A/N: Guess who decided to finally get around to rewriting this? I have yet to rewrite the other chapters, but here's a taste of the revamped edition. It's still not where I want it, but I think it's a hell of a lot better than my first try. I was going to upload the entire rewritten story at once, but this is like more than a year overdue. Sorry for the wait!
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
They met on a rainy Tuesday.
Tenten tapped her foot impatiently on the linoleum floor of the airport, shivering as she waited for her coffee. She pulled her navy cardigan tighter around her form, letting out a long sigh. It was a lovely Tuesday evening in Chicago, with all the rain and gloom and thunder- absolutely perfect. The female swore under her breath, turning her attention away from the window. The weather was making her nervous; a freak storm was never the ideal flying condition. It has been sunny and warm all week. Of course damn karma has to come and bite me on the ass, she thought angrily.
"Excuse me miss," the barista said, holding out a steaming cup of joe towards her. She graciously accepted it, thanking heavens as it warmed her freezing hands. Hoisting her bag on her shoulder and reclaiming a firm grip on her suitcase, she headed off in the direction of her terminal.
Even at night, O'Hare was crowded, the sea of people creating white noise around her. Settling herself in one of the few available seats near the window, she took large gulps of coffee, too cold to care about how it burned her tongue and throat. She downed the beverage in a minute and disposed of it the nearby receptacle, making a mental note to order a larger size next time. Never one to just sit around idle, Tenten fished out a tattered novel, opened it to chapter nineteen and began reading.
"Is this seat taken?" asked a deep, baritone voice, the owner of which towered over her, casting a shadow onto the page of her book. Tenten looked up, a little startled, disgruntled she had been so engrossed in her reading that she had failed to maintain an awareness of her surroundings. "Miss?" the man pressed again.
"Oh- no, please sit," she replied quickly, grabbing her bag and placing it on the floor near her feet. The stranger nodded his thanks.
The next ten minutes were antagonizing for the brunette female. No matter how hard she tried to direct her attention back to her novel, her eyes kept shifting to the man beside her. He was handsome, with aristocratic features. Tenten mentally traced the curve of his jaw, imagining what it'd be like to run a finger down his flawless face. The thought was captivating, and though she severely denied it, she did not mind being bombarded with such ideas. Eventually, she closed her book, intent on picking at her sweater and sneaking continual glances at the man.
He caught her eye once or twice, but thought nothing of it (for which she was grateful). However, the third time, when Tenten could feel his gaze as he watched her harass her clothing, he spoke: "Do you find me amusing?"
The female spluttered, choking on her saliva, thoroughly surprised at him. The tips of her ears burned, and she cursed herself for her wild, infatuated imagination (she had been in the middle of her dream wedding). "E-excuse me?"
"Do you find me amusing?" he repeated with the patience she lacked.
"O-of course not! It's just (a jolt of inspiration) you have something on your face," she told him, reaching out and indulging some of those fantasies she had been conjuring. He (to his own amazement it seemed as well) did not move away. Tenten withdrew her finger quickly, lest she get too carried away.
"There, that's better," she lied.
Neji cleared his throat, not accustomed to such behavior (he never liked being touched, especially on the face). "Thank you, I guess." He gave her one last wary look, than turned back to his work.
You have something on your face? Really? What the hell is wrong with you? Stop looking at him damn it!
"Err… nice weather we're having huh?" Tenten commented, wanting to bash her head against the wall as soon as the words slipped out. The man raised an eyebrow, glanced out the window, and then returned his attention to her.
"I suppose. I don't like the cold much."
"Neither do I. I always get sick. My friends laugh at me 'cause I'm always bundled in sweaters over two layers of clothes," the female said, with a meek laugh.
"Chicago's winters are brutal," the man offered. "I'm Neji Hyuuga," he added, holding out his hand. Her eyes widened a bit at the name. I'm such a dunce. How could I not recognize him?
"Tenten Murakami." She tried her best to keep the excitement and nerves at bay as she spoke. They shook.
