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Fanfiction - Merah 4

Sharingan 4

Naruko terjaga seiring dengan jam locengnya. Dia bangkit daripada katil dengan perlahan dan menggeliat sepuas hatinya, menolak tangannya ke atas dan ke tepi. Badannya terasa agak kejang mungkin kerana penat perjalanan ke Konoha belum pulang lagi. Gadis itu lalu mencapai jam loceng tadi untuk memeriksa waktu. Dia terbangun tepat jam 6.30 petang dan tiba masa untuk memulakan hari baharu.

Naruko menurunkan kaki ke lantai, niat di hatinya ingin ke bilik air untuk mencuci muka dan menggosok gigi dan kemudian merancang aktiviti hariannya. Sejurus kakinya menyentuh lantai papan berlamina itu dia terpandang sepasang kasut tumit tinggi di tepi pintu masuk bilik hotelnya.

Peristiwa malam semalam terus menerpa memasuki kotak memorinya. Dia telah mengunjungi rumah Sakura bersama Sasuke secara paksa, bertukar baju sesuai dengan malam itu, mereka makan dan dia membida Sasuke, Sasuke menghantar dia pulang dia dan Sasuke telah mengucup pipinya.

Jantungnya berdegup laju apabila Naruko teringat perkara terakhir itu. Dia menutup matanya dan mendengus, “Apa yang terjadi sekarang?”

Naruko membuka matanya dan teringat bahawa hari ini ialah hari Ahad dan dia memang tidak ke pejabat pada hari ini. Kes yang disiasat itu akan diuruskan mulai hari Isnin dan dia menarik nafas lega mengenangkan mungkin hari ini ialah Ahad terakhir untuk masa ini yang dapat dihadiri dengan tenang.

Dia kemudian teringat yang dia terlupa dan tiada sesiapa pula yang mengingatkannya untuk menukar semula bajunya semalam. Dia fikir jika dia hadir ke rumah Sakura pada pagi ini selepas sarapan pasti dia masih berkesempatan untuk mendapatkan bajunya. Sayangnya Naruko lupa untuk mendapatkan nombor telefon Sakura maka dia tidak boleh menelefon rakannya itu lebih awal. Dia boleh sahaja telefon Sasuke kerana dia memiliki kad nama jejaka itu, tapi apabila mengenangkan peristiwa semalam dia terus berasa betapa lecehnya mahu mendapatkan kembali bajunya.

Naruko melihat jam dan mendapati lebih baik dia bersiap sahaja dahulu dan berfikir lebih lanjut tentang bagaimana dia nak dapatkan balik bajunya daripada duduk sahaja dengan kecewa. Dia terus mencapai tuala. Lebih cepat dia mandi lebih mudah dia merancang strategi untuk mendapatkan bajunya.

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Naruko sudah siap berkemeja T kuning dan berseluar jeans, dia hanya perlu mencapai beg dan kaca mata hitamnya sahaja sebelum keluar untuk bersarapan. Tetapi persoalannya bagaimana dia mahu menghubungi Sakura pagi ini? Dia amat menyayangi jaket yang dipakai semalam dan dia tidak mahu membeli jaket lain pada masa ini. Naruko mengeluh lagi, dia tidak mahu menghubungi Sasuke jika boleh... namun jejaka itu sahaja yang mudah untuk dia hubungi pada waktu ini.

Naruko keluar daripada bilik hotelnya dan keluar untuk menaiki kereta bagi mencari tempat untuk bersarapan. Sejurus dia menjejakkan kaki daripada bangunan hotel itu dia terus memakai kaca matanya. Dia berharap untuk mencari tempat sarapan yang menyediakan ramen pada pagi ini, dalam keadaan perasannya kacau bilau selalunya ramen dapat menyelesaikan kemelut dalam hati.

“Naruko!” jerit sebuah suara sebaik sahaja Naruko menghampiri keretanya. Dia menoleh ke belakang untuk melihat siapa di Konoha yang masih mengenalinya lagi.

