her stomach then deciding it was the perfect time to growl like a foul beast.
Itachi smirked. "So you're hungry."
Sakura grabbed her stomach in an attempt to keep it quiet. "I didn't eat breakfast this morning."
Itachi looked surprised. "You? You didn't eat food?"
She glared at him. "Gosh you make me sound like a pig."
"Well you do eat a lot," he said opening up his knapsack. "Here, I got some rice cakes."
"Rice cakes?" Sakura perked up looking at the stack wrapped in plastic dangling in his hand. Itachi handed it over to her and their fingers touched, sending an electric shock all the way down Sakura's arm. She pulled away quickly and turned her head to hide her blush. "I'm not hungry anymore."
Sign #3: You Can't Look At the Person
"Sakura, how are we supposed to give our oral presentations right if you won't even look at me in practice? I am the audience," Sasori reminded her.
Sakura cleared her throat and look at the ground. "I am doing my best; I don't have to look at you to give the speech."
Sasori sighed. "The most important aspect of public speaking is keeping eye contact with the audience; it's how you keep them engrossed.
"W-well, I am a little shy," Sakura said flipping through the notecards.
"It's just a five minute history report and since when have you been shy, look at me," Sasori said to her.
Sakura avoided his glaze and stood up quickly. "I need to go to the nurse!"
Sign #4: People Notice You are Glowing
"What's wrong with your skin?" Sasuke asked Sakura as he studied her in English class.
"What do you mean?"
"Why does it look like your skin is glowing?"
"Not all of us have pasty skin, we actually have some color to ourselves," Sakura smirked.
"But Sasuke is right cherry blossom, you are glowing like an angel," Rock Lee cheered, circling his hands above her head in a halo.
Neji stroked her arm. "That's just thanks to me; I have that kind of effect on women."
"Yeah, making them sick to their stomachs," Sakura pushed his hand off her.
"No it's like…your cheeks are rosy," Sasuke said looking at her oddly.
Sakura started to feel uncomfortable under his glaze. "Uhh, look tomatoes!" She pointed outside the window taking it as her time to escape.
Sign #5: You Can't Concentrate on Work
"Ugly," Sai called her name. "Ugly," he called again.
Sakura was too busy watching Deidara at work on his latest masterpiece.
"You haven't done a single thing to your clay sculpture, class is almost over."
Sakura looked down at her cold lump of clay. "Oh. I was distracted." She started to knead it with her hands, rolling it out into little pieces.
"Did you want me to help you?" Deidara asked looking at her little rolls of sausages.
"Yeah you should help her that looks nothing like a flower" Sai joked, picking on her project.
"Shut up," Sakura scowled, rolling the clay back into one big piece.
"Well okay, un," Deidara said getting back to his work.
Sakura stole glances at him; he was so focused on his sculpture; his tongue stuck out as he worked diligently.
"How can someone's tongue be so…cute?"
"Sakura," Deidara called her out of her daydream. "Class is over."
Sakura looked down at her gray lumped mess. "Err, right; I'll just say it's a rock."
"Are you sure nothing is wrong?" Sakura asked the nurse.
"This is the second time you have been in here Sakura; your temperature is fine, and your reflexes are good, your heartbeat is normal, but your pulse is a bit fast but nothing to worry about. I can't find anything wrong with you."
The nurse smiled. "School is over now, maybe you should just go home and get some rest and drink a nice glass of green tea," she suggested.
Sakura nodded, taking her suggestion. She walked slowly to the exit, fiddling with her book bag straps as she thought about the article she read last night.
"I didn't display any of those signs, did I?" she asked herself out loud thinking back over her day. "I couldn't have."
"Hey Sakura, over here!" she heard Naruto called her name over in the courtyard.
Sakura headed in his direction. "Sorry, I was just…" She paused and looked him over. "What in the world are you wearing?"
Itachi walked over slowly and positioned himself in front of her. "You don't like?"
