Reviews are awesome, reviewers even more awesome. I love you guys thanks so much! Without further ado, here is chapter seven (or legally chapter six but whatev)
Disclaimer: I am a poor, broke little girl who does not own ANY copyrights. Please don't rub that in my face.
An EXTRA big thanks to SparkDazzleDuez for reviewing every single chapter. You're freakin awesome. Much love.
Sakura's first reaction was "Pfft!"
Her second was "Whaat?"
Her third "Why would INO invite ME to a party?"
Her fourth "AAAH! I don't have ANYTHING to wear!"
Her Fifth "I must call someone!"
Her sixth "Maybe I won't go."
Her seventh "Okay, I'll go… but I won't like it."
"Good." Kurenai pinched the bridge of her nose. It had taken almost an hour for Sakura to come to that conclusion. In the meanwhile, Kurenai, being her manager, had emptied out her closet and lay out outfit potentials. "I really like this backless black silk number, but maybe we should go with something less sexy." She paused, observing her client "Less flash and a little more innocence. I'll need help with this one." She pulled out her cell phone once more.
Ino Yamanaka may be seen as a stupid blonde, a slut, and incompetent at times, but those were all rumors. Hiding behind those large blue eyes was a soul both devious and shrew. She knew how things ran behind the curtains. Sakura Haruno was a child in comparison. This was Ino's world and she was going to make sure she knew that.
The sun was sinking into the west, setting the entire horizon on fire. Sakura stood on her balcony breathing in the (semi) fresh air. In the distance she could hear the hum of traffic, a woman's shrill voice, a baby's cry, someone's dog barking, and Kurenai calling her name. She felt like a fariytale princess, waiting for her prince to ride up on his white stallion and ride off into the flaming sunset.
Instead of a prince she had her manager. A limo replaced her stallion, and instead of a ball she was attending perhaps the most dangerous event of her young lifetime.
She swallowed loudly. Did she dare?
Walking in a dreamlike state, she re-entered her bedroom and allowed herself to be guided into the massive bathroom. There a team of stylists awaited her. They pushed her onto a stool where she was directed to sit absolutely still as they beautified her.
She didn't protest as one woman cruelly yanked her hair with a toothy comb. She didn't whimper as someone accidentally came too close with the curling iron. She watched her reflection in the mirror as the woman rotated the iron. She LOOKED like a prettier version of her old self, but inside she felt like someone completely different, someone on the verge of an epiphany.
She allowed Kurenai to decide on the dress, and winced as two women worked to pin her new curls into a classy style.
Here goes nothing, she thought.
By the time they pulled up to the location Sakura knew they were late. Kurenai placated her by saying that all famous people arrive a few minutes past the designated time. Sakura said nothing in reply, just stared. It looked like a hotel, or maybe a club, or even a high class restaurant. She didn't get a chance to look around as Kurenai hustled her past the paparazzi and through the glass doors.
She was instantly transported into a massive ballroom. She gaped. It was JUST like the fairytales, with a modern twist of course. In the center of the room was a gazebo holding a small orchestra from which soft strands of music came. Around them everything was black and white. The tables, the clothes of the upper society people, everything save for a giant splash of red which cut its way through the crowds towards her.
It was a dress, a clingy, low cut, mini-dress and it was sexy. Sakura stared in mild irritation and wonder as Ino stopped short in front of her and smiled. The smile was anything but sincere. "Hello Sakura, how nice to see you!" she air kissed Sakura's left cheek then her right. Sakura clumsily tried to catch up and nearly tripped over her snow white heels. "We have light refreshments on the right, of course you really don't need any more food do you? Socialize and enjoy yourself!" she added perkily as if she didn't just try to insult her. "I have some important people to talk to. I'll see you later!
Sakura nodded, feeling a little dizzy. Kurenai on her right issued a low curse. "I hate the Yamanaka family! Listen Sakura, I have some schmoozing to do, will you be alright?"
She nodded again.
"Good. Let me know if ANYTHING goes wrong." She fixed her with a meaningful glare "Okay?"
"Yes ma'am." Sakura said meekly.
Then she was all alone.
"Hey man, what's happenin?" The blonde gave him a hearty thump on the back.
"Great party huh?" he asked, tugging at the collar of his tuxedo.
"Where's Ino? I haven't seen her since I came in. Oh look, there's Kiba and Shikamaru. I oughta go say hi to them. Wanna come along?"
"Hey who's THAT?" he pointed.
Finally his companion turned. Standing uncomfortably near the entrance was a girl with shocking pink hair. Upon closer inspection they realized it was natural. Her jade green eyes were wide and frightened. She definitely wasn't one of them. She looked like a saint standing in an all white virginal gown that left much to the imagination but with enough sensuality to keep men looking. Several young men took advantage of that privilege to size her up.
