Disclaimer: I do not own FF8 in any way shape or form… It is the property and great art of SQUARESOFT.

Summary: Rinoa is a typical, rich teenage girl living in a materialistic world.  Cell phones, make up, movie stars and cars.  Popular among guys and idolized by girls she thinks she's living a great life.  Her only insignificant problems are her two brothers however she's about to experience one more.

Note: This will always be in someone's POV.  In this chapter, it's Squall's.

Chapter I

I paced around my jeep endlessly.  The collar of my shirt was itchy, not to mention tight and I felt like a genuine loser in my black dress pants.  I licked my dry, cracked lips nervously and looked at my watch.  Noon… They're expecting me now. 

This was stupid, I was 19 and I could very well take care of myself.  However, the council had decided that until Garden was rebuilt I would live with a temporary foster family.

Foster family my ass.  General Caraway himself was a respectable man, I've got nothing against the guy but… His wife, 'angel' and two twerps I could do without.

Well… I guess I could start by the beginning.  I'm Leonheart, a 19 year old that was given the position of Commander of Balamb Garden.  Of course I was thrilled… Who wouldn't be?  I would finally get to leave Esthar and, not to mention, my father Laguna.  However, plans slightly shifted.

When good old 'Dad' (that was sarcasm by the way) went to visit the building plans for Balamb Garden, there was a terrorist attack on the frame of the structure, killing not only the workers but my last remaining parent.

The World Council agreed that I should have a guardian until Balamb Garden was complete.  General Caraway was chosen as the ideal man for the job.  So that's why I'm here.

The Council said I'd be staying with him for a year.  A year… A whole fucking year.  This must be some sort of survival test.  A year spent with an ex-bar singer, a rich chick and two monkeys?  Yeah, that must be it… A survival test.

I inhaled and exhaled, trying to keep the nervousness down.  My only hope now resided in Hyne, the almighty goddess herself.  I stepped onto the decorative cobblestone path.  Hmm… If his wife did the exterior decoration, I just hoped she had a little more taste for the inside. 

I knocked once and stood up straight.  No slouching in front of military figures, I learnt that the hard way.  I wouldn't want Caraway to make me do push-ups on the first day now, would I?

A plump lady answered the door; she was wearing a black skirt and a white blouse.  Julia?  Wow, didn't know Caraway like these types.

"Leonheart?" She asked in a thick southern accent, the type that resides in Winhill… The type of accents I make fun of.

"Yes, that would be me." I replied as politely as possible, biting the inside of my mouth as not to burst out laughing.

"Ah!" She gave off a deep, belly laugh, "We've been expecting you. I'm Joan, the one and only maid."

I grinned helplessly… a nanny.  Now I have a nanny.  "Pleasure to meet you."

She ushered me inside and I looked about.  The entry hall was quite impressive, a huge chandelier was hanging from the cathedral ceiling and the large room opened up to an immense spiraling staircase.  Pretty nice…

Caraway came from an eastern doorway that, I assumed, lead to a living room. 

"Squall, nice to see you." He smiled sympathetically; no doubt he thought I was still affected by my father's death.

A woman followed his footsteps; she had a delicate figure and long, dark, sweeping hair.  So Caraway did have good taste.

"Hello, sir." I greeted politely, "Ma'am."

"No need of the formalities, Squall." Julia reassured me, "Besides, you'll be living here for a year."

Oh quit reminding me lady… "Thank you." I try to smile thankfully.

"Joan, please do me a favor and get the boys and Rinoa." Caraway ordered the nanny.

She just nodded and hobbled away.  "So, Leonheart, as soon as you meet everyone we'll show you around the house." The general grinned and shook my hand; "It's really a pleasure for us to have you in our household… Even if it is only for a short time."

A short time?  You call a year short?  Good Hyne, are you crazy? "It is an honor to be accepted into your household, sir." I tried to smile as pleasantly as possible.

Suddenly, two boys entered the room from the same door their father entered in.

The tall one was about twelve, had short black hair and was wearing shorts and a hooded sweater, "Hey, I'm Michael." He held out his hand.

"Hey, I'm Squall." I shook his hand, not too hyperactive for a kid.  I found the other pulling on my pant leg because he was so short.

"I'm Stuart!" He grinned in all his bowl-cut glory.

"Uh, hi." I grinned.  He couldn't be older then seven.

A woofing noise was heard and a German Shepard dog sped into the room.  "Angelo!" Stuart ran up to him and scratched him behind the ears.

"That's our dog." The older kid said.  As if I couldn't guess. 

Joan waddled back into the room, "Rinoa'll be here soon." She smiled.

"Well, what is she doing?" Caraway asked impatiently.

"Looking for her science textbook." Joan replied, hiding a smile.

