"Good morning, Mister Hyuuga."
That was how everything propelled into action, at 6:00 AM on a fresh early winter Monday.
He looked at me as he pressed the button to the fifth floor. A coffee was held in his hand. He was dressed nicely that morning. Hair pulled back into a ponytail, his perfect build glazed by a simple suit.
We shared an awkward stare for a while, before he turned to the front again and watched the elevator doors hiss shut. "Good morning, um...What was your name?" he said at last.
I tried not to sigh. I'd worked under the man for three years now; he should have known who I was. But he was highly renowned, and well-protected, so I had to show him my respect.
"TenTen," I said simply. "I work for your cousin."
"Oh, Hinata's secretary, that's right," he said.
He didn't look at me once while he spoke.
A smart person would think that he assumed they weren't worth a casual side-glance, but obviously I'm not smart.
I was worth it, I decided that day, so there must have been another reason for Mister Neji Hyuuga to look away from me.
Unfortunately, I was correct.
I'm an awful person, and I know it. But the question to why I ever decided to mess with the Neji Hyuuga that day will never be answered. I'm extremely instinctual, and I tend not to think before I act.
So the words were out of my mouth before I even knew what they were. Mister Hyuuga turned slowly to cock his head over his shoulder and observe me. His eyes were as dull as usual. "Pardon?" he said unenthusiastically.
"Executive assistant," I repeated, taking care not to look away from his eyes for one second. "I prefer to be called an executive assistant."
"…Ah." Mister Hyuuga took a couple more seconds to watch me before turning away from my face again, almost in relief. "Then I apologize for the…misconception."
He then effectively thinned his lips, pressing them shut. He apparently believed the conversation was over. I was comited to prove him wrong.
"The title of 'secretary' sounds very unprofessional," I stated.
He was forced to look at me again, and I knew he was getting tired of it already. I lifted my eyebrows in a patronizing way and said, "Don't you think?"
I understood now that I was treading in very dangerous waters. I was risking a lot; my job, my well-being, maybe more.
But to see his face as he stared at me in bewilderment, his eyes large and his lips parted…
It felt damn good.
"I suppose," he said after a very long pause. This time he didn't look away. Not that he was intrigued. More annoyed than anything.
I stole that moment as an opportunity to make a small observation that I'd been meaning to query to someone about for a while. It was one of those questions that I'd pushed to the back of my mind and saved for a drunken night with an ex-boyfriend on the phone. One of those ideas that was of no use to the world whatsoever, but was saved anyways.
"This music…" I gestured around the elevator with my free hand, the other one tapping the handle of my briefcase. "It's so…" I wrinkled my nose as I concentrated to find the word: "Dull."
I could feel Mister Hyuuga's eyes glued to me, but he did not respond. Possibly because there was no way to respond to that, at least using his imagination, so I filled in the silence:
"You'd think that on such a slow-moving elevator, that's going all the way up to the fifth and sixth floors of this building, you'd think that it would be a little livelier, right?"
I placed a hand delicately on my thigh in disapproval, looking to the side to Mister Hyuuga as if he could possibly share my point. "Might as well entertain us!"
Mister Hyuuga was officially very uncomfortable. But it still wasn't good enough. So I whipped up another one.
"And the décor." I shook my head with a piteous sigh. "Who comes up with a blue carpet with…with red speckles, and pink wallpaper with…What are those, yellow stripes?"
I let a short laugh escape my lips. "How tacky! What kind of person walks into Home Depot, checks out the wallpaper samples, and points to this one saying 'This is what I want in my elevator!' Do you know what I mean?"
I tilted my head back and exhaled sharply. "See, and look!"
He did not look, but I continued all the same.
"Why a mirror on the ceiling of an elevator? Women, we usually bring a mirror around in our purse so we can fix our makeup at a symmetrical angle, but someone obviously thought that people were stupid enough to use a mirror from above."
I held up a hand and pointed out to Mister Hyuuga the mirror on the ceiling. "What is the purpose of that?"
Mister Hyuuga, overwhelmed and frustrated, simply said, "Do you have a problem?"
I relaxed and blinked at him. "A problem?" I repeated for myself. "How do you mean? Such as, I need a hospital kind of problem, or I have a problem with you?"
Mister Hyuuga paused, then opened his mouth to try to speak, but I interrupted him just as he started. "Because if that's the question, then my answer would be yes, both."
Mister Hyuuga frowned. "Are you implying that you have a problem with me?"
I smiled brightly. "As a matter of fact, you're spot on."
The elevator gave a short little Ding! as it lurched to a halt on the fourth floor. I collected my briefcase to me and smiled. "Have a wonderful day, Mister Hyuuga."
I still don't know why I had such a grin on my face as I strode confidently out of the elevator to his nonplussed silence. It might have been because I'd finally said what I'd been meaning to say for a while.
Either way, that day started something in me that I couldn't stop. Not that I minded, anyways.
