perfect paisley

Songs I want to hear at my wedding

The Calling - Where ever you Will go 

Lee Brice - I don’t dance

The Cab - Angel with a Shotgun - Numbers - Endlessly 

Jason Derulo - Marry Me 

Tim McGraw - Shotgun rider - She’s my kind of rain - It’s your love - My best friend -

Lifehouse - You and Me - Hanging by a moment - 

Ron Pope - A Drop in the Ocean - Our Song

The Fray - You Found Me

Snow Patrol - Chasing Cars

Chase Coy - If the Moon Fell down tonight 

Brad Paisley - Perfect Storm - Then - She’s Everything 

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus - Your Guardian 

Parachute - Kiss me Slowly 

Rocket to the Moon - Mr. Right

Sleeping with Sirens - James Dean Audrey Hepburn 

3 Doors Down - Here By Me 

Hoobastank - the Reason 

Creed - With Arms Wide Open 

Gavin Degraw - Soldier - 

The Script - Kaleidoscope - No Words

NSYNC - This I Promise You

98 Degrees - I do 

Scotty McCreery - I love you this big

Ed Sheeran - Photograph 

One Direction - Little Things 

Kat Dahlia - I love “Crazy”

Becky G - Singing in the Shower 

Rod Stewart - Have I told you lately?

Foreigner - I want to know what love is 

Kelly Clarkson - A Moment Like This 

Bruno Mars - Talking to the Moon - Marry You

Sony & Cher - I’ve got you Babe

Miley Cyrus - When I look at you 

Extreme - More than words

The Beatles - I want to hold your hand - It’s only love

Paul McCartney - Maybe I’m Amazed 

Steve Holy - Good Morning Beautiful

Enrique Iglasias - Hero 

Aerosmith - I don’t want to miss a thing

John Travolta - Olivia Newton/John - You’re the one that I want

Goo goo dolls - Iris

Boston - More than a feeling 

Shania Twain - You’re still the one

Randy Travis - Forever and Ever, Amen 

Clint Black - When I said I do 

Alan Jackson - Remember When 

Rascal Flatts - God Bless the Broken Road - I melt 

George Straight - I cross my heart - Check yes or no 

Hunter Hayes - wanted

Blake Shelton - God Gave me you 

Garth Brooks - The Dance

Uncle Cracker - Smile 

Drabble #1 ‘’For your drabbles, I have a song request. Perfect Storm by Brad Paisley. ‘’I know how to make her laugh or blush or mad at. But that’s okay because there’s no one more beautiful than angry. ‘’ With Cap please?

Originally posted by papertownsy

So I plan on making a Marvel/Avengers gropchat on Imessage.. Would anyone be interested?

‘’C’mon Steve!’’ You yelled for what seemed like the hundredth time that night. The guy just loved to get on your nerves.

‘’Are you doing this on purpose?’’ You huffed giving him an annoyed look. He just shrugged, flashing you a smirk.

‘’You know I am doll.’’ He chuckled slightly as you scoffed and mocked his words. He took a step closer to you and took your hand in his, warm hand taking your cold one into a warm hug.

‘’Hey, are you actually mad?’’ He asked concern suddenly clouding in front of his eyes, he loved messing with you but not to the point where he actually hurt you.

You sighed biting back a smile.

‘’No, you just.. You make me mad but I can’t be angry with you, you’re too cute.’’ You laughed as you shook your head, not believing how he could have you wrapped around his finger so much. He smiled at you biting his lower lip.

‘’I only make you mad because angry is a good look on you doll.’’ He said once again, his cocky manner coming back to life. You rolled your eyes pushing him off the road while biting back a smile.

‘’Whatever.’’ You said giggling while you made your way out of the room.

Only if you knew, he tried his best to make you laugh, blush or angry because he loved to see you so alive and so real. Something he has been missing a whole a lot. Even though angry was a good look on you, he really did think you were the most gorgeous thing on the planet anyways.

Preference: Which Song Reminds Them of You

Sam - Perfect Storm (Brad Paisley)

And she destroys me in that t-shirt / And I love her so much it hurts / I never meant to fall like this / She don’t just rain she pours / That girl right there’s / The perfect storm

Dean - Cherry Pie (Warrant)

She’s my cherry pie / Cool drink of water / Such a sweet surprise / Tastes so good / Make a grown man cry / Sweet cherry pie oh yeah / She’s my cherry pie / Put a smile on your face / Ten miles wide / Looks so good / Bring a tear to your eye / Sweet cherry pie

Castiel - Angel Eyes (The Jeff Healey Band)

Well, I’m the guy who never learned to dance / Never even got one second glance / Across a crowded room was close enough / I could look but I could never touch / So tonight I’ll ask the stars above / “How did I ever win your love?” / What did I do? / What did I say? / To turn your angel eyes my way?

Gabriel - All of Me (John Legend)

Cuz all of me / Loves all of you / Love your curves and all your edges / All your perfect imperfections / Give your all to me / I’ll give my all to you / You’re my end and my beginning / Even when I loose I’m winning / Cuz I give you all of me / And you give me all of you

Michael - I’d Come for You (Nickelback)

By now you’d know that / I’d come for you / No one but you / Yes I’d come for you / But only if you told me to / And I’d fight for you / I’d lie, it’s true / Give my for you / You know I’d always come for you

Lucifer - What I Meant to Say (Daughtry)

And I t thought that you should know / I’ve been holding on while you’ve been letting go / Well, it’s not too late to say it right this time / Cuz I know I said I’m sorry but that’s not what I meant to say

Crowley - Uma Thurman (Fall Out Boy)

I can move mountains / I can work a miracle, work a miracle / Oh, oh, keep you like an oath / May nothing but death do us part / She wants to dance like Uma Thurman / Bury me till I confess / She wants to dance like Uma Thurman / And I can’t get you out of my head

HOW TO LISTEN WITHOUT LIMITS

I was going to make this a short playlist, then I said screw it! And I added pretty much every song I could think of about them. 

