He had to be the most handsome thing she had seen in her entire life.
There he stood in the doorway of her kindergarten's entry way smiling in a somewhat sheepish way that made Hinata's heart do a funny little jump, the pudgy fingers of a little girl curled around his pinky finger.
He was simply charming; she'd never seen anything quite like him before. She didn't know if it was the smile he was giving her, that awkward quirk of his wide mouth or the way the sunlight from through the door caught in his mess of blonde tresses or, she nearly gasped as he opened his eyes as his smile softened, the brilliant summer sky colour of his boldly blue eyes that had made her stop and stare. Or maybe it was the air he had to him. Hyuuga Hinata never considered herself a shallow person and never judged someone by how they appeared at first glance, God knew that you had to be pretty opened minded when it came to the age of some of the mothers bringing their kids into the kindergarten, so Hinata now thought it was probably the feel of the man before her that was making her heartbeat race.
He was confident despite the smile he was giving her; she could tell by the way he stood firmly on two feet right in the middle of the floor. Perhaps this experience was new for him? She could also tell that he was kind by the way he was standing with his child so close to his side like it was all very natural. The relaxed arch of his eyebrows and his smooth tan skin, the bright orange T-shirt he was wearing; he was a naturally bright and happy person. She liked that. Although, the whiskered lines at his cheeks.. Endearing...
He was gorgeous, so amazing that she thought she might pass out. Just like that she had fallen and fallen what she felt, from the spin of the earth beneath her feet and the jittering of her hands, rather hard for this man.
Love at first sight. Or something. She'd never had this sort of feeling before...
Hinata felt her hands smooth her canary yellow apron and smiled graciously; overcoming her initial shock as the man began to speak, seemingly getting over his few seconds of jumpiness.
"Morning, I'm Uzumaki Naruto, I'd like to see about having my daughter come here. I've had her at home during the day til now but I thought she should make some friends," he said to Hinata with a fond smile at the girl at his side. Hinata nodded slowly and timidly with a formal "G-good morning Uzumaki san, it's very nice to meet you. I-I think that can be arranged", her nervous stutter rearing its ugly head. She tried not to feel embarrassed but with someone like "Uzumaki Naruto" standing before her, it was a bit hard. Hastily, she tried to calm herself and then quickly bobbed down onto her haunches to become level with the Uzumaki Naruto's daughter, guiltily sneaking a look at Naruto's left hand. No ring...
A single father?
"What's your name sweetie?" asked Hinata gently, turning her attention to the small child standing patiently at Naruto's side.
"Natsuki," replied the girl smiling a big grin at Hinata as the young kindergarten teacher took in her cool greeny blue eyes, smooth pale skin and light brown, sunstreaked-blonde hair that was parted in an even centre part and framed her small round face in child soft curls. Nothing about her was the same as Naruto apart from the same kind of warmth her smile held when she grinned with her eyes closed just as her father had been a moment earlier.
"Well Natsuki chan, my name is Hinata sensei. You can put your things in a cubby hole over there; remember to take off your shoes ok? Then you can go inside while your Daddy and me have a talk," replied Hinata and Natsuki nodded eagerly in reply, her adorable wavy curls bouncing with the movement as she let go of her father's pinky and began to work the buckles of her shoes. Hinata rose to her full height that on the rise of the step into the entry way made her almost eye to eye with Uzumaki Naruto. She felt a blush rise up her neck and into her cheeks as he blinked once and smiled at her before Natsuki tugged on the leg of Naruto's blue jeans, demanding attention with a cute pouty face. Naruto bent down to help take off his daughter's shoes while Hinata wondered, her blush deepening, if Naruto also had a pouty face or if that was something that Natsuki got from her...
The young woman felt her whole body tense and her stomach jump up under her ribcage.
Naruto didn't seem to be married but he must have been together with someone he loved very much to have such a beautiful child. And here Hinata was, not even trying to stop herself from, for the first time in her life, "eyeing up" the father of one of her kids...
She felt guilty even though it was just thinking, it was just looking. But she felt ashamed of herself.
As soon as her shoes were off, Natsuki gave her father a quick kiss and then raced past Hinata and into the large open room where all the other children that Hinata cared for were playing happily. Naruto straightened and Hinata tried not to meet his eye, still feeling embarrassed with herself.
