In denial because of You

So sorry for the late update but I have been really ill these past few days. Enjoy chapter 3! Inspired by the Book: Jumping to confusions by Liz Rettig.

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Jumping to confusions or Naruto. All rights are reserved for their rightful owners Liz Rettig and Masashi Kishimoto.




Chapter 3: The Party

"When you do something noble and beautiful and nobody noticed, do not be sad. For the sun every morning is a beautiful spectacle and yet most of the audience still sleeps."-John Lennon




I could have killed Karin. Not only had she decided to completely forgive Sasuke for the whole tennis humiliation, but because of her pestering and demands, he's been over here a few times. Most of the time I tried to avoid him by staying in my room or leaving the house. He would call and usually arrive at about the same time that he has been visiting at for the past week, so I decided to make myself completely 'disappear' and leave the house a good fifteen minutes before he came over.

This time, however, he had thought that it would be a good idea to make his arrival a surprise, and had not called Karin beforehand to tell her that he would be over.

I distinctively remember being in my bed, and through the blankets on my head, hearing a squeal followed by a loud, over exaggerated laugh. Karin. After dragging myself out of bed, not bothering to change my sleeping shorts or tank top, nor look at my extremely wild hair, I had walked all the way down the stairs and followed the noise that seemed to be accumulating from our kitchen. My head was still clouded with sleep, so I was a stumbling mess when I entered the kitchen, sleep in my eyes. That morning, when I had finally opened my eyes properly and took a look around the kitchen, I had the shock of my life. Because sitting on one of the kitchen bar stools, leaning on the counter table, right in the centre of the kitchen, was none other than Sasuke Uchiha.

Sasuke Uchiha was in my kitchen. With my family. Sipping what looked like coffee from my favourite cup. And he was smirking at me. I stared at him, completely dumbfounded. It was so shocking that I didn't know whether to enter the kitchen and act like he wasn't there, or turn around, run up the stairs, and crawl back into my bed. And why, for God's sake, was he always smirking at me like that?! The thought of him laughing inwardly at me because of the way that I looked at the moment and because his visit had taken me by complete surprise annoyed me, and I had ended up glaring at Sasuke.

"What are you doing here?" I asked, still glaring. I admit that it did come out a little ruder than what I had wanted it to be, but I could care less during that moment. I couldn't believe that he was just…well, sitting there.

Mum, however, was having none of it, and she coughed and interrupted the silent war I was having with Sasuke, causing me to blink out of my reverie and stare at her stern face. I knew that she had sensed that something was going on between me and Sasuke, and seeing as how she had warned me and Karin plenty of times before to not show disrespect to our guests, I ended up walking in to the kitchen and sent Sasuke my fakest smile ever.

If he had sensed that it was a fake smile, I would have never known, because he put down his cup of coffee and nonetheless, greeted me with as much politeness and sincerity as the first day that I met him. "Good morning Sakura. Did you have a good sleep?"

Well, if he was trying to act nice and fool the members of my awe-struck family with a few sweet words, it was definitely working on them, but not on me. I mumbled an incoherent reply, one that Mum was clearly displeased with, because for the second time that morning she sent me a death glare, so I ended up putting on an act similar to his and repeated my reply. "Good morning to you too Sasuke. And yes, I had a good sleep, thank you very much."

My gaze had fallen on to Karin, who was seated besides Sasuke, and she was acting so desperately flirtatious that it made me feel sick. It was true, Karin and Sasuke looked really good together and would probably end up being a really good couple, but it didn't mean that I was okay with the way that Karin seemed to instantly lower her status next to him. So much for the rant she had about making sure I didn't look inferior next to Sasuke only a week ago.

It was also then that I realised that Karin was wearing make-up, her hair styled up in a neat pony tail and her clothes suitable for a date. She had known that he was coming and she hadn't bothered telling me! Was Karin also trying to humiliate me on purpose? Were they both in this little game of 'who can make the bigger fool out of Sakura'?

Yet when I looked at Karin again, she seemed like she was genuinely in another world of her own, staring dreamily at Sasuke, and I realised then that Karin hadn't told me unintentionally; she was probably too happy about seeing Sasuke again that she completely forgot, or decided not to bother.

They have been out a few times now, mostly for pizza or to the cinemas. I was surprised when I found out that it was mostly Karin who made these dates. Usually it's the guys who do all the running but she says she thinks Sasuke is just a bit shy with girls. Personally I doubt it. It was true he hadn't been sure about asking her out after the tennis thing, but she'd been in a bad mood at the time. He seems pretty damn confident to me though. Then again, maybe he was different around Karin.

Naruto also seems to have been spending a lot of time with Sasuke, because I've bumped into him twice now over at Naruto's house. I can admit that I've never actually been rude to Sasuke on those occasions, but at the same time I don't go out of my way to be nice to him either. At first I had expected him to be puzzled by my unfriendliness, but instead he seemed to not care at all and merely grunt or nod at my sight. Call me stupid, but since when did the word 'Hn' mean 'hello'? I decided right there and then that he was a total ass and completely full of himself, though looking back now I can say that I may have been the reason as to why he was acting so cold towards me.

Naruto told me privately that Sasuke just puts his attitude up as a mask to hide what he truly is, which is, according to Naruto, a nice guy and not up himself at all. "He's OK Sakura. He wasn't trying to insult you with the fitness-fatness remark. Fitness is important in all sports. Only an appearance obsessed female like you would read anything more into it. You should really give up this stupid notion of you being 'a little overweight' anyway. You're fit and curvy, that's all. Lots of guys like a well-toned, curvy girl!"

"Don't call me curvy. That's just another way of saying fat."

"Shit. Look, you're not fat at all Sakura okay? In fact, you're actually pretty skinny, but in a good, healthy looking way. You don't need to be Karin-slim to not be fat. Most of my friends say that you're not bad at all and would love to get to know you better. You're just a bit odd at times."

"Thanks a lot Naruto."

"Not mental odd!" Naruto explained quickly, "Just a little defensive sometimes and sort of violent at others. I don't meant druggy, but you know, one minute your talking and laughing with some guy and the next you've gone all spacey and he may as well be talking to himself. You must admit you daydream a lot."

And this was supposed to be Naruto's attempt at paying me a compliment! Honestly, why Hinata loves him, I'll never know.

I laughed. "Well, Naruto, I don't know what to say. I'm just totally, erm, overwhelmed by this flattery but I'll try not to let it go to my head."

However, afterwards I did think carefully over what he'd said. (About Sasuke, that is, not his friends comments on my attractiveness.) Perhaps I've been a little unfair on Sasuke. After all, it's not his fault that he's the sexiest male I've ever laid eyes on and is a credit to his parents. He's never experienced the hardships and humiliation someone like me has to go through because her sister has always been the family's pride. Still, I've probably been over-sensitive about his fitness remark. It wouldn't be the first time that I've taken offence about something like this when none had actually been intended.

That, however, didn't explain the fact that he was a total ass to me, nor did it explain the reason to why he always seems to be smirking in triumph in my presence. Was he trying to lead me on or something as a joke? Is that why he always started conversations with me in a nice manner, and just when he had me believing that he was actually pretty nice, struck all of that hope down with some stupid comment that ended up humiliating me?

Because of this, I found it very hard to trust Sasuke and decided that it would be best to act completely distant around him. This was also the reason I was finding it very hard and uncomfortable to be seated in front of him in our kitchen.

