I wrote this last February but never got to finishing it. Finally, I have.
I've gotten slightly addicted to Mario Puzo's literature, the show 'Las Vegas', and the controversial universe of casinos. Might as well make do with it while it lasts…
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or the song I'm using: 'Making Love Out of Nothing At All' by Air Supply.
Note: Rated T-M for concepts and words. There is no smut in this shot. Not that I'd consider it as so… Oh, and probable OOC-ness. But that's what adds the spice, anyway.
To gamble wasn't her expertise. She could lose a bag of black chips in twenty minutes and never gain a single cent from all the gambling, be it with from Black Jack or the reel machines. And, oftentimes, she'd question her existence in this roulette world, because of this usual and uncanny bad luck.
Trying to squeeze her systems over a glass of margarita, Tenten had known better than to reserve a four-man table at the six o'clock showgirl performance in the Ocean wing of the Clarkson hotel. Though she had invited the only three friends she had in the entire world—three bastards who'd lend her three grand with the knowledge of her rash gambling luck—for tonight's show, she was assured that none of them would show up.
Lee has always been an indulgent drinker, she knew. He wouldn't attend a show for his life, as long as he was six yards away from the gin bar in the Garden wing. It'd get dangerously drastic, though, when he'd decide to pop open a bottle of tequila and kiss his sanity goodbye for the night. Technically the reason why the rest of the hotel has personally banned him from alcoholic drinks, as long as he was outside the gin bar.
As for Gai, she knew better than to even think of walking beside him within the walls of the Clarkson. If she was a Vegas disgrace, Gai was a breathing black cat. With every roll of a dice, with every flip of a card and with every drop of his gambling money, Gai would lose his bet on even his life. One coin always equals to an elephant falling on his head. Figuratively, of course, except for the one time it truly happened. Though he is aware of his luck, he still proceeds in throwing his money into the drain.
She was surprised, though, when one of her friends reared his monstrous head. She has always thought Neji Hyuga was "too busy to have a life". The whole world of Vegas and beyond knew his name, pressed onto the golden plate of his car. He was constantly on everyone's good side—drinking with politicians and celebrities, mingling with gawd-knows-who in minutes, and sleeping with the richest and most influential bitches known.
I know just how to whisper,
And I know just how to cry;
I know just where to find the answers;
And I know just how to lie.
I know just how to fake it,
And I know just how to scheme;
I know just when to face the truth,
And then I know just when to dream.
"I was on the verge of assuming that I'd be sharing margaritas and this show with ghosts again," Tenten told him as he took his seat across her, "I didn't think you'd show up. I thought you'd be busy with an engagement. Say, the international poker competition ongoing downstairs in the lobby? I heard the finals are rolling in at eight," She smacked the brim of her glass to her lips, savoring the cherry-strawberry.
Neji chuckled, telling her, "Poker's not my thing," It was his own way of saying that he lost his seven grand yesterday in that same damned game, "Besides, these seats are more than fifty grand, they say. It'd be a waste to not have my ass stuck on them," He called for a waitress, "You thought the two green machines would show up but not me?"
"I can always reel Lee in with a bribe of Smirnoff," Tenten said, ignoring the waitress who had come to take Neji's order, "But Gai wouldn't come here as long as it isn't a casino-side show. I think he'd die if he didn't burn his money within five seconds," Hearing Neji's order of sherry—a drink less for a man—afterwards, she softly giggled, "I'm still yet to know what would allow me to pull you into anything. Maybe it's because one of your girlfriends are performing tonight?"
An amused laugh crawled from Neji, "I don't have girlfriends, dear," he said, holding his sherry to his mouth, "I have sources. You know that I just deal with those women because of the greens they give me afterwards, right?" He gulped some of his beverage, "Do you really think I love those women? Please."
"Well, you sure know how to make a woman weep," Tenten admitted, turning her eyes away, "But, one of these days, you'll just regret ever toying with those women's hearts. Just because you don't have feelings doesn't mean we also don't, you know," She shot her eyes at him, trying to avoid his eyes.
Unfortunately for her, she found herself admiring them once again. Those milky eyes she has always wanted to get lost in. Her fingers have always yearned to come close to the slopes of his face, to cup them and feel his words smite her at an inch's distance. She wondered—always—if his lazy hands felt just as lustrous on her hips as much as they did on those black chips he values so much.
And I know just where to touch you,
And I know just what to prove;
I know when to pull you closer,
And I know when to let you loose.