"So why are you going to New York?" the Hyuuga asked, stuffing his laptop in his bag.
She had been trying not to think about the reason behind her trip, for she did not find it particularly favorable. "Err… just visiting family," she said, but it sounded so forced, she knew he wouldn't believe it.
"If you do not wish to tell me the truth, spare your soul from further sinning and say as much. I'm not one to pry into people's business. Everyone has secrets," Neji told her. The last sentence sparked the Murakami's curiosity, and it took immense effort to not blurt out all her questions.
"Why are you going?" she asked instead.
"Business conference. Tedious, but necessary."
"You don't like traveling?" the brunette female questioned. At this, the man shrugged.
Tenten shook her head. "Planes scare me, and with all the accidents in the news, I'd rather not. God I'd need one hell of a lawyer to defend me if my stuff was damaged or lost too- airline companies are so rude these days."
"I'm a lawyer," Neji cut in. No kidding sweetheart, who doesn't know that? He fished around the inside pocket of his blazer and pulled out a business card. Tenten blinked as her gaze wandered from him to the card, then she gingerly took it from his hand, running a thumb across the raised ink that read Hyuuga Lawyer Corp. Neji pulled it from her fingers and flipped it over, beginning to write something in neat, elegant script. "Here's my cell phone number," he told her, placing his pen back in his pocket. "Call me if you ever need any assistance."
Tenten tried not to gape and sputter like a fish out of water. She, the awkward, borderline anti-social nerd had just scored the number of one of the city's most wanted bachelors. All she wanted now was to hug something (preferably him) and squeal with glee. Ever the actress, she retained her composure as best she could and kindly thanked him. He gave her a small smile of his own and stood up, grabbing his things.
"I'm sorry, the wi-fi here is terrible. I'm going to see if I have better luck in the lounge. It was nice meeting you, Tenten." The brunette managed to squeak out a "nice to meet you too" and another thank you before he took his leave. She watched him until he was out of her sight, then she sunk down in the chair, curling up into a ball, too excited to even remember the article she had read in the cab about how unsanitary airport seating actually was.
She hurriedly took out her phone, fingers trembling from the adrenaline as she searched through her contacts for her best friend's number. She needed to tell someone about this, now. Her bubble was burst, however, when her phone buzzed and displayed a text from her current enemy number 1. With that all the dread came rushing back and the reason for her trip burned in her mind and made her stomach flip-flop. She stuffed her phone into the bottom of her purse (though she very carefully placed the business card in her wallet), and crossed her arms, frowning. She took a glance out the window, mood soiled.
Her phone buzzed again, but she ignored it. Another buzz and she was just about ready to drop the damn thing in the trash when the gate attendant announced it was time to begin boarding, Sighing she gathered her bags and moved to wait in line. She almost jumped when she felt a tap on her shoulder and turned so quickly she almost smacked the person in front of her with her bag. "Hi," she said when she realized she once again face to face with Neji Hyuuga.
"Hello, Tenten. We meet again." She decided she liked the way he said her name and she tried her best to smile with all the ugly thoughts racing through her head. "Where will you be seated?"
"Umm… seat 2A. You?"
"2B. It seems fate has given us a little more time together."
"I guess so," she replied, unsure of what to make of that statement. She held his gaze until he pointed out that the line had moved up. She turned, ears burning, and handed her pass to the gate attendant. She waited for Neji to do the same and the two walked the length of the connector in surprisingly comfortable silence. He took her suitcase from her hand and wordlessly placed it in the overhead bin once they were onboard, nodding when she thanked him.
As they took off, Tenten snuck a glance at him, heart sinking and stomach coiling. Things like Neji, they were something she would never have.
A/N: There are spoilers in the next chapters though I'm definitely changing some of the plot, so don't read them if you want it all to be a surprise (or you don't want to get confused). I think this may actually turn out longer than I originally wanted it to be.
Thank you for reading and please review!