Chapter One - Problems

"So it's pretty much a given now."

She remained silent and he dared to look at her only for a brief moment, her eyes downcast, her legs crossed by the ankles, feet dangling over the pier, the soft breeze ruffling her hair and clothes slightly. He sighed heavily, the thick lump in his throat making breathing painful.

"You know..." Soul trailed off, running a shaky hand through his hair, his eyes vacantly staring ahead at the sunset. "We could just tell them about us."

Her head snapped up, her eyes blazing, and he was sort of glad for that. She had been eerily silent and stoic for the last twenty minutes or so. He had expected her voice to come out shrill and angry, something that would match the glare she was giving him, but when she parted her lips to speak, her voice was soft, defeated.

"Tell our parents to call their engagement off because their respective teenage kids happened to have started dating before they decided to get hitched?" She snorted loudly, contempt spilling from her in waves. "I can't do that to my mom; because since she divorced from my dad I have never seen her this happy. She's actually happy with your dad, Soul. I can't do this to her. We're going to be step-siblings, Soul, we might as well come to terms with it."

He wanted to retort, let sarcasm and his irritation weave into every word, but in the end nothing came out of his mouth. As much as he loathed to admit it, Maka had a pretty good point. His dad was happy with her mom and ruining that by admitting that he had the hots for his future stepsister was not something he had in himself. Sure he was, when it came down to it, the "rebel-son", at least compared to Wes, but even he couldn't do this.

"So it's over now?"

She tensed up, her breath hissing sharply in between clenched teeth. He knew her answer, and asking her was moot and he understood her perfectly and deep down he knew it was the right thing to end their shaky relationship right now.

"What do you think? We have to."

It hurt more than he would like to admit. He didn't like feeling this way, so vulnerable and crushed. He took a shaky breath, squeezing his eyes shut, bowing his head dejectedly. "Okay then."

There was nothing more to say, so he silently stood up, fearing that if he remained at her side any longer, he might burst into tears or something that was as uncool. He smoothed his hands over his pants, dusting the dirt off that had accumulated as they sat. Without looking back, he said, "I guess we'll be seeing each other more often from now, huh?" He stuffed his hands into the pockets of his jeans, his fists clenched tightly, nails digging into his palms forcefully. "See you."

"Soul, wait!"

And he did. He made the mistake of turning around and seeing her teary eyes. He groaned. He definitely couldn't handle her tears, but what did she expect him to do? To hold and comfort her as he had done so a few years back when the divorce of her parents had been eventually finalized? It would kill him. It was going to be hell to see her every day and pretend that everything between them hadn't happened, robbing all of its importance and significance to him.

"What do you want?"

He didn't mean to sound so harsh and he regretted it the moment he saw her wincing. He shouldn't forget that this took as much of a toll on her as it did on him. Maybe things would have turned out differently if they hadn't kept their relationship a secret. There was no use in dwelling on that, though; it wasn't like they could change things.

She was shaking; he wasn't sure if it was from the slight chill in the evening air or from something else. "Maybe a last kiss?" He should refuse her, avoid making their "goodbye" more painful. That was what he told himself. Her eyes, her damn big, green, beautiful, teary eyes made it impossible to say "no".

He budged, gathering her in his arms and pouring everything into the kiss. Her hands fisted in his hair, making him groan and bite her lip. They were being careless, someone might see them. Maybe that was why he was prolonging the kiss, too. Maybe he wanted someone to see them, maybe he wanted it all to come out; he was selfish like that.

In the end, when they parted from their last hug and said their goodbyes again, they went their separate ways, dreading the day they wouldn't be able to escape each other because they would be living together and ignoring their history as a couple.

He had to admit that the days around the wedding were not that difficult to deal with since everyone was very stressed with the preparations and such. Of course, that didn't mean that his heart didn't feel like it shattered into a million pieces whenever he saw her, especially when they were forced to stay close together during the reception.

Maka was handling this much better than he was. She had an impeccable way of looking happy even if she wasn't─ at least any outsider would say she looked happy. He knew her well enough to read her like a book. Her smile was definitely strained, not reaching her dull and blank eyes. Whenever she smiled sincerely, her eyes would shine brightly and his heart would always skip a beat because he would be so enraptured by her radiant smile.

He grimaced. He sounded like a lovesick idiot. Well, if he liked it or not, he was a lovesick idiot. Next to him, his brother nudged him gently against his shoulder, a pleasant smile plastered on his face as always.