The whole family was present, and everyone seemed to be oblivious to my unusual silence. They rambled on about how amazing Sasuke's life must have been; yes travel was very hard but of course he was able to quickly adjust to it, wow he learnt Japanese in Japan? No way, amazing!

It took everything in my will to not just get up and leave the room right there and then. I'd had enough of listening to everyone praise and admire Sasuke like he was some legend. I inwardly sighed in relief when the topic suddenly changed to something other than Sasuke's life.

"So Karin, have you got everything ready for your new school year?" Dad had asked, placing down his newspaper neatly onto the table. I knew why he had directed the question to Karin, and it was because Karin usually left buying all school equipment and attire to the last minute. According to her, school was unimportant and there was no reason to why so much money had to be invested into it.

My mum replied instead of Karin. "Actually dear I was thinking of taking Karin out today and making sure she has her new school uniform and equipment ready."

Karin beamed at my Dad. "See Dad? I have everything prepared and under control. No need to worry."

I rolled my eyes. I knew that smile anywhere, and it was only because Sasuke was present that she was acting all so sickly sweet. It was totally out of her character and made her seem strange, but at the same time it was hilarious seeing her have to go to such extreme measures. She was playing the good-girl act today. I sent a sly smile towards her, and she answered back by sending me a sarcastic smile of her own. It only caused my smile to widen. A sarcastic smile from Karin might as well be a pleading smile; she never does it unless she feels threatened, and she probably thought that I was going to blab her secret out.

"Well If I were you sweetheart then I'd get going now; stores aren't going to be open all day you know and knowing the amount of shopping you're going to be doing I'd be glad if you got it all done today."

Finally Sasuke got up and excused himself from the table. When Karin had asked him where he was going, he merely looked at my parents and thanked them. "Thank you for inviting me over for breakfast Mr and Mrs Haruno, it was enjoyable. You'll have to come over sometime. But I know that you're going to be quite busy today and so am I so I think that it would be best if I got going now."

Karin had pleaded with him to stay for a little longer, but he politely refused her offer and it wasn't long before Karin was walking him to our front door. I didn't bother following after them, they'd probably be giving each other goodbye kisses and frankly I'd rather not be there to view it happen.

Before he had walked out of the kitchen, however, he had made eye contact with me, and I don't know why, but it felt like for that split second, he was waiting for me to say something. It felt…odd and different coming from Sasuke and I was left confused. I didn't want to dwell on it though, but since it happened in such a quick time that the thought of me imagining it all was highly likely.

I resolved to be nicer to Sasuke now though, especially as it looked like he was going to be important to Karin, and, according to Dad, around for some time. Sasuke's parents are thinking of sending him to our school. At first, the information had taken me by surprise and I wasn't fond of the idea at all, but then again it kind of made sense seeing as how Valley End High was one of the best schools in Konoha, and Uchiha Sasuke deserved the best-note sarcasm. This is good news for us, apparently, since it means that Mr Fugaku is intending on staying in Konoha for a long while, meaning he isn't just some hatchet man, here to wind up the company and sell it to one of his other departments.

So when Sasuke called around again unexpectedly later on today I was quite surprised to see him but made sure I wasn't rude to him. I told him that Karin was still out with Mum shopping and wouldn't be back for at least another hour but he asked if he could come in anyway as he had something he wanted to talk to me about. Naruto followed in after him, just managing to sneak in as I was shutting the door, and I had to stop myself from shrieking by covering my mouth.

"Naruto, you idiot! I nearly had a heart attack because of you! Don't ever scare me like that again by entering the house while I'm trying to close the door!" I said, slapping his arm.

Naruto smiled sheepishly at me and rubbed the back of his head. "Sorry, thought I'd make it a surprise. Anyways, aren't you glad to see me again?"

"Yeah well it was definitely a surprise. And don't try and sweet talk your way out of this!"

I ushered them into the living room, where we sat opposite each other on separate couches, Naruto and Sasuke beside each other.

Naruto explained to me that Sasuke's dad had definitely decided to send him to our school since it offered the international baccalaureate and was of good status, which Sasuke could use as a great reference. Then he said, "I think that it'd be a great idea for Sasuke to meet more students before the start of term. You know, seeing as he is the new kid in town, the more people he gets to know the better. We were thinking of throwing a party over at his place next Saturday and I was kind of hoping you'd help us with the invites and arrangements. I told Sasuke to talk to you a couple of days ago but he told me that you'd told him you were busy, so Im wondering if you're free now."

I bit my lower lip in slight guilt and I felt heat rise to my cheeks. Oh God, I hope it wasn't noticeable. So maybe the whole thing about Sasuke wanting to meet more people was true, and the fact that I had literally shut the phone in his face made me feel really bad right now. I can't believe I had been that rude to him! No wonder he thought that I was some weirdo! Sasuke must have noticed my unusual behaviour because he sent me this knowing look, one that clearly said 'I know you lied to me.' Oh God, now I really felt like shit.

I tried to distract my mind by thinking about Naruto's offer. Yeah, a party would be great. The long holidays were getting boring and it would help flavour things up before school starts, and get my mind of Sasori. Also, Tenten and Temari, my two other best friends, have been moaning about never meeting any decent-looking guys. Maybe I could set them up with someone at the party. Naruto had told me before that Sasuke's place was huge so we'd be able to invite a ton of people.

"Are your parents going to be there?" I asked Sasuke, stupidly. Okay, it wasn't the smartest thing to ask, but still, I was curious, and I really didn't know what to say.

He shook his head. "No, they'll be out for the night."

Naruto eagerly interrupted. "And get this Sakura, they've promised not to come home until three in the morning. How amazing are they!"

I stared at Sasuke in disbelief. Were his parents serious? "Is this true?" I asked him.

"Yeah, they said they wouldn't be there unless needed. And," – he smirked - "I definitely don't think we're going to need them."

I blushed furiously and looked away from Sasuke. Why did he always have to smirk like that? And what did he mean by that last sentence? It almost seemed like he was trying to hint at something and it only caused me to blush even more in shame. I ended up having to cough in order to get rid of the awkwardness between us. "Erm, cool. That sounds great." I said after a while. Then I grinned at Naruto. "Im pretty sure we can cope without them if Naruto promises to stay in good behaviour throughout the night. Of course I'd be happy to help you organize the party and I'm sure Karin will too."

Soon I was happily texting and phoning everyone to spread the news and make a list of stuff we'd need. Naruto suggested a barbeque but I told him that the chance of people wanting to eat meaty snacks at seven in the evening was unlikely. Plus we'd also have to take a rain check.

Sasuke almost seemed to be amused by my enthusiasm; I could tell by the way his eyes glinted humorously every time I caught him looking at me and by the subtle raise of his eyebrows. But then he returned back to his usual stoic self, all interest lost, as if though he could care less. But I wasn't about to let his strangely displeasing attitude dampen my mood.

At least he let me make decisions about music, numbers, start times etc. It was so exciting getting to organize things. I prattled on about who I planned to invite: there was Ino of course, plus Hinata, Tenten and Temari. I wanted to ask Gaara, but then there would be a problem between Matsuri and Sari who both had an obvious crush on the guy. Maybe I could set one of them up with Lee? That way he'd stop chasing after me! I'd have to ask Tenten for who she thought would suit him best, since she and Lee are pretty close friends, but she'd probably end up sending me to Neji for more advice.

