So it broke my heart when he fell in love and got married a few years later.
We both went our separate ways, Daniel moving to Australia and me working full-time in Taranaki.
But when I was 22, Dad caught me off-guard with a casual comment.
‘Oh Dan’s coming back home,’ he told me one day.
My heart caught in my throat.
‘What happened?’ I asked, trying to play it cool.
Turns out, Daniel had separated from his wife and was planning on returning home to New Zealand.
This might be my chance! I thought.
Even though a long time had passed, I was still nursing my schoolgirl crush.
When Daniel moved back over, he was searching for a place to stay, so we decided to flat together.
Going around for dinner at Dad and Moree’s place every Sunday, we laughed and talked with each other for hours on end.
We soon grew closer than we ever had been as teenagers.
‘It’s great seeing us all together again,’ Dad would say, beaming.
I loved living with Daniel too. It just felt right.
One day, we made our way over to the local speedway for the afternoon.
Sitting on the grass with a few of our friends, I edged closer to him.
Soon, my leg was touching his and his foot lightly brushed mine.
Are we playing footsies? I thought, a blush creeping over my face.
Later on, we headed back to the car together and as we sat there, Daniel turned and looked at me.
Heart thumping out of my chest, I was beyond thrilled when he leaned in to kiss me. It was like fireworks going off in my brain!
‘I’ve wanted this for a long time,’ I admitted.
And, to my delight, later on, Daniel confessed something too.
‘I’ve got feelings for you as well,’ he said, looking sheepish.
As we lived together, it was easy to see each other often but we decided to keep our budding romance a secret for now.
Heading over to Dad and Moree’s place for dinner the next day, we smirked at each other and stole furtive looks, while our parents were none the wiser.
But Daniel and I decided we couldn’t hide our relationship from them - even for another day!
I didn’t like keeping something so big from my family.
So Daniel just announced it right there at the dinner table!
‘We’re together,’ he told everyone.
There were a few seconds of silence before Dad broke it.
‘As long as you are happy and he looks after you!’ he smiled.
While it was a bit of a shock, they both offered us their blessings.
My heart was so full.
Most of our friends and family were supportive too, but there were also nasty comments. Some people would poke fun at Daniel.
‘You still dating your sister?’ they’d taunt.
Luckily, we both have thick skin.
We didn’t feel like step-siblings, even though we were.
Then, a year after we started dating, I was doing the dishes when Daniel came in.
‘Will you marry me?’ he asked softly.
‘Yes!’ I cried.
While engaged, I fell pregnant with our son, Logan. Three more boys followed – Luke, Cody and Conor.
In 2013, Daniel and I tied the knot at a beautiful ceremony with our closest family.
Tragically, only a year later, my sweet dad Vernon passed away after having a fall.
My boys idolised their grandad and it hurt so much.
Now, Daniel and I have been together for 14 years.
And in January this year, we renewed our vows.
With a family of our own, it’s easy to forget we were ever stepbrother and sister.
The boys – Logan, now 12, Luke, 10, Cody, seven, and Conor, nearly two, know exactly how their parents got together, which they laugh about sometimes.
‘You’re brother and sister, that’s yuck,’ Logan used to joke.
We know the people who truly care about us would never bat an eyelid.
It doesn’t matter to us what anyone says.
Our love was too powerful for us to be apart.