Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.

Sakura let out a small laugh. "Hey, that tickles." She pushed at his hands that were roaming the sensitive skin along her ribs, holding them down under the water. While he had undressed, Sakura had refilled the tub, and they were now both seated in its depth with her straddling him as he sat with his back leaned against the tiled wall. The way she was astride him did nothing to hide the heat that brushed her most intimate part and her inner thigh, but they were not in a rush. Leisure and curiosity drove their ministrations and their tactile exploration of each other continued on without interruption.

With his hands captive, Sakura leaned forward to run her mouth over his chin and jaw, feeling the slight stubble across his skin with her tongue. The low, appreciative hum he gave only drove her to continue on. Sasuke suddenly turned his head, connecting their lips in a slow kiss. Her hold on his wrists became lax and soon the calm, exploratory atmosphere around them was slowly becoming a bit more passionate.

Her nails scratched uselessly against the wall next to his head when Sakura felt his hand wander in between her legs. The way he manipulated the deep moans from her mouth into his as they kissed fervently caused her hips to undulate against him. Every move of his fingers teased her drenched entrance before flicking against her swollen bud. She finally broke their lip lock when she could keep up no more and withdrew, not shying away from moaning under his desire-filled gaze.

She felt two of his fingers slide in, spreading her, and dragging against her walls as he pulled them out while continuing to thumb her evident arousal. Sasuke moved off of the wall, straightening his back and fisted her damp locks, causing her back to arch, giving him an inviting view of her perked breasts. Sakura mewled endlessly, grabbing onto his head with a firm grip and holding him close as his mouth began to suck and pull against one of her nipples. That combined with the way his fingers pushed into her as deep as possible made her mind cloud with lust and eagerness for release.

Her eyes flew open when the pleasurable assault on her body suddenly ceased. Her protest was cut short when he raised them both onto their feet and immediately pinned her against the wall, raising one of her legs to wrap around his waist. The difference in temperature of the air around them in comparison to the bathwater caused goose bumps to raise on her skin, and even though slight shivers of her body decreased when she was surrounded by the man's warmth and cocooned tightly against the tiles, she reached for the tap, turning on the showerhead while opening the drain so that pool of water at their feet would lessen. Warm water pelted their skin pleasurably and a slow steam began to rise. His hands roamed her slick skin with a fervor that made her feel as though she was starved; as though the weeks without him were finally crashing down on her, and the true extent of his absence made her eager for his touch. Her head impelled backward with every movement of their mouths as he kissed her with a vigor she had missed so much. She was already imbedded into his figure, but every time his hold on her tightened, she felt herself drowning into him further, curling around him even tighter.

No words could describe the way he groaned her name when they were finally so intimately joined. It was a mix of love and desire, and it caused her to shudder. She raised her other legs so that she was completely wrapped around him, prisoner to his will and the sweet sensation he was drowning them both in.

"Fiend," Sakura murmured lazily when a strong arm wrapped around her middle. She shivered, clenching her thighs together when the sound of his low, throaty chuckle roused her completely from sleep. She blinked a couple times, letting her eyes adjust to the sunlight that filtered through the curtains. To wake up every day like this… Sakura hummed her approval when he kissed the hollow behind her ear. "I'll be sore for a week."

"Good. You can stay here with me today."

"Don't you have a job to get to?" she asked, her voice wavering slightly when the hand on her waist began traveling lower, smoothing over the tops of her thighs.

"You want me to leave?" he countered.

"Not really." Sakura peeked at him, shivering at the way he stared her down through his half-lidded eyes. Sasuke chuckled, nuzzling her sweetly at her response. She pulled his head back so that their eyes could connect once more, and she bit her lip absentmindedly.

"What?" he asked.

"I like your eyes." Sakura only blushed when he gave her a questioning gaze. "You're a very stoic man, Sasuke, but your eyes speak volumes. They're very expressive."

Sasuke smirked suddenly turning so that he hovered over her, his elbows resting on either side of her head. "Expressive, huh?" His head dipped so that he could trail his mouth up the center of her throat. "And what are they saying now?"

