Author's Notes: Yay I'm back?! Sorry for the long update, so much for the damned school works and tests. I'm really having doubts on continuing this story. It seems that Neji and Tenten are not suited on the characters' behavior, I think. I realize that some other characters from Naruto are suited for this fanfic. I don't know. Should I continue with this story or not? Pls. tell me.
Anyway this chapter's kinda long, I think. Hahaha happy holidays everyone, enjoy!
My Imaginary Ex
by: LiL sPoIlEd BrAt
Chapter 5: I'm Not The Same Kid From Your Memory
Coffee Shop, Present Day
"Neji didn't ask anyone out for months after you broke up with him," Tenten said.
"You really messed him up."Shizuka shook her head.
"He didn't ask anyone out because you were there. I'm surprised you're still denying this." Tenten knew that Shizuka wasn't mad because she didn't believed what Shizuka had said. Honestly, Shizuka amazed her. After that awkward conversation in college, Tenten spoke to Shizuka again. They were classmates on a subject, and they even started to exchange quick hellos in the halls. On their college graduation, they even exchanged hugs-but Tenten figures, as time went by, that everyone was just emotional that night.
"Are we really gonna go through all of this again?" Tenten whined.
"She's finally here! Oh gosh, I thought you'd ditch us." Shizuka's eyes darted n something, or rather someone behind Tenten. Tenten turned and almost choke on what she was drinking.
Yukino Kisaragi was thinner the last time Tenten saw her. She had her sun streaked blonde hair cut very short, and it really accentuated her weight loss even more. She occupied the empty seat next to Tenten after she dropped the heavy bag under the table.
Yukino was Neji's second girlfriend.
"I'm sorry, really. The meeting took longer than what I had expected. So what have you told her?" Yukino asked.
"I already told her of what we wanted her to do."
"Oh, yes. Right." Yukino looked at Tenten with brighter eyes. "And what did she say?"
"Tenten here, is not in speaking terms with Neji."
"You're kidding, right?" Yukino asked, addressing the question to Tenten.
"What happened?" Tenten was not sure what was happening but she answered nonetheless.
"I don't know. It just kind of happened. He suddenly stopped…you know what? I don't have to explain anything to the two of you. Hey, how did you two even met?"
"Yoga," Yukino answered. "Didn't figure out who she was until I found out her surname." When Yukino saw Shizuka's name on the attendance list of her weekly yoga class, she immediately yelled, "As in the ex of Neji Hyuuga?!" in her typical borderline-tactless fashion. Apparently, she never met Shizuka, besides the fact that she saw a picture of her in a website, she barely even knew a thing about her.
While Yukino bought herself a drink, Shizuka filled Tenten on how their friendship was formed.
"I heard Neji had a new girlfriend, but I don't know her. All I know is that they met at work." Shizuka said.
"Yeah, I heard they got hired at the same time."
"Well, Yuki's cool. Honestly, she wasn't what I expected." Yukino returned to our table with her own tall mocha.
"Isn't it funny, Neji's three exes, all together."
Neji's two exes, but never mind.
"Sorry, so, you were saying?"
"Shizuka said you weren't what she expected."
"Oh, that's so true. She wasn't what I was expecting, either. I thought that Sizuka would be…more like me, you know? I thought he kind of have had a type." While Tenten looked at Shizuka and Yukino, she fully understood what they meant. Shizuka reminded her of college-all enthusiasm, spirit, pep, positivity. Yukino, however, was reserved. Tenten found her a bit serious, less quick to laugh and not too smiley. Both were not opposites, but rather different.
Tenten also noticed that the girls in front of her had an ease between them that she didn't felt.
"But you're friends now. Maybe you're not so different." Tenten said, making Shizuka laugh.
"Oh, you know what, we almost have nothing common. Believe me, we tried. But apart from yoga and Neji, there's absolutely nothing."
"We can't even go to the movies together. But it was interesting that I met Shizuka. Neji never talked about her." Yukino added.
"Well, he talked about Tenten a lot." Shizuka said.
"Totally. I knew all about the boss that you hated, the work stalker you tried to avoid…and I heard all about you and Senri."
Me and Senri?
