empty sheets would be easier
It wasn’t the first time she had shared a bed with someone. Just this past week she had shared a bed with someone twice before last night.
Sharing a bed with Sakura had been on purpose but also a mistake. The woman was constantly cold and had cocooned herself into a ball made of her duvet and sheets with only her feet sticking out. Karin had ended up shivering the whole night because Sakura had wrapped herself up so tightly that Karin couldn’t sneak into the cocoon of blankets with her.
Karin had not planned on sharing a bed with Sasuke, but she had attempted to be nice and put him in his and Sakura’s bed on her own and had ended up sideways and stuck under his weight until Sakura came home and freed her.
It wasn’t the first time she had shared a bed with someone, but it was definitely the first time she had shared a bed with someone and could not recall who the fuck it was and how the fuck she had ended up in her current situation.
Gingerly, Karin poked her bedmate on the head to see if he reacted. The only response she got was a soft murmur from behind the curtain of long hair that shielded his face. Sitting up in bed, Karin wrapped her arms around her knees and ran a hand down her face.
Whoever the mystery person was, he had a decent physique. He was around Suigetsu’s height and much leaner than Sasuke. His skin seemed extremely smooth and his hair was even silkier than Sakura’s best friend Ino.
Curiosity getting the better of her, Karin pushed back the strands of long hair blocking her view of the stranger’s face. Nodding to herself, Karin considered herself lucky. Despite the stress lines, mystery dude was pretty hot. He was almost as pretty as Sasuke which he kind of looked like as well.
That wasn’t too shocking once more memories of the day before started swimming to the forefront of her mind. She had been surrounded by a hell of a lot of Uchiha family members the day before considering Sasuke and Sakura finally had their official wedding and reception at the Uchiha estate.
Karin turned onto her stomach and reached over the edge of her bed, groping around for her clutch.
“Fuck yeah,” she whispered her cheer when she noticed her phone had at least thirty percent of it’s battery left. Pulling herself back up and noticing that mystery man still hadn’t woken up, Karin pushed back his hair and snapped a photo.
Someone had to know who the hell he was.
Ino Y. joined the group
Suigetsu H. joined the group
Jūgo S. joined the group
Karin U. changed the group’s name to “texts of shame”
Karin U.: Anyone know wtf this is?
Karin U.: [ATTACH:IMG]
Princess T&A: OMGGG
Princess T&A: well 1. Glad you’re alive cuz A. I had no clue where the FUCK you ran off to
Princess T&A: and 2. YOU REALLY DON’T KNOW WHO THAT IS???
Princess T&A: cuz B. that guy was literally the BEST MAN and stood across from us at the ceremony
Karin U.: I was wasted for like the whole wedding so no idk whoever the hell this is
Soggy Boy: 😂
Soggy Boy: Can I add Sasuke to this chat?
Best Boy: That would be a terrible decision.
Princess T&A: He’s also kind of…*busy*
Best Boy: how inebriated were you, Karin?
Karin U.: I was drinking on an empty stomach like all I ate was a fruit salad before I hit the open bar
Karin U.: Okay I had grapes
Karin U.: Alright FINE I only had wine before hitting the open bar
Princess T&A: This is why I tried to give you some fucking bread to eat
Princess T&A: and then you told me that you weren’t a fucking bird despite being as elegant as a swan
Soggy Boy: Aren’t swans like the devil?
Karin plugged her phone into her power bank and internally thanked Sakura for having bought it for her after one too many times that her phone had died while she was out. She was kind of perfect for Sasuke considering he was a mess of a human being. It was like his saint of a wife was designed for him.
It was a little unfair that Sasuke was married to someone that would make him tomato mozzarella paninis at two in the morning and Karin had woken up to one of his hungover relations who was still past out despite it being almost noon.
Karin slapped her cheeks and narrowed her eyes at her reflection in the ensuite’s mirror. Her foundation had melted and left her all patchy and one eyebrow was half missing. At least her mascara was still intact and not runny. Maybe it was in fact better than sex? She owed the brand a review.
“Thank you, Ino,” Karin hummed as she removed her emergency kit from her oversized clutch. When she had met Sakura’s childhood best friend, she just knew that the two of them were soul sisters.
Proof lied in the makeup pouch given to her when they had arrived before the reception. The pouch contained makeup remover wipes, aspirin, a travel toothbrush and toothpaste, a mini deodorant, spare panties, an eyebrow pencil, and a mini tube of mascara. Ino was truly a woman after her own heart.
Karin immediately took advantage of the makeup wipes. Taking quick inventory of the items in the bathroom, she decided the best course of action was to take a shower. She was feeling sticky and she was pretty damn sure only forty percent of the stickiness was from spilled alcohol.
She took a moment to just enjoy the perfect water pressure. She let the water fall down her back. There was something about showers after waking up that felt akin to what a baptism must feel like.
