Hey Guys! It's finally here, and honestly? This is probably my favorite chapter that I've done, I think. I hope you guys like it too!
Chapter 10: Sha-La-La-La My Oh My Looks Like The Boy's Too Shy
She didn't know how to answer his question.
Soul's text lit up her phone screen again, two minutes later. She finally opened the message, his words popping against the grey background. What are you up to? Ugh. She looked up at the tabs opened on her laptop, then back down at her phone.
Were they at the point where she could own up to some light stalking?
Youtube pushed her guilt further, autoplaying the next video on the Celeste Evans Top Tracks Playlist, and Maka groaned. She decided not to own up to her stalking, and sent him a quick text back. Looking up Galaxy patterns. There, perfect. It was half the truth, and she was supposed to be studying stars anyways. She needed to finish the edges of their wall before he could start his next part, and while it was so much fun watching him sit there playing Candy Crush on her phone while she worked, she was glad to see him put some effort in himself.
Maka scoffed, listening to his mother's voice follow along her music. She really did have a beautiful voice, floating between the music her husband gracefully coerced from the orchestra. She wondered what kind of people Soul's parents were, outside of parenting. The only thing she knew about them was the fight, and the fact that their offspring were probably the most sarcastic human beings she had met.
Her phone buzzed again, and she opened the message with her pinky while she resumed her search for the right galaxy pattern.
Are you maybe busy tonight?
Well, busy was a weird word. She had art stuff to do, but it wasn't like anyone was on her to get it done. She shrugged, typing back that she wasn't busy. He texted her back in nearly five seconds, his tone strange, even over the text.
You maybe wanna go to dinner with me and Wes, and my family tonight?
Maka blinked, reading the text twice. Apparently she was taking too long to respond because he texted her back again.
I totally get if you don't. I didn't really make it sound like the Fosters or anything. I'm just kinda nervous about seeing them again and you're really good with people.
Well shit, how could she turn that down? Besides, as her stalking proved, she was interested in his family. And since Soul Evans, Master of the "I'm too cool for any kind of school", double texted her. He was serious about it. She sighed, and typed out a response.
What's the dress code?
It's not called-heh. No worries. If you've got a black dress that would be perfect.
Think I can dig one out of my closet. Am I meeting you there?
Me and Wes will come grab you. Thanks Maka, really.
Maka read the texts once more, chewing on her lip. Was this weird? Going to dinner with her art rival/partner and his weird brother that taught at her school? Their estranged family too? God this was going to be a mess.
A mess that gave her a pretty good excuse to go buy a dress.
She had ripped her nylons two seconds before the doorbell rang.
She let out a string of curses, hopping to the door with one shoe on. She was so screwed. She ripped her tights, the heels she had bought for herself a few years ago that she was convinced would be perfect were actually a size too small, and she didn't have a damn piece of jewelry that looked nice enough for tonight, and she didn't even know where they were going.
She swung the door open, her mouth already spilling out a million excuses about her tights and her dress and her necklace. She looked up at Soul, and her words died on their way out.
She has never seen him in something other than a hoodie before. The suit he was on was obviously older, but it still fit him well. The cut made him stand straight, and she was able to see how broad his shoulders were. Even in his nice clothes, he had on a black beanie, and his ever present scowl.
Although that lasted only about two seconds once he saw her, then he just had the weirdest, dumbest look on his face. She tilted her head, and his face went red, but he managed to at least force out a smile. "You uh, you look really p-pretty."
"...really? Like even with the tights? And the-"
"I think you look great. Really." He smiled, offering her his arm. "You uh, you r-ready to go?"
"Yeah actually, I'm really hungry." She linked her arm with his, and he lead her down the driveway. Parked where her father's car usually sat, a neon orange death machine. Maka froze in her place, and met the greatest shit eating grin on Soul's face she'd ever seen. "What is that."
"Wes had to go to a meeting he forgot about. So he let me take the bike. Technically I'm not supposed to ride it, cuz my parents are super iffy about it."
"So naturally you took the bike to meet your parents?"
"I'm pretty into self destruction. You should try it sometime." He offered her a helmet and she glared at him.
"I did my hair."
"Your hair will look shitty with brain coming out of it."
"That was the weirdest way anyone has ever cared for my safety before." Maka snorted, but she pulled the helmet over her head. He sat down on the bike, and pulled his own on. "Promise you won't drive like a maniac?"
"Promise you'll love it."
It was like flying.
She hasn't ever considered anything about a motorcycle before. They weren't on her radar at all. Now, gripping Soul's sides as he flew across their bridge, she felt alive. The wind brushed against her skin, making her feel weightless, and free. She had been craving the freedom of flight for so long, and this was closest she had ever been. She was grinning against his back, and she held on tighter as they took a turn.
His heartbeat nearly matched hers.
When they pulled up to a curb outside an Italian restaurant Maka knew to definitely be on the spendier side, she was almost disappointed. Soul parked the bike, pulling off his helmet and running his hand through his hair. When he reached for the beanie, Maka scoffed. "This isn't a beanie place."