Michael snorted, "Third one she's lost this term."

Stuart giggled helplessly; Julia bit her lip and looked at her husband inquisitively.  He just groaned.

Without prior notice, what I assumed to be Rinoa bounced in the room, "Hey." She breathed.

 She was… Wow.  Wearing jeans and a sweater was what I knew they called an angel.  She had her make-up nicely done and everything.  The type of girls you only find in mansions.

I tried to look unaffected… Yeah, laugh at me if you will, but it's really hard to look unaffected when something like her walks in a room. 

I felt like saying something like, "Hey, nice jeans." But I shut my mouth in the fear that Caraway would castrate me.

"Hi." I said rather stupidly.  I never was good at breaking the ice. 

"Uh, hi." She replied. 

"Find your textbook?" Michael asked tauntingly at his sister.

Her jaw clenched immediately, "No… I didn't… Mikey… why?"

"I bet with Stu that you'd be stupid enough to lose another one this term.  So are you?"

Her eyes shot out electric signals and she was about to open her mouth when Caraway stepped in, "Enough.  Mikey, show a bit of respect and Rinoa will you stop losing your textbooks."

Her mouth snapped shut and Mikey grinned triumphantly at her.  Julia gave off a forceful, nervous laugh, "Well, shall we give you the tour of the house, Squall?" 

"Yes, that would be great." I agreed and spotted from the corner of my eye, Rinoa mouthing 'I'm going to kill you.' to her beloved brother and his response was a grimace. 

The house was huge.  Vast hallways, beautifully decorated rooms, an indoor pool… I didn't even have that in Esthar.

"That's my room." Stuart pointed excitedly, "If you want, you can come play with our toys anytime you want."

He grabbed my wrist and pulled me further in the hallway, "That's our play room though… We have a PS2, an XBOX and a GameCube!  Come, come!  Race against me in a racing game!"

He pulled me into the room.  I soon found out the room had satellite television.  The older kid followed us solemnly.  I began to wonder… What was wrong with that kid anyways?

I raced against Stuart… Actually, I was told to call him 'Stu' all afternoon.  Now, my dignity might disappear with the next sentence: The kid beat me at everything we played.  The older kid just sat back and watched… Not saying a thing.

"Mikey!" I heard a shriek ring through the halls.

Rinoa stomped in the room and I turned around.  She seemed surprised to see me there.  She cleared her throat and mumbled an apology.  Then turned to the kid, "Come here."

"It wasn't me." He replied.

"Never said it was…" She said in an over-sweet way, "Now come here."

"Beat you!" Stuart cried out loud and my attention returned to the racing game that I had neglected as she had walked in the room.

"It wasn't me." Michael repeated.

Rinoa glared at him, "You don't get it do you?  I need that book."

I seemed to completely disappear from the room as the natural course of things took their place in the household. 

Michael stood up and shouted back angrily, "Why do you always blame me?  I didn't take your freaking textbook!"

"Then who did?" Rinoa seemed better at keeping her composure, "Your imaginary friend?"

"I hate you!" Michael screamed and then he put on a tone of mockery, "Maybe Jake took it!"

"I highly doubt it." Her jaw clenched.

"Oh that's right… The idiot doesn't know how to read." Michael grinned triumphantly.

"And you do?" She smirked as her brother fell into the trap and she imitated his reading skills, "Th-the d-d-d-og jum-ju-jumps."

"Shut up!" Michael spat back.

I continued to stare in awe when finally they noticed me there.  Yeah… Hi, I'm the guy that'll be living with you for a whole year.  Well … that's what I felt like saying anyways.

Michael stuck out his tongue, "Good job, Rinoa.  Way to make a first impression."

His response was a nasty glare and then she turned to me, "Welcome to the Caraway Heartilly household… What you have just witnessed is a weak argument, over the months they will continue to get worse until I finally kill the little bastard." Then she turned on her heel and left.

Now I might not be good at predicting things… But I had the tingling feeling that things were already starting to go downhill.

Sammy-Chan: Tee hee hee… I hoped you liked the first story… I haven't gotten the basic plot line of this story yet however I promise you more… If you like it that it.  So please review and judging by the comments in the reviews I shall henceforth decide whether to keep going or if this story just isn't interesting.  Well, see ya later!  Bye bye!

Beta's Note: Wow! They swear around a kid that's seven… Interesting… You know, kids like that tend to imitate what they hear… I should know… Trust me.  You should write that. Yes, it was a suggestion. And onto point number 2: Punctuation Is Your Friend.  Commas, periods and ellipses' are your friends. Don't be afraid… They don't bite… Or at least not to my knowledge… *Gives a big, toothy grin* Anyways, I gots bio and French to do. Talk to ya later. Oh yeah! Before I forget, what does the title have to do with the story?