"What the hell, Wes?" Soul hissed, trying to jab him with his elbow back.

"Stop it. At least pretend to look like you're happy for dad."


"You look like you want to kill someone."

Soul grumbled under his breath about stupid brothers and stupid weddings and stupid stepmothers, which only earned him a light smack on his shoulder and a disapproving scowl by his brother.

"Behave, little brother," he said, his scowl immediately transforming into a charming smile when another wave of guests passed them. "I know you don't like to play by the rules and I know it isn't easy to accept someone else than mom at dad's side so soon after the divorce." Soul looked up at the harsh timbre of Wes' voice, but chose not to comment on it, although it did make him feel a little bad. He had not been thinking about his mom because he had been toobusy wailing inwardly about his his lost girlfriend like the teenager he was. Never once had it occurred to him how others aside from him and Maka were taking his father's remarriage and maybe he should call his mom after this and try to be less selfish and─

"But at least try to be happy for dad, okay? And before you can protest, you are going to dance with our dear stepmother and stepsister."

His spine stiffened at this, but he nodded nevertheless. Making a scene was not cool, and he was going to try to not to think of himself and Maka but of the bigger picture. It wasn't like he couldn't date other girls and it wasn't like he didn't have girls pining after him and it wasn't like he couldn't─

One glance at Maka dancing clumsily with his dad made his thoughts crumple together like a flimsily built house of cards. Their eyes locked for a moment and the prospect of dating other people was no more. He hung his head, downed a glass of champagne ignoring the aghast eyes of some of his older relatives, and cursed at Wes when he nudged him with his elbow and told him not to drink like an alcoholic─not to mention he was not old enough to drink to begin with.

The evening dragged on to the point he felt like he was stuck in a time loop. In the end, he did what was expected of him. He danced with Maka only once because he couldn't handle her proximity right now, but she hadn't exactly protested, and made sure to avoid him for the majority of the festivities.

His stepmother was a nice person and unlike his mom, a lot more open with her emotions and compliments. It had made him happy that she had taken such a liking to his music, not many people did, and it had certainly helped that she genuinely looked like she enjoyed it. She certainly seemed to care a lot about the people around her and was not afraid to express it. At least that was how she appeared to him at first glance, but there had been instances in which he had felt like an inferior creature in her presence, a calculating glint in her eyes, sizing him up, judging without ever looking like she was. His mom was a very blunt person, never one for passive-aggressiveness, always telling what was on her mind in that cool, detached way of hers.

Soul couldn't help but think his stepmother was like a ticking time bomb or like a volcano, dormant for some time, only to startle and surprise everyone in the vicinity with a powerful eruption of lava, smoke and fire.

It was a matter of time really.

With Wes gone back to continue classes and their parents, no, not their parents, his father and her mother off to their honeymoon, leaving them alone in the large house, it was as if fate was really waiting for it to happen.

Maybe it had been stupid on his part to join her by the pool. She didn't make it any better in that skimpy bikini. Actually, her bikini wasn't skimpier than the usual bikinis, but he nevertheless couldn't take his eyes from her. It certainly didn't help to keep his libido down that it clearly showed she had been on a swim already, the red garment clinging to her tits in the most distracting way.

"Have you started to work on your presentation yet?"

Her voice startled him; he had expected their time together to pass in eternal silence. She slurped on the orange juice he had brought her when he had made some for himself.

"Nah, I still have time."

"You're such a lazy ass. You shouldn't procrastinate so much."

"Calm your tits, woman. I'll be done with it in time."

She snorted. "I bet you're going to start on it a day before it's due."

"You know me too well." He grinned lazily, fixing her with a mocking look.

She glanced away from him with an annoyed huff of breath, and he was delighted to see the pink that was dusting her cheeks. He shook his head. Bad Soul! He still couldn't help it. Even though he had loved to tease her about her small boobs, Maka had a hot body. Those sinfully long legs that always made his blood boil, her flat stomach, her strong arms, her tiny waist, the curve of her hips, her elegant neck which he had loved to nip or bite playfully.

Fuck! If he kept doing this, he was going to end up with a boner. He groaned, letting his head hang tiredly. Maybe he should just go inside and avoid her entirely during the 14 days they were going to have the house for themselves. Maybe he should go for a swim before he went inside; the cold water would do him some good and help to keep his head clear from any dirty thoughts involving him and Maka together.

The shock of cold water engulfing him definitely made any unwanted boners impossible. He emerged with a gasp and pushed his wet hair that was plastered on his forehead and eyes back. His eyes immediately focused on Maka again, only to find her staring at him intently, her bright green eyes peeking above the edge of the book she was reading.