Sakura laughed then stifled a moan when his full weight came to rest on her. "Don't change the subject."

"Okay, let's talk about my lack of emotional expression," he agreed sarcastically. Sasuke let his body drag up against hers so that their faces were leveled, but the delightful friction between the swell of her chest and his, and the heat she felt pool in her lower belly as a result made conversation less possible.

"I'm just trying to get to know you better," she insisted when the words finally came to her.

Sasuke paused, brushing her hair from her forehead before answering her. "You know me better than anyone else."

She was nervous. Of course it was the fact that she was attending the event—the only event, rather—that called for the gathering of some of Japan's most successful business figures. Her hands were slick with sweat, slipping every now and then as she drove her car to the hall in which the gala would be taking place. She wasn't one who wore much makeup, but Sakura had glanced into the rearview mirror to catch a glimpse of her face for the hundredth time to make sure that what little she had on was still in place, and not running or smudged.

As she pulled into the parking lot, Sakura noticed the lines of expensive, sleek looking cars all rowed up, and it only furthered her anxiety. Calm down, she told herself, Sasuke will be there too, her mind added as if it would alleviate her nervousness—and it did. The prospect of seeing him always excited her even though they had last been together only that morning.

The dress she wore was a deep, olive green—just a shade or two darker than her eyes which served to really bring them out. It was a modest, halter-top styled bodice that covered her front, exposing the tops of her shoulders and arms. It collared around her neck, yet dipped down her back, leaving her skin exposed. Buying the dress had been tough for her, because she deemed it to be quite risqué in nature, but with Ino's incessant insistence, she couldn't deny it made her look hot. Was that appropriate for a gala? She was about to find out.

The dress slithered down her legs once she stood, locking the car behind her. It pooled at her feet, and the feeling of it sashay around her legs as she walked was something she enjoyed most. The night air was cool as it smoothed over her skin and back, only heightening her awareness of how exposed she felt.

"Sakura! Wait up!"

Her head whipped around, startled, mainly because the pinkette did not expect to meet anyone she knew besides Sasuke, of course. "Genma?"

"God, I'm so nervous."

"Me too," Sakura admitted, relief flooding her system with the ability to relate to his feelings.

"You look stunning by the way," he commented, bumping her shoulder.

Sakura blushed under the blanket of the evening. Genma only smiled as he watched her tuck a piece of her hair behind her ear. "Thank you, you're not so bad yourself."

He laughed.

"Hey, if you don't mind me asking…"

"Yeah?" he prompted, his attention solely on her.

"Is the dress too… risqué?"

"Once you see the rest of the ladies here, you won't worry so much," he admitted.

Sakura laughed as they neared the illuminated building. "Are there seating arrangements?" Sakura asked once they were inside and making their way through the people already there and waiting for the function to begin.

"I think they want us to sit according to the business we are representing," Genma informed, glancing at some of the cards on the table that read the names of various other people.

"I feel so… unimportant," Sakura admitted once they found their table which was neatly set with some red wine, wine glasses, and silver-bordered plates and silverware.

"Maybe if you mingled a bit it'd help. We wouldn't be here if we were so 'unimportant' as you say," he pointed out, ushering her to follow him. "Some of the big shots are already here." Genma could point them out clearly not only because of the overly expensive suits they wore, but by the small crowd around each one of them. Sakura suddenly gasped when Genma latched onto her arm to pull her close and whisper in her ear. "And there's yours," he noted. The two of them watched Sasuke enter the glamorous hall and though the guests who had first noticed him detained him at the entrance, Sakura could no doubt feel the electricity of his presence. She lightly pushed Genma away in light admonishment of his remark, but it did not stop him from chuckling when he noticed her blush. "You going to go talk to him?"

"Of course," she mumbled, making her way to where Sasuke was being held captive by the other guests. Of course their secret relationship was still on the down low, but Sakura found herself thrilled at the fact. Oh all the teasing she could do…

"You're Sakura Haruno, right?"

The gentleman who had approached her stood in her path with a polite smile and a hand outstretched, oblivious to the fact that she had been trying to make a beeline for the other, more important person who had just arrived.

