I nervously paced up and down my little corridor. Every sound that came from the hallway made me jump with anticipation.
I had done something very bold.
This morning I woke up around half past six and made breakfast. After breakfast I decided I had run away from my troubles too long and too often and that I should have faced them a long time ago. But, there still was some time to set things right.
I was going to properly apologize to Sasuke Uchiha. If I didn't, I concluded, it would have a long-lasting impact on my life in this apartment-building.
Since I, unintentionally, broke his nose and he, uncharacteristically, blamed it on a cat, I figured I owed him. And, being a semi-proud Hyuuga, owing someone has two sides: a good one and a bad one. The bad one being the fact that I owed him something and I had no idea what to do about that.
Also, there were certain other ulterior motives in me wanting to apologize properly. As I mentioned before, life has become a tad bit more difficult as I have developed the persistent habit to hide myself whenever Sasuke Uchiha passes by. If it happens in the foyer, no problem: I already know which fake potted plants are the best ones to hide behind. But the hallways proved to be more difficult. The other day, I was talking to Atsuko-san from down the hall. I already felt uncomfortable, being so close to the elevator and stairs, fearing Sasuke would walk by and when he actually did (carrying a heavy box of carton) I almost dived into Atsuko-san's apartment. She took it well and invited me for tea.
But really, this couldn't continue like this! So, to make things right, I set out for the pet store and bought a lot of stuff cats apparently like. Why? Because Sasuke actually had bought one. Last Tuesday, spying from behind the fake palm tree in the foyer, I saw him walking towards the stairs with a black kitten in his arms. So I guessed, the best way to apologize was to buy something for the kitten.
At home I made all the things into a pretty package, then figured Sasuke Uchiha wouldn't appreciate the pink ribbon I had tied around it and put everything in a fancy cardboard box. (I mean as fancy as a cardboard box can be.)
But then, the real challenge came: getting the box to Sasuke Uchiha without pulling another utterly embarrassing act in front of him. Like setting his pants on fire, although I couldn't see how that could be possible, but also seeing that, being a klutz, I probably could pull it off with ease.
I thought it over until I was getting hungry and made lunch. As I was eating I received a text from Hanabi, telling me that she felt a lot better and she couldn't understand why father was angry with her. I texted her back that he probably felt relieved that she was feeling better, but didn't know how to express himself. A couple of minutes later, I got one back which said: liar.
With dinner done and also the dishes done and the kitchen spotlessly clean, I really had to get things going. I was going to go up to his door and present him the fancy cardboard box, and then I would apologize. He would accept both (the apology and box) and show me his kitten. After that we could continue our lives without me spying on him from the fake potted plants in the foyer, blissfully ignoring each other's existence.
It was a brilliant plan, nevertheless I felt a little uneasy about the ignoring each other's existence… but a brilliant plan nonetheless!
So, I went up to his apartment and, balancing the box on my knee I held up my fist to knock on his door (I was too nervous to notice he had a bell), but I couldn't get myself to knock. Of course I could knock on his door and then run for it, but that seemed too childish.
Therefore I simply placed the box on his mat and dashed to my apartment. The only thing that could go wrong now, was one of my neighbors noticing the package and mistaken it for a bomb or, upon discovering what's inside, taking it to spoil their cats with.
And this concludes the story of my sudden boldness. I went back to being a coward. I opened my door and spotted the package still waiting on his mat. This was my cue. I would take it back to my apartment and then send the stupid thing to him, anonymously. It would mean that I had to figure out another way to apologize, but at least my apartment would stink of decaying catnip.
I had just picked up the package, when I heard scratching and footsteps coming from behind the door. I panicked and instead of running away I held the package up as the door opened.
I said nothing and waited for another reaction, with my eyes firmly shut, believing he would burn me to ashes with his glare if I opened them.
'Hyuuga?' I gathered my remaining boldness and lowered the box a few millimeters. But because of my panic I had gotten these sweaty hands and so the box slipped from my fingers.
Both our reactions were to duck for the box and we both got a hold of it at the same time. I could feel his warm hands and I pulled mine away, almost letting the box drop again.
With my hands being free, I began to fumble with the hem of my shirt. 'I-I…' I had to do this! And I would do this! But I'm not sure if I can do this! 'I'M SORRY!' I yelled at him, clenching the hem so tight it would leave a permanent wrinkle. 'I SINCERELY A-APOLOGIZE FOR BREAKING YOUR NOSE and f-for making y-you buy a-a-a c-cat. I'm s-s-so s-sorry…' I bowed several times and my voice faltered as I noticed that Sasuke was looking at me with an expression that bordered on amusement and confusion.
He was still wearing a tiny white strip on the bridge of his nose and it seemed a little bluish on the sides.
When he still hadn't said a word, I apologized again.
'Don't.' he looked in the box. 'What's this?' he didn't sound angry or annoyed, but his gruff voice gave me uncomfortable tinges.
'I-it's a a-apologize gift,' I stared at my feet to avoid his eyes. 'f-for the kitten.'
'How do you –' he stopped and looked down, and at his feet a small black kitten hopped into to the hallway, ready to go on an adventure.
Sasuke, holding the box with both hands, tried to stop the little creature by blocking its path with his foot, but failed to do so.
'I-I'll get him.' I said and hurriedly grabbed the little kitten before he could go further. It meowed and licked my hand, probably because of the tuna I had for dinner.
Sasuke was still looking inside the box. 'Catnip.' He mumbled.
'The cat got crazy all of a sudden. He probably smelled it.'
'Ah.' I scratched the kitten's head and he started purring. 'D-does it have a n-name yet?'
He sighed. 'Like in kid, Ko.'
'Ah,' I held Ko up, he meowed again. 'Ko-chan.'
'No, just Ko.'
We both stayed silent and I couldn't help but think about that time he randomly tucked that strand of hair behind my ear. 'I h-have to go!' I said, flustered.
I bowed and headed in the direction of my apartment.
I turned. Sasuke pointed in the direction of my chest, I blushed, until I realized I was still holding Ko in my arms.
'Ah, I'm so sorry!' I handed him the kitten.
'Put it in the box.' I carefully placed Ko in the box.
'Well, I'll go now.' I said, bowing again.
'You didn't break my nose, it was just bruised. You don't have the power to break it.'
He smirked and returned to his apartment.
D-did he just make a joke?
Or did he just insult me?
Thank you for all the kind reviews!
(ps: Ko supossedly means child in Japanese, but I also thought of it as an abbreviation of neko or cat)