[listen]

I’m Coming After You - Owl City / Sidekick - Walk the Moon / Out of the Woods - Nickel Creek / They Don’t Know About Us - One Direction / Stutter - Marianas Trench / Take Me There - Rascal Flatts / Fools - Lauren Aquilina / Perfect Storm - Brad Paisley / I Wanna Get Better - Bleachers / Something That I Want - Grace Potter / Flaws - Bastille / Accidentally In Love - Counting Crows / Electric Love - Borns / Falling In - Lifehouse / Home/Dirty Paws - Gardiner / Dress and Tie - Charlene Kaye feat. Darren Criss / Somebody Like You - Keith Urban / Lucky Strike  - Maroon 5 / Please Don’t Say You Love Me - Gabrielle Aplin / Stuck Like Glue - Sugarland / I Want Crazy  - Hunter Hayes / Like I’m Gonna Lose You - Meghan Trainor feat. John Legend / I’m Only Me When I’m With You - Taylor Swift/ 

BONUS: Wizard Love - Meekakitty feat. Heyhihello

6

Just a wee break from my Month of Malcolm*, because I suddenly fancied some Flamin’ Eamonn (who is perfect in every way).  Of course no gifset can truly capture his magnificence since you can only get a sense of his cool cat style syntax without actually being able to hear the Glaswegian

Keep reading

10

He looks at us! He looks at us! Flamin’ Eamonn looks right at us!

Eamonn, I hate to break it to you – oh wait, no I don’t – but there WAS something funny going on. When it comes to you, there is ALWAYS something funny going on. Because you are just so wonderfully, delightfully, transcendentally, quifftastically, D-U-M-B.

(Don’t worry, Eamonn, D-U-M-B spells perfect in every way which is what you are.)

And you’re obviously in no danger whatsoever of perjuring yourself in front of the the learned judge. How could you whenyou can’t figure out which question you’re even supposed to lie about. Or is it tell the truth about?!? It’s all so confusing!!!

But at least you DO know the two most important things in life:

1. What being engaged to a burd means

2. And that you’re NOT a cretin from Crete

Arranged

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6. Part 7. Part 8. Part 9.  Part 10. Part 11. snip.

Summary:  Arranged marriage in the twenty-first century might have been uncommon, but not unheard of. “What an utterly chauvinistic supposition to make,” she berated, laughing. “Why do you assume that I can cook?”

notes:

i) Regale me with the stories of your love?

ii) Once again, any knowledge I have of any medical issue comes from watching grey’s anatomy.

-

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.

Germaine Greer

-

“’Sup,” Sakura nodded as she got in the car.

Sasuke grimaced and didn’t answer.

It was meet-the-parent’s day and after a lot of haggling and a fair amount of bantering later, they’d opted he pick her up from the hospital at a shift’s end.

As Sasuke stared unblinkingly through the windshield, Sakura took out her phone and started playing Candy Crush. The silence was complete, absolute and studded with the sulky undertone of two people who were in intense mutual dislike with each other.

Intense mutual dislike, Sakura thought, faintly amused. Like a psychological disorder. After a long ride of surly, discontented, almost tranquility they entered a gated community and Sakura put her phone away and sat up a little straighter. The houses here were large estates with sprawling lush lawns and intricate landscaping preceding the actual house. The streets were lined with decadent trees and Sakura felt a little tug of pleasure as the sun played peek-a-boo amidst the branches as they moved. It was a childlike marvel that she hadn’t felt in quite a while.

They stopped outside a heavy-walled property and waited for the gate to open. Half a minute later, it did and Sasuke drove in. It was a long, tree-lined driveway and her view of the house was obscured by the profusion of lush plants suspended from macramé hangers and tiffany lamps hanging beneath stained glass inlaid in intricate light poles.

“Wow,” she breathed, then turned to Sasuke, whose lips were already quirked in an unwanted smile. “Nice,” she nodded grudgingly. “Must’ve been a cool place to grow up.”

“Thank you,” he said politely, “It was.”

He pulled up in an enormous, stereotypical round driveway with a tall, well loved and looked after oak in the middle. She smiled, remembering the mango tree in her own backyard and walked up to the trunk. “Did you ever climb?”

Sasuke took off his aviators and followed her. “No.”

Her smile turned sharp as she turned around. “Let me guess,” she goaded, “you were too prissy, right?”

Sasuke’s lip pulled down into a frown. “No,” he said sharply, “It just never occurred to us.”

She shrugged. “What kid doesn’t have an inherent urge to climb stuff?” she asked.

“The good, well-mannered kind,” he answered.

“Oh please,” she smirked. “I bet you suck at it.”

Sasuke, who’d always held himself in honorary Boy Scout regard, thought how hard it might be to climb tree’s. Not too much, he concluded, examining the trunk carefully. “No,” he said, “I won’t.”

