notes: ohai, it's been a while! I previously took this story off-site because it was plagiarised a couple of times and I got a little bit overprotective, but please bear with me as I re-upload the slightly edited chapters of Bad Behaviour. 'Slightly edited' because I want to keep my chapters as closely as possible to their original ones save for grammar and punctuation problems. This is in no way reflective of my current writing abilities—or the lack thereof, haha.
Here's hoping that this story's more consistent now! I'm afraid there's nothing I can do about the difference in writing style at the beginning and the end, but it should be progressive enough that it doesn't bother you too much. Thank you, and do enjoy. :)
I know I misbehaved and you made your mistakes
And we both still got room left to grow
And though love sometimes hurts, I still put you first
And we'll make this thing work
(—Ordinary People, John Legend)
Uchiha Sasuke didn't do parties.
The whys were clear as day, really. He just didn't understand why no one else agreed with him. No matter what event was being celebrated, parties were loud, annoying, messy, dirty, noisy, disturbing, useless, and every other adjective to that effect that could contribute to his list.
Being the CEO of the Uchiha Corporation and one of the most successful young men in Japan (he was featured on the front page of Tokyo Daily once), it was a given that he was invited to a lot of parties. Weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, product launches… every kind of party imaginable, he'd attended just for the sake of making connections—something, he'd admit grudgingly, that was essential in the business scene.
He loved his company a whole lot, but he sure as hell wouldn't mind giving up this bit.
So it was only reasonable that he was in a rather unforgiving mood when Naruto came into his office earlier at eight o'clock to drag him away to a launch party. He'd been planning to go home at nine, take a bath, and then read a book or get some sleep. He certainly preferred that more than having to stand in this noisy, crowded ballroom with a fake smile on his lips.
A tall, gorgeous woman in her forties, dressed in gold from top to toe, passed by and sent him a flirtatious smile.
God, Sasuke thought, suppressing a shudder. Even working on some paperwork in his office would be better than this.
"Don't look so grumpy, Sasuke!" An arm circled around his neck. "You're scaring all the beautiful girls away!" It was Naruto, of course, holding a glass of champagne and grinning so widely it must have hurt his cheeks. "You see, the reason why I asked you to come with me is so that you can relax and have fun!"
"The reason you dragged me here, you mean," Sasuke corrected. "I certainly don't remember ever agreeing."
"Oh, you pain me!" Naruto clutched his chest dramatically. "Smile, silly, smile! Let the world know you're not as intimidating as you set yourself out to be. You know that's how they portray you in the media."
"Yeah," Naruto nodded. "Now here, go get some champagne and then dance or something. You spent years learning how to waltz and it's all useless knowledge if you don't use them, correct?"
"It's not like I spent those years willingly," Sasuke responded defensively. "I was left with no choice."
And it was true. Dance classes, music classes, tea ceremony classes, extra lessons on various things—being the Uchiha heir had its advantages, but in Naruto's opinion, it was more trouble than it was worth. What did tea ceremonies have to do with business, anyway?
Grinning, he patted Sasuke's shoulder sympathetically. "That's why you have to make use of them," he said, gesturing towards the bar. "You see that woman over there?"
Sasuke automatically craned his neck and followed the direction of Naruto's gesture. There was a woman sitting at the bar, nursing a cocktail glass in her hand. The gown she was wearing had an almost indecently low back and her long hair, cascading over her shoulders in gentle waves, was coloured pink. Pink! Sasuke thought with bewilderment. He'd never seen such a hair colour before, and certainly not at high-class parties like this where everyone pretended their asses off to be prim and proper.
"Go ask her to dance with you," Naruto urged. "She looks pretty."
"Her hair is pink." Sasuke couldn't help but to state the obvious.
"All the more reason to go after her, don't you think? You always said you wanted someone one-of-a-kind, and well, she's one of a kind."
"I don't even know her!"
Naruto laughed. "So get to know her! Go have fun!"
Sasuke narrowed his eyes at his best friend. "Why are you so persistent?" he asked suspiciously. "Did you do something wrong? Screwed up on a business deal? Lost an important customer?"
"How could you!" To his credit, Naruto dropped his jaw, looking hurt for a few seconds before the expression completely disappeared, only to be replaced with another mischievous grin. "It's because you should have fun, idiot! Because you haven't had a girlfriend in forever and you're overworking yourself. It's unhealthy! I'm just trying to protect you from unnecessary sicknesses—ow!" he stopped when Sasuke suddenly whacked his head. "What did you do that for?"
"Whose fault is it that I'm overworking myself?" Sasuke glared. "Who never does what he's supposed to do?"
At this, Naruto grinned sheepishly. "I give up," he raised his hands. "How about this, then: I'll start doing whatever I'm supposed to do if you would just go ask one girl—one girl, any girl—to dance with you?"
His glare intensifying, Sasuke crossed his arms. "You are supposed to do what's assigned to you. I'm not buying it." He paused thoughtfully for a few seconds. It was not every day that he made a deal with Naruto, and he better milk it for all it was worth. "You know what? I'll do as you say if you accept my conditions."