Sasuke had been listening patiently to me but interrupted to ask, "You seem to enjoy playing matchmaker on everyone except yourself, though it doesn't look like you have anyone in mind for yourself."

I was slightly surprised and taken aback by Sasuke's inquiry on my personal love life. Though it was embarrassing that I was caught red handed trying to set up my friends, it still shocked me that Sasuke actually seemed interested in my life. Then again, maybe he was just trying to use my single status as a way to humiliate me.

"Like I said, Sakura's just not dating at the moment. Bushy-brows Lee seems to have an obvious thing for her."

Not dating at the moment? God, Naruto had been diplomatic for once! The nearest thing I'd had to a date was when Lee got seriously drunk at the school Christmas party last year and tried to kiss me and I was saved by a fake snog from Idate Morino. Idate isn't ugly at all, in fact he's pretty good looking and is quite the charmer, but everyone is dead scared of him since his brother is Ibiki Morino, head of the criminal interrogation squad. They say that he could get you to admit to your darkest secrets with just one look, and that everyone who had left his interrogations seems to have been scarred, except he wouldn't have laid a single finger on them. Something to do with mental manipulation. Idate is nice though and me and him are still friends (mostly due to his strong friendship with Naruto), but he's not the special someone. Not like Sasori.

As always, I smiled at the thought of Sasori. At last, I finally had someone wonderful in my life to depend on, even if we couldn't be together yet. Aloud, I said dreamily, "Actually, there is someone, but, erm, he won't be able to make it to the party."

I don't know why, but it was as if Sasuke seemed to have gotten annoyed all of a sudden. "Pity he can't be there." He added dryly.

I glared. "What's that supposed to mean?" I asked him, in a not-so-friendly voice too.

"Nothing. Just that he's a lucky guy." He said. Then he got up. "Im gonna go now. We'll talk about all of this later. You know what you're doing."

I instantly realised my mistake. Maybe I'd been a bit too rude to Sasuke, and now he was really pissed off. Oh God, if Karin found out I drove away Sasuke then she'd kill me! "Wait! Don't go yet!"

Both Naruto and Sasuke seemed to be somewhat taken aback by my sudden outburst, since Naruto stared at me with a puzzled face and Sasuke had stopped walking and looked at me.

"I, er, Karin is going to be here soon!" I quickly added.

Naruto groaned. "Well in that case I better get going as well. Come on Teme, I'll be waiting for you in the car. See ya Sakura!" He stood up and patted Sasuke on the back as he walked out of the room.

I was left in the room by myself and Sasuke for company. There was an awkward silence between us, an unpleasant awkward silence.

"Thanks. For helping out, that is."

He was the first to break the silence, and I found myself questioning his words. Did Sasuke Uchiha…just sincerely say 'Thanks' to me…for helping him? I realised that he was still waiting for a response from me, so in order not to make myself look ruder in his eyes, I smiled up at him and replied. "You're welcome. And you can come and ask for my help any time."

I took his grunt as one of acknowledgement, but after that he surprised me by running a hand through his hair. He seemed frustrated as he looked back at me. Why, I didn't know, but it annoyed the hell out of me. Why was he so bi-polar?

"I really gotta go. I've got stuff do."

I watched his retreating back leave the room, and heard the soft click of the front door as it shut. After he'd left, I started to worry about what I'd told him. Of course, I hadn't given him any clues as to who my 'secret someone' was, nor had I insulted Sasuke in any way shape or form. Still, it was dangerous to mention Sasori at all, and I also had to choose what to say around Sasuke carefully; the guy seemed to get touchy over the smallest things and I didn't want to be the reason that him and Karin don't work out in the end. I mustn't be so indiscreet again. It was so hard though, keeping my feelings secrets.

When Karin came back she was annoyed that she had missed Sasuke's visit, much to her dismay about Naruto tagging along too, though she was excited about the party and looking forward to seeing Sasuke's place. This last piece of information surprised me. I'd thought that she'd already seen it, but it didn't seem like she had.

"I've only seen the outside of his house so far Saks, but it's enormous! Must have cost a fortune to buy, but then again his family are rich. Are you sure that his parents aren't going to be there?"

"Yeah, they're not due back till three in the morning."

"Great. Maybe I'll be able to tempt Sasuke away from his party host duties for a while and spend some private time alone with him."

She giggled, then leaned close to me. "You know, Sasuke is different from most guys I've been out with. Can you believe he hasn't even kissed me yet?"

That information had actually shocked me. No way! Every single guy that Karin had been out with would have kissed her on the first date, never mind 10th! "Really?"

She nodded. "He's such a gentleman. Makes a change from the usual idiots I meet, who always start trying to get in my pants on the first date. Still, I've decided he's been a gentleman long enough. It's time he got his reward."

Well, she definitely sounded keen, and I wondered how far she intended to go with Sasuke at the party. Unlike me, Karin isn't a virgin, but she isn't a slapper either and has only had sex with a few of the hundred guys she's been out with. Ino says that this definitely makes her a slut and that she only goes for guys with money but I think that Ino is being slightly unfair. Karin just like guys who are a bit classy, that's all. I suppose Sasuke would be one of the ones she'd sleep with, so I just hoped she wouldn't dump him afterwards, which she'd done before. Especially not with Sasuke's dad being our dad's boss. It was highly unlikely though; a girl would be crazy to leave Sasuke if she ever had the chance to get him. And even if Karin did eventually, then what would Sasuke do? Tell his dad to fire ours because Karin wouldn't sleep with him? I highly doubted that.

The next few days were spent busy with arrangements. Lots of the girls that I had invited were keen to know about Sasuke so were disappointed when I told them that he'd already been taken by Karin. However, that didn't put them off the party; only get them more excited actually as they all wanted to see the guy that had interested Karin. By the time me and Naruto had finished, fifty six people were definitely coming, with seventeen being unsure due to parents. Sasuke said that it doesn't matter if they come without a notice on the last day; the house was big enough for a hundred people to all be in at once.

Karin had asked me to help her choose which outfit she should wear on the afternoon of the party. Since there was a fancy dress theme though, she was extra fussed about what to wear. She often does this- she's told me that I've got good taste and she doesn't trust anyone else to give her unbiased advice. She tried on loads of different things and they all looked fantastic on her, but she still wasn't satisfied, said she was going for the sexy seductive look tonight and wanted to pick the perfect outfit.

I suggested she wore her short red dress and open toe heels since red looked best on her, and after rummaging around her wardrobe for a bit, we thankfully found some horns, a tail and a fork that were last in use two years ago during the Halloween party. Yes, Karin was going to go to the party as a she-devil. I didn't know whether to be proud of my amazing work or envious. My sister looked amazing and she was probably going to get every single guy in the room ogling all over her, while I stayed the plain, ugly sister.

After finally making sure that Karin could be left alone to do her hair, I went downstairs to let Ino in-she was coming to the party with us. We greeted each other with a hug as always, except this time I ended up stepping back and admiring Ino's outfit. She'd come in as a nurse, but her outfit didn't look like it belonged in a hospital.

"You like it?" She asked, wagging her eyebrows up and down.

"Love it actually. But I don't think you'll be mending any hearts today Nurse Ino." I said, and she laughed.

"I wasn't intending to. I'm ready to break a few today. I'm not your typical nurse you see." She winked.

I rolled my eyes at her usual behaviour. Ino never changed. I caught her frowning at me though, which in turn caused me to frown as well. "Erm, Ino, why are you looking at me like that?"