“You’re on,” said Sakura. She then took off her coat, threw it at him and turned around to climb. Her feet were sure on the trunk, finding foot holds and bumps to prop herself up. Half a minute later she was in the lowest branch looking down at him.

“Slow poke,” she called out tauntingly.

Irritated, Sasuke threw her coat down—“Asshole!” she cried from up above—and put his foot on a bump Sakura had used to propel herself up. His shoes, which were perfectly appropriate for corporate meetings, abruptly gave and slipped on the bark. Slipping and sliding, he made it half-way up, then his foot caught on a scrapped holding and he slid all the way down in one smooth fall.

“You alright?” Sakura called out from above.

He shot her an aggrieved glare, which turned squinty in the sun. There was a sharp pain on his fore arm. He was just about to fold his sleeve up, when Sakura, who’d promptly climbed down, caught his arm and folded it up for him. Her face was void of humor and her eyes were clinical.

There was a long, angry red line of a cut that she examined carefully. Sasuke looked at her face and felt an unmitigated stab of irritation. “This is your fault,” she snapped.

She was nonplussed. “Stop being a baby,” she said, “It’s just a cut. It’ll scab over by tonight.”

He was about to tell her what else was going to scab over tonight but then his mother appeared on the porch.

“Sasuke-kun!” she cried, “Sakura-chan! Is everything alright?”

“Perfectly,” she replied, smiling, but Mikoto was already crouched down beside him. “Oh, honey,” she said, “Are you going to be alright?”

Beside her, Sakura looked on incredulously; it wasn’t everyday that she got to watch a grown man being pampered by his mother.

“Yes,” he said, and got up, shaking his sleeve down to cover it up. Mikoto gave him a worried look, then ushered them in. Sakura picked up her coat, dusted it off, and followed. From the corner of his eye he gave her an appraising look and decided that his father might have a bone to pick with his mother tonight.

-

Sakura squirmed in her knee-length, form-fitting, sleeveless dress. The V of the neck scooped too low for her comfort, and the flat pumps on her feet made her feel too tiny. Sasuke’s not so discreet clinical assessment of her body made her hackles rise.

Trying to tamp down the sudden urge to strangle him, she tried to keep a tight rein on her anger and concentrated on her surroundings. The outside had been underrated enough that she didn’t remember being overwhelmed and so was the inside.

Clearly, Mikoto had classy taste; the interior had all the trappings of overbearing Baroque, except without being oppressive. The colors were rich, the light was gold, and everything had an antique look about it without being grotesquely loud.

As she entered the well-lit, softly golden themed living room, she understood why Mikoto overcompensated love for her children in a single glance.

On one side of the room, her parents sat on an uncomfortable looking couch, looking intimidated and conspicuous.

On the other sat Itachi with a stern-faced, grumpy looking man with graying hair.

“They’re here,” Mikoto announced cheerfully.

Sakura’s parents looked at her with wide, pleading eyes, Itachi smiled and Uchiha Fugaku hummed, keeping his posture overly stiff as he set his tea-cup back down, an air of self-believed omniscience about him that you just had to roll your eyes at. Age lines tugged below his eyes. He needed sleep. No, Sakura thought, he needed more than sleep. He needed a life time of rest.

Awkward greetings were exchanged, and polite small talk ensued.

“Have you thought of a specialization?” Fukagu asked, surprising her.

She shrugged. “Not yet. I’m still trying out new stuff.”

He nodded.

A long, tense silence ensued where no one spoke. Thankfully, dinner was announced.

-

Sasuke had had enough interactions with Sakura to know that her skin ran the gamut from a translucent white to deep rose, depending on whether she was angry, tired or excited. Right now, her face was a perfect paisley pink, which meant she was anxious.

The first course was laid down. Sasuke sat all the way at the tail end of the table with Sakura on one side and Itachi on the other. He could feel his Father’s eyes, subtle and discreet, waiting and watching; judging. He had been on the receiving end of that gaze more times than he could count.

“Sakura,” Fugaku said crisply, as the table was being cleared for the second course, patting his mouth with a napkin. “What can you cook?”

At his side, Sakura almost choked on the hearty Chianti wine she was sipping from a glass. “What an utterly chauvinistic supposition to make,” she berated, laughing. “Why do you assume that I can cook?”

Fugaku regarded her with exaggerated gravity. “Because you are a woman, of course.”

“Are—are you serious?” she sputtered.  She stared at him in speechless disbelief, half-convinced that he was deliberately goading her. “It may surprise you to hear this, but not all women are born with a burning desire to chop onions and grate cheese.”

“My wife,” he replied, “likes to chop onions and grate cheese.”

Sakura regarded him with faint impatience. “So does my father,” she gestured to Kizashi, who looked proud.

Fugaku gave her an oblique look, but didn’t answer.

“Now,” she said, “I could go ahead and assume that you’re some corporate honcho who pisses on dreams and cripples souls,” said Sakura, smile almost mocking, “But since I don’t know you, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and let it go.”

Time came to a roaring stop. Sasuke felt like his father would’ve said something, except…he was kind of speechless.

Sasuke, on the other hand was coming to realize that Sakura was the kind of person who didn’t take crap from anyone. If she felt insulted, she talked back. If she felt belittled, she tore you a new one.

In his heart of hearts, Sasuke felt a small kernel of grudging admiration unfurl. She had managed to do what neither he nor his brother had never dared; strike his father inarticulate.

