Took me long enough, right? But with much help and love from my pals at the GW forum (especially YOU, GlitterGoat!), and the awesomeness that is my beta Brave Lionne, I managed to get the ball rolling again on Chaotic Confessions.
Disclaimer: All the standards, especially pertaining to the fact I don't own SE or any of its characters, AND that I have no ownership rights to "I Am The Body Beautiful" by Salt n Pepa. Now, the fact that I think I'll give Maka strange and funky ringtones in every SE/SoMa fic I write...well, that's a whole 'nother ball game. *sly grin*
There were times that Soul found himself wondering if he was totally brainless for living with two temperamental females. One day there's chaos in the kitchen, with half-clothed women and flying notebooks and paper towels everywhere, and the next morning all is back on an even keel, as if what had transpired the evening before had never happened.
The tender bruise on top of his head was a painful reminder not to take such peace for granted; it could change at the drop of a hat. Or at the swing of a hard plastic pitcher to the head by a mortified and angry partner, Soul thought grimly as he slouched into the kitchen for breakfast, warily eyeing the object that had knocked him unconscious less than twenty-four hours earlier.
Sure, it was sitting there all nice and innocent, full of a fresh batch of orange juice, but he didn't doubt for a minute that it could come flying across the table, aimed at his much abused head if he said or did the wrong thing.
Most days he had no idea what would turn out to be the wrong thing.
At least this was Saturday; if he got creamed upside the head again, he'd have some time to recover before classes started up again on Monday.
Soul opted for playing it safe by ignoring the juice and getting a bottle of water out of the refrigerator, scooting around Maka as she turned from the stove with a plate full of french toast in her hands.
"There's orange juice if you want it, Soul," she commented, setting the plate down on the table next to a bottle of syrup and a small bowl of strawberries.
"After yesterday, you'll have to pardon me if I happen to have an aversion to having anything to do with that instrument of torture," he muttered, sliding into his seat at the table. He started piling several pieces of French toast on his plate, then proceeded to drown them all in syrup.
"How many times do I have to apologize before you quit whining about what happened?" Maka retorted as she sat down, stabbing two pieces of fruit with her fork and dropping them on her plate. "I don't know why you're still upset about it."
Soul choked on a mouthful of French toast. "Here I was," he sputtered after he recovered, "pretty much minding my own business when I get home, and what happens? I walk into a kitchen that's totally trashed, I get attacked by a flying notebook, I've got a cat jumping on my head spouting something about said notebook, and while I'm trying to figure out what the hell is going on, you bash me with that-" he pointed accusingly with his fork at the plastic pitcher of orange juice, "-and knock me out cold! So excuse me, " he concluded testily, "for still being upset over such a little thing."
The atmosphere at the table was strained for a few moments, as Maka toyed with a strawberry on her plate, eyes averted from the white-haired boy across from her who was sulkily shoving pieces of French toast in his mouth.
Maka sighed, breaking the silence. "For the last time, Soul, I'm sorry, alright? If Blair hadn't made such a big deal of everything..." She stuffed a strawberry into her mouth, chewing angrily.
"What were you writing in that book anyways?"
It was Maka's turn to choke on her food. "Uh - that is - "
Soul looked up from his plate. "What?"
"N-nothing," she stammered, looking away. "It was nothing, really. Just some - stuff."
"Is that so," he drawled, smirking. "Your blushing face says otherwise, Maka."
She fidgeted in her chair, pushing her neatly cut pieces of French toast around her plate. "I don't want to talk about it now, okay?"
Soul polished off the last bite of his breakfast then leaned back in his chair, regarding his meister with a raised eyebrow. "Does it have anything to do with why you've been acting so weird off and on the past few weeks?" he asked.
When the flush deepened in Maka's cheeks, he knew he'd hit the nail on the head, or at least come close. Picking up the empty dishes from the table, Soul stood up and walked to the sink. "You know that we still need to talk about that, Maka."
"I-I know." Even with his back turned, Soul could hear her fidgeting even more. This could be serious - the only time Maka was restless and flustered during a conversation was when it was something she did not want to talk about. The more antsy she became, the more reluctant she was about saying what was on her mind.
Or answering a question she really didn't know how or want to answer.
