A/N: First of all, I want to explain something about this story. Each line break is a time skip. If you haven't noticed, the first chapter was full of time skips. It's just fun to jump around, creating different scenes, and yes, it does have a purpose. If you're confuse over it, I suggest you re-read it. If you still don't get it, then ask me.
In other news, I am getting back on track for One Step Ahead. Sorry it took so long, but I promise you guys that you will not be disappointed in what I have install. If you LOVE this story, please READ and REVIEW it! Aside from that, I have a poll in my profile. Feel free to drop and cast your vote for what story I should update next!
Well, now that is over, let me just say that I am really glad I got so many positive and encouraging reviews!
You guys are the BEST!
Shikyo no Amtsu Shinsei
Artic Fox Girl (TIMES TWO)
vampires r cool
Mrs. Neji Uchiha
Yukira Akiratomo (vaish27?)
random (TIMES TWO)
Nakoudo Byakugan (TIMES TWO)
Started: Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Draft Finished: Monday, July 21, 2008
Disclaimer: The character and names of Naruto characters belong to Kishimoto Masashi-sensei.
Summary: Working as a waitress in a moderate Chinese restaurant, Tenten's life turned great to worst when she spilled a cup of tea on Hyuuga Hiashi's lap. After that little incident, Tenten must find another job to pay her rent. However, as fate would have it, she ends up being hired as a personal assistant to no other than Hyuuga Neji. So what exactly is the problem? Answer: He's a Hyuuga.
Pass the Coffee, Hold the Tea
I love to sleep. It's my second favorite thing to do (eating is my first). Warm, comfortable, and soft, I didn't want to leave the bed this morning. After sitting at the desk for hours on end, I was ready to be home alone, take a nice bubble bath, and not have to worry about work, or Neji for the matter.
After I have been well-informed of his plan to take over the main corporation, he explained the purpose of my being in the whole bloodless coup, which is to keep Hiashi busy. He had everything planned out. While Hiashi focus his energy on trying to get rid of me (like that's going to happen) Neji will do everything in his power to slowly convert the management to swing his way, therefore legally gaining possession of Hyuuga Corporation.
Bet you he didn't think that one up in a whole night, that's for sure. He is human, to a certain extent (I am not quite sure by how much yet), but you can't deny that he's a genius.
Despite all of that, I didn't treat him any different even after what happened, nor did he. I expected much. He still gave me orders to go copy documents, set up conferences, and have me working as late as midnight. My workload was the same. It didn't surprise me his personality didn't either. I work for the man and I don't even know what goes on in his head most of the time, can you believe that? Aside from his cold, stoic and antisocial behavior, he has some nice qualities (so I've heard from Hinata, but have yet to witness them). All in all, I tend to stay out of his personal bubble because he is, after all, my boss.
I guess, now would be the time I should explain why I am in bed when I am suppose to be at work. Well, for one thing, it's a Saturday. That means, I have two whole days to myself right?
You see, this weekend I am suppose to go the bridal shop. Yes, suppose to. Neji, being the difficult bastard, finally succumbed to my relentless pestering about attending the fitting for Naruto and Hinata's wedding, and he said he would go if I accompanied him. Of course, I agreed, seeing how he was deliberately trying to sabotage his cousin's wedding. I don't want to see him more than I have too, but I promised Hinata, and also, I want to see the look on his face when he realize that the wedding was definitely happening. Too bad I wasn't looking forward to get up from my bed.
I'm not one to procrastinate, really I'm not. I tend to work around the problem, so to speak. By working around the problem, I mean finding a different way to approach it without the notion that I haven't done anything progressive. This morning however, I had a rude awakening. Very rude, might I add.
I was laying on my bed, happy as I can be after a grueling twelve hour shift running around in one inch heels, when the doorbell starts to ring. My first instinct was to look at the clock. It blinked ten o' clock in the red digital numbers. For me, ten o' clock in the morning is early, way early for a visitor much less the mail post. My second instinct was to ignore it. Maybe if I won't come to the door, he or she would think that there is no one home, therefore they would leave. My hope was shot down when my doorbell rang for the third time. I place my pillow over my head and tried to block out the noise that was keeping me wake.