-

Later that night, in the privacy of their room, Mikoto said to Fugaku, “Wasn’t she magnificent?”

And Fugaku stared at the jug of water on the side table with the same enthusiasm as if he were looking at a dead skunk. “She was.”

-

“It was…unnerving.”

“How so?”

“It’s weird,” said Sakura, balancing the phone between her shoulder and ear while looking at the ER door,  “watching a grown man sulk all night.”

Ino laughed. It was a warm, bubbly, happy laugh and it made Sakura feel good. “If I were into girls,” she said, “I’d have married you looong ago, Ino-chan.”

“I’m flattered,” said Ino, and Sakura could hear the smile in her voice, “but I’m not into huge foreheads.”

“Vain.”

“Perfectionist,” Ino retorted. “So what else did you do?”

“We set the engagement date,” replied Sakura.

Ino screeched loud enough for all dead emperors of China to hear and Sakura had to hold the phone away from her ear. When she put it back Ino was screaming, “…when, when, when?”

“Three weeks.”

“Whoa!” Ino breathed, “That’s—like…soon!”

“Yeah,” said Sakura, feeling a swarm of butterflies in her stomach.

“The wedding?”

“Four months. At the end of July.”

“Wow.”

“Yeah.”

“Nervous?”

“How could I not be?”

“Wow,” Ino sighed, “You’re getting married.”

Sakura’s stomach did a nervous flip. “Yes, Ino,” she said, apprehensive now, “I am.”

“Did you tell Naruto and Hinata?”

“Yes,” Sakura sighed, feeling world weary, “He’s not speaking to me.”

“I can beat him up for you,” Ino offered immediately.

“No thanks,” Sakura smiled, “He’ll come around.”

“How did—” Ino started, but Sakura cut her off. “Gotta run, Ino,” she said, pulling out a fresh contamination gown, “Emergency.” She didn’t wait for a reply and threw the phone at the station. An ambulance had just pulled up.

-

She met Sasuke at a public park the next day. She didn’t exactly like him, but she didn’t hate him with the burning intensity of a thousand scorching suns anymore, either.

“Did you get it?” she asked as she slid down on the bench beside him.

Solemnly, he handed her the cup of coffee.

“Thanks, honey,” she said mockingly. “How’s your boo-boo?”

“God, you’re annoying,” he said, almost admiringly.

“Does that turn you on?” she asked, completely nonchalant.

Sasuke, felt a blush sear his cheeks. “No.” He managed, somehow, to jam more indignation into that one words than other people would have in a whole speech.

“You’re a giant prude aren’t you?” she laughed. “Please don’t tell me you’re a virgin.”

“Why would you think that?” he asked, flustered.

“Because,” she said, taking a long sip of her drink and looking at him over the cup with crinkled eyes, “The big man up there doesn’t make them any more anal than you.”

“Fuck you,” he said gravely.

“All in due time, Pookey Bear,” she teased.

“Please, stop,” he pleaded, and she let out a small but hearty laugh. When he finally looked at her, she was looking at him with a smile on her face, her eyes shining with it. It was a warm smile—nothing like the pointed, razor sharp leers she’d subjected him to, so far. He felt an uneasy tug in the vicinity of his chest and swallowed twice to ease it.

“So,” she said finally, “Why’d you ask me out?”

“I was—asked to court you,” he said hesitatingly.

“Oh,” she replied, that sparkle in her eye suddenly snuffing out. “No need,” she said, almost flippantly. “We’re way past that.”

“We aren’t,” he said, voice sepulchral.

She gave him a dubious look. “Aaand you’d like to…what? Change that?”

“A little,” he muttered, fidgeting uncomfortably.

“Then why do you sound like you’re about to have a root canal?” she asked in a careful voice.

“It—,” he started, then stopped. He looked a little lost for words and Sakura felt a pull of pity in a very deep, dark corner of her heart.

“Then,” she said, almost kindly, “I’ll tell you this; if someone asked me who I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, I would’ve told them: with someone who understood that I’m not perfect.”

“I do not expect you to be,” he said graciously.

The smile she flashed him was almost affectionate. “Also,” she said, teasingly, “I reaaaaally don’t like you.”

“Duly noted.” This time, he gave her half a smirk.

-

Two days before the engagement Sakura finally broke down in a fit of helpless despair. Naruto still wasn’t talking to her and no matter how many messages she left for him, no matter how many texts she sent him and no matter how much Hinata coaxed him, he still wasn’t willing to come around.

Brimming with agitation and an incredible sense of foreboding, she siced Ino on him and called Sasuke.

“What is it?” he asked, wary.

“I just realized that I might be crazy in love with you,” she answered, not being able to resist. She could hear his longsuffering sigh all the way to her end and coupled with the Naruto-shaped hole in her life right then, it made a lump form in her throat. A breath shuddered out of her and she could feel the soft, silky sheen of tears behind her eyes.

There was a moment of silence on the other end, then, “Are you crying?”

An unexpected quiver wracked her chest and tears started falling down her cheeks. “No,” she said in a thick, wet voice, wiping the tears away with her free hand.

“What’s wrong?” breathed Sasuke on the other, his voice tinged with alarm.

“Will you—would you,” she said haltingly, trying to tamp down the tears, “My friend—my best friend isn’t talking to me because I’m marrying you,” she finally managed to say.

“Oh,” he replied, and she could feel the wary distrust in his tone.

