A Mother's Touch

Chapter seven

"Love, n. A temporary insanity curable by marriage."

- Ambrose Bierce

A city lay sleeping. A new day was about to be born, and with it the start of a new life for Uchiha Hinata. Upon waking in her new, strange bed Hinata found her name running through her head again and again. The ring on her finger again became very apparent. It was beautiful. She almost felt guilty about being given the honor of wearing something so precious. Shaking the thought from her mind, Hinata stood up looking ruffled. She glanced at her clock with relief.

If she had her times right and if her husband were as punctual in all things he did as he said he was, he should be arriving from a run in about ten minutes. Hinata glanced at her sleeping baby and then peered outside her window. They were higher up than it had seemed the night before. Night it still seemed as that the sun hadn't even risen yet. It was almost six in the morning. By the time Itachi returned, the sun would be up and with it the slumbering city.

Yawning softly, Hinata tip toed downstairs. They had cleaned up very well together. She had started to suspect that Itachi was somewhat of a perfectionist. Not that she had a problem with it, but Hinata couldn't help but to feel that the evidence of someone living in their home wouldn't be there. Something would have to be done. Maybe she would leave a few pacifiers around.

It took a bit of searching, but Hinata eventually found the items necessary for tea. She quirked her lip. Itachi apparently enjoyed mainly oolong. It would seem that she would also have to have a hand in tweaking the type of tea in the household as well. Perhaps some black or jasmine.

As soon as the water was finished boiling, the front door opened with a slight whish of air, footsteps immediately following. Hinata tied her knee length robe tighter as she began to steep the tea. The kitchen was soon filled with the aroma of oolong, one that was pleasant and comforting. It was a scent that Hinata wasn't familiar yet. She knew that it was expensive just from looking at the leaves and the special way it had to be prepared.

The sun had begun to rise when she took a seat at the table. Hinata deeply inhaled the whirls of steam that rose from her cup. Itachi didn't have any sugar, so she decided to have it straight. After a few sips, she decided she probably would have liked it better that way. Closing her eyes for a moment, Hinata allowed herself to relax. When she opened them, she found her husband standing at the foot of the stairs, observing her. What struck her the most was that he didn't try to hide it.

"Good morning." Hinata said. She suddenly felt underdressed in her thin, black robe, even though it was barely half past six in the morning. The fact that when sitting down, it showed her legs didn't seem all too appropriate either. She didn't even want to think about her hair. Why had she not thought of getting herself together?

Itachi was anything but underdressed. This was a typical morning for him, of course minus the wife and the waiting cup of tea. Donned in one of his many suits, Itachi looked immaculately proficient. Although Hinata noticed he didn't have a tie on. It seemed to be the only thing missing. The laptop wedged between his arm and body even seemed to apart of the picture.

"Good morning." Itachi nodded. He walked over to the table and sat his laptop down at the head seat.

"Your tea is in the kitchen."

He gave her an appreciative glance and padded over to the kitchen, disappearing. Hinata stared at the laptop and the many papers he set down with it. She wondered if he ever took a break, aside from the occasional meal and sleep.

"Delicious, isn't it?" She heard him say. "I bought it in China a couple months ago and I almost forgot I even had it."

Hinata took another sip, breathing in the exotic aroma once more. "It smells wonderful. What kind of oolong is it?" She heard the opening and closing of cabinets.

"They call it jade."

Itachi reappeared, a cup of piping hot tea in his hands along with what appeared to be a small clear cup with vitamins. Upon taking his seat, he immediately began typing away, pausing only to drink or examine one of his papers. Having finished her own tea, Hinata took the opportunity to go back upstairs and check on Hayako. Her baby looked content and peaceful as she continued to sleep.

Checking her clock, she realized that the time that Itachi would be leaving was approaching. The two credit cards he gave her the previous night were on the nightstand, reminding her of all the things she would like to accomplish that day. Hinata quirked her lip. If this was going to be her home, it only seemed right that she should make it so. There was the baby-proofing, food for the week, any other extra cleaning that needed to be done, and dinner. When was the last time she even cooked?