It wasn’t new information that Sasuke came from money, but it really was coming all back to her as she stood under the cascade of three separate shower heads. It was heavenly and she was going to make a request about having a similar shower installed wherever Sasuke and Sakura planned to move into.
But that was future talk that wouldn’t happen until the two of them came back from their honeymoon. Their freaking food tour of Asia honeymoon. It was still stuck in Karin’s mind that Sasuke was a trust fund kid and she was living in the closet size second bedroom of his apartment. One would think he would be able to afford a place where she had more walking space in her living quarters.
What Karin needed to focus on was the body still lying in bed when she walked out of the ensuite, towel wrapped tightly around her body. She would be concerned that he was dead if it weren’t for the way his body slightly shifted with his breathing.
“Hope you don’t mind, dude,” Karin muttered as she rifled through the drawers and closet for something to wear. There were sparse pickings, but what she did find made her wonder whose bedroom the two of them had stumbled upon.
Everything was designer and the complete opposite of Sasuke’s casual combination of skater and art hoe aesthetics. Whoever the hell usually used the bedroom they had taken over seemed to dress like he was always heading to a business lunch.
Luckily, Karin had found a henley in one of the drawers and tossed it over her head and slipped her arms through it. She didn’t bother looking for bottoms. She knew there was no way she was going to find anything that her slim hips could hold up. The person who she was borrowing the shirt from was at least tall enough to ensure that her stolen top was the length of a mini dress on her.
“How rude would it be to rifle through your pockets and look for a wallet?” Karin asked her still sleeping companion. Rolling her eyes, she decided to behave and took a seat at the desk, pulling her knees to her chest. She spun around in the chair until she was facing the desk properly.
Itty Bitty: pls tell me you’re near my duffle bag
Princess T&A: ofc I am
Princess T&A: *I* was a good girl last night and slept in my designated bedroom
Itty Bitty: Uh huh
Itty Bitty: So who’s the guy you’re all over in your story?
Princess T&A: For the love of God tell me you mean Snapchat and not IG
Itty Bitty: Don’t worry. Papa Yamanaka isn’t going to see any dirty dirty
Princess T&A: I think my mom would be worse tbh
Itty Bitty: Anywho
Itty Bitty: I need clothes
Awkwardly holding down the bottom hem of the henley with both hands, Karin shuffled as fast as she could down the hall to the opposite wing of the manor. It was the middle of the afternoon and someone was likely to see her making a dash for her designated bedroom with her lilac bridesmaid dress with the tulle skirt and oversized silver clutch tucked under her armpit.
Fortunately, she hadn’t run into anyone as she slipped into the guest bedroom she and Ino were supposed to use last night.
“You’re an actual trainwreck.” Ino paused in straightening her hair to turn and look at her.
Karin dumped her belongings on the twin bed that still had its perfect military tucks. She looked down at her stuff and then fell forward face down. “I forgot my heels.”
Ino shrugged and turned back around to use the vanity. “You can get them back later.”
Lifting her head up, Karin twisted her lips in a frown. “Your hair is already straight, why do you even bother?”
Ino clacked her flat iron at Karin threateningly, but ignored the question. Rolling her eyes, Karin rolled off of the bed, catching herself in a squat before straightening up. Standing behind Ino, she began to create a tight braid that ran against the line of her undercut on the left side of her head. Snatching the flat iron from Ino, she tamed her frizzing hair now that it was drying up.
“So, are you going to tell me who the hell I woke up next to?”
“Nope!” Ino pulled out her makeup box and beamed at her. “It’s funnier this way.”
“Sakura wouldn’t treat me like this.”
“Sakura is too busy recovering from being dicked down all night to be of any help to any of us right now.” Ino smacked her lips and pouted at her reflection. She nodded in approval at her choice in lip gloss before spinning around in her seat. “I had to make sure everything she needed for her trip was packed. She’ll be useless until brunch is served.”
“If you’ve seen that thing, you would know. I’m surprised he hasn’t broken her in half yet. She’s so tiny too.”
“I’m going to need therapy after this conversation. She’s a saint, she doesn’t get dicked down.”
“You literally live with them. Don’t you━”
“No. I refuse to entertain this conversation. Not unless you tell me who this Best Man is.”
Ino hummed to herself and packed up all of her makeup. She stood up and pinched Karin’s cheek, avoiding her flailing and slapping.
“You might want to put pants on before heading downstairs.” Ino dug into Karin’s floral print duffle bag and pulled out a pair of black leggings and tossed them at her. “Do you want the white sleeveless top that ties into a knot at front or your black, lacey bandeau and denim boyfriend shirt?”
“Help me put my leggings on?” Karin sat down on Ino’s bed and kicked her legs. “I’m barely functioning right now.”
“No. Act your age.”
“Ugh, fine.” Karin stood up and wiggled into her leggings. “Sakura wouldn’t treat me like this.”