Much to my disbelief (after five rings), the person didn't leave. I finally had it and got up, putting on a robe over my pajamas as I yawned. The distance from my room to the door is quite short, not long enough for me to think up a reason why someone would be ringing at my door at such a early (for me anyway) time.
Before I got a chance to register which lock I had unlatched last, I opened the door only to meet the last person I would have expected to show up at my door.
"Good morning, Tenten." The sound of his voice woke me up immediately. Dressed in his usual business attire, Neji stood at my door with a solemn expression. His pale eyes bore mine as I stared and stared until I realize what was happening. I mentally looked down and groaned. I wanted to be anywhere but here. At the edge of a flaming volcano, in the middle of a great desert, on top of the highest mountain in the world, anywhere. After a few awkward moment of silence (as I recovered from my shock), I opened my mouth to say something.
"What are you doing here?" Which didn't come out as nicely as I thought it would be in my mind. Hey, you would be grumpy too if someone robbed you of your beauty sleep. Yes, I do care about my beauty, but that was beside the point.
"Formal fitting." As those words left his mouth, I realized right then and there that he was crazy.
"It's not until one o' clock," I half-yelled. I didn't care if he is my boss. It is a Saturday! I could have had at least two more hours of sleep!
"I know," he stated cooly. "I thought this might be a pleasant opportunity to take you out for breakfast." I stood there, bewildered beyond wits. Clearly the man doesn't know the practical use of sleep. "May I come in?" Or timing. I stepped aside and let him in, noticing that he walked directly into my living room and turned, waiting for me to close the door. "Your hair," the lock clicked back to its proper places. "You have long hair." Subconsciously, I rake my fingers through my auburn locks.
"Yeah," I slowly said to him. "It is quite long." Great. The first time my boss is at my house and we're talking about hair. What is this, a wake up call to a sleep over? I hope not because I do not want to get into the subject of facial cream we use and compare the results by having a scrub off.
He found the comment as the closing statement of the conversation and told me to get ready, which I was reluctant to do, but did it anyways because one: I was in my pajamas. Even with my robe around me, the way Neji was looking at me did not me feel any better. Two: I look like crap. Everyone looks like crap in the morning, if you haven't noticed. Well, everyone except for . . .I don't know people like Lee.
I excused myself to my room to pick out my clothes for the day while Neji monitored my living room. Yes, monitored, seriously. He keeps on looking at everything, which is the least of my worries because I do not place pictures up like some crazy weirdo who likes to show off pictures of one's self. I don't have a pet, just a couch, a table, a lamp, a tasteful rug, and a television set, you know like a regular boring person. Well, I wouldn't say boring because I also have a whole cabinet of dramas I collect and watch from time to time. Now that, is interesting, is it not? I think so.
When I grabbed the necessary things I needed, I took a quick shower (much to my dismay, but it'll have to do in place of the bubble bath), brushed my teeth, washed my face, and style my hair into two braids before wrapping them into buns with my bangs framing my face. I figured I need a change, why not now? Satisfied with my appearance, I went to my living room to find Neji sitting on the couch.
"Are you ready to go?" I asked, searching strategically for my bag, which I've misplaced the night before. Hey, give me a break. I was so tired yesterday, I didn't even cook dinner for myself. One person. Not a very hard thing to do. Usually I would cook myself a nice, homemade meal, but some nights, take out seemed like a more sensible and less time consuming idea. That doesn't mean I am lazy, by the way. If I am lazy, then I wouldn't have bothered to change out of my work clothes into my pajamas, or brush my teeth before bed. You get the idea.
We headed out the door after I secured the safety of my apartment. Then, I realized something: was this a date? I mean, he came to my living quarters, picked me up, and now we were heading out to breakfast. Of course, a typical date consists of a movie and a dinner, but still, breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day
Much to my dismay, I soon figured out, breakfast is the worst time of the day.
Trust me, it's called breakfast for a reason.
