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walking the tightrope

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They were stuck. There was no other word to describe it.

They were at a standstill in the middle of a burning bridge. He knew what he needed to do, and so did she but they just stood looking straight through each other. The armour was gone, lying in fragments around them, no longer lying to themselves and each other.

Maya didn't know where to go from here. She and Lucas just couldn't seem to build up the courage to take that one step and finally after years of ‘will they, won't they, they can’t’ enter into the relationship they both longed for.

The Riley + Lucas debate had ended nearly 3 years ago, they both publicly and privately admitted to the fact that they’d been chasing a fantasy of Princes and Princesses that neither could live up to. It just wasn't who they were.

So why was it so hard for Maya and Lucas to enter into a relationship.

It starts with Maya and Riley at the Bay Window. Where else was an essential part of Maya’s life supposed to stem from?

It was January of freshman year, Maya climbed her way up the fire escape, skipping the rungs that were most definitely a safety hazard.

Knocking on Riley’s window like any other day, expecting the typical day to day routine of going to school.

Riley opened the window so fast, she could’ve given herself whiplash.

“woooh Riles, any faster and you'll pull it off the hinges” Maya laughed climbing through the window.
“Lucas and I are over.” Riley said in a rush, so fast Maya almost didn't catch the complete sentence

She stumbled her way over the bay window seat standing in front of Riley who had started pacing the length of her room.

“I didn’t think you and Lucas were on right now?” Maya asked all the possibilities of what this meant racing through her mind.

Were he and Riley seeing each other with no one knowing? Did she really mean it? Was it finally it for Cory and Topanga part 2? Was this like all the other times that Riley and Lucas broke up?

Riley seemed to take a deep breath and stop directly in front of Maya, looking her straight in the eye.

“Lucas and I are over. not getting back together and….” Riley paused for a moment a look of contemplation coming across her face before it relaxed into relief “and I've never felt so relieved.”

Riley let out a loud sigh flopping herself down to sit at the bay window.

Maya turned back around to face her, not yet fully believing it.

“This is for real? How do you know?” Maya asked. nervously biting her lip

“I can just feel it this time. It feels so complete.” Riley starts furrowing her brow “And the immense amount of relief I felt after we made the decision was just incredible.”

This was new territory for her, she wasn't sure how to approach it. This is the most certain she had ever heard Riley be on the Lucas issue.

“We talked about it.” Riley started, pushing her self up to sit straight and patting the seat next to her, inviting Maya to sit.

“I just got so sick of the will they won't they. Both in my head and from everyone at school. I just couldn't deal with it any more I wanted a definite answer. Would we or wouldn’t we?” Riley said composing herself

“and… the answer was you won't?” Maya asked

“Yeah I guess” Riley started

“It was more that we didn't really want to. We were holding on for too long, and we just weren’t feeling it anymore.” Riley said

“So that’s it?” Maya asked, not believing it would be so easy

“Yeah,” Riley said, a smile taking over her face “It’s just so relieving to finally know.”

Maya sat for a moment and let Riley think. It was weird that the Lucas and Riley thing had taken up so much of there lives but with the triangle, and it having started when they were in middle school, it just seemed so monumental that this was to happen now.

Maya wasn’t delusional, she knew this didn't mean she could go running to Lucas or that he would come crawling after her. But it suggested that there would be a conversation about it soon enough. They weren't able to ignore it the triangle had never really been settled. Maya had just, stepped back.

She was broken out of her train of thought when Riley turned to her, placing her hand on her arm.

“So, now you….”

Maya knew precisely where this was going, Riley wanted to talk about Lucas and her now. But she couldn't yet. It was too soon after this break-up and just because he didn't like Riley like that doesn't mean he likes Maya.

“Oh no no no no no” Maya cut her off.

“Maya…” Riley said with that sweet, sympathetic look on her face

“Riley come on” Maya pleaded. “I don't want to get back into this right now. At least give it a couple of months for this to settle and then we can talk about it.”

“How do you know Lucas will want to wait that long?” Riley asked

“Because he’s smart. Plus we don't know anything more about how Lucas feels accept that he doesn't like you.” Maya said before flinching away after realising what she said.

“It’s okay peaches,” Riley said noticing Mayas worry over what she had said

“I’m more than okay with that. I just want you to be happy” Riley said grasping Maya's hand in hers
“I am happy Riley. I have you and my mum and Shawn and all my friends. I'm doing a great right now. Could be the happiest I've been all year, maybe my whole life who knows ma…”

“I get it you’re really happy” Riley laughed cutting Maya off.

Both girls laughed, and the conversation lulled into a comfortable silence. Riley leaning her head on Maya's shoulder, both girls grinning.

“We’re going to have to talk about it one day you know?” Riley asked quietly

“I know.” Maya responded “but not today.” she said, enough finality to her tone that Riley didn't speak another word about it that day.

It stayed like that for a while, Riley kept silent and Lucas didn’t say anything…. for a month.

It was a Tuesday afternoon, Maya had hung around a little longer after school to finish an artwork that was due that Friday. She liked being in the Art room after hours it was quiet, she finally got time away to think after the long day of lessons. By the time she started packing up to leave it was 4:45, she’d done this deliberately to leave before Lucas finishes football training at 5.

As she cleaned up, she kept her eye on the clock when she noticed it was 4:55 she turned quickly to grab her things and leave. But when she looked up, Lucas was standing in the open doorway, still in his uniform with his gym bag slung over his shoulder.

“What are you doing here Huckleberry?” she asked trying to maintain indifference in her voice “Shouldn’t you be taking a group shower with all your little buddies?” she let a teasing smile spread across her face.

She watched as a small grin spread across his, he opened his mouth to retaliate. But before he could, he stopped himself a look flashing across his face that Maya couldn't quite place.

“I’m here to talk to you.” He said looking directly at her

“Well make it quick Hop-along I've got to be home for dinner before the sun sets and little old me is walking home in the dark.”

She thought this would make him hold back, let her go home. She was sure the Texas gentlemen in him wouldn't let her walk home in the dark.

“Maya.” He said, his tone more serious then before, there was no way he was going anywhere

“Fine” she started releasing a sigh and crossing her arms over her chest. “What is it Lucas?”

He looked taken aback for a second, maybe at her compliance or perhaps at her use of his real name, she wasn't really sure. But neither the less, he persisted.

“I want to… I want to know what happens now.” He said a slight tremor to his voice but strength in his composure

“What do you mean what happens now?” Maya asked pretending she didn’t know he was talking about them now that he and Riley had broken up.

“You know what I mean Maya.” He said, she could hear the exasperation in his tone. She couldn't lie her way out of this one.

She sighed, letting her arms fall to the side and sitting on one of the stools behind her. Lucas moved further into the room, closer to her, but he didn't sit down.

“Look… Lucas” She started, piecing her thoughts together “I’m going to be honest with you. I really like you” She could feel the lump building in her throat but she saw the look of hope spread across his face and she couldn't lead him on.

“But,” his face dropped “Less them 2 months ago I thought you still had feelings for Riley and you haven’t even told me how you feel about me.” She watched him open his mouth to start talking, so she cut him off

“So, I need time, I've spent almost a year doing this back and forth and I can't anymore. I need a break from being at the centre of the freshman gossip.” She finished, not allowing herself to make eye contact with him.

She’d had a lot of time to think over the last month and the realisation that he had never actually said to her face that he liked her stuck with her. That wasn’t the only thing though, she was used to flying under the radar, only being noticed for her rebellious acts and now that she had been the centre of a love triangle she was a bit over the gossip.

“Do you really think I don't like you?” He asked taking a step closer and uncrossing his arms

“I.. I don’t know.” she said only just getting the courage to look up at him

‘Maya, I've liked you for ages, I just never knew you felt the same. And when I did, there was Riley, and that had never been resolved. I was just confused.” He said holding eye contact with her as long as she would let him

Maya suppressed the smile that wanted to spread across her face and willed herself to think logically.

“I still can’t do this right now Lucas.” She said her eyes filled with remorse.

He let out a sigh running his hand through his hair.

“Okay,” He started “I’ll wait, and when we're both ready we’ll figure this out” He didn't seem angry like she had expected.

Although why would she expect him to be angry about this? He had never pushed her too far before

“Okay” she responded defiance in her voice.

Looking up at each other with matching smiles on there faces before he turned to get his bag and leave. Maya was frozen for a second before she snapped herself out of it leaning down to pick hers up. When she stood up she expected him to be gone, but he was standing in the doorway looking at her. A confused look spread across her face, but before she could ask what he was doing, he answered that question.

“What? What kind of gentleman would I be if I let you walk home alone when it could be getting dark?” A grin spread across his face and she just laughed and followed him out of the art room.

She never questioned the fact that it was just after 5 and it wouldn't be that dark for hours.

They went on like that for years. Somehow after the first few months had passed Maya thought it was a bit awkward to do anything about it now. But he hadn’t said anything either. She needed a plan and a good one.

And that brings Maya to now, sitting alone on her couch on a Friday night. The first Friday night of the summer holidays before senior year and over 2 years since she and Lucas had vocally expressed any interest in being together. She was sick of it to be quite honest. Sure the first few months she had no intention of bringing it back up and after that it's not like either of them had even dated anyone since freshman year (which was actually a bit ridiculous and a lot of people had noticed) but still nothing had progressed.

Now, why doesn't Maya just go tell Lucas she’s still interested? That would be a reasonable thing to do and she's 99% sure that he still feels the same way as her. But she can’t, because of that 1%

Maya was the one first time round to tell Lucas how she felt. She told him that she liked him and it took him months to even say it to her face and she basically had to ask him for it. But no she was stubborn and she knew it but she wasn't about to put herself out there after the way it worked last time. She needed a plan. A plan that gave him no choice but to ask her out, push him into making a move without making him think she’d moved on.

She was so caught up in her thoughts she didn't notice the knock on the door before Riley appeared waving a hand in her face.

Maya startled out of her daze looking up at Riley
“What are you doing here?” Maya asked as Riley plopped herself down next to Maya on the couch.

“Well I text you asking if you wanted to go for froyo but you didn't respond so I figured I’d just come to get you” Riley explained, turning her head to the side looking at Maya suspiciously

“What were you thinking about so intently?” she asked.

Maya sighed in response rearranging herself so that her legs were tucked up underneath her body.

“Lucas” Maya admitted, she’d always been open with Riley about the… deal they had made.

Riley sighed and looked to Maya sympathetically.

“Oh peaches, why don't you just tell him you’re ready?” Riley asked

“Because I was the bigger person last time. It's his turn.” It sounded even more ridiculous said out loud, but Maya was sticking to it.

“Okay well, then we need a plan to get his ass in gear” Riley responded immediately siding with Maya and ready to help.

“I know” Maya sighed “that's what I've been trying to think of for the past hour” she groaned

A devilish look spread across Riley’s face.

“You need to seduce him” she exclaimed excitedly reaching for Maya’s hand

“What?!” Maya exclaimed
“Well,” Riley continued. “We know he likes you, he stares at you all the time like a lost puppy, laughs at all your jokes and tells you how smart you are all the time” Riley listed off on her fingers.

“and?” Maya asked growing more perplexed by the second.

“don’t get me wrong I’m sure he thinks your attractive, I mean he called you the blonde beauty and you're gorgeous. But I want him to look at you and think how hot you are and then he’ll realise on another level what he’s missing.” Riley finished a Cheshire cat grin across her face

“so basically, you want me to make Lucas want to fuck me?” Maya asked getting embarrassed and retreating in on herself

“well yeah but I’m sure he already wants to fuck you, he’s a teenage boy with a crush, it's in his blood” Riley started

“you want him to be reminded of that fact whenever he looks at you. the best way to the brain and heart of a man is through their di…”

“Riley!” Maya exclaims “dating Zay has corrupted your innocent little brain” Maya joked, and to her surprise, it didn't make Riley blush

“Maybe.. but come on Maya this back and fourth of nothing is ridiculous it has been literal years, nothing is standing in your way, and if you won’t ask him out this is your only option” Riley finished

Maya thought about it for a moment. She was 17 it wasn’t like the idea of wanting Lucas to think about her like that hadn't entered her head. Last years summer had been particularly difficult for her, not only would Lucas be shirtless at the beach but when he played basketball, and when he went for a run and pretty much anytime he was at home it was exhausting. So this year she may as well give him a taste of his own medicine and maybe turn it up a notch.