He was wearing a bright pink muscle shirt that fit tightly to his body. Cursive letters ran over his chest spelling out 'Sakura's Boy Toy'.
"Wait till you check out the back," he told her smirking, turning around to show her. Sakura stared in horror at the picture of her in a bikini from Itachi's pool party.
Gaara strolled over wearing the same shirt as well. "You don't like them? Itachi made them, so feel free to beat him up."
Sakura looked around quickly, all her friend were wearing the shirts, Sasuke, Tobi, and Neji as well. Deidara and Sasori held shirts in their hands, just receiving them.
Sakura glared at them. "Take those off now!"
Neji laughed gripping the bottom in his hands. "Weelll if you insist…"
"Nevermind," Sakura said quickly. "Keep your clothes on. Why did you make these?"
"Neji came up with the excellent idea, I just made it possible," Itachi grinned at her.
She looked over at her friends. "Why are you wearing them?"
"They look nice," Naruto exclaimed. "And they are so comfortable! Besides, I once was a Sakura boy toy, I was sure we were going to get married someday."
Sasuke glared at him. "What?"
"Yeah I was sure that there would be two Naruto Jrs. to take on my legacy-"
"You have no legacy," Shino pointed out.
"That's beside the point," Naruto said defensively. "I used to like you Sakura but now I well I kind of like Hinata," Naruto said scratching the back of his neck.
"You are not dating my cousin," Neji said holding a fist up. "I do not want you as a potential brother-in-law."
Naruto gasped. "You think I'm marriage material!"
"That's not what I was saying I was-"
Naruto cut Neji off when he spotted Hinata exiting the school.
"HINATA, WE ARE GONNA GET MARRIED!"
Hinata was out cold on the concrete, unconscious and unresponsive.
"Could you stop trying to kill her?" Kiba asked Naruto as he ran over to scoop her up. "Anyway, I'll admit I liked you too," he said shyly, "but I've moved on now, Akamaru is my matchmaker."
"You trust your dog to pick you a date?" Tobi asked.
"No, he is picking, my soul mate!"
"Ohhh, can he fix me up too, can I make an appointment?"
"Of course; we will need you to answer a questionnaire first and know some basic inform-"
"Okay that's enough," Sakura said waving her hands around. "You guys are giving me a headache."
"Well, my point is that I am a new relationship adventure!" Kiba grinned. "Even Shino and Shikamaru had crushes on you too."
They both avoided making eye contact with her as she glanced over at them quickly. She started to feel awkward now that she just found out her other friends liked her for some amount of time.
"But now I am Team Gaara all the way!" Kiba ripped off his shirt to reveal his team shirt.
"Nooo, Team Tobi," Tobi yelled ripping off his to reveal miniature versions of Sakura and him on a wedding cake.
Itachi scoffed. "You guys actually think you have a chance against me," he said ripping off his to reveal Sakura and him on a stranded beach.
"When did you have the time to get all these shirts made?" Sakura asked looking around in confusion.
"All the time in the world!" Tobi cheered.
Sakura's head started to spin as she tried to absorb all the information her heart thumbing against her chest violently.
Deidara looked at her with concern. "Are you sure you're feeling alright Sakura? You seemed distracted in class."
Sasori put his hand on her shoulder, Sakura jumped away from him quickly. "I'm fine," she said quickly. "I…have to go!" She ran off in her heels as best she could and disappeared around the corner.
"Hmmmm, something is up," Itachi rubbed his chin. "And we are gonna find out."
"Look, you're the only person I can tell this to, so can you help me out? What do you think?"
Ino sipped her tea and stared at Sakura from across the table. "I don't know what I am supposed to do."
"Look, I know we aren't exactly friends but you got to have some kind of idea of what I should do, you're a girl!" Sakura said staring at the blonde. Ino's phone beeped, signaling she had a new text message. Sakura's phone vibrated in her blazer pocket.