Ignoring Ino’s selections from her clothes, Karin put on her slippers and grabbed her oversized sunglasses. She was going to assume that the day before was the only exception to the “no wearing shoes in the house” rule that all Asian families followed. It was an obnoxious rule for the giant Spanish Revival style home, but Karin wasn’t going to argue with Mikoto Uchiha.
“Don’t forget your slingbacks. We’re probably going to be eating on the patio.”
Groaning, Karin bent over to pull out her little black heels from where she had kicked them under her bed the morning of the wedding. She had barely been able to enjoy her temporary living quarters when the maid had informed her that the Uchiha and Haruno families were returning from the shrine to change for the church wedding.
The Uchiha family had been very accommodating and had agreed to have a church wedding for the Harunos because Mebuki followed the Catholic faith, as long as they could also have their traditional shrine wedding. Apparently the Uchiha family always wed at dawn with the rise of the sun. How anyone had dragged Sasuke out of bed in the morning, Karin didn’t know. No one could pay her enough to do that.
Sakura had ended up having three dress changes for her wedding. She wore a traditional shiromuku and then changed into a Haley Paige bridal gown━the ivory embroidered sparkle tulle ball gown with the taffeta floral applique with beaded accent and strapless sweetheart neckline and cascading skirt of tulle and organza over cashmere lining that everyone had agreed looked absolutely darling on her.
Karin thought Sakura looked sweet, but it was killing her how she had the details of the dress memorized. Ino had gushed about it almost every day since they had first found the gown and it got stuck in a never ending loop in her brain.
The bridal gown only lasted the wedding and the few hours of photos until Sakura then changed into her reception dress━a red, long, lace fishtail qipao style gown that clung to her curves. It was another thing that Mebuki Haruno had been adamant about and Mikoto was more than willing to accept.
Some time before the church wedding, Karin and Ino had popped open two bottles of wine and pregamed the church ceremony. The Uchiha lived on the edge of their family owned and operated vineyard and it would have just been rude for Karin not to try the wine that had made them rich. There were several types and Karin had enjoyed them liberally throughout the day.
There had been a lot of waiting around, so there had been a lot of drinking. Sasuke and Sakura had disappeared often so that Sasuke could take photographs with his own camera. They kept delaying the wedding schedule, but who was going to get mad at them? It was their wedding day and they were the perfect picture of a happy couple.
No one was mad, but by the time Sakura had changed━and Sasuke had lost his suit jacket━for the reception in the Uchihas’ backyard, Karin was smashed. Luckily she wasn’t the type to slur or wobble around obnoxiously like a certain blond guest she was unfortunately related to. But everything was a blur. It was as if she was present and absent at the same time.
She vaguely recalled commenting about the utter unfairness of the Uchiha family genes. Sasuke was easily the prettiest, only now being rivaled by the newest addition to the family, but not a single one of them was plain looking. Fugaku was a silver fox and Mikoto was aging like fine wine. Ino had snickered and crudely replied something about how ending the night with any of them would be a win.
Karin was very sure she had said something about climbing one of the Uchiha brood like a tree despite him lacking the height of some of his family members.
Wiping her face with her hands, Karin thanked the universe for building her with a figure that made bras pointless. She had slept a lot and was barely hungover, but her body was killing her. She was too sore and her meager breasts were tender. She was glad for the long sleeved henley she had stolen. It covered up all of the love bites she had found all over her body and was loose enough that it didn’t cling to her.
Following Ino to the patio, Karin hoped the Uchiha family had prepared a buffet for brunch. She had been friends with Sasuke for four years and knew how he ate so she didn’t expect anything less.
Sasuke and Sakura had beaten them down to brunch. They were already seated and dressed for the day. Sasuke cut up a piece of french toast and fed it to Sakura as she browsed through photographs on his camera, causing Karin to gag at the saccharine display of affection. Leaving a space open between her and Sasuke, she took a seat and poured herself a mimosa.
“They’ve been like that the whole time,” Suigetsu grumbled from his seat. He propped his chin up with his fist and sipped on a Bloody Mary. “Someone remind them that they’ve been married for like six months already so all of this cutesy shit is extra as fuck.”
“It’s okay, Sui,” Jūgo patted him on the back, “someday someone will love you too.”
“If love makes me act like an idiot, no thanks.”
Karin raised her glass at Suigetsu’s response. She had been there and never wanted back. Love had her rearranging her life for someone else, only for her girlfriend to decide that she just wasn’t feeling the relationship anymore.
Karin had been perfect. She made sure the apartment was always pristine and never forgot important events. She planned romantic nights in and out and pampered Tenten on days that work had been particularly rough. Karin played the perfect partner when she went to work events with Tenten.
But nothing she did could make her love her back.
Love didn’t operate on transactions, it was either there or it wasn’t.
Ignoring the happy couple, Karin whipped her phone out and scrolled through Instagram. Sakura had already posted some of the professional shots that had been taken. Ino had posted beautiful black and white photos of Sakura with an edit of her birth date and her wedding date on them. The caption read: R. I. P. Sakura Uchiha née Haruno. Got dicked down to death.
