The One with the Ex
Peering inquisitively at the white letter addressed to him amongst the small stack of letters sprawled out on the coffee table, Soul picked it up reluctantly. He briefly glanced at the return address and glared. Anything that came from that place was not welcome in the least. What did they want? He had a mindset to throw it out but curiosity got to the best of him and he found himself swiftly skimming through the letter.
Come home, we need to talk. There's something important that you need to take care of- it can't handled over the phone. You need to personally be here. Visit as soon as you get this letter...It's extremely urgent and I advise you to come as fast as you can.
Soul instantly recognized the sloppy handwriting as his father's and scoffed at its content. Various thoughts on what his father could possibly talk to him about ran through his head, but he couldn't think of a single positive thing. Unless...
"What is that?" Soul suddenly heard a voice from behind ask. Soul instantly shoved the letter back inside the envelope and turned around to see Maka with a very suspicious look plastered on her face.
"Nothing," he lied, cramming the envelope in-between the folds of the couch.
"You're such a bad liar! That's definitely something important," she protested, glaring at him.
"Ugh," Soul groaned, lightly scratching the back of his head. "It's from home; my dad wants me to come home." Maka's heart stopped.
"Y-You mean go back to that place? You're moving out again?" Maka stammered, not liking the way she sounded so weak. It was just that she was used to always greeting someone when she got home and as much as she hated to admit it, she slept better since his arrival. She never spent a day without sleeping unlike before, and all her nights were peaceful.
Soul crinkled an eyebrow upwards in amusement.
"Why, do you want me here that much?" He smirked conceitedly. "In that case, you have nothing to worry about my dear wifey. I wouldn't leave you for the world."
Maka tried to hide her relief with an ambivalent expression.
"He wants you to go home...isn't it best if you do what your dad tells you to?" Maka said, well aware of the power his father held.
"Meh, he just want to talk to me," Soul shrugged, tossing the crumpled envelope away to the floor. Maka's eyes narrowed at the way he littered on the floor of their living room but said nothing. "I'll just drop by tomorrow."
Maka went over to the discarded letter as quickly and subtly her feet would let her and picked it up. She opened it, ignoring Soul's annoyed look, and read through it.
"This sounds pretty serious," Maka said, turning around to stare straight into his bored scarlet eyes.
"He wrote like what, two sentences?" Soul pointed out in disdain. "Shows how much he cares. It's been a whole month since I move out and the only thing he sends me is a letter bossing me around. He's just pretending that what he has to tell me is serious. It's a well disguised trap to lure me home and then condemn me in every way possible."
Maka shook her head, her eyes not once tearing away from his.
"I'm sure he's not asking you to come home because he's trying to torture you," Maka reassured him, remembering the way she told Soul's father off that day they went to retrieve their flour baby. He looked pretty surprised back then. The puzzled look etched on his face escalated into one filled with shame. He couldn't possibly still want to bother his son after that episode, would he? "I think you should just skip school tomorrow and go take the whole day to talk to him. Get things fixed."
"Are you kidding me?" Soul instantly shot the idea down, his ruby eyes hardening at the thought of confronting the last person he ever wanted to see.
"Come on," Maka tried to convince him. "I think it'll do you well. Tie up all the loose ends in that relationship...you can't possibly be thinking that you'll just avoid your dad for the rest of your life, are you?"
Soul was more than ready to give up his family name entirely, but Maka's hopeful emerald eyes caused him to cave in.
"Ugh," he complained. "Fine. But I can't keep skipping school like this, I told you so."
"Don't worry!" Maka cheerfully assured him. "I'll tell the teachers that you're extremely sick and they'll excuse you. They all really like me."
"Because you're a suck up and a bookworm," he teased. He instantly regretted it the minute a hardcover book flew his direction, hitting him right on his already abused skull.
Maka idly walked up the school steps by herself, not thinking about anything in particular. She was zoning out to the background noise around her, immersed in the music pouring out of her headphones. She was lost in her own mental world and it was only when she bumped into another student did she wake up from her musical trance.
"Sorr-" Maka started, only to completely halt her speech as she stared widely at the boy in front of her.
The golden blonde hair that fell down each side of his pale face, the piercing cobalt blue eyes, the numerous piercings that adorned his ear, the white dress shirt that was lazily half closed...
It was all coming back to her at once- the a huge swirl of memories she had tried so hard to lock up.
She wanted to throw up.
