Inspiration came to me in the night, as it so often does. (^_^)
I understand that this chapter is a teensy bit long (ahem) and a teensy bit slow (ahem) but I promise it will pick up!
Rule 1: Be Professional and Respectful
Every good assistant must remain professional at all times, and must respect everyone they come into contact with, from the delivery persons to the CEO and everyone in between. Professionalism and respect are the most important features of an indispensable assistant.
Hashimoto Iruga was in the middle of the weekly Friday evening Human Resources staff meeting when the door to the conference room burst open. A young woman, frazzled and frantic stumbled inside, rushing up to Iruga.
"Hashimoto-san, please excuse my intrusion but..."
"What is it, Manonori-san? Speak up, for Kami's sake," Hashimoto interrupted tersely, feeling a headache coming on just from the expression on Manonori-san's face. Whenever the usually calm female looked like she now did, it meant that-
"He's fired another one. Uchiha Itachi-san has fired Kadara-san... just now... he told her that if he sees her here anymore he'll make sure that she never finds a job anywhere in Konoha again..." Manonori Ami's voice trailed off as Hashimoto pressed his palm to his forehead and groaned.
"What did she do?" Hashimoto groaned.
"She... apparently she misplaced the Yatsuga file..." Ami whispered. Hashimoto sighed, leaning against the conference room table and clenching his teeth.
"Do you still have the letter from Haruno Sakura?" he said, his voice resigned.
"Yes, sir," Ami said taking one step back, conscious that all the HR staff were currently staring at her.
"Give her a call," Hashimoto said. "I don't know how that man can go through three personal assistants in every week..." the man sighed. He dismissed Ami and turned back to the staff sitting before him.
"Where were we...?"
She stared at her reflection in the mirror, starting from the bottom up. Black patent-leather four inch pointed-toe pumps adorned her small, neat feet. Shiny skin-colour nylons hugged her shapely legs, the view of which was stopped three inches above her knees where the hem of her fitted black pencil skirt brushed. A fitted peplum jacket with a round collar and short capped sleeves hugged her slim torso, adorned only by four simply buttons at the waist.
Her hair, pink and shining with good health, was scraped upwards into a no-nonsense updo, with one curling tendril at the side of her face. Happy with her presentation, Haruno Sakura gave herself a small, clear lip-glossed smile before bending to pick up her large patent leather purse.
Pink lacquered nails unzipped the purse, and shining green eyes peered inside, quickly and efficiently cataloguing the organized contents. She had everything she needed. Smoothing her hand over her hair one last time, Sakura took a deep breath.
"Be professional and respectful at all times," she said softly in the silence of her house before switching off the light, grabbing the handle of her purse and walking quickly towards the door. The digital clock on the wall told her she was just in time.
Giving herself a small smile, Sakura locked up her home and quick-stepped over the porch and down her front steps. Fishing in her purse for her keys, Sakura withdrew her remote and unlocked the car before sliding inside and starting up.
Thirty minutes later, Sakura pulled into the Uchiha Conglomerates parking lot. She'd been able to take her time driving, since the morning rush hour had not yet started. Sakura preferred not to rush if she had the option, and especially not on her first day on the job. Driving slowly gave her the opportunity to breathe and prepare herself for the day, so waking up early was something she always did to facilitate her preferences.
Sakura took another ten minutes to have the sandwich and coffee she'd picked up from her favorite deli on the way over. She was walking through the front doors of the building at five minutes to six o'clock. The building was mostly dark apart from the lights in the lobby as the janitor opened up and made sure that everything was satisfactory. Sakura gave him a smile and a cheerful greeting before sitting in the lobby and reaching into her purse for the folder of research she had done on Uchiha Conglomerates.
Around ten minutes past six Sakura noticed the workers around her erupt into a frenzy. Women were checking their make up, changing shoes to more suitable options, fixing hair styles and tidying desks. Men were straightening ties, gathering papers and buttoning jackets. Sakura raised one pink eyebrow. They should have been ready before, although she found it rather amusing to watch them scramble about. The pinkette didn't have much time to wonder what was really going on when a woman rushed by screeching.
"He's here! Uchiha-sama is here!" As soon as the exclamation left her lips Sakura heard a car drive into the compound and was soon followed by hasty footsteps into the lobby.
He had arrived. There was no turning back now.
Uchiha Itachi pulled off his aviators as he stalked through the front doors to Uchiha Conglomerates' headquarters at ten minutes past six, already annoyed. He would probably be operating without an assistant, since he'd fired his last one. Itachi scowled inwardly, but his face a cool, composed mask. He was seriously contemplating firing whoever it was that screened his potential assistants, because all the people they had sent through were beyond incompetent. That last one, Kadara Nana had managed to misplace one of the company's most important client files within her first day of working with him.
An absolute imbecile.
Itachi barely took notice of the employees scrambling about as he made his arrival. It was routine. As if he respected them any more for it. Itachi didn't even acknowledge the greetings from the employees as he stalked through the lobby and made his way to the elevator. His eyes took in a flash of pink, causing his head to jerk to the side in surprise.
He almost rolled his eyes.