He couldn't help the smirk spreading over his face as he dove under water, closing his eyes for a moment before he opened them, the chlorine burning and stinging. He swam a few laps before he grew tired of it, boners being the last thing on his mind.

But then there was a splash and fuck, Maka was with him in the water, her book forgotten on the chaise she had been occupying before.

"You up for a race?" She grinned cheekily.

He should say no, he knew something was going to happen if they were this close to each other and not wearing enough clothes. He definitely should say no.

"Bring it on."

He was a dumbass. The best thing would be to retreat immediately, increase the distance between their bodies, leave the pool and never get near her again before his dad and his stepmother returned from their honeymoon. As much as he tried to talk himself into it, his body didn't move, stayed floating in the water as he gazed down at her. Their race had lasted longer than he had expected and they had only stopped because they had ended up arguing if it was a tie or not, only to realize too late how close they had been standing to each other.

He could feel the warmth of her body, was mesmerized by the rise and fall of her chest, of how her breasts pushed against the wet and clingy fabric of her bikini with each intake of breath. She was beautiful and fuck it, how could he ever hope to delude himself that he'd be able to keep his hands off her?

He wanted her, he wanted her so much and he hated his dad for marrying her mom, hated how they were broken off by something that was not under their influence, hated his mom for going through with the divorce, hated her dad for being a cheating bastard.

He gulped, jumbled desperation running in his veins, his throat tight with a searing ache. He raised his hand, ran it down her bare arm, licked his lips at the goose bumps that followed the path of his fingers. Her breath hitched, her eyes were wide and beautiful and so green. She was so beautiful, so fucking beautiful he couldn't take it.


He couldn't speak, couldn't talk, words were beyond him and he could only aim this pathetic, stricken look at her, tighten his hold on her elbow.

"Soul, we shouldn't..."

"I don't care." And she didn't care either because she had thought of it too, of him, of them, together, not giving a fucking care about the marriage of their parents.

"Two weeks," he said, pressing himself against her, shuddering not because of the cold water. "They're gone for two weeks. Nobody will be in the house but us."

He kept his hands to himself like the gentleman he was, let her mull this over, waited for her decision like the obedient little lapdog he was. For a moment he believed she was going to push him away, her eyes clouded with confliction; even if she were to push him away, he'd take it like a man and leave her be because as much as he wanted her, craved her touch, her presence, her voice, her everything, he'd cherish her happiness over everything else. If she didn't want him for whatever reason, he'd respect that even when his heart would be torn to shreds in the process.

But then she nodded and he thought his heart might have melted out of his chest cavity. His breath caught in his throat as she unfastened the strings of her bikini top, threw it away and looked at him with glazed eyes, a look so familiar that it made him recall their most intimate of moments in vivid detail.

"Two weeks," she said, voice quiet as she pushed herself against his chest, nuzzling his nose, their lips barely apart. "Two weeks and then..."

They had done this before, twice or more depending on the technicalities. They might have not been officially a couple when they had fooled around, kissed and made out, gotten to third base. It had been a little awkward perhaps, but they had known each other long enough not to let such a small thing as oral sex throw their dynamic in disarray. They hadn't been that insistent to put a label in their relationship until some months later, and it had taken them another month to properly consummate their relationship.

It hadn't been as awkward as he had imagined it to be, maybe all the heavy petting and skipping from base to base had helped them in that regard. They had done it in his house, in the living room on the soft rug close to the fireplace, when his parents were away for the weekend in Dublin for a charity concert and she had told her crazy dad she'd be staying over at Tsubaki's.

He hadn't been consciously aware that he'd had probably ticked off every romantic movie cliché in his mental list in preparation for their evening together. The living room had many decorative candles and he had not shied away from using them, hadn't thought about how uncool it was and had only stopped short of surprising her with rose petals. He had wanted it to be perfect, wanted to show how much he loved her, how serious he was about them that he had not given a damn that this might not be what cool guys did. No, such romantic gestures were for the ones who never failed to compliment their girlfriends, bought her a rose for every date, commented on her beautiful eyes and lame stuff like that.

But Soul hadn't cared because it had been so worth it and not because of the sex, but because it had been so worth to see her face light up in happiness, to see her radiant smile and to hear her laugh and tease him for being 'uncool'. He had ended up playing the piano for her even; he had played the song he had written for her, had been inspired by her.