“Hmm?” Naruko berkata sambil memusingkan badannya. Daripada jalan seberang Sasuke sedang berpakaian kemeja hitam dan jeans biru dengan sepasang jaket ungu gelap diikat di pinggangnya. Dia mengangkat kaca mata hitamnya ke atas kepala dan melambat pada Naruko.

“Jom, aku belanja sarapan.” ujar jejaka itu.

Naruko tahu dia tiada alasan kukuh untuk menolak pelawaan Sasuke, lalu dia memusingkan badannya untuk berjalan ke arah Sasuke.

“Kau tunggu aku?”

“Ye, tuah aku nampaknya kau keluar ketika aku masih setia menunggu kau untuk sarapan,” ujar Sasuke dengan bangga.

Naruko terfikir sejak bila pula Sasuke rajin menanti orang lain untuk makan. Selalunya dia akan makan sendiri jika Sakura dan Naruko ada hal lain ketika waktu sekolah. Tetapi makan seorang bukan masalah pada Sasuke, malahan stalker dan peminatnya cepat sahaja akan bertenggek di meja tempat Sasuke makan jika dia mereka sedara bahawa Sasuke keseorangan pada hari itu.

“Hmm, mengenai semalam?” Naruko cuba memulakan ayat.

“Ah jom naik kereta aku baru kita borak,” Sasuke terus menoleh ke arah keretanya dan masuk ke dalam.

Naruko mengerutkan dahinya sebelum masuk ke tempat duduk penumpang hadapan.

Merahmerahmerahmerahmerah

“Mengenai semalam, kenapa kau cium aku?” ujar Naruko.

“Ah, pasal itu. Maafkan aku jika kau berasa tidak selesa. Aku cuma berasa kau sangat cantik dan aku mahu hargai kau kerana itu, lagipun kau kawan lama,” Sasuke bersuara. Seperti ada nada bersalah dalam suaranya.

Naruko mengesan nada bersalah itu dan terus perasaannya terhadap Sasuke berubah sedikit. “Tidak, bukan itu.”

“Jadi kau tak kisah aku cium kau?” Sasuke mengusik. Kali ini suaranya seakan gembira yang Naruko tidak memberi reaksi negatif padanya.

Tiba-tiba perutnya berbunyi, memang Naruko amat lapar. “Ke mana kita mahu makan?” tanyanya pada Sasuke. Dia berharap yang Sasuke akan memilih kedai yang dekat.

“Ichiraku Ramen la, mana lagi. Tapi cawangan yang satu lagi, di sana ada sarapan disediakan.”

“Baiklah.”

Mereka duduk dalam sunyi selama lima minit seterusnya sebelum Naruko bersuara. “Aku bukan tidak suka, aku tak tau apa yang aku rasa sebelum ini. Kita kawan rapat, kita tak pernah berpelukan, maksud aku, aku dan kau. Dengan Sakura lain kerana dia jenis selesa bersentuhan…”

Sepuluh saat berlalu sebelum Sasuke berkata, “Ye kita kawan rapat tapi aku rasa kita dah cukup dewasa untuk jadi lebih daripada kawan… aku gembira berjumpa kau. Aku tak sangka aku ada perasaan begini tapi sejak semalam, lagi-lagi apabila melihat kau tiba-tiba di tepi jalan setelah bertahun-tahun, aku juga rasa lain terhadap kau.”

Naruko merasakan hatinya yang mula-mula keliru tiba-tiba berasa hangat. Adakah Sasuke baru berkata bahawa dia sukakan Naruko?”

“Kau suka aku?” sebelum dia dapat menyusun tutur katanya, ayat-ayat berikut telah terkeluar dahulu.

Kenapa dengan aku ni? Getus Naruko pada dirinya.

“Susah aku nak terangkan Naruko. Aku mahu salahkan usia aku yang meningkat tua tapi itu tak benar.”

“Aku pernah meminati kau dahulu tapi kini… aku anggap kau kawan baik aku.” Naruko mahu jelaskan pada Sasuke perasaannya dahulu, ia cuma sebentar tapi mungkin ia dapat membantu keadaan mereka, situasi yang belum ada nama ini.