"Sucks to suck. I'm a beanie person." He grinned and took her helmet from her, putting it away on the side. He scanned the parking lot while Maka salvaged her hair. "Wes is here already. Bet my parents are too. You ready?"
"Oh totally. I'm pretty excited."
"Yeah well. Let's hope it goes well."
It took Maka three seconds to spot his family.
Wes saw them first, giving them a massive smile and waving them over. Next to him, Celeste was sitting. She hasn't noticed them yet, chattering on and on to her husband with a massive smile on her face. She was beautiful, round and curvy, with white hair that cascaded down her back. Her eyes were an icy blue, but still felt warm. Her laugh twinkled, and Maka already liked the way the woman's aura filled the room.
Next to her, her husband was seated. His back was ramrod straight, his arms folded across themselves. He was clearly tall, even from where he was sitting it was apparent that was where the boys got their height. His hair was still full, the area around his temples has streaks of grey that contrasted perfectly with his jet black hair. His face was handsome, and his goatee was clean and well trimmed. His aura was more reserved, though he did laugh at something his wife had said. He looked up, finding Maka and Soul with his eyes.
Behind her, she could feel Soul freeze. She slid her hand behind her back and found his, lacing their fingers together. She gave him a reassuring squeeze, and his mother followed her husband's eyes over to them. Her eyes lit up when she saw her son, and she flew from her seat. Maka side stepped just in time for Celeste to wrap her son in her arms, a lyrical language spilling from her lips.
It wasn't until Soul responded to her in the same language, a small smile on his face that Maka realized he was speaking Italian. And speaking it well. Celeste beamed up at him, pulling his face down to hers so she could kiss his forehead. "My son, you're so tall! I can't believe it! And so thin!"
"Not that thin Ma. It's...it's really good to see you." She pulled him into another hug then released him, turning instead to look at Maka. She felt almost nervous under Celeste's gaze, suddenly painfully aware of her torn stockings and wind blown hair, especially since it was clear that the opera star was wearing designer everything. But she just smiled at her.
"Ah, Ma, this is Maka. Maka, this is my mother, Celeste."
"It's really nice to meet you!"
"Ah! Maka! The artist! Yes! It's lovely to meet you dear! Come!" Soul's mother grabbed her hand and lead her to the table. "Tesoro, come. Maka this is my husband, Alexander." He stood and offered her his hand, and she accepted it. His grip was firm, and she made sure not to falter with her own. He gave her a smile, pulling out her chair for her. She sat down across from Wes, who shot her a wink. Soul walked up behind her, he and his father met each other's eye.
"Soul. You look good." He gestured to a chair, and Soul took a seat. Alex sat down, and Celeste beamed at the table.
"I'm really so happy to see us all together again."
It was pleasantly tense.
Celeste and Wes were excellent at carrying conversations. Maka found herself even being brought to tears from laughing at the embarrassing stories Celeste had no qualms about sharing. She was having a good time, and as far as she could tell, Soul was relaxing marginally each time his mother threw her head back to laugh, and Wes snorted into his wine.
Alexander was a quiet person, he didn't share as much, or even really speak. He kept an eye on Soul though, she noticed. He kept checking his son's face, looking for something. Soul, for the most part, tore at his bread, eating bits and pieces. If his hands trembled, she kept it to herself. Their waiter stopped by the table, all smiles as he approached. They only glitch in the night so far was the horrified look on Celeste's face when Maka tried to order a salad for her entreè.
"Salad?! Only?! Little one, you're so skinny!"
Soul scoffed, shaking his head. "We'll split a lasagne yeah? Does that work?"
Maka snorted, nodding her agreement. After the waiter had left, Alexander leaned back in his chair. "So, Wesley, are you prepared for your school year?"
"Ah, if I play my cards right I could probably take this old man's job." Wes grinned, swirling his wine glass. "He's outdated I suppose."
"Well don't get too comfortable. We would like to have you back on the road."
"Well, seeing as I have a roommate, it still might be a little while." Wes grinned at Soul, who snorted into his bread. Alexander turned to look at Soul now, his eyes slightly wary.
"And you, son? How's your music coming?"
"...Fickle, I guess." Soul answered, eyes not really meeting anyone's. Wes pressed his lips into a thin line, sipping at his wine. "Haven't really been inspired."
"Been a few u-uninspiring years I guess." Soul's words were caught between his teeth, and Maka was suddenly aware that the tone around them had changed. Celeste shook her head.
"Maybe it's just not the inspiration you're looking for? You've surely created in this time?"
"Well yeah, I mean. I've tried some other mediums. Mixed results." Soul shrugged. "I'm not great with needlepoint."
"No, he's not." Wes snickered. "Near sewed himself to our couch." Celeste gave another laugh, her eyes bright.
"Would've paid to see that."
"It was a one night show, sorry Ma."
Celeste sighed, turning to Maka. "And you? What do you like to work in?"
"Oh! Paint mostly, I'm not bad at flower arrangements either!"
