Differential Chapter 9

Chapter Nine: Time’s Up

Just like the start of every semester, Sasuke was spending his last week at home buying supplies and groceries to take back to his apartment style dorm.

“I hate moving back in,” Sakura grumbled as she crossed off another item from her list. “We’re going back to the same dorm we stayed in fall semester but they made us pack up all of our shit just to have us bring it all back.”

Except this time he was running his errands alongside Sakura.

“Grab the sriracha,” he nodded to the hot sauce bottle as he slowed the shopping cart to a stop in front of the Asian/Hispanic aisle of the grocery store.

Sakura tugged the cart by the basket until he followed her into the aisle.

“I wanna grab some ramen too.”

“We should just stop by the Korean market instead. Better instant ramen.”

“Shit. You’re right.” Sakura looked down at the few items in their cart and then back up at him. “Why did we come here again?”

“The Korean market doesn’t sell tomato sauce for some reason and the milk here is cheaper.”

“Why don’t you just buy milk when we’re back in the city?”

“It’s a hassle to carry groceries on the train or bus and city parking is a mess,” Sasuke reasoned. “Also your special milk is cheaper here.”

“Don’t mock me for being lactose intolerant.”

“I didn’t say anything.”

“You’re thinking it.”

“Stupid superior digestive tract,” he heard her grumble as she walked ahead of him toward the dairy aisle.

Usually Sasuke preferred to do his shopping on his own. There was no meandering and he was in and out without any hassle. Sakura was like his mother who always made a list but then deviated from the list she had made herself to grab things she hadn’t intended to buy.

He would have gone out shopping by himself if it weren’t for the fact that it was a perfect excuse to spend more time with Sakura. Time that wasn’t had with their pants off.

Whenever he wanted to have a real discussion about what they were doing, Sakura would trace the veins that peeked through the translucent skin of his inner wrist with a delicate touch of her fingers. She would take his hand and press soft kisses to his fingertips never breaking eye contact.

It was those eyes of hers that made him want to forget the fragile line they had crossed. The one he had been trying to build up into a wall ever since he was sixteen.

A wall that kept crumbling with everyone of Sakura’s kisses that melted into soft sighs and content hums.

“We should do something later.”

“Huh?”

If it weren’t for the fact that her cheeks were flushed he would have thought Sakura hadn’t spoken up from where she was rifling through the jugs of milk for the one with the longest shelf life.

“I just, you know,” Sakura shrugged, peering up at him through her pale lashes, “figured we should go do something since we’re heading back tomorrow.”

She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and fiddled with her hands, wringing them in the bottom hem of her sweater. It was a habit she had when she was younger that never really went away.

And one Sasuke was glad he could recognize.

“Imeanwedon’thavetoIjustthought━”

“Yeah, sure.”

Sakura’s jaw dropped but she quickly composed herself into a bright smile and beamed up at him.

“We can watch that movie that Naruto was trying to drag us to but we kept rejecting,” Sakura suggested.

Sasuke nodded in agreement. As much as Naruto was their friend he was terrible company at the movie theater.

“Make sure to mention the movie on Facebook so he can see it.”

“He’s going to be so mad.”

“Good.”


Cute?

Sakura lifted a three quarter sleeve skater dress in front of her floor length mirror and then lifted a baggy cable-knit sweater that was practically a dress considering her height.

Or comfy?

Sakura tossed the dress over her desk chair and pulled on the sweater over her head. She wasn’t going to freeze and look like she was trying too hard. It was just a movie with a friend.

A friend that she was spending a lot of time with her legs wrapped around his waist.

“Oh, Jesus,” Sakura cursed and slapped her cheeks.

I’m getting embarrassed now!?

Sakura bent over so all of her hair fell over and scooped it all up, tying it into a messy bun on top of her head.

“It’s getting awfully long again,” she muttered. She wasn’t going to cut it again but a trim was due. It had taken forever to grow it back her preferred length after she chopped it all off in high school.

Now why did we do that again? Oh, right…

Sasuke had supposedly liked long hair which was one of the reasons she had refused to cut it in the first place. Although she wasn’t going to tell him about her feelings she still had wanted him to think she was attractive.

Well, we got the answer to that question now don’t we? Sakura’s cheeks warmed up as applied lip balm to protect her lips from the winter air.

She had wanted his attention, whether it was because they were competing for the best grades or because he thought she was pretty. Competing on an academic level was easy. Putting her self-esteem on the line wasn’t.

“I need a necklace.”

Sakura opened up her jewelry box and hummed along with Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake tinkling as the little ballerina twirled on the box. She pulled out a white gold necklace with a ballet slipper pendant. Carefully she clasped it behind her neck and adjusted it so it rest neatly against just below the hollow of her neck on top of her sweater.