And I know the night is fading,
And I know that times gonna fly;
And I'm never gonna tell you everything
I've got to tell you,
But I know I've got to give it a try.
"You're staring at me again, beautiful," The statement jolted Tenten mildly, like a lulling electric shock, "Am I really that gorgeous?" A snort came from Tenten in a sign of made-up disgust. She would agree to him if he weren't such an asshole. But, of course, she'd have to slip her way out rather than slap him with a backhand.
"No, I was just wondering," She lied, arching a brow at him confidently, "Just wondering how many hearts you've broken. And how often."
Another chuckle escaped Neji while he jokingly said, "About fifty, for this month," He answered correctly, "Shall I count yours into the list?" He playfully gave her a wink.
Tenten decided not to acknowledge his remark, to ignore it, as she turned her eyes towards the stage, where the curtains were finally parting. Three by three, the showgirls appeared onstage, manipulating the applause by storm with their stilettos and sequins, make-up and feathered suits. Suddenly, Tenten was beginning to question her purpose for choosing to watch the performance. After all, she could just look at herself in the mirror before a bath if she wanted to see curves and assets…
The colorful and complicated music of the show told the audience to stay awake, for they'll never know what they'll miss. Judging by the noise everyone else was making, Tenten was aware that it was only her and Neji who were too preoccupied with their drinks to even notice when the mechanical chimpanzees came. But, unlike Neji, Tenten could feel the hairs on the back of her head stand still…
She caught sight of the delicate strands trickling down the sides of Neji's temples, calling to her. The lean neck that lured her made her swallow long and hard. And, strange enough, Tenten felt her fingers twitch in a sizzle when Neji's incisors greeted her when he smiled involuntarily. To her dismay, she can practically hear herself if ever he were to graze on her…
And I know the roads to riches,
And I know the ways to fame;
I know all the rules
And then I know how to break them
And I always know the name of the game.
"Do you do it often?" What she said started even her, making her wish she had control over what could slip. She found herself facing him, watching him twist his lip to the side in a smirk that made her knees melt. He parted his lips slowly, trying to calculate his response, whatever it was. Tenten only hoped he knew what she meant.
"Do I do what often?" He murmured, puzzled by a percent, "Watch these showgirl performances? A lot, I guess, when I have some free time in my hands. Usually, I just come for the sherries, though," Tenten was intrigued by his answer, though it didn't answer her real question. But to hear Neji saying he had free time made her flinch. It sounded absurd, for some reason she didn't know.
"No, I mean," Tenten corrected, praying her words would come out right, "Do you… toy with those women often? Do you pretend to be in love with women just so you could get a percent of their money so often that it's almost like a habit already?" Through the clapping and hooting, Tenten could hardly even hear herself speak or think.
For another time for the night, Neji blew out a chuckle, "Why are you suddenly so curious about my private life?"
"It's not very private if the paparazzi will be writing about it the day after," Tenten argued, sipping her margarita, "Am I right?"
"Spicy now, aren't we?" Neji said, noting her fiery reply, "No need to be bitter about it. It's a good investment, I'll tell you. But, really, it's none of your business. Do you think I'd give you an answer to such a straight-forward query?" For a moment, he poked at a salted nut from the dish nearby, "I'm not the only one doing it, you know. I'm one out of a million!"
She tucked her arms across her chest, breathing an angered huff, "It's just sort of difficult to believe that you're giving Gucci presents to a girl in one second, fucking her the second and raiding her vault the last… with her permission. It makes me wonder why so many suckers would fall for your cheap antics!"
But I don't know how to leave you,
And Ill never let you fall;
"Cheap antics?" Neji murmured, almost shocked, "My charm is far from cheap, I'll tell you that. I can do anything that'll make any woman fall hopelessly for me," But, when he saw the pout Tenten was sporting all of a sudden—while he was eyeing her from her juvenile bangs to her safe neckline—he tried to soothe her, trifling with a stray of her hair with the hopes of making her calm down, "Come now, Tenten, don't be like that. You were the one who invited me tonight, right? So, don't ruin it with such a sour face, beautiful."
He impishly pinched her jaw line, lining his fingertips down Tenten's chin. "Do you have the balls to accept a bet?" she blurt out, all of a sudden, making Neji withdraw his hand. She nearly laughed at what she had just said until she realized that her gut was swimming with where this was going. As for Neji, a glimmer simply grew in his eyes. He was more than interested. He, after all, has believed in life's gambles…
"Alright," she told him, leaning against the tabletop to address her bet, "I bet you can't make me fall for you and/or give or do anything you tell me to! No matter what you do, no matter how many times you kiss me, no matter how many times you call me beautiful," She whipped up a sly grin as Neji's eyes turned whiter than before.
