A/N: Hey guys! Here's chapter 6! As far as I can tell (so far) there'll be another two chapters. That's not set in stone yet though. I'm actually not very sure how long this will be. It was only meant to be three chapters when I first planned it but as you can see, that plan just blew up in my face :P I'll admit, the chapters I had planned were a lot longer but I thought it would be better to split them up into something resembling a story. This chapter is a little rushed so I hope you'll excuse that. Shikamaru shows his jealous side in this chapter :P
Thank you to everyone that reviewed. I'm so glad you are enjoying this story and it means a lot to me that you are taking the time to review. If you could, please point out my (many) spelling/grammar mistakes. I still can't catch them all! So without further ado, here's the next chapter!
And I'm insanely jealous of that jerk that's in your head,
And I'm insanely jealous of the people that you love.
-- Insanely Jealous - Soft Boys.
The next morning, Temari awoke refreshed and restored with not an ache in her body. Stretching, she yawned loudly before showering and getting dressed. The house was as quiet as it usually was with no one else living in the small cottage of sorts. Kankurou had gotten her car from the mechanics and put petrol inside so it was a great pleasure to be able to drive herself to work. She hated not being in control of a situation and letting someone else drive her to work was a pain in the ass, even when she kind of enjoyed her chauffeur's company.
She drove the ten minute drive to the cafe where she had first met Shikamaru and wasn't surprised to see him there, ordering his own cup of coffee. He smiled in acknowledgement when he saw her and sat down at a small rickety table to the left. Not waiting for an invitation, Temari got her own coffee and took the seat opposite him.
"Hello stranger. I haven't seen you in AGES!" she said exaggeratingly, shoving his shoulder lightly and playfully. She stopped herself after that. What the hell am I doing?! Shikamaru either didn't notice or didn't care about her discomfort.
"Yeah I know. Almost a decade."
They drank their coffee, chatting idly before they had to leave. Shikamaru bought them both another cup of coffee "for the road" and he drove behind Temari to the studio. Ino was standing outside waiting, her hands on her hips. She had a look of pure determination on her face when she saw them approach.
"The police should be here in the next five minutes. Temari, do me a favour? Go inside and put on your best and prettiest face. I want this case solved quickly and all men are putty when they see a beautiful woman. The other girls are getting ready as we speak."
If Ino hadn't been robbed in the last twenty four hours, Temari would have hit her. A pretty face? Psh. She walked inside and up the stairs quickly, greeting the other girls before depositing her camera on the work top. Tenten walked over to her while Temari was in the process of getting changed.
"I know what you're gonna say but just do it. Ino's right. Men go dumb." Temari laughed and Tenten smirked before disappearing into the small room to finish fixing her hair. Just as Temari pulled the bright yellow top over her head, Shikamaru entered.
Several things happened at once. Screaming, Temari bolted behind one of the camera stands, attempting to hide herself in her half-dressed form. Hearing her scream, Shikamaru screamed and fully implanted himself in the room, ready to take down any intruder. Hearing his scream, Tenten and Sakura charged out of the smaller room holding high heels in either hand and were about to begin hitting Shikamaru over the head before they realised it was him. To make things worse, both of them were only half dressed too.
Shikamaru looked to where Temari was standing, clutching her sides trying to cover herself up and blushed before backing out of the room slowly.
"I-I'm sorry. I should have knocked," he said, eyes wide.
Temari grabbed one of the heels she was supposed to be putting on and threw it at the door where his head had been minutes ago. "Damn right!"
Once Temari was (fully) dressed, she knocked twice on the door to small room and Sakura let her in. Tenten was in the corner, still trying to fix her hair while Sakura put on her shoes. Hinata and Vayna joined them soon after, already dressed followed by a frazzled looking Ino.
"Come on girls! They've arrived!" The girls ran as fast as they could in the heels without breaking their necks and out the door where three officers were lined up one after the other, appreciative eyes on the models and Temari. The boys didn't look happy. Neji, Kiba and Sasuke had arrived while the girls had been changing and each had their arms crossed menacingly over their chests. Temari couldn't help but smirk. "The protective big brothers" act was one she was familiar with when she was younger.
One officer in particular seemed to have eyes only for Temari. He was trying to make eye contact with her but she refused to look at, if only out of principal. Shikamaru stood next to her, glaring at the police officer.