“Fine. I’m in” Maya responded, looking up to see the excitement across Riley’s face. Maya was now determined that by the end of summer her and Lucas would be together.

Chapter Text

Maya and Riley spent the duration of the walk to meet their friends at the froyo place talking about there plan, going through the ins and outs of what exactly they meant by seducing and how Maya was going to achieve that.

“I’ve never even had a boyfriend Riley, I need your help” Maya whined “I don’t even really know what seduction is” It’s not that Maya was naive she was just inexperienced. Really, that was Lucas’ fault. If they hadn't kept this waiting for each other going on so long she wouldn’t even be in this predicament.

“You just have to make him want you and remind him every time you see him that he wants you” Riley explained, “leave him thinking about you when you leave.”

“Okay, and how should I do that? through what I wear?” Maya asked looking down at her denim shorts and oversized hoodie “because I’m not exactly in the right outfit to start that tonight.” Maya knew that the clothing she wore wasn’t why Lucas liked her and she wasn’t stupid enough to change who she was for a boy to like her. But, she was at this point reluctantly admitting to the fact that a little more skin here and there wouldn’t hurt in getting Lucas to actually make a move on the fact that he still liked her.

“Yeah i guess clothing can be an aspect, but it’s not like you can always be walking around in short skirts, tight jeans and crop tops, so there have to be other ways” Riley reasoned with her and then her eyes lit up like a light bulb had gone off in her brain “like body language”

“Okay” Maya responded her confidence building “so like leaning in, sitting close and not closing in on myself” she responded Riley nodding excitedly in response before her adorable thinking face took over again. Maya could admit to being a standoffish person, so maybe this would be more helpful in appearing ‘more approachable’. Not to everyone though. She still had to maintain her tough guy reputation.

“along with that comes like touching” Riley started “a hand on his arm here, holding a hug a little longer than normal, making sure when you're sitting next to each other your body’s naturally touch, stuff like that.”

“there's gotta be a limit though. I don’t want to seem desperate here Riles” Maya responds, her usual head first, can’t lose attitude restrained by her fears of rejection.

“Yeah, I guess.” Riley responded “I think as long as your confident in your actions he’ll be a little intimidated, but he’ll catch up. Just start off with little changes and let it build up naturally and he’ll be all over you in no time.”

Maya relaxed then. If there is one thing Maya Hart was good at it was confidence no matter what she did. Confidence was key, and she was good at it, the more confident she was, the easier it was to avoid embarrassment.

“Alright.” Maya responded, and it was like something in her had clicked “I’m ready”, and she was, kind of. Oh well, she was committed now.

Riley squealed beside her “I’m so excited” she exclaimed

“You know you can’t tell Zay right?” Maya asked, “he’ll go straight to Lucas.” Zay and Lucas were brothers. Biologically impossible but somehow they made it work. You told one of them something in homeroom and by first period the second was asking you about it. That was great in some situations but could be absolutely catastrophic in this one.

“Oh trust me I know, this is a ring power secret” Riley responded a serious in her tone that only Riley could quite muster in this ridiculous situation.

As they approached the shop, she could see Lucas, Farkle and Isadora already sitting inside at a booth. Farkle and Izzy were on the same side across from Lucas, giving her the perfect opportunity to just slide right in next to Lucas.

They entered the shop the bell ringing above them and grabbed the attention of their friends.

“good luck” Riley whispered in Maya's ear quickly before walking in front of her towards the table so that none of them would notice.

What Maya did notice, however, was the looks on her friends' faces. As Riley got closer, both Izzy and Farkle followed her and started talking to her, but Lucas didn't take his eyes off Maya until Riley addressed him directly. It sent chills up Maya’s spine, not because his stare was sexual in any way but just because she knew how much of his attention she could have at any one time. It meant it probably wouldn't take long for him to start noticing the little changes in her behaviour.

Maya slid into the booth next to him, not to close yet, she intended to move over when Zay got there and get as close as possible, but it would look weird if right now she sat directly next to him.

“Hey, Genius 1 and 2 and Huckleberry.” Maya said her eyes scanning across the 3 as she spoke landing on Lucas last who was already looking at her and smiling

“Not tonight Maya” Izzy started dragging Maya’s attention away from Lucas’ gaze.

“tonight I am not a genius, and I refuse to reclaim the title for the next 5 days” Izzy exclaimed

“and why’s that?” Maya asked engaging in Izzy’s conversation and trying to ignore the fact that she could see Lucas subtly shifting slightly closer to her in her peripheral vision

“I’m taking a break from studying for 5 days.” Izzy responded prompting a gasp from Farkle

“That's good of you Izzy. I think I’ll take 5 months” Maya responded, mainly because she knew it could make Lucas laugh. It did.

Not long after as they were discussing the appropriate level of study to be doing during the holidays (Maya genuinely thought it was none but no one seemed to agree) Zay arrived.

Maya took the opportunity to slide closer to Lucas watching as Zay leaned over the table to kiss Riley hello. She couldn't help but dream of a day where she and Lucas would be like that. When she slid closer, she made sure it was just a little more then usual, not too close that it was obvious but close enough that if one of them moved there legs would brush at the movement

Throughout there time out that night Maya didn't think she changed much about the way she usually was. But, she was more aware of all her actions, turning to face Lucas every time he spoke, noticing that when she did he would always spend most of his time looking at her, even if he was addressing the whole group. Maya also made sure that when she turned excitedly to tell him, she had got an A- on that final maths test they got back that day, the test he had helped her study for, she placed her hand on the arm he was resting on the table. She let it linger for a few seconds longer then friendly before removing it. She made sure that other than little things like these, she didn't change the rest of her behaviour too much.

By the time they got up to leave, Maya’s confidence was back to normal. She has faith in this plan and felt herself find comfort in it, all those residual nerves about the idea leaving her mind. They had all decided to head back to Riley’s for a movie night. Usually, this made Maya nervous. With Zay and Riley and Farkle and Smackle as couples movie nights usually made Lucas and Maya’s non-relationship even more evident, but Maya was going to use this to her advantage.

It was dark across New York as they begun there walk to the Matthew’s apartment. Maya spent the length of the walk talking to Farkle about the stars, constellations were always so exciting to her and Farkle knew so much about them it fascinated her. After a little while though, she started to feel like someone's eyes were on her, she ignored it for a while but eventually glanced behind her to find Lucas staring right at her. His stare didn't break when Maya turned around although a small bashful smile spread across his face. She was going to ask him what he was staring at but thought about what Riley had said about seduction, confidence and body language. So instead of calling him out for staring, Maya locked eyes with him quickly before turning back around, slightly accentuating the sway of her hips and reaching up behind her to let her hair out of her ponytail, running a hand through it. She could still feel his gaze on her but didn't want to turn around and ruin the effect. Luckily, she didn't have to. Riley text her

Riles: He’s still staring. not surprised really this is his usual reaction to anytime you're within a metre of him

Maya: What do I do?

Maya worried for a moment that Zay might be looking over Riley’s shoulder but her she then heard him start up a conversation with Izzy.

Riles: absolutely nothing. If you drop back and talk to him, you’re giving him what he wants. Leave him wanting more.

Maya: How did you get so good at this? Spend a long time seducing Zay?

Riles: Nope. Planned this out about 2 weeks ago. I have 3 plans for ‘getting Lucaya together over summer break’ this one is the most thought out.

Maya: You’re ridiculous and could have told me this earlier.

Riley didn't respond to that and Maya turned most of her attention back to Farkle, she still had some of it on wondering what Lucas thought when she could still feel his eye’s on her.

When they got up to Riley’s apartment, it was getting on 9pm but her whole family was still up. Topanga, Cory and Auggie sitting around the table playing a game of go fish when they walked in.

“Oh look honey” Cory exclaimed dramatically looking between the group of teens that had just invaded his apartment and his wife “the free-loaders are back!” he feigned excitement but Maya knew there was no bite to his bark. So she skipped up to the table and threw her arms around Topanga in a hug.

“Shut it Matthews, I’m more loved around here then you are” she exclaimed sticking her tongue out at him when Topanga nodded her head in agreement reaching up behind her to hold on to Maya

“It’s true” Topanga shrugged while Cory crossed his hands over his heart in offence.

“What are you guys doing here?” Auggie asked turning to face the group as Maya moved back towards her friends who were getting the family room ready for a movie

“Watching a movie” Zay yelled from across the room.

Bfore Auggie could even ask to stay up Cory cut him off “and you’re going to bed”

Auggie pouted but ran off to his room anyway, apparently not that phased by it, probably had a big last day of the school year.

Topanga followed him, calling out good night to them and leaving them to their own devices.

Cory hung around to read the rules to them, the same rules he spewed every time they were all there for a movie night.

“Right, only Maya and Smackle are allowed to stay the night, however, if you lose track of time and it is after midnight I don't expect you boys to walk home but you will sleep in here, the girls will sleep in Riley’s room and I will check. get it?”

There were murmurs of agreement across the group. Before Cory left, sparing one last glare at Zay in particular.

They all set up the couch and a couple of chairs with pillows and blankets Riley and Maya leaving to get changed. Izzy didn't like being in her pyjamas around the boys and usually decided to go home after the movie so she stayed with the boys.

“Fuck this is going to be a long summer” Maya started before she turned to Riley’s wardrobe to find some pyjamas

“Oh, this is not going to take the whole summer” Riley exclaimed “you took a hair tie out and the boy almost drooled. I give him 3 weeks. tops.” Riley explained

“I want to speed it up so help me find tight-ish pyjamas.”

“I’ve got a better idea” Riley replied disappearing into her room. Maya could hear her opening and closing drawers looking for something before she threw a bag at her and Maya opened it gasping at the contents inside before she started to laugh. This was perfect.

Maya and Riley returned to the family room a few moments later. Zay was the first to notice them and he started to laugh attracting the attention that Maya wanted

“Oh my God, I forgot I had those made!” Zay exclaimed looking at Maya who was wearing pyjama shorts that couldn't be seen as they were covered by her oversized Lucas the Good shirt that Zay had made in middle school and Riley had confiscated because it was “mean”.

“Ohhhh Lucas” Zay called to Lucas who was plugging some cords in behind the TV.

When he looked up Maya watched the expression on his face go from neutral, too shocked, to exasperated in about 4 seconds

“Really Maya?” Lucas asked walking towards her and Zay “where did you even find that?” he asked

“Riley kept it. Why huckleberry? worried I’m gonna bring back some old nicknames?” She teased “Maybe Mr Perfect?” she knew he hated that nickname and watched how he twitched when she said it

“Don’t worry” she started “that nickname retired when you beat up Angus Richards at the end of Freshman year” she teased. Watching as the memory flashed across his eyes, him beating Angus up after he had some crude things to say about Maya, Maya cleaning up his wounds, her sneaking in to bring him fast food to say thanks when he got grounded because he was suspended.

“I think I’ll stick with huckleberry” she started and watched the fond expression spread across his features “maybe ranger rick, bucky mcboing boing, sundance, hop-a-long and my personal favourite..” She paused readying herself “ha hurrrrr” she got right up on his face, he didn't touch her like he did at the campfire but he also didn't move, keeping his face mere centimetres from hers until she dropped back down onto flat feet a smirk across her face

“Happy?” he asks

“Delighted.” she responds “I got everything I wanted out of this shirt” she held his gaze and watched it darken momentarily as he gave her a once-over, finally not just looking at the shirt but looking at her in the shirt. She saw his eyes linger on her legs were it appeared there to be nothing but the shirt hanging off of her body.

She didn't wait for his eyes to meet hers before she turned away, reminding herself of Riley’s words, leave him wanting more.

She sat next to him while they watched the movie, it was called 'safe haven', but she couldn't remember much more than that. It wasn’t that it was a bad movie, she was just too caught up in her thoughts. She was wondering when she would see Lucas again, there had been a discussion of a beach day next week and usually, the gang hung out all the time but they had all acquired different jobs or internships this summer.

Maya would be working in the cafe with her mum, Farkle and Smackle at the science museum, Zay had got a job at a restaurant, Riley was doing an internship at a law firm and Lucas was doing an internship at the Vet. Most were only working a couple of times a week but still, it meant they didn't have all the time in the world like they usually did. Maya was happy with her job at the cafe, it meant she could work when the others weren’t and still be hanging out with them, it also ensured she wasn’t under the pressure of a new environment with the fast pace aggressive bosses who owned all the other cafes in Greenwich Village.