Obviously, Yukino had the intention of elaborating the topic.
"I knew what was happening between you and Senri. From when he asked you out-to the basketball game. I even knew about the fights you oftenly had. You know, I felt like you guys were having fights every two weeks."
Okay, why are they bringing these up?
"Senri and I broke up a long time ago. So, what you know Yukino, is already old news."
"The point is," Yukino answered. "Why would Neji care so much about you and this guy? You and Neji broke up in high school. And still, he knew your relationship's ups and downs as if it was some kind of afternoon drhired ama series."
"See, it's just not me. Yukino also noticed." Shizuka added.
"Neji is totally in love with you. He'll totally end it with Mitsuki if you ask him to." Yukino said with such dead seriousness.
"I'm not going to ask him to do that! And I don't have any power on his decisions you, know." Yukino arched her eyebrows.
"Really? You don't remember what you did for me five years ago?"
Five years ago
After college, Shizuka and Tenten's other friends and acquaintances never remained to keep in touch. All except Neji. Neji still lives under his uncle's house that is ten minutes away from Tenten's house. Coincidentally, both of them had found work in Konoha just months after graduation. Neji started to take a car to work and oftenly Tenten would ride with him, if she woke up early to catch him.
Both had changed after graduation. Neji was hired under a big company that distributed food. He was required to wear a nice shirt and tie every day since he needed to check different supermarkets in different areas of the city, and it suited him perfectly. Tenten, on the other hand, became the Human Resources girl whom people pass their résumés to. She didn't mind if she had to start from ground. Most of her days were consisted of sifting through e-mails and screening walk-in applicants, scheduling tests and interviews, and ushering people to the waiting rooms.
One thing that changed the most to Tenten is that she finally overcame her shyness. At her work, she managed to find herself a group of friends that have one similarity; they hated their boss extremely. Sometimes, she and her friends ate lunch together and even catch up on some movies after work. Nevertheless, it was still Neji whom she shares her morning and evening rides.
Honestly, she liked the rides. She even looks forward to it. One night, they ended up telling how proud they were at each other from what they had achieved so far.
"I think you should quit your job if ever you catch a good opportunity." Neji said as he set his eyes on the highway.
"I've only been there for months!"
"I mean, just earn a few things that you can from work, then find another place where your boss won't let you do low things like photocopying and stuff. You have such great talent at predicting…or rather reading people. And that is greatly needed on hiring people."
Tenten knew what Neji said was right. But she also knew the difference between Neji's field of industry compared to hers. Nevertheless, she likes what she's doing.
Tenten studied Psychology back in college, but it only served as an academic background for her interest: analyzing people. She thought that one day she would end up as a high school guidance counselor or something related to it to practice her career but she end up at a company's human resources department. And she's been fascinated by it so far. She was able to read and analyze people as well as their behavior. She was able to answer some questions like 'why do some people work together well and others don't?' and the like.
From the names that came through her desk at the office, Tenten can see the effect of the newly hired employees in their company, and she had to admit that there were some that was a bad choice. But still, Neji was right. She liked reading people.
Neji and Tenten's car routine continued, but as the weeks went by, Neji's schedule became more erratic, and later on, he got assigned to visit some local supermarkets on the outskirts of Konohagakure. It made them unable to see each other for weeks.
It was then that Tenten ran onto an old friend in the Central Mall of Konoha. Naruto Uzumaki, Neji's friend and Tenten's old ballroom dancing partner in her P.E.
"Hi!" Tenten beamed cheerfully, she was really happy to see the blonde once more.
"How are you? You and Neji work together right?"
"Yeah. Neji's assigned to the outskirts, no? we haven't seen him lately." Naruto said as Tenten agreed.
"Me neither." Naruto seemed to remember the sun-streaked blonde girl beside him and introduced her to the brunette.
"Tenten, this is Yukino Kisaragi. I went to the same college with her, you see."
Tenten shooked the blonde's hand, and it felt very…official. Along with her corporate attire and smarty looks, Tenten imagined Yukino as the office girl she would've been. And Tenten felt very insecure.