He cleared his throat and said, "Now?"
"Tonight. Until when you wish, of course. But it's such a waste to be spending so much time with an ass like you."
"Tonight it is, then," Neji agreed, feeling the adrenaline, "What's on the line?"
For a moment, Tenten took her time in thinking of a prize worth the bet. Amid the performance going on before them and their feet playing like tentacles, she wasn't sure of what she was willing to risk for such a spur-of-the-moment game. But, surely, she'd have to think of something. "My black chips," she finally concluded, "All of them. You know I have a lot. Might as well put them to good use, ne?" She slapped her thigh pocket, making the chips chirp in response.
At that, Neji greedily nodded. Tenten had more black chips than the owner of the hotel casino did. More black chips meant more money for Neji. He then took his turn in endangering something for the dare, "I'm putting down," he started, "my suite here in the hotel. If you win the bet, you get it and I'll pay for your expenses. For three months," Afterwards, though, he bit his lip in scolding, "Do we have a deal?"
Finally, Tenten had a motivation. "Done deal."
And I don't know how you do it,
Making love out of nothing at all
Past their semi-drunk states, they both knew that it was nearly four a.m. already, mixed with fading stars.
Walking hand in hand towards the elevator, both Neji and Tenten found each other flushed in alcohol more than they thought they'd be. Since the performance and since the placing of the bet in stone, Neji has done nothing but get Tenten everything her little heart wished for. Of course, she had managed to abuse his wallet without his complains. But, still, Tenten was assured that nothing satisfied her.
Six shopping bags in hand from six different stores, Neji entered the elevator with Tenten behind him. He could only recall how many earrings, handbags, and scarves and countless other whatnots Tenten burned his money on. She even invited him to three bottles of wine in a French outlet. He was sure, too, that she would wear none of her new apparel in the end. He always saw her in such simple jeans and blouses, after all. For someone who lives in the Clarkson, she was low-class.
"Done yet?" she asked him as the elevator doors sealed them in, "Is that all you've got? All the charm and shit your money can get me? And you use this method to win over women? And you manage to get them every time?" She brushed her shoulder with a limp hand, mocking him, "You'd better prepare to give me your suite, then. I'm going to win this bet with all my majesty."
"Hold your horses, beautiful," Neji told her, wrapping an arm around her as the elevator scaled the building towards the sixteenth floor, "I'm not done with you yet. I've got a few more tricks up my sleeve," Once again, he slid his luscious fingers through her skin, making her tingle slightly, "And this last resort isn't going to cost me a single cent."
Something pricked Tenten, telling her of what was to come next. Half of her senses had gone berserk. "Bring it on, you bastard," she whispered, chewing on her lip.
Every time I see you all the rays of the sun
Are streaming through the waves in your hair;
And every star in the sky is taking aim
At your eyes like a spotlight,
The parting of the doors, leading to the sixteenth floor, followed the chime of the elevator. Tenten nearly fell over in its wonderful interior. The lights lined through the corridor glowed like halos, illuminating the dreamy white carpet. Passing through a few rooms, Neji seemed to be rushing his pace, nearly pulling Tenten off of her feet. Tenten smelled the injustice of vanilla incense. Compared to her second floor Garden Wing residence, Neji lived in a sophisticated and luxurious paradise.
Pulling out his suite key, Neji dropped Tenten's gifts by the door and unlocked the door. He once again took Tenten's bags and led her inside, telling her to close the door behind her. As Tenten did so, she started to stare at every cranny of Neji's abode. To compare it to her room was nearly impossible—because it didn't even come close. "Feel at home," Neji said from the living room as he switched the lights on.
"Is it time for me to call this place my own now?" Tenten mentioned, intimidating him in the bet, "Snazzy place, by the way. Velvet couch, ivory bathtub and—Oh! Your window's gold plated?" Hurriedly, she rushed to the window that stretched through the whole face of the dining area. It overlooked the marvelous desert outside Vegas, sun-kissed and golden, even under the moonlight. Tonight, the moon was practically sleeping on the vista.
She sensed Neji stand beside her in front of the window. He said, "You know, I brought you here because I was wondering."
Hearing the familiar sentence, she replied, turning to him with a doubtful expression on, "Wondering about what? If I'd like the view or something similarly pathetic?"
"No," he told her, turning to her finally with the moon accentuating his eyes and snowy complexion, "I was wondering if you were a virgin."