Stepping into her bathroom, Hinata turned on the faucet and splashed her face with cold water. Staring at her reflection in the mirror, she found that her hair wasn't in as bad a state as she had originally thought. She didn't look entirely unkempt. It was her first morning being married and she was suddenly so conscious about her appearance. Perhaps some of Itachi's meticulousness was rubbing off on her already.

Hinata was choosing between jeans and a dress when she heard her name being called from down the hall. Poking her head out of the door she saw that Itachi's door was open. Swallowing a bit louder than she intended, Hinata found herself in Itachi's room. She had seen it the previous night, but it looked much better with the natural light falling in from the windows. She noted that his bed was already made and not a single thing could be found on the floor. His suit jacket was placed on the bed, although one could tell it had been discarded in somewhat of a rush.

Itachi wasn't facing her, but was in his closet, looking at something. Sensing her presence, he turned and hastily gestured she come over. Hinata found herself standing beside Itachi, in his closet. She hadn't realized how large it was! Not only was he a perfectionist, but he was also very organized. Hinata realized that not one piece of clothing was out of place. Suits were hung according to color. She figured the shirts were folded in one of the many drawers. The man had more shoes than she did.

He was standing in front of what seemed to be a smaller compartment of a drawer that hung ties. Holding two ties, Itachi seemed to be comparing the two. Turning to her, in all solemnity, he asked:

"Which one?"

Hinata, for some reason, felt like laughing. Instead she pointed to the dark grey tie in his right hand. "That one."


"You have white shirt on. White and grey never clash."

"Opinion or fact?"

"Opinion, but it does look better. Here, let me see."

Gingerly holding out her hand, Hinata gave Itachi a slight, shy smile. She had had to trust him all the way until that moment. The way she saw it, it was his turn. It looked as if Itachi agreed to some degree as he handed her the tie. Silently thanking Neji for schooling her on how to tie a tie in highschool, Hinata did so in a more trendy fashion, the eldredge knot. It looked much more complicated than it actually was. Not being able to tell if Itachi was impressed or not, Hinata took a step back, with hands on her hips, and let him examine the finished product in the mirror.

It would seem that he liked it enough, Hinata gathered. Itachi thanked her and headed toward the hall, his suit jacket in tow. Hinata followed, turning the light off in the closet. Back in her own room, she saw that Hayako was awake and whimpering. A big smile unfolded on her lips. Picking her baby up gently, Hinata walked downstairs. Itachi was at the dining table, slipping papers into a briefcase. She hadn't noticed Itachi's spare glance at the infant.

Propped on Hinata's hip, Hayako gazed curiously in the refrigerator as her mother grabbed a bottle of formula. Back in the dining room, Itachi stood patiently waiting for her to leave the kitchen. When she did, Hayako in the crook of her arm happily sucking on a bottle, Itachi checked his watch and then began to speak.

"Hinata, do you mind doing me another favor?"

Did he really expect her to say no?

"Of course not." She gave a friendly nod. "What is it?"

"Can you teach me how to tie a tie as you did before?" Itachi asked. There was a certain adroit look on his face, almost as if to say that he could easily figure it out himself. Hinata was slightly taken off guard at the question. For a reason that she couldn't quite place.

"Sure, anytime."

At that moment, Hayako began to cough, sputtering milk on Hinata's black robe. Hurriedly setting the bottle down on the table, Hinata launched into full on mommy mode, patting her back and whispering soothing words. Taking the opportunity to leave, Itachi did so and left with a parting goodbye. He didn't say what time he would be home. Hinata later took that as a sign that he was unsure and didn't want to promise anything. As far as she was concerned that was fine. She knew he was busy and that she had no right to impose on his already altered life.