Karin snorted, the champagne in her mimosa burning her nostrils. Kiba, Sasuke’s friend from high school, had been sitting next to her and he dodged the spray, almost sitting on Ino’s lap.
“Ino!” Sakura’s face was a deep flush of red. She threw a strawberry across the table at Ino that Kiba caught with his mouth. “My mother follows you!”
“Oh, please.” Ino rolled her eyes. “Your mother’s been knowing about your sex life ever since you two got caught by the cops getting it on off the side of the road.”
“Wasn’t that Sasuke’s cousin?” Kiba asked after he swallowed. “It’s, like, always Shisui that catches them.”
“It was a regular thing?” Jūgo raised a brow at the couple and shifted his gaze back and forth between the childhood friends.
“Oh, yeah.” Kiba snickered into his cup of coffee.
“Oi.” Sasuke glared at him, but it made no difference. Karin was sure that everyone had more than enough experience with that look. It wasn’t the cold look of when he was actually angry and everyone could tell.
Four years with Sasuke and Karin knew the ticks of his facial expressions and what his mood was like with the slightest movement of his body. But what did she actually know about him? She only knew about his childhood sweetheart for a year now and now the two of them had been married for six months. She wouldn’t even have known about the first three months of the marriage if it hadn’t been for Sakura sending her and Ino messages from their elopement.
Grabbing at the array of food on the table, she loaded her plate with food, not caring for what any of it was as long as it was edible. There had been an aching pit in her stomach ever since she had woken up and it was time to fill it with something. It was most likely a result of eating nothing but the meal at the reception and cake.
Scrolling down her Instagram feed, Karin found more photos from the day before. Half of them were memes created by Kiba and Suigetsu but most of them were actual photos from the wedding. Her favorites were from Sasuke’s account which was shocking. Sasuke did miracles with his smartphone which considering the fact he had only owned one for a year, it was a little unfair that his skills were that great.
Mikoto Uchiha had focused a lot on family in her posts. There were so many family members and Karin barely knew the immediate members of what they called the “main family.” Sasuke had always been the guarded sort and so all she really knew was that he had a mother, a father, an older brother, and then some cousins.
She had first met Obito Uchiha when they were freshman. It was the one relative Sasuke couldn’t hide from them. He just showed up whenever he felt like it. He was over doting and kind of weird, but he had also taken them out to eat at places none of them, with the exception of Sasuke, would ever have been able to afford to go to.
She had only met Sasuke’s parents because of the wedding. It was more than a little awkward how much Mikoto Uchiha knew about her considering she had never met her before. Of course it had been Sakura who had told Mikoto all about Karin. Nevertheless, Mikoto had insisted on the both of them following each other on social media. Karin gave her her Instagram and Facebook because they were safest.
It was as she was scrolling through Mikoto’s posts that she started to find glimpses of the mystery man she had left sleeping in bed. He was in the background of multiple shots and in some of the more important ones, but for some reason he wasn’t tagged at all—even in the photos that he was posing with only Sasuke and Sasuke’s parents.
The amount of photos and the captions had Karin’s gears turning. Ino had mentioned he was the best man and there was supposed to be an older brother that would take over the business side of the family vineyard. Things were moving slowly in her still waking mind. She had the formula and the factors, but plugging them all together didn’t make it easier to read while her head ached.
“Is your brother still sleeping?”
Mikoto Uchiha breezed in, looking as elegant and proper as always. Karin wouldn’t have been surprised if the woman didn’t own a single pair of sweats and only wore satin slips and nightgowns to bed.
“That’s unusual. He’s usually the early riser while you sleep in as long as possible.”
Her comments were directed at Sasuke, but she smiled beatifically at all of them. It made Karin slump into her seat, feeling frumpier than before. Usually Karin was more put together and Mikoto Uchiha would be #Goals, but at the moment Karin just wanted a Bloody Mary, a detailed account of the night before, and possibly a nap by the pool.
“He disappeared sometime during the reception too.” Mikoto sat between Sakura and Jūgo and served herself a small portion of the fruit salad. “I figured we were too far out for him to run off to one of his Tinder hookups. What am I going to do with him?”
Karin stuffed three of the medallion pancakes on her plate into her mouth, ignoring the way everyone except for the Uchihas sitting down at the table looked at her. Processing everything no longer required more of her brain power.
“There you are!” Mikoto waved at someone behind Karin. “I was wondering when you would show up.”
“I needed a lie in after last night.”
The voice was deep and smooth and vaguely familiar. Which seemed like a good sign because it meant she had done more than take the guy to bone town possibly.
“Good afternoon, everyone.”
The owner of the voice took the available seat between Karin and Sasuke. He sat down with more grace than should have been allowed for someone that had just been in a coma.
Please tell me I didn’t fuck someone that dresses like he just parked his boat that his daddy bought him and is now looking for a mojito.
Sasuke’s brother was dressed in a breezy cotton button down shirt that was French tucked into a pair of gray pressed slacks.