Who in their right mind would come to the Uchiha Conglomerates with pink hair. If she was the latest applicant for the job as his personal assistant, he would fire her before she could even say 'Uchiha-sama'. Itachi walked past her, not returning the smile and nod of greeting that she gave him as he made his way towards the elevator.
All who were already inside it cleared out immediately so he could make the journey up to the top floor alone. The elevator stopped several times on the way up, but the employees on the floors it stopped at quickly backed away and allowed Itachi to go up alone. He wasn't a horrible boss, but that didn't mean he particularly enjoyed sharing the elevator at six in the morning either. As the machine ascended, Itachi thought of all he had to do today.
There was the Yatsuga file to look over and their contract to redraft. He also had to meet with the Sarutobi's to confer with them on the subject of the takeover of one of the businesses that fell under the Sarutobi conglomerate. His father thought that the Sarutobi steel manufacturing plant would do well under the already large Uchiha umbrella, and Itachi happened to agree. After that he'd have to have a meeting with the people in finance to discuss the budgets for the different divisions of the business. That particular part would have to be spread out over the week, but today at least they could review the estimated and projected reports sent in from the various divisions.
The elevator stopped smoothly at the top floor, which housed only five main offices; the office of Uchiha Itachi - the Managing Director, Uchiha Madara - the CEO, Uchiha Sasuke- the Production Manager, Uchiha Shisui - the Finance Manager, and Uchiha Fugaku - the Sales and Marketing Manager. The floor below them contained the offices of Uchiha Obito - the Purchases Manager, and Hashimoto Iruga - the Human Resources manager, and the only non-Uchiha in the two uppermost floors of the business.
Itachi disembarked the elevator, stalking past the offices of the secretaries and assistants to the managers, moving directly to his office. He needed a coffee. For almost the entirety of the last week he'd had to survive without his early morning shot of coffee because of ridiculously incompetent assistants. If he did not have his coffee in hand by seven this morning, he wasn't quite sure what he would do.
Hashimoto-san was already standing at the door to his office, waiting for him, although the man could not have been there long. Itachi almost scowled at the steaming cup of coffee in the Human Resource Manager's hands, but he kept his face straight by force of habit and stalked past the man.
"Uchiha-sama," Hashimoto greeted him, although Itachi had told him time and time again that the managers of the Uchiha Conglomerates were equals, and if any honorifics were to be used, '-san' would suffice. Hashimoto continued to disregard this over some inbuilt compulsion to refer to Itachi as '-sama' just because he'd vouched for him to be promoted to a managerial position in the HR department after the death of the previous one.
"Hashimoto-san," Itachi replied curtly. He rather liked Iruga but right now he was finding it a bit hard to deal with the man who had a steaming cup of fragrant coffee in his hands.
"... My assistant brought it to me," the man said after a while, catching Itachi's double pointed glances at the hot beverage. "Maybe you would have one too if you didn't fire every single one of them..." Iruga continued with a dry chuckle.
"I could not have helped their incompetence," Itachi said smoothly, resting his briefcase on his desk and pressing button on the remote that made the shades over the windows rise, giving him a wonderful view of the skyline of the business sector of downtown Konoha.
"I hope your presence here means I will be in possession of another assistant... and hopefully one that can actually do his or her job sufficiently," Itachi sighed, resting his sunglasses on his wide, slightly messy desk and sitting in the large chair behind it. Iruga shifted slightly.
"About that... Actually, I do have one in mind," Iruga said, his blonde hair ruffling slightly as he stepped forward with a blue file in his hands. Itachi took the file, opening it and perusing what seemed to be the résumé of the latest applicant for the job.
Great. He could almost sense another incompetent female. Regardless of what her résumé said.
"Haruno-san sent in this résumé about two weeks ago. She was looking to move up from her position at Hyuuga Corporation, but she had two weeks left on her original contract, so I kept this until Friday... when you fired Kadara-san," Iruga continued. "Haruno-san has an incredible amount of experience, and from just speaking to her on the phone, I can tell that she is an incredibly driven young woman-"
"How young, exactly?" Itachi interrupted, pressing the tips of his fingers to his temples. He didn't have much time for another ambitious incompetent bimbo in his office. While he understood that Iruga wanted his assistants to be fairly aesthetically pleasing, the women he'd sent in previously had more in their chest than they had between their ears, and that was incredibly annoying.
"Well, twenty-four, but-"
"Really, Hashimoto-san?" Itachi murmured, interrupting the man again, and resting the folder on his desk. "Let's get this over with."
Hashimoto gave him a smile... a smile which hinted that he knew more than he was letting on. Still, the man silently excused himself. Itachi rose from his chair and stood, walking over to the floor to ceiling glass windows. The city was getting busier by the minute, and the stoic Uchiha took the time to just watch for a moment.
Sakura looked up from the folder she was perusing about Uchiha Conglomerates and stood as the man whose voice she recognized as Hashimoto Iruga approached her.
"Hashimoto-san, I presume?" she asked with a smile. The blonde gave her a once over, and Sakura watched as he tried to avoid looking again, instead meeting her green eyes with his slate-grey ones.