"Forehead, please tell me that this," she pointed at my attire, "is not your outfit for tonight."

Oh. Now I knew why she was looking at me like that. "Don't worry it's not what Im wearing today. But I'm having trouble picking my outfit. I have nothing fancy dress."

"Oh please, with me helping you then we're bound to come up with a great costume."

It was obvious that Ino was excited about this too, especially as Sai would be there. Sai is nearly 6ft, and to Ino's appeal, is a sexy artistic guy who thinks that Ino is beautiful and that I am an old hag. He's good looking, with dark black hair and unusually pale skin, and jet black eyes. Strangely, now that I think about it, he bears a freaky resemblance to Sasuke. Hmm, I'll have to compare the two at the party. We've only known Sai for a year now though, since he's new. At first, he seemed unapproachable and full of himself, but after getting to know him in art class, we came to realise that he found it difficult to talk to people since he doesn't understand emotions and what friendship means. Obviously, it had been Naruto who'd opened him up for the whole school and soon everyone was talking to Sai. Though I consider Sai one of my close friends, it still doesn't mean that I don't get annoyed when he calls me ugly.

Ino squealed. "He's hot and talented, Sakura! Imagine that! A hot guy who's free!"

I didn't want to dampen Ino's plans but I was a bit concerned. I knew Sai very well, and even though he practically called Ino 'beautiful' like it was her name, I still wasn't sure of his true feelings towards her. Sai never actually seemed to be interested in any girl, and he had made countless remarks on how small Naruto's…you know what I mean. I was afraid that he'd turn out to be gay and literally crush Ino's dreams. I tried to hint this to Ino, but she wouldn't listen. She thought it was me hating on him because he called me 'ugly' every time he sees me.

With Ino's help, I was actually able to put together an outfit that not only worked, but looked great on me too. I couldn't help but admire my reflection as I spun lightly in my 'Alice in Wonderland' costume. The blue dress was not too short, and flared out after passing my waist. We'd found a white bow somewhere and a few white laced material, which we'd sown on in order for it to look like it belonged to Alice. Ino also helped me with my hair tonight so that the ends were curly and placed a small black bow on my head to complete the image. Yep, I didn't look bad at all.

Just then Karin came into the room, stood beside me in the mirror and said, "You look great Sakura."

I know she meant to be kind, but comparing our two reflections, I instantly felt like the boring version of Karin. If she was a colour, she would be red; sexy, seductive and mature, just what every guy wants. Me? I'd be pink. A washed out, plain colour next to Karin. I hated it, but as always, I couldn't say anything. Why would I? It would just make me sound jealous and end up making Karin hate me.

Ino frowned at Karin and asked in a none-too-friendly voice what she wanted now. I do wish my friends would be a little bit nicer to Karin but I've had to settle for frosty politeness.

Karin just smiled at Ino and said, "Oh nothing, just came to see what you two were up to. You look nice too Ino. What look were you hoping to go for? Slutty hospital nurse?"

Ino scowled at the word 'slutty' and looked like she was about to do more than just argue but Karin walked to the door and, still smiling, said 'See you there.'

Ino was furious. "She does it deliberately Sakura. She knows I hate her fucking guts and that's why she tries to get on my nerves."

I tried to calm her. This time, I really couldn't disagree with Ino. It was true, Karin had been really harsh, but I didn't want a war to happen between the two before the party had even started. "No, Ino, I think you're wrong about Karin. You're really pretty and you're just naturally having that seductive look to you and I think she was genuinely impressed. Im sure she meant it as a compliment."

Ino laughed bitterly. "That's bullshit and you know it! Why are you always trying to defend her?"

"She's my-"

"You're not even biological sisters for God's sake! Yeah, you grew up together, but even then Sakura, there are limits. Admit it! You just can't bring yourself around the fact that Karin is actually a spoiled, selfish bit-"

"That's enough Ino! I don't want to hear anymore."

We were silent for a while, both of us annoyed, though Ino's reason was more understandable. She sighed and swept her fringe to the side. "Look, I'm sorry. Just forget that this ever happened."

I bit my lower lip in guilt. "No, you're right Ino. Karin can be spoiled at times and today was definitely one of those times. Im sorry because she's upset you."

"Don't worry about it. It's not like this is your fault; I feel sorry for you for having someone like Karin around you all the time. I just don't want us to fall out about her, so let's drop it, ok?"

I nodded my head and agreement, and we ended up hugging each other in apology. Ino chatted on about the party, seemingly going back to her usual self, though I wasn't really paying much attention- my mind couldn't help but wander back to that awful time where Karin got bullied in school.

While I used to be bullied by the other kids for my large forehead, it soon stopped due to Ino sticking up for me and becoming my friend. We were out on a school trip, and back then I was only seven years old so I was naïve and I just wanted to fit in with the other kids. A bunch of girls, Ami, Fuki and Kasumi, had approached me and circled me while I was doing some flower arranging.

Ami had said, "Forehead Girl. You look like you are having fun today. You're trying to make yourself look better recently!"

I was scared and I didn't know what their motives were so I had just said, "Thank you." They'd sniggered and then told me that if I picked a certain flower for them that grew on top of this really high, rocky hill, they'd accept me into their friendship group.

Thankfully, Ino had intervened before I could even reply and told them not to be so stupid; the flower would take hours to reach and that they should do their own work. Of course, Ami was having none of it, and had settled on calling Ino ugly and was about to shove her backwards, but Ino merely tripped her up and then thrust a bunch of grass in her open mouth. "A cow like you is only allowed to open her mouth when she wants to eat." After that, Ami and her gang never dared bother me again, and I was grateful for Ino's help.

Karin, on the other hand, was bullied by the girls for being the only one to wear glasses, even though I knew they did it because they were jealous that she got a lot of male attention. While the girls eventually stopped calling me names, they never let up on Karin. It didn't bother her and she never seemed to care, but even some of the kids who had been okay with her started talking about her behind her back, saying she was 'full of herself.'

One day, instead of waiting with Karin outside of school for Dad to pick us, I had already planned to go home with Ino to her house. That was the day a crowd of girls surrounded Karin. First they called her horrible names, then they kicked, punched and even drenched her with water from their bottles. They were awful.

My parents were furious and complained to the school, demanding that everyone responsible should be punished. Of course the girls had lied and said that Karin had called them 'ugly jealous trash' so she'd had it coming. Mum and Dad didn't blame me for what happened, but I did. I knew I should have been there to stand up or her. I vowed then that I'd look after her and never let anyone hurt her ever again. I've kept my promise too, even though it's been difficult at times. Like when she's so freaking insensitive around my friends.

Ino interrupted my thoughts. "Come on Sakura; it's a party we're going to, not a funeral. Look, I've got just the thing to set us in the mood." She rummaged in the bag she had brought with her and pulled out half a bottle of vodka. I blanched. This was her idea of 'getting us in the right mood'? Ino seemed to notice my grim expression, but she merely dismissed it with a wave of her hand. "Oh don't look at me like that Sak, it's just a couple of drops into some coke, no one will notice. Now be a babe and sneak us some glasses and a bottle of coke from the kitchen."

She placed her iPod into my docking station, blasting her music up to full volume. Despite the fact that my parents were always working, my dad more than my mum, their jobs meant money that practically showered me and Karin with new, modern goods, not to mention the endless shopping sprees, which meant that in all honesty, I couldn't complain about their work hours.