"Oh, I almost forgot! Tenten was Neji's ex." Damn Naruto and his energetic attitude. Tenten felt recoiling, she wasn't referred to as Neji's ex for some time now. And it was very awkward to maintain the lie again.
"Naruto, that was ages ago." But Yukino seemed very interested that it seems like she wasn't going to let go of the subject.
"Wow. Really?" Yukino asked.
"Why don't you ask her? Tenten, you wouldn't mind talking about Neji, would you?"
Do I have a choice?
"Um, sure." Tenten watched as Yukino hesitated at first, but with a few more prodding from Naruto, she started.
"You see, I kind of wanted to ask Neji on our Christmas party." Obviously, Yukino liked Neji.
Why does it feel like this has happened before?
"And…what does this have to do with me?" Yukino turned to Naruto for some sort of support.
"Are you the supposedly ex that Neji wasn't over yet?"
"No. you must be referring to Shizuka. They broke up around third year, if I remember correctly." Tenten said as Naruto shrugged.
"But I thought you two got back together after college?"
"No, we did not." Tenten groaned.
"But if there's someone who Yukino can ask advice for Neji, it's you because all of us at the office aren't as close as you and Neji."
True, Neji wasn't the type to open up easily to other people, especially on his emotions. So it seems that Naruto wants Tenten to talk with Neji and unintentionally bring up the thought of the Christmas party and ask him what he thought about it.
"You want me to ask him out for you?" Tenten couldn't believe this.
"I just want to see if his open about this. If he's not, then I won't pursue him. I'm not in charge to rush him if he's heartbroken or something. And since you're very close to him, it would be easy if you mention this thing about the Christmas party to him first rather than one from our workplace." Yukino explained while Tenten shooked her head at Naruto.
"And you can't do this by yourself, huh?"
"I wouldn't know how, Tenten." Naruto retaliated.
"And besides, I had a feeling that Naruto can't do it right." Yukino added.
After a few weeks, Neji finally came back from the outskirts. And in a few days, both he and Tenten came back to their old routine.
"Finally, I have a car again." Tenten said as she hopped inside Neji's car. "How was the outskirts?"
"It was quite…interesting. I do hope they'll reimburse my money sooner."
"Hey, I saw Naruto on the mall."
"That's…cool. It's been quite a while since you saw him, right?"
"Yeah, I think it was way back from graduation or something. Hey, have you been, like, talking to Shizuka or something?" Neji was surprised with Tenten's sudden question.
"Shizuka? No I don't."
"I was just wondering if you're ready to, you know date somebody else after Shizuka since, I don't know, you're break up with Shizuka was years ago. It's been a while since you dated."
"So you were thinking that I haven't considered dating, huh? Well, guess what, I am thinking about it too."
"Well, for your information, it isn't obvious. Why don't you try asking someone out?"
"Tenten, really, what is this about?" Tenten looked at him with a genuine smile plastered on her face.
"Stop using some lame excuse and get your ass onto dating again."
"Whatever you say, ma'am."
"I'm serious. It's overly impossible if you're still mourning over Shizuka."
"Honestly, no I'm not."
"Really? Then what do you feel about Yukino?" Tenten held her breathe as she waited for Neji's answer. She was really hoping that this would work.
"Yukino Kisaragi. You know, your officemate."
"She's…okay. I guess."
"Really? Why don't you ask her out then? Like take her to some place, or maybe to your office Christmas party."
"How did you meet Yukino?"
"She was with Naruto when I bumped onto him at the mall a few days ago. She's quite the pretty and intelligent type. I think you should ask her out."
"Did Naruto ask you about this?" Tenten watched Neji's pale hands tightening around the steering wheel. And this made Tenten quite scared for while. From her point of view, Neji has a weird relationship with his friends. For a second, she thought he would be mad at Naruto over this.
"Nope. He did not. I just happened to bump onto them. So, why not Yukino?"
Though she felt guilty about the lying part, she knew that what she lied to about Neji would have a very fruitful outcome at the end. She waited patiently for Neji's reply, but it never came. She knew deep inside that Neji won't answer her question because there's nothing to point out from Yukino, she was [retty and smart after all. Neji exhaled from exhaustion, and it made Tenten doubt whether she made the right decision to ask him first hour of the first day of the week.
