Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
She always wondered why he had decided to marry her. He said he loved her, but that's all they were: words.
Sakura mindlessly sipped the warm cup of coffee in her hands, trying to let the smell of the brewed beverage stimulate her senses and relieve her of usual preoccupation. Everyone had always told her she was living the dream—but lately it wasn't feeling like one. Sure, being married to one of the most successful and rich businessmen in Japan had its... advantages, but Sakura wasn't much of a materialist—
—she was that down to Earth, simple-minded, average girl... with pink hair.
Her husband, Ryou Arata, ran the well-known Ara Ltd. that dealt with domestic business' economical transactions, product growth and development, sales, etc. All in all, you wanted Ara Ltd. on your side if you were planning to get anywhere as an entrepreneur in Japan.
Sakura sighed, setting down her cup of coffee. She stretched herself languidly on the leather couch she rested on. It was five in the morning; she didn't have to be at work until seven.
Why was she up so early? Sakura had became attuned to rising early because of how soon her husband would leave for work; she wanted to spend time with the man who would return home in the am hours of the next day—a time Sakura was usually sound asleep by. Marriage was a union between two individuals that was supposed to bring them closer together than ever, but Sakura found herself drifting away from Ryou with every passing day. Sure, in the beginning, things were all lovey-dovey and in honeymoon-mode. Now, a mere lasting conversation was like a special occasion between them. Sakura worked hard to keep her marriage strong; they had been married for five years now; how had it turned out like this? She felt every attempt she made to bond with Ryou only made him move farther away.
Sakura swung her legs back to the ground. It was no use wasting time waiting: Ryou had already left. Sakura had found that out once she had emerged into the dining room all dressed up, only to have one of the housekeepers, Mayu, tell her that he had already gone. She thought maybe a cup of coffee would relieve her disappointment, but so far it only helped in making it the only thing she was thinking about.
"Sakura-san, would you like me to get you anything else?"
Sakura was snapped out of her preoccupied train of thought as she turned her head to meet Mayu's questioning and somewhat concerned gaze. "No thank you, I'm fine." The pinkette got up to leave, but Mayu's voice stopped her again.
"I'm sure he's just caught up in a lot of work, Sakura. Don't worry too much about it."
The woman turned around and smiled. "Yeah, you're probably right." But, the look in her eyes told her she knew more. Much more.
"Sakura, I don't know how else to say this..." Ino reached over the small coffee table between her and her closest friend, taking a hold of her hand, "but I think you are—"
"He is seeing another woman," Sakura said in a shaky whisper. Her eyes aimlessly roved over the various people in the cafe they were in. She noticed a happy looking couple across from them with a look of pure love and adoration in their eyes. The man leaned forward to whisper something to the woman to which she blushed madly. It reminded her of her relationship with Ryou... at least how it used to be.
Rewind four years back, Sakura would have talked endlessly, gushing with excitement and happiness at the thought of sharing her life with someone she held close to her heart. But now, things were different.
Sakura was not the clingy type. Neither was she one to doubt. She hated to be suspicious of her husband, but lately his behavior only further proved her unconfirmed feelings. The late nights… the distant attitude… the hints of female perfume the living room couch, where he had been sleeping only moments ago.
"Well, maybe it's not the case, Sakura," said Ino, attempting to relieve the pink-haired woman of her preoccupation. Ino hated to see her best friend this way. She missed the cheerful, bubbly Sakura.
"Then what other reason does he have to act this way?" Sakura questioned.
"Babe, you need to divert your mind. Stop thinking about him. How about we go to a bar? Drinks are on me."
"No, Ino," Sakura replied, "I need to go confront him about it. I need to talk this out with him."
"I agree, but after we get some liquid courage in you."
"It's okay, Ino. There is no need."
"We can talk over what you'll say. It'll give you a boost of confidence!"
Sakura smiled at the hopeful expression on her friend's face. "Alright. Sounds good."
The bit of alcohol in her veins gave her a surge of assertiveness. Her husband's enormous office building towered over her, almost making her feel as if it was Ryou himself challenging her, leering down at her small form and seeing if she could dare stand up to him.
With determined steps, Sakura made her way through the main floor's reception area, up the elevators and as the grand door of her husband's office came into view, she fisted her hands in confidence. He would NOT be able to avoid her—
"Mrs. Arata, how nice of you to stop by."
In her path stood Ryou's secrertary, Megumi. Her face showed a somewhat fake and concerned smile.
"Nice to see you too, Megumi," replied Sakura, side-stepping the woman.
"Mr. Arata is currently busy. He asked that no one disturb him." she called after her.
"I am his wife."
"I don't think you should—"
Sakura ignored the woman and continued in. The sound of muffled voices emanating from Ryou's office caught her ears. The deep rumble of Ryou's followed by a female's...
She twisted the doorknob.
She found her husband leaning against the side of his mahogany desk and a female she did not recognize standing a couple feet from him, relaxed. She noticed the look of surprise on Ryou's face, like he had been caught in the act...
"Sakura, you couldn't have come at a more perfect time," began her husband. The manner in which he spoke seemed sarcastic as he walked over to her, placing a hand on the small of her back and urging her toward the other woman in the room.
"Reika, this is my wife, Sakura. Sakura, this is Reika. She was recently employed here as one of the new general managers."
Oh really? Sakura forced a smile as she shook the woman's hand. Her hair was a dark chestnut brown, and her blue eyes sparkled with mild interest as their hands dropped.