I know what you're thinking.
But you have no idea.
Because I had to eat at the same table with Hyuuga Hiashi.
Yeah, it was that bad.
"Man! You should have seen the look on his face!" Naruto roared rethorically. "PLAT! Right in the kisser! I'd give up one of my restaurants just to see that again!" Could he be any louder? Part of me wanted to strangle him, but I didn't for Hinata's sake (and for the unborn child), yet another part of me smile with glee as my face flushed in embarrassment.
Okay, this is what happened: When Neji and I arrived, we came face to face with Hiashi. Of course, Hiashi didn't make it any easier for me. Rude as always, he barely looked at me, pretending that I was just some nobody. Oh, what would I give to hit him right there! But the presence of Naruto and Hinata helped me ease into calming myself down. Then, I met Hinata's sister, Hanabi. Charming little girl. Notice the sarcasm, people. She was the spitting image her father. Well, in the form of a female. Throughout the morning, she gave me the sternest look as if she was analyzing my compatibility to even sit at the table much less eat with them. I did eat breakfast. What else am I suppose to do: sit there and look stupid? I think not! Oh yeah, and I accidently made a fruit tart filled with custard fly onto Hiashi's face. Yeah, I know. Coincidence much?
I swear I didn't mean for that to happen. Actually, I hoped it would happen. It's not like I planned it or anything, nor purposely threw it in his face. It just happened. Seriously. You see, I was minding my own business, eating my yogurt and granola when my napkin dropped on the floor. Being a nice person, I got down to pick it up. What I didn't know what that the dessert cart was wheeled next to the table. When I got up, thinking that I was gripping on the table, the pressure of my hold exerted enough force to send the cart flying to the nearest table, propelling everything that was placed the said cart into the air and ultimately landing on Hiashi. Not only was it my bad luck, it was his fault for having to seat there in the first place, I might add.
When I realized what I had done, it was too late because Hiashi wiped the mess off his face, stood up and turned to leave with the manager of the restaurant profusely apologizing on my behalf. Hanabi followed her father before giving me a scowl. I didn't even get the chance to apologize.
Now that we were exiting the restaurant, Naruto didn't spare a second reminding me what I just had done.
"That's enough, Uzumaki." The sound of Neji's voice was surprisingly calm. The blond man turned to face me, flashing his fangs at me.
"Tenten, you are seriously the best thing that has happened to us!" He honestly does not know the term "public humiliation" that's for sure. "First, you have the guts to stand up to Hiashi. Then, gave Mr. Stick-Up-His-Ass a beating of his lifetime." At this point, Neji looked like he wanted to do the strangling which made me wary of the close proximity between Naruto and him "And now, you top it off with a pie in Hiashi's face!" I wanted to remind him it was a tart, but saved my breath. "Priceless!" Suddenly, Naruto's face became serious. "You have to marry into the Hyuuga family now!" I nearly choked. The humor returned to his glowing complexion. "Seriously! We should team up and give that old fart a lesson he wouldn't forget." He put his arm around Neji while I noted the way his left eye was twitching violently. "What do you say Neji? Just marry the girl!" And the next thing I knew, Naruto shoved Neji right onto me.
Mornings getting to office were usually a rush. I would get up in the morning, brush my teeth, put on my clothes, head out the door (after putting my shoes on), ride two buses to get to the building, and ride the elevator just to get to the top floor. Of course, getting into an elevator was always a challenge. With all the people working here, the morning rush to get to work on time always means traffic. From traffic on the road to human traffic, you know where people are packed in a tiny space where some claustrophobic fool might hyperventilate because you can't tell who is standing right in front of you or behind you unless they say something that might whistle pass your ear, causing you to freak out because you can feel their breath.
I was so glad that I didn't have to deal with that because, like every morning, I share my ride in the elevator with my boss. This morning, however was the most awkward. More awkward than the time when I asked him what kind of mattress he sleeps on.