Stealing a glance at her admirer, she noticed he had deep black eyes. He was actually quite handsome with dark hair surrounding his sharp features. He had a small scar beneath his right eye but it wasn't off putting. If anything, it made her want to watch him more.
Ino was talking to their leader, sergeant something-or-other. Temari wasn't really listening. She was busy staring at the police officer. Shikamaru nudged her a little and, startled, she yelped. Everyone stopped talking and looked at her, the police officer looked amused, Shikamaru looked irritated.
They walked inside the building, the glass still on the floor from the previous day.
Click. Click. Click. The sound of the camera always relaxed Temari. She didn't know why but looking at the world through the lens of a camera warmed her in some way. She supposed it was because you couldn't see the true meaning behind everything. Like taking a photo of the city from somewhere really high. You couldn't see the crime, the graffiti. Nothing but buildings and that was refreshing.
"We'd like to interview each of you separately, if that's OK," said the sergeant and Ino nodded. "That's fine. You can use the small room down the hallway."
"I'll take Ms..?" said the handsome officer, looking at Temari once more, asking her for her name. "Temari," she said.
"Yes, I'll take Ms. Temari. If you'd step this way then," he said and his voice was as silky and smooth as his hair looked. Temari nodded once, dumbly, and followed him down the hallway. She was surprised to see Shikamaru following them.
"Excuse me sir," said the officer, looking at Shikamaru as though he was stupid. "I'll be interviewing Ms. Temari by herself. Seperate interviews."
Shikamaru nodded. "I heard you. But Temari should have someone in the room with her. You're a man. She's a woman. It's just in case you try anything funny."
Temari would have hit him for insinuating that she couldn't take care of herself but she was too touched to do so. He cared about her well-being and that counted for something. The officer didn't look abashed. He nodded and allowed Shikamaru to enter the room with them, closing the door behind him.
"So Ms. Temari. Where were you on the night of the 3rd of June?" he asked, taking out a voice recorder from one of his many pockets, pressing the button and placing it on the table. She thought for a second, trying to remember what she was doing.
"I was at home. It was about seven when I arrived there," she said, finger tapping her chin, trying to recall the events of that day. Nothing different had happened as far as she could tell. She couldn't exactly remember anything out of the ordinary.
"Do you have any eye witnesses?" he asked.
"No. Not unless you count my gold fish," she said and saw the officer smirk slightly. Fish references for the win!
He took out a note pad and started making notes on everything she said. Temari didn't understand why when she was being recorded anyway. Shikamaru shifted in his seat beside her, arms still crossed.
"How well do you know Ms. Yamanaka?" he asked, pen still scribbling acrosst the page.
"Not very well. I'm the photographer for her newest photo-shoot. She hired me," she said, realising that she was in fact the most suspicious out of all the others. The robbery happened after she joined the crew and she was the only one that didn't really know Ino.
"Do you know anyone that has a grudge against her?" he asked, looking up from his paper.
"No. I don't see how anyone could have a grudge against her. As far as I know, Ino's never done anything bad to anyone."
Shikamaru interupted the officer when he was about to speak. "There are a few women that don't particularly like her. I'm not pointing the finger at anyone but you might want to try Tayuya Matsubishi and Karin Hyuri."
The officer nodded once before taking some more notes and rising from his chair. "That's fine Ms. Temari. Thank you for your co-operation," he said, eyes meeting hers once more. She nodded, blushing slightly. It was hard not to when she was under such a deep gaze. Shikamaru grabbed her wrist and pulled her from the room, bringing her back to where the other girls stood. He didn't let go of her arm when they arrived. Tenten came up to them, eyeing their connection briefly but enough so that Shikamaru realised he hadn't let go. He quickly dropped it, as though it had burned him.
"I just got out of my interview. Ino's just gone in. Kiba came out the same time as me with the other cop and Neji went in after him."
Temari looked confused. "I thought that the girls had to have someone in there with them? Shikamaru said that it was illegal to do so otherwise."
Tenten smirked and Temari scowled. The jack-ass made it up! She didn't have time to turn on him and speak her mind because Ino came out smiling and Vayna went into the room the blonde had recently vacated under the instruction of the officer. Ino was tucking a piece of paper into the pocket of her denim skirt.