"I think you're right. I've been making lame excuses to avoid the dating stage. Maybe I should ask Yukino to the Christmas party."
As Neji's relationship with Yukino progressed, Tenten saw less of him. But despite of that fact, Neji still offered Tenten morning rides to her work. But Tenten felt like those car rides were painstakingly short to cram all of the stories they were craving to tell each other on the time that they weren't together.
And at that time, Tenten's love life got interesting.
She met Senri Mikoto at the company that she was working at. Senri was applying for a marketing position, and being able to read people very well, Tenten instantly knew that Senri would be hired easily. There were only few people who strode to the HR waiting room the way that he did. It was always nervousness that overcame most applicants, and he wasn't most applicants.
On their first meeting, they learned that they came from rival schools. And it gave way to their first date. He confidently asked her to the next big basketball game.
"Are you sure? What if your school loses?" Tenten asked.
"Doesn't matter. It's always the best team that wins anyways." Senri cockily said.
Senri walked out of the HR room with a date, and obviously a job. Type A personalities tend to do that, and obviously he had that kind of personality.
Coffee Shop, present time
Yukino was right. Tenten forgot what she did for her from 5 years ago.
"But I didn't do it for you." Tenten protested. "I just wanted the best for Neji. He looked like he could use a companion or something."
"That's quite interesting for you to say that. Doesn't Neji have a lot of friends?" Shizuka asked.
"Well yeah, but there's none that he casually opens up to. God, we don't even know when his birthday is." Yukino explained. Then both looked at Tenten.
"Tenten, I can't believe that you're very oblivious to this. Can't you see, he dated Yukino because you asked him to do so." Shizuka exasperatedly said.
"Hey, I don't have a lot of influence on him than you think. And besides, why should I even bother? We're not in speaking terms, remember?" Shizuka and Yukino looked at each other, then the latter leaned forward.
"I know that Mitsuki is cheating on him." Yukino whispered.
Mitsuki Takayama was on the same batch as Neji when he got hired. She and Yukino used to be friends, but after Yukino and Neji broke up, she suddenly showed up on the picture.
What really happened was that, Mitsuki started flirting with Neji on the last months of his and Yukino's relationship. It came to a point that Yukino couldn't handle all of Mitsuki's antics.
"Can you believe that they got assigned together on some province for three straight rows? And the pairings should come randomly." Yukino added.
"Why didn't you just trust Neji?"
"Tenten, we're not the same. You didn't felt that you had to share. Yukino and I felt as though we were sharing Zack with you through the memories you two have."
"Hey, that's nothing now. I found myself a new guy now, and I'm just hoping the best for Neji here."
Yukino also told the rest about a conference that she was randomly assigned with Mitsuki two months ago. She didn't mind it back then because at that time, she was seeing another guy. Yukino decided to let Mitsuki have the room she would've shared with her since a relative of hers live near the hotel. But one night, she felt a bit tipsy and decided to sleep on the room she and Mitsuki would've shared, and since she still got the keys.
But the moment she entered the room, she saw Mitsuki with a guy from the conference, in a very suggestive position. She was so embarrassed that she quickly went out the room after muttering some apologies.
"Oh my god! Mitsuki was picking out guys months before her wedding!" Shizuka exclaimed, looking at Tenten meaningfully.
"Yeah. And here I am torn on what to do on this information I have. If I tell Mitsuki, she'll just think I'm jealous or something and if I tell Neji…well he might think that I'm just bitter."
"Obviously, I can't tell him, because we haven't talked after our break up. So we came to the decision that you're the perfect person to tell him this." Shizuka said.
Tenten knew that both girls were right. It was very shameful of her if she didn't do this. True that Neji didn't talk to her about Mitsuki, but it was awful that she abandons him in a situation like this. Shizuka and Yukino obviously can't talk to him about this because of their position in Neji's life. How selfish of her. And to think that he was there when Senri and her broke up.
"So, are you in?" Shizuka asked, earning a sigh from Tenten.
"I guess you two are right. He's so damn lucky that you two are here to look after him."
"Or maybe cursed." Yukino laughed.
A/N: review pls…:)