"Do you want to know, Tenten?" His calm posture and the smirk on his face made me warily inch toward the other corner, on the other side of the tiny elevator, anything to stop me from believing that my boss is trying to flirt with me. Maybe Naruto was right, Neji is a closet pervert after all.
When the elevator arrives at the top, it doesn't get stuck. That trick won't work because the Hyuuga Corporation has the best of the best elevators in the world, so I've been told by Hinata.
She came by to visit lately and every time she rides the elevator with me (because I always find an excuse to get away from my stuffy desk, go to the lobby, and greet Hinata), she says it is like riding on a cloud. Might I remind you that she is three months pregnant and can collapse if she is light headed, but Hinata stayed strong. Even I admit I get a bit woozy if I ride the elevator too much. It's probably because I am usually on an empty stomach, or had a little too much to eat during lunch.
Neji heads straight to his office and I head to the lounge to grab some breakfast. I've got to say, I love it when there is breakfast provided by the place you work. Every morning, there is always a table with healthy, organic (seriously), delicious looking arrangements of breakfast food just waiting to be consumed.
This morning, however, I skipped grabbing a cup of chocolate soy milk and a cheese bagel and went to the counter to fill up a cup of coffee a white mug. Then, I went past my desk and didn't bother to place my bag down on my chair and knocked on my boss' door. I opened it before he even got a chance to reply.
"Here's your coffee, sir." I smiled and set it on his desk, or should I say, tried to find a place to set it down upon. Scattered every where were files of documents stack upon stack. It's safe to say that he haven't seen the surface of his desk in a very long time. So, instead I held it out to him, which he accepts and takes a sip of it.
"Is there something I can help you with, Tenten?" He didn't say "thank you" for the coffee, nor look up. This was the phrase he would use every time I hand him a cup of coffee, and I was waiting for it. Why else would I skip breakfast just to give him a cup of coffee? I cleared my throat with a cough.
You have to understand that I am a curious person. It's human nature, but I am very curious, the very curious of the curious, in fact. When I was five, I wondered where babies came from when girls my age played mother to a doll. I mean, where, not from whom. I knew all babies came from females, but I couldn't help but want to know how they come out of the big bulging stomachs. When I asked my teacher, she just ignored me. It turned out that a five year old girl should not find out where babies come from at all, especially after you've witness it on a medical video. Trust me, it will scar you for life.
"Tenten?" I gulped out of nervousness, thinking, this is now or later. I waited for later.
"Are you a virgin?" His silver eyes flickered to me instantly. Now, I got his attention. Yeah me! Usually, it was hard to get two minutes of his time just to sign a document. I waited for him to reply, tilting my head slightly. He gave me a look. At first, I thought he was going to give me an answer, but turned out that my hope was shot down when he said only one thing.
"Nara," the surname escaped his lips like a curse: quiet with a hint of annoyance. I started to laugh. I wasn't laughing at him, rather I was laughing at the fact that he knew what was going on. Reaching into my bag, I pulled out a magazine.
"It arrived at the door of my apartment last night. I must say, it was an interesting night read," the smile was still on my face.
Awkward silences cannot be filled by a mere single word. Not even the random ones. But in my situation, Hyuuga Neji managed to do the impossible.
Sometimes I wonder if he's human because nothing really seemed to faze him. Not even that one time when a huge spider crawled on his desk while I was in his office asking him for a signature. He simply takes a glass cup, trapped it on a piece of paper and let it crawl out the window, unharmed. If it was me, that thing would be dead in a matter of seconds, or I'd have someone else do it for me. I can't stand things that have more than four legs. Humans, I can tolerate. Cats, dogs, and hamsters I can handle. A hairy, eight legged spider? See you in hell because I will not regret killing you.
But at the moment, I didn't want to kill a big and hairy spider who decided that showing itself might cause heart attacks. At the moment, I wanted to get my small, but strong hands wrapped around the neck of Hyuuga Neji as I strangle him to death.
"I must apologize." Although those words left his mouth, the tone of his voice did not sound like he was sorry at all. His response just made me want to walk faster. I just couldn't believe him. Why in the world would he do such a thing? He stole my first kiss, damnit!