I found myself following Ino's orders, though I contemplated the thought of drinking myself. Though it wouldn't have been the first time I've drank something alcoholic, the taste and smell never actually appealed to me and because of that I left drinking for necessary occasions only.

I hurried down the stairs to fetch the glasses and then the Coke. On my way back though, I bumped into my mum as I was coming out of the kitchen.

"What's that?" she asked in a disapproving tone while eying the Coke bottle.

I felt like a crime suspect who had just been caught by a police officer. Oh God, don't tell me she'd sussed I was sneaking this upstairs to mix with alcohol. "Nothing, Mum. I mean, erm, Coke. It's for me and Ino."

"Coke right before a party sweetheart? Won't you be drinking a lot at the party anyway?"

I nodded. "Yeah, but it'll be, you know, juice and fizzy drinks, nothing alcoholic. Sasuke's parents are making sure of it." I lied.

Mum's face contorted at the mention of alcohol. "God I hope so! I trust you and your sister well enough to let you go on this party by yourselves, especially since it's a request from Sasuke himself. Just watch yourself and Karin tonight alright?" She planted a kiss on my forehead and smiled at me, but not before eyeing my normal coke bottle as though it was a giant turd or something. "That thing is loaded with calories. If you want, there's some Diet Coke in the fridge. I mean, unless you're absolutely certain that the calorie-loaded sort is what you prefer-"

"No, mum, you're right, good point." I interrupted, relieved that she'd finally stopped rambling about calories, then hurried back to fetch the Diet Coke. Honestly, sometimes I wondered whether my mum would ever get over her calorie checking obsession.

Ino's suggestion had worked on her and by the time that she had drunk her glass of vodka and Coke, she was dancing around like a lunatic and had persuaded me to join along, so we ended up giggling and in a great mood.

Naruto came over to pick us up. He'd already been to Sasuke's place, helping to set up things, though Sasuke had said that the maids would be preparing everything already. Since the barbeque option had been out of hand, Sasuke's parents had paid a catering firm to provide all the food and soft drinks so that we wouldn't just have alcohol- not that this was mentioned by Sasuke's parents of course.

Karin didn't come with us, saying she had things too first, but I knew it was because she wanted to make Sasuke keener by keeping him waiting her to arrive. These were little techniques she had once said I should learn for when I finally started dating, but I always brushed them aside. However, she did ask me to make sure that no one else got their hands on him before she got there. I agreed, although how I was going to do this I wasn't quite sure. I'd never been anyone's chaperone before.

Just before we left, Karin pulled me aside and reminded me of my promise. "Look after Sasuke for me, Sakura. There are bound to be a bunch of girls there who are just dying to hit on him. Make sure they don't get anywhere with him."

"Well Karin, if you're that worried, why don't you just come and look after him yourself?"

"Im not that worried. Im just being careful. Anyways, you know I like to keep my guys waiting; gets them keener, you know?"

No, I didn't know, but I found myself reluctantly agreeing. "Ok, I'll do my best. But there are limits. What am I supposed to do? Tie him up with duct tape and put a gag in his mouth and throw him in the basement? It's his party after all and he did say that he wanted to know more people. Circulate."

"Well he can circulate all he likes with guys, but if you see any nice-looking girls around him, warn them off and pull him away to your side." She smiled at me. "You can be the duct tape. Stick to him all night until I get there."

I got slightly annoyed with the thought of being with Sasuke all night. If he and I had some sort of mutual friendship, then the idea wouldn't seem so bad. I decided to mention this to Karin. "What if he doesn't want me sticking to him?"

"He will. He likes you. Said so himself."

I was taken aback by this new piece of information. Sasuke said that he likes me? To Karin? "He…he said that to you?"

"Well, not in those words but it something along those lines. Anyway, I know Sasuke well enough now to know that he enjoys your company. He seems interested when you're around."

Naruto and Ino were already at the door and were growing impatient. ""Oh. Well, alright then." I told her, though I didn't sound so sure of myself.

"Thanks Sakura. I knew I could count on you. Now remember, don't let him out of your sight. Promise?"

"I promise."

I had a feeling that, before the night was over, it would be a promise I was going to regret.

I was surprised to find Hinata stood outside of Naruto's car, her hands wrapped protectively around her bare chest as she tried to cover up some her exposed skin. She looked stunning in her sexy maid get up, innocent and seductive at the same time, and I couldn't help but admire her perfect figure.

Ino rushed up to her and squeezed Hinata into a hug, smiling approvingly at her choice of clothes. "Hinata! You finally got brave and decided to show some of those amazing breasts for once!"

It was obvious that, even in the dark, Hinata's face had gone a shade similar to Karin's hair and she stuttered an incoherent reply to Ino's loud outburst. I felt sorry for the girl; I knew that it must have been embarrassing for her, especially since this was something she had obviously never done before in her life. Hinata was always the shy, quiet girl in our friendship group and she preferred to be someone in the background then in the limelight.

I smiled at Hinata before pulling Ino away. "Forget Ino, Hinata. I think you look amazing."

"Hey, who said I didn't think she looked amazing?" Ino retorted. Then she looked over at Naruto. "And I bet Naruto here thinks that Hinata looks amazing too. Don't you Naruto?" She taunted, winking playfully at him.

Naruto coughed in embarrassment and I ended up having to slap Ino's arm in warning. Sometimes, she really did fit the stereotype of 'stupid blonde'.

We later found out that Naruto had offered Hinata a ride to Sasuke's, and he must of told her that we would be getting a lift as well, since I'm sure that she'd never have agreed if it was just her and him alone in the car. Hinata got way too flustered around Naruto and she usually never speaks a word to him without stuttering unless someone else was involved in the conversation.

Ino suggested slyly that Hinata sit at the front so that she'd have more room for her legs and short, layered dress.

Hinata really had no choice since Ino decided to push me into the back of the car and sat beside me, leaving Hinata to the front. Hinata hesitantly agreed and said, "O-ok, thank you for your c-consideration Ino."

Naruto had made it seem like it didn't bother him and mumbled, "Ah, okay, whatever suits you best." I could tell that he was really happy though, since his eyes lit up and he grinned happily at Hinata as he sat into the driver's seat.

He started the car and moved to the gear, but his hand accidently brushed against Hinata's thigh and both flinched at the sudden contact of skin. They tried to act like it never happened as Naruto muttered "Sorry that was an accident."

But Ino giggled audibly in the background as she wagged her eyebrows in suggestion, as if to say 'Isn't this best plan ever?' She waited until Naruto started driving before she leaned closer to me and whispered in my ear. "Accidently my arse. I bet he touched her thigh on purpose!"

I rolled my eyes mechanically at Ino's usual behaviour. It was so expected of her that nothing ever surprised me anymore.

It took about 10 minutes to get to Sasuke's, and I was thankful since although the drive had not been silent, it was still awkward. The house was huge, especially for just three people, with a long driveway surrounded by perfectly cut grass and flower filled bushes that led to two granite pillars. The large, three storey house stood proudly in the background, adorned by a beautiful wide-spread garden that was dotted with flowers around the edges. Two, light fountains stood symmetrically opposite each other, causing the water sprouting out to seem as if it was changing colour.