Other then there plans to go to the beach next week Maya, didn't think they had any plans to see each other. They would figure it out though they always seemed to. The internships were part-time along with there jobs so while they might not always all be together there would most likely always be somewhere around.

After her mind ran a mile a minute on that topic, she began to focus in on the moment. She had strategically placed herself on the couch next to Lucas. Farkle and Izzy had set up pillows all over the floor and were lying there while Zay and Riley occupied one end of the sofa and Lucas and Maya the other. Riley must have noticed at the same time Maya did that she hadn't been making any move on Lucas as Riley extended her legs and pushed them into Maya’s thigh, moving her closer to Lucas.

Maya pretended to sigh in exasperation and moved a little closer. So that one of her crossed legs was resting on Lucas' thigh. She kept her eyes glued to the screen but out of her peripheral vision watched Lucas gaze down at her knee and look up at her while she avoided eye contact altogether. She gave it 10 minutes, letting Lucas forget all about the fact that her leg was there before she shifted again, burrowing back into the cushion behind her and uncrossing her leg so that it was now draped across Lucas’ lap. This time she waited for him to look at her before taking her eyes off the TV

“You okay ranger rick?” Maya asked and let the satisfied smirk creep across her face.

Lucas just nodded in response clearly flustered by her catching him staring. She liked this new confidence this plan had given her.

The movie finished just before 12 and the boys and Smackle decided it was best if they stayed. Usually, if it were only the boys they would walk but they knew if they went Smackle would insist on going despite how afraid she was of walking around New York after dark. Riley and Zay left to go get the queen air mattress and bring it back for Farkle and Zay after Lucas shotgunned the couch.

They finished setting up the room for the boys, Maya sitting on the end of the couch and Riley on the floor next to the air mattress while they waited for Smackle to get changed, they had pulled the trundle out in Riley’s room for her to sleep on.

Lucas came back from the bathroom, still fully dressed.

“Planning on sleeping in jeans and a t-shirt cowboy?” Maya asked and she couldn't help but laugh when he looked down at himself in confusion, realising that he was still fully dressed. God he was so cute was all Maya could think until without a second thought he pulled his white t-shirt over his head. Then all she could think was holy shit this plan better work fast because she needs to see that more often. Not just Lucas’ abs but the motion of him pulling that shirt off was so sexy. It wasn't fair that he could get to her that easily. She, however, didn't know how he was going to solve the jeans problem. Both Farkle and Zay had been in track pants and opted to keep their shirts on considering they were sharing a bed and boys were weird. Lucas, on the other hand, was wearing skinny jeans. Gorgeous, low cut, skinny denim jeans that meant when he took his shirt off she could clearly see the deep V in his abdomen that if she didn’t remain carefully composed she may just reach out and touch.

Luckily for her, Lucas hadn't noticed her momentary loss of control. Too busy staring down at his pants and thinking, thank god for confused and tired Lucas. She began to curse confused and tired Lucas about 2 seconds later because apparently he was also impulsive and gave 0 shits.

Lucas shrugged reaching down and unbuckling his belt, at first she thought he was just going to take the belt off and get into bed like that but no. Then he reached down, popping the button on his jeans and pulling the zipper down causing Maya's eyes to widen. Apparently, she wasn't the only one paying attention to this though as the action of him beginning to push down his jeans and expose his tight, navy blue boxers caused a response across the room with Farkle and Zay both yelling at him.

Zay reached out covering Riley’s eyes while she just laughed and Farkle covered his own. Maya made little move to look away from him other than to scan the room to see everyone else response and laugh at Zay’s protectiveness

“What?” Lucas asked genuine confusion etched into his features as he took his pants off the whole way stepping out of them and folding them up.

Maya tried not to stare and she succeeded mostly but honestly who could blame her. She looked away as he begun to move to get onto the couch and under the covers as he would see her staring as he did so.

“You can’t just strip off in the middle of the living room” Zay responded, letting go of Riley’s face when Lucas was under the covers.

“Oh come on” Lucas responded burrowing himself down into the blankets and getting comfortable “we’re practically seniors and we’ve all known each other at least 5 years if not a lot longer, I don’t think seeing each other in our underwear is that big of a deal” Lucas argued.

“Oh so you make a friend and you take your clothes off?” Zay asked, sarcasm underlying his tone

Lucas laughed “no. but I wasn’t going to sleep in my jeans”

“Well you could've waited for Riley and Maya to leave before exposing them to that indecency” Zay responded

“Let’s see then” Lucas started “Riley and Maya, sweet innocent ones” he continued causing them both to scoff “did me taking my pants off and being in my underwear in front of you for 2 seconds offend your sweet souls?” Lucas asked sarcastically

“No Lucas my sweet soul has not been tainted” Riley responded first stroking Zay’s face when he took great offence to her not siding with him

“Excellent. Maya?” Lucas looked to her and Maya could recognise the mischief in his gaze she decided to egg him on

“I couldn't care less” Maya responded and before she could continue Riley snorted to her right, both her and Lucas turned to look at her and Maya decided it was best if that was left there. Farkle, however, chose to speak up at that moment.

“Of course Maya doesn't care. It brings you both another step closer to resolving that sexual tension you've had for the past three years” Farkle responds finally uncovering his eyes.

The rooms silent for a second, even Zay the chatterbox to beat all chatterboxes has nothing to say in response to that. That is until Maya grabs the pillow out from under Zay’s head who is lying in front of her and hits Farkle across the face. She gets up to hit him again as he pleads mercy.

“I didn't mean it I’m sorry,” Farkle said through laughs as she begins to hit him again “ I didn’t read the room” Farkle exclaims, and Maya decides he’s had enough.

Throwing the pillow back at Zay, Maya sits back down in a huff, she’s not stupid enough to storm off. So she sits in the exact same spot as before and hopes for an air of indifference to surround her.

Maya waits for someone to break the air as the silence begins to consumer her. Luckily she doesn't have to make a stab in the dark to follow up that comment as dear, sweet Riley saves her.

“Well… I think Smackle should be changed by now so we should go to bed” She so gracefully distracts from the situation looking to Maya as she finishes speaking.

Maya nods and stands up following Riley out of the room and calling goodnight over her shoulder. She can’t bring herself to look back.

As she gets into bed, she can’t help but think about Farkle’s comment. If he thought the tension between her and Lucas was sexual already he had a big storm coming.

Chapter Text

Maya woke up at around 10 the next morning, her body has no problem slipping back into weekend/holiday times. It was no surprise to her, however, that the room was empty other than her. Riley was an early riser no matter the day or how late she had been up the night before and Smackle was always quick to leave in the few times she had stayed over at Riley’s.

She didn’t bother changing, more than comfortable being in her pyjamas in the Matthew’s apartment. She got up and made sure her hair and face didn't look like a mess, she didn't know who was left in the living room as she went to get breakfast in the kitchen.

Scanning the room, she noticed that the only people still there were the Matthews family and Zay. Riley and Zay were sitting on the couch eating cereal, Auggie on the floor in front of them and cartoons on the TV.

“Morning Matthew’s family and Zay” Maya announced walking around the table to pour herself a bowl of cereal.

When she looked up, she saw Cory standing in front of her an agitated look on his face that she couldn't think of the reasoning for.

“Is that Lucas’ shirt?” Cory asked his voice low and angry

Maya lowered her gaze to her own shirt, confused momentarily as she had forgotten she had gone to bed in the ‘Lucas the Good’ shirt. Once she realised what he was referring to she snorted in response

“No. Why would Lucas have a shirt making fun of himself?” she asked noticing Cory’s posture loosen, seeming less agitated, “it’s from like 8th grade, Zay had them made.” Maya explained

“Oh. Well, good.” Cory responded going back to whatever it was he was doing before. Maya rolled her eyes before turning around and joining Zay and Riley on the couch.

“could be Lucas’ shirt if you weren't so stubborn.” Zay told her turning to face her as she sat on the couch. Zay had always been vocal in his support of Lucas and Maya, even before he got to New York he told Maya he had been teasing Lucas about it. So, it was no surprise to her that he wasn’t afraid to push the issue with her.

Still, she wasn’t about to spill her guts to Zay about it all this time around as he and Lucas had only gotten closer and at this stage, she couldn't trust that he would keep what she said to himself. However, she wasn't afraid of a little passive aggression.

“Takes two to tango” she responded simply turning her attention to the TV and ignoring Zay’s follow up comment
“so you admit you still like him?” he was referring her lack of immediate denial to wanting it to be Lucas’ shirt, but she refused to give him the satisfaction of a response. Instead, she put a spoonful of cereal in her mouth and didn't take her gaze off the TV.

Maya left soon after she had eaten breakfast, it was clear Zay was sticking around and she wanted to give him and Riley some couple time. The two of them had started dating only a few months back about halfway through Junior year. They had done so quietly, and no one had really been that surprised by it. Despite being individuals who seemed like complete opposites, they had always got on well, and Zay had always had a soft spot for Riley. She knew that Riley would have let her stay and that neither of them minded her company but she felt it was only right that she gave them some space.
Maya made her way home, and to her surprise, her mother was there and cleaning the apartment. She had expected Katy to be at Topanga’s or on her way out as Saturday at 12 was her a regular shift for her, but instead, she was at home, there were groceries to be unpacked, and she was cleaning. Suddenly it clicked for Maya, it could have been the fact that her Mom looked just a little more dressed up then usual or if it was the cleaning, but she knew.

“Shawn’s here this week isn't he?” Maya greeted her Mom, startling her as she hadn't noticed the door opening and closing, too consumed by cleaning the coffee table.

Her Mom spun around to look at her before a bashful smile spread across her face.

“Maybe” she responded before turning back to finish wiping down the table.

Shawn and Maya's Mom had been dating since Maya was a freshman in high school. Maya honestly thought they would be married by now, but she's not too worried about the fact that they aren’t because their relationship had been nothing but strong since the start.

“He’s here every other week, I don’t think he cares if there's a little dust here and there or we have to order take out” Maya told her gesturing towards the groceries that had been left unpacked on the bench.

“Well it doesn't hurt to clean up every now and then anyway” Katy responded moving to sit across from Maya at the small kitchen bench where Maya was now looking through the bags.

“What did you do with Riley last night?” Katy asked seemingly absentmindedly

“We went out with everyone for fro-yo and then back to hers for a movie” Maya responded taking a seat across from her Mom. Now she could see the slightly devious grin across her face.

“What?” she asked almost worried as to what the answer would be

“Was Lucas there?” Katy asked, and Maya couldn't help but groan and roll her eyes.

Maya’s crush on Lucas was no secret in this house. She and her Mom had developed a very close relationship and so when everything happened with the triangle and then when Riley and Lucas ended things and Lucas approached Maya, Katy knew about all of it. For the past couple of years consistently Katy would ask Maya if they were together yet or if Lucas was coming over or when she was seeing Lucas, always encouraging her to say something and inviting Lucas to stay for dinner when he was over after school. She was sure Lucas noticed Katy’s odd behaviour, but he never said anything or was anything other than gentlemanly when invited by Katy. But honestly, she didn't think she was going to tell her Mom about her plan until this very moment because she just knew that her Mom would notice her change in clothes and behaviour, no matter how subtle it was going to be. Seducing a boy you had a crush on didn't seem like the type of thing you spoke to your Mom about so she guessed she’d just have to leave out some details.

“Yes Lucas was there” Maya responded an unavoidable blush crossing her face.

“Ohhh” her Mom cooed “whats that face about?”

“Well…” Maya started before going into a censored version of her plan. Basically just saying she was going to make her feelings more obvious until Lucas caught on through a few…. tactics.

Her Mom doesn't seem phased by it at all, excited about it even, telling Maya she would take her shopping and fully supporting the idea. Maya tells her Mom to stop living vicariously through her, but she’s only half joking.

When Maya goes up to her room that night, after greeting Shawn at the door and spending the day with him and her Mom, there’s a smile she can’t get off her face. When she's lying in bed, she allows herself to hope and settle in the happiness. She thinks about the list of reasons why she’s happy, and she can count 4 things, which is 4 more things then she could have noticed a few years ago.