Sasuke memberhentikan keretanya di tepi jalan. Naruko melihat ke luar dan mendapati bahawa mereka berada tidak jauh daripada Ibu Pejabat Polis yang dia kunjungi beberapa hari lalu.

“Serius?” ujar Sasuke. Badannya dipusing ke arah Naruko. “Kenapa kau tidak pernah beritahu selama ini?”

Naruko mengerutkan wajahnya, “Aku sukakan kau tapi perasaan itu aku kuburkan setelah aku terdengar beberapa gossip mengatakan kau ada kelab peminat yang dipenuhi gadis garang.”

Sasuke memerhatikan keadaan diluar pula pada masa ini. Mungkin dia sedang mengingati zaman semasa mereka bersekolah dahulu.

“Oh begitu. Jadi betullah apa Sakura katakan, tiada gadis yang akan berani cuba menjadi teman wanita aku kerana mereka.”

Kemudian pandangan matanya bergerak ke mata Naruko. “Tapi sekarang bagaimana?”

“Macam mana aku nak jawab soalan kau tu Sasuke, aku kurang pasti.”

Sasuke mencapai tangan Naruko yang sedang dalam berada dalam genggaman dan menariknya lembut. Dia kemudian membuka genggaman tangan Naruko itu dan memegang erat tangan Naruko.

“Aku tau kita kawan rapat, tapi mungkin kerana kita disatukan oleh Sakura. Agak sukar untuk bergerak daripada status kawan kepada status yang lebih istimewa. Aku nak ucap I love you pada kau pun aku belum pasti ini ialah perasaan cinta, tapi aku memang suka kau. Aku nampak kau di tepi jalan semalam dan pelbagai perasaan kembali dalam hati aku. Aku pun pernah suka pada kau, tapi pada masa tu aku takut kau hanya menyukai aku kerana aku dianggap popular. Aku tak mahu kau suka aku hanya kerana semua orang suka aku. Aku benci orang fake.”

Naruko melihat wajah Sasuke dan dia tidak jadi berlari. Dia bukan pulang ke Konoha untuk mencari persahabatan lama atau cinta. Dia tidak perlukan semua ini dan terdetik di hatinya mungkin cinta akan membuatkan dia hilang fokus terhadap kerjayanya, mungkin juga akan mengganggu siasatan terkininya. Namun seperti Sasuke telah katakan, pada usia begini dia perlu memikirkan hal lain selain dirinya, kerjaya dan perancangannya sebagai individu. Persoalan utamanya adakah dia sudah bersedia untuk berkongsi hidup dengan orang lain?

“Apa yang kau fikir Naruko?” Sasuke bertanya. Mereka masih lagi di tepi jalan sedang memikirkan perasaan masing-masing.

“Macam-macam perkara,” ujar Naruko.

Sasuke tertawa walau di wajahnya penuh tanda tanya. “Aku yang membuatkan kau lambat bersarapan, jom kita terus ke Ichiraku. Mungkin kita boleh berbincang nanti.”

“Hmmm…” kata Naruko. Kereta Sasuke meluncur jauh ke arah kawasan yang Naruko kenali sebagai berdekatan dengan kawasan rumah lamanya. Mungkin ramen dapat menenangkan hatinya yang tidak keruan.

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Setelah selesai tiga mangkuk ramen baru Naruko berani memandang Sasuke dengan penuh keyakinan. Mereka memilih untuk duduk di sebuah sudut yang tersembunyi daripada pandangan umum. Restoran itu kosong pada waktu pagi, mungkin kerana tidak ramai penduduk Konoha yang makan ramen pada waktu pagi namun tidak lama kemudian sekitar pukul 9.00 pagi seorang pelanggan memasuki premis itu.

Naruko mengalihkan pandangan ke arah pintu masuk apabila pintu utama kedai itu dibuka. Loceng yang digantung pada bahagian pemegang dalam berdenting menandakan ada orang lagi masuk. Dia lihat ada lebih daripada seorang rupanya yang memasuk Iachiraku pada waktu pagi begini.

“Apa pangkat kau dalam polis?” Sasuke bertanya.