Quite a lot of people were already there, chatting by the fountains and waiting for friends, while loud music played from the inside, sending vibrations through the earth. As we walked closer to the house, it was obvious everyone was having the time of their lives inside since laughter and screaming could be heard above the noise of the music. Lights were dotted all around the house, lighting up the night in bright, neon colours and I was thankful that Sasuke's house was at least a good two minutes' walk away from the other houses; I didn't want any complaints from angry neighbours and mishaps that led to police officers knocking on the door.

The house was just as beautiful and grand on the inside as it was on the outside and I had to stop myself from throwing my jaw open.

"Wow…" Ino sighed dreamily, and I couldn't help but mimic her expression as we both eyed the inside of the house with adoration.

Naruto grinned at us. "See? I told you his place was huge, kind of similar to yours Hinata."

Hinata blushed, but it wasn't so obvious because of the dark room and different coloured lights flashing across her face. "Y-yeah, Sasuke's place looks similar to mine."

"Yeah, except your place is much more traditional, like a fairy-tale palace!" Ino added, and then suddenly gasped. "Oh my god I see Sai!"

It had taken me by complete surprise and I resisted the urge to hit Ino for scaring me with her gasp. I'd thought that something had happened to her or that she'd seen something worrying, but obviously she had seen Sai.

She instantly made a bee-line to him, pushing her way through the crowds of dancing people and earning a couple of glares from the girls and wolf whistles from the guys. I sighed again at Ino's usual and unchangeable character; this girl would never learn.

"You know as much as I hate how annoying Ino can be at times, I have to say at least that girl has courage to approach Sai, unlike some people here." Naruto said, his gaze landing on to me as he finished the sentence.

I gulped. Oh no, did Naruto out of all people know my secret crush? I decided to act as if though his sentence hadn't fazed me as I turned around to face him. "What? Why are you looking at me like that?"

"Oh don't try and fool me by that innocent look of yours Sakura. You said yourself that you had your eye on someone! And you never had your eyes on anyone before until a certain someone came."

My eyes widened as I blushed furiously. "Wait, you think I like Sasuke?" I asked him incredulously. Naruto looked away and I knew that my suspicions were true. "How-Oh my God!" I was speechless. I couldn't believe that Naruto thought I had the hots for Sasuke! "I don't like Sasuke! He's Karin's guy, not mine! I could never do that to her."

Naruto ran a hand through his hair. "Yeah well Im pretty sure Karin would and she wouldn't think twice about it too. Look, forget it; I just thought maybe you liked him or something. Let's leave this and have fun, okay?"

I glared at Naruto. I was about scold him for talking about Karin like that when another thought popped into my mind. "Well Naruto, I think you should worry about admitting to your own feelings before giving me a lesson on mine." I eyed him and then Hinata, and both seemed to get the hint on what I was talking about.

Hinata blushed furiously and nothing, not even the dark, could hide the fact that she had gone tomato red, while Naruto merely looked shocked. "I don't know what you're talking about."

I rolled my eyes but nonetheless smiled at the two. "Between us three, you both know what Im talking about. Now how about you show your two favourite ladies around this place Naruto."

Naruto grinned, quickly forgetting about his earlier humiliation as he swung one arm around my shoulder and the other around Hinata's, before steering us towards the kitchen for a drink. "So what do you think of the house? Great place for a party isn't it?"

I nodded. "Yeah, amazing, big with high ceilinged walls. And great floors as well."

"What?" He asked me, one eye brow raised.

"Well, they're nearly all granite aren't they? Since the rugs have been taken away, they're fantastic surfaces for people to spill drinks or to be sick on- they'll get cleaned up, no problem, and Sasuke's parents would have never known."

Naruto laughed. "You know Sakura? I was wrong about you. You are a naturally born romantic."

Despite the fact that the kitchen was massive, it was still crowded, and I started to wonder whether there were more than seventy people at this party. I spotted Sasuke, who was drinking what looked like Kamikaze and lime and talking to two really attractive girls that I had never seen before. Damn. Who invited them anyway? It must have been one of Naruto's friends, probably Kiba. Sasuke saw us as well and waved us over. He offered Naruto a glass of wine, though Naruto refused. When he looked surprised, Naruto merely muttered the word 'driving' to him and took a bottle of coke instead.

Hinata and I accepted the wine while the two girls by Sasuke eyed Naruto appreciatively. After Hinata and Sasuke were introduced, one of the girls, tall and brunette, asked "And who's this sexy fox?"

Naruto smiled sheepishly at the girl, causing the fake whiskers drawn on his face to stretch along with his smile. Yes, Naruto had actually come in as a fox. He wore an orange mask over his eyes and two fox ears were placed on top of his head. Along with this, he had on a furry orange and white t-shirt, orange combats and black boots.

I was grateful when someone had called him over to see something, because the girls stopped eying Naruto as soon as he held onto Hinata's hand and went over to see what was happening.

Ignoring the girls, I said pointedly, "Sasuke, your house is great! Karin asked me to tell you that she'll be along soon. So how was the movie you both went to see on Wednesday? I heard it was great."

Sasuke seemed to notice that I was acting unusually, since I hardly ever talked to him and now I was acting like we were best friends, but I didn't care and continued to prattle on about him and Karin, making absolutely clear to the two girls that he and my sister were dating. He eyed me with amusement and answered me with a slight hint of humour at every question I asked, and I felt like I was making a fool out of myself for no reason since the girls didn't seem to take the clue and stayed where they were.

Fortunately, Sasuke had to go and help carry in another load of drinks so I took that as an opportunity to straight-talk his oblivious admirers. "You're too late. Sasuke's already dating my sister so hands off."

The one that looked like a blonde bimbo with obvious fake boobs wasn't fazed. "He's only been here for a few weeks. You're sister doesn't own him, does she? I don't see her name plastered on his forehead. Or maybe she's tattooed it on his ass? I'll just check and see later tonight."

The other one just giggled. Chaperoning Sasuke was hard, but restraining the urge to punch a couple of his fans was even harder. I hoped Karin would be here soon, or else this party won't end well.

When Sasuke came back I grabbed his arm and swerved him away from the girls, saying I wanted to dance, and started to pull him into the next room. Sasuke was obviously surprised, since he stopped me as soon as we were out of the kitchen and held me by the shoulders. He frowned slightly. "You're acting strange." He stated. Well, that was blunt.

I laughed nervously. "Am I? I think it's the wine; it's getting to me a little. But come on Sasuke, it's a party, lighten up. How about I introduce you to some more friends?"

He nodded and I led him to a corner of the room where I spotted Tenten, Temari and some of the guys in our school. They were huddled together laughing, some seemingly drunker than others, as they wobbled lightly on their feet. I was sure that sooner or later, Tenten and Temari would have a competition on who can cope with the most amounts of shots before passing out, as they always did in parties, and I dreaded that moment.

Tenten squealed when she caught sight of me, her stumbling form approaching us followed by a much sober looking Temari, as she enveloped me in a bone crushing hug. "Oh Sakuraaa! Its soooo good to see you!" She shouted out. Then she caught sight of Sasuke and gasped. "Oh my God, you were right! He is a total hottie!"

I wished that the earth had cracked open and swallowed me up right there and then. Why were my friends so humiliating! Heat rose to my cheeks and I ended up avoiding eye contact with Sasuke due to sheer embarrassment. This was the second time that Sasuke has heard me call him hot.

To make things worse, Temari propped her arm on Tenten's shoulder and then winked at me. "So Sasuke, you keeping our little Alice here under good control? Because if she starts drinking, then you might have to start playing bad cop and put her in cuffs."