That seemed to be the theme for the rest of that first day in her new home. Despite not knowing where anything was, cleaning materials for example, Hinata abstained from calling or inquiring about anything (she wasn't even sure if they even existed). Eventually she gave up and went back upstairs to completely unpack the rest of her things. She hung up many outfits, mulling over the fact that she needed to go shopping if she really had to attend events (dresses and jeans simply wouldn't do at any gala).

When she checked her bank account online, Hinata nearly choked on the apple she had been eating. There was an outrageous amount of money that had been deposited and she was certain that she hadn't asked Neji for any money transfers. She was sure that it had to be Itachi and was itching to call and insist that it wasn't needed. Instead she swallowed the remaining bits of her apple and closed her laptop. Hinata had a good feeling the money would stay there, whether she wanted it to or not.

During a diaper change, it suddenly occurred to Hinata that she had forgotten to call the cleaning service and cancel. She couldn't find the piece of paper with the number scribbled on it and so was obligated to wait until she or he came to do their duty. When the front door finally did open, Hinata hopped up from her position on the couch in front of a high school drama that she hadn't really been watching anyway.

Face to face with an old, candid looking woman did no good to ease her impending feelings of guilt. She didn't like having to send away a woman who was apparently looking forward to coming to work. Hinata immediately bowed and sheepishly explained and apologized.

Carrying a basket chock full of cleaning supplies and what seemed to be like incense, the old woman merely smiled and shrugged. She set her basket down on the dining room table and pulled out a pair of gloves. Humming contently to herself, the old woman walked into the kitchen. Hinata let out a soft huff of breath, thankful for the old woman's calm response of being dismissed.

"Come on, dear. This kitchen won't clean itself!" The old woman called from the kitchen. Hinata could hear the faucet being turned on. Peering into the kitchen, she could see that the old woman was bending down, inspecting the inside of the refrigerator. Without looking at her, she said:

"Would you like to learn how to properly clean for your husband or not, dear? I can only teach you so much. Now I have an extra pair gloves in there. Wear them every single time you clean, or you'll ruin those pretty hands of yours. One can tell so much by the hands…" the old woman trailed off, suddenly in thought.

Without a second thought, Hinata picked up the gloves and put them on. Walking into the kitchen, she saw that the old woman was now facing her, gloved hands on her hips. Clasped hands behind her back, Hinata nodded and smiled, waiting for instruction.

Instruction she surely did give. At one point in the kitchen, Hinata found herself on the counter and peeking behind the fridge, checking for dust. If there was ever an Olympic category for extreme, OCD cleaning, the gold medal would certainly go to the old woman. Her name was Ritsuko, no last name given and she insisted, despite the oddity, being called Ritsuko with no honorific. It was too stiff, she said. Ritsuko had lived in America for a while and had grown to like first name usage.

By the time they reached upstairs, Hinata took a break to check on Hayako. Thankful for a chance to take the gloves off, she collapsed on her bed. Washing baseboards were more work than she had ever thought. Yet, despite the vigorous scrubbing, Hinata did feel as if she were learning more than she had ever before when it came to cleaning. She had never had to worry about it before the birth of Hayako, and not even so much as after. Atleast now she knew what to pay attention to.

Leaning over her baby's crib, Hinata wagged a pink elephant in front of Hayako's out stretched hands. They played copycat for a few minutes, which ended with Hinata giggling. As much as she would have liked to stay playing with her baby, she knew Ritsuko was in the bathroom, probably delving deep inside the toilet bowl, scrubbing and disinfecting. Hinata grabbed her gloves and headed for the bathroom.

"Ritsuko, I'm coming in." She announced, as that the door was closed. When there was no answer, Hinata tilted her head and frowned. She heard the shower running, yet the old woman hadn't answered.


When Hinata finally opened the door, she discovered a sight so shocking she nearly crumpled to the ground. Lying on the pristinely tiled bathroom floor was Ritsuko's unmoving figure. Slapping a hand over her mouth in order not to cry out in horror, Hinata's eyes widened and for a moment it felt like she couldn't breathe. It took a few seconds for her to shake herself out, but soon after she was beside the old woman.