“He thinks I’m making the biggest mistake of my life,” she explained.

He didn’t say anything and she felt her heart sink. “Do you think the same?”

“I don’t know,” he answered, his voice so honest that she felt a shiver run down her spine.

“Neither do I,” she said, feeling her heart ease a little. “Would you—mind meeting hi—them?”

If he would have wanted, he could’ve let her off in the worst way imaginable. But he said, “Okay.” And in the quiet of his voice, Sakura found a small bit of solace.

-

He was a little late, but considering the short notice of her request, Sakura was just grateful he showed up. “Ichiraku?” he asked flatly, looking at the sign dubiously.

“It was the only place Ino could bring him without looking suspicious.”

He gave her a contemplative look from the corner of his eye. “An old flame?”

Sakura  cocked her face at him, startled. “The only flame between Naruto and I is the one I will set him on fire with if he keeps insisting on being an asshole.”

They went inside and Sakura immediately spotted Naruto’s bright golden head of hair. Ino waved at them from across the room and she led Sasuke to the table. Naruto, who’d been slurping his noodles as if saving them from a certain death, looked up and promptly choked on the broth. Hinata had to pound him on the back to get his windpipe to clear.

“Sorry we’re late,” Sasuke said with a curt nod as he pulled out a chair a motioned for Sakura to sit in. She wondered if the chivalry was inbred or just a one time thing.

Ino’s mouth had dropped open at her first good glimpse of Sasuke. He wore jeans and a dark blazer with an open-necked shirt. Objectively, Sakura knew what she saw; the tall, dark, whatever-ness; the gorgeous face, the sexy, lean, body that was custom-made for all kinds of sin—who cared? The only thing concerning her right then was Naruto and his sparkly eyed glare.

“Sakura-chan,” he hissed accusingly, and gave Ino and Hinata a wounded look that would’ve given any puppy a serious run for its money. His eyes, usually brimming with a merry glow were shooting proverbial darts of angry accusation.

“Naruto,” she started, but he held up a hand to stop her.

Instead, he directed his gaze at Sasuke. “Are you the asshole she’s signing away her life to?”

A short moment of dead silence hung over the table as one pair of bright blue, angry, twinkling eyes stared back at a pair of dark, narrowed, decidedly homicidal eyes.

She, is her own person,” said Sasuke with polite disdain. “She makes her own choices. I only gave her an opportunity. She was smart enough to take it.”

Naruto bristled. He’d done his research; and not just of the internet variety. Most people would only think that behind his handsome façade was a trail or broken hearts and shattered marital aspirations that would make any sensible person with an unmarried female relation shudder. But Naruto knew that behind his flawless, pristine and much publicized rapport was a sealed file with a legit criminal record. He was the last man he wanted his beloved Sakura-chan to show interest in.

Hinata put a calming hand on his forearm. Her eyes flitted nervously between the two men and off in the distance, Ino swore she heard a snake rattle. He put his hand on top of hers and squeezed reassuringly.

“You certainly have an inflamed case of ‘you’re-full-of yourself!” Naruto shot angrily.

“Oh, God,” said Sakura, rolling her eyes in frustration. “Naruto, please stop being dramatic.”

“I—I’m not!” he sputtered.

“You are!” she shot back. “Why can’t you just be happy for me?”

“Because,” he argued, “When you marry someone, it should be because you love them!” His eyes flitted to Hinata and his mouth curved at the corner in the barest hint of a smile. She smiled back and for the first time in days, Naruto turned and looked directly into Sakura’s eyes. “It should be because you’ve met someone who would sweep you off your feet!”

“Oh, Naruto.” Sakura sighed, eyes fierce and sure. “I don’t want to meet someone who’d sweep me off my feet,” she said, “because one, that would hurt. And two—that would mean I’m clumsy.”

Ino giggled and Naruto shot her a dirty look and looked at Hinata pleadingly.

“Sakura-chan,” said Hinata softly, “Won’t you please reconsider?”

Surprised by the earnest entreaty in her voice, Sakura looked on, kind of speechless. But apparently, Sasuke had had enough. “She’s made up her mind already,” he snapped, “It would do you well to accept her decision, dead last,” he said, eyes affixed on Naruto.

Sakura opened her mouth, fully intending to cut Sasuke down to size, but to everyone’s utmost surprise, it was Hinata who spoke up.

“Isn’t it extremely presumptuous of you, to answer on her behalf?” she asked almost icily. Her once frowning eyes held Sasuke’s in a steady stare.

Everyone knew that it was notoriously difficult to get Hinata pissed off, but Sasuke seemed to have a penchant for achieving the nearly impossible.

Perched on the comfortable chair, Hinata looked like a demented pixie about to unleash holy hell. Her hair was pulled back sharply, her eyes a bright, terrifying silver. A thin slash formed on her lips. Her fingers curled on the table cloth like razor sharp claws ready to dig in.

Ino, Sakura and Naruto gave each other a three way worried glance. Sasuke didn’t seem to see the proverbial pit he was digging himself into. “Isn’t that what you lot are doing already?” he drawled sarcastically.

“We are her friends. We care.”

“She’s an adult. She gets to make her own choices.”

“Okay, people,” Sakura interrupted, “All of you need to stop. Now.”

Suddenly losing all her steam, Hinata looked like a Chihuahua who’d been barking at a pit bull and just realized there was no car window between them. Naruto held on to her hand tightly.