“Not even bothering to hide all of that.” Sasuke pointed at his brother’s neck with distaste, circling his finger all over. “Stay classy, Itachi.”
Welp. At least she had a name now.
Sakura looked at Itachi’s neck to Karin’s steadily darkening cheeks. The red of them was intense under the white frame of her large sunglasses. It was pretty obvious what had happened and no one else seemed shocked in the least when they directed their attention to Karin.
Except for Sasuke. The only thing he was paying attention to was his omelette, but that was pretty typical of him.
Ino was looking much too entertained by the whole thing, which again, was pretty typical. It wouldn’t have surprised Sakura if Ino knew about whatever was going on with Itachi and Karin before they had shown up to brunch.
A lot had happened the day before apparently, especially at the reception. Sakura had been in her own little bubble with Sasuke so it wasn’t until they all got together the next day that she knew about anything.
Not a single Snapchat story was safe, nor any Instagram posts or Twitter feeds. Sakura had scoured all of her friends’ accounts to find out what they all had gotten into without them. There was lots of running through the fields and under the trellises recorded and even some memes about inside jokes that Sakura couldn’t understand.
She had spent most of her wedding sneaking off with her husband and acting like the newlywed couple her and Sasuke’s extended families believed they were. She had been chanting “our marriage, their wedding” for months as her mother and Mikoto Uchiha wedding planned like crazy and last night was the break that both she and Sasuke finally received.
Sakura was so sure that most of the wedding craze was punishment for running off and getting married behind everyone’s back. Neither she nor Sasuke wanted all of the hassle and work, but it was exactly what they ended up having to do in the end.
At least they got a food tour of Asia for their honeymoon slash Sasuke’s graduation gift as a result of having to put up with all of the wedding shenanigans. Sasuke had almost fallen asleep standing up during their dawn shrine ceremony.
Sasuke sighed from his seat next to her, slipping his fingers between hers under the table. In his other hand was his phone as he scrolled through their itinerary.
“I can’t believe the flight is going to be over twenty-two hours.”
“Good thing we will be flying in luxury and get our own special suite.” Sakura rolled her eyes, but squeezed his hand affectionately.
“My parents had no idea what they were doing when they booked us a double suite.”
“Sasuke.” Sakura shot him a pointed look. “I doubt the dividers will give us that much privacy.”
“We’ll just be quiet.”
“That’s exactly what you said about one of our hostel bookings when you realized we weren’t getting our own private quarters.” Sakura rolled her eyes again and poked him in the cheek. Her phone chiming interrupted her from flirting with her husband.
Sakura U. has joined the group
“Texts of Shame”
🐷: Stop making bedroom eyes at your husband and make fun of Karin with us
Sakura U.: Leave her alone. She already had the misfortune of sleeping with Itachi out of all of the available guests
Little Red💖: Wait. What’s wrong with him?
Sakura U.: Well his lesser crime is that he dresses like a frat boy that just parked his boat that his daddy bought him
Little Red💖: OMG HE DOES
🦈Sui🦈: What did you do last night? Leech him?
Jūgo: Karin, if you’re not careful he’s going to see the group chat
Little Red💖: Fuck this I’m out
Little Red💖: You bitches better be getting your swimsuits and joining me at the pool
Jūgo: Does that include me?
Little Red💖: The bitches and one best boy better meet me at the pool
🦈Sui🦈: If Sakura is like Karin’s mother figure, does that mean she just fucked her uncle?
Little Red💖: Okay Soggy Boy, Wet Boy, Never Fucking Dry is BLOCKED
“Why did it take you almost an hour to change into a teeny bikini?” Ino crossed her arms in front of her chest and raised a brow as Sakura slid into the pool chair next to her.
“My husband wanted to take a nap.”
“How has he not killed you yet?”
“I don’t know, but anymore and not even sitting on a bag of frozen peas is going to help,” Sakura grumbled, adjusting her sarong and sheer kimono wrap, as Ino guffawed and slipped her sunglasses back on. “How is Karin doing?”
“I think she’s trying to drown herself in the shallow end of the pool right now.”
Sakura craned her neck to get a better view of the other end of the pool. Suigetsu was circling around Karin, who was only noticeable because her bright red hair was swirling on the surface of the water.
“Does the hubby know that one of his friends slept with his older brother?” Ino asked, pouring Sakura a glass of wine. Sakura wasn’t much of a drinker unless Sasuke was around, but she was in his family home and safe to indulge.
“If he did we wouldn’t be having a peaceful afternoon.” Sakura sighed, taking a small sip of wine, biting down on the rim of the glass with her lips in thought. “I’m not even sure who he would be more upset with, Karin or Itachi.”
Sakura laid back, relaxing under the sun, for fifteen minutes before Karin stalked up the steps of the shallow end and walked around to the pool chairs by the deep end. She took out one of her ear buds and lowered the volume on her phone as Karin slumped into a seat next to her.
