Disclaimer: I donna own Naruto! *twirls Italian mustachio* You likey ze story, no? lol Pear Cake is a major sugar high for me. ^^
Woot! Starting to get to the good stuff! BTW: spiritjumper, the fluff you asked for should appear in the next chapter, unless I get distracted by something else... ^^;
Special Thanks to 01Trycia-chan01 for being my brainstorming partner on Rule 3! ^^ Also thanks to all my lovely readers/reviewers for being so wonderful! I love you all!
BTW: since only bacon of doom actually ANSWERED to the poll I had in the previous chapter, they got to choose what story would be published after Rule 3. Their choice: Penny For Your Thoughts. Also, to thank them for being the ONLY person to participate, Penny For Your Thoughts is also dedicated to them. Congrats bacon of doom! And thanks for your input, now I can focus on that one story! ^^
SURPRISE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE CHAPTER, AFTER THE AUTHOR NOTE!
"Hey guys, sorry I'm late. Itachi-san didn't let Sasuke and I out of the closet until closing time." I said in explanation as I came up on my two friends. Sakura was too busy nursing her martini to answer while Ino gave me a strange look, "Huh? What are you talking about?" I raised an eyebrow, I was sure that Sakura would have shared the gossip to Ino, both of them being gossip mongers. I gave Ino a rushed version of my day, leaving out the conversations between Sasuke and me, as I sat down beside Ino and ordered a club soda. Ino nearly choked on her wine when I got to the part of Sasuke shooting out of the janitors closet when Itachi opened the door. "Oh my God, I'm going to die!" The blonde model shrieked and slapped the bar counter several times, as if it would lessen her giggling.
"Hilarious." Sakura said drily, her expression almost as flat as an Uchiha's, the only difference was she was trying to set her martini on fire with her glare. Ino and I looked at our friend concerned. Sakura was generally the happiest of all three of us, with the few exceptions. She was never... moody without cause. Ino reached out and touched Sakura on the upper arm, "Forehead-chan? Is something wrong? Did Itachi-san do something?" I didn't like the suggestion that Itachi would do something less than honorary, but I dismissed my feelings as being biased. Sakura shook her head and I felt the instant relief that Itachi wasn't at fault. Then I cursed myself for letting myself get caught up in my emotions towards the man. I must have let was Sasuke said earlier get to me. I couldn't let my feelings take root, I didn't want to nurse false hopes only to have them torn down. All I had to go by was the theories of a younger brother, and that was not enough. The only way I would ever let my feelings for Itachi show was if he himself told me they weren't hopeless.
Someone poked me in the shoulder, shaking me out of my musings. Startled I looked up to see Ino staring at my quizzically, "Hey where'd you go? La-la land?" Ino asked. I rolled my eyes at her and took a sip of my fizzing water. Ino suddenly smirked, "Oh I think I know... wondering what Itachi-san looks like without a shirt on?" The blonde said slyly. I glared at her and before I could even think, I said, "For your information, I have seen Itachi-san without a shirt on." There was a moment of silence as all three of us processed what I had just said. The moment broke when Ino's mouth dropped open and I turned beat red, slapping both my hands over my mouth. Even Sakura came out of her strangely depressed mood to stare at me. "When?! How? Why? DETAILS!" Ino screeched, causing a brief pause in the club as everyone turned to stare at us before dismissing us.
I felt like I could faint from embarrassment and almost did if only to escape the one awkward explanation. "I-it's not like that! It was when we were at the Akatsuki Conference last month!" I quickly explained, only to realize that I was digging myself a deeper hole. Sakura finally joined the conversation, "What does that have to do with anything?" "W-we were sh-sharing the same room..." I reluctantly explained. Just shoot me now. This was more embarrassing than when Taka asked Itachi to marry him. Ino's light blue eyes lit up, "Oh really?" She said, a little too interested for my tastes. "And just why were you sharing a room? Don't tell me that it was so cold in Osaka that you opted to share a bed with your boss." Ino drawled.
I glared at her, "No. There was only one room reservation. Itachi-san stole the bed and I can't sleep on couches so I slept there too." I facepalmed at my stupidity. My friends didn't need to know that little detail. I narrowed my eyes suspiciously at my club soda, wondering if someone had spiked it with truth serum. Ino laughed, "You're making this worse, Ichigo, just confess up. How did you see Itachi-san shirtless?" I groaned and buried my face in my hands. There was no way I could lie to Sakura and Ino, I was a terrible liar. Even Hayaku, who was a natural sucker, could tell when I was lying. "Itachi-san's sleep shirt... came off in the middle of the night." I said, my cheeks burning like a thousands suns.