Ino unlocked her phone and opened the message. "It's from Shikamaru; he said that Itachi invited them over for a guy's night."
"I got the same thing from Gaara. But Itachi doesn't even like them, why is he inviting them anywhere?"
"Shika said he is trying to be friendly." Ino's face brightened up and she broke out into a big smile.
"What?" Sakura asked interested in what she was thinking.
"I have an idea."
1 hour later
"Are you sure this is going to work?" Sakura asked, fixing her wig for the fifth time.
"I am positive," Ino assured her. "I already told Shikamaru the plan so you just go in there and get all the information you need."
"But…do you think they will really think I'm a guy?" Sakura asked chewing on her bottom lip. She looked down at her clothes. Ino had dressed her in a pair of loose skinny jeans with combat boots paired with a leather jacket and a big pirate shirt underneath.
She had stuffed all of Sakura's hair into a brown wig and brought her brown contacts to where. They knew her eyes too well.
"They have no reason to doubt, now come on," Ino bossed her leading the way out of her room.
They stood outside of Itachi's and Sasuke's mansion.
"Okay now, I will be outside across the street if you run into any trouble at all, I will be across the street with my scooter."
Ino pointed to the blue scooter concealed behind a few bushes. "Good luck, forehead girl!"
Sakura glared at her with her brown eyes. "Don't ever call me that again."
"Fine whatever, just get in there," Ino nudged her towards the door running off.
"Who's this?" Itachi asked Shikamaru as he brought Sakura into the room.
"This is my cousin," Shikamaru said.
Sakura cleared her throat. "What's up dudes, I am uh…Eli," Sakura said trying to come up with a name.
"Well nice to meet you Eli, Shikamaru never talks about you," Kiba said shaking her hand.
"I can imagine why," Sakura muttered under her breathe.
Kiba paused still holding her hand. "Eli…why are your hands so soft."
"What, let me see," Itachi got up and took her hand shaking it himself. "Wow they are very soft; hmmm they remind me of…"
Sakura gulped as she waited to finish his sentence.
"What's that guy's name? Haku, yeah he had some strangely very soft hands," he said letting her hand go.
Sakura released the breathe she had been holding.
Neji walked around and circled her. "Hmmm you're very pretty, you're one of those pretty boys, aren't you?" he questioned her.
"Like your one to talk, look at your girly long hair," Tobi pointed out.
Neji glared. "My hair is not girly at all. It is manly, long hair."
"Sure whatever helps you sleep better at night."
"A satin pillow case, cotton dries my hair out so bad."
Shikamaru pulled Sakura off to the side while Neji and Tobi argued loudly about hair.
"Are you sure this is a good idea?" he whispered to her looking at her getup. "I can totally tell it's you."
"Yeah but hopefully they will be too distracted," Sakura bit her lip and looked over at the small crowd. A servant escorted Kisame, Pein and Hidan into the mansion. "Well, I hope so."
Sakura sat down on the couch next to Shikamaru, Gaara taking a seat beside her. He stared at her briefly before he stuck out his hand. "Nice to meet you Eli, name's Gaara. You should stay over on this side because some of these people are quite strange."
"Speak for yourself," Tobi said. "Now has anybody seen Sakura's scarf, I can't find it anywhere!"
"My what?!" Sakura shrieked, standing up and glaring at Tobi. All eyes were on her. She cleared her thought and laughed lightly. "I mean, uh, who is this Sakura person," she said in her best guy voice.
Shikamaru handed her a soda and she started to drink it quickly trying to draw attention away from herself.
"The mother of my children," Neji responded. Sakura spit all of the contents in her mouth all over the carpet.
Itachi glared at her. "Watch it man or you will be paying for that."
"Sorry," Sakura said wiping her mouth.
"Well Sakura is this awesome girl that goes to our school," Tobi informed her finally finding the scarf and holding it close to his chest. "I'm sure if you went to school with us you would totally be in love with her."