“Inspektor.” ujar Naruko.

“Susahkah menjadi pegawai polis? Pernah kau rasa hendak berhenti?”
“Susah pada mulanya, tapi apabila dapat menyelesaikan sebuah kes… Kadang-kadang kes tak selesai pun tapi apabila lihat wajah-wajah mangsa atau waris gembira kerana mendapat jawapan… aku rasa berbaloi semua kesusahan itu.”

“Aku respek kau sebagai polis Naruko, aku hanya menggalas cita-cita keluarga aku sahaja. Namun aku…” Sasuke melihat mangkuk ramen keduanya dan mengerutkan dahi. Dia tidak mampu makan ramen sama banyak macam Naruko.

“Kau ada syarikat besar, kau sihat, apa lagi kau mahukan?” Naruko bertanya.

“Ayah aku berkata benda yang sama, tapi aku rasa aku belum capai apa-apa kepuasan untuk diri aku. Memang syarikat itu besar, tapi semua hanya aku lakukan untuk keluarga.”

“Apa yang kau mahu selain daripada pada apa yang ada?”

“Aku mahu melihat dunia, tetapi bukan sebagai wakil syarikat aku. Aku mahu duduk di rumah-rumah tumpangan, bukan hotel bertaraf lima bintang. Aku mahu melawat kawasan yang dihadiri rakyat tempatan, bukan hanya kawasan pelancongan yang dipromosi dalam katalog ejen pelancongan.”

“Ah…” Naruko mengangguk. Dia kerap kali ke tempat-tempat biasa di negara yang dilawati kerana ia sebahagian daripada kerja.

“Adakah kau cuba mengatakan bahawa kau tidak suka kemewahan sekarang?”

“Aku rasa aku agak selfish kalau aku kata bahawa aku tidak suka apa yang aku ada sekarang. Kekayaan dan kemewahan? Semua itu tidak penting, aku buat ini semua kerana ayah, ibu dan Itachi. Kasih sayang mereka yang mendorong aku buat begini. Tapi ada yang hiiang, ada sesuatu perkara lain yang aku perlukan,” kata Sasuke.

“Apa itu?” Naruko bertanya. Dia berasa pelik dengan perangai Sasuke, jejaka itu memiliki segalanya namun dia berkata bahawa segalanya bukan apa yang dia perlukan pada masa ini.

“Mencari keperluan diri aku?” Sasuke memandang tepat pada Naruko. Naruko meletakkan sudu dan garfunya di atas tisu, bersebelahan mangkuk ramennya.

“Apa yang kau mahu sekarang ini? Kau nak berhenti kerja?” Naruko bertanya. Dia tahu bagi dirinya dia tidak akan berhenti kerja kerana menjadi polis itu memang identiti dirinya. Namun siapa tahu dia akan mengambil cuti lama, kes manusia bermata merah yang tidak dapat dikesan ini sangat memenatkan juga.

“Aku mahu mengelilingi dunia,” Sasuke berkata sambil tersenyum hambar.

“Itu mengambil masa yang lama, mak kau bagi ke kalau kau bercuti lama?”

Sasuke merenung jauh ke sebuah pokok di luar Ichiraku dan berkata, “berhenti bukan pilihan pada masa sekarang… mungkin cuti tanpa gaji?”

“Hahaha. Kau buat lawakla Sasuke, itu syarikat milik kamu sekeluarga. Kau tetap akan bergaji walau kau berhenti,” Naruko kata.

“Aku tahu, jika aku bercuti adakah kau mahu ikut? Eh tunggu. Ok itu permintaan melampau, kau ada banyak kes nak selesaikan. Maafkan aku. Pastinya kau sangat sayangkan kerja kau itu kan?”

“Kau jangan suka-suka menjawab bagi pihak aku Sasuke,” Naruko memberi amaran. Dia kemudian tersenyum, “sebenarnya sudah tiga tahun aku hanya bercuti hujung minggu sahaja. Kadangkala aku tidak bercuti selama 2 ke tiga minggu kerana sesebuah kes. Tapi kes yang aku sedang uruskan ini mungkin mengambil masa sedikit. Jika kau boleh tunggu, aku mungkin boleh menjadi rakan bercuti kau.”