Everyone looked at Sakura expectantly.

“I am fully aware that this man,” she gestured to Sasuke, “is a prude, a workaholic, an uptight ass and a person who likes to be in charge all the time,” she continued to three sets of disbelieving eyes, “but rest assured, if he wrongs me in any way I would throw him out on the streets, set him on fire and make sure no one even spits on him,” she concluded affably.

“…Your insolence teeters on the brink of endearing,” said Sasuke, face pinched in distress.

Naruto stared back at them, his expression sour, as though he’d just swallowed five lemons consecutively. “Has he told you about his stint in the local gang?” he asked quietly.

Sasuke, who’d always had to struggle with a short fuse felt a sudden, burning desire to strangle Naruto. A deep tic formed in his brow, making his face hurt as he attempted to rein in his irritation. There was no reply he could form, only the harsh grinding of teeth and a menacing aura that Naruto seemed to be naturally impervious to. He was so busy plotting unsuspecting murder that it surprised him when Sakura put her hand on his thigh under the table.

“Naruto,” she said, and the stillness in her voice was like the calm before the storm. “Why would you know that?”

Naruto cast his eyes away.

Sakura heaved a disappointed sigh. “This was a mistake,” she muttered down at the table. “I’m getting engaged in two days,” she told the table at large, “and I would like all of you to be there.”

Then she got up and said, “C’mon Sasuke,” and walked out of the restaurant.

“That went well,” said Ino, who’d kept her mouth shut the entire conversation. Now she leaned forward and fixed Sasuke with a smile like the whole sky had cracked open and poured sunlight on the world. “Welcome to the family,” she said, “Also, I would like you to know that if you ever hurt Sakura, your face would have a very close encounter with my hand—most probably of the bitch-slap variety.”

“You’re all insane,” said Sasuke, eyeing the ensemble at the table with barely restrained anger, wariness and distrust.

“We’ll see you at the party,” Ino waved him off with the breezy assurance.

-

He found Sakura leaning on the side of his car.

“I’m sorry,” she said, as soon as he was within hearing range. “Naruto has poor impulse control, and he’s too protective for his own good.”

He regarded her silently for a moment. She looked genuinely contrite, but in that moment, his pride was immoveable. “He had no right.”

“No,” said Sakura, “he didn’t.” She was beginning to discover that Sasuke was the kind of person who carried around tension like responsibility.  She felt bad, taking in the rigid set of his shoulders. “I’m sorry.”

He didn’t say anything. The temper he rarely acknowledged swirled up so fast, so huge it choked his words.

“I’m really sorry,” she said again and something in his mind snapped.

“You’re sorry?” he hissed, “For violating my privacy? For sticking your nose into something that is not your business? For being a prying,” he stopped, took a deep breath, and thought about not saying anything, but his mouth had a mind of its own, “ bitch?”

Her eyes flashed, and expressions changed her face in a fleeting panorama of emotions. Then finally, her chin jutted, her head angled and if she were tall enough, she would’ve been looking down her nose at him with hawkish severity. “I know you’re angry,” she started, “but that does not give you the right to start calling me names.” She paused, drilled him with a glare and saw him tense a little more at the forbidding look on her face. “And if you ever call me that again,” she walked closer so that her face was tipped up and level with his nose, “I will shove your dick in your mouth and make you choke on it. Understand?”

She didn’t wait for an answer. Instead, she stalked off down the road to a tiny blue VW and sat on its bumper, leaving him stunned, speechless and a little staggered. Somewhere in between her threat of asphyxiation by neuterization, the rage seemed to have seeped out of him. In its place was an icy shame licking its way up his chest. He had never been particularly fond of that time in his life, and to have it thrust in his face in that manner had been…kind of a rude awakening.

He saw Sakura’s profile, looking wilted and limp, staring into the gold lighted windows of the Ichiraku establishment.

He shifted awkwardly on his feet not entirely sure what he could look at without feeling gut wrenching guilt. So he steeled himself against the impending conversation and walked to her. Apologies had never come easy to him.

“You can leave,” she said, her voice coming in crisp, curt tones. “I’ll catch a ride with Ino. They’ll be out any second now.”

“That—that time in my life—,” he started, and everything about her softened—her eyes, mouth, voice. She let out a soft exhale, forgiving him as abruptly as she’d become angry.

“You don’t owe me an explanation Sasuke,” she said. “What Naruto did was stupid, but he was only looking out for me. I can’t hate him for that.”

“I know,” he said, “And I’m sorry.” He lowered his lashes and willed away the heat suffusing into his cheeks. “I was out of line.”

With a weary sigh, she tossed back her tangled pink hair, hooking it over one ear. “You were, and I accept your apology.”

“Would you please get in the car now?” he asked, still not meeting her eyes.

Stiffly smiling her assent, she allowed him to escort her to the car.

-

That night, Sakura fixed up two of the minor trauma patients that showed at the ER and helped her attending operate on  a woman with Subdural Hematoma, who showed up at five in the morning. At eight, she made her usual rounds and was finally relieved of her shift when her colleague showed up. She was grateful for the never ending tasks and constant bustle of the hospital.

It meant she didn’t have time to second guess herself.

But as she finally lay down on the bed and closed her eyes against the dim sunlight that managed to penetrate the curtains she couldn’t run away from her thoughts. She thought about all the ways her life could go wrong, of all the ways Sasuke and his family could stifle her without anyone being any wiser. She talked a big game, but in the end what would she be able to do, she thought, if Sasuke decided that his fist wanted to have a close encounter with her face?