Naruto's eager face dropped. "What are they?"
"One, you're not allowed to call me above eleven anymore," Sasuke began, ticking it off his fingers one by one. "Two, no more calling me at any time just to blackmail me into getting you some ramen. Three, you're to be my official representative for parties such as this. Four, no more forcing me to do anything like this ever again."
Naruto growled at him. "That's really cheap of you," he grumbled scathingly. "Who do you think I'm doing this for? All you! This is one-sided! You don't play fair!"
"I never said I would," Sasuke said, smirking triumphantly. "Do we have a deal?"
Naruto's blue eyes flashed. "Only if you can get her number and home address."
Sasuke's smirk widened. That would be easy. "Deal."
They shook hands.
Haruno Sakura loved parties.
She loved them because they were lively. She loved them because they ordinarily celebrated a happy occasion. She loved them because there were music and dancing, and more than anything, she had always enjoyed music and dancing.
This party was definitely not the kind of party she wished to attend, though. Quite far from it, in fact.
Sitting down a few feet away from her was Matsuri Sagi, CEO of one of the top companies in Japan and the host of the party. He was flirting heavily—and shamelessly—with a woman around her age, and witnessing the scene was a total turn-off. Taking a deep breath, Sakura turned her attention to the bartender, about to request for another drink when suddenly, someone dropped into the empty seat next to hers.
Sakura smiled forcibly, knowing already the kind of things that question might lead to. Daring herself to look up, she was forced to be face-to-face with a man. "Not really," she replied coldly.
"Not really?" the man repeated, a warm, inviting smile tugging on his lips. He was handsome, probably in his late thirties, and he was definitely the type who would never take no for an answer. "What does that mean?"
"It means that yes, I'm alone," Sakura returned the smile with a polite smile, "but I have quite a lot of things on my plate tonight." She grabbed her purse and stood up, but he caught her arm in a firm grip.
"Is that so?" His smile turned into a sneer. "Well, that's really too bad. I wouldn't mind some company, myself. It's a lonely night, after all—"
She tried to pry his fingers off to no avail. "Please let go."
Any trace of friendliness disappeared completely from his handsome face. "Quit playing hard-to-get, sweetheart," he coaxed, his grip tightening, "You and I both know that we want it. So why don't we go somewhere we can be alone, huh? Say, we book a room and stay the night? My name is Hiro, by the way."
Sakura almost wanted to laugh. This was turning into a seriously crappy night. "Please let go," she repeated. "I can't guarantee that you'll be in perfect condition if you don't—"
"Oh, is that a threat?" Hiro laughed, his voice shrill and the gleam in his eyes wicked, "I like that, lady. You seem to have a fiery temper, and I've always wanted to—" he stopped laughing suddenly when he saw someone appearing behind Sakura. "Oh—"
A hand gently touched her shoulder and Sakura turned around, suddenly face-to-face with a tall man with ink-black hair and dark eyes. "Excuse me," he said, offering a polite, warm smile, his speech smooth as he glanced at Hiro, "What business do you have with my friend?"
"She's your friend?" Hiro looked surprised. He then turned to Sakura, his gaze accusing, "You said you were alone!"
Her saviour turned to face her. "Do you know this man?"
"No," she answered, shaking her head.
Growling in frustration, Hiro stood up and left, disappearing into the crowd. As soon as he was completely out of view, the second man let go of Sakura's shoulder and started to leave.
Reflexively, Sakura reached out and grabbed his arm. "Wait!"
He turned around again, facing her. "Yes?"
"I…" Sakura paused. His face looked familiar, and she was almost sure she'd seen him somewhere—on the cover of some magazine, most likely, since almost everybody here was a big shot of one kind or another—but she couldn't seem to recall his name. "Um, thank you."
"You're welcome," he said. He stared at her hand on his arm and opened his mouth, though no words came out.
"Oh! I'm so sorry," Sakura blushed quickly and withdrew her hand as if she'd touched fire. "Can I buy you a drink? I mean, as a thank you?"
"No," he said, carefully studying her face. "I appreciate the offer, but you can return the favour to me some other way, if you want to."
Relief flooded her. "Of course!"
"Can I drive you home tonight?"
Sakura opened her mouth, surprised. The question was completely out of the blue, and agreeing would be foolish. No—more than foolish. He was a stranger, for goodness' sake. He might have helped her, but he might just as well be lying right now, but… but he helped her.
"Now?" Sakura asked, staring at his face once more, trying to see if there was anything beneath his calm demeanour. Well, you don't actually have transport home tonight, she argued to herself. And he really doesn't look like he's lying.
Sensing her confusion, he sighed. "Listen. I hate this party, and I need a reason to get out of here. You don't seem to be enjoying yourself a lot, either, so I thought—" he ran a hand over his hair. "Just think of it as returning the favour, if you wish."
"Sure," she answered finally. "Sure, I'd love to, um—?"
"Uchiha Sasuke," he told her, and then there it was: the faintest hint of a smile tugging on the corners of his lips. "I'll get the car."
notes: Thanks for reading. :)