"You are correct," Hashimoto-san said, walking right up to her and extending a hand. Sakura accepted it and gave it a firm shake before closing her folder and slipping it back inside her purse. After exchanging the customary pleasantries, Hashimoto-san led her towards the elevators.
"You may have to excuse Uchiha-sama's mood this morning. As he is without an assistant, he has not yet gotten his coffee and it is..." He checked his watch. "... already six thirty. By eight he will be a bit of a beast, but he is a good man," the HR manager told her conspiratorially. Sakura gave him a smile, but did not respond. It was nice of Hashimoto-san to give her a heads up as to her new boss's current mood, but she was not going to say anything, even after meeting the man herself.
As the elevator ascended, Hashimoto-san gave her a quick rundown of what was expected of her, which, summarized, was to do everything possible to ease Uchiha Itachi's workload and make his job easier. The other things, Sakura paid due attention to, which was not much, because it was not as if she did not have some experience in the field of Personal Assistance.
The elevator stopped on one of the middle floors to let on several young women in tight skirt-suits and immaculate makeup. They gave Sakura interested glances and the pinkette smiled and nodded politely at them.
'Trying to catch the eye of someone, perhaps?' Sakura thought in amusement as she looked over at the women's makeup and short office skirts. She'd seen a lot of this at her last job, what with how gorgeous the Hyuuga males were.
Before the elevator door closed, Sakura spotted the coffee maker several feet away on the floor's lobby. She stuck out a hand to stop the closing door.
As she stepped forward, Hashimoto-san put a hand on her arm.
"Not this floor, Haruno-san," Hashimoto-san said. "We have five more to go before we get to Uchiha-sama's office." Sakura turned and gave the man a knowing smile.
"Coffee," she said, sending a meaningful glance in the direction of the coffee-maker. "You said Uchiha-sama has not had any for the morning yet." She saw a sparkle of respect in Hashimoto-san's eyes and he not only allowed her to move forward, but followed her. The two of them stepped towards the gourmet coffee machine and Sakura easily reached forward for two of the white ceramic cups available for use.
"You were saying something about communication, Hashimoto-san," Sakura reminded the man as she poured the black liquid into the two cups. As Hashimoto nodded and continued speaking about how important it was for the Managing Director of the company to know what was going on by way of detailed reports, Sakura listened while making two completely different cups of coffee. One was the strong black coffee, while the other was a milky brown colour and was rather sweet.
Snatching four white napkins from the holder, Sakura rested the cups on top of them before lifting them into her hands. She smiled in understanding to something else that Hashimoto-san was saying, and began walking back towards the elevator. She was calm. Even if Uchiha-sama hated her, it wasn't like she would be without a position, but she wasn't planning for him to find any problem.
Normally, Sakura had a fiery temper, but continuous training had her able to keep her emotions at a mere simmer until she was in the privacy of her home or on her personal time. The elevator began its ascension again, and Sakura and Hashimoto-san continued talking quietly on the way up.
She could see why he was the manager of Human Resources. He seemed like a genuine, intuitive and intelligent person with good people skills. He was quite a cheerful fellow, it seemed, and Sakura could easily see herself liking him.
The elevator stopped at the uppermost floor of the Uchiha Conglomerates' building and Sakura smiled as Hashimoto-san waited for her to get off before she did. She paused outside of the elevator, waiting for Hashimoto-san to lead the way. She followed slightly to the left and one pace behind him, where she could still hear anything he had to say without being in danger of crashing into his back should he stop abruptly.
They got to the door to Uchiha Itachi's office, if the silver and glass nameplate on the sturdy wooden double doors was any indication.
"Wait here, Haruno-san," Hashimoto-san said before pushing open the doors and stalking into the office. She could hear Hashimoto-san's voice speaking, and a deeper, smoother voice replying. Sakura idly noted that Uchiha-sama had a wonderful voice. Before long, Hashimoto-san was back at the door. He gave her a small nod, silently telling her it was time for her to come in.
Sakura followed him back into the office, walking confidently in her heels. The first thing she noticed was that the office was large. Two of its walls were not walls at all, really, being predominantly glass. Apparently Uchiha-sama's office was at the corner of the skyscraper, and the room had an absolutely amazing view of the Konoha downtown.
'Shit, this place is freaking awesome. The Uchiha's definitely have deep pockets. Good job with the job opening! SHANNARO!' the pinkette thought, her inner pumping an enthusiastic fist.
A tall figure stood at one of the large windows, long, silky-looking black hair cascading neatly down his back. Sakura squelched a smile. His hair reminded her of the luxurious chocolate locks that the son of her last boss possessed, though Sakura thought Neji-san would find issues with Uchiha-sama, whose hair was possibly even more luxurious.
And then he turned.
And Sakura had to keep her jaw from falling, because Uchiha Itachi-sama was gorgeous. Her inner promptly had a nosebleed and fainted.
The first thing Itachi noticed after Iruga re-entered the office was the smell of coffee. He turned slowly, dark eyes scanning over the woman behind the HR manager. Itachi squelched the urge to slap his palm over his face.
The woman with the pink hair?
To her credit, she had two cups of steaming coffee in her hands. And she had been here before him.