Fear deeply etched on her face, Hinata lifted two shaky fingers to the old woman's neck, checking for a pulse. "Oh, God." She whispered. Knowing that the old woman didn't have much time, Hinata dashed out of the bathroom and back into her room. Searching desperately for her phone, she finally found it under one of the pillows. Dialing 119 as fast as she could with quivering fingers, Hinata prayed silently in her head. She hurried back into the bathroom, crouching beside Ritsuko.

Hinata was immediately connected to NEMA.

"Hello, this is the National Emergency Management Agency with Japan. What is your emergency?"

With a strained voice, Hinata said. "A woman j-just collapsed in my apartment, p-please send an ambulance quickly! I c-checked her pulse and it's…oh, God," Anxiety had begun to build up to the point where she was having trouble breathing. Hinata was beginning to panic.

Taking one big breath, she continued. "It's very low! Please, is there anything I can do until m-medical help arrives?!"

"Mam, please state your name and location for our records. We have help on the way as of this moment."

"Akagi Complex, fifteenth floor, room number 7. We're in the bathroom on the second floor of the apartment. My name is Uchiha Hinata! Is there anything I can do to help this woman?!"

"Uchiha-san, are you familiar with CPR?"


"Please put the phone down and put me on speaker so that I may guide you if you have any complications."

The moments after this was much a blur for Hinata. She had begun to perform CPR on Ritsuko as best she could with the directions from the dispatcher. Trying to focus on her own breathing and knowing that she currently held this woman's life in her hands suddenly became too much for Hinata to handle. She was certain that she was going to pass out when suddenly uniformed medical attendees entered the bathroom. Hinata felt like she was in a drama, except that she wasn't. This was real life.

Wanting to let out a breath of relief, but not being able too, Hinata remained silent as she watched the medical officials attend to the old woman. She was suddenly face to face with a kindly smiling woman also in uniform, a cup of water being held to her lips. She was being asked if she was okay. All Hinata could do was nod.

"You did a very brave thing, Uchiha-san." The uniformed woman voiced, trying to be comforting. "I'm sure the patient and her family will be very grateful to you."

Hinata swallowed water and tasted nothing. She tried a weak smile. "Thank you…"

She heard herself say. "I want to see my baby."

The moment Hayako was in her arms, unknowing and just as innocently smiling, Hinata felt as if she could suddenly breath. In just that moment, she felt right and absolute. Hayako enabled her to respond when questioned after they had taken Ritsuko away in a stretcher. It was Hayako who allowed her to ask if Ritsuko was going to be okay without sobbing at the answer. She would visit her in the hospital, Hinata heard herself say.

As soon as she closed the door and all was silent again, Hinata let out a soft whimper. A lump appeared in her throat and as hard as she tried to swallow it down she couldn't. And so, feeling so much like a child, Uchiha Hinata gave in and began to cry. Hayako was propped up on her hip, fingering the beads on her dress collar.

She didn't know how long she had been standing in front of the door, but Hinata felt like she couldn't move. She could hardly explain why she felt so affected over an old woman she had barely known an hour, but she did. Hinata just couldn't help it. She felt so responsible. How could she have let Ritsuko be alone? How could she have been so careless with such a fragile old woman?

The sound of the door being unlocked with a key seemed to echo throughout the whole apartment, but Hinata appeared not to hear. He paused before her, outwardly giving the impression of being calm, but inwardly slightly perturbed by the call he had received only ten minutes earlier. Uchiha Itachi was many things, and neurotic could hardly be considered for the list. Yet there was a feeling of disturbance he felt and simply could not ignore.

Hinata sniffled. "Itachi?" She breathed. "W-why are you here?" With her sleeve, Hinata quickly wiped the tears away from her eyes.

"Never mind that. What happened here? Why are you crying?"

Instead of answering, Hinata held Hayako out to him. "C-could you hold her for a second? I need a tissue."