Her Mom is happy, she’s in love, she's in a good place, and my god is she happy.
Shawn and Maya's Mom spent dinner talking about new apartments and moving in as a real family and getting out of this ratty old apartment
She has her friends. She and Riley are closer than ever while also living separate and different lives, having different friends and different experiences but sharing the important ones and her group is happy and settled.
Lucas. Just, Lucas.

 

Maya wakes up Sunday morning to the shrill of her ringtone, picking it up she checks the time seeing that it’s 8:30 and it’s Riley whose calling.

“Honey, its Sunday. you better be dying or dead to be calling at this hour.” Maya answers and she hears the morning croak in her voice as she speaks. What she doesn't expect is Riley’s responding joyful shriek.

“Mom got the promotion!” Riley calls into her phone following the outburst. Maya is still mildly annoyed to be called at this hour, but she can’t help the excitement that she feels.

Topanga had been working as a Lawyer for Johnson and Jacobs legal for over 10 years and for the past 3 years she had interviews for a promotion to be a leading partner. Topanga worked her ass off for this firm, and she was bringing them more money then they were paying her, she deserved this.

“Finally!” Maya responded getting her normal voice back “it’s only been 3 too many years.”

“I know, but its happened and she's so excited.” Riley responds

“That’s so good Riles I’m so happy for her” Maya responds.

“I know its great, and we get free dinner out of it! Mom said I can bring all my friends out to dinner tonight and the company will pay in celebration.” Riley responds, her tone changing to be slightly teasing when she says all her friends.

“What's with the tone, Honey?” Maya asks her mind drawing a blank.

“Oh my god have you actually forgotten the summer goal already?” Riley shrieks

“This is phase 2 - it’s time-” Maya cuts her off mid-sentence, still confused just now for a different reason.

“Wait - there are phases?” Maya asks “is this part of your plan that you failed to fill me in about completely?” Maya continues

“Okay so maybe” Riley responds sheepishly.

“so when we got to the end of the year, and we had the incident which I don’t think you think anyone else noticed but I saw it, and I'm pretty sure it’s the same incident that caused your revelation-” Maya has to cut Riley off from her rambling now or else she’ll get lost.

“Are we talking about that time like 2 weeks ago when Zay ruined my day?” Maya asked, and Riley confirmed her suspicion

——————————————

Everyone else was in class, Maya, Lucas and Zay were in a free period together, and Lucas had walked with Maya when she had gone to get her sketchbook from her locker, only they got distracted. They had been talking, she was teasing him about the trip he was taking home in the holidays, mocking his accent and getting in his face. Maya will admit that she was being even more extra with her teasing that day than she usually was. Her teasing of Lucas had always stemmed from her feelings towards him, something they both new but seemed to avoid at this stage. That day Lucas had done his hair a little differently, left it a little messier than usual, and Maya couldn't get past it, so to stop herself from running her hands through it she had upped the nicknames and intensified the jokes.

She had been making fun of him when the incident occurred. Teasing about how little there was to do in Texas how he must just spend his afternoons sitting in a rocking chair looking at all his land. It had all been a joke and judging by the grin on Lucas' face when he went to retaliate, he knew this. However, Maya had accentuated her joke by rocking back on her heels, only at the last second, she had lost her balance. She reached for Lucas when she felt herself going backwards, grabbing onto his muscular bicep, an afterthought, he had caught her waist as one of her legs slipped out from under her, pulling her upright and in closer to him to stop her from falling further towards the hard school floors underneath them. She had subconsciously closed her eyes when she started to fall, trying to brace herself for the impact. When she opened her eyes Lucas’ face was right there, her face hadn't been this close to his since that night in freshman year by the firelight, ironic considering their conversation just seconds before had been about Texas.

Maya was overwhelmed by her senses, the feel of his hands one landing on her hip and the other on her waist, pushing her top up just an inch, so a strip of her skin was exposed. Then the smell of his cologne invaded her space, subtle yet enticing and the sound of his soft gasp as whatever he was about to say got caught in his throat as her eyes opened to meet his. She was left in the same state, the joke about him being a western hero dying somewhere between her brain and mouth when her eyes flicked down towards his mouth.

“Hi” He breathed out one of his hands slowly trailing down to join the other on her hip. She could feel his breath on her lips, and her brain short-circuited she was almost too overwhelmed.

“Hey” she reposed not breaking his gaze. She had been sure at that moment that he was going to move in, mere inches was separating her lips from his. But then, Zay had run around the corner calling for Lucas, and the two had separated in a second, making sure there was a significant gap between them before they turned their attention to Zay.

They never talked about it, and it seemed like after a couple of days any residual tension from the moment had faded, and Maya felt the opportunity slip through her fingers.

——————————————

“How did you even see that Riles?” Maya asked in shock. She was sure they had been the only people in the hallway at the time.

“I was on my way to the bathroom, I saw you two talking and I decided to observe for a minute. I was there less than a minute when she slipped backwards and I left before any of you noticed me.” Riley started

“So that made you make up plans to get us together?” Maya asked

“Well Kinda” Riley responded “I already had one plan, but it was boring and just involved meddling that wouldn't have worked. That interaction inspired my seduction plan, which yes has phases” Riley finishes, her voice getting happier as she talked.

Maya sighs in defeat, she’s not sure why she's surprised, she committed to this plan last night, and Riley was an organised person.

“All right talk me through the next phase.” Maya caved in, she couldn't help but smile when Riley squealed in response

“Okay, so, Phase one was to attract Lucas’ attention, which yeah yeah you already do but this was in a more intentional, obvious way. Which you succeeded in, with the subtle touches while we were out, grabbing his attention as we walked home and then wearing a shirt with his name on it and lying your leg across his lap. So now we move on to Phase 2 which basically involves the clothing aspect of the seduction, aka make him wonder what's under the clothes, and make Lucas notice that something is different now.” Riley finished

“Okay well then get your butt over here and help me pick an outfit appropriate for dinner with your family and also seducing Lucas.”

Riley arrived at Maya’s apartment 20 minutes later with a massive grin on her face and a giant bag full of clothes hanging off her shoulder.

It took them nearly 2 hours to find an outfit deemed appropriate for both a family dinner and grabbing Lucas attention. The problem really was with Cory, if he weren’t so overprotective this wouldn't be a problem. But he was, so if she showed up in some of the outfits they tried on he would be quick to notice and keep her as far away from Lucas as possible

Maya was happy with her choice, it was a gingham dress she usually wore with tights and a jumper in winter but instead would be wearing with a pair of Riley’s heels. It had a v neck that accentuated her cleavage without showing too much, and the hemline was mildly risky but not obviously. She decided to wear it with a lace bralette which would kind of be visible but worked better with the shape of it then every other bra she owned.

“What jacket do I wear?” Maya asked scanning her wardrobe through her array of denim and leather jackets

“None.” Riley responded pulling Maya back to sit on the floor

“Riley it may be summer, but this is still New York, I'm going to need a jacket by the time we're leaving the restaurant” Maya argues

“There are 2 reasons that you aren’t allowed to bring a jacket” Riley started.

“Oh no, is this part of your plan?” Maya asked

“Yes, of course, it is” Riley responded matter of factly “The first reason is that if you get mildly self-conscious, you'll reach for the jacket and ruin the effect of the outfit.” Riley told her and Maya could honestly agree, jumpers and jackets were her safety blanket.

“and secondly,” Riley continued “This is New York summer, as you said, Lucas is used to Texas summer so he will offer to you if you mention that you're cold as he is a western gentleman who can’t help himself.” Riley finished

It was solid logic that Maya honestly couldn't argue with. The two girls spent the next few minutes packing clothes back into Riley bag and Maya’s wardrobe before Riley dropped the bombshell.

“Oh, by the way, Josh is coming to dinner” Riley comments, leaving it out in the air

“Oh” Maya doesn't really know how to process that information. 2 or 3 years ago it would have made her excited to think that she was seeing Josh, but now it just leaves her with a sort of indifference and mild concern. “How does that factor into phase 2?” she asks turning to Riley

“Well at first I thought he was going to be a hindrance, but I actually think it might be useful” Riley starts

“How so?” Maya asks curiosity etched into her features

“Well, you don’t like Josh anymore that's just fact. But in the last few months Josh has been asking me about you a little bit, not a lot but just kind of a bit more interest than before. So I guess now he’ll show a bit more interest when he sees you and then could work to make Lucas jealous and Lucas will also wonder if you’re dressing up to impress Josh. But if you ignore Josh and give Lucas a little more attention, it will boost his confidence, and he might even play into it to piss Josh off because he always has kind of hated Josh.” Riley explains

Maya had noticed that since knowing Lucas that he had always disliked Josh, even before she knew Lucas liked her, she saw that Lucas didn’t like Josh. Of course, when the Triangle started and ended and Lucas acknowledged his feelings for Maya, they could put down the dislike to him not loving that Maya was interested in someone else. Maya had played into this as well, she hadn't completely let go of her Josh fantasy immediately, she knew she never wanted to be with him, but she made jokes about it and would still act annoying around him during freshman and a bit of soft-more year. Then junior year came, and they didn't see Josh as much any more as he got busier with college and so Maya just kind of stopped.

“does it ever bother you that Lucas doesn't like Josh?” Maya asked

“I think at first I didn't really understand why he didn't like him and they never have got along that well. But I think that just stems from Lucas liking you and Josh realising that he was a bit of a dick and also kind of liking you and they just don’t click” Riley responded shrugging

“They’ll get over it they’re not children, plus it'll make for an interesting evening.” Riley finished.

Riley was right. This wasn’t Maya's problem, her only concern was Lucas thinking she still liked Josh, that was not a vibe she was going for. She wasn't afraid of making Lucas jealous, or flirting with someone she would never see again in front of him, but bringing up her history with Josh at this point after it has been so long since she's seen him and Lucas at the same time in the same room could give Lucas the wrong impression that Maya was reverting back to liking Josh.

Riley was leaving soon after to go home and get ready.

“Wait, Riley, have you even text the others inviting them to dinner?” Maya asked looking at her phone to see it was already 1pm and Maya had had this conversation with Riley almost 5 hours ago.

“Shit no!” Riley exclaimed “only you and Zay! ill send a message the group on my way home.”

Maya shut the door behind Riley, and her phone went off less than 2 minutes later.

Riles: Hi Guys!!! Mom’s got the promotion, so we’re all going out to dinner tonight on the company!!

Riles: Meeting at that new fancy Italian place down the street at like 6:45-7, Auggies bringing Ava and Dewey so let me know if you guys can come xx

Farkle: I’m in, disappointed in the lack of ribs, but I’m in

Izzy: I gratefully accept this invitation

Huckleberry: I would love to come thanks Riley

Maya breathed a sigh of relief, she’s not sure why but this gut feeling told her she wouldn't want to be at this dinner with Josh there and Lucas not.

Maya shook herself out of it, deciding she would worry about that when she got there. Staring at her phone and the messages going between her friends she decided she would test a theory about Lucas.

Maya: very excited. I’ll meet you at the restaurant Riles, gotta wait for mom to get home from her shift before I leave.

Riles: No worries! See you all there!!! xx

It wasn't necessarily a lie, Maya would wait for her Katy to get home, she just didn't have to. She wanted to see if Lucas would offer to pick her up on his way. Ever since that day in the art rooms in Freshman year Lucas would walk her home if they were hanging out at Topanga's and it was getting even a little late, she just wondered if that transcended into him using it as an excuse to pick her up.

Less then a minute later Maya received a private message from Lucas. She bit her lip, trying to suppress the cheesy grin that wanted to spread across her face.

Huckleberry: I’ll pick you up on my way to the restaurant. What time does your mom finish work?

It most definitely was not on his way, they both knew this. She responded anyway, ignoring that fact.

Maya: 6:15. honestly Sundance, I’ll be fine getting there alone

She was throwing him an out, she doesn't want to say she's a cliche and testing him… but she's testing him.

Huckleberry: What kind of western hero would I be if I let you walk these dangerous New York streets alone? I’ll see you at 6:30.

Maya grinned, his response taking her back to the day in the art room when he had finally said he had liked her.

Maya: you are such a huckleberry. make sure you arrive on your horse, I expect nothing less.