"Uchiha-sama," Iruga said, stepping to the side so that the woman could step forward. "This is Haruno Sakura. Haruno-san, Uchiha Itachi-sama." Itachi watched as the woman gracefully approached with the two cups of coffee. Her green eyes sparkled to match with the polite smile on her simply glossed lips.
Itachi had to admit, but only internally, that this woman was beautiful, and she seemed fairly intelligent, which was ironic since her hair colour was...
"Hajime mashite, Uchiha-sama," she said, giving him a short, polite bow before resting both cups of coffee on his desk, arranging them so they sat on a napkin rather than directly on the wood. When his eyes drifted to them, she continued speaking. "Hashimoto-san made me aware that you had not yet had a cup. Since I am not acquainted with your taste preference, I made two different types," she said, her voice clear and feminine.
Itachi felt one of his brows raise before he immediately reached for the lighter coloured one. He liked his coffee with the works in, and sweet.
"Thank you," he replied before taking a sip. His eyebrow raised again. It was good. For someone who had no knowledge of his coffee taste preferences, she had done a marvelous job with the coffee... and she was respectful without seeming pushy. So far.
Itachi slid a glance to Iruga who gave him two ridiculously cheerful thumbs up behind Haruno-san's back. Itachi let his slight amusement show for a split second before he was back to business.
"Haruno-san, your hair colour-"
"Is natural," she said smoothly with a smile. She had interrupted him, but, if possible, in a rather polite, quiet way. Itachi could see the annoyance in her eyes, however, as if she came upon this type of thing too often for her liking.
"Hn..." Itachi said, not believing that anyone could be born with pink hair. He'd never seen or heard of such a thing before.
"I am being perfectly honest, Uchiha-sama," the woman said. "I would could tell you explicitly all the areas in which my hair is pink, however I can just show you," she said, extending a hand and sliding her eyes shut. Itachi's brow rose as he saw the fine pink hairs on the skin of her arm, and the dusky rose-pink hairs of her lush eyelashes. She was a natural pinkette...
To his annoyance, Iruga had slipped out of his office. The sneaky bastard had left him with his new pink-haired assistant. She would be out of here by the end of the week, he could promise it.
Sakura was at the UC compound by 5:30 again. She had her breakfast and then made her way inside. Yesterday had been... gruelling, to say the least. Uchiha-sama had almost seemed out to get rid of her. Still, Sakura had not applied for the position for kicks and giggles, and she would not have done it if she didn't think she was capable.
The mere look of supreme disappointment on Hiashi-san's face when she told him that she would not be renewing her contract this time around was all Sakura needed to keep in mind whenever someone challenged her abilities, and although UC was more than four times the size and power of Hyuuga Corp, Sakura knew she could get the job done.
Still sipping her coffee, Sakura stepped out into the parking lot. By the time she reached the front doors, Uchiha-sama's sleek black car pulled into the lot. Sakura kept her pace, knowing that she could probably get his coffee to him by the time he entered his office if she moved swiftly. Nodding politely to all she passed, Sakura headed up on the elevator, stopping in the lobby of the top floor. She made the coffee for Uchiha-sama, turning around with the finished product just as the elevator dinged and Uchiha-sama stalked from its confines.
"Good morning, Uchiha-sama," she said politely, handing him his coffee. His dark eyes slid ever so quickly over her before he gave her a sharp nod and stalked past her and into his office. Sakura followed him, pulling a file from her purse.
"The concise reports from our meeting with Sarutobi-san yesterday, sir," she said quietly, handing him the document she'd typed up the evening before. He took it from her, his eyes scanning the main points of the meeting with the Sarutobi. The points which she had arranged thematically and in order of importance. It wasn't a ploy to try to impress him; it was a surefire way to gain his respect. Sure enough, even though he did not respond, one of his brows rose slightly.
Sakura had learned the day before that if it was one thing that Uchiha-sama did not do, it was show any type of emotion. Even his anger was cloaked by smooth velvet tones and his frustration only evident by a miniscule muscle jumping in his jaw. So a visibly risen brow was something good. Right?
"We are having a new client come in today," Uchiha-sama said in a low voice, closing the file and resting it on his desk. "Sai-san has decided he wants to meet with us over the promotion, insurance and storage of his art pieces. I will be out of office for a meeting with the Nara clan until midday, which is when his meeting will take place. I need you to arrange refreshments, beverages, and take care of whatever needs may arise," the Uchiha said smoothly.
"Yes, sir. Will Shisui-san be coming in for the meeting with you at eight as planned yesterday?" Sakura asked, remembering the meeting that had been proposed by the Finance Manager's assistant.
"Hn. Find out for me if he will make it in time," Uchiha-sama said before sitting.
Twenty minutes later, Sakura found herself at the door to Uchiha Shisui's office. At the call for her to enter, Sakura pushed open the doors and stepped inside.
'Kami, these Uchiha men are even more smexy than the Hyuuga ones!' Sakura thought when she saw Uchiha Shisui sitting behind his desk. He was perusing several reports, his head turned down slightly as he read, but Sakura could still see that he was gorgeous. Even though not as perfect looking as his cousin, Shisui was definitely eye candy.