Once Hayako was with Itachi, Hinata went into the kitchen and found some napkins from the night before. Itachi was in the living room, standing in front of the TV, impatiently flipping through the channels. When Hinata returned, she found Itachi on the couch with Hayako in the curve of his arm, watching the TV closely. She took a seat opposite on the couch. Leaning back, she closed her eyes and sighed.

"Hinata." Itachi spoke firmly, sparing her a glance. "What happened?"

"She collapsed in the bathroom." Hinata expressed, opening her eyes. A look of worry came upon her face.

"Who collapsed in the bathroom?"

"Ritsuko, the woman from the cleaning service. We…had been cleaning…I was helping her, but I took a break for a few minutes. When I went to look for her…she was just lying there. I hope…I hope she's okay! I mean, it was just a few minutes. And I…I was playing with Haya and then just…I feel so terrible. As if this is all my fault."

"Yet it's not and you know that it's not. What was her condition when they left?"

"Not very stable. I…I don't know for sure. I just wish that I could see her."

"Why would that not be possible?"

"I didn't think they let people see patients in critical condition so soon…"

Itachi stood up. He was hardly convinced. "You'll find I can be rather persuasive. If I'm there, you'll see her immediately."

It was then that Hinata noticed that Itachi didn't have his suit jacket on. She could only assume that this meant that he had rushed out of his office all of a sudden. How could he have possible known about what had transpired? Unless he had received some sort of notification? Hinata was unsure. The only thing she was sure about was the guilt that reared its ugly head in her heart. She just felt like she was becoming a problem.

"You know," Itachi suddenly started to say. "Hinata, I can tell exactly what you're thinking from your facial expressions and I'm going to tell you that you're wrong. I am not one to be pressured or influenced into doing something that I don't want to do. So for future reference, I want you to know that I do what I want, when I want. You're not a burden to me. If I do anything, it is because it is a choice of mine. I am here because I want to be."

Before Hinata could reply, Itachi pulled out keys from his pocket.

"Now do you really want to go to the hospital to visit this woman?"

"Yes!" Hinata nodded hurriedly.

"She could have stabilized during the ride. Let's go."

Warm sun shone through glass paned windows overlooking a courtyard that held flowers and benches. On the other side of the large glass windows, one could see two figures that stood out from the nurses that ambled along the halls. The woman was looking almost frantically at room numbers while the man, whilst holding a child, calmly walked behind her.

"What room number was it again, Itachi?"

"Three-twenty six."

They had just passed room three twenty. Hinata bit her lip and lightly jogged six doors down. Forgetting to knock, she barged in the room. A short nurse dressed in sea green scrubs was fiddling with the IV that was attached to the sleeping Ritsuko. Upon Hinata's abrupt entrance, the nurse looked up and smiled.

"Hi! You must be her granddaughter. They told me someone was coming up to visit."

Hinata didn't confirm or deny the nurse's assumption. Instead she felt an immense sense of relief at seeing the old woman still breathing. With a soft smile of her own, Hinata gingerly approached the hospital bed and clutched the side rail.

"Please…what happened to her?"

The nurse nodded with acknowledgement to Itachi and Haya as Itachi entered the room. He stayed a ways back, intently gazing at the sleeping old woman in the hospital bed. Something flashed in his dark eyes that neither Hinata nor the nurse saw.

Turning to Hinata, the nurse said. "She has a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, that is, emphysema. According to our records, she was hospitalized here before for the same condition a couple years ago…" The nurse paused for a moment and picked up a chart.

"She underwent treatment for a few weeks and was afterwards discharged. This time, I'm afraid, it looks like the disease has worsened. This would explain the spasmodic attack. Dr. Toushiro has recommended a new treatment that he would like to undergo with her. It has been started already with other patients who have COPD already and things look good, so we would really like to see her be involved. I know she looks fine now, but the chances of this happening again are very high."