Now this is a look I haven’t seen in a while, she inwardly teased herself.

The bun was messy, completely against regulation, but her face was clear of makeup and she was wearing her old pendant. She could have been on her way out of the old studio she used to go to attend class.

Naruto used to tease her that she and Sasuke conformed to a lot of the Asian stereotypes. She took ballet and he played the violin and neither one of them dared come home with a grade below an A.

Stereotype or not, she had loved ballet. She had quit before her junior year of high school to focus even more on her studies and had no regrets but occasionally Sakura could feel a dull ache in her chest when she remembered all of those years of dance. She loved walking down memory lane but she always avoided thinking about her final recital.

She had chopped all of her hair off the day after the event.

She had tried to let go of Sasuke after that day.

Not that I ever succeeded in doing that.


Sakura let out an exaggerated groan and slammed her fist on the machine. She slipped her hand into Sasuke’s front pocket and he jumped back.

“I’m not trying to feel you up,” Sakura rolled her eyes, “I just need the quarters.”

“Right…”

Sasuke pulled out two quarters and slid them into the slot of the fighter arcade game so that Sakura could press continue.

“I use to win all of the time, how am I losing?” Sakura grunted, jabbing hard at the buttons to try and land a combo.

“That was before we figured out I needed glasses.”

“Oh, shit. That’s right.”

They played one more round until Sakura finally gave up and dragged him to play Mario Kart. Nothing about the night seemed that different to Sasuke than what they usually did just that they were without the usual tag along.

He wasn’t sure if that was comforting or worrying. On one hand it was relaxing because there was no need to try so hard to make the night run smoothly but if he had a moment to overthink it seemed that what seemed like a date to him was just a normal hangout to Sakura.

That had been running through his head throughout the movie. They only thing that was able to put his mind at ease and allow him to enjoy the film was when Sakura lifted the armrest so that she could curl into his side. She had always been very touchy and clingy but outside of what had been going on the past few weeks, it had been years since they were this close and comfortable around each other.

And he knew it was his fault for that.

“I want ice cream,” Sakura sighed, stretching her arms over her head.

“Did you bring your pills?”

“Duh. Kind of have to when all of the good food is made with dairy.”

“All of the good food?”

“Yeah, like ice cream and cheese pizza and pumpkin spice lattes and…”

Sakura prattled on listing all of her favorite foods but Sasuke was barely listening to them, more focused on watching the way her mouth shaped every syllable and how when a word caused her lips to spread a dimple formed.

He knew all of her favorite foods. It was bits of information he stored away, subconsciously stamping them as important.

Clear on his mind were smug grins or scowls, ever present with the way they always tried to one up each other. But her smiles and blushing were rare and he was getting spoiled with how often he could pull them from her now.

“And you know how much I love Vietnamese iced coffee.”

“Yeah, anything to get a high dose of sugar.” Sasuke’s face twisted up into a scowl at the thought.

“Oh, shut up. Sweets make my mouth happy.” There was a slight pause before she continued. “Amongst other things.”

Sasuke stopped in the middle of the theater lobby not sure if he had heard her correctly and was reading too much into it.

“Don’t think about it too hard,” Sakura burst into a peal of laughter. “But you can help me be very happy later.”

Sasuke’s eyes went wide and he gaped at her, unsure how to respond. He hadn’t expected her to tease him in such a crude manner in public.

“And if you’re still not sure what I’m talking about I’m referring to your━”

“Yeah I caught that,” Sasuke interrupted her. He grabbed her hand and sped out of the lobby before she could say anything else where people could hear her.


She tasted like taro gelato and the chocolate she had drizzled all over her scoop.

The plan wasn’t to end up in the backseat of his RAV4 but Sakura had slipped back there and had asked him to pull over somewhere secluded. He was going to ignore her and just go home when she had tossed him her leggings but as soon as her boyshorts hit his steering wheel he turned down a street going the opposite of their houses and parked in the dark parking lot of the community pool. He turned off the headlights and parked in a dark corner.

Sakura pulled on his sweater as he climbed over the center console and joined her in the backseat.

He was getting spoiled with all of her affection. But he was going to make the most of it while she was offering it to him.


Sakura knew her parents were going to wake her up early so they could have a big breakfast before she went back to school.

Her father would make her favorite blueberry waffles and her mom would pack her up two cartons of bao to take back to her dorm.

But she didn’t know if whatever she and Sasuke were would last past the night.

Dragging her fingers down his chest, brushing along the fine hairs that trailed down his lower abdomen, she listened to the way his breath hitched.

She committed to memory the way his chest rose and fell rapidly in sync with her own.

“I’m not done with you,” Sakura murmured, against his mouth. “Not yet.”

She trailed kisses along the underside of his jaw and down the line of his throat.

Not yet. Not yet. Not yet.

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