“Kau serius, ini bukan paksaan tau.”

“Aku tahu, kita masih rakan baik, bff. Bila kau kata kau suka aku, dan aku suka kau, bukan bermakna kita dah rasmi menjadi kekasih.”

“Ah…” Sasuke membeliakkan biji matanya dan terus mencapai tangan Naruko. Dia memegang kedua-dua tangan gadis itu dalam genggamannya, “Jadi kau suka aku sekarang, bukan dulu sahaja?”

“Aku memang suka kau juga, sekarang,” Naruko mengaku. Dia mengetap bibirnya kerana pengakuan itu ialah yang pertama seumpamanya untuk dirinya. Dia tidak mampu menerangkan mengapa dia menyukai Sasuke tapi mungkin kerana mereka rakan rapat, dan hatinya tatkala ini berdetak lebih kencang berbanding biasa.

“Kau pasti? Jadi apa kita buat?” tanya Sasuke.

“Teruskan kehidupan macam biasa? Aku suka sahaja, bukan aku ajak kau kahwin.”

Sasuke tergelak. Diia memang dah berubah sepanjang mereka tidak bertemu. Tangan Naruko ditarik satunya dan tiba-tiba dia mencium tangan itu. Naruko yang terkejut terus menarik daripada pegangan Sasuke.

“Hey!” Naruko memukul Sasuke kerana terperanjat dengan tindakan itu.

“Jadi apa kita buat sekarang?” Naruko bertanya pula.

“Kau mahu terus menjadi kekasih aku?” Sasuke bertanya.

“Itu terlalu cepat, aku hanya baru berjumpa kau malam semalam setelah bertahun-tahun.”

“Jadi, kita berkenalan semula?”

“Mungkin, aku juga ke sini kerana kerja. Mungkin take it slow kot.”

“Aku setuju!” nyanyi Sasuke sambil memberikan sebuah ciuman kejutan lagi kepada gadis itu di pipinya.

“Hey, kau sesuka hati cium aku!” ujar Naruko sambil mengelap pipinya.

“Nak buat macam mana, kita saling menyukai.”

Naruko melihat ke arah kaunter Ichiraku dan melihat Ayame, anak kepada tokey Ichiraku sedang berbisik sambil melihat ke arah mereka.

“Eh, aku mahu tambah order. Cik, saya mahu dua mangkuk lagi,” jerit Naruko.

Sasuke tertawa sambil tangannya memicit tangan Naruko sebelum melepaskannya. Sasuke tahu dia dan Naruko baru dalam alam perkenalan, dan pada usia ini dia juga tidak mahu bermain-main lagi dalam perhubungan. Mungkin Naruko ialah bakal isterinya siapa tahu. Dia memilih untuk merahsiakan perkara itu daripada keluarganya sementara mereka belum rasmi menjadi kekasih lagi.




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Read all the chapters - Merah - A Fanfiction







Nanowrimo 2016 : Fire Chapter 12

Author's Note : Since this was written in November on a whim, the stories structure are haphazard when it should be rotating between Sasuke + Naruko point of view and then Genos + Sonic point of view. So in the next few chapters, the story will tell of Sasuke + Naruko's side of story before moving back to Genos + Sonic.

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Chapter 12

CALLING FOR GIRLS

Ladies only, 20-30 years of age, have work experience, minimum college educated, able to work in a team, could tolerate all kinds of people, motivated and ready for a transfer.

Sasuke glanced for the eighteenth time at the criteria he had told Sakura to list out in the ad. The words now looked enticing in a funky font the graphic designer had picked out to convey the flirty nature of the ad.

There were silhouettes of girls in skirts and pants, framing the text which was gathered in the center of the rectangle ad.

“What if men in skirts come to the audition?” Shisui asked. The wavy haired Uchiha was making himself comfortable on the sofa behind Sasuke. He had been making remarks now and then about the personal project Sasuke was doing.