Itachi glared at Tobi and then to her. "I do not need any more competition."
Deidara smiled to himself. "Don't be like that Itachi, she really is special, you would love her, she just has this aura that draws people in."
Pein looked around boredly. "That's just the pink hair."
"Enough about Sakura, let's talk about me," Naruto chanted.
Sasuke pushed him over and tried to smother him with a couch cushion.
"Yeah she is amazing but the woman is violent," Neji commented.
"Yes she does have some violence issues."
"Plus she eats like three men. She even out ate me."
"And she is very indecisive."
"Bossy as well."
"But she gives really great hugs, they make my day."
"And for like no kissing experience, she is an awesome kisser."
"And she is very caring, no matter how many perverted passes I have made at her."
"And she is sooo stubborn."
Sakura smiled to herself as she listened to all the compliments. Expect for the kissing one, they were all genuine and described exactly who she was.
"Plus, she has some really nice jugs," Neji said grinning like a pervert.
Everyone was silent as they gazed at him.
"We do not talk about Sakura in such a manner," Itachi said breaking the silence.
Sakura was surprised that Itachi had said something like that.
Diedara glared at him. "Sakura is not a piece of meat for you to drool over."
"She said she likes gentleman, I hope you know that," Sasori said softly informing him.
"I will kill you if you ever touch Sakura again," Sasuke sent him a warning.
"Geez, you guys saw them, you know what I'm talking about," Neji said defensively.
"We respect Sakura, we actually care for her," Gaara said. "And we are not going to speak of her in that kind of degrading way."
Sakura clutched her chest secretly as she listened to what everyone had to say, every one of them coming to her defense but she couldn't help thinking about what the five said, the five that were on her list.
She pinched herself. "Great am I turning into one of those sappy people? I will hate myself," she whispered.
Itachi stood up. "Come on Eli, since you're are guest, let's go to my jacuzzi."
Sakura's eyes widened and she started to think of excuses. Neji got on his knees and put his hands together. "I'm sorry, I respect Sakura too! I would never say those things to her face; I shouldn't talk about her like that when she is not around."
"That's right, you sick dirty dog," Naruto cursed him. "You should be waddling in the mud.
Akamaru growled and Naruto chuckled lightly. "I wasn't referring to you, Akamaru or any of your dog friends," he said backing away slowly as Akamaru advanced on him.
"Yeah Akamaru, he meant well. Naruto is not very bright, forgive him," Kiba said.
Akamaru jumped onto Naruto. "Ahhh, I'm being attacked by a dog with rabies! Oh wait, he is just licking me, awww you're so cute!"
Itachi turned his head from the scene. "Annnnyway, the person you need to apologize is to Sakura not to us."
"Okay I have her number," Neji said pulling his phone out of his pocket.
"How did you get her number?" Sasori asked.
Neji flipped his hair. "Trust me, you don't want to know. I'll just send her a text. She probably wouldn't want me to call her."
Sakura remembered she did not turn the sound off on her phone and quickly started patting herself down.
"You did not silence your phone," Shika whispered to her.
"I forgot, your girlfriend was rushing me," Sakura said panicking.
"Wow Neji, you type really fast," Tobi commented.
"Yes I do, there I sent it."
Sakura went through her pockets of her leather jacket. She felt her phone and found it on her inside pocket. "There it is." It vibrated loudly as soon as she pulled it out.
"Oh Eli, you expecting a call?"
All eyes were on her. She was positive they could feel her heart trying to break through her ribcage or could see the sweat rolling down her face. "No, I uh, just got a text from my girlfriend."
"You have a girlfriend?" Sasuke said in disbelief.
Sakura glared at him. "Yes I do."
"What? Even a pretty boy like you has a girlfriend? What am I doing wrong?" Tobi asked. "I'm a good boy."
"Oooh, show us a picture of her," Naruto bounced around excited.