His hair was short and and unkempt, but in an insanely attractive way, and he had sinfully lush eyelashes. While his nose was broader than that of his cousin Itachi, it worked for his face. He looked up, and a cheerful smile split his face.
"What have we here? What can I do for such a lovely," he paused, looking her over, "scrumptious, nymph of a woman?" Sakura almost rolled her eyes.
He was that type. Her hackles rose, but she stamped them down in favor of responding as if he had not just called her a 'nymph of a woman'.
"Good morning, Uchiha-san," she said politely. "Uchiha Itachi-sama would like to know if the arrangement for a meeting this morning still stands." Shisui dismissed her purpose for being there, rising with his reports still in his hands.
"Now, now," he said teasingly. "How about you tell me who you are first, pretty woman?" he purred, stepping closer to her, his eyes sliding over the black pantsuit she was wearing.
"I'm Uchiha-sama's new assistant, Uchiha-san," she said smoothly, not allowing the man to ruffle her feathers.
"Oh, Uchiha-san is my dad. Do call me Shisui," the cheerful Uchiha said, transferring the reports in one hand to the other hand so that he had one hand free to place at the centre of her back. He smelled absolutely wonderful, and his hand was large and warm, and Sakura knew that normally, normally, when she wasn't working for the man's family, normally, when she wasn't supposed to get information and run back to do Uchiha-sama's bidding, she would have allowed herself to fall for his charm. If even for a little.
"You still haven't told me your name," Shisui pouted, then his face brightened. "I'll just call you Gorgeous, then?" Sakura squelched a grin. He really was adorable, though.
"My name is Haruno Sakura," she supplied politely. Taking a step back, planning to leave, Sakura was stopped by Shisui's hand sliding to her waist.
"Oh, no, don't leave me to all those boring reports, Sakura-san... such a lovely name and it matches your gorgeous hair. I've never seen a natural pinkette, you know," he said conversationally. If Shisui wanted to worm his way into her good graces, he was doing a really good job.
"May I ask how you knew...?" Sakura said. He was the first person she'd met that knew from the get go that she had naturally pink hair.
"Your eyelashes, dearest," he said smoothly, tugging her closer to him. Sakura stepped out of his reach with smooth movements, even though inside she was in a bit of a tailspin. After working with the Hyuuga for a year, and Uchiha-sama for that one day, she was not used to rich, absolutely gorgeous men being so friendly. All the others she'd met had several sticks shoved up their asses, but Shisui was... different.
"Well, thank you, Shisui-san. What shall I tell Uchiha-sama?" Sakura asked, keeping some distance between herself and the flirtatious Uchiha.
"You mean Itachi? Hrm... he can be such a stuffy little bastard..." Shisui mused. "Will you be there, Sakura-chan?" he asked after a moment.
"I am his assistant," Sakura said with a smile. Shisui pretended to ponder his course of action.
"It is decided. If you promise to sit next to me, I will definitely be there at..." he paused and checked his watch, "...eight o'clock, as we arranged, yes?" Sakura gave him a small smile, not wide enough to encourage him.
"I will tell Uchiha-sama of your decision," Sakura said. "However, I will sit wherever Uchiha-sama places me. You understand..." she said, before backing away from Shisui and leaving the office.
"I will see you later, Gorgeous Sakura," Shisui called loudly, chuckling to himself. Sakura grinned, but hid it before anyone could see.
Itachi heard the loud yell of his cousin and fought to hide a scowl. He knew his assistant was beautiful, but Shisui needed to know the proper office etiquette. Shisui was always to... free with people, Itachi thought. Of course, Shisui thought he was far too 'repressed' but Itachi did not agree. Most of the time.
Haruno-san re-entered the office, not smiling with her mouth, but with her eyes and her whole... aura, if that made sense. Well, she predictably enough, seemed to like Shisui. He was different to everyone in the Uchiha family, so she would end up liking him alone if she liked people like that.
"Uchiha-sama, Shisui-san said that he will be here at eight for the meeting," his pink-haired assistant said.
True to his word, for once, Shisui was in Itachi's office by eight on the dot. His cousin had brought his equally friendly assistant, and it occurred to Itachi for the umpteenth time that as an Uchiha and the one in charge of Finance, Shisui was not at all as … composed, as he should be.
To Itachi's annoyance, Shisui's assistant was so preoccupied staring at Haruno-san that the man seemed to space out for the majority of the meeting. And to make matters worse, Shisui only laughed good naturedly at the man and made obvious passes and flirtatious comments at Haruno-san. She never encouraged either of them, even though Itachi could see the amusement in her eyes, but she didn't put them off either. And that annoyed him.
To her credit, however, she didn't allow them to hinder the progress of the meeting, and Itachi could tell that she was listening to everything. As she had done in the meeting with the Sarutobi group the day before, she took notes almost the entire meeting, and Itachi knew he would probably have a detailed report by the end of the day.
By the end of the meeting, Shisui nor his assistant seemed ready to leave Haruno-san's company.
"Sakura-chan..." Shisui said, leaning closer to the pinkette. "I think I may need another assistant..." he murmured. "And you would have way more fun with me... plus Itachi-chan will probably fire you tomorrow, and I won't..."