"Oh I love flowers! They're so beautiful, and you can speak through them. They're wonderful! And what do you normally like to paint?"
"Would it be super lame to say I'm really good at flowers?"
"She's kinda good at everything." Soul smiled at her. "She works in lines, they're so intricate and careful. I really respect her work."
She was blushing. Oh God, she had to be four shades darker than she had ever been in her life. She couldn't even find words to respond to him. She could only squeak out "We're best when we Collab tho."
Wes nearly choked on his drink, and Soul's face was probably as red as hers. Celeste had the most wicked grin on her face and Maka held her hands up. "I mean! We paint! He-we have a project we're working on. It's...beautiful so far."
"Well I would love to see it!"
Maka looked to Soul really quick, and he gave her a look, one that said illegal activities were off the table for this conversation, and she grinned. "It's really not even close to being done."
"Well, I haven't seen any of Soul's artwork, and I would like to see some of it!" Celeste grinned at her son. "You were always such a creative child."
"I was a screwed up kid, Ma."
"No dear. You weren't, you were always you."
"I think he's pretty screwed up."
"Shut up Wes." Soul and Alexander sighed at the same times, and Wes scoffed. Alexander looked at his son, eyebrow raised. "Where is your workspace? Your apartment can't be big enough to paint in."
"Art finds a way."
"You don't have to give me lip. I was just asking."
"I'm re-really not giving you lip. I was just-" The carefully constructed wall of eggshells around the dinner began to crack, and Maka could feel how nervous Soul was getting. Wes must've seen it too, he stepped in, pouring himself more wine.
"We have a garage. Soul works in their mostly."
"Ack! You wear a mask right?! Can't be good, paint fumes in a small space!"
"Yeah, Ma. Course. I'm careful."
"Are you smoking still?"
"Dad, that was forever ago." Soul growled, his fingers twitching around his glass. Alexander only lifted an eyebrow and Soul took a deep breath. "No, it was never a big deal."
"So you have a workshop for painting but you didn't have space for a piano?"
"That's not even remotely the same thing."
"He plays at my-"
"Wes your brother can speak for himself, let him."
Soul took a deep breath, and Maka tried to keep her focus on her water. This wasn't going well anymore, and a quick peek at Celeste told her that the singer was getting worried. She hissed something at her husband, and he looked at her for a second before turning back to Soul. "Fine. T-Truth is, I haven't touched a fucking piano in maybe a year. I work at a coffee shop and I-I go to school and I fuckin' vandalize this town. Tha-that's what I've been doing."
Alexander sat back in his chair, eyes on Soul. It was quiet for a long moment, Maka too afraid to lift her eyes to meet anyone else's. In the deepest corner of her mind, she was a little proud of Soul, even if he was probably already regretting what he had said. The silence continued as Alexander took a long drink off his brandy. "I'd imagine if you would take your medication, your stutter wouldn't be so prominent."
Wes closed his eyes as though the blow had been dealt to him. Soul clenched his teeth, stood up and walked out the door. Celeste and Maka both stood up, his name on their lips. He pushed his way out the door, and Maka turned to Alexander. "He played for me. It was beautiful and scary and I think he's amazing. You should try looking at the stuff he can do, because he's amazing at the art too. Just. Yeah. It was nice to meet you."
He was in the back alley, hands on his knees and sucking in air.
Maka walked up next to him, and tilted his face up. He looked so sad. That had been the scariest thing he'd had to do in years probably. "Hey, you did right. Standing up for yourself. You deserved to be treated nicer."
"...he liked me better when I was on my A.D.D meds, thought I was more myself. But I wasn't. I was just sort of doing things and not really there, and...he liked me better when I wasn't me." Soul didn't even try to brush it off with a grin this time, he just looked at Maka. "I'm really sorry, I didn't mean to be so dramatic or anything."
"I think you were uncomfortable so you removed yourself. Which is the better choice than having an all out screaming match in public." Maka offered him a smile, and he scoffed a little.
"Yeah, guess so."
"And anyways, you're amazing, and if they can't tell yet then give it some time. Wes knows you're great, and so do I. So if that could be enough?"
Soul wrapped his arms around her, crushing her against him. "It's more than enough, Angel. Really. I…" He let her go enough that he could see her face again. She blinked at him once and she realized what he wanted.
His lips met hers softly, just enough that she knew he was kissing her, enough to make her stomach flip and her lips quirk into a grin. He pulled away, just enough to whisper, "Was that okay?"
She kissed him this time, harder than he had kissed her. They stay hidden from the world in the back alley for a while, slowly learning the rhythm between them. Maka felt she could've stayed there all night, but her stomach roared its desire for food, and she broke the kiss, face red. "Oh my god."
"Ah shit, that's right. We didn't eat, I'm sorry." He smiled at her. "Diner's open?"
"Ah, yeah! Diner sounds perfect."
He laced their fingers together, and they made their way back to the bike, smile on both of their faces.
Give me your thoughts! I'm super curious about what you guys thought about this chapter!