She swallowed hard, feeling her heart beat faster. That’s why she’d had the contract drawn, she tried to reassure herself. If he tried to hurt her, she would make sure he would have a legal hell to pay.

When she finally fell asleep, she dreamed of Mikoto’s lovely smile hiding pointed teeth and Sasuke holding a dagger to her back.

-

The venue for the engagement was the Grand Ballroom of the Uchiha Estate itself. From the outside, it looked like a homey little cottage that housed a few extra bedrooms, but the inside was as decadent as a chocolate lava cake. Smack in the center of the house, surrounded by an outcropping of corridors extending like beams of the sun, was a giant expanse of a room that could entertain up to quite a few hundred people.

Sasuke stood beneath the giant monstrosity of a chandelier that dropped from the ceiling in uneven circular tiers. If it were any other room it might have been over the top, but given Mikoto’s penchant for everything flawless, it just enhanced the character of the hall. A steady stream of guests were slowly trickling in and by his side, he could feel Sakura fidgeting with nerves.

Under the golden light, smack in the middle of the room, he felt like an exhibit. And so, he guessed, did Sakura. The hall was decked out in white roses and tulle. Fairy lights winked surreptitiously, threaded in a clandestine way that made the room look like an enchanted fairy tale. It was magnificent.

Sasuke knew that tonight was a night of utter pomp and ceremony. He looked around the room. Mikoto was flitting around from one person to another like a butterfly, but her smile, Sasuke noticed, was radiant. He felt his chest unclench a little. Fugaku was huddled in a shadowy corner with Grandfather Izuna, who looked a little worse for wear; hunched with age, skin sagging and hair white, but his eyes were clear as crystal, black as onyx and sharp as razor. He was staring at Sakura and the deep ridge in his brow showed his disapproval. Sasuke felt a small surge of protectiveness. It was unbidden, but not unwelcome, so he looked at her from the corner of his eye to make sure she was alright.

She wore an emerald green off the shoulder number that flowed all the way down to her feet, her hair was tied up in a loose chignon and her eyes were wide and had a maniacal gleam to them.

“Second thoughts?” he asked with a slight quirk of his lip.

“You wish,” she bit out through a tight smile, then looked around the room worriedly. He followed her gaze and it landed on no one in particular. He frowned. Except for her parents, the only people he knew from her side were her friends, and they weren’t there. He didn’t say anything.

“Aw, man,” said a familiar voice from behind, “You two look like those stupid figurines on top of one of those monster wedding cakes. All that’s missing is a plastic sheen.”

Sasuke turned around in time to see Karin smack Suigetsu upside the head. “Hey,” she said, grinning, looking first at him, then at Sakura.

He nodded once, politely.

“Hi,” said Sakura, sounding a little dazed.

“I’m Karin,” said Karin, extending a perfectly manicured hand and smiling sharply. “And that,” she pointed the thumb of her other hand in his direction, “is Suigetsu.”  Sakura took it and they shook.

“Sakura,” she said, introducing herself.

“It’s funny because you kind of remind me of spring,” said Suigetsu, flashing all his pointed teeth in a good natured grin.

“Um, thanks?” said Sakura uncertainly.

Karin flashed him a mean looking glance from the corner of her eye. “Ignore him,” she told Sakura, crossing her arms across her chest. “He’s an idiot.”

“I know a few of those,” replied Sakura, her expression wry and amused.

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.”

Sasuke got the feeling that this moment might mark the beginning of a veritable friendship that he might come to regret. The moment passed when Suigetsu said, “We’re the only friends this loser has. And if you break his heart, we might just break you.”

“Huh,” said Sakura, “I would like to see you try.” She could feel her temper boiling just beneath a fine veneer of anxiety, and Suigetsu’s sarcastically amused expression was suddenly irking her to no end.

“Suigetsu,” drawled Sasuke, and there was no mistaking the threat in his voice.

Suigetsu raised his arms in perfunctory surrender, never losing his smile. “Just giving you a heads up.”

“Ugh,” groaned Karin. “Sorry about that,” she said, looking more annoyed than contrite. Then she shot Sakura a quick glance and her glasses flashed. “I like you, Sakura. But I’m not the best judge of character. So rest assured, you hurt him? There will be hell to pay.”

In the wake of the awkward silence, Karin and Suigetsu walked off.

“Nice friends you got there,” she said slowly, carefully.

“They’re idiots,” he said, a light blush suffusing his cheeks. Sakura was noticing that Sasuke had a hard time owning up to emotional attachment, no matter how much he cared about those people.

“They’re idiots who care for you,” she said, a light scold in her tone, “You should appreciate them more.”

“Hn,” he said noncommittally, not meeting her eyes. Then frowning, he nodded in the direction of the door. “Your friends.”

The relief Sakura felt at the sight of Naruto with Hinata at one arm and Ino on the other, looking like a complete douche to anyone who didn’t know them, was staggering. She felt her throat clog and her eyes water. She blinked the sudden tears away and waved at the door.

Immediately spotting her, Ino extracted her arm and power walked to them in heels the length of skyscrapers. “Happy engagement Forehead girl,” she beamed. “Sasuke-kun,” she nodded curtly.

By then, Naruto and Hinata had made their way to them.

“You came,” she whispered, tearing a little again and promptly blinking them away.