"Yes, that's me," Sakura informed, turning to the male. Suddenly, realization dawned on her as to just who had approached her. "Mr. Shiro Hitashi of Soliad," she identified immediately when she accepted his hand.

"So you have heard of me," he mused, leaning in to give her a customary kiss on her cheek, his gray eyes sparkling with interest.

Sakura couldn't do much to avoid it, so she gave in slightly, feeling the faint pressure of his mouth tickle the skin of her cheek. Her eyes inadvertently fell on the small circle of people still around Sasuke and her breathing hitched when he locked eyes with her at that second. She couldn't help the teasing smile on her face as she pulled away and redirected her attention to the man who had greeted her. "Who hasn't heard of you?"

"I'd say that opinion is biased."

Sakura couldn't help but laugh. "And why do you think so?"

Shiro smirked, thoroughly charmed by Sakura's captivating mannerisms. He took a step closer to her, secretly eager to continue conversation. "You are an active member of the financial industry of this country. The average person walking down the street most likely has no knowledge of me."

"You judge yourself too hard," Sakura remarked, playing along. The pinkette took a quick look around while she shared a laugh with the man, noticing that the hall had become quite crowded already. When she looked to her right to see if Sasuke was still there, she noticed his absence.

"Well, it's nice to see that others have appreciated—" Shiro was cut off when the sound of someone fumbling with the microphone caused for an immediate hush and then a prolonged silence once everyone in the hall realized just who was on the stage.

Her arms were already folded, yet Sakura found herself unconsciously digging her nails into her arm when Shiro took a step closer to her while squaring his shoulders in the direction of the stage. He leaned back on his heels, his hands stuffed in his pockets, his posture reeking over-confidence and arrogance.

The only difference was: it turned her off. But, Sasuke with his cool, arrogant attitude… that was a different story. She fought a knowing smile while she watched him prepare to speak.

Sasuke's suave, smooth appearance and aura commanded attention as soon as the first couple words were out of his mouth. "On behalf of the review board, I'd like to welcome you all to Japan's Business Alliance's annual gala. It's a pleasure having you all here." Sasuke waited for the applause to die down before he continued. "The awards ceremony will take place a few hours from now. Until then: socialize; there's food at the back tables there," he pointed. "And, if anyone's bored, I'm sure Shiro over there," he gestured, "and I will definitely show you a good time."

Sakura shivered unnoticeably because the raven-haired man had focused his smoldering gaze at her once he pronounced that last line. "You two good friends?" Sakura asked Shiro once the remnants of applause died down as Sasuke walked off the stage. Immediately all the guests indulged in food and conversation, and soon the hall was bustling with amiable talk of business among other things.

"Of course." He flashed her a smile.

"I mean: do you two know each other in a different regard than as fellow businessmen," Sakura corrected, turning to him fully when she saw Sasuke walking in her direction out of the corner of her eye. She could have a little fun while it lasted.

"Honestly, I don't. No one does, really."

"I see." Sakura gazed randomly at the other guests, feeling as though their conversation was slowly dwindling. She identified Genma by the top of his head talking to a few other ladies and men around him. She was happy he was having a good time.

"Enough about him," Shiro said suddenly, his hand falling heavily on her shoulder. "Tell me, are you—"

"Is there room for a third in this conversation?" interrupted a smooth voice.

Sakura inwardly breathed a sigh of relief, shrugging off the man's hand from her shoulder. "Mr. Uchiha, I was hoping I'd get a chance to speak with you tonight."

Sasuke's gaze darkened once their eyes met and he gave her a quick once-over before returning back to looking straight into her emerald irises. "Well, I'm all yours now," he announced lightheartedly, opening his arms slightly as if to emphasize the point.

Sakura laughed, noticing Shiro shrinking away a bit from his missed—rather, interrupted opportunity.

"Looks like you've gotten to know Shiro here." Sasuke shook the man's hand before turning back to Sakura.

"Yes. She's a very charming woman," Shiro commented, his gaze fixated on Sakura.

"Thank you." She smiled at him before turning back to Sasuke.

"So how are things at Lira?" Sasuke asked, suddenly behaving as if the other man wasn't there standing next to him.

"The usual. We've signed a new contract with a company based in America and another in Australia. The latter was a bit harder to get, but we were lucky enough to be able to."

"What position do you hold with Lira?" Sasuke asked, as if he didn't know the answer.

"I'm the Executive Managing Director."

"Very impressive. Do you know of the company's plans to expand? International maybe?"

"You should know that better than me," Sakura remarked with a laugh.

Sasuke smirked, joining her in her moment of amusement.

"Got another one under your command, huh?" Shiro remarked. Otherwise, he had been quite ever since Sasuke had interrupted him.

"He actually co-owns it," Sakura informed.

"Would you like to get a glass of wine with me?" Sasuke invited to the pinkette suddenly.

"Of course. Mr. Hitashi, would you care to join us as well?"

"Excuse me, please." The two of them watched him walk away abruptly, stopping to join conversation elsewhere.

Sakura let out a breath of relief, following Sasuke to the wine table. "Finally," she murmured.

"You should have seen the way he was looking at you." Sasuke had the slight show of anger on his face as he poured the red wine for the two of them.

"And how was he looking at me, Sasuke?"

"He wants in your pants… your dress, rather."

Sakura stifled a giggle. "Kind of like the way you were looking at me while you were on stage?"

"It's my entitlement," he defended, raising his glass to hers.

Sakura never broke eye contact with him as they drank, feeling as though the distance between them was unbearable. She wanted so much to be within the circle of his arms… touching him at least.

But, they couldn't do that.

Not here at least.

"You should be careful with that invitation you extended in your short intro speech," Sakura commented after a minute. Sasuke only smirked, sipping at his wine some more. "Every lady here is dying for you to 'show her a good time'". Sakura gestured to a group of women with her chin. "I wouldn't be surprised if they were plotting my demise right now." Sasuke chuckled, his shoulders shaking lightly with every laugh, clearly in amusement. As if one cue a few of the women Sakura had pointed out turned to look at them, staring for a couple seconds, before averting their gazes.

"Well to contest that: none of the men here have been able to keep their eyes off you. Even the married ones," Sasuke countered.

"It's just the dress."

"Seems kind of daring, especially for you."

Sakura shrugged. "You think so?" she asked, turning and acting as if she was pouring some more wine so that he had a clear view of the plunging backline of the dress that stopped right above her rump. When she turned back and met his eyes again, she could clearly see them smolder and hazed over… a look he had given her that morning in bed. She hid her mischievous smile before taking another sip of wine. "You don't like it?" she challenged.

Sasuke cleared his throat. "You look stunning, Sakura."

"Thank you," she replied, blushing lightly and taken aback by how bluntly he had just said so.

"Ravishing," he added with a gruff.

To any onlooker, it would seem as though the two were carrying on a lighthearted banter. But of course it was the exact opposite. Every second they stood in conversion together only served to heighten the sexual tension they both felt, and the fact that they couldn't touch each other, not even a little, was only making that worse.

Sakura was about to open her mouth to speak when the sight of the last person she wanted to see made the words die in her throat. Sasuke gave her a puzzled look before following her line of sight…

"Sasuke," greeted Ryou, shaking the man's hand. "How have you been? Our last meeting during the deliberation wasn't as long as I would have liked it."

"The usual," Sasuke managed to respond, his jaw flexing in annoyance.

Noticing Sakura's presence, Ryou turned to her, giving her a half-smile. "Sakura," he appraised, not bothering to stare her down from head-to-toe.

It seemed as though at that moment all chatter in the hall had died down somewhat at the sudden showdown of such a powerful couple that was soon to be divorced.

Sakura did nothing to hide the disdain in her voice and from her face. "Ryou."

"You look breathtaking," he commented lowly, his hand outstretched toward her. Sakura look at his palm with a questioning gaze. "A handshake if nothing else, Sakura."

The pinkette accepted his hand, fully aware of Sasuke's intense gaze on her. However, she was taken off guard when he suddenly moved forward, giving her a customary greeting kiss on her cheek. Sakura recoiled from him, but he pulled away immediately, his mouth leaving a ghostly feeling on her skin.

"Anyway," Ryou began, trying to create a transition. "Sasuke, there's someone I'd like to introduce to you."

The raven-haired man nodded, "Okay, I'll be right there." Sasuke turned to Sakura once Ryou began to walk away. "Nice talking to you."

Sakura nodded, playing the part. When both men had walked away she sagged against the table.

Ryou should not be affecting her so much.

Sakura clapped her hands enthusiastically. "I'm so happy for you, Genma!" she congratulated, her voice louder than usual so it would carry over the applause. She watched her colleague walk up toward the stage to accept his award for 'Management Team of the Year' and listened to his half-minute acceptance speech in which he enthusiastically mentioned her name with gratitude.

The smile on her face was the widest it had ever been since the hassle with her husband began. The following hours leading up to the ceremony had passed in a blur since Ryou had taken Sasuke away. She had joined Genma and chatted with numerous other guests, and at present, Sakura felt she was having the time of her life; worry-free, carefree. Award ceremonies were usually know for being lengthy and somewhat tedious, but tonight it was the exact opposite. Sure, every individual here represented a different organization and each were in competition with the other, but as Sakura watched various other people walk up to claim their well-deserved awards, she couldn't help but feel grateful she had the chance to be a part of something so wonderful, not to mention prestigious.

"Congratulations," she cheered once more when he returned to their table, leaning over to give him a tight hug as he took his seat.

"Never imagined this," he admitted with a whisper, gesturing to the trophy as he set it on the table next to him.

"You deserve it." Sakura flashed him another smile. When her gaze returned to the stage, her heart drummed as she watched Sasuke assume the podium. It was time for the final award to be given. Of course, she hoped it was her, but as she took a quick glance at the people seated around her, she felt there were others who were more deserving…

"This final award," began Sasuke, his low, husky voice hushing all side conversation, "is given in recognition of outstanding performance, innovative leadership and problem-solving, phenomenal work ethic, and above all clear, unadulterated passion and commitment." Sasuke paused, his coal-like eyes surveying the crowd seated before him. He could feel the anticipation radiate off of every person in the room and hang in the air. "The award for 'Executive Director of the Year' goes to… Miss Sakura Haruno."

It took her a second to realize that it was indeed her name that had been announced. Her heart skipped a beat and she stood from her seat as if in a trance. Her hands shook as she pushed her chair back in and made her way to the stage, her gait shaky and a bit unstable. There was just no way… she thought to herself over and over again. Applause erupted as she walked the distance, which seemed to stretch out even further in front of her with every step. It felt surreal and just the sight of Sasuke standing at the edge of the steps leading up to the stage with his hand outstretched toward her made her heart clench. Her hand slipped into his and he squeezed it unnoticeably as she walked up the couple stairs; It was the first time they had touched since the beginning of the extravagant banquet and she felt the warmth and pride radiate from him as she received the shining trophy in her hands. A warm palm on her lower back urged her toward the podium and it help in alleviating some of her stage fright.

Sasuke, who was at her right, stood close to her. Closer than the rest of the men on stage and it was enough to make the hairs on the back of her neck and shoulder stand. The words left her mouth effortlessly; something she was secretly happy about. She didn't want to verbally trip over herself. "I am truly honored to be receiving this from the review board," she began with a dreamy edge to her voice. She noticed Ryou, who stood at the left, staring at her intently while she spoke, but she quickly dismissed him, rather, focusing on making a worthwhile acceptance speech of a few sentences. "I'd like to thank the people at Lira who have helped me every step of the way… Genma: thank you so much for all your support." Sakura then turned halfway to look at the men who stood behind her. "I'd like to show my gratitude to the gentlemen on stage with me…" Sakura individually announced them by name, "and lastly, I'd like to recognize the one person who made my first step into Lira possible: Ryou." A second of silence filled the hall. Sakura gave Ryou a small smile, noticing the slight shock on his face. Personal life set aside, he had been the reason she was able to get a start in the business industry in the first place; and it would be selfish of her not to recognize that. Applause erupted as Sakura murmured her last thank you and began to walk off the stage.

"That concludes the awards ceremony," Sasuke announced once the applause died down, "and this year's gala. Stick around for some dessert if you'd like. But, you're welcome to leave if you wish. I'm sure most of you are eager to do so."

A final round of applause and laughter continued on before the guests stood, making their way to the varied dessert table. No one was in the mood to leave just yet, although a few people did. Sakura had remained with Genma by her side while numerous others had given her their congrats and even ventured to ask her further about Lira and her work there. The cheeky smile never left her face even when she had become tired of talking and all she wanted was to lie down and slip into a peaceful sleep.

"What a night," Sakura commented after she finished the piece of cake she had picked up from the dessert table.

"I happy for you, Sakura. You deserve it," Genma said for the millionth time.

"Thank you so much, Genma. I'm proud of you as well," she said with a sort of finality.

"You ready to leave?" he asked after a couple minutes, noticing the crowd had died down somewhat.

"You bet. I'm spent. Can't wait to sleep." Sakura covered her yawn as she stood, glancing around randomly until her eyes feel on none other than Sasuke himself who was in deep conversation with someone else. "I need to use the restroom. Can you hold this for me? I'll meet you by my car, or yours. Either one. Doesn't matter."

"Okay." Genma shrugged. "I'll be by your car." He picked up her trophy, glancing at the shine of her engraved name. "Sure is a beauty."

The pinkette smiled at him tiredly before glancing around for some indication of a restroom. Glancing down a hallway to her right, she noticed a few closed doors and decided to check them out. As she walked, her head automatically turned in Sasuke's general direction and in that second their eyes met: coal burned into emerald, and despite the distance between them, the way he stared at her made her smile and bite her bottom lip in a feeling of anticipation. Her eyes never left his face… "Oh, I'm sorry, Mr. Hitashi," Sakura insisted regaining her balance. She easily brushed off his hand that had come to rest on her waist. "Truly sorry."

"No worries. You heading home?"

"Yeah. Long night." Sakura smiled, hiding her uneasiness.

"Congratulations, by the way. Well deserved."

"Thank you, Mr. Hitashi."

The corners of his eyes crinkled as he took a hold of her hand, pressing a small kiss against her knuckles. Sakura managed to pull her hand away in embarrassment, not allowing the action to drag further. Shiro only chuckled at the blush on her face. "It's been a pleasure getting to know you. I hope we can carry out business in the future."

"Of course," Sakura responded, flustered. She tucked a piece of hair behind her ear. "If you'll excuse me."

The middle-aged man stepped aside with a gracious nod.

Sakura continued down the hallway, her steps hurried. Yet, she was unaware the man staring after her with vile intentions in mind.

Who had she been looking at so intently?

Shrio Hitashi didn't know why he cared so much, but one thing he was sure about was that the woman was a beautiful creature. Thoroughly captivating. Of course he had heard the news of her impending divorce with Ryou. And, upon hearing so, he couldn't believe who would want a divorce from such an enticing woman after his meeting with her earlier that night. Either way, it meant she was single. Sure he was a married man, but under-the-table affairs were a common thing of the day… if only he could get her by herself, he'd be able to persuade her…

So, he had purposely stood in her way, pretending to be looking at something on his phone. He was slightly moved back on his heels when she bumped into him, his hand automatically shooting out to snare at her waist.

"Oh, I'm sorry, Mr. Hitashi," he heard her say in the most earnest of tones. He inwardly smiled at the way she moved his hand away from her waist. It was a smile of malice intent. "Truly sorry."

He took a moment to let his eyes rove calmly over her while she regained her composure. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful, he thought to himself. "No worries. You heading home?" he ventured to ask.

"Yeah. Long night."

The smile she gave him was momentarily distracting. Her lips were quite plump. He wanted to touch them… "Congratulations, by the way. Well deserved," he continued.

"Thank you, Mr. Hitashi."