She glanced around, twisting a ring on her right hand finger. The white of the dress brought out what was blaringly obvious, she was innocent. Whether a first time reporter or a new star she had no idea what she was in for.
"Wow she's hot! I'm gonna go talk to her."
He glanced sharply at his friend. "Hn."
There were people EVERYWHERE and not just your everyday average joe's, these people were the upper crust of society. Top of the line. What every man aspired to be and here she stood mingling with them, well actually, standing on the outskirts having a mini-heart attack.
"OhGodohGodohGodohGod!" it became a silent mantra for her as her panicked eyes scoured the room for a familiar face. She saw none, save the faces she usually saw littering magazines or on the cover of best selling memoirs. She couldn't believe she craved solitude earlier today, now all she wanted was a friend.
"Hey there!" a cheerful, masculine voice yelled right by her ear.
Sakura nearly died right there. Clutching her heart she turned and saw what she had been longing for, a familiar and friendly face. She tried to remember where she'd seen the blonde haired blue eyed beauty before. "Oh! You're in my homeroom!"
"My name is Naruto Uzumaki and I think you're hot!" Naruto blurted out his feelings not too subtly.
"Um…" Sakura felt her cheeks grow warm as a few people turned their heads in her direction. "Thank you?" She searched her memory for Naruto's name. She'd heard it before somewhere… Oh! That's right! He came from a long line of classic actors. He was literally made of old money. He was the black sheep in the family who, rather than try and uphold the family name, played in spoof movies and started his own singing career and surfer clothes line. She remembered the scathing reviews written by his family members and the month long hype over his father's sudden death.
She stared into his large blue eyes for a moment. He really was good looking in a tan, surfer boy kind of way. There were so many attractive people there. She felt herself flush a little more. "I've heard of you…"
"I've heard of you too!" he told her enthusiastically "Small world huh?"
She smiled. He wasn't anything like she imagined.
"Hey, wanna meet my friends?" he suddenly propositioned.
Sakura blinked "Um, I don't know…" she looked around. She was still standing near the entryway. If she refused, she would look like an eve BIGGER albatross. Feeling the pressure of the situation, she consented "I would love to."
"Cool. Come on." He grabbed her hand, uncaring of the startled stares they were receiving, and dragged her past the orchestra near the back of the ballroom.
"This is Kiba, the guy sleeping on the wall is Shikamaru, that guy is Shino, and I lost place of Sasuke." Naruto proudly announced, and not very quietly either "Guys meet Sakura Haruno! She's my new friend!"
Sakura gaped. There were so many good looking people. She had never felt so out of place in her life. She quickly remembered her manners "N-nice to meet you!"
The boy introduced as Kiba practically lunged across, shaking her hand willingly. He gave a cheeky smile which fit his whole rugged countenance and the red triangle tattooed on each cheek. "You're the Haruno heiress! It's nice to finally see you in person. How are you liking the good life so far?"
Was that a trick question? "It's… good." She finally managed to say. He was extremely handsome. She could picture Tenten swooning over his muscles which his tuxedo did little to hide.
The sleeping one, Shikamaru, snorted a little before settling back into his slumber. He smacked his lips lightly.
What an interesting group of people.
"Awesome!" Kiba laughed, undeterred by her inherit shyness. If anything it seemed to increase his interest in her. "Which of your Father's houses do you live at? The Hawaii one, the LA Castle, or ooh the Miami beach house?" His voice was as casual as if he were discussing the weather. Such luxuries were commonplace to the people in this room. "I forgot you went to school with Naruto," he chided himself "The LA castle. How is it? I've heard it's as nice as MJ's crib."
"Um…" she felt nervous under their scrutiny "I live in the hotel."
Kiba guffawed loudly, his laughter echoing slightly. Sakura turned red. Naruto smacked the back of his friend's head. "Stop it you moron! You're embarrassing her!"
"No that's alright…" she tried to say.
"YOU'RE THE EMBARASSMENT!" Kiba bellowed in return pulling his fist back for a punch.
"Both of you are embarrassing…" The sleeper said drowsily, raising his spiky pineapple shaped head. His lazy dark eyes traveled to Sakura "can you get me a cigarette?"
"I don't smoke." She said apologetically "Sorry."
She smiled a little as he tilted his head back and muttered a pained 'troublesome.' Sakura realized she was finally beginning to feel comfortable in this big scary world. She had no reason to be afraid. No matter what Ino was planning, she couldn't harm her in front of all these witnesses.
That was all before she heard a shrill female voice call "Sakura dear, come this way! I want to introduce you to some people!"
Her whole body went cold.
Ino was smiling. Her red lips pulled tight against her face in a pained expression. Everything about it was fake, fake, fake. She laughed a little too loudly, a sharp edge to her merriment. She kept her blue eyes on the pink haired girl as she introduced her to a few people.