"M-Maka?" The figure in front of her asked uncertainly. Maka flinched at his voice, stiffly staring down at the concrete floor. He noticed her silence and laughed nervously. "Maka, you're not still mad about what happened two years ago, are you? I was young and foolish; I had no idea what I was doing. My body held complete control over me, forgive me!"
Maka continued to concentrate her eyes on the floor, the nauseating feeling in her stomach growing by each passing second. She remembered it. She still remembered everything so clearly; it was sickening how clear her memory was. The past had haunted her over and over again in her worst nightmares and yet it had meant nothing to him- his violent actions were clearly nothing more than a mere joke to him. The thought of it all made Maka want to hurl.
"I swear I changed Maka," the blonde boy promised, taking her hand. Maka cringed at his touch, disgusted more than anything. She quickly pulled away, but he didn't seem to notice nor care. "You have to give me another chance."
"What chance?" She snapped, her forest green eyes icily staring him down. "The last person in the world I would give another chance to is you!"
"That's not nice." He frowned, a chill racing through his back due to her cold eyes.
"Yeah, because you are definitely the epitome of nice," she sarcastically stated, rolling her eyes. As much as she hated to admit it, she sensed that something was actually different about him. He was less...intimidating.
He awkwardly brushed his hair with his hands, finding the right words to say. "Look, I came here because I felt that we never had...I never really broke up cleanly. I just left and that was it, I guess. I really just want us to be on good terms again."
"Yeah, not happening." She immediately rejected the offer, placing her headphones back on her ears.
"Maka...Maka?" Kid looked over his frail flaxen haired friend, who seemed to be in deep concentration. "Maka!"
"W-What?" She finally responded back.
"You were in a daze, what's wrong?" He wondered. She was definitely deep in thought about something...but what?
"He's back," Maka muttered, biting her bottom lip. Kid widened his golden eyes in surprise. "Why is he back? I don't understand..."
"He came back today?" Kid asked Maka in disbelief, his honey colored eyes quickly expanding. "He wasn't supposed to come back until next week..." He mumbled.
"Wait...you knew?" Maka widened her glassy emerald eyes at Kid, who gave her a guilt-filled look. "Why didn't you tell me?" Maka asked angrily.
"We didn't want you to be stressed out-"
"We?" Maka demanded. "Tsubaki knew too?"
"A lot of us knew Maka," Kid informed her, dodging her interrogation. "But the only reason why we didn't want to tell you was because we knew you were going to flip out once you found out. We were planning on taking care of him ourselves, praying that you wouldn't have to see that asshole ever again."
"I can't believe it!" Maka furiously exclaimed. "I should've been the first person to know! I was so thrown off, I didn't even know what to say to him! He had the guts to tell me that we should be on good terms, whatever that means. I can't...I can't believe...what the hell?"
"Just avoid him Maka, he means trouble." Kid advised her, gently patting her shoulders. "I'll keep an eye out for him in the hallway. You only take advanced courses, so I'm positive he won't be in any of your classes."
"Argh...all right." Maka halfheartedly agreed, as she walked to her first class.
"Are you serious?" Soul asked, his eyes widening in shock.
"Yes," the silver-haired man replied back flatly, not showing much emotion. Soul, with the new information brought upon him still not fully digested, started to walk out of the mansion with a blank look on his face when his father stopped him. "Wait."
Soul turned around in surprise. "Y-Yeah?"
"I..." The older man fumbled around for the right words, staring awkwardly off to space. "In the past month you were gone, I took some time to think. And...And I realized I treated you wrongly. I was completely unfair. I...I'm sorry. I know my apology is nothing compared to my behavior towards you during the past eighteen years, but I'll try my hardest to make it up to you. Can...can you move back home?"
It was one surprise after another.
Soul searched eagerly for any hint or trace of sarcasm in his father's dark red eyes, but found nothing besides genuine sincerity.
"Nah," Soul refused the offer, much to both of their surprise. It was something Soul had always dreamt about- his father actually wanting his presence around the house. But now he didn't need it anymore. It was too late; he found someone better. "Thanks for the offer, but I like where I am right now. I can't forgive you yet but I'll work on it. For now, I'm really content with my life. I'm happy, I'm almost impossibly happy and I don't want to leave that."
The man nodded, implying that he understood. He still looked somewhat offended.