"Phone number," explained Ino while Temari, Tenten and Shikamaru rolled their eyes. Typical of Ino to be hit on when they were trying to find out who had broken most of her equipment and ran-sacked her building.
The others were finished soon enough and the police took a few more photos, dusting the area for fingerprints and other clues, before leaving with the evidence. They were allowed to clean up the building and surprisingly, it didn't take long because of Hinata. Ino had told her that today would be the day they would be allowed to clean up the mess and she had come prepared with gloves, spray and many bags for the others. The place was back to its regular self and the window repairer had been called. He had said it would only take an hour to replace the broken glass and he came soon enough.
Once the others were satisfied that the building was being taken care of, they decided to go out for lunch. There was a local restaurant just a few blocks away, not very formal but in a more comfortable and relaxed manner. The menu wasn't very extensive, just the basics. Temari ordered a salad, not for dietry needs but because she wasn't very hungry. The two cups of coffee had filled her to the brim which wasn't unusual. It wasn't healthy but it sure tasted good.
They sat around a rather large table, Tenten to Temari's right and Shikamaru to her left. Ino sat directly opposite her and clicked her fingers to order the waitress over. The waitress was wearing a traditional maids uniform and Kiba didn't seem to mind. Her hair was tossed into a high bun and her eyes were a deep shade of brown.
"Welcome to Tsunade's Bistro, may I take your order?" she said, pulling out a notepad from the apron around her waist and the pen from behind her ear.
The others ordered in kind and they only had to wait ten minutes before everyone was served. Ino piped up after taking a sip from her wine.
"OK guys, I have an idea!" she said, and the others stopped eating to look at the blonde. She had a large smile on her face, glancing at each of her companions in turn. "I think we should have a dinner/dress party. I'm always looking for a reason to get dressed up and I've had a beautiful dress stashed away for when an occasion arose! Please!" she added when most looked doubtful. Temari was amongst them.
"I don't do frivolities. I'm more of a khaki pants kind of girl myself. Not dresses," she said. Tenten nodded in agreement. Neji and Sasuke remained quiet. They would go to the dumb party if everyone else went. They would not voice their opinion's unless asked. Kiba looked excited, Hinata looked nervous while Vayna and Sakura looked extatic. Shikamaru remained apathetic.
"I think it's a brilliant idea!" said Vayna, taking a small sip from her wine. "I've been itching to go shopping for a new dress!" Sakura nodded in agreement.
"And there's a new bar opened in town that has a function room. My cousin Hiroto owns the place. I could book it for tomorrow night!"
Temari looked aghast. "Hold up! It takes me at least a week to find the right clothes, not to mention all the make-up and hair. I don't need the pressure of scanning the town with only a day. Beauty takes time!"
Shikamaru muttered something that she didn't quite catch but decided not to pursue. Tenten seemed to be the only person backing her up."Yeah I agree with Temari. It's much too short notice. It'll take all day tomorrow to find clothes and then there's hair and make-up. Maybe next week," she said, sitting up more firmly. She looked to Neji for support but he remained expressionless. She glared at him in a "thanks for your help" kind of way.
He looked at her innocently but she scowled once more. Ino didn't seem put out by their discouragement. "Nonsense! Tenten and Temari can go shopping together! That way, they can complain to each other! Shikamaru, you should go with them," she said, speaking matter of factly. "I think putting two tomboys in a dress shop will cause a hazard. They'll need someone to pin the blame on."
Shikamaru looked at her and said, "Oh thanks. I feel loved."
Finishing their food and drink, Ino went back to the building with Sakura and Vayna following hot on her heels. They were closing up the building and Sakura would call her uncle Hiroto about booking the place. Tenten, Hinata and Temari stayed behind, still having yet to finish their food. Neji and Sasuke decided to go the movies and Hinata and Tenten tagged along leaving Shikamaru, Kiba and Temari to their devices. With a wave of her hand, Temari stood to leave.
"Well guys, it's been a pleasure but I need to scan some catalogues at home to find some bloody clothes. I expect to see you tomorrow at nine thirty Shikamaru."
He didn't say anything but stood up as well, leaving Kiba staring curiously at them. "I'm walking Temari to her car," said Shikamaru and Temari came to a screeching halt.
"For Kami's sake Shikamaru, I'm well able to take care of myself. It might have escaped your notice, but running over someones toe isn't the only way to deal with people I don't like," she said, smirking as he winced at the memory. He rolled his eyes, regaining his bearings.