Phase one is a go.
This time her smile was for real.
Sakura didn't know what to say to any of these people. They reeked of money – of lavish lifestyles and frivolous spending. She felt like a deer in headlights as they turned to her, awaiting her response.
She couldn't remember the question "Um, will you excuse me please?" she asked shakily. She removed herself from their presence before they could stop her.
Ino accosted her before she took three steps "Where are you going? Is everything okay?" her voice was thick with concern, but her eyes were sharp. Sakura reminded herself that she was dealing with an actress here.
"No I just… I don't know what to say to them."
Ino rubbed her bare arm comfortingly "Don't worry, there will be plenty of conversation time at dinner."
The words echoed in her mind ominously.
Sakura was trembling like a leaf. She was seated at one of the classy round dining tables. Ino to her left and Naruto to her right with Kiba in front of her. Kiba and Naruto exchanged playful banter, and Kiba smiled at Ino and made several lecherous jokes. Ino was clearly uncomfortable and out of her environment, but then again, so was Sakura.
The dishes were placed before them. Silver plates on top of a white tablecloth. 'What is that?' Sakura stared, wide eyed at the strange looking food. The other occupants of the table had already picked up their forks and knives and were carefully slicing through their meal.
The musicians in the gazebo played a soft tune, perfect for dining. The violinists swayed softly with the music. They were probably the only people truly enjoying this event.
Sakura swallowed loudly. She had never seen so many forks in her life! They glinted cruelly in the soft light of the chandeliers. Which fork was for which? It was like being taught to eat with chopsticks (a process that took her three months to master). She decided her only option was to ask for help. "Um Naruto," she whispered, leaning over to ensure that Ino wasn't listening in "Which fork am I supposed to use?"
He was about to respond when Ino threw back her head and laughed. Loudly. She effectively gained the attention of surrounding tables and a few of the orchestra members "Oh Sakura dear, you are so FUNNY!" she laughed some more.
Sakura chuckled nervously and Naruto looked on the verge of anger.
"Oh Penelope!" she called to a table across the room. A dark haired woman looked up and smiled in response, although wondering why the blonde was talking so loudly "This is the Sakura girl I told you about, you know the poor one. She says the FUNNIEST things!"
Sakura had a bad feeling about this.
"She just asked which fork to use! Oh Sakura you are such a kidder! Who would've thought you are so funny?" Ino slapped her on the back a little harder than friendly. She paused to read the pink haired girl's expression and turned her own to one of embarrassed shock "you mean… you don't know?" her voice easily projected across the room "Your father is so rich and he can't even teach you basic etiquette? How embarrassing! I feel so sorry for you! I apologize, I never realized how little you belong here."
There was a sudden silence. One of the orchestra members nearly dropped his violin "oh snap!"
"Oh no she di-in't!" another proclaimed.
Just what she needed, pity from the background music. Sakura tried to quell the flames that took over her entire face. She couldn't believe what Ino just insinuated, and in front of all these fancily dressed people!
"Don't worry Sakura," the evil bitch from hell continued in a sickeningly condescending voice, "you don't need to use the 'right fork'. We all know you're just a poor little girl so you can use whatever and we'll forgive you…"
Sakura had enough. It was time for her to stand up for herself. She glared up at the petty blonde.
"Shut up Ino!"
Unfortunately those words did not come from her. Everyone turned and stared in amazement at a trembling Naruto Uzumaki. He clenched his fists tightly and stood up, knocking the chair down behind him. "Stop treating Sakura like that! She's a nice girl!"
"I'm sure she is," Ino cooed, a sweet smile on her face "how many times did you fuck him to get him to stand up for you like that?" she asked Sakura.
"INO!" Sakura gasped.
Ino scrunched her face up "Three right?" she guessed. "Usually by then he does whatever you want him to do." She drew out the last words teasingly, drawing circles in her plate of mush or whatever it was.
"You're right." A voice came from a nearby table. All heads turned sharply in that direction. The orchestra had stopped playing by now. Everyone watched the ensuing drama with the same attentiveness given to a soap opera. Ino's jaw dropped. Sakura's jaw dropped. Naruto grinned and tried to sit down before realizing too late that his chair had dropped.
"Sakura is just a poor little girl…" the deep voice continued. A woman with particularly large hair leaned her head back, making the speaker known to Sakura. She gasped again. It was Sasuke! Sasuke's here! Wait, why was he calling her poor? Wasn't he supposed to be on her side? This was all so confusing… she wanted to go home and snuggle her cat and drown her feelings in a tub of ice cream.
"…and I in return and just a poor little uneducated boy. Is that what you are insinuating Ino?"
The blonde stared at him, finally at a loss for words.