Earlier an hour ago, Shisui was doing rounds in the block where the graphics department was housed. He was entering a corridor when he saw the spiky ends of Sasuke’s signature hairstyle disappearing into a door. He made it a point to stop and harass his cousin after realizing that Sasuke’s personal project involved girls, two of his favourite things in the world - harassing his cousin and girls.

Sasuke sighed at his interrupting cousin, wondering why Shisui was still working for them as security. His mother had told him that Shisui was just a temporary measure before the acquire  would mean installation of high end electronic security in some aspects which would reduce labour hour. Sasuke wasn't sure what that meant but his mother had always been an efficient decision maker, so he accepted her plans as is. On the other hand, here was his cousin, head of security doing rounds after hours. Shisui was getting softer around the edges from such a laidback job too, he was better off being their publicist now that their security issues for the next few years had been addressed. Of course Sasuke didn't say all that since he was busy with his little project.

Sasuke only moved his eyeballs at his cousin, didn't want to answer his cousin's question right away. He instead continued to point out a few elements he wanted the designer to adjust for the Internet ad. He had ordered out the print ad first before releasing the Internet ad, meant primarily for social media. He wanted to see how many people actually read papers these days.

After he was satisfied with the graphic arrangements he glanced to Shisui. “I don't really care. I want someone in skirts, someone not wearing a pants, someone who would baby me and also be able to argue with me.”

“Woah. That sounds like my kind of girl except the skirt part. Hey I met the new security advisor the other day, Miss Sonic and her robot guy. Unfortunately didn't manage to get her last name but I bet she's the type who don't wear skirts despite maybe fulfilling your list. The second time I saw her around, she was wearing a black jumpsuit which covered her whole body complete with fancy armour plates. Surely not the skirt type. But, hey you're searching for an employee and not a girlfriend.”

Sasuke ignored his cousin but his eyes twitched at Shisui’s comment. He resumed asking the graphic designer to send the ads to Sakura.

“What’s this about, I didn't hear Mikoto announcing anything like this. This is gonna be huge, why isn't security informed?” Shisui asked as he crossed his legs.

Shisui saw Sasuke frowning like he's really thinking hard and stressed out. He felt like flicking his cousin's forehead like Itachi would do, but he didn't want to disturb his cousin physically so he remarked, “You people work in the creative department but all I see are tired stressed people, chill out.”

“Shut up Shi, I'll explain after this.”

“Whatever,” He didn't regret at all, his decision to take a detour from work to nag the younger Uchiha. This was better than watching the cctv he thought.

Shisui waited for Sasuke to respond. In ten minutes Sasuke turned, pulled him up by the shirt on his shoulder and walked out of the graphics room. Shisui grinned being manhandled like that. It's not everyday that he ruffled his cousin's feather. The younger Uchiha pushed Shisui into a corner in the corridor outside and let go of Shisui’s shirt.

“So?” Shisui asked too brightly.

Sasuke frowned at him before looking away. Then all the frowns gone from his face as he paused and then gradually smirked. “I'm getting myself a wife.”

“Wait, so the call out was for this?”

“Yes.”

“So you are misusing all Uchiha resources just to find yourself a wife? Always using the long route. Ma would have called out all the best of Konoha girls in a few minutes and they would be lining up at the manor that weekend.” Shisui addressed his aunt as Ma, though in front of others he'd call her madam too.

“I don't want it to be like that,” Sasuke said still looking away. He wasn't keeping the motive a secret because he knew it would leak out sooner or later. Better that his fangirls knew that his wife searching, maybe the incessant stalking might stop for awhile.

“Why?”

“I want someone who doesn't know me. But she would be able to work with me.”

“Like who?”

“I need someone adaptive, physical beauty is secondary, I need someone who is on par with me intellectually, someone who wasn't scared to be furious with me should I get out of line.”

“Itachi know?”

“He's the one who made me realize that I need someone in my life apart from... family.”

“Isn't there someone you like already, out there, somewhere?”

Sasuke turned and looked at Shisui, “None that I wanted.”

Shisui laughed hysterically at Sasuke. He was sarcastic like that, but Sasuke knew Shisui’s quirk. “This sounds absurd man, but best of luck. We're Uchiha after all. Absurdity is in our veins.”