"It's because of that blonde girl, right?" His father said, causing Soul to be in a brief phase of bewilderment. "I met her and told her negative things about you to chase her away but she told me off," he chuckled at the memory. "She knew who I was- how much money and power I held- yet she boldly defended you. I was stunned...something in her strong green eyes mesmerized me. Her actions and words remind me of your mother...I like her a lot. A girl like that is extremely rare Soul. Take care of her well, make sure she doesn't slip out of your hands."
Soul grinned cockily at his old man. At least they had one thing in common. "You don't need to tell me things I'm already fully aware of, old man. Maka's not going anywhere. Now excuse me while I go pick her up from school," Soul haughtily stated, as he walked out of the living room in absolute rapture.
"Maka, huh?" Soul's father softly repeated to himself. "What a pretty name."
"You have got to be kidding me," Maka groaned, as she was greeted by a way too familiar face.
"Hey Maka!" The blonde figure cheerfully chirped, waving his hand cheerfully. "How are you doing there? How coincidental that we have all the same classes together!"
"You probably stalked me like you did two years ago and asked the administrators to give you same exact schedule as me," Maka correctly guessed, trying her best to ignore his goofy face.
"You're still the same smarty pants I was so fond of!" He attempted to compliment her, but his words were left ignored. "So...Maka...found someone you fancy?"
"What?" She slit her eyes at his curious face.
"Well you know, it's been a long time and-"
"It's none of your business." She shut him off, trying her best to concentrate on her class and not the annoyance next to her.
"Maka, I know you're really tired of me, but hear me out!" He begged her. "I really have changed! If you would just hear my story, you would understand everything! I really, really did change! I...If you promise to hear me out, just this once, I promise that I would disappear from your life forever! I won't bother you ever again! I swear!"
The last part of his deal caught her attention and she found herself once again looking his way.
"You won't bother me ever again, for the rest of my life?" She emphasized the 'rest of my life' part.
Something was off.
Soul instantly knew something had happened when he saw a dejected look on both Kid and Tsubaki's face. The first thing he noticed was that Maka was not with them and his heart skipped an anxious beat.
"Where's Maka?" Soul asked the two, who were deep in conversation with one another.
"S-Soul," Tsubaki jumped, dropping the piece of paper she held in her hand.
"Where's Maka?" Soul repeated, disregarding the fallen paper that Tsubaki hastily picked up.
"We don't know." Kid answered, deep bags forming under his eyes. He looked panicked. "Hiro probably took her somewhere and we have no idea where."
"Hiro?" Soul asked, thinking to himself that the name sounded awfully familiar.
"H-He's Maka's old boyfriend," Tsubaki told Soul, her hands shaking. "He took her away somewhere and we can't find her. She didn't even tell us where she was headed, and she's not picking up her phone."
"He's the asshole that abused Maka?" Soul calmly asked, making sure that he hid his overwhelming rage at bay. It was useless to get hotheaded now...calm. He had to stay calm.
"Yes," Tsubaki nodded, hammering in the details that Soul had hoped would not be true. "He mentally abused her. He kept pressuring her to have sex with him and when she told him she wasn't ready, he just wouldn't listen and kept bothering her. He would tell her discouraging words and always pummeled her confidence. He makes me sick."
Soul had never felt such strong concentration of hate dwell inside of him- not even when his father had called him a murderer. He started to see red spots clouding his vision and he had to take a few breaths to stop himself from hyperventilating. Soul clenched his jaw tight- so tight that he could hear his own teeth furiously grinding away. He held his fist so tightly that even his blunt fingers drew blood from the middle of his palm.
"Maka is already unstable from her father's philandering, but dating a creep like that made her even more reluctant to believe in guys." Kid informed the clearly raged Soul. "The only male that she let herself get close to was me- and that's because I was her friend before she met the asshole. After him, she never got close to any other person of the opposing gender...except you. You're the only exception and as much as I hate to admit it, it's because of you that she's starting to believe in men again."
"Are you guys absolutely positive she's with that...that guy?" Soul asked them, not wanting to do anything rash.
"It's our best bet." Kid turned to Tsubaki, who nodded in agreement. "It's better not to take chances and find her as soon as possible."
"And do you have any idea where she might be?" Soul inquired, drawing blood from biting his lips too hard.
"Well...there was a place they used to hang out a lot when they were dating," Tsubaki remembered, anxiously nibbling her fingernails. She noticed Soul's outraged expression from the corner of her eye and wondered if it was just better not to tell him.
"W-What?" Maka asked in both amusement and annoyance. She gave him a skeptical look, cupping her hands around the steaming coffee cup in front of her.