Did his cousin just refer to him as... Itachi-chan?
"I don't plan on getting fired, Shisui-san," Haruno-san replied smoothly, not even looking at Shisui as she continued writing. "But thank you very much for the offer." At this, she looked up and gave his cousin a polite smile. She read a message that came in on her smartphone then she turned to him.
"Uchiha-sama, the vehicle taking you to your appointment with the Nara is here now. Will you need my assistance, or would you prefer that I stay here?" she asked, focusing fully on him, and dismissing Shisui and his assistant in effect. Itachi had to hide a smirk.
"Stay here. I will be back by midday if everything goes well."
"Are you the new assistant to Itachi-san?"
Sakura looked up at the feminine voice in front of her. It was 11:10 and she'd decided to pop down to the cafeteria for a bite before Sai-san came in at twelve. She had researched the artist while typing up the report on the finance meeting with Shisui-san, and apparently the artist was as eccentric as he was artistically brilliant.
Before her stood a beautiful young woman with a well endowed chest and a rather fashionable short skirt-suit.
"Why, yes I am. Haruno Sakura, nice to meet you," Sakura said, smiling up at the woman and extending a hand. The gesture was ignored.
"Oh," the woman said, her gaze turning nasty instantly. "Well I guess we won't be seeing much of you... freak," she spat. Sakura blinked before withdrawing her hand.
Her Inner was nowhere near as understanding, getting vocal for the first time in the two days she'd been working here.
'Oh, you little bottle-blonde bitch! Whatever was that supposed to mean? Go bald, you hag!' her Inner screamed spiritedly. The thought alone made Sakura smile.
"I will try my hardest to avoid that," Sakura said, smiling. She pulled a file from her purse and opened it. "Have a nice day," Sakura said to the woman with a sweet smile before turning her focus to the file in her hands.
'Dismissed, biatch!' her Inner screeched happily, cackling wildly. Sakura squelched a smile as the woman faltered for a while before giving a little huff of frustration and tottering off on her high heels.
An hour later, Sakura was this close to getting flustered. Uchiha-sama was not back yet. Although the man was an ice cube of the highest order, his presence was sturdy and a bit calming for Sakura. She called him when the limousine with the celebrated artist pulled into the UC parking lot.
"Hn," he answered curtly, and Sakura could hear low, slow voices in the background.
"Uchiha-sama? Are you on your way back? Sai-san has arrived," Sakura said. There was tense silence over the line.
"Keep him occupied. I will be there as soon as I can," Uchiha-sama said before ending the call. Sakura stared at the phone in her hands and blinked.
'Keep him occupied? What the f-' she thought. But the time for thinking was over, since Sai-san was stalking through the front doors of the UC building. Sakura had to force herself to keep a straight face.
The man, though ridiculously good looking and slim, was... weird. For one, he was wearing a cropped top of some sort that stopped a couple inches under his pectorals, leaving his stomach and pelvic bones revealed to the public. He wore his trousers seriously low hung, almost to the point where it was...
"Like what you see?" the smooth voice of the artist yanked Sakura's attention back to his pale face.
"You have a wonderful muscle tone," Sakura said plainly. "I'm Haruno Sakura, Uchiha Itachi's assistant. He is out of office at the moment, but will be here soon." She shook Sai's hand, not oblivious to the way his gaze raked over her. He gave her a fake smile.
"Are you supposed to entertain me until he gets here?" he asked, not releasing her hand.
"I... I suppose I am," Sakura said with a smile. She pulled her hand away and led Sai to the elevator. She had taken only two steps inside the elevator when she felt his slim, warm hand on her ass. And he gave a squeeze.
'Oh you dirty motherf- You did NOT just do that!' Sakura's inner screamed. 'I ought to stab you in your eyes with my five inch heels, you pervert!'
"Please refrain from doing that again," Sakura said, giving the man a smile and stepping to the side. The elevator doors closed, leaving her trapped in the box with the perverted man.
"Why? It felt nice, and women love to have their asses touched by me. Besides, you're supposed to entertain me. You're not being very entertaining," Sai-san said, his face blank... then he gave her a creepy faux smile. Sakura stifled a scream.
"Perhaps 'entertain' was the wrong word, Sai-san. I do not like having my rear end touched, and I would be incredibly thankful if you would refrain from repeating the action. Now, would you like a coffee?" Sakura asked, keeping her voice as mellow as she could when she really wanted to punch the man into next week.
Sai-san did not respond, and Sakura allowed herself to breathe easy. They were about halfway up when she suddenly found herself pressed against the wall of the elevator, surrounded completely by the artist. His hands were pressed to the wall behind her head and his front was pressed flush with hers.
"You're almost pretty," he murmured, smelling a bit like ink and pencils. Funny enough, it wasn't really all that repulsive. Still, she was on the job, and this was inappropriate. "You have nice lips... they're shiny," the man noted almost awkwardly. What wasn't awkward at all was the way his lips smashed against hers.
'EHMAGAWSH, this crazy artist kisses like a dream! More! MOAR!" Sakura's inner railed happily. 'BISHOUNEN DESU!'