Maya spent the rest of the day grinning to herself. She couldn't stop smiling even as she started to get ready.

By the time it was 6, she had showered, watched like 8 episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and was beginning to put her makeup on. She decided on a basic look, she didn't like a lot of makeup on, but she liked the way she could use small amounts to accentuate her features. Maya did however like playing with her hair and having it curled nicely and down flowing behind her back when she was going out instead of up in a ponytail if she could avoid it.
She glanced at the clock to see that it was 6:10 when she was finishing up on her hair and heard Katy opening the front door and calling out to her

“I’m in my room!” Maya called back running her fingers through her hair to loosen the waves

Her mom appeared in her doorway a few moments later as she was moving around the room looking for the nude heels Riley had left.

“You look nice baby girl, where are you going?” Katy asked leaning against Maya’s door frame.

“Out to dinner with the Matthews and everyone, Topanga got the promotion” Maya responded happily turning to her mother once she had found the shoes.

“oh that's nice, I'm glad she got that she's been working really hard” Katy responded, and Maya hummed in agreement

“So why aren’t you at Riley’s now?” Katy asked a frown etched into her features

“I was waiting for you to get home, so you knew where I was going” Maya responded. It wasn't a strong lie, and Maya knew that Katy had caught her the minute the words left her mouth.

“Since when have you ever waited for me to get home? You could have just messaged me.” Katy responded her eyebrow quirking up curiously

“Lucas is coming past to pick me up at 6:30” Maya mumbled sighing in defeat.

“Ohhh” Katy teases “so you said you had to wait for me so wouldn't be at Riley's because you knew Lucas would offer to pick you up?” Katy asked

“Maybe…” Maya responded turning to her wardrobe to get the dress out and avoid eye contact with her mother

“well, this could be interesting because Shawn said he would be here at 6:30 with our dinner.”

Just as she said it, there was a knock at there door, and Katy grinned at Maya before she left to go get it.

Maya didn't know what was better, Lucas being here early so they could leave before Shawn got here or Shawn being here now and Maya being ready to go when Lucas got here so she could avoid the possibility of both of them being here while she still wasn’t ready. Either way, Maya needed to hurry up and be ready.

She slipped the dress on as she heard Shawn’s voice fill the hall, then she stepped into her heels, fastening her clasp and looking up to admire herself quickly in the mirror, making sure that not too much of the bra was showing and the dress still made her feel as good as it did this morning.

Checking the time on her phone, she saw it flash 6:25, she made her way out of her room to see Shawn, making sure she grabbed her bag on the way out and checking her phone was in it so that once Lucas got here, she could leave.

The downside to the close relationship with both Katy and Shawn was that Shawn had also picked up/knew a bit about the Lucas thing and he wasn’t always happy about it.

“Hey Shawn” Maya called walking into the kitchen. She saw Katy’s face as she rounded the corner and she knew by the look she got that her Mom could tell that this outfit was very specifically chosen.

“Hey Maya” He lent into to hug her and she could see him hold himself back from saying anything about her outfit. “where are you going?”

“Out for dinner with the Matthews and my friends because of Topanga’s promotion” Maya responded.

“Lucas is coming past to pick her up” Katy oh so helpfully butted in.

Maya glared at her over Shawn's shoulder as she watched the frown that quickly overtook Shawn’s face but before he could say anything there was a knock on the door and she was saved.

“Well, that’s Lucas” Maya responded hurriedly swinging her purse over her shoulder and speed walking to the door “I’ll be home by 10, and if I’m not I’ll text you” she called over her shoulder opening and closing the door quickly behind her

“What’s got you in such a rush?” Lucas asked and only just then did she realise she was standing really close to him. She had been in such a rush to escape whatever disagreement Shawn could come up with she hadn’t noticed.

Looking up, yes looking up, because Lucas is a giant, she can see the smug yet slightly confused look on his face. She thought about taking a step back, but she knew that would mean running into the door and really for her plan it was probably better she didn't back away.

“Shawn’s here, and I could tell he was about to annoy me and most likely harass you” Maya responds noticing how Lucas takes a step back from the door at the mention of Shawn.

“Well we can't have that can we?” Lucas responds but his sentence trails off as his eyes flick down to look at what she's wearing. She takes the moment he's distracted in to get a good look at him, and he looks hot.

He’s wearing tight black jeans, boots with a casual white button up and she also notes the jacket he's holding onto. Her eyes stop at the buttons of his top, noticing that he’d look even better if he just undid one more button and then his eyes shoot back to his face when he speaks.

“You look g-good” he mumbles and it brought her back to the first day in Texas all those years ago but she tries not to dwell on that. His complement does, however, give her a surge of confidence and she takes it in her stride and does something she would usually never even think about. She makes a small step forward into his space and reaches up undoing the top button of his shirt

“Thanks, now so do you” she responds dropping the tone of her voice ever so slightly.

She catches his eyes for a second, and he looks a little stunned but there’s something else she cannot quite decipher in them.

She let the moment sit for a second before she steps around him and heads for the stairs of her apartment building noticing that it takes him a second to catch up behind her.

They walk in silence out of the building and Lucas doesn't comment on her actions but she also notices he doesn't do the button back up.

Once they start walking down the street Maya grabs on to his arm, it's not a new thing, walking through her neighbourhood especially at night had always frightened Maya. She would never admit to her fears but when Lucas had started walking her home she had grabbed on to him one night and he never commented on it or teased her about it so it became instinctual. Usually, she would drop his arm once they’d passed the seedy part but this time she held on until they reached the subway station, making sure that when she let go she slid her hand back down grazing it along his arm and just missing his hand.

They hadn't talked much on their way there only brief comments about different things but Lucas started up a conversation once they got on the subway.

“Do you have many plans for the last week of holidays before senior year starts?” Lucas asked her leaning against the poll she was holding on to. She was standing at a bigger distance than when they walked but mainly because when she did, she noticed his eyes trailing up her leg or flicking between her face and her chest.

“That’s a very specific question to have two days into the holiday's huckleberry.” Maya responded eyeing him suspiciously when his gaze met hers. He just shrugged signalling for her to answer it.

“No nothing specific, probably a few shifts but I don't know that until a week before. Why?” Maya asked, and Lucas held her gaze.

“Can you ask for time off?” He asked still holding the eye contact she’d started and didn't know how to break. Maya, however, hated people answering a question with a different question, so she repeated her statement.

“Why Sundance?” She asked and he broke the eye contact letting out a sigh that sounded lightly amused but also a little... embarrassed? Frustrated? She wasn't sure.

“Zay and I were talking about if you, Farkle, Smackle and Riley would want to come for the second week of our trip back to Texas. We leave two weeks before the end of break but you guys all have work and stuff so it wouldn't work.” Lucas said only briefly meeting her gaze when he said her name but otherwise looking around the subway cart and not looking back up until he had finished speaking. Maya could understand why he was nervous. No one but Lucas and Zay had been back to Texas since the incident in middle school and here he was alone with Maya asking her if she (and their friends) would like to come.

Maya felt a bit of pity for him, that trip was avoided at all costs in any conversation between them, the rest of the group could talk about it and Maya was more than comfortable talking about it with just Riley but when they were both there and the conversation came up it created a bit of tension. She hopes it is because they're both thinking about the same moment from that campfire when its brought up and not because Lucas regrets it.

“Yeah” she responds and watches the shocked expression across his face. “I can ask for time off, Topanga is my boss after all” she continues and can’t help but laugh

“why are you so surprised? what did you think I was going to say?” Maya asks giggling when the surprised look doest leave after she's finished speaking

“I-uh” he mumbles through a couple of things she can’t hear “I don't know” he responds and she can see him forcing a neutral expression across his face but decides to not comment on it.

Maya and Lucas had a relatively normal friendship since they decided to stay friends, very rarely was there awkward tensions when they were alone as usually it was created by there friends. So the awkwardness that she could sense from Lucas after this moment put her on edge. She preferred there laid back, fun and flirty friendship, not the tension. Luckily they arrived in at the stop for Riley’s not long after and the fresh air and being out of that space seemed to calm Lucas down a bit and the previously awkward air around them lifted.

They begun to talk like usual again, discussing different things they were going to do in the holidays, beach days they planned and all the different ideas that Riley had for them to all spend time together. It was like normal again by the time they got to the restaurant, they were walking side by side, deliberately bumping into each other now and again. Maya was leaning into Lucas and laughing at something he said when she felt him stop suddenly and briefly as they rounded the corner to the street the Italian place was on. It was brief but she noticed, she also noticed the slight, different tension that now surrounded Lucas. Maya quickly realised why when she looked up and saw Josh walking towards them from the other way. This was going to be interesting.

Unfortunately, she caught Josh’s eye when she looked up and a grin spread across his face as he raised his right hand to wave at her. Before she could even think about what to do in this situation and whether she pretended she didn't see him or waved back Josh’s eyes flickered to Lucas. As they were getting closer she could see his expression drop and when she looked up at Lucas they were mirror images of each other, all scowls and tense jaws. Who would have thought 3 years ago this is the love triangle she would end up in?

Lucas and Maya reached the door to the restaurant before Josh did but as Lucas leant forward to open the door Josh quickly caught up.

“Hey Maya! Feels like I haven't seen you in ages!” he exclaimed pulling her into a hug, that she was hoping would be quick but he lingered

“Hey Josh” She responded once she had pulled back trying to keep her face as neutral and mildly friendly as possible.

“Josh” Lucas spoke up from next to her extending his hand out for Josh to shake

“Lucas” Josh responded bluntly quickly shaking Lucas’ hand and letting go. To an outsider, it probably seemed like a regular interaction, but Maya could feel the tension growing by the millisecond as silence consumed the group.

“Well we should go in then” Maya said letting out an anxious breath.

She stepped past Lucas and lifted her hand to graze his bicep as she did so. Opening the door she stepped inside the restaurant turning her head back quickly to make sure Lucas was the one directly behind her when she walked in.

As they rounded the corner into the central area of the restaurant and away from the Bar she spotted Riley was facing her from the other side of her table. She caught Riley’s eye and mouthed ‘help me’ and Riley's mouth gaped as she noticed the two of them behind her and Maya knew she could probably already sense the weird tension. Riley quickly got up from her side of the table painting a smile on her face and running around to meet Maya, embracing her in a tight hug.

“Maya I’m so glad you’re here!” Riley exclaimed squeezing her in a way that Maya knew meant she got this.

Letting go of Maya she moved quickly to Lucas embracing him in a quick hug and thanking him for coming. Maya noticed though how she promptly moved to Josh.

“Uncle Josh! its been too long” Riley exclaimed bringing him in for a hug. “How's college? when did you finish for the year?” Riley asked

Maya noticed that Riley was trying to delay him, giving Maya a chance to get her and Lucas to the table and make sure Josh couldn't sit next to her. Maya worked quickly when she noticed

“Come on huckleberry we should congratulate Topanga.” Maya said grabbing Lucas’ arm and dragging him along with her. He gave her a confused look but otherwise didn't say anything.

She quickly congratulated Topanga who was caught up telling Auggie, Ava and Dewey off for running around the restaurant allowing Maya to move past quickly. Thank God. Lucas followed her around the table to occupy the two free seats next to Riley, Maya next to where Riley had come from and Lucas on the other side between her the end of the table where Farkle was sitting. Smackle was the only one not here so Josh only had two options of where to sit now. Either he joined Farkle at the end of the table or he sat across from Lucas in-between where Smackle would sit and Dewey. Really there was no right answer but he sat directly across from Lucas and somehow that was worse.

Riley sat down next to Maya and Maya grabbed her hand in thanks squeezing it. She almost forgot about Josh for the first part of dinner, turning her focus to Lucas and barely looking in his direction unless she was talking to Smackle. Maya made sure she grazed Lucas arm with hers and got closer to him when she was reading the menu over his shoulder, at one point she lent across to point at something and noticed that when she did that he stiffened as her chest grazed his arm. She made sure to do it again one more time but pretended she didn't notice what she was doing or how he was reacting.

It wasn't until Zay brought up Texas that Josh even addressed her again

“Oh, Maya” Zay started grabbing Mayas attention. Just before you got here we were talking about the plans for Texas. Did Lucas tell you?” Zay asked and she noted the silence across the table and the fear that had spread across Cory’s face. Maya rolled her eyes at the reaction before responding.