Yeah, he had really done everything every romance cliché entailed.

Their first time had been slow, gentle and passionate, and he had made sure she felt good.

This time there was no slow or gentle, but there sure was a hell of a lot of passion. He hadn't bothered to take his swimming trunks off, only pushed them down to his knees, doing the same with her bikini bottoms. He thrust into her from behind, clutching her hips close to him as she barely held on the edges of the chaise, moaning his name loudly, shouting and yelling and begging and fuck, he'd give her what she wanted.

His pace was quick and unrelenting, and it made his ego soar with how fast she climaxed. He was still hard and turned her around to appreciate her dazed face, the flush on her skin, the need in her eyes, only to enter her again. Her legs wound around his hips tightly, making him groan lowly, his muscles clench and it was harder to move, but he didn't really have to as Maka did all the moving. The sinewy grinding of her hips brought his arousal to whole new level, and when she let her hand slither down her body to rub her clit, he felt his brain going numb for a moment until he decided that this wasn't fair, and while he let her touch herself because it was amazingly hot, he made sure he was the one grinding into her.

He let out a sharp breath through clenched teeth, buried his face against her neck, licked off the sweat there, bit into her skin and smiled when she trembled. He asked her if she felt good, and she could only whimper her consent in response as her nails dug into his shoulder blades as her second orgasm tore through her over-sensitized body and made her mash her forehead against his shoulder. There was no way he could last any longer, not with how she whispered teasingly against his ear to let go and damn─

He collapsed on top of her with a raspy cry, barely catching himself on his elbows so as not to squash her small body. His blood burned for her, his heart racing still as they embraced each other. He kissed her forehead, her nose, her cheek, her lips; whispered that he loved her and other sappy things he really meant. She giggled when he refused to move when she told him he was heavy and just shoved him aside, flipping their position so she was lying on top of him.

They remained like this for some time, and for a moment he could forget that this togetherness was a short-lived happiness. Maka raised her head looked at him imploringly before she sighed sadly. "Two weeks, Soul. Two weeks and then we're going to..."

Like before she let the sentence trail off with no intention to finish it. He just nodded, kissed her temple and hugged her close. Even if it were only two weeks he could enjoy with her before being brought back to the reality in which they were considered brother and sister by law, he sure as hell was not going to waste that time by moping around.

The light in Soul's room was dim, the slight glow of his night lamp accentuating the curve of Maka's hip as she lazily drew circles on his chest.

"They're coming back tomorrow," she mumbled and his arm around her waist tightened. Her heart clenched at the gesture but she knew it would be for the best, and the fact she had, in a moment of weakness, allowed him to touch and kiss her might have been a mistake, but a mistake she couldn't bring herself to regret.

How could she have resisted him in nothing but a pair of shorts all wet, his strong chest bared to her eyes. She bit her lip, feeling her body heat up all over again, and released a shuddery sigh. Just this once she wanted to be selfish, wanted him all for herself and not care about the awkwardness that would ensue if her mother ever found out about them.

She curiously traced his left collarbone with her fingers, enjoying the way he gulped and his body quivered by such a small touch. She reveled in the way the shadows played on his chest, bringing out the shape of firm muscle. How was she supposed to live in the same house with him and go on with her life without touching him? It wasn't even about the sex; she wouldn't be able to hold his hand or have his arm around her or cuddle with him. It wasn't like what they were doing was really forbidden, they weren't related by blood, had never been raised together, had been together before her mother decided to marry his father, but she knew admitting that she was in a relationship with her step-brother would never go well with her mother or her stepfather. Her stepfather was a well-known pianist and he would never want his reputation to be shattered by them being together; he'd hate them for making people more interested in gossip about his rebellious son wooing his stepdaughter instead of his amazing music, hate them for losing the respect of fellow composers and his students.

Her mama...her mama would just be disappointed in her; she would tell her this, tell her she'd expected better of her own daughter and...

She sighed ruefully, closed her eyes when she felt him shift a little. He brought his hand up to cup her cheek, ran his long, beautiful fingers through her tousled her. She wasn't prepared for the small smile he gave her and she felt her heart constrict just some more, her lips faintly making the effort to kiss him back as his mouth slanted over hers.

"I love you," he said.

And she felt her weak resolution shatter.

A/N: I hope you enjoyed this chapter and updates for this story should be faster as I wrote this in one go and split it up in three parts. So this won't be a long story but I hope nevertheless an entertaining one. Reviews, feedback, criticism and praised is as always appreciated :)