Ino nudged me in the side, "And just what were you two up to? His shirt couldn't magically come off in the middle of the night like that." I shot my blonde friend another glare, "Believe it or not, it did. Unless Itachi-san took his shirt off during the night, which I highly doubt." I mentally swore that I wouldn't hint about what happened the second morning, when I woke to find Itachi spooning me. I guzzled my soda water to avoid answering any more probing questions, keeping my lips on the rim of my glass just so I couldn't speak. Ino laughed at my attempts at silence and Sakura returned to nursing her martini. Ino began ranting about her day, totally fine that neither of her friends weren't about to speak anytime soon. She went on and on about slutty models who had no shred of dignity or respect for the art of modeling- as Ino put it. I slipped in and out of attentiveness, blanking out periodically to think of my predicament with my boss. It wasn't like I understood half of what my blonde friend said anyway; she often spoke using model's jargon, babbling on and on with no end in sight. But at least she wasn't bothering me with probing questions about Itachi anymore.
It was hours later before I realized the time. Ino was already drunk by that point and were flirting incessantly. Sakura was strangely being quiet and keeping to herself, sitting on her bar stool and watching as Ino tore through the crowds of drooling men. I knew she was as drunk as Ino, but something was preventing her from partaking in her usual drunken idiocy. I opened my mouth to ask Sakura if something was bothering her, when she suddenly turned to me, "Ichigo, what did you and Sasuke-kun talk about while you were in the closet today?" I blinked at her rapidly, then smirked as she blushed. It didn't escape either of our attention that she had added the honorific '-kun' to Sasuke's name. It sounded like she was jealous, and perhaps a bit worried. There was no way I could lie about what Sasuke and I talked about, but after working for the two Uchiha brothers for years I knew how to dodge a question... when I wasn't flustered with embarrassment.
"What do you think we talked about?" I asked teasingly. Sakura flushed and ducked her head, "I don't know... stuff." Said the girl who graduated top student from the most elite school in Japan. Sakura was definitely drunk, usually she would have been able to catch on to my evasion. Before I could say anything else, a body slammed into my back, causing me to bump into the bar's edge. Ino squealed in my ear, making me cringe, "Heeeeeeey guys~! These han'some men wan' to take body sssshots! Join me?" She slurred. I glanced at the sketchy looking men behind her. I knew they wouldn't do anything, Ino always had a bodyguard wherever she went to discourage that kind of behavior, and if that didn't stop them Itachi would sue them for every penny. It had happened before, before all this drama and confused feelings started so I had no doubt Itachi wouldn't lift a finger to help me or my friends. Still, I wasn't in the mood for creepy men who were only looking for a good time.
I wasn't in the mood for any man unless...
Shaking my head I dispersed the thought before it could fully form. There was no way I was going to start thinking about that! I could barely even confess my feelings for Itachi to myself, let alone go that far. Ino, thankfully, took my head shake as an answer to her question, "Noooo? Why not, Berry?" She asked. I stood and slung my purse up on my shoulder, "I'm not feeling well, I think I'll go home." I said nonchalantly. It wasn't exactly a lie, club soda didn't sit right in my stomach, I was starting to feel queasy. Ino took the excuse and turned to Sakura, "Wha 'bout you, For'ead-chan? You gonna body shot with me?" I stifled the giggle as I ducked out of the crowd, though for the life of my I couldn't figure out why I thought it was funny.
vvv 3rd POV vvv
After the rowdy group of guys and those two hot women left around four in the morning, the bartender sighed in relief. They had been so noisy and obnoxious that his other costumers, except the most drunk and desperate, had left. The bartender was glad that it was closing time, he could finally go home to his family, no doubt all of them asleep, and rest up til tomorrow night. The bartender always felt guilty that he almost never saw his kids or wife due to the odd hours of his night club, but at least he had them. Humming under his breath, the bartender made to lock up the liquor so no idiot could steal them.