‘Yeah, I just need to talk to Mom and ask my boss for time off work” Maya responded grinning

“Ohhhh Topangaaaa” Maya singsonged fluttering her eyes as she turned her attention to Topanga. Topanga rolled her eyes in response letting out an exasperated sigh

“Yes Maya you can have time off work to go to Texas” Topanga responded, unable to suppress her bemused grin.

“Thank you kindly” Maya responded before turning back around expecting to resume her conversation with Lucas about the merit of a salad bar when all they really needed was bread.

Before she could even open her mouth Josh was speaking to her. Well really it was a general question but he was looking at her

“Oh, you guys are going to Texas?” He asked his eyes flicking between Lucas and Maya, clearly not unaware of the last Texas trip they took as a group. But God Bless Riley, before Maya even thought of what to say she jumped in for her.

“Yep were all going in the last bit of the holidays” Riley started “Kind of a last hurrah before senior year starts and we have to focus more on work”.

“Ha” Maya responded “you mean when you guys have to focus on work and I scrape by on procrastination” Maya responded looking around the table and avoiding Josh’s gaze

“Oh come on Maya” Lucas responded, “you’re telling me that after getting above B+ in all subjects except chemistry you're not going to at least try and see if you can do it again in Senior year?” He had this look in his eye, Maya recognised it well it was his ‘I can see right through your act’ look

“Okay maybe I'll try a little” Maya responded “you going to tutor me in chemistry then?” it was teasing and she knew it and she was expecting the usual serious huckleberry response along the lines of ‘of course I’ll always help you’ what she didn't expect was him to tease back

“Maybe, but what will you give me in return?” He raised an eyebrow and she noticed the, slightly less subtle than before, drop of his gaze to her cleavage and back up again to hold her eye contact.

She could hear that a few conversations had started on around her and she was glad with the suggestiveness of his comment one of the discussions was between Topanga and Cory.

“You’ll just have to wait and see.” Maya said dropping her voice a bit lower and noticing the way his eyes were now glued to her lips. She reached across him, grabbing the menu so that she had an excuse to turn her attention away. She glanced around her to see if anyone was paying attention to them in the moment and out of the corner of her eye saw Josh glaring in their direction

Farkle engaged Lucas in a conversation after that, about something Maya couldn't understand but she was too busy pretending to read the menu. Riley leaned in, whispering in Maya’s ear

“seems you've got yourself a bit of a triangle” Riley whispered as quietly as possible as they are dangerously close to both boys.

“Not much of a triangle when I only want one of them” Maya whispered in response turning to face Riley she could see the grin on Riley’s face now

“I don’t think the other one knows that” Riley responds but there's a devious grin on her face.
Before Maya can respond a warm hand rests on her back and Lucas’ head appears next to her just hovering above her shoulder

“What are you two gossiping about?” he whispers “Can I join?” there's a puppy dog look in his eyes and Maya just rolls her eyes while Riley tells him no and he pouts. Maya and Riley sit up and Lucas follows, removing his head from her shoulder but leaving his hand on her back until he slowly slides it to rest on the back of her chair.

When she looks up at him he's not looking at her but he's got a smug look on his face as he looks over at Josh who appears to be staring, jaw clenched and a frown on his face at where Lucas’ hand disappears behind her back. Maya just rolls her eyes pretending not to notice it. Don’t get her wrong, she likes that Lucas appears to be gaining confidence and playing it a bit possessive but she's honestly just a bit annoyed at Josh. For almost 3 years of her life she would have craved the attention from Josh and happily taken any attention he could give but he wasn't interested, yet now that she's not interested and is much keener on other options he seems to want what he can't have. For a boy who wouldn't date her because he was older and “more mature,” he sure is acting like a child who got there lollipop stolen.

The rest of dinner progresses as it usually would with little mention of Texas or interaction between Josh and Lucas or Josh and Maya. Yet when they go to leave the restaurant to go get ice cream at Topanga's, it seems like Josh is still trying to weasel his way in, either to get Maya to like him or to get Maya to be uncomfortable around Lucas she's not sure, but either way, it makes her angry.

The group are all walking out together, Maya sticking close to Lucas and making sure she saw him pick up his jacket and noticed he didn't put it on, perfect. Lucas opens the door for Maya before stepping out next to her.. except there met with Josh who appeared almost to be waiting to walk alongside them, a mildly evil look on his face. This is how Maya finds herself walking down the footpath in between Lucas and Josh.

Now, this needs to be calculated correctly, she says one thing wrong thing she might step 3 feet back in her plan. She subtly checks and ensures Josh isn't holding a jacket, he’s not, and doesn’t have one on, he doesn’t. Excellent now she just needs the right moment.
And thankfully, in his conniving way, Josh accidentally hands it to her.

“So you guys are going back to Texas for some of the summer” It sounds nonchalant but his grin is wicked and its heading somewhere she doesn’t like. So instead of letting Lucas respond or letting him get any further in his attempt, she twists it in her own way.

“Yeah, thank god. Might be warmer there then it is here, I swear New York summers don’t hit until a month after the rest of the country” She accentuates it by wrapping her arms around herself. She might be a little cold but she really is playing it up a bit.

“Here,” Lucas says wrapping his jacket around her shoulders without another word.

“Thanks” Maya responds turning to look up at him “but won't you get cold?” she asks, mainly to get out of talking to Josh

“what's this?” Lucas asks faking dramatics with a hand across his chest “Maya Hart caring about my wellbeing?” He gasps. Maya laughs at his theatrics

“Oh shut up huckleberry” she shoves his shoulder with her own as she pulls the sleeves of his jacket onto her arms. Lucas laughs bumping her back

“Nah, ill be fine. I’m wearing Jeans and shirt, you're wearing a scrap of fabric he responds his gaze flicking over her dress which is almost entirely covered by the jacket now but the short length and deep V are still noticeable.

“Hey!” Maya exclaims “I spent good money on this dress” she responds and he shakes his head in response but before he can react Josh butts in.

“Soooo… Texas?” Josh phrases it like a question and Maya just furrows her eyebrows in confusion

“Yeah. What about it?” Lucas asks seemingly unfazed by Josh’s presence now

“Won't that be a bit awkward for you two?” Josh asks gesturing between them a smirk tugging at his lips.

Maya furrowed her brow, trying to hold back her anger and struggling, as she opened her mouth to have a go at him for butting in places he wasn't welcome Lucas’ warm hand landed on her lower back, she could feel the slight pressure through his jacket.

“Shouldn’t be a problem, no” Lucas responded and Maya could hear the undertones of anger in his reply. Is it wrong that that turned her on a little bit? Not the time Maya she thought to herself.

“I mean” just continued “after all the unnecessary drama that brought you, maybe it's not such a great idea to be going back” Josh responded and Maya could feel her jaw tensing and could sense the tension in Lucas next to her.

“Like Lucas said” Maya responded her tone indignant “ it's not going to be a problem.” Maya watched as the smirk dropped off of Josh’s face and he looked almost shocked that he hadn't got them flustered in the way he wanted.

Maya turned her attention back to in front of her and picked up her pace noticing that Lucas followed and josh lingered just a bit behind them, not walking next to them anymore. Lucas didn't take his hand off her back until they caught up with Riley and Zay, it brought Maya great satisfaction that Josh would have seen that as well.

Maya breathed a sigh of relief though coming up on Riley’s right side and grabbing her hand that wasn't holding Zay’s.

“Uh oh, you look angry” Riley started “What did Lucas do?” Riley asked jokingly knowing Lucas could hear her as he was walking alongside Zay.

“Hey” Lucas exclaimed causing the three others to laugh “I didn't do anything” he corrected Riley. Riley dropped Zay’s hand picking up the pace so the girls were in front of Lucas and Zay

“Oh we get it secret society it is” Zay exclaimed teasingly behind them as they moved even further ahead trying to get out of earshot.

“What happened?” Riley asked whispering just to make sure they couldn't hear her.

“Josh is trying to get in the way of your, well our, plan” Maya responded through gritted teeth

“What did he do?” Riley asked glancing over there shoulders

“started asking about Texas, saying how he thought it would be a bad idea to go because of what happened last time” Maya responded, recounting the interaction to Riley who begun frowning as Maya told her

“how did Lucas react?” Riley asked

“well, actually it was okay, he got a bit defensive, I did as well to be honest, but he doesn't seem fazed by Josh any more, I think he's figured out that I'm not interested any more” Maya responded

“Well that good at least” Riley started sighing “I doubt we’ll see Josh again this summer before the two of you are together anyway so it shouldn't matter” Riley responded matter-of-factly

[Riley would end up being right, the next time they would see Josh would be 2 weeks from then, at a college party he had invited them to at Topanga’s little did he know that the day of that party, Lucas and Maya would get together]

“You’ve got a lot of faith in me honey” Maya laughed in response, Riley only grinned shrugging

“I've got a lot of faith in you and my plan” she laughed.

Maya and Riley walked arm in arm the rest of the way to Topanga's, the boys and Josh still trailing behind them. Once Topanga had opened up the store and they had raided the ice creams it was getting on 9:30 and Maya knew she should be leaving if she was going to make it home before 10 like her Mom had asked. She was talking to Farkle and Lucas when she looked at her phone and it flashed 9:28 back at her

“I should get going” She starts “Mom didn't want me walking home alone after 10” She drops the alone deliberately hoping Lucas catches it

“I’ll walk you home” he does, she's not surprised. She should have just asked him; he was going to walk her home any way she just knew it. Maya just smiles in response and notices that exasperated sigh that Farkle lets out, she chooses to ignore it.

She and Lucas get up to leave and say goodbye, attracting the attention of those around them. Josh pulls Maya into another lingering hug, he honestly didn't seem to take a hint and she can see Riley rolling her eyes over his shoulder making her have to hold back a laugh.

The walk back to the subway station occurs in relative silence, it's not until there standing to wait for the subway that either of them speaks. Maya can feel his gaze on her but when she looks up at him he turns away and she can see him suppressing a grin

“What?” She asks as their subway pulls into the station

“Nothing” Lucas responds shrugging and following her towards the subway doors, he’s still got an amused look on his face but she lets it go. There are free seats on the subway with only a few people on it yet Maya chooses to stand, holding onto the pole while Lucas sits close to her and she faces him. Its quiet, only 2 or 3 people down the other end of the cart.

“Sooo...” Lucas starts grabbing her attention, he’s still looking incredibly amused, a grin spread across his face, “Josh?” he finishes, looking very pleased with himself

Maya rolls her eyes, exasperated and so over Josh. “Thought you would have learnt from the response he got when asking about Texas that that's not how you want to start a conversation with me” her tone is light and her face amused but she crosses her arms and leans against the pole raising an eyebrow at him to show that she's at least slightly annoyed.

Lucas lets out a laugh in response standing to hold on to the poll limiting the distance that was previously between them.

“So you're telling me you didn't notice Josh's new interest in you?” Lucas asked, he's stopped laughing but he’s still smiling all smug

“No I did” Maya sighs “Very funny actually, because for almost 3 years he had a chance and then 2 years after that he wants a chance and he can’t get one” there reach there stop then and Maya can just about feel the joy radiating off of Lucas as they walk off the train

“So moved on completely then?” Lucas asks and she can sense the hope in his voice but she doesn't look up at him

“Yup” she responds “unfortunately the poor boy couldn't pick up on that” and Maya continues, placing her next words very carefully into the conversation “he didn't realize he waited too long to make any actual move, so by the time he had it was already too late for him.”

Its subtle but its there, and Maya knows Lucas isn’t stupid he’ll pick up on the hint, she just doesn't know what he’ll do with it.

He hums in response and Maya chances a look up at him, he’s thinking about it his eyebrow furrowed in contemplation. Mayas happy with that reaction, she was only going to be concerned if he took it the wrong way and looked worried that he had lost his chance.