Sasuke let Shisui babbled on about girls and marriages before he heard the unmistakable steps of another Uchiha he would have to face.

“You better get back to work, Ma’s coming over here,” he said.

Shisui turned around and to his joy saw Mikoto Uchiha approaching them with a frown on her face. Mikoto Uchiha was one of the rare Uchiha who was always smiling, so seeing her frown was rare. Shisui admitted that it was alarming.There might be something sinister behind it. I better run, Shisui told himself.

“Sasuke, what is this?” She asked Sasuke while unfolding a roll of newspaper with his ad emblazoned on it.

“A personal campaign.” Sasuke said matter of fact.

“When did you present this project to me? All my friends have been asking me about this saying it sounds highly suspicious. Please tell me the actual purpose behind it. And Shisui you're staying.”

Shisui who had been inching away from them pouted and walked back towards his aunt. He was planning to escape her interrogation.

Sasuke hunched and didn't move. He was way taller than her mom but at this instance they were the same height as Mikoto wore her seven  inched heels. He looked away. She placed her hands on both sides of Sasuke’s shoulders.

“I won't get angry,” she said.

“I'm getting a wife Mother,” he met her eyes.

“.......” Mikoto was stunned.

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“Mother?” Sasuke asked.

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Seconds passed and Mikoto was still stunned. Sasuke took his mother's hands and clasped it in his. “Mother?”

Shisui inched closer until he was directly beside Sasuke facing. They both faced Mikoto stunned to see the chief of Uchiha Works petrified.

“Ma, are you ok?” Shisui waved his hand across Mikoto’s eyes.

“Mom, Uchiha Works shares fell down by 30 percent,” Sasuke lied through his teeth.

Mikoto’s eyes maintained its surprised state but she blinked once.

“Ma, I am getting married too,” Shisui said.

That got Mikoto blinking again, once, twice and then her eyes blinked rapidly as she slowly turned to Shisui.

“Don’t lie Shisui, you love girls too much to settle down now.” She then frowned and lunged at Sasuke. To Sasuke’s surprise she began to sob.

“Why are you leaving me now, baby boy.”

“Mother,” Sasuke said gritting his teeth at the nickname. “You asked me to leave the house and now you accuse me of leaving you.”

Mikoto let go of her son and wiped her tears away.

“I told to leave the house because you were becoming a hermit, which isn’t good at all for your well being. My friends have been asking where you were at functions and I thought kicking you out of the house would do you good.” She sighed and bit her lips. She knew if she mentioned Itachi, who left home at age 19 to leave at campus though Konoha University was only half an hour ride away, Sasuke would surely distance himself further.

“This is different, you are making decisions by yourself now. I am sad but baby, I am proud. I don’t which one shocked me the most, you finding a wife, or making decisions by yourself. I could still remember the days when you would wear whatever I asked you to. But then you grew up and your decisions were always yes or no, or just nothing. I never dreamed of you making such serious decisions at your age.”

“Mother, I am already twenty something, I am old.”

“Not to me, you will always be my baby boy,” Mikoto mussed his son’s hair while Shisui smiled at them both.

“Now aunt, I need to clock out, the next round is up,” Shisui said.

“Wait, now after you finish your month notice I want to hire you as Sasuke’s publicist. Assist him with his wife call out thing,” Mikoto mussed her nephew’s hair.

“Ah, but... “ Shisui was actually looking forward to a long holiday after he turned in his notice. But since this call out will involve a lot of girls, he decided that this new job would be better than a vacation.

“We will discuss the details tomorrow, now clock out.” The big lady boss said.

“Yes madam,” Shisui said.

Mikoto turned to Sasuke as Shisui left them with a skip in his step. “Now, who's doing this with you?”

“Sakura. I haven’t formed a team yet.”

“Well, come to my office tomorrow with her for a meeting. Since you are using my resources, we will do this properly like one of our actual project.”

“Hmm. Yes mother,” Sasuke said deflated. He was expecting his mother to let him sail his own ship.