"Sleep with me," he demanded, staring blandly at her... if you excused the lingering heat behind his eyes.
'DOO IITTT!' Inner Sakura demanded.
'Oh, shut up, you little slut,' Sakura thought back at her inner.
Sakura pushed away from him as smoothly as she could. It took a while before she could speak.
"Sai-san, although you are a very good looking man, I am at work, and I cannot fraternize with a client. Please do not touch me in that manner again," Sakura said, wiping at her smudged lip gloss with her thumb. He stared at her blankly before visibly pouting.
"Well take me to the lounge then, Ugly. And I don't want any coffee... vile liquid. Get me a vitamin water..." Sai-san said, looking resolutely at the door. Sakura frowned. A pissed off client was not something she wanted Uchiha-sama to come back and see. Apparently the man had a penchant for firing his assistants for the tiniest mistakes, and she was not about ready to be relieved of a job yet. The pay she could earn here was ridiculously amazing. Seriously. Besides, it went against her personal promises to herself to be found lacking in any way. She'd outgrown those days a long, long time ago.
"Sai-san..." she began. The man did not even look her way, throwing an artist's tantrum, she supposed. "There are plenty of beautiful women here. I'm sure they would not mind posing for you until Uchiha-sama gets here..." she hinted, not looking at him either, but she felt when his gaze slid over to land on her face.
"Bring them then, and I still want my vitamin water," Sai-san said when the elevator came to a stop on the lounge floor. Sakura smiled at him.
"On it, Sai-san," she replied as the elevator door closed between them.
Itachi had to say he was impressed. Sakura was waiting for him outside of the elevator doors with his coffee at 6:15... on a Friday. She'd been consistently arriving at work before he did, with summaries of the days before and plans for the day itself on hand. He had to give it to her. In terms of being pleasantly polite, professional and a breeze to work with, he'd never met anyone quite like Haruno Sakura.
He had a feeling that he would not be firing this one this week at all. On Tuesday, her second day on the job, she'd managed to keep a temperamental, eccentric artist happy for the full three hours that it took him to get back from the Nara meeting. The day after that, she'd impressed his father with her direct, but professional and polite speech, and she'd managed to keep Shisui at arms length even now.
But she had yet to meet Sasuke.
That was the main trial for Itachi. He loved his little brother, but, simply put, Sasuke could be a pain. If she managed to remain this calm, professional and polite in the extended company of his brother, then he would decide then and there that she could stay another week.
"Good morning, Uchiha-sama," she said, giving him that simple, polite smile that she'd been giving him for the past week.
"Good morning," he replied, not missing the way her eyes widened in surprise. He could at least give her that before he unleashed his Otouto on her. He listened as she brought him up to speed, sipping the coffee she'd prepared for him. As usual, it was good. Very good. She'd added more sugar today.
"Set up a lunch meeting at 1:00pm with my brother, my father and Shisui, please, Haruno-san," he said after she'd finished speaking. "Book a table for five at the Hishiou Kabana for that time."
"Five?" Haruno-san said, one brow raising.
"Yes, you will be attending," Itachi said smoothly, turning his back to her. Kami, but he was tired. Itachi gave his shoulders a subtle roll.
"O-Okay, Uchiha-sama," she stammered, her green eyes going wide. Itachi surmised that she'd never been inside Hishiou Kabana before. Again, it was the least he could do, considering his brother could be a bit... trying.
Hishiou Kabana. Freaking Hishiou Kabana. She'd been in a lot of high class restaurants with the Hyuugas, but never a place like the HK. But then there was the matter of this particular lunch.
Uchiha-sama had not told her what it was supposed to be about, and while she'd met Uchiha Fugaku and Uchiha Shisui before, she'd not met Uchiha Sasuke before. Apparently he had been out of the Hi no Kuni for the week and had returned the night before.
Sakura stepped inside the restaurant, keeping to a respectable distance behind the three Uchihas.
"Uchiha, party of five," Fugaku said to the attendant that greeted them at the door, his voice deep and commanding.
"O-Of course, Uchiha-sama," the man said, backing away and bowing quickly. "Right this way," he said, leading them through the gorgeous restaurant to a table in the back. They took their seats, Shisui holding out a chair for Sakura for the main reason that he get to sit beside her. Sakura gave him a small smile and took her seat.
Shisui... the man was persistent. There was no way that the way his knee rubbed hers under the table was a mistake. And damn him, but it affected her. She was only human, after all. She pulled her knees closer together.
"Sakura-san," Fugaku-sama said, commanding Sakura's attention. "I must say I am impressed," the man continued. When Sakura did not respond, only raising a pink brow in question, he went on. "I have yet to hear about your incompetence from Itachi. And I understand you have been reaching to the office before us all this past week. Well done."
Sakura got the distinct impression that this man wasn't really being nice to her, but just saying it as it was. Which was why it was such a boost to her confidence.
"Thank you, Fugaku-sama," Sakura said with a slight bow of her head, since she was seated and couldn't do so from the waist.
'SHANNARO! You better believe it, you old ice cube! We are an awesome assistant!' her Inner cheered.