“What’s up?” Karin whipped her wet hair over her shoulder and reached over Sakura to grab the wine on the table between her and Ino.
“Sasuke sent me a playlist so I’m listening to it and I’m freckling since I can’t tan for shit.”
Ino snickered as she continued to apply tanning lotion on her legs. Sakura scowled at her, knowing Ino would get a nice glow despite freckling on her shoulders. Sakura had to avoid direct sunlight the days leading up to her wedding so that her skin would be nice and smooth with only her natural light dusting of freckles on her face which was covered up with makeup regardless. Sasori and Obito had done an amazing job on her hair and makeup.
“What are the odds of Sasuke paying for an Uber back to our place so I can escape any potential awkwardness?” Karin tugged on the collar of her long sleeve rashguard. As a ginger, she had to protect herself even more than Sakura did or she would turn into a giant freckle.
“That’s almost two hours away so not likely at all.” Sakura sat up and grabbed a dry towel, ruffling Karin’s hair dry. “I still can’t believe you slept with Sasuke’s brother. Did I think you would sleep with someone? Maybe I did. Did I think it would be him? Not at all.”
“I don’t even remember how it happened and much of last night so it feels like a rip off.” Karin groaned, pulling off her rashguard and wrapping herself up with a fluffy beach towel.
“I kind of ditched you at the bar and ran off with one of Sasuke’s cousins, Sai or whatever. You know, the one that’s a cousin but doesn’t have the Uchiha last name?”
“Oh, we all know that.” Sakura snorted. “It’s all over your Snapchat story.”
Ino pushed her until she fell sideways back on to her pool chair. Sakura kept giggling and grabbed her phone to pull up photos she had screenshot. The two of them wrestled over Sakura’s cell phone until Jūgo came over and split them up and sat down on Karin’s pool chair, taking up all of the available space so that she had to switch seats and sit with Sakura.
“Where were you last night?” Karin narrowed her eyes at him, tucking her towel tighter around her body. “Why was no one around to stop me from making stupid decisions?”
“I was trying to get laid,” Ino defended herself with a smirk. “And we all know Sakura was off consummating her marriage again.” Sakura slapped her leg. “And I think the boys went to go find the stables.”
“That explains why I woke up in the middle of the fields covered in hay.” Jūgo hummed, satisfied with finally getting an explanation.
“They left you in the field?” Sakura stared at him, horrified.
“At least it wasn’t raining.”
“This is almost as bad as them losing you and you were almost an hour away at my place.”
“I got fresh baked bread out of that.”
Sakura rolled her eyes and slid her sunglasses back on. She still didn’t know how it was possible that Sasuke got drunk enough to black out with his college friends. He consumed his own weight in alcohol whenever they hung out with their childhood friends and nothing ever happened to him.
“Kiba wants us to get together and hang out just all of us tonight,” Ino announced, looking down at her phone. “Is that alright with everyone?”
Sakura scrunched up her nose in distaste and shook her head. “I have a flight to catch tomorrow and I’d rather not be hungover for that.”
“Just have Sasuke drink your drinks. It’ll be like high school all over again.”
Suigetsu cackled from the deep end of the pool, clutching the edge. “Ha! Lightweight.”
“Can’t hang out anyway.” Karin grabbed her cellphone from the table between Ino’s chair and the one she shared with Sakura. “I have to start crowdfunding for an Uber home.”
“Oh, honey…you’re never going to get enough.” Ino clucked her tongue. “Just wait until I can take you back tomorrow.”
“Ha! Someone sent me three dollars already,” Karin cheered. “Ah, fuck. It’s from Sasuke. His note says to return his wife and to not destroy the apartment.”
Sakura stood up and grabbed her things, making sure that her kimono and sarong didn’t shift and reveal any marks Sasuke had left behind. “I’m surprised he sent you anything.”
“He’s mocking me,” Karin grumbled, not looking up from her phone. “He could have paid for my Uber.”
“Good luck, Karin.” Sakura waved behind her as she walked up the stone stepping stones to the patio.
Despite what she had said, she and Sasuke would both end up hanging out with their friends later that night. Shisui had insisted on using the firepit which meant their friends would be staying or returning for the bonfire.
She knew Sasuke had only been messing with Karin when he had sent her the note demanding her return, but Sakura still chose to head back inside. It had been an interesting past three months and sneaking around yesterday and hiding throughout the massive expanse of the grounds was the closest they had gotten to being properly alone in a long time.
He’ll probably be hungry again.
Sakura headed toward the kitchen and sighed contently when she found it empty. She had no idea how Mikoto dealt with having staff in her home. She wouldn’t have the patience to explain to a housekeeper that she wanted to cook for her own family. Growing up with Sasuke and visiting the Uchiha estate, it had been hard to wander in the kitchen to look for a snack with someone hovering over her and asking her how they could help and insisting they could get her whatever she needed.
Pulling out ingredients from the fridge and the pantry, Sakura hummed to herself as she prepared to make caprese garlic bread.