~I celebrate the body and enjoy good health
And I gets down with my bad self
It's all good from the front to the back
Two snaps and a clap for a body like that~
Even without using soul resonance, Soul could clearly hear Maka's relieved thought: Saved by the cell phone! Sighing, he turned around, watching as she checked her text messages.
"Maka, do I even want to know why you have that as a ringtone?"
Waving a distracted hand over her shoulder, she scanned her phone's screen. "Liz put this on my phone so I'd know it was her when she texts me," she replied absently.
"Of course. I should have known." Soul rolled his eyes. "What does Miss "I Am The Body Beautiful" want, anyways?"
"GAH! Igottagorightnow!" was not the answer Soul was expecting. Before he could even open his mouth to say "What?", Maka was flying out of the kitchen in a flurry of pigtails and red and white checkered pajamas.
By the time he made it to the doorway of the kitchen, Maka was hustling from her room to the bathroom. And, once again, before he could say anything, his meister popped into the bathroom and slammed the door.
Slightly irritated now, Soul decided to wait for Maka at the front door. By leaning against it, he figured she couldn't get out of the apartment without getting past him - unless she resorted to yanking him out of the way. Considering the hurry she was in, that was a totally plausible scenario.
When the bathroom door banged open four minutes later, Soul braced himself for impact, but was granted a temporary reprieve when she skidded just short of slamming into him and dove for her boots instead.
"Don't have time to talk right now," she grunted, jamming on one boot, then proceeding to hop around as she tried to pull on the other.
Soul felt his eyes glaze over as he was treated to a flash of well-toned thighs as Maka's antics made the jean skirt she was wearing hike up dangerously. Hot damn, those legs...! Shaking his head to clear it, he turned his attention back to focusing on preventing his meister from bolting through the front door before he had a chance to make her stop and listen to him for a friggin' minute.
As soon as Maka succeeded getting her second boot on, he darted forward and grabbed her upper arms.
"What are you doing, Soul? I've got to-"
"You've gotta go, yeah, I figured as much," he interrupted impatiently. "But just hold on for a sec, will you? For one thing, where is it you're in such a tearing hurry to get to?"
Her emerald gaze slid away from his slightly frustrated, questioning look. "Um - Tsubaki and Black*Star's place. Liz, Patty and Tsubaki are waiting for me there."
"You tore out of the kitchen and got dressed in less than five minutes just to go visit with the girls?" Soul was incredulous. "What, is it a life or death emergency or something?"
"You could say that," Maka muttered, trying to pull free of his grasp. "Soul, I've really got to go..."
Soul realized he was fighting a losing battle by trying to keep his partner from getting to her out-of-the blue girl time summons. It seemed like their talk about Maka's strange behavior would be postponed. Again. As he released her arms and stepped away from the front door, a sudden thought struck him.
"You're going over there to tell them what's been bothering you lately, aren't you," he stated quietly. Maka froze in the act of turning the doorknob. "You'll go running to the girls, but you won't tell me."
At the tinge of hurt that had crept into Soul's voice, Maka turned around and grasped his hands. "Soul, I-" she began, pausing when she saw him turn his face away. Reaching up with one hand to cup his chin and gently turn his face towards her, she tried again. "I know it seems like I'm keeping secrets from you," she said slowly once his crimson eyes met hers, "and I know we need to sit down and talk. I'm not trying to run away from you, I just - I need to go and do this now. When I get back," she added in a low, firm tone, "I'll tell you what's been going on with me recently. I promise, Soul."
He searched her gaze for a moment, gauging the truth of her words. Reassured by what he saw, Soul placed his free hand over the one cradled against his cheek. "All right," he said quietly. "When you get back, we talk. And," he added with a slight grin, dropping his hand so he could open the door for her, "this time there's no backing out."
Maka grinned back as she hurried out. "Right. See you later!"
"Later." Soul heaved a sigh as he closed the door and leaned against it. "It's been a helluva morning," he mumbled, running a hand roughly through his hair as he headed back to the kitchen to do the dishes.
Yet another short chapter...ah, well. At least I'm pretty much over my writer's block for this fic, though updates will continue to be sporadic, as my freetime is going to be hit or miss for a while.