The rest of there walk is completed in relative silence, Maya links her arm through Lucas’ as they enter there neighborhood Lucas walking Maya all the way to her door before he turned to face him

“Thanks for walking me home Huckleberry.” She says smiling up at him and seeing the fond smile on his face as he looks down at her

“No worries short-stack” the nickname had been retired in middle school but somehow made its way back in the last few months, it still made Maya roll her eyes though
“Oh, I almost forgot” Maya says shrugging off Lucas’ jacket “Here, thanks by the way” she says handing it to him

“You’re welcome” they stand there grinning at each other for a moment before Maya breaks the silence

“So I’m guessing I'll see you sometime this week once Riley issues the instructions of what our first summer activity is” Maya loved Riley and honestly Maya thinks the only thing Riley loves more than she loves Maya is summer. Lucas just laughed in response

“Yeah I'll see you then, try not to destroy Topanga's tomorrow” he responded referencing her first shift

“Hey I'm going to be an excellent waitress”

“Mmmm I’m sure” Lucas hummed in response not quite believing her “You should get inside before you freeze without this jacket” Lucas finished leaning down (yes down, we've been over this she's fucking short and he’s a giant) to bring her into a tight embrace.

Maya wraps her arms around his neck in return, and this time she's more than happy that this hug is lingering. She tries to subtly breathe in the scent of his cologne and shampoo, the smell reminding her of the warm jacket she had been wrapped in just moments ago. His arms around her waist are warm and comforting and three years ago this would have been awkward but now she can't think of anywhere else she'd rather be.

“See you later huckleberry.” she said as they pulled away

“Goodbye Maya” he responded before pulling away and turning to leave. She opened her door before calling after him

“Text me when you get home safe” She yelled, knowing that no matter how big and strong Lucas was, her neighbourhood could be dangerous for anyone.

“Are you caring for my wellbeing again?” Lucas turned and stopped in his tracks to gasp and call back at her. She simply rolled her eyes in response before he called “don’t worry I will, goodnight Maya”

“Goodnight… Lucas” she called back watching the slight shock cross his face at her use of his real name before she closed the door, leaning against it and gazing up at the ceiling thoughts of Lucas running through her head

“What's that look for?” She was rudely interrupted by Shawn’s voice, startling her and causing her head to snap down and look ahead of her where Shawn was standing dressing gown on, arms folded across his chest.

“Nothing” She responded moving further into the apartment and towards the couch, she could see her Mom resting on

“Hey Babygirl, how was dinner?” Katy asked, and she watched her shoot a glare at Shawn over her shoulder

“It was good, I should get to bed though I've got my first shift in the morning” Maya responded, wanting to escape the energy she could feel from Shawn

“Alright sweetie see you in the morning” Katy responded giving Maya the out

“Night” Maya called over her shoulder to both her Mom and Shawn as she walked towards her room

As she was closing her door she heard the start of a conversation between them.

“I don’t like that boy.” Shawn told Katy

“Yes you do” Katy responded “you just know where that smile and teasing is heading” Katy finished.

Maya shut her door after that, ready to go to bed as happy with how this plan was turning out for her.

Chapter Text

Mayas first shift that Monday was slow, not that she was surprised. Her shift started at 9 once most of the usual morning patrons were already at work. There were more school kids around due to it being summer break but she knew most of them anyway having spent most of her time in the cafe.

The girl she was working with started that day as well, her name was Sofia and she was from one of the other high schools in the area. Maya had seen her around before and was pretty sure she dated one of the boys in her year for a while but had never spoken to her until that day. She was nice and they got along well, talking about art, something Maya's other friends rarely understood on the same level as her but Sarah had a keen interest in. It made the day a lot easier but she could tell that Sarah was more uncomfortable in this environment then she was as Topanga’s was like a second home to her and Sarah had only been there in passing. So when Maya asked her for a favour in dealing with some customers when they were the only two on she wasn't surprised.

Maya was out the back making some smoothies for an order from the younger kids when Sofia appeared asking for some help.

“Hey, could we swap? I'll finish up the smoothies and you can deal with the guys from your school that have just rocked up?” Sofia asked a sweet grin on her face that Maya knew was partially faked

“They’re not going to bite” Maya responded sarcastically “and you served Darby and Yogi from my school earlier” Maya turned to her now slightly suspicious of why she didn't want to serve them.

“I know” Sofia responded letting out a sigh “I used to date one of these boys and its all the jock guys and I don’t want to be harassed by all of them” Sarah pleaded pouting at Maya

“I’ll deal with it” Maya rolled her eyes but laughed letting Sofia know she wasn't mad about it

Maya expected to see a couple of the boys in her year, maybe Billy and a few of his close friends or maybe the dicks that even she didn't want to deal with. What she didn't expect was to see Lucas, Zay, Billy and three of the other boys she knew were on there football team, Dylan, Justin and Ethan.

“Well look who it is” Maya exclaimed walking up towards where the boys were seated, the usual spot for her friend group, and leaning on the chair that Zay was sitting on facing Lucas. She crossed her arm across her chest and levelled Lucas with a ‘you knew this was my first shift don't embarrass me stare’. He grinned sheepishly in response clearly catching her vibe.

“Maya papaya!” Zay exclaimed looking up at her, she withdrew her attention from Lucas looking down to Zay

“I didn't know you started working already” Zay told her his brow furrowed in confusion

“Yeah well, it's my first shift today” Maya responded

“We’ll go easy on you then.” Justin said from across the room grabbing her attention and winking at her.

He had a sly grin on his face that Maya wasn't even going to lean in to. Justin was the flirt of the year level, he was a nice guy when it came down to it, if he wasn't Zay and Lucas wouldn't hang out with him, but he did have a tendency to push the boundaries.

“Hmmm I’m sure you will” Maya hummed “so what can I get you guys” she responded before taking their orders and turning to head back to the kitchen to give them to Sofia now that they had swapped duties.

 

“Okay, now I’m curious....” Maya asked walking into the kitchen to see Sofia

“about what?” Sofia asked turning to Maya and taking the order from her

“Which one of them did you date?” Maya asked taking the other order, a tray of smoothies, from Sofia but not moving from her position.

“Ethan.” Sofia responded “for like 3 months not that long ago” she explained

“Huh. Don’t know Ethan that well, he's nice and polite just don't have a lot to do with him. Maya responded “just that some of them are the boys I spend most of my time with” she explained her questioning and Sofia nodded in response

“It didn't end badly, I’m not really sure how it ended” Sofia respond furrowing her eyebrows “we just kind of lost contact we were in ‘a thing’ so it wasn't really a big deal I just think it would be awkward to address” She said turning back to focus on the order

“No, I get it that's fine. I'm about to chew one of them out so they won't be here long” She told her returning her gaze to out the kitchen where she caught Lucas’ eye and glared at him.

She had to leave them and get the order to the younger kids before they had been left waiting too long.

Moving around the cafe she gave the kids there drinks before scanning the room noting that everything looked right. There was only one other table besides the boys and the couple seemed content and weren't flagging her down for her assistance so she made her way back to the front counter. She lent down to put the tray away and was organising some things under the counter for a moment distracted by her tasks when she felt someone lean against the bench and she stood up to come face to face with Lucas.

He had a grin spread across his face, somehow managing to make himself look cheeky, attractive, and apologetic all at the same time. Maya rolled her eyes and crossed her arms across her chest, knowing it pushed her cleavage up just enough that she still looked appropriate enough at work but also grabbed Lucas’ attention, she watched his eyes flick down.

“What do you want cowboy?” She asked a smirk on her face and maintaining eye contact with him, noticing the ever so faint blush that spread across his face. He recovered quickly though, his charming confidence kicking in.

“Now that's no way to talk to customers, is it Ma’am?” Lucas teased leaning forward and resting his hands on the countertop getting closer to her

“It is when they’re your friend and they show up with all their jock buddies when they know it's your first shift” she starts stepping closer “and know that you don't want to have to serve people you actually know yet” Maya responds accentuating her comment by poking him in the chest.

“I'm sorry” Lucas pouts reaching out and grabbing the hand that's poking him in the chest “we’ll be good. I promise if they embarrass you or make any comments I’ll beat them up”. His voice has dropped slightly, he knows that Maya is attracted to ‘Texas Lucas’ and his assertiveness and he’s using it in his favour, he’s flirting. Maya maintains eye contact noticing the darkness in his eyes and suspecting that it's reflected in her own.

He still hasn’t let go of her hand, but Maya isn't about to complain. She works into his attention, flirting back with him.

“Oh I'm sure you would” she responds leaning in a little closer, keeping the eye contact “your drinks should be ready” she informs him “and once you've finished them i want you all to leave and then I’ll ring you later to tell you how much trouble you're in for doing this to me” She responds keeping a sweat grin on her face before slowly turning, breaking the intense eye contact and walking towards the kitchen, feeling his eyes follow her, and the accentuated sway of her hips.

She sighs, letting out a breath she didn't know she had been holding before turning to lean against the counter out back next to Sofia, watching as Lucas makes his way back to his seat.

“Wow” Sofia exclaims next to her, breaking her clouded train of thought and focus “please tell me he's your boyfriend?” she asks as Maya turns to face her

“Nope” Maya responds shaking her head “ I wish” She sighs

“Yeah and I bet he does as well” Sofia responds a knowing smirk on her face

“Why do you think that?” Maya asked, curious to know what someone outside of there immediate friend group thinks when they see them together

“Oh come on” Sofia exclaims rolling her eyes “You two were basically eye fucking for the last 2 minutes and even from here I could tell you were flirting” Sofia responds

“Yeah well we've been in a weird thing for the past couple of years and were involved in a triangle in middle school so its a bit of a hard situation to navigate” Maya explained “but trust me, I’m trying”

“The way I see it, out there it was just the two of you and from what I can tell, you only have eyes for each other” Sofia states handing the tray of the boy's drinks to Maya.

Maya takes him giving Sofia a grateful smile. “Thanks, I’m sure you’ll witness some progression over summer if we keep getting shifts together” Maya informs her.
“Oh I hope we do, I’m sucked into your relationship already and I've only known you less than 3 hours”

Maya laughs moving out of the back room and heads back towards the boys, distributing their drinks before leaning back on to Zay’s chair.

“Can I get you guys anything else?” Maya asks really hoping the answer is no

“I’m good thanks” Billy responds and there are murmurs of agreement across the group and a sweet smile from Lucas.

The group leave soon after while Maya is wiping down the table the other couple had been occupying before calling out there goodbyes on there way out, Lucas trailing behind them. She's focused on cleaning the table when he appears behind her, resting his hand on her waist, she looks up.

“I really am sorry, I kind of forgot your first shift was this morning” Lucas informs her and she can tell he means it, sincerity in his voice.

“It’s fine Huckleberry, honestly I know this place like the back of my hand so I don’t know what I was worried about.” She reassures him, her heart melting a little at his concern

“Okay good” Lucas responds “I’ll see you later.” he says walking towards the door before glancing back at her and then running to catch up to his friends

Maya sighs trying to get her thoughts re-focused on her work and off of Lucas.

Maya's shift ends at 3pm and she quickly makes her way up to Riley's apartment coming in through the bay window to find Riley lying on her bed watching Netflix on her laptop.

“Peaches!” Riley exclaims “How was your shift? I was going to come down but I figured you would rather you didn't have to deal with anyone you know while on your first day, even though it is Topanga's” Riley explains

“Well thank you, Riley, our other friends weren't as considerate” Maya explains

“Oh no, who was it?” Riley asks

“Lucas, Zay and their football friends” Maya responds rolling her eyes and flopping on to Riley’s bed

“Ohhh Lucas” Riley teases her voice pitching higher and she tickles Maya in the side

“Stop” Maya laughs “Riley! it wasn't like that!” Maya responds through giggles.

“Oh come on don’t try and tell me you were sad to see Lucas” Riley scoffs but stops her assault.

“I mean I didn’t mind seeing him but I could feel the judgement from the other jocks. They wanted to make fun of me for having my first shift they just didn't because Lucas would have beat them up” Maya explains and Riley hums in agreement

“Who did you work with?” Riley asks and Maya is surprised she moved off of the Lucas topic

“This girl called Sofia, she goes to another school around here” Maya responded
“Did you get along?” Riley asked

“Oh yeah she's really nice, she like art and she’s a cheerleader which I think is cool, I kind of always had a secret want to be a cheerleader” Maya responds thoughtfully

“Yeah I regret giving it up” Riley responds “we should just go for it in senior year, see if they’ll take us” Riley responds
“Riley you were a terrible cheerleader” May laughs

“Okay fine yeah I was terrible” Riley laughs “but you could be a cheerleader, you were always good at it just held yourself back for me, and you filled in a couple of times last year after they saw you in PE”

“Yeah but that was just at non-important games and I didn't do much” Maya responded

“So, You've still got a chance” Riley tells her

Maya hums noncommittally, she would be lying if she said she wasn't thinking about it

They sit in silence for a bit before Riley brings it up again

“Think about it, Lucas as captain of the football team and you a cheerleader. Like a classic romantic high-school movie. It would be hot.” Riley laughs

“Riley” Maya exclaims hitting her with one of the pillows
“That is not a good enough reason to be a cheerleader!”