"It's true!" He curled his lips to one side, creating a very strange smile. "She's even the one who told me to patch things up with you, or she'll break up with me."
"Okay, okay," Maka stopped him, trying to recollect the information she heard. "So basically you're telling me that after you moved, your mom put you in a rehab for violence, where you met this equally violent girl that you fell in love with?"
He nodded his head, sipping his latte. "The rehab actually helped me a lot. We had to share all our pasts and stories, and when all the people heard what I had done, they really showed me I did a horrendous thing. I'm extremely sorry for everything I did back then. No offense, but it was only when I found her that I realized how terribly I treated you. I would never to do that to a girl I love."
"Oh gee, thanks." Maka dryly replied, although a smile threatened to form on her face. It was weird. He still had the same face. Maybe he looked a little older, he grew a bit taller, and his shoulders were broader, but he generally stayed the same. It was astonishing to see how much his personality changed. No, she didn't forgive him. She doubted she ever really would. But it was good to see him change in a positive way.
More than anything, she was glad to tie up the loose strings that dangled from their previous relationship.
"But really, I do love her. I would do anything for her," he smiled at the thought. "At first I was really hesitant on meeting you, but she forced me. Something about not being able to move on without ending things cleanly."
Maka cracked a slight grin. "Well, I mean, I can't forgive you yet...but I -"
Maka never got to finish her sentence because before she knew it, her acquaintance was punched to the ground.
"S-Soul? What are you doing here? Weren't you supposed to go to your house?" She asked in total puzzlement, unsure what was going on. Her first thoughts were on Hiro, who had blood dripping down his nose.
"You fucking bastard, what are you doing with Maka?" Soul growled, ignoring Maka's words completely.
"I- what?" The blonde haired boy responded back, as confused as Maka was. "Who are you?"
"Maka, are you okay?" A gentle voice called out, much to Maka's surprise.
"T-Tsubaki? Kid?" Maka analyzed her two friends, who seemed to have an extremely worried look on their faces. She finally understood what was going on and widened her eyes in horror. "Oh no guys, it's a misunderstanding! I'm fine, really! Hiro and I were just -"
"Hiro and I?" Soul scoffed, his scarlet eyes narrowing at the informality. "Maka, in case you haven't realized, this bastard is the one that abused you."
"Y-Yeah Maka, I agree with Soul, you should stay away from him." Tsubaki nervously stated her opinion. She turned red when the people in the cafe started to stare at them.
"People are staring at us, how about we talk about this outside?" Maka frowned, tightly grabbing Soul's wrist. She forcibly dragged him out of the Deathbucks, leaving Tsubaki and Kid inside to look after the injured Hiro.
"What's wrong with you?" Maka harshly asked, fixing her bangs so she could see him better.
"That's what I should be asking you," he pointed out. "What were you doing with him?"
"We were just talking about things! Why did you have to go make a scene- in a public place, nonetheless- and cause such a ruckus?" Maka furiously replied, fed up with his rash behavior. "Hiro did nothing wrong, you had no right to punch him!'
"Wait. So now you're taking his side?" He laughed a dreadfully sarcastic and artificial laugh. "I can't believe it, Maka! You were that desperate? Don't you even have an ounce of respect for yourself? Are you that desperate and pathetic that you want to reconcile and get back together with that piece of trash?"
"E-Excuse me?" Maka couldn't believe such harsh words coming out of his mouth, and fought back tears. "S-Screw you, Soul. That's your fucking problem, you jump to conclusions and you don't even bother to listen to the other party. Hiro and I were talking about how he went to rehab, how he fixed his behavior. He was apologizing to me and told me stories about his new girlfriend. Are you fucking happy now?"
"W-What? But I-I thought-"
"Well you thought wrong!" She yelled at him, tears falling down her face. His heart dropped when he realized how much he screwed up. "I thought I might finally have a closure to all this, but you go ahead and mess it all up!" Maka pushed past him, and walked away from the store. She didn't know how to deal with Hiro or anyone for that matter. All she wanted to do was go home and sleep- sleep away everything.
"Wait." She felt a hand grab her wrist. Maka turned around and pulled away from his grasp.
"Don't talk to me. I- I don't want to see your face. I- I just can't. Not now. " Maka shook her head, and continued to walk away from him.
Soul stood completely frozen in his spot, a million thoughts and words running through his head. But for once, he let her go.