The beating of my heart is a drum, and its lost
And its looking for a rhythm like you.
You can take the darkness from the pit of the night
And turn into a beacon burning endlessly bright.
I've got to follow it, cause everything I know,
well its nothing till I give it to you.
A laugh erupted from Tenten, humorously giving him a punch on the arm. Her stomach churned from her intense laughter, tears blobbing at the corners of her eyes. When she looked up at serious eyes, she coughed a little before she answered with a chirp, "Proud to be. Not like you, who's probably been killing women since you were born. What made you ask about my private life, eh?"
Hearing the recognizable phrase, Neji formed a tiny smile as he stated, "My dear, it's not very private if the paparazzi will be writing about it the day after," Tenten's blood swirled in whirlpools when she realized that it was Neji's hand creeping up her arched back, "And besides, your private life is about to be part of mine. My business…"
Tenten froze in her position when Neji was unbelievably and literally inches before her, "If you ever get the urge to wonder if this is still part of my antics," he breathed his words at her cheek, his cold breath sliding down her skin, "You're wrong. Very wrong," She felt Neji take her hand, putting it on his shoulder as he concluded, "This, Tenten, is something personal."
At that point, Tenten felt her ankles pop aridly in reply to the cold lips that were now sliding down the side of her face uphill, towards the plump heart of her lips. Slowly, Tenten's eyes slid into a tentative escapade of swirling darkness with foggy moonlight blowing between her lashes. Finally, she was hearing their lips collide like sea foam on shore was no longer a web in the back of an inexistent memory.
Hoping not to disappoint, Neji parted from her, but leaving less than an inch to separate the same air they breathed. His menthol words stroked her, subtly caressing her cheeks yet making her eyes tear up. "How does it feel, now," he spoke in a mouse's yell, "That you've gotten a taste of perfection, eh? Feels good?" He ran his slim fingertips down her arms, now chilly from the cool air.
A minute smile pursed onto Tenten's jaw. "Feels…" she whispered, reaching for his lips as he unhurriedly continued to pry his presence away from her little by little. He needed to show her that she wanted him as much as he wished to have her, take her, "Feels rather…" The most accurate of words were out of her reach for the moment. And Tenten had concluded that another kiss would only make the proper reply. Another lap of poison. But, what it seemed to be was just—
I can make the run or stumble,
I can make the final block;
And I can make every tackle, at the sound of the whistle,
I can make all the stadiums rock.
It was like a flash of a photograph had sealed Neji's humiliation on that scenario. At first, he thought she had kissed him so hard, it hurt. The crash of their lips, teeth having the impact that blindly snapped at him. He was infinitely mistaken when he saw Tenten cringing her nose at him with her hand well past his face. She had slapped him. And it was beautifully painful.
"So, I shall take that as an I-hate-this-feeling kind of answer?" Neji chuckled, rubbing his reddened cheek. Though the smack sounded fresh, it was hardly enough to draw blood in his mouth. Not even enough to insult Neji, "I get that oftentimes. And usually," He told her as he backed off coolly, "They regret the rejection." Another playful wink.
Disgusted with herself, Tenten rashly stroked her certainly frigid limbs and growled at him, "Regret, yeah! Regret placing a bet on this!" Wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, she coughed and murmured something about how Neji "shouldn't go around kissing random women he takes into his suite".
Shaking her head, she proceeded towards the items Neji purchased for her and sourly mouthed, "You know what? Forget it. I actually don't give a damn anymore, about your fucked up life or that messed business of yours. Die in hell or something, a'ight?" Hastily, she took all of the bags with one swipe and said, "Get me the door, will you?"
He did, to her satisfaction. Of course, not without adding a few comments that made Tenten want to leave faster. "Why? Revolted with the fact that I had you under me? Submitting to me?" He raked his hand in her hair, making her limp for a moment before her muscles tensed again. Pulling her head away, Neji added, "You're a woman, Tenten. Suck in your pride. Sooner or later, a woman would have to give in to the man of her dreams."
She pressed her eyes shut as she stood at his doorway, turning sharply to face him, to see his pale face, the symbol of the elegance she has always wanted… needed. "No," she sternly replied, choking on the screams that were trying to make their way out, "I'm revolted by the fact that you can kiss, hold, caress, even make love to so many women and have… and have nothing for them. It's like saying you love them without meaning it. You're so eager to throw them away after you have taken their money, that's all."