“Of course, Sakura-chan,” said Hinata, softly smiling. She didn’t acknowledge Sasuke.

Everyone looked at Naruto, not knowing what to expect. He looked at Sakura, apprehensive and fidgety. His smile came slow and hesitant, but it came. “Sakura-chan!” he cried, opening his arms wide for a hug which Sakura eagerly walked into. Naruto’s hugs were always warm, but this one had an extra bit of sunshine and praline in it. It made Sakura feel loved and she squeezed her eyes shut against the relief of having Naruto with her again. Reluctantly she let him go and stepped back at Sasuke’s side.

Naruto looked at him and his face darkened with a storm that seemed to come out of nowhere. Then he smiled his cool, fuck-off-and-die smile that he’d only ever used at Hidan, their Theology TA at college. “Hurt her, and you die,” he said in an ominous tone, speaking right through his smile.

“Naruto-kun,” said Hinata worriedly, pressing her hand to his chest. Naruto caught it in his own and squeezed.

Sasuke nodded impassively and Naruto’s shoulder’s seeped of all the tension. His grin was back and so was the sparkle in his eyes. “I can’t believe you’re getting married Sakura-chan!”

“I know!”

“Oh who is that hunk!” asked Ino, pointing at Itachi.

Naruto made a face. “Go away, Ino-chan!”

Sakura smiled, feeling her insides relaxing all the way. She had Naruto. She had Ino. And she had Hinata. If anyone messed with her, she knew they would always have her back.

-

The press, who Sakura had assumed would be a crowd all wild and out of control, was surprisingly organized. That was what Sakura assumed, until they started asking the questions; Is this marriage out of love? Why would an Uchiha marry a no one? What kind of business transaction was this? When was the wedding? What was she going to wear?

On and on it went. Some, she countered, some she couldn’t; all the while the Uchiha’s had her back.

When the reporters began peppering them with questions that bordered on offensive, Itachi held up both hands and smiled affectionately. That smile, Sakura thought, walked a thin line between empathy and condescension.

“I think that is enough,” he said, and no one spoke otherwise. There was an immense charisma with which he held himself, an aura of such unmitigated authority that one could never defy. You did not want this man as your enemy, thought Sakura.

She was assured that no one would interfere with her life. The Uchiha had been a part Konoha nobility, and were philanthropists who needed the press to bend parties to their advantage. That was the only reason the conference had been held.

Nevertheless, as Sasuke dropped Sakura at her house, she felt a tight little acorn of worry in her belly. She bit her lip and worried if she’s made the worst mistake of her life. The ring on the finger of her left hand felt heavy. So did the weight on her shoulders.

“It’s going to be fine,” said Sasuke, breaking her out of her thoughts. She could only see his profile. He was looking straight ahead, face impassive, but somehow, the tone of his voice reassured her. It hit her then, like a freight truck; she was going to spend the rest of her life with this man, she was going to kiss him, sleep with him, eat with him, have his children and she knew next to nothing about him.

She let out a manic peel of laughter and he looked at her from the corner of his eye. “What?” he asked.

“Nothing,” she replied, feeling the acorn grow into an orange. “What’s your favorite color?”

He gave her a sideway glance. “Are you alright?”

“I’m fine. Color?”

“I’ve never thought about it. Why?”

“Oh. Well, what’s your favorite food?”

“Tomato.”

“That is not food,” she replied, trepidation churning in her stomach.

“It is. What’s wrong with you?”

“Nothing!”

“Why are you suddenly asking all these questions?”

“Because I know nothing about you!” she cried, feeling the orange evolve into a football. Her stomach heaved and a wave of nausea crawled up her throat. “Stop! Stop the car!”

“Why?”

Because,” she shot, angry and panicked, “I’m going to throw up!”

Looking alarmed, Sasuke eased the car to the side of the road. Sakura shot out of the side and heaved on the side of the road. Another wave of nausea hit her hard and she crouched down, feeling nothing beyond the heaving of her stomach and the tightness of her throat. She retched a few more times before finally leaning back, breathing hard and losing her footing. She fell back and thumped into Sasuke, who caught her. They caught each other’s eye and Sakura let herself lean on his chest. Her legs felt wobbly so she let them rest on the asphalt and closed her eyes in relief as the queasiness passed.

She could feel Sasuke’s chest falling and rising beneath her back, his breath on the side of her neck. There was a fine sheen of cold sweat on her face and body and the gown itched with the wetness of it. “Sorry about that,” she muttered. “Just give me a minute.”

“Aa,” he said, not letting go of her.

After a few moments of silence, she pried herself away from Sasuke, leaning her hands on the road and turning her head to look at him. He was pressed against the side of his car, legs bent at awkward angles that would’ve been painful to sit on for as long as she’d taken. Something in her mind unwound. She took a deep breath and hauled herself to her feet in a wobbly manner.

“Thank you,” she said.  Alarmed by the way her voice fractured on each word, he reached out and put a hand on her arm. She let him pull her to him. He peered into her face, looking worried. “Okay?” he asked, and the fact that there was no bite in his tone made Sakura close her eyes in gratitude.

“Yes,” she whispered.

Then without warning, he shrugged out of his jacket and held it out so she could slip her arms through the sleeves. “Your teeth are chattering.”

She hadn’t realized. “You’re a nice guy.”

He raised a dubious brow.

“Don’t worry. I haven’t figured out how nice, yet.”

-

part 4