"I don't mind if you put me in cuffs. I know a lot of tricks." Tenten giggled.

I was mortified and had to resist the urge to smack my head into a wall. This was so bad! What were Tenten and Temari thinking!?

"Guys, I think that's enough for now, don't you? Stop giving Sasuke a hard time." I laughed nervously, but they merely ignored me as they continued to eye Sasuke in a flirtatious manner.

"Oooh getting a little jealous now Sakuuuu?" Tenten taunted, sticking her tongue out at me in a childish manner. "Come on, we'll do a swap. You can have Neji for the night and I'll have Sasuke. How about that?"

Sasuke coughed, as if to remind us all that he was still here, and I knew then that I had to get him away from them before this conversation turned even more humiliating.

"Tenten! Sasuke and I aren't together, we're just friends. And since when did you and Neji hit it off?" I asked.

Temari smiled. "They haven't, yet. Tenten's been leading him on all night while they were dancing and she's even gone as far as showing off a bit of cleavage through that ghost buster's outfit."

Tenten frowned. "Says you! You couldn't keep your legs of Shikamaru and I swear his hand was on your ass!"

I took this as an opportunity to excuse myself and Sasuke as I pulled him gratefully away from the very drunk pair. When we were out of earshot, I sheepishly smiled at Sasuke and tucked a few loose strands behind my ear. "Sorry about those two. They can be pretty crazy at times, especially when they're drunk and start spewing random nonsense. Forget what they said earlier."

"Don't worry about it. I've seen worse. So, you've come as Alice huh?"

"Yeah, Ino helped me pick this outfit, but it's no way near as good as Karin's. I can't tell you what she's come as though, that's a surprise."

"Hn. It's nice, suits you." He said.

I was speechless. Did Sasuke Uchiha just compliment me? I felt my cheeks redden and he must have sensed this, since he looked away in slight embarrassment. It was…cute.

"Thank you. And, er, you look great as well. But where did you get that police Anbu vest? They look just like the real thing and from what I know only trained officers are allowed to wear them."

Sasuke smirked, and this time he seemed genuinely interested in what I had asked, since he answered with a proud hint to his voice, "I want to work in the police force when Im older, well the Anbu division to be more specific, and this is actually Hatake Kakashi's."

My eyes widened. "Wait, the Hatake Kakashi's? I know him!"

Sasuke raised an eyebrow. "You do? How?"

I smiled. It felt exciting to somehow finally feel connected to Sasuke, to share something similar and involved in his world. "Well, I don't know if you knew this, but Karin isn't actually my sister. She's a distant relative to me."

He nodded his head as if to say, yes I know, but he still looked confused, so I continued. "When she was a child she lost her parents in a horrible accident. Kakashi had been the officer who had informed us, and he was the one that had made sure Karin was in good hands before giving her away to us. He came around to check up on how she was doing frequently, and I guess before we knew it he'd formed a close bond with us all. Dad did some work for the police station as well a couple of years back, but he left that job since it was too threatening for the family, and he didn't want to put us at risk."

"That's pretty surprising actually. I never knew that." He said.

"Yeah, well, it's not that interesting. But enough about me, what about you? How do you know Kakashi?"

Sasuke looked away and ran a hand through his hair. Then he looked at me and smirked. "Let's just say I wasn't the best behaved child when I was younger. That's all past now though."

I was shocked but also intrigued by this fact. So Sasuke wasn't the goody-two shoes I thought he was at the beginning. I could admit that, once I got to know him a little, he wasn't so bad at all, but actually pretty interesting and fun to be around.

Just then, we were interrupted by Naruto and Kiba who both slapped Sasuke on the back and winked at me. "Mind if we take Sasuke here for a while? We promise to return him." Kiba asked.

I rolled my eyes but smiled nonetheless and nodded. "Sure thing. Just be sure to bring him back before the clock strikes twelve."

Naruto and Kiba laughed and Sasuke didn't seem to mind the amusement.

"Sure thing! You here that princess, you get to have a bit of fun before going back to Sakura here!" Kiba said, before the two moved Sasuke away and closer to where everyone was dancing. From the corner of my eye, I could see that he was being introduced to the rest of the guys from our school, so I didn't mind leaving him for a little while.

I fled to the kitchen, where I found Ino talking to Sai. It looked like she was making headway with him as he was smiling and nodding at her, but I couldn't help but worry for her. I knew that it would be no use mentioning my doubts to Ino, and when Sai noticed me, he smiled and waved me over. I inwardly groaned. Let the insults start.

"Hag." He greeted me, smiling one of those fake smiles again.

"Zombie." I replied, glaring at Sai.

He opened his eyes. "That's a new one. When did you come up with that?"

I smiled maliciously. "Just now actually; wanted to see if you'd be nice to me for once but alas, you let me down, as always." I placed my hand on my chest where my heart would be in mock hurt. "I think it suits you actually. It would have been better if you came dressed as one too, instead of a vampire."

Ino sighed. "You two will never change will you?"

I scowled in frustration. "He started it, as usual."

"Hag, stop being so childish." Sai commented.

I sighed. I knew that Sai never actually meant his nicknames for me, but it still annoyed me. We continued to chat for a while about the party, before Ino suggested that we dance. It was when we were out of the kitchen again that I spotted Sasuke with that blonde bimbo from earlier, along with two other new girls. Chaperoning a good looking guy was obviously going to be my full-time job.

I strode over and interrupted the conversation. "So, Sasuke, this is a lovely house. I'd love it if you got to show me what's upstairs. Do you mind?"

Sasuke almost looked thankful for the interruption, since he nodded and pulled me away from the girls. "I heard you particularly liked the flooring. And it's just bedrooms upstairs, but I'll show you anyway."

I made a mental note to tell Naruto to shut his mouth and stop passing on stuff I say to everyone. I also decided I wasn't going to be embarrassed by this deliberate wind up. I was determined to prise him away from his relentless admirers, so even though I probably sounded like a slut, I just hooked my arm through his and said, "Thanks Sasuke. Let's go."

Sasuke's room was large but, unlike what I expected, it wasn't stuffed with a ton of expensive things. The walls were a rich, blue colour and in the back-middle of the room was a large, king sized bed. On the opposite wall was a flat screen TV, and what seemed to be other gaming gadgets were placed neatly on shelves below. On the left side of the room was a long wardrobe, and next to it was a beautiful glass desk with a laptop and a computer placed neatly on top. There was a large mirror on top of the bed, and a small chandelier that caused the light to scatter gracefully all around the room. The room also had an ensuite bathroom, which I envied Sasuke for the most- it would be great to not have to share a bathroom with Karin who spent ages in the morning putting on make-up. But the best thing about the room was the glass doors on the right side of the room that led to the balcony.

"Wow. I love your room." I said after a while of admiration. I heard him 'Hn', which I now translated as 'Yes' or 'Thank you' in Sasuke language.

"Thanks. I like it simple though." He said.

"Yeah, I can tell, but I think that by doing so you're making it look modern and classy at the same time."

I moved over to the balcony doors, which Sasuke said I could open, and we stood outside in silence for a while. I scanned the street for any sign of Karin, who was coming by Taxi. Nothing yet. I went on about how lucky he was for having a balcony; he could come out here to calm his thoughts and relax and no one would be able to disturb him. Then I talked about how lovely the breeze was; it made the view seem even better and it was the perfect spot to cool down after being squashed between hot, sweaty, dancing teenagers.

By the time I was finished, I felt tired and I was growing impatient. Karin was taking too long and I didn't think that Sasuke really enjoyed being around me as much, though he didn't seem to actually mind. I turned to face him and by breath got caught in my mouth; he looked angelic and yet demonic at the same time in this calm night, and I couldn't help but let go of all thoughts and feelings at that moment. Sasuke really is gorgeous, and I was glad that I was able to meet someone like him. At the same time I also felt disappointed, but I didn't know why. Something inside me told me that maybe, just maybe, I was slightly jealous that Karin had got him instead of me, but I brushed that thought aside. I liked Sasori not Sasuke. I knew I did.

Just then, I heard a car door slam outside, and when I looked down I almost cried in happiness- Karin was finally here! I grabbed Sasuke and walked back inside. "C'mon, Karin's here."

Sasuke didn't actually seem bothered, but then again Sasuke always had an indifferent face on. I was sure that he was actually glad on the inside. I shooed him out to meet her; I was sure that Karin would change his mood, especially with what she had prepared for him for tonight.

Downstairs I spotted Karin and waved to her. To my fury, she waved lazily back, and then continued to flirt with the three guys she was talking to, presumably to appear totally cool about seeing Sasuke again and probably to make him a bit jealous. This was the last straw. I grabbed Sasuke by the hand and guided him firmly over to Karin, then, despite her embarrassed frown and his confused expression, I said "Here he is," then left the pair together.

Karin got me on my own later and had a go at me for being obvious and tactless, but I refused to feel guilty. Looking after Sasuke, although it was fun, had been hard work. Now I was free to enjoy myself at last.

I spotted a large group of people crowding around that same corner Temari and Tenten had been in, and I guessed that the pair's usual shot competition had started. I pushed myself through the crowd and came to a halt when instead of seeing Tenten and Temari competing, it was actually Ino and Tenten. Apparently both were on to their fifth, with Ino already having drunk a Bacardi Breezer, and they two were making complete idiots out of themselves. I spotted poor Hinata in the background trying to calm the two down while Temari laughed her head off and filmed the whole thing. Honestly, my best friends actually never learnt. It was only when Ino and Tenten both stood on to the table, wobbling in heels, and started dancing and trying to strip at the same time that I knew this had definitely gotten out of control.

I got Sai and Neji to help me put an end to their drunken antics, much to the male audience's disapproval, as both of them were forcibly taken down, slurring profanities and giggling at the same time.

We tried our best to calm them down and talk them out of the worst of their alcohol fused ideas, and when Sai had taken Ino upstairs to the bathroom so that she could vomit the contents of her drink out, Tenten had ended up laughing and started shouting 'Im the winner!" over and over again, until she eventually threw up over a pile of jackets in the hall.

Neji helped me clean up the mess, but it wasn't easy or pleasant, especially if you're trying to remove all visible traces with a damp cloth and some paper towels, but eventually we managed to do it. The jackets still stank of puke though, so we sprayed them with some cheap, flowery stuff some girl had offered us, and some of the boys ended up complaining that they'd have preferred their jackets to smell of vomit but Im sure they didn't mean it. Almost sure anyway.

By the time we finished clearing up and both Ino and Tenten seemed to be on some level of soberness, they were embarrassed by their actions; not just for being sick in front of the two males that they liked, but also for trying to strip and for the imitation of a pole-dance on the banister.

"I bet we put up a great show though," Tenten had whispered to me and Ino once Sai and Neji were out of ear shot, and Ino ended up grinning.

"Are you kidding me? We were the best entertainment of the night. No one will stop talking about us for another month!"

As usual at parties though, I ended up in the kitchen washing up. I think it's because im not interested in flirting around with anyone, and if you're not all over some guy people assume that you have nothing better to do. In all honestly, I suppose I haven't. Sasuke's parents had hired cleaners to come in the morning but that was a waste of money and time; there was no way we could let anyone find all the empty bottles of alcohol or clear up spilled drinks and worse. We had to be extra careful too, since Sasuke's parents didn't seem to be the type that accepted underage drinking.

Sasuke came to help for a while and took bags of empty bottles and rubbish out to the boot of Naruto's car for disposal at the dump. I asked Karin to help but she said she couldn't in case she ruined her outfit, and I had picked it after all. I handed her a striped apron I had found hanging in the closet but she'd looked at it as if I'd just passed her a rotting carcass and said "Ugh, no way." When Sasuke returned she spirited him off, so in the end me, Naruto, Hinata, Neji and Tenten were left clean up, though Tenten did nothing except for sit on the sofa and watch some TV. We'd ushered everyone out of the house at one in the morning, and most people ended up getting lifts together. Ino had left with Sai and Temari with her brothers Gaara and Kankuro. Naruto was dropping me off and Tenten was staying over at Hinata's tonight, which meant that she would be getting a lift from Neji.

At least Sasuke's parents had locked all the bedroom doors so I wouldn't have to send Naruto upstairs for a used condom check. There are some clean up jobs that I just won't do. Nevertheless, Naruto checked out the toilets and closets but found nothing incriminating.

At ten past two I did a final quick search of each room for any party evidence. I found two discarded beer cans that had been used as ashtrays but that was it. I was satisfied that unless Sasuke's parents had hired a team of forensic scientists than they'd never know what had really gone on in the party.

Hmm-or would they? The place still smelled of vomit, alcohol and cigarettes so I got a con f air freshener from the bathroom and sprayed it as liberally as I dared throughout the whole house. I didn't go totally mad like I did last time at Ino's party- her mum nearly had an asthma attack when she got home. I wasn't sure whether Sasuke's parents were asthmatic or not but I wasn't prepared to risk it.

At last we were finished and ready to go. Tenten was fast asleep on the couch, so Neji went to wake her up, but she wouldn't budge from her position so he ended up having to half carry her half drag her to the car, a giggling Hinata following after them. I wanted to wait for Karin to come down but Naruto said that he was tired and told me to go up and offer her a lift home now, otherwise she's have to make her own arrangements.

I was really embarrassed about disturbing them but Sasuke's parents would be back soon so I'd have to warn them. I made my way upstairs, meaning to knock gently on Sasuke's door, but before I even got there Karin came hurtling down the stairs, sobbing.

Oh my God. Karin never cried. What had happened? What had Sasuke done to her? For a moment I thought that he must have hit on her, but she's wanted that, hadn't she? I know because she'd even put two condoms in her bag tonight, saying 'just in case' and giggled about it. I'd been a bit shocked at first since she hardly knew him. Still, it wasn't my business what she got up to.

She wouldn't speak to me at first, just rushed past me through the hall and out of the front door. Sasuke appeared at the top of the stairs, scowling slightly. I glared at him and shouted, "You better not have done anything to upset Karin."

Sasuke ran a hand through his hair and let out a groan. "Shit. Look, I didn't do anything to hurt your sister. Maybe she's just had a bit too much to drink."

I wasn't prepared to stand there and watch him tell me more lies and excuses, and I decided to get the real story from Karin. I told him that I needed to talk to my sister and not to bother seeing me out, then stomped off, not bothering to shut the door behind me.

I was surprised when I heard it close with a loud bang behind me. Oh, so that's how it was going to be! Fine Uchiha.

Okay, that was an extra-long chapter, right? I hoped it pleased you! Next chapter will be even more fun to write! And hopefully it'll be a quick update too, since Im not ill anymore (Halllelluujjaah!)

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Much Love