Sakura froze. "Uhhh a picture well, uh-"
"Were we not heading out to the jacuzzi? I need a good soak," Shikamaru said standing up stretching.
Sakura mouthed a thank you to Shikamaru as everyone stood up as well. Itachi immediately stripped off his shirt. "Well let's get going."
Soon almost all of the guys were half naked standing in the living room. Gaara walked over to her what seemed like in slow motion, as she couldn't help but admire his chest. "Since when did Gaara get so buff?"
"You coming Eli?" he asked her.
"No!" Sakura shouted crossing her arms over her chest.
All of the guys looked at her with strange looks.
"Why not?" Itachi asked curious.
"I…have a skin condition," Sakura blurted out quickly.
"Awww man, you too," Kisame said. "I feel your pain dude."
"Y-yes even though we are all…guys, I still don't feel quite comfortable being all exposed."
"It's cool, you can chill out here."
"I will keep Eli company," Naruto suggested bouncing over to her.
"Okay if he annoys you just let us know."
Naruto waited until they all left before he jumped onto Sakura and hugged her.
"Hey," Sakura said trying to push him off. "Get off me man."
"You can stop the charade Sakura, I know it's you," Naruto whispered super loud. Good thing nobody else was in the room, her cover would have been blown.
Sakura pushed him off and stood up. "How did you know?" she asked in her normal voice. "You knew the whole time?"
"No I actually thought you were a guy but then when you got up from the couch, your shirt came up a little and I saw your birthmark. I knew there couldn't have been many people that have a fish shaped birthmark on their sides."
Sakura smiled to herself. "So I make a convincing guy?"
"Yes you do, you should use this disguise more often and you could help me get more ramen!"
"I'm not doing that for your own benefits."
Sakura's phone buzzed and she pulled it out of her pocket. "Who is it?"
"Ino, she was the one that was helping me with my plan; she said she was ready to go home and wanted to know if I was ready to leave now."
"You should go, this guy's night is horrible and before you came here they were looking through car magazines and then had this punching contest. Then you got here, we spent all that time talking about you and now they are almost completely naked, soaking in hot water with a bunch of dudes."
Sakura giggled. "You're just mad because you were offered no ramen."
"I am furious, what kind of place is this?!"
Sakura was about to reply back to Ino when everyone came back into the room with their clothes still on.
"None of the jacuzzi's are clean," Sasuke glared at Itachi. "And the steam room has no steam."
"Oh well, I was just about to head out," Sakura told them.
"Well it was nice having you," Itachi said politely, "though you were on the quiet side."
"Yeah, you got to loosen up some pretty boy!" Kiba said grinning at him.
Akamaru ran over to Sakura and started barking happily, licking her shoes.
"Uhh I guess your dog…likes me," Sakura said trying to shoo Akamaru away.
"Yeah he does," Kiba looked at her suspusionly. "He only likes to lick our friend Sakura's feet."
"Oh well, I guess he makes an exception," Sakura said looking around avoiding eye contact with him.
Kiba circled her, looking her up and down. "Hmmmm I guess so, Akamaru get off the man." Akamaru whined and backed away from Sakura.
"Well I better get going," Sakura said turning around and rushing off to the door.
"Hey Eli, you dropped something," Itachi said picking up a piece of paper that fell out of her jacket. "…why are our names written on this paper?" he asked looking at it.
Sakura was frozen at the door, her hand ready to open it.
Itachi unfolded the top half of the paper. "People I could possibly be in love with," he read out loud.
He looked up from the paper and over to whom he thought was 'Eli' at the door with their back to them. "Sakura…is that you?"
That is all for now! By the next chapter I will officially be able to tell you how many more chapters there will be off the story. I am going to be outlining the rest of the chapter ideas so I can give you an exact and we can start the countdown for the end of the story. Yes I know it is very sad but I know exactly how I want to end the story and everything so we shall see how everything goes! =)