Tomorrow was his youngest son's birthday, the bartender remembered, and he had just the thing for the boy. The bartenders youngest son loved seltzer water, he liked to act like a clown and squirt it everywhere. Sure, the bartender's wife would be mad, but it would be worth the happy look on his son's face. Smiling the bartender bent down and picked up a small empty jug and filled it to the brim with club soda. Then, deciding that he wanted a drink himself, the bartender poured a small glass. He stood back up and put his son's jug on the counter as he knocked the cup of soda water back like a shot. The bartender's eyes widened and he spat the drink back out. He glared down at the container that stored the soda water, or what was supposed to be soda water. As a bartender, he could tell when things didn't taste right.
"Damn distributors. Who puts alcohol in soda water? I'm going to have to call them tomorrow." The bartender muttered to himself as he poured all the soda water out. Now he didn't have a gift for his son!
Mwahahahahahahahaha, cliffhanger! Kinda... Wow, it's been forever since I've written a chapter in one night...
No flames, personal family problem here and if you flame I'll find a way to murder you for making my life more miserable than it already is.
AND NOW SPECIAL TIME!
VVVV^^^^ OMAKE ^^^^VVVV
*Dedicated to GlaresThatKill for her glorious idea (BTW: I don't L'Oreal either... just in case FFN admin goes crazy about no disclaimer or whatever. This isn't an endorsement thing and I ain't getting paid for it... though it would be hilarious if I did!)
"Ichigo." Itachi-san called. I glanced up from organizing some files to see Itachi staring at a laminated card in his hands. If I hadn't known better, I could swear he almost looked... disturbed. "What is it, Itachi-san?" I asked politely. It was the summer after I graduated from high school. Fugaku had originally wrote up my contract saying that I would work part-time for Itachi-san until I graduated; but in an unexpected surprise, Itachi had offered to extend the contract for eight more years–making it an even ten–and bumped me up to full-time. I happily accepted. In the two years I had been working for Uchiha Corporation, I had found my niche. I liked working as an assistant, it was relaxing to me, and now I didn't have to worry about school which was an added bonus.
Itachi-san stared blankly at the card in his hands a few more moments before shaking his head and folding it, "Throw this away." He ordered calmly, holding the card out to me. I put down the folders in my arms and took the card from him. Unable to help myself I opened it and immediately laughed. There was pictures of a man and women with gorgeous long hair flowing dramatically in the wind on either side of the card, their poses mirroring each other. Right between the models was a message spelled out in large eye popping red:
'LOOKING FOR YOUR BIG BREAK?
LOOK NO MORE!
L'OREAL IS LOOKING FOR MEN AND WOMEN WITH FANTASTIC HAIR
WE NEED YOU AND YOUR HAIR!
BECAUSE YOU'RE WORTH IT!'
In the corner of the modeling ad was a handwritten message, one I recognized instantly as Kisame, since he was the only one who dared pass notes with me during those long boring Akatsuki meetings.
'Hey, got this with my club mail today. Thought you and Deidara might take the opportunity to explore your 'fantastic' hair potential, since you're worth it. ha ha!'
PS: ICHIGO MAKE HIM DO IT!
Itachi-san glared at me, "I said through it away, Ichigo." He said dully. In the two years I had worked for him, I had worked up enough courage to tease my boss, "Oh come on, Itachi-san. L'Oreal needs you're fantastic hair! And Kisame-san believes in you. Why not try out?" I asked jokingly. Itachi-san turned away, "No." He said flatly and I laughed again. Itachi-san gave me an unamused look, then his eyes suddenly lit up and I knew I was in trouble, "Fine. I will. On one condition." He said, crossing his arms. I narrowed my eyes at him. "Name it." I said, my tone suddenly serious. Itachi-san shook his head, "First you must agree to the condition." I was so tempted to just drop the subject, but I didn't. Whatever the condition was, it shouldn't be that bad. Besides, I really wanted to see Itachi-san on a L'Oreal commercial with the dramatic hair blown in the wind effect and everything. "Fine, I agree. Now what is the condition?"
"You model with me."
Somehow I actually made the cut and became a model for a brief time in my life. Deidara, who was probably the only one of us three who actually liked the idea, went on to be a top male model in the country. The blonde managed to keep on modeling while running his art supplies business. Itachi-san, being the ever extremely talented manipulator that he was, somehow got out of modeling and instead managed to earn a legal client in L'Oreal's Japan branch. Sometimes I wondered if he only agreed to do the modeling thing to gain a client.
Still, I had L'Oreal to thank for morphing me into a grubby teenager into the woman I was now.
...Because I was worth it...
The ending... XD It's glorious.