Hinata spared a worried glance at Itachi and then settled her gaze back on the nurse. "I'll do all that I can to ensure her recovery."

The nurse nodded. "Glad to hear that. Well, if you need anything, please don't hesitate to press the call button."

When the nurse had gone, Hinata turned to Itachi.

"I hope her actual grandson shows up soon…"

"I'm sure he will." He said, although you could hear the doubt in his voice.

Upon entering the hospital and inquiring about Ritsuko's condition, Hinata had let Itachi do all the talking. There had been a time in which she had spaced out for a moment, thinking too much of what could have happened if Ritsuko had died right on the bathroom floor. Because of this, there had been a chunk of whatever Itachi told the woman at the front desk missing. All she knew was that on the elevator ride up, Itachi told her that family had been contacted.

The steady beep of the heart monitor gave Hinata a sense of assurance. Whether the assurance was false or not, Hinata couldn't tell but she was feeling way better than she was before. She would have liked to stay a bit longer, but she was still slightly uncomfortable with the fact that Itachi was missing work for what had happened. Regardless of what he said, she simply couldn't help the way she felt.

Turning to Itachi, Hinata gave a slight nod.

He eyed her closely. "Ready to go?"

Hinata nodded again and smiled. Holding her arms out, she gently lifted Hayako from Itachi's arms. It was perfect timing as that just at that moment, his cellphone went off. It was apparently a call that he had to take as that Itachi immediately slipped his hand into his pocket and answered the call. Even more so that he stayed on the phone all the way from the hospital to the condominium. A nod of his head and slight curl of the lip and Itachi was gone.

With people coming and going past them, Hinata and Hayako stood in front the entrance. Hinata watched Itachi's car disappear around the bend, curious about what he had been talking about. He hadn't said much in the car, she suspected because she was there. Hinata was slightly interested. But then again, it wasn't any of her business.

Back in the condominium, Hinata slightly winced at seeing Ritsuko's basket full of cleaning supplies on the dining room table. Going into the living room and sitting Hayako in her playpen (Hinata knew she wouldn't be moving around that much, but she still liked to encourage movement), Hinata grabbed the basket of supplies and set it in a lone closet off to the side. She still had to go out and shop, something that she was now a bit less enthusiastic to do. Even with Ritsuko being okay, she still felt a little glum.

Despite these feelings, Hinata went out anyway, Hayako in tow. As she drove out of the apartment complex according to GPS instruction to the nearest grocery store, Hinata couldn't help but to feel a bit solemn. That and she was hungry. Had she even eaten that day?

"No…" Hinata murmured.

While in the store, she mentally kicked herself. Hinata hadn't even asked Itachi what he liked to eat or if he was allergic to anything. As much as she could tell from the kitchen, he either ate out a lot or lived off of wine and sake. That latter Hinata didn't find all together implausible. She knew how stressful his position could become at times…perhaps not even at times, but all the time. Most people didn't quite understand the job, unless they inquired or worked with someone. Hinata found herself more sympathetic, not that she would ever tell Itachi this.


A familiar female voice asked excitedly from behind her. Hinata glanced up from the magazine she was idly flipping through while in line. It was a magazine focused on news in the business world, and much to her surprise, Hinata saw that Itachi had been featured on the cover. Before she could get to the page, she was called from behind and immediately turned.

Standing behind her in line was Haruno Sakura, smiling. Her smile became even bigger when she spotted the baby seat in the shopping cart and the ring on Hinata's finger.

"It is you! My God, I haven't seen you since high school! And you…you look great. This is your baby?!"

In a moment of silence and being startled at seeing someone she knew, Hinata slightly blushed and nodded.

I would have never thought you would have had kids before me for some reason…you were always so focused, I remember. And married! That's so sweet. I always did picture you as the motherly type though. "

Before Hinata could even get a word in, Sakura had embraced her in a hug. A small smile graced her lips as Sakura took a step back.

"It's good to see you too, Sakura. How have you been?"

"I moved here a couple months ago mainly to escape this creep I was dating." Sakura's green eyes twinkled. "And I also felt like I needed a new scene…new life, so to speak. I'm staying with Temari right now. Remember her? Yeah, she recently snagged me a job interview…"

Hinata remembered very clearly Sakura's bubbly nature, she always seemed to be smiling. Also she had been very outgoing and popular throughout school, something Hinata had always secretly envied. Sakura had always been so pleasantly social, and what Hinata considered to be well-liked. She wouldn't have called the both of them best friends, but good friends. Good enough that it put a smile on Hinata's face to see her.

"Anyway, enough about me. What's her name?" Sakura asked, approaching Hayako in her baby seat and preparing to start cooing and baby talking. "And once again, you look so great to say you have had a kid. She's gorgeous by the way. Look at those eyes! Have you thought about modeling for her? It would be so effortless."

At this, Hinata couldn't help but to chuckle. Sakura's happiness always had seemed so infectious.

"Her name is Hayako."

Sakura gave her a knowing look. "I already see her in baby ads. Consider it! She's beautiful and it would be good for her to start her portfolio early, right?" Dipping back inside Hayako's baby seat, Sakura began to play with her, grinning excitedly when Hayako responded with giggles and smiles.

"So how's the married life?"

Good question.

"It's all…very new. I'm still adjusting." It was as close to the truth as she was going to get.

The line moved up a couple steps. Hinata peered into her cart, going over all the items while Sakura animatedly chatted away. She had picked a lot of fruit, even kinds that she didn't eat very often. Other foods consisted of fish and a few vegetables. She had even tried Brazilian nuts, it being the first time she had ever heard of such things. Hinata had also thrown in some ramen noodle packs, because she too liked a lazy day.

"…this job interview at Uchiha Enterprises with the CEO (see side note 1). His office insisted it be with him. It's his policy, on hiring new personal staff! Look, I found his picture. He was featured in this magazine! Doesn't look like your average guy, does it? I bet he's absolutely spectacular in bed. Or on the flip side, he could be terrible. Looks can only get you so far…"

The magazine with Itachi on the cover was slid in front of her face.

"The job interview is for a secretarial position in his main office, right in the business district. I'm wondering if he's hiring for the position because he got tired of fucking the latest girl who had it…I know you're married and all, Hinata, but come on! Look at him. You can't tell me you wouldn't consider just one night with this guy? I don't know about his policy on relationships with staff, but if I get this job, I am abso-fucking-lutely going to see if I can get a taste."

Immediately after her last words, Sakura blushed and pressed her fingers to her lips.

"Sorry, sorry! Forgot about the little angel over here. Even though you can't understand a word I'm saying, can you, Haya-chan?"

Sakura started playing with Hayako again, and in that time Hinata tilted her head in thought, an amused look embellishing her features, as she tried to figure out the best way to tell her high school friend that the man that she planned on getting a taste of was actually the man that Hinata had just married.

1. Okay, that small note is that Sakura uses the English acronym for Chief Executive Officer, instead of the longer, Japanese word for the same term. And she actually says it in English as well.

Not sure if that is entirely relevant, but earlier in this story I used the Japanese word for CEO, but found it really, really long. So now, I'll just use the shorter, English version. I'm not sure how this term would actually be used, but for laziness sake, I'm taking the short cut.

Anyway, thank you for reading this chapter! Hopefully I left you with something to think about for the next chapter. *COUGHinfidelityCOUGH* It did go unedited because I didn't want to many anyone who is looking forward (really thrilled some of you guys like this little story of mine, btw) to this to have to wait any longer. It's really been too long. So so so sorry about that.

In the next chapter, I'm introducing Hinata and Hayako x3 to Itachi's family and staff at the anniversary banquet and events! Pacing is slow, I know. But I really don't like rushing (this is too obvious. It's been like two years hahaha) so after the next chapter, the ball will seriously be rolling...a bit faster, anyway. Well, until then!

A ~