“Hey what’s with that face. I won’t be monitoring this project all the time, I trust you. That, despite you always ignoring my orders when it comes to work.” Something sparkled in her eyes.

Sasuke saw it and he shuddered, his mother was a clever woman therefore he was sure she wouldn’t let him go just like that just yet.

“Let’s say you finally found a girl, and she is your wife material, I won’t say anything about your decision, but…”

Sasuke’s body lurched away from her mother. He knew his mother would come up with something, in return for using her ‘resources’. He sighed, he should have used his own money or something before he jumped head first into this.

“You will need to be a better person for your wife, no more moping around like life has no challenges for you, be more social, be more outgoing - of course according to your own pace. I am going to one day leave this company in your and Itachi’s hands so for starters, right after you finish this project I am hiring you as the Head of New Media Communications.”

Sasuke saw it coming, the inevitable will come. Then Mikoto smiled and hugged her son tightly. He listened on to his mother’s heartbeat, the beat which he must have heard since he was in his mother’s womb. She kissed his forehead.

“Yes mother,” his heart became warm. He really was needing a change in his life. So this change would involve his mother too.

“Now,” Mikoto let go of his soon. “Tomorrow at 9.00 am my office. Bring Sakura, don’t forget,” she said and she walked away.

She left him alone in the corridor. Sasuke looked at the newspaper which he must have grabbed while his mother was petrified. He hoped that everything will go well. He was hoping that he would find the one.

______________________________________


Naruko emailed her resume though she mentioned that she was still at the end of her schooling year instead of actually having a college education. She had emailed earlier to ask about that and Uchiha Works had responded that they would reconsider her resume since she had years of working experience. They were casting their net wide then, Naruko thought.

In two weeks she received the confirmation that she was accepted. She would have to attend an audition at Grand Leaf, which was a hotel slash restaurant in the middle of town.

“What should you wear?” Shion had asked her.

“The reply email told me to wear something proper but attractive enough. So jeans and shirt is too plain, that means a pencil skirt and shirt maybe since it’s like a job interview?” she said.

Shion was the more fashionable between the two, though they also swap clothes when they wanted variety. Only that Shion liked wearing high heels more than Shion.

“Why don’t you wear dresses? That’s attractive. I have never see you wear dresses, and I think you might look cute in it.”

“Is cute attractive? Why is this call out asking for attractive people? This sounds like a work which involves service or something like a front desk officer. That’s boring.”

“So you wanna go or not?” Shion said.

“I never said I am ditching this event, just that it’s too….”

“Just try it out, it never said the prettier you are the bigger chance you will get picked out anyway.”

Naruko thought about Shion’s words. She shouldn’t have sent her email in the first place if she was really bothered by the Call Out’s requirements. But her instincts told her to send an email and that was the thing which prompted her.

“Ok, if you say so.”

“So when’s the audition?”

“It’s going to be in Grand Leaf, on Saturday. They said all the auditions after this would be done on weekends. I hope we don’t have weekend classes when the new year arrives.”

“So, what will you be wearing?”

“Do you have a yellow dress?”

“A nice choice. When’s the audition exactly?”

“It’s from 9 to 12 pm.”

“Ah, I have to send my mother’s cookies to Suna that day. I’m sorry but I would have to miss your audition.”

“Never mind, there will be like 6-8 levels afterwards.”

“You’ll get through.”

“You think so?” Naruko asked her bff.

“Yeah, you’re resilient and it’s your luck that they are taking college students too.”

“Maybe.”

“So, what are you going to do for the audition?”

“There’s an interview, a challenge and a presentation.”

“So you have a week to think of a presentation. What is the topic?”

“My Family, My Future Plan or Modern Working Mother.

“Why are all the presentation title sounding like it’s personal.”

“I am not sure.”

“Isn’t call outs for girls are usually about making the world a better place, much like World Peace is to Miss World.”

“You ask a lot of questions Shion, but you haven’t answered my question yet.”

“What was that?”

“Do you have a yellow dress?”

“Hmmm, nope. But we can shop for one!”

“Great, like right now?”

“Yeah, now.”


____________________________________________________

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