I don't remember if I actually expected to see him again at the end of the day. I don't think I did. I don't think I was even looking forward to seeing him. All I know is that as soon as I saw him standing there in the back of the elevator, I was not as surprised to see him as I should have been.
I walked over and heard him heave an enormous sigh at the sight of me.
I thinned my lips and pressed the button to the ground floor, then muttered, "And there it is."
I said it quietly, almost in a whisper, but I purposefully made it loud enough for him to hear it, and he did.
Obviously regretting doing so, he inquired exasperatedly "Did you say something?"
"Hm?" I hummed loudly.
Mister Hyuuga turned to stare at me with increased frustration. I examined my nails with deep concern, and he turned to the elevator doors to watch them slide closed and said, "Never mind."
Then, he let out another long, exaggerated sigh, and I immediately flung my hand down and said, as if to myself but definitely making sure he could hear, "There it is again!"
"I'm sorry, but what is wrong with you?" Mister Hyuuga asked, finally submitting. I felt a profound, tingling sense of satisfaction when he glared at me.
"What do you mean what's wrong with me?" I asked innocently. "I'm just stating the obvious."
"What's so obvious? What are you even talking about?" Mister Hyuuga demanded as subtly as he could. "You admitted it earlier, you have a problem. More to the point, a problem with me."
"Now I don't think you're being fair," I said, frowning and placing my hand on my hip. "Getting all upset like that."
"Why on earth should I not be upset?"
"You seem to have a problem with me, as well," I pointed out reasonably.
Mister Hyuuga stared at me for a while. The elevator hissed on, filling the silence, 'till he finally closed his eyes patiently, and opened them once again to say very slowly, in a kindly controlled voice, "Fine. May I be so…bold as to ask what your problem…with me…is?"
I smiled. "There's a kind fellow." He glowered. "I could say that your little noise earlier is a perfect example of my problem…with you."
"That dreadful sigh that escaped your soft, luscious lips a couple seconds ago," I said quite seriously.
He raised an eyebrow at the two adjectives, but I went on without hesitation.
"That heartfelt little moan that I bet would send many girls reeling in their most orgasmic of dreams."
His lips parted with his perplexity.
"I heard it, and I didn't like it one bit, Mister Hyuuga."
He was giving me a look like I was something foreign. And to tell the truth, I loved it. I loved every bit of it.
"So…when I sighed…" he managed to say at last after a few seconds of—most likely—sorting out the excess words I'd bravely sprinkled in, "…That was what bothered you…? That's…all…?"
I took the liberty of unwaveringly glaring up at him. "No," I snapped. "That is not all. What's all is the question as to how someone as handsome as you can be so stupid."
He blinked in surprise.
"I mean, honestly, how can you not remember me? And that attitude of yours, you're like a child!"
He tilted his head to the side.
"I've worked for your family for three years, you've seen me around the office, and every time I see you I say the same thing; 'Good morning, Mister Hyuuga; Good afternoon, Mister Hyuuga; Good night, Mister Hyuuga', every single time."
"Well how am I supposed to remember everyone that says something like that to me?" Mister Hyuuga said, placing a hand to his forehead in frustration.
"You can remember me at least—"
"—Why are you so angry about this? I don't have to remember you if I don't want to." Mister Hyuuga shook his head and said — well, I still can't believe he said it, but he did — he said:
"If you can't remember my first name, why should I remember yours?"
I paused in surprise. He froze as well, seeming to realize what he'd just said.
Now, I suppose I'm not completely mental. I'm a tiny bit smart. Because as he quickly looked away from me and stared determinedly at the buttons in front of him, as the elevator shuddered to a squeaky halt on the first floor, everything clicked into place, and I felt myself smile.
"Alright, then. Let's make a deal," I said as Mister Hyuuga collected his briefcase. "I'll call you by your first name. And you'll call me be mine. And we'll both remember from now on, yes?"
He turned to face me one more time. This time, I didn't let him look away. I made certain that my eyes were glued to his. The elevator doors glided open, and he said, "Can you remind me of the details, then?"
"You'll call me TenTen," I said obediently, then:
"And I'll call you Neji."
The elevator let out a loud dinging noise. The doors gleamed in the lamplight from the long hallway Mister Hyuuga was about to walk out into.
He thinned his lips, and nodded. "…Fine."
I grinned. "Fine. Then you'd better get going, beautiful."
I waved him towards the open doors which were impatiently waiting for him.
"Good night, Neji."
That was the first day I'd experienced it. Sure, the music was boring, the décor was tacky, and the atmosphere was awkward. But in the elevator with Mister Hyuuga—I mean, Neji—well, that was something.
Please don't ask me why I have to post so much bullshit. If you do, I will have no answer for you other than I had to do this.
IMO, this is the best character I've ever made TenTen into, and I sort of absolutely love it;; I'm basically having a Tentengasm. It's amazing. (: