Different kind of Apple Polisher

Drama lessons with actual drama.

Chapter 4

Kiss or be kissed: Romance in Drama

"So, what do you think?"

The line for food is always huge and, for some reason, every single student in this college takes forever ordering, so Sakura and I will have plenty of time to chat. Well…if she replies to me. Currently Sakura is steadfastly staring forward. I roll my eyes and nudge her.

"Saks," I prompt. "Saks,"

No response.

"Sakura. Hey. Hey Sakura. Sakura what do you think?" I nudge her again. "Sakura. Forehead. Sakura. Saks. Hey. Hey Sakura."

Finally she looks at me, looking exasperated. "Ino, you know what I think!" She exclaims.

"Yeah, no, I don't mean your personal opinion on the situation; I mean what do you think?" I raise my eyebrows at her.

Sakura stares back at me, keeping a resolute straight face for a while, but then she finally breaks down. "Ok, he is super super hot, probably even challenging Mr. Hatake for hotness, but Ino-"

I don't listen to the rest of her rant as I start whooping and dancing. "I knew it! I knew it! You think he's hooott."

"Why does it matter if I-?" Sakura goes to complain, but I put my hand over her mouth and smile into her face.

"So, I have your approval." I state.

Sakura rips my hand off her mouth. "No you don't!" She exclaims. "You have the exact opposite of my approval! You have my disapproval!"

I sigh loudly. "Not about the situation," I grumble. "I have your approval on the whole 'guy you're crushing on is indeed hot' meter!"

Sakura's eyes narrow and she turns her head to the side slightly, as if trying to suss me out. Eventually, she replies. "Well…yes…" She murmurs, taking care with her words. "But I still don't think-"

"I'm so pleased I have your approval!" I ride through her and then grin widely at her.

"I…" Sakura raises a finger and then droops while I continue my inane smile. "Whatever Ino. I don't want you to get in trouble is all," she turns back to the front for a few seconds and then looks back to me. "And I don't want you getting a man fired," she points her fingers into my face. "Understand?"

"Yes Miss Haruno Miss!" I agree.

Sakura glowers at me for a long time and then turns back to face the front for a few seconds before, once again, looking back to me.

"Do you think Sasuke actually wanted buns?" She enquires.

"You certainly seemed interested." I reply.

Sakura lets out a shriek and punches me roughly on the arm.


Mr. Gai pirouettes into the drama studio and then points dramatically at us, one hand up in the air.

"Romance is what sustains youth!" He twirls again. "Romance is what keeps us fresh, new! You, all of you, will be starring in romantic plays! Nobody can be a background character! Every character must encounter romance in some form or another. Everyone must be-" He comes close and stares deeply into Karin's face. "Touched. Touched by the shining light of true love!"

Karin draws back, looking more than a little grossed out by Mr. Gai's display. I don't know Karin that well, but apart from being kinda uptight, she's ok. I send her a pitying look, which she replies to with a despairing look.

"Yes!" Rock Lee yells out.

Rock Lee shouldn't even be in this class, but he insisted on taking a fourth subject last year, just so he could stay with Mr. Gai forever. So essentially, he's taking three second year subjects and one first year subject and the only reason I can come up with is, essentially, that Rock Lee is in love with Mr. Gai.

Rock Lee's not the only person from the year above in this class however. Currently giggling next to me is Hidan, who, like Deidara and Sasori, didn't pass first year because he was bumming around, getting in trouble and smoking out back. Hidan, right now, is absolutely wetting himself at Mr. Gai and Rock Lee's show, which is literally what he does every single week.

I nudge him in the ribs. "Grow up."

He turns to look at me, tears of laughter still in his eyes, and smirks before nudging me back. "Am I not old enough for your tastes yet?"

Sasori and Deidara must have told him. I go bright red and stick my tongue out at him before turning my back resolutely.

"Got your eye on Mr. Gai?" Hidan sounds from next to me.

I push his face away from me and then peer up at Mr. Gai innocently.

"Groups!" Our teacher declares proudly. "Ino, Kiba, Naruto and Hidan!"

Fuck. As Mr. Gai goes on to split more people into groups, I feel all the colour drain from my cheeks. Why? A group with Kiba? This was going to suck big time.

"Cool!" Naruto exclaims from beside me.

I stay silent as Kiba shuffles over to be near Hidan, Naruto and I.

"Good group." The brunette comments happily.

"Yeah, yeah," Hidan retorts, falling into a lying position, his arms behind his head as he stares up at the ceiling. "As long as you little shits don't make me do too much work, I'm fine with whatever."

"So we have to make a romantic play right?" Naruto says, the look on his face thoughtful.

I stay staring forward, still quiet.

"Ino," Naruto looks to me. "You're good at ideas. Can you think anything up for us?"

I feel Kiba's eyes on me, but I resolutely ignore him as I turn to look at Naruto.

"Uh, well, since there's four of us, we could do two separate romances," I suggest. "So…me and you, Naruto, we could have a romance. And then the other two could have their own romance. And, maybe, to keep them connected, I could be friends with Hidan or something."

"If you think I'm kissing Kiba, you're wrong," Hidan states.

I glower at him. "You don't have to kiss-"

"And I want you to show your love! The more physical you are, the better I will grade you!" Mr. Gai's voice suddenly penetrates everyone's ears and I drop my point.

"Fine," I grumble. "I'll be in a romance with you Hidan. The other two can be together-"

"Yeah, cool," Naruto agrees in an offhand way. "But also what if, like, you, Ino, are cheating on Hidan with Kiba!?"

I go white and turn to give him a stiff glare. Naruto is giving a thumbs up to Kiba. Clearly the two little bastards are working together to try and get me to forgive Kiba.

Not. Going. To. Happen.

"I don't think that's a good idea-" I reply, but, unfortunately for me, Mr. Gai has been listening in and, apparently, he disagrees.

"No, no! That's a great idea! Naruto, you can be the despairing spouse. Hidan can be unknowing of the romance going on behind his back. And Kiba and Ino you can be two desperate lovers, facing against adversity as you fight for your love!"

"I-" I stutter and then fall quiet.

"I like it." Kiba comments, smiling. Smiling right at me, may I add.

I narrow my eyes at him. "Whatever." I growl back.

"This sucks,"

Sakura lets out a consoling clucking noise as I fall back onto her pink satin duvet cover. I throw my arm over my face in despair. After college had finished, Sakura had noticed I wasn't my usual chatty self and had invited me back to her place. Now we were both in her room and I had just finished telling her about the whole Kiba fiasco.

"And what's worse is the fact that Naruto's trying to help him! Does he not get how hurt I was?" I roll onto my stomach and gaze up at Sakura, who's sitting at the end of her bed, painting her nails as she listens to me gripe.

"Naruto's Naruto," she replies, turning to give me an anxious smile. "He can never see the bad in anyone. He probably just thinks that because Kiba's sorry, that you should just forgive him. He just wants everyone to be friends."

"Stupid friendly Naruto." I grumble.

"Look Ino, I'm sure you'll be able to get through this," Sakura finishes one hand and holds it up in front of her, admiring her nails. "It's just acting right? You're good at being overdramatic."

"And you're good at being mean to me when all I want is help." I retort, sitting up.

"Aw Ino, you know I didn't mean it," Sakura pats me with her unpainted hand. "Do you want a nice Haruno hot chocolate?"

I pout for a few seconds longer and then look up at her. "With sprinkles?"

"Of course." Sakura replies, smiling.

"Yes please." I mumble back.

I let out a low sigh as I walk to college the next morning. It's a lot colder than I expected it to be and so I wrap my arms around myself as I trot along. I crunch along the pavement, crushing bright orange leaves underneath me as I go and let out another long sigh. I have Drama today and I also have English, which Kiba is also in. It feels like it's impossible to avoid him. As I enter the school gates, the smell of cigarette smoke hits me, I glance up and follow the long lazy line of smoke back to its source. It just so happens to be Asuma, leaning against the entrance gate, taking a deep drag of his cigarette. He notices me right as I notice him.

"Cheer up Ino. I know college isn't the most exciting place in the school, but it beats being bored at home all day." He grins at me.

I go red -though I'm sure my cheeks are pretty red already from the cold, dammit I should have brought my scarf- and walk up to him.

"I don't know if I'd agree with that," I reply. I look over at the gates, leading out onto the road, currently obscured by early morning mist. "Being at home in bed seems a lot more preferable."

Asuma shrugs and takes another puff of his cigarette before replying. "You're here early." He states.

"Always am." I reply, watching his lips as he exhales smoke.

He smiles before replying, looking out into the distance. "I wouldn't have pegged you for an early riser."

I narrow my eyes at him. "Why is that?"

Asuma's smile widens and then he shakes his head. "You know, I'm gonna deign not to answer that, because I am one hundred per cent certain that whatever I say, you'll take offense to."

I stuff my hands into my -thin, way too thin- jacket pockets. "You can't do that." I mutter.

Asuma lets out a short laugh as he looks down at me. "Course I can, one of the benefits of being a teacher."

"Being rude is one of the benefits of being a teacher is it?" I reply shortly. Once again I begin to consider whether I've jumped the gun a bit with Asuma. I mean, the dude really seems to enjoy winding me up. Not exactly a trait I'm after in an adult man.

"That's right," Asuma grins and then he laughs at my facial expression. "I'm joking Ino! I'm very sorry if I caused offense."

I glower off to the side. "Whatever." I retort.

There's a moment of silence and then Asuma cocks his head at me. "Is there something wrong though flower power? You don't seem too happy today."

I grimace, but then shake my head. I don't want to bore Asuma with all my gripes about Kiba. "Nothing's wrong." I reply.

"You sure?" Asuma ducks his head a little, obviously trying to suss my facial expression. "You know you can talk to me right? Us teachers aren't just here to talk at you guys, we're here to help as well."

There he goes again, separating himself and myself into two different categories. I really need to knock that way of thinking out of his head. Thing is, I can't do anything too rash because then he'll be scared away. I shrug.

"I know," I say. "But I'm fine."

Asuma still doesn't look convinced. "Right," he mutters. "Well, if you ever need to talk, my office is on the maths corridor. Ok?"

I chew at my bottom lip and then nod quickly. "Thanks Asuma." I murmur. I wait for him to correct me, but he doesn't say anything. I begin walking away quickly, my boots crunching against the leaves as I head up to the college building.

"Seeya around Ino!" He calls after me. "Have a good day."

I hold up a hand in reply, but inside I'm having a little party. Looks like I'm getting through to him, slowly but surely. I can't help myself grinning. Great.

Thank you to Jigoku-Dayu93, Bri, Ghostsammeo and ShikaInoInuKikIchiHime36 for reviewing the last chapter! It means a lot. I hope you enjoyed this chapter!