Riley only laughs in response and Maya can't help but join her, the two girls lying on the bed giggling to themselves

The next couple of days are boring for Maya she works every day and only sees Riley a couple of times because she has the first days of her internship that week. She's working 2 days a week, Tuesday and Thursday at a law firm for the first 5 weeks of the break because that's her interest now, taking after Topanga. She doesn't see Lucas until Thursday night meaning it has been more than 3 days of a week that she hasn't been able to work her plan and she is sick of it. Honestly, she's regretting this whole making him ask her thing because they could be making out in their free time but instead they're sending each other mildly flirtatiously messages and skirting around a relationship.

She's pulling the big guns out. She wanted this settled 2 weeks into the holidays and she's almost a week in. 5/14 days down and she wants to work fast. None of them are working on the Friday, yet a couple of them had shifts Saturday and Sunday so it meant Thursday was the perfect night for all of them. They decided they would meet at Topanga’s as Maya was finishing up her 9-5 shift and hang out there for the night, Katy and Topanga were happy to leave it open for just them as long as Riley and Maya locked up and they cleaned everything up as they left.

Knowing she would see Lucas that night she made sure her work outfit was adaptable enough to make her look good enough, showing just enough leg and cleavage that it would be appropriate enough for work and after. She settled on a denim skirt and a white v-neck t-shirt that she had knotted at the bottom so that it sat just above the skirt but didn't reveal any of her stomach.

Maya knew she was attractive and she knew Lucas was attracted to her but she also knew how to accentuate her features to make him take a second look. The skirt wasn't too short but it was tight enough to accentuate her ass and the v-neck wasn't revealing too much of her cleavage but it shaped her collar bones nicely and tying it up above the skirt made her hourglass figure more noticeable. Maya never strived to the beauty standards in the magazines she knew it would only cause issues for her so she just learnt to make the features she had look the way she liked them and made her feel confident and comfortable in her body as it was impossible to keep up with the ever-changing ‘perfect’ body shape.

Despite this, her mother still noticed the effort she was putting into her outfit for work

“So Lucas is coming after work then?” Her mother teased giving her a very obvious scan from head to toe

“Everyone is coming after work” Maya responded avoiding her mothers insinuation.

“Sure” her mother responded, “and that denim skirt I bought you after you told me about your little plan isn't being used for the purpose of seducing Lucas?”

Maya's jaw dropped she knew she had avoided that word like the plague when explaining the situation to her mom.

“Mom! I never told you that!” Maya exclaimed shocked

“Oh sweetie” Katy laughed “you didn’t have to. I figured it out myself, you’re 17 I’m not surprised” Katy responded

“we do not need to have this conversation” Maya responded embarrassed to be talking about Lucas like this with her Mom

“That's fine but when it works let me know so we can have a different conversation about safety and protection” Katy teased, very clearly trying to get a rise out of Maya

“I’m leaving now!” Maya called over her shoulder speed walking to the front door, hearing Katy’s laugh echo around the room as she shut it behind her.

Sometimes Maya wished her Mom wasn't as laid back about this situation and many others as she was as Katy felt no embarrassment in asking her daughter personal questions. Then again, Maya knew that if Katy were stricter she would get away with a lot less and have less freedom so it was a price she would have to pay.

Maya’s shift practically flew by. As her Mom was the manager she came in around halfway through Maya’s shift with Sofia, making sure the back room was organised and taking stock of the inventory which she now had time to do with the two new staff members. Maya made sure she put the apron on to cover her skirt before her Mom got there in the hopes of avoiding the teasing she had received

“Nice apron” Katy comments walking into the cafe, clearly already catching on to Maya's avoidance tactics.

Maya simply rolled her eyes not responding and Katy dropped it allowing the rest of Maya’s shift to go on without incident. Riley appears half an hour before Maya’s shift ends and the cafe closes, coming over and sitting up at the counter to talk to Maya as she cleans up bits and pieces, swivelling around on the bench to face Maya as she walks around the cafe

“would you stop doing that I actually have to clean your butt marks off of that” Maya teases hitting Riley with the cloth she's holding as she walks around her, back behind the counter

“Sorry” Riley pouts before jumping off of the counter and sitting at one of the bench seats

Soon Sofia appears out from the kitchen and Maya introduces her to Riley. The two hit it off immediately talking about god knows what. When Maya walks away to clear a table across the room its cheerleading and by the time she comes back its puppies. Honestly, she's not surprised Riley could talk the ear of anyone and the past few days she's gotten to know Sofia she's realised she's also very chatty.

As Maya walks back out she notices the last customers leaving and checks her phone noticing that its 5:31 meaning closing time. Maya is relived, the afternoon had been busier than usual it seems that getting to the end of the work week people require more and more coffee and kids get more and more annoying.

She heads over to the door turning the open sign to closed before moving to lock the door, she remembers that her friends are coming but she also learnt yesterday that to some people a closed sign means nothing and an open door means coffee.

A face appears in front of her as she does so and she's shocked for a moment before realising its Lucas. He knocks on the door with a cheeky grin on her face that makes her heart flutter.

She opens the door slightly to tease him, standing in the gap one hand on the door and one on her hip.

“Sorry Cowboy, no strangers allowed in past closing time” She teases a fake pout on her face

“well, that's a shame” He responds leaning against the door and faking a thoughtful look “and to think I bought chimichangas all the way here for Maya but I guess she's gone” he teases revealing the bag from behind his back and making no move to leave.

Maya snatches it out of his hand opening the door and walking back into the cafe

“I have literally been craving these all day. How the hell did you know?” Maya asks questioningly turning back to face him, noticing that he’s shutting and locking the door behind him

“You've eaten one almost every Thursday after school for the past year it isn't exactly rocket science” Lucas responds shrugging

Maya just kind of stares at him shocked that he had noticed that when even she hadn't and that he had taken his time to actually bring her one

“Maya this is usually when people say thank you” Riley called from behind her and at that moment Maya was reminded that two other people were actually there, she had completely forgotten about there presence the second she had noticed Lucas.

Maya flipped Riley off over her head, mainly for trying to embarrass her but also because she was mildly uncomfortable and it was her coping mechanism.

“Thanks, Huckleberry, I owe you.” She said a genuine smile on her face

“No you don’t” Lucas shrugged a matching smile on his face.

Maya took a second, holding eye contact when she remembered (for the second time) that they weren't the only ones there. She turned back walking towards the counter, Lucas trailing behind her.

“Sofia this is Lucas, Lucas this is Sofia” Maya introduced jumping up to sit on the bench, the exact thing she had reprimanded Riley for minutes prior.

“You were here the other day” Sofia commented to Lucas as he moved around to sit on the bench seat next to Maya.

“Yeah?” Lucas questioned looking mildly confused as he had obviously not remembered Sofia as she had been hiding in the Kitchen. Sofia opened her mouth to explain when she noticed his confusion but Maya butted in before she could.

“Sofia was in the kitchen when I served you and your meathead friends the other day” Maya informed him

“Oh okay” Lucas started “I knew I hadn't seen you the other day”

“Yeah” Sofia laughed “I was hiding from Ethan”

This just served to further confuse Lucas who had absolutely no other context to Ethan and Sofia's relationship

“Oh you poor slow huckleberry” Maya teased reaching over to ruffle his hair “Sofia and Ethan were in a thing for a while so I served you guys so she didn't have to deal with the awkwardness” Maya explained and Lucas seemed to be catching on

“an awkwardness that shouldn't have occurred as you should have known better than to be here” Maya teased further
“Hey I said I was sorry” Lucas pouted removing her hand from his hair but, again, not immediately dropping it “and I bought you a chimichanga” he reminded her

“Yeah, I guess you’re off the hook” Maya reasoned “for now” she whispered causing him to playfully glare at her before he turned back to Sofia.

“Wait you're Sofia as in Ethan’s Sofia?” Lucas asked

“Well I was but he hasn't exactly spoken to me in a while” She responded

“Yeah well he hasn't stopped talking about you” Lucas informed her and Maya watched as Sofia's jaw dropped in shock

“really?” she asked clearly surprised

“Yeah, he’s getting whiney.” Lucas complained, “just text him and put the entire football team out of our misery please?” Lucas asked and Maya could tell he was only partially joking.

“Huh” Sofia responded clearly still getting over her shock “Maybe I will” she smiled looking at Maya who was just as happy for her. Maya could tell since the first conversation they had about the boys that she was still interested.

“Anyway” Sofia started gathering her things and hanging up her apron “ I should get going” she headed towards the door “nice to meet you guys and I'll see you Saturday” she said directing the last one at Maya as she practically skipped out the front door of the cafe.

“Did I just save a relationship?” Lucas asked looking between Maya and Riley

“Maybe” Maya responded “but you also just broke guy code” She teased jumping off of the bench to put the rubbish from the chimichanga in the bin.

“Guy code doesn't exist” Lucas scoffed turning around and watching her as she walked across the kitchen
“Yeah right,” Riley laughed from his right. “You think you're just allowed to tell the girls your friends are into that they’re into them?” Riley asked

“Yes?” Lucas responded “I just did him a solid”
Maya connected eyes with Riley, having a conversation with there eyes before Maya spoke

“Boys are so weird” Maya complained moving around the cafe to pick up the last of the dishes.

“Hey!” Lucas exclaimed “we are not the weird ones, you're the ones with 4 million rules about girl code” he complains

Maya roles her eyes “its called boundaries huckleberry, gotta keep the friendship strong. Chicks before dicks” Maya teases

“That's just crude” Lucas responds

“Maybe so, but its been keeping the love alive since 05’” Maya responds making a point of kissing Riley on the cheek as she walks past, to exaggerate the point.

Lucas just scoffs in response as Riley and Maya fall into a fit of giggles.

“Don’t worry huckleberry” Maya told him leaning on the counter across from him “one day you'll understand how our brains work” she teased winking at him before she turned around taking off the apron and hanging it on the hook behind her, turning back around she noticed as Lucas’ eyes trailed up the length of her legs

“Mhmm I’m not so sure about that” he responded

Maya was trying to think of a teasing and slightly sexual response when there was another knock at the door and she looked up to see the rest of her friend group gathered out there

“I’ll get it” Lucas stated, ever the gentleman, and got up to get the door

Riley quickly moved in next to Maya whispering

“hey remember!” she hissed “next phase is getting closer, touch him a bit more, he leans into it every time” Riley explains as quietly as she can manage. Maya thinks back to the phone conversation they had had the night before where Riley explained how this was now time to get closer and more… physically involved in the seduction plan. Maya nodded in response Maya was ready she knew how to be flirty and if she kept up their little game with a little more flirting and physical contact she could get away without it being too obvious to there friends.

Riley and Maya joined there friends in the doorway greeting them with hugs and questions about there day before they moved to sit on there usual seats Maya hovered a bit making sure Lucas sat down first so she could sit right next to him.

“Does anyone want anything to drink or anything else?” Maya asked but Riley stood up from her spot on the chairs in-between Farkle and Zay

“I’ll get it, you sit down you've been doing this all day you don’t need to serve your friends” Riley exaggerated the last part glaring at Lucas

“Hey, I apologised!” Lucas exclaims “I forgot it was her first shift” he responded

Riley simply hums not convinced “yeah I’m sure” she responds sarcastically before taking orders from the others

Maya just laughs sitting down next to Lucas who turns to her a genuine pout on his face

“I said I was sorry” he whines

“I know ya did huckleberry” Maya starts resting her hand on his arm “and you’re forgiven” She says causing a grin to spread across his face. She holds eye contact with him momentarily both of them just smiling at each other. That is until she hears a crash in the kitchen causing them to flinch and Riley whines her name from the kitchen.

“I knew I shouldn't have let her do it” Maya sighs. Leaving her hand on Lucas’ arm she uses it to push her self up from the seat and walks out to the kitchