I had a very clear vision of Itachi when he arrived in my mind - he smiled at me and i promptly melted. He crooked his finger and I bounded towards him like puppy in the window- pick me, pick me!
I knew then that I was going to need a special heroine for Itachi. Frankly, I'd have been putty in his warm hands, and would have made all the wrong choices (but, oh, so right at the time!). Thankfully, Sakura has rather more self-control then me.
I loved finding out more about Itachi-getting to know the real man behind his rich playboy veneer.
I hope you do too.
Sakura had been honest-had even admitted during her telephone interview that she was attending night school on a Wednesday night and studying art and that in a couple of years she was hoping to pursue it full-time.
Everything had gone really well, until the second Ino had walked out to greet Sakura-and Sakura truly didn't understand why.
She'd prepared so carefully for the interview. Reading everything she could get her hands on about Uchiha Co-operation Fananciers-about their spectacular rise, even in gloomy times. Uchiha Itachi had a no-nonsense attitude-there was no secret formula to his success, she had read in a rare interview he had given-just sound decisions and fiscal transparency and the refusal to be swayed by hype. Yes, she'd read up on him and then gone through her favourite glossy magazines and followed every last piece of advice in preparation for this afternoon.
Sakura had scored the second-hand shops and found a stunning-if just touch tight for her well-rounded figure-pale lilac linen designer suit, had had her thick pink ringlets blowdried straight and smoothed up into a smart French roll, and, horribly broke, she had, on the afternoon of her interview, as one magazine had cheekily advised, gone to the make-up counter at a departmental store and pretended that she was bride-to-be and trying out looks for her wedding day.
Her brothers had always teased her about her obsession with magazines and her father had moaned about how many she had bought, but they had been her life-line. Growing up without a mother, living in a rough and tumble house that the little girls she'd invited to come over and play had never returned to, Sakura had lived her childhood and teenage years reading the glossies for the advice, about friends and bullying and boys. It was magazines that had taught her about deodorant and kisses and bras. The magazines she had turned to when at twelve she had been teased for having hairy legs. And though her devotion to them had wanted somewhat, at the ripe age of twenty-four it had been the magazines she had immediately turned to for make-up and grooming tips to land her dream job.
She looked fantastic, just the image she had been hoping to achieve-smart, sassy, groomed-exactly the right look for a modern working girl in the city.
Ino clearly didn't agree.
Her interviewer was dressed in a stem grey suit, with black flat shoes. Her fine blonde long hair was cut into a neat, practical bob and she wore just reluctant sliver of coral lipstick. The antithesis, in fact, of the look Sakura had been trying to achieve!
'And Mr. Uchiha would prefer someone who speaks French…..' Ino continued.
'It didn't say that in the advertisement,' Sakura pointed out. 'And you didn't mention it when we spoke on the telephone.'
'Itachi-I mean Mr. Uchiha –does not like to put too many specifications in the advertisement for one reason, and I rather agree….'she gave a small sniff '….that when the right person appears, we know.'
Well, there wasn't much Sakura could say to that-clearly at first glance it had been decided that she wasn't the right person for the job.
Now, even though it had been an important dream, now that she had glimpsed it, Sakura wanted it.
The salary was to die for-her family home, despite months on the market, hadn't sold and the nursing home fees were piling up. Ino had explained during their initial telephone interview that Itachi's staff burnt out quickly. He was a demanding boss, expecting complete devotion, and that this job and the travel would literally overtake her life, but that suited Sakura just fine.
One year working hard and she could meet the nursing home fees. Surely in that time the house would sell and pay off the backlog of debt? One year, burning herself out, and she would finally be free- free to pursue her dreams, free to live the life that had so far been denied her.
And now that glimmer of hope was rapidly being taken away. 'Now, if you'll excuse me….' Ino gave a thin attempt at a smile '…..I have an important call to make.'
Well, at least Ino hadn't kept her guessing, at least she wouldn't be checking her phone every five minutes, or dashing to get mail.
It couldn't have been made any clearer-she wasn't wanted.
'Well, thank you for seeing me…..' she should just stand and go, shake Ino's hand and leave, except, inexplicably, she was dragging it out and for some stupid, stupid reason tears were threatening as yet another door closed on her push for a better future.
'Thank you for your time,'
It was her horoscope's fault, Sakura told herself as Ino scribbled a note on her carefully prepared CV.
It had told her to go for it, reminded her that you have to be in it to win it. Told her that Jupiter and Mars had moved into her tenth house, which assured success in her career…
Stupid horoscopes, Sakura though as she went to retrieve her handbag. She didn't believe them anyway.
And then in he walked.
And the room went black.
Well, it didn't go black, but it might as well have, because he was all she could see.
Dressed in a tuxedo at four p.m., he strode over. Ino stood up, knotting his bow-tie as she gave him a couple of minutes, what seemed like a month's worth of messages, and all in a language that was foreign to Sakura.
'Mr Hirosiko wants an "in person" next week.'
'No,' came his bored response.
'Kasumi was insistent.'
'He can have a face-to-face .
'And your mother rang, upset…..she wants you there for the entire weekend.'
'Tell her that given that I'm paying for the entire weekend….' He had a thick, deep, masculine voice and Sakura felt her toe curl '….I can choose my schedule.' His eyes drifted around the room as Ino dealt with his cufflinks and then he gave Sakura a bored glance that changed midway and utter disinterest shifted slightly.
He designed to give her a second look, and it was one she recognized well. It was the same look for her father and brothers had used on unsuspecting women-at the petrol station, the supermarket, school concerts, the pub, oh, anywhere…
It was a look that to Sakura screamed danger.
Six feet with beautiful black eyes, Uchiha Itachi might just as well have had the word danger stamped on his smooth forehead. His stoic face was unnaturally handsome with high cheekbones, a sharp nose, and thin, soft-looking lips. His long raven hair was tied neatly at the nape of his neck, falling loosely over his shoulder in smooth, straight strands. Oh, she'd seen photos of him, had known that he was good-looking, but a grainy newspaper photo didn't do him justice, could never capture the essence of him, just the shocking presence of him, a scar ran the length of both his cheekbone, but that one imperfection merely enhanced his general faultlessness.
'We haven't been introduced.' Full, sensual lips curved into a smirked as he turned come-to-bed eyes on her. His deep, accented voice for her ears now. 'This is…...?'
Sakura was struggling to find her voice, but Ino did it for her. 'Haruno Sakura.' Ino looked as if she were sucking lemons, and it dawned on Sakura then that the real reason she hadn't got the job was perhaps that Ino had been hoping for someone plainer, downdier, older, bigger…in fact, someone who would withstand Itach's charm. Well, she needn't have worried. Sakura could handle Itachi's sort with her hands tied behind her back-she'd grown up surrounded by them! 'We were concluding the interview.'
'For the assistant PA job?' Itachi checked holding his hand out, and, because it was polite thing to do, Sakura shook it, feeling his warm fingers close around hers. Then she looked up as he voiced what she was thinking. 'But I've got a cold heart!' he winked at her.
'I'm sure you do!' Sakura retorted. He was shameless, utterly shameless, and Sakura was welcome to him. 'Well, again,' Sakura said, coolly walking to the door, absolutely refusing to be rattled, 'thank you for your time.'
She walked out into the foyer, took the lift and only as she went to sign out did she realize that she'd forgotten her bag. That, despite appearances, despite appearing utterly and completely unruffled by his stunning presence, one glimpse of Uchia Itachi and her stomach was in knots. He was devastatingly handsome, with eyes that stripped, undresses and bedded you in a matter of seconds, and she had deliberately not returned the favour.
Sakura headed back up in the elevator, moving to step out, only he was stepping in….
'I wasn't expecting to see you again.' He didn't move to let her pass him, his broad frame barring the exit, just slightly, and there was this offer of conversation that Sakura didn't want to take up. 'I heard the interview didn't go to well.'
How loaded with meaning was that single word, and Sakura swallowed hard before speaking, 'I forgot my bag, I'm just going to get it,' she offered by way explanation and as the lift door stared to close she pressed the button to open it. There was this pang, this twinge, this snapping almost, this ending that she didn't want to happen, because he really was divine, and she wished for just a fleeting second that she had looks, the confidence, the experience to allow him to peruse her.
But she didn't.
'going down?' she pressed the 'hold' button for him, and stood back as she stepped out and she caught the heavy scent oh him, just the brush of his expensive suit as she passed by.
'No, up.' He smirked. 'to the roof.'
'Things that bad, then?' Sakura called over her shoulder, safer now that the doors were closing, bur he halted them with his hands.
'Do you want to join me?'
'I'm sure another job will come along,' she replied, watching a slow smile spread on his face as he got her dry humour. 'Things really never that bad.'
'I'm actually going to Paris.'
Helipad's on the roof.'
'They usually are.'
'Formal dinner, very boring, but maybe after…. What are your plans?'
'TV dinner, a rerun of my favourite murder mystery.' Sakura gave a sweet smile. 'so there's really no contest!'
He was smiling now, thinking he'd got his easy way, holding the lift and waiting for her to step inside. So, so, arrogant, so, so assuming, he really thought he could just snap his manicured fingers and summon her-he only seemed to get the message when she opened the door to his office suite, his rich, assured voice just a touch perplexed.
'If you're worried that you've nothing to wear….'
'I'm not worried at all!' Sakura laughed, and she could be as rude as she liked, could tell in exactly where to go with his smutty offer because, after all, he wasn't going to be her boss. 'As I said, there's really no contest!'
As the lift door closed on him and she walked over to Ino's office, she was too irked to think before she knocked. Her hands rose, the door flung open and Sakura stood there stunned as she took in the sight of Ino. The assured, pompous woman, who had dashed her hopes just a few moments before, was sobbing her heart out, first jumping up and shooing her out, appalled at being caught, then too upset to care.
'Negative!' she wept as Sakura just stood there. 'I was so, so sure that I was.'
'I'm so sorry!' Well, what else could she say? 'I'm very sorry.'
And what could she do other than lead the sodden bundle to the nearest chair and peel off tissues as Ino gulped out her sorry tale?
Married five years.
Trying for a baby for four and half of those.
IVF and injections and nasal sprays and tests and scans and egg retrieval.
And now she had to ring Shikamaru and tell him. Ino had sobbed, had to ring her lovely, lovely husband who wanted a baby as much as she did, and say that they'd failed to conceive through IVF for a second time.
Sakura really didn't have to worry about saying the right thing, she couldn't get a word in. Instead, she just sat there and listening and poured water and offered tissues, and finally, when Ino had cried a river, she seemed to remember where she was and who she was talking to.
'You've been so nice-I mean, after I was so cold with you.'
'It's not a problem. If I'm not the right person….'
'No, you see…..' Ino was wringing the tissue in her hands '….it has nothing to do with your experience or that you don't speak French….'
'I know that now.'
'No, I mean –'
'I get it, okay? I admit. I assumed you must like him yourself, but….'
Sakura giggled as Ino gave a watery smile and rolled her eyes. 'Not at all- I'm just sick of training new assistants, only to have them leave once he's bedded them. He's incorrigible, you know.'
'I know!' Sakura groaned. 'He just asked me if I was wanted to join him for dinner in Paris.; Sakura smiled. 'Maybe you should look for a male PA.'
'They'd fell in love with him too.' Ino sighed, then blinked. 'You said no to Paris?'
'He's divine,' Sakura corrected her, 'he's side splittingly beautiful and any woman who says otherwise is a lair.'
'So why did you say no?' Ino wanted to know.
'Because I know him.' Sakura explained. 'Not Itachi personally, but I grew up amongst his type-I've read their rule book from cover to cover. I grew up in an all male household-an exceptionally good-looking all male household at that.'
'What about your mother?'
'She died when I was four.' Sakura said, and there was nothing in her voice that requested sympathy- she merely stated the fact. 'My brothers are all considerably older than me….' She gave a thin smile at the memory her childhood. 'And my father, well, a good-looking widower attracts a lot of admirers-all wanting to change him, all assuming he's just waiting for the next Mrs. Haruno to come along-and he played them all well.'
'Itachi's a nice man.; Ino said, just a touch pink at her own indiscretion in discussing her boss so personally. 'Beneath it all, when he's not being horrible, he's a really nice man. Take this assistant PA role that's currently being advertised-that's so I can cut back on my travel and late work nights…..he's great really.'
'So long as you don't love him,' Sakura said. 'So long as you have absolutely no intention or hope that one day you might change him…'
'You really do get it.' Ino blinked in wonder.
'I really do.' Locating her bag, Sakura plonked it on her shoulder. 'I'd better get going.'
'And I'd better ring Shikamaru.'
TO BE CONTINUE
Sooooooo who was it hmm…Anyways reviews and some criticism are always welcome….But go easy on me since I haven't wrote a story for a year now….hehe=^_^=