He gave her a smile, and sudden impulse led him to take a hold of her hand. Her skin was soft against the pad of his fingers as he pulled it up to his mouth, closing his lips over one of her prominent knuckles. The dusty pink blush on her cheeks and the flustered way she pulled her hand away only furthered his adulterated interest in her. Shiro let out a small chuckle. "It's been a pleasure getting to know you. I hope we can carry out business in the future."

"Of course," respond the pinkette. He watched her tuck her hair behind her ear. It was a peculiar color: pink of all colors, but it only illuminated the inviting nature of her skin. "If you'll excuse me."

Shiro stepped aside, watching her continue down toward the hallway. The dress did little to simmer down the tainted nature of his intentions. The bare skin of her back… the teasing plunge…

As he watched her fumble with a doorknob and step into what he assumed was the restroom, Shiro believed there was no stopping him now. With a casual glance around, he noted that there weren't very many guests left.

He could easily coerce her into silence if needed.

Had he expected her to thank him of all people? Of course not. But, it had been very surprising. The smooth, yet cold metal that pressed against his back through his dress shirt reminded him of the pretext on which he had attended tonight's gala. Feeling as though his intentions were not right, Ryou took one last look at his phone before he would surely resign and leave to go home.

As he slipped the device into his pocket, his eyes immediately landed on Sakura who was stood on the other side of the hall. He wouldn't hide that her attractive ensemble was quite eye-catching. In simple words: she looked beautiful and it only served as a reminder of what he would be losing within a couple weeks' time. He watched the flow of her dress, the curves of her body as she walked in the direction of a hallway that led away from the main space of the wall.

He breathed her name in a barely audible whisper. He'd never get her back now—

Ryou watched his soon-to-be ex-wife regain her composure after bumping into someone. Her face looked flustered, and a quick glance at the person he assumed she was apologizing to made him realize it was Shiro. He watched them converse a bit further, and sudden anger and jealously raged in him when he watched Shiro raise her hand to place a kiss upon it. Her blush-covered face was hard to take his eyes off of as he watched her nod and tuck her hair behind her ear. It was a demeanor he recognized to be one she used especially around those she was bashful around.

In his rational mind, he wasn't putting two and two together. But all rationality left him when he saw Shiro follow Sakura into the hallway, a deviating thought led him suddenly to believe that indeed that was the man Sakura had already replaced him with. He had already come to terms with himself, and had made plans to confront Sakura—use force, compulsion to make her listen to him and if needed take extra measures… but watching Shiro walk after her…

However, some part of him summed up the doubt in her favor. Sakura certainly wasn't that kind of woman. A foreboding sense within him compelled him to follow after her.

He ignored the lady who had just approached him, not bothering to make his stalk discreet. His steps were almost lunges as he crossed the hall, his face contorted into a fury of anger and hatred.

Sasuke smirked when he noticed Sakura bump into Shiro out of the corner of his eye while keeping the person he was currently speaking with oblivious to his distraction. She was asking for it… and he would definitely show her the consequences of teasing him all throughout the night. Just the thought of her sent his mind flitting with possibilities of how the night would truly end for them both.

"Where else are you looking to invest currently?" asked the man in front of him, causing Sasuke to avert his gaze.

Sasuke was a very meticulous man—trained to notice detail no matter how minute. So when he saw Ryou's suddenly hurry in the direction of where Sakura had walked moments ago, something in his stomach dropped. It was a dreadful feeling that took over him and he quickly sidestepped his conversation partner, "Excuse me, please."

Sasuke looked toward his left where Shiro had been standing moments ago when Sakura had bumped into him, but he was nowhere to be seen. He felt his heart race and his steps quicken in response.

He hurried his steps when he heard a loud thud.

His heart thumped with alarm when he heard an ear-splitting scream. The sound of a gruff voice bellowing loudly soon followed.

He saw red when he heard two consecutive gunshots.

He pushed past the few people still left in the hall who had ran in his path, desperate to reach the exit.

The only thing on his mind was: Sakura.

Author's Note:

I know this was quite late, and I do sincerely apologize. The fact that you take time to read is a source of encouragement for me.

Things have taken a turn for the better :)

A review would be truly, and very sweet of you.