"Uzumaki san, please come this way to the office, I just need you to fill in some paperwork and then you're free to bring Natsuki chan here as much as you want," she muttered as clearly as she could manage and gestured for him to follow her down the hallway.
"Really? Is it really as simple as that Hinata sensei?" asked Naruto, amazement in his voice as he walked two steps behind her and Hinata nearly passed out with embarrassment from the way he addressed her.
"T-t-t-that's not necessary, that name..." she stuttered as they turned into the office.
"A-and yes, it's just some contact details. T-the kindergarten doesn't have a lot of students so I am happy to take on anyone who would trust me with their children's care," she told him, her eyes skirting between in front of her and to where Naruto had taken a long step to fall into pace with her, his eyes on her blushing face.
"Ah, right! That's pretty cool Hinata sensei."He was loud and oblivious to Hinata's obvious nervousness. Once again, the smile made her state of consciousness waver. She didn't know whether to bask in the warm feeling his presence and smile he gave her or be terrified of his effect on her.
They sat down opposite each other once inside the office and Hinata timidly raised her lavender eyes to Naruto as she handed him the contacts form. He caught her gaze on him and gave her one small smile before flicking his eyes down to the sheet, a shadow casting into the blue as he began to concentrate. Hinata's heartbeat jumped nervously as she watched him unnoticed.
He was so handsome.
She found herself beginning to wonder what happened to Natuski's mother... Who would ever leave this man? This man with his boyish face and charming smile? His sunshine skin and hair? His amazing eyes...?
Long dark hair brushed across milky white skin as Hinata tilted her head slightly. Perhaps he had a bad side?
She couldn't imagine it. He looked so happy and gentle. An angry look on this person's face seemed impossible. No negative imagine she could conjure fitted Uzumaki Naruto...
She could help looking at him as they sat there together, and she knew she wouldn't be able to help herself from looking at him every time he came in, or help herself from thinking about him; this single father. But she'd most definitely keep her fascinations quietly to herself so it would be alright.
This idea eased her embarrassment slightly.
She'd stay quiet and nothing would come of it so it would be fine. In the adult world, "quiet" was her middle name. There was no way that a man like Naruto could fall for someone like Hinata anyway.
Naruto finished signing his name and handed over the form, getting to his feet. Hinata filed the paper away and then stood too. She already wanted to take it back out and look at his handwriting. Was that obsessive? She shivered.
They made their way back down the hallway and stood together in the entrance to the room where all the children were playing. Natsuki seemed to have settled in well and was playing with blocks along two other girls.
"Is it ok just to go now? I've never done this sort of thing before but I've got some things to do, groceries and all that good stuff," Naruto said with yet another dazzling smile thrown carelessly in Hinata's direction, unaware of how each one nearly knocked all the air from her chest. "She looks like she doesn't need me; I don't wanna break up her fun by going in there..." His blue eyes were fond and full of adoration. Naruto obviously was another father whose daughter had her daddy wrapped tight around her little finger already. Hinata laughed softly. That was one of the things she loved the most about being a kindergarten teacher; seeing the incredible bond between parent and child. Daddies and their daughters were the most beautiful she always thought.
"Yes, that's fine. I'll look after her all day until three." Hinata congratulated herself on not stuttering, working hard on keeping composed in front of him.
"Ok that's cool," Naruto replied as he waved at Natsuki who didn't look up.
"See you then, Hinata sensei!" he called and headed for the door, ignoring what she had said about the way he addressed her. She saw him pull a blue notepad paper from his pocket as he did.
A shopping list.
Hinata blushed after the man's departing back before walking back into the play room and clapping her hands to bring everyone's attention to her. Somehow, she had no problem with her confidence around children.
"Good morning children," she called in a sing-song voice smiling at all their big child eyes and warm, welcoming smiles. They saw no evil and didn't know any hardship. They were pure and untainted by adult affairs and being with them and doing something for them made Hinata feel pure too. She felt good about herself, needed. And that was something special.
"Good morning Hinata sensei," the children called back, Natsuki included who looked extra enthusiastic. Again Hinata smiled.
The day had had an interesting beginning.