Still smiling, Neji slid a finger about the curve of her neck, seduction trying its best again for a second time. He slipped his fingertip beneath her chin, writing her name airily on her skin. "Do you think I'm doing the same thing to you?" he asked her, hoping for an honest reply.
For that moment, she felt her fingers let go of the bags, the stumbles echoing at their feet. He was forming another spell, like a skilled wizard taking advantage of the weakness of his victims. How gullible, naïve, madly in love she was stroked against her with the tip of his finger, the same finger that was now circling down her shoulder. She remained still when he nudged his lips to her shoulder, her skin tingling in its path.
"Do you think," he muttered sultrily, "I'm really interested in just what you have rather than who you are?" Tenten squeaked, held her breath when he started to taste her, the salty spice of her, hands crawling up her thigh. He was too convincing. "Tenten, I need you. Want. Need. Want…" he chanted, a song he was chirping that seemed like she couldn't understand. It was romance in a straightforward pattern.
And there, she let go of herself. Arms constricting him, lips on lips, fingers on cheeks, legs on legs… Like dancing crazily up a climb. The shut of the door fastened the decree. There were murmurs, words that barely made it out of them. Lazy laughter trimmed on the edges of their muffled sounds. Even the stars walked away, to give respect, space for the fire in the atmosphere. The sprawl of cotton and denim on the carpet made them slip, stumble until they were buried in each other, the heat making them melt into each other…
I can make tonight forever,
Or I can make it disappear by the dawn;
And I can make you every promise that has ever been made,
And I can make all your demons be gone.
"How does it feel?" she heard him, his voice sleepy and ruff, sliding around her temples. Did he really need to ask? Couldn't he tell by the way she had her face buried in the crook of his neck, lost in his scent? Taking her chin into his hand, he brought her gaze up, her cheeks flustered with kisses and a roan blush. "Feels good?" he repeated, nipping on her bottom lip and making her squirm softly.
He continued to take her, knowing what to do, where to touch, how to kiss, how to love. And she found out that she was right from the beginning: It felt wonderful. It felt like the truth after a lie. And if it really was a truth, what she was feeling, seeing, tasting, smelling, hearing, a truth she was overlooking for so long, then she'd rather be tangled within that truth all her life. That truth brought her to life…
That truth was love.
She fell asleep, a hand on his heart.
But I'm never gonna make it without you,
The sunlight didn't wake her up. The darkness did, how it consumed her within the velvet curtains and high-class air conditioning. Tenten was sure that she wasn't in her room. The first hint was the fact that there was someone wrapped on her, a leg straddled over hers, arms strapped around her waist and lips on the tip of her nose. It was like a dream, to wake up beside Neji Hyuga.
"You didn't answer me last night," he murmured, making her give a small jolt to know he was actually awake. His eyes were closed still, and he probably only knew she was awake when she moved her lashes to open her grimy eyes. The grogginess in his voice made her close her eyes for a minute, then open them again. She was assured that she wasn't having a dream. "Are you really that mad at me, to say that you didn't really like last night?"
Do you really want to see me crawl?
She tried to move away from his hold, to just roll of and dress up, leave and pretend it never happened. But his grip on her said otherwise. "I'm just your toy," she whispered, swallowing the truth, now that she was here, "I didn't know what came over me. I can't believe I suddenly succumbed to your antics. What kind of shit have I gotten myself into, eh?" She pulled away, irritated at how he still didn't let go, his eyes still shut.
He kissed her nose blindly, murmuring, "I dreamt of you. I wanted it to last long, so I'd be able to see you and call you beautiful," He heard her giggle demurely, making him wink open his eyes finally, "Ah. That's what I wanted to see the moment I opened my eyes: Your smile. And now, I can really call you beautiful and have you hear it for real."
She smiled wider, shaking her head as she tried to shake off the quivering lip on her jaw. "I lose my black chips?"
"No," he said, licking her bottom lip softly, making her cringe childishly, "I'm the one who lost the bet."
"Hm?" she squeaked, "How so?"
Nuzzling her, making her breathe out a groan of laxity, he explained, "I play with women. End up not feeling anything for them at the end of the night, as long as I get my dough in the morning," He turned his eyes up at her, pearls on ivory, "Unfortunately, I ended up falling deeper into you by morning, this time around. For once, I didn't make love out of nothing." He ran a hand up and down her back, adding, "I was the one who gave in to your charm." Yawning, he said, "So, I have lost."
She only snickered, closed her eyes and laughed. She won the bet…
And his heart.
And I'm never gonna make it like you do,
Making love out of nothing at all.
I've lost my touch for the summer.