"I don't know which fork is which." He raised a fork and dropped it on the floor. The noise of its fall seemed to echo "I don't know a damn thing about anything. After all, I'm just stupid and poor, just like Sakura."
Sakura couldn't understand if he was mocking her or Ino. She had to admit, he looked rather fetching in a sharp black tuxedo.
Then Sasuke did something completely unexpected. He began digging into his food noisily, with his bare hands. Naruto, who for some reason was on the same wavelength as he, did the same. Kiba quickly followed. Ino looked horrified. Sakura was confused. Shikamaru fell face-first, snoring, into his plate.
Sasuke stopped abruptly; his tuxedo ruined, and threw his plate against the wall. He grabbed the plates of the other table occupants and sent them hurtling to the ground, the floor, any solid surface. Already the kitchen staff scurried toward him; prepared to clean up the mess and remove him from the premises "DAMN YOU!" he yelled, pointing an accusing finger at the blonde witch "DAMN YOU ALL AND YOUR PICTURE PERFECT DINNERS AND YOUR LIVES FULL OF LIES! IF SAKURA CAN'T EAT HERE THAN NEITHER CAN I!" his rage filled eyes turned to Ino "Are you happy now? In your disgusting red dress, black would have suited you better- it matches the color of your soul."
He allowed himself to be escorted out of the room. The entire place now buzzed with excited voices. The Uchiha threw a tantrum! How humiliating! An old woman tittered behind her enormous fan.
Sakura couldn't believe her eyes or her ears. Was that her Sasuke, the same boy whose only response to her endless questions was a pat on the head? She stood up abruptly, awkwardly. Ino was fuming and she didn't want to be on the butt end of her wrath. All eyes turned on her. She nearly passed out with the sudden attention "Um… goodnight everyone." She raced out the same door Sasuke was taken through.
It was cold outside, but significantly warmer than the atmosphere within the building. Garbage cans balled up pieces of paper on the pavement, finally a familiar scene. She stared up at the moonless, cloudless, starless sky of the city. She shivered, hugging her uncomfortably bare shoulders. Next time she was bringing a scarf! Never mind, there won't be a next time. She would just thank Ino for the invite and stay home.
Her green eyes scanned the ally she magically appeared in and saw a familiar profile leaning against the building staring up at the unfriendly sky. "Sasuke!" the tip of her heel dipped into a puddle. She shrieked as the liquid splashed up her freshly waxed legs.
That didn't stop her from dodging the puddles until she reached her destination.
Sasuke's eyes turned to her lethargically "You okay?"
"Are YOU okay?" she parroted.
She opened her mouth to say something, anything-
"Its called acting." He informed her, his voice as dry as ever.
"I used to want to be an actor before…" he turned away, his ebony locks covering his eyes "Ino deserves to be humiliated at her own event. She shouldn't have called you out like that."
"You mean…" Sakura's green eyes grew even wider, if possible. She took a hesitant step forward "You did all that… for me? That was fake?" She stared in utter disbelief. He had turned the tables on Ino and taken all attention away from Sakura in his little act. He humiliated himself just to protect her "But why?"
Sasuke smirked, finally returning his smoldering gaze to hers "... They'll forgive me, they HAVE to and they'll conveniently forget it."
He moved his lean body from the wall and started to walk away. Sakura didn't want him to leave, not before she thanked him. "Sasuke wait!" he paused mid-step and glanced at her over his shoulder. A cold wind ruffled his hair and clothes.
She realized that was the closest to a response she would get from him. He was done talking and would most likely melt back into the dark. She still didn't fully understand his reasoning but she was in no position to question him. "I-I…" she tried again "Thank you."
He slowly pivoted and stepped closer, closer, his spiky hair highlighted by the street light behind him. Sakura swallowed as he came uncomfortably close. She wasn't sure of his intentions, but she knew he wasn't the kind of person to take advantage of a girl in an alleyway. She could smell his signature scent. The brush of his soiled tuxedo against her hand caused her to blush.
He raised his hand carefully and…
…patted her on the head twice.
Sakura mentally berated herself for getting nervous over nothing. She watched him leave. She wondered where he was going and where he lived. Maybe one day he would tell her. She sighed to herself and watched the sky until her Kurenai popped out the door yelling at her.
She remained silent for the car ride home and dragged her feet to her hotel room. Once she found her bed she landed heavily, grabbed her yowling cat, and fell into a lazy dreamless sleep.
Ha-ha weird right? I thought about that scene with Sasuke yelling for a while, he's quite the actor isn't he? It'll all make sense a little later, but if you really wanna know I'll PM you okay?
Thanks for the support, you guys are my dream. Oh I STARTED A NEW STORY! It's AU about the four girls of Naruto. I guess its kind of like Sisterhood of the Traveling pants, only… different. Be sure to check it out okay? Thanks in advance love you!