"I know you can take care of yourself, troublesome woman. But it'll put my mind to rest. I would do this for any of the girls."
Temari wanted to retort, say something along the lines of "Well why did you choose to come in with me during the interview? Ino went in by herself too. So did Sakura, Tenten, Hinata and Vayna" but she managed to stop herself. There was no need for drama. He was just being a gentleman. The Jackass...
They walked in silence to her car and she didn't thank him. Instead, he received a glare and heard her muttering something about "Stupid pineapple haired jerk thinks I can't defend myself."
He chuckled before making his way back to Kiba. Knowing his friends, they probably left him with the bill. When he arrived it was to find that Kiba had disappeared and that Temari's camera bag was sitting where she had left it. Knowing her, she would create blue murder until she found it. Sighing, he picked it up, left money on the table to fit the bill and slowly walked to his car.
Ten minutes later, he was outside her house but her car wasn't there. He knocked at the door twice and then looked into the window but couldn't see any movement. Sighing once more in defeat, he hopped back into his car and drove to The Illustrations Headquarters. He knew it well from the picture in the newspaper along with her interview. Speaking of which, he was surprised to see that Sabaku No Temari would be called anti-social. Judging by her beautiful images, he had assumed she was a warm hearted, kind person. I guess you really can't judge a book by its cover... Or pictures for that matter.
The large building was red brick, not unlike the studio where the photo-shoot was taking place. It was much more elegant but smaller. There was a huge banner on top, "CELEBRATING SEVEN YEARS OF ILLUSTRATIONS."
He quickly went inside, her camera bag around his neck and under one arm when he discovered a petite woman sitting behind the receptionist counter. The nameplate said she was called Matsuri and she had light brown hair just reaching her shoulders. She had earphones on so didn't hear him approach. It wasn't until he was right in front of her, waving his hand slightly that he got her attention. She took off her earphones, the loud music still emitting from them. He didn't know how her ear drums could survive it.
"Uh, Hi. I'm looking for Temari," he said.
She nodded once, blowing a bubble with her chewing gum. "And you are?" she asked, taking out a book with plenty of names and dates written in.
"I'm Nara Shikamaru. I'm not here for an appointment. It's a different matter."
Matsuri's eyes widened slightly, her bubble popping loudly. Her mouth opened but no words came out. She managed to choke something resembling words. "Y-You're Shikamaru."
It wasn't a question, more of a statement. She stood up quickly, knocking over the small cup that was holding her pens. She bustled out of the room and returned a few seconds later with a red headed male following closely behind. Shikamaru recognised him from the newspaper too. This was Sabaku No Gaara, head of Illustrations magazine and Temari's younger brother. He was staring at the Nara heir with intense eyes, boring holes through his head.
Shikamaru extended a hand. "You must be Gaara. I'm Shikamaru."
Gaara didn't take his hand but continued to stare at him. "I know who you are."
Puzzled, Shikamaru didn't have time to reply before a door opened from the left and Temari came out holding about twenty brown folders in her hands. She looked at the scene before her.
Shikamaru was standing there with her camera bag around his neck, Matsuri had huge wide eyes and Gaara was still staring at Shikamaru.
"Blink Gaara," she told him and he did so. "What are you doing here lazy-ass?" she asked, even though she knew the answer. Conversation was null and void so she took it upon herself to lighten the mood. Snapping out of his thoughts, he realised why he had come in the first place.
"You left your camera at the restaurant. I was bringing it back to your house but your car wasn't there so I came here."
She nodded and thanked him briefly before Shikamaru turned back to Gaara.
"How do you know who I am?" he asked.
Gaara's expression didn't change. "My brother Kankurou read Temari's diary to me and your name cropped up a few times."
Temari's face turned red and Matsuri snorted with laughter. Gaara didn't seem to know what was so funny but looked from his sister to his receptionist in turn. Temari raised a hand to her face, feeling the blush on her face.
"Don't get too cocky Nara! I only said how much you drive me insane!" she said before muttering under her breath. "I'm gonna kill Kankurou." Shikamaru was speechless but chuckled at Temari's expression. Matsuri was clutching her sides, wiping away tears from her eyes. She knew there was a reason why she wanted to work with the Sabaku family; they were a bunch of lunatics and she fit right in.