"I don't want to talk to you," I seethed, plowing through the streets of the city. Upon my escape, I did not appreciate that the streets were packed. My attempt to get away from him was useless because he was at my side in a matter of minutes, smoothly keeping up with my pace.
"It was an accident, Tenten." He stood in front of me, blocking my path. I refused to make eye contact with him, but in my line of vision, I saw something thrust toward me. It was a white tulip. "The flower of forgiveness." I turned my body away from him. I was not the one for flowers, or gifts. It was a downright insult if he thinks he can buy his forgiveness. "Tenten." My name deaf to my own ears, I continued to walk farther and farther until I didn't hear his voice. I know I didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of running away, but I can try right? A head start is all I needed, a turn there and a duck here. I was the queen of evasion maneuver. As I got away, I wondered if he gave up. Well, I can tell you: no, he didn't because I ran right into him, which was humanly impossible, but facts do not lie. Before I had time to recoil, my body was securely locked into place with his hands on my shoulders. I felt my chin lifted up by his cold slender finger, forcing me to look into his silver depths. He was trying to get my attention. How cute. Not.
"Hyuuga Neji. I am not going to forgive for what you just did," I told him, just in case he didn't understand.
"Then let me make it up to you." How do you give back your first kiss? You can't. You don't. Who even asks that kind of question? Unless. . .it was his first kiss too! Oh, God. Kill me now. I wouldn't have thought, out of all the people in the world, Hyuuga Neji would be the one who has never been kissed. . .until now. I was his first kiss! How can this get any worst then this? My boss stole my first kiss! At first, my brain was calculating the down fall to this, but what are the odds of having attractive and young, established, successful, not to mention wealthy socialite of the elite be your first kiss? Not a lot, I've got to admit, then again I could always use this fact to blacmail him. 'So why what is the point of staying mad?' I thought.
"You can start by letting go," I relaxed a little, just a little. "I'm still angry at you. Just do not do it ever again! I mean, why did you even-with me-and-" I was lost for words, obviously you notice from my lack of concentration to string together a measly sentence. "Why me?" I said at last. Mind you, I wasn't whining, but I just can't help it!
He doesn't say anything and stands there, holding the flower at his side. The short distance between us did not make a difference as others pushed their way through the blocked traffic of teenagers and gossipers wanting to speculate the situation.
"Because," he took a step towards me. The flower is the only thing between us now. "They are watching," the soft whisper of his low tone did not falter me even in our embrace.
First he kisses me in public, then he hugs me and for what?
For a show.
Right then and there, I thought to myself, 'Okay, if he wants to play, I am willing to play as well.'
A kiss for a kiss.
A show for a show.
"Let the games begin, Hyuuga Neji."
I am ready.
-Neji took Tenten out to breakfast.
-She got introduced to the "family".
-Hiashi didn't really care for that matter.
-The event at breakfast was to show Hiashi that Neji was serious about Tenten being his girlfriend.
-Clearly, Hanabi disapproves.
-Naruto and Hinata were there for support.
-After flying that fruit tart into Hiashi's face, Naruto is overjoyed, Tenten has mixed emotions, and Neji is definitely annoyed.
-They never made it to the bridal shop for the formal fitting, by the way. Not that Neji was eager to go there in the first place (Tenten pestered him relentlessly and he gave in).
-Enter the sub-plots:
-Tenten questions Neji's virginity because of an article Shikamaru wrote to get back at the Hyuuga.
-He sent a copy of that magazine to Uchiha Sasuke, including to Tenten
-Now Neji is out to get back at Shikamaru.
Back on track:
-After shoving Neji toward Tenten, Naruto accidently shoved a bit too hard.
-Result: Neji and Tenten kissed in public.
-Neji sees this situation as a thing he can use in his plan because Hiashi have spies covering their every move.
-Tenten is slightly mad at him, nevertheless she plays along, plotting her own revenge against Neji.
How will she be able to do that?
Find out soon.
A/N: Reviews plus author equals happiness and speedy updates.
Thank you for reading!