She had just finished spreading her garlic, parsley, and butter spread on the loaves of ciabatta that had most likely come from her family’s bakery, when the kitchen door swung open.
Realizing that it was only Itachi, Sakura turned her attention back to placing her ciabatta in the oven and the pot of balsamic vinegar and honey she had on the stove.
“What are you doing?” Itachi asked her. She kept her eyes on what was going to become a glaze for the bread and ignored Itachi who was grabbing something from the fridge.
Sakura continued with her business as if he weren’t there, topping the toasted ciabatta bread with shredded mozzarella and slices of tomatoes. She hummed to herself as she moved about the kitchen.
“Making something for Sasuke?” Itachi cut in once more. Sighing, Sakura cleaned up what she no longer needed and finally turned to him to give him the attention he was seeking. “Seems awfully…performative.”
Bracing her hands on the kitchen island, Sakura forced a smile on her face. “What do you mean?”
“Just that there’s a whole spread available.” Itachi gestured to the food laid out on the counter for the guests to grab whenever they felt like it. “And you’re playing up the part of wife by making something else.”
“Wow, how cunning I am.” Sakura rolled her eyes and pulled her phone out of her pocket to check the time and send Sasuke a quick text. “How dare I make something my husband would like. How dare I care enough to make something instead of just grabbing from what’s in front of me.”
Out of all of the people invited to her wedding, Sasuke’s creepy brother was the last person she would have wanted Karin to end up hooking up with. Growing up, Sakura had never quite liked him. She tolerated him as an unfortunate relation of Sasuke’s, but preferred to ignore him.
Karin—to Sakura at least—was like chocolate. She held firm and could be bitter or sweet, but with just a little bit of warmth, she melted.
And then Itachi was like plum wine━sour.
Having watched Sasuke chase after his brother until he reached his teens and finally lost his hero worship of Itachi, Sakura wasn’t keen on Karin getting close to him.
It didn’t help that Itachi kept blaming her for the elopement, refusing to believe the truth that it had been Sasuke’s idea. No one could make Sasuke do anything he didn’t want to do and yet Itachi still hung onto the belief that Sakura had somehow coerced him into it.
“The glaze is too sweet.”
“And yet, Sasuke has been fine with it every time I make this.” Sakura’s cheeks hurt from the smile she was forcing on her face.
Every time Itachi acted as if he knew better she would get the urge to pull his hair as if she were twelve again and wrestling with Ino. She wanted to tug on silky strands that are incredibly different than Sasuke’s and tell him off—tell him that Sasuke wasn’t eight years old anymore and ate all of his food like a big boy and that Itachi didn’t know him as well as he thought he did.
Sakura straightened up, standing as tall as she can in her resolve and clutched tightly to the tray she had just prepared. “I know you are more than aware about what happened last night. And I know you don’t care about what I have to say. But Karin is Sasuke’s friend. Just remember that.”
Without giving him a chance to respond, Sakura scurried out of the kitchen through the swinging doors that led to the small service corridor that led to the back staircase to the living quarters in the upper floor.
She grew up in the service corridor and sometimes it felt like that’s where Itachi had expected her to stay, just the daughter of the private chef the Uchiha family had hired. He would never say so and he probably didn’t actually have any opinion of her, but she felt it in the false smiles he gave her.
Sakura gave them right back. She may have held her tongue, but Sakura had her own feelings about the neglectful older brother with his warped sense of familial love.
No one said you had to like all of your in-laws.
She made her way up the back staircase like she had been doing for years. Like she had when she was seven and curious. When she was thirteen and sneaking up to see her friend. When she was sixteen and her boyfriend was waiting for her. And now when she was twenty-one and bringing up a snack to her husband.
Sakura could have found her way to Sasuke’s room in the dark—and had a handful of times. She rapped her knuckles against the door, her own special knock, before opening it.
Sasuke was at his desk, his laptop and external hard drive set up as if he had been working. The eucalyptus scented candles from earlier were still burning away and the heady scent was heavy in the air.
“Hey, darling. Working on your portfolio?” She asked, setting the tray on top of an empty spot on his desk before sliding onto his lap. She sat on his knee, legs tucked between his spread legs. Sasuke’s arm moved fluidly to support her back with a readiness that could be attributed to muscle memory.
“Just editing a few things first.”
On his laptop’s monitor is one of the photos he had taken of her in her church ceremony gown. The lighting is a lot better than the original, taking it from a pretty image to perfect.
“You know what’s a great photo?” Sakura minimized the program and scrolled through the folder with the uploaded photographs while Sasuke reached around her for a slice of cheesy garlic bread. “This one.”
Sasuke had captured photographs of their friends throughout the wedding without their knowledge. One of Sakura’s favorites was a candid of Karin looking bored and leaning over the railing of the viewing dock at the lake on the property.
“I can’t believe she was sloshed during this.” It always amazed Sakura how Karin could pass for sober when she was actually completely wrecked. “Print this for the apartment.”