"Ah, this is your wife," she remarked, raising a perfectly groomed eyebrow. "It's nice to meet you."
"Likewise." Sakura wanted to keep the talking to a minimum.
"Mr. Arata, here was just about to take me on a tour of the building, but I'm sure it can wait. It was nice making your acquaintance. I'll give you both your privacy." With another hand shake and a gaze Reika held a second too long with Ryou, the woman left with a sway of her hips.
As soon as the door shut closed, Sakura pivoted on her feet to begin confrontation, her mind rehearsing what she'd practiced with Ino, but she was stopped when she felt herself being swiveled and pressed against Ryou's desk.
"It's been so long since you last came here," his voice rumbled hot in her ear as he pressed his body against hers and buried his face in the side of her neck.
What? This wasn't supposed to… Sakura tried to push him away, but her actions were misinterpreted, and Ryou only ground himself against her harder, kissing his way up the side of her face.
"Ryou, no, stop." She said firmly, effectively removing himself from his hold.
The man sighed, running a hand through his hair. "Sakura, don't start this again—"
"Don't tell me what to do—"
"This isn't a place to discuss this," he hissed, rounding his desk.
"Then where? You're never at home to talk about it!"
"Don't raise your voice, here."
"Will someone hear, Ryou?" countered Sakura. "All those late nights... you're really working every second you're up here?" she hissed. "I can fucking smell her perfume—I'm not a Goddamn idiot, Ryou." She jabbed an accusing finger into his chest.
Ryou opened his mouth to speak, but instead kept silent; his jaw flexed in exasperation.
Either he had enough of her mindless suspicion and simply felt it useless to continue bickering… or he had nothing to refute.
It definitely seemed like the latter.
A full minute of silence passed. Sakura relaxed her arms against her sides. "Thank you for your time, Mr. Arata."
The walk back to the elevator seemed to take forever. She made eye contact with Megumi as she passed by, and Sakura noticed the woman avert her gaze guiltily and continue on with work. A sense of accomplishment coursed through her veins as the elevator doors closed and she jabbed her fingers at one of the buttons.
Ryou had not acknowledged, nor had he disproved anything. Did that mean…?
"Damn, wrong floor," she muttered to herself as the elevator doors opened and revealed a floor countless cubicles, but no lobby. This time Sakura made sure to press the right button before sagging against the side of the metal encasement that was now the impediment between her and freedom from the confines of her husband's public reach.
"Wait! Hold the elevator!"
It took her a second to react, but Sakura fed her arm through the space between the elevator doors at the last second. As the doors parted, her eyes caught the sight of a man dressed most sophisticatedly in a black suit with raven hair and equally black eyes walk in her direction swiftly.
"Thank you," he said as the elevator doors closed.
His voice made her shiver sweetly for some reason. Sakura turned her head to glance at him, noticing he had already been looking at her.
"Your welcome," she replied, thoroughly spellbound by the contrast between his pale skin and dark eyes and hair… not to mention the way his mouth was pulled into an invitingly sexy smirk. To put it plainly, this man was simply captivating.
"What floor would you like to go to?" She asked, averting her gaze.
"I have to meet with Mr. Arata. That's the 30th floor isn't it?"
Her brow furrowed at the mention of her husband's name, but nonetheless she pressed the corresponding button. "Yes…"
"By the way, the name is Sasuke Uchiha."
"Sakura." She replied, returning his outstretched hand with a shake.
"Haruno," she replied, purposefully leaving off her husband's name.
Sakura noticed he was standing a bit too close for her liking, but what was really occupying her mind was… "If you don't mind me asking… what business do you have with Mr. Arata?"
Sasuke's eyes stared into hers with amusement. "Do you work here?" he counter-questioned.
"No." Sakura shook her head.
"Are you one of his business associates?"
"Are you his secretary?"
Hadn't she asked a question first? "No."
"Are you one of his…" Sasuke trailed and eyed her, as if choosing whether or not to go on.
"His?" Sakura prompted, her heart sinking as she felt it would be a confirmation of her continuing doubt…
"One of his—"
"I am his wife," Sakura interrupted, feeling it would be something better left unsaid… considering the circumstances.
"Aa. I see," he murmured, staring at her somewhat apologetically. It was a good thing he left that sentence unfinished.
Sakura merely shrugged, looking away embarrassed for her own sake.
"To answer your question, we have some business arrangements to go over. Mr. Arata is looking to expand his company… to maybe go international…" The elevator doors dinged and they parted to reveal the grand doors of the office she had been in not too long ago. Neither of them moved. The atmosphere was different between them now. Sasuke didn't know what he could say that would be sufficient. But he was pressed for time. "It was nice talking to you, Ms. Haruno. I anticipate I will be seeing you soon."
During the drive back home, all Sakura could think about was her encounter with… Sasuke Uchiha. She'd heard that name somewhere before. It tugged a small part of her mind, but she couldn't quite put her finger on why the name was so achingly familiar to her.
When Sakura arrived home, she wasted no time doing a little of her own research. Her brow lifted in surprise. Sasuke Uchiha was a big deal… like international-business-mogul big deal. And then there was the fact that, well, he was achingly beautiful.
With a frustrated sigh, Sakura buried her face in her hands. I am getting distracted too easily.
She had a marriage to save... or end.
Modern AUs allow complete malleability. That's why I like them so much.
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