Fugaku looked as if he were about to continue, but a slight commotion at the front door drew their attention.
"That boy..." Fugaku muttered under his breath, but Sakura heard him all the same. She too turned to look, and almost gaped.
One of the hottest males she'd ever had the pleasure of viewing was currently stalking over to them, a scowl on his handsome face. Uchiha Sasuke. While he did not have the gorgeous grace of his older, and much more mature brother, Sasuke-san had a virile quality to him that was palpable by just the way he walked.
Dressed in a black pair of pleatless trousers and a black long-sleeved button-down shirt, Sasuke whipped off his sunglasses and tucked the arm of the glasses into the neck of his shirt.
"You're late, Sasuke," Fugaku grunted as Sasuke approached the table.
"Father, it's five minutes after one," Sasuke said, and Sakura found herself equally impressed by his voice, though not his tone... which was clearly disrespectful. He seated himself, grunting greetings to Shisui and Itachi. His dark gaze stopped on Sakura, and the corner of his lip turned up immediately.
"Who the hell is that?" He directed the question at his brother, his somewhat disdainful gaze still on Sakura. Oh, so he was that type.
"My new assistant. Haruno Sakura," Uchiha-sama said smoothly, taking a sip of his complimentary water.
"Nice to meet you, Uchiha-san," Sakura said with a polite smile, extending her hand towards the Uchiha. His gaze dropped to her hand and he blinked.
"I'm not touching that," he declared, dismissing her by turning to his brother again. "So, the trip wasn't a total waste. The Hoshigaki are thinking about coming over to Hi no Kuni, so I told them to stop in Konohagakure while they were at it." Sakura withdrew her hand, sliding it back to smoothly lift her glass to her lips.
Itachi almost cringed at the way his brother was behaving. To her credit, Haruno-san did not seem to be too put out. In fact, she'd made a rather neat recovery by shifting her attention to her water.
"Which representative did you speak to?" Itachi asked, knowing his brother would probably only pay attention to him, because it was common knowledge that Sasuke had the largest case of big brother hero worship known to man.
"Aniki..." Sasuke sighed, rolling his eyes. "Obviously the most important one," Sasuke smirked. "Kisame. Kami, that man reminds me of a shark..."
Itachi figured that Sasuke would probably be as mean as possible as he could to Sakura. The few assistants that he found competent were usually scared off by Sasuke, who didn't like anyone in any position close to Itachi. If Itachi were honest. he would say it was a bit adorable, but at other times, it could be...trying.
"What is the progress with Sai-san, Sakura-san?" Fugaku asked, and, since Haruno-san had not gotten a chance to update him on that particular subject, Itachi found his attention swaying to his pretty pink-haired assistant.
"Well, Fugaku-sama," she said, taking a sip of her water and swallowing. Itachi randomly noticed the way her throat moved when she swallowed, the pale skin- He cut his thoughts off in favor of listening to what she was actually saying.
"He said 'Ugly, I had a good time. If you ask me nicely I'll do some art for that company you work at... but only if they take care of my art-"
"He got the Ugly part right," Sasuke muttered under his breath, interrupting her. Haruno-san blinked at him, and then giggled. She giggled. As Itachi had feared, Sasuke had broken her professional air, but not at all in the way she'd expected.
"Anyway," she continued, not focusing on Sasuke's comment. "He was pleased overall by the proposal that Uchiha-sama drew up-"
"Where d'you get off on calling my father by his first name, but calling my brother Uchiha-sama?" Sasuke interrupted again. "I don't know what you're trying to do, but calling him Lord Uchiha is not going to get you into his bed any faster than if you'd-"
"Sasuke, enough," Itachi found himself interrupting Sasuke's interruption.
"It's quite alright, Uchiha-sama," Haruno-san said, smiling sweetly. "Let him say his piece. Please, continue, Uchiha-san," she continued, directing her clear green gaze in Sasuke's direction. Her voice was smooth and not perturbed whatsoever.
And Sasuke faltered.
"Well, I may as well explain myself, ne, Uchiha-san," she continued in the shocked silence of the Uchiha seated with her. "As Uchiha-sama is my employer, this is what I refer to and will continue to refer to him as until he dictates otherwise. Your father, while not my employer, still demands my respect, but to avoid confusion with your brother, I call him Fugaku-sama... which he has indicated that he is okay with. Your cousin expressly desired that I call him Shisui... but as we are not familiar and he is my superior, I do not think it respectful to address him so familiarly, hence I call him Shisui-san." She took a sip of her water and gave Sasuke a smile.
"So you see. There is no secret plot to bed your elder brother," she finished, green eyes intelligent and intuitive. The sound of clapping from a single pair of hands broke the stunned silence that had fallen over the table.
"Well said, darling Sakura-chan," Shisui cheered, slapping his palms together. "And now," he said dramatically, waving a waitress over. "I am ready to order."
It was decided.
Itachi was going to keep this one.
AAGGHHH! Do you have ANY idea how much I love you guys? This chapter was only supposed to be 5,000 words.. and instead, it's... 8100 words without the ANs...
Please reward my hard work with some reviews! Again, I know this chapter was rather slow, but I promise it will pick up as we go along!