“Fine,” was his muffled reply, cheeks full of bread.
She scrolled through the photographs again while Sasuke ate, making note of which ones she wanted to have printed. Sakura was halfway through the photographs when she felt Sasuke fingering the edge of her bikini bottoms and pulling at the knot of her sarong.
“Nope.” She swatted at his hand. “I’m too sore.”
Sasuke sighed and dropped his chin on her shoulder. Wrapping his arm around her and shifting her in his lap, he continued to work on his edits.
Sakura gasped when he selected another image to edit. “You can’t even tell I’m short as fuck in this shot.”
Sasuke snorted, hiding his laughter in the crook of her shoulder.
“We have to get this one printed!”
Karin ended up getting a burn across the bridge of her nose. She was going to hate her life when the skin began to peel. Sasuke’s mother had gotten her some aloe for it, but it didn’t keep her from grumbling in annoyance.
Her face already felt hot from her burn and the fire roaring in the pit wasn’t helping.
After an afternoon floating in the shallow end of the pool and staring at the sky, Karin had calmed down enough to deal with spending another night at the Uchiha estate.
She hadn’t received enough funds through crowdfunding to pay for the expensive Uber ride. Most of her friends and classmates thought it was funny and some of her followers could only wish her luck.
I should have offered to sell some shirtless pics of Sasuke.
Selling the photos would have probably succeeded in funding the lift home and annoyed Sasuke. Unfortunately, she wouldn’t have had any opportunities to obtain any since he would be heading to the airport the following day and she would have the apartment to herself for six weeks.
It was finally starting to set in that she would be alone for the first time in three months since she had broken up with Tenten. When the relationship had imploded, Sasuke had picked her up from the stoop of her former apartment building and she had been living with him and occasionally Sakura ever since. It was mostly her and Sasuke because Sakura worked in her parents’ bakery and attended culinary school in their hometown, but Sakura spent the weekends with them like she had apparently been doing since Sasuke got his own apartment on campus.
It had been a while since she was on her own. At least that’s how it felt after living with Sasuke and Sakura. It had only been three months and yet it highlighted how lonely she had felt in her relationship with Tenten.
She had spent so long throwing so much of herself into the relationship that she had just ended up continuing the cycle of letting someone take and take from her. It hadn’t been Tenten’s fault. Karin had easily shifted into the same role she usually filled until she was no longer wanted.
Karin wasn’t just bad at relationships, she was flat out terrible at them. She tried too hard and was left with nothing of herself in the end.
But it was what made the past three months so refreshing. It had been so long since she was allowed to just be. No one had any expectations for her, she didn’t have to force herself to match up to a partner or anyone.
She lounged around the apartment and Sasuke didn’t demand she pay rent and he had known her long enough to see through her attempts of trying to be as low maintenance as possible. He shot her disgusted looks whenever she curled herself up and tried to take up the least amount of space as possible.
He still shot her disgusted looks when she took over the common areas in the apartment, but it was a more endearing and warmer disgusted look—a friendly disgusted look that she had grown accustomed to during their years of friendship.
And then there was Sakura.
Karin looked across the fire pit to where Sakura was lounging against Sasuke’s back, wearing a pair of cutoffs and an old, oversized sweater that clearly belonged to Sasuke. Karin had been resistant at first, but Sakura practically forced her care upon her. No need to ask, no requests made━Sakura still made sure she had what she needed, even if Karin hadn’t realized it was what she had needed in the first place.
It hurt how eye opening it was that her friends spoiled her and cared for her more than any of the people she took herself apart for because she craved their love and approval.
Sasuke strummed the chords to La Vie En Rose and Karin rolled her eyes. It was cheesy and ridiculous. It had been the song played for his and Sakura’s first dance. Next thing she knew, Sasuke was going to break out in the original French like the pretentious shit he could be.
“Sing with your brother.”
Karin’s attention was redirected to the far side of the fire pit where Shisui was egging his cousin on, elbowing him in the ribs. Itachi shook his head with a soft smile.
“You know I can’t carry a tune to save my life.”
Karin cocked her head to the side in thought. The comment had sparked a memory of a familiar conversation. A conversation of someone declining to dance with her when one of the meddling old men suggested it because they were rhythmically challenged and couldn’t connect with music. She remembered reassuring them that it was fine because she had no hand-eye coordination.
She was still in slight shock that she had slept with Itachi Uchiha. He was nothing like any of the people she had dated in the past. He was more put together than any of them and looked like he belonged to a yacht club while her exes were regulars at biker bars. She had no clue what she could have possibly talked to him about before ending up in his bed.
Shaking her head, Karin grabbed one of the hard ciders and walked over to Sasuke and Sakura, squishing herself between the couple and curling herself around Sakura’s arm. Thinking on it wouldn’t do her any good and it wouldn’t have mattered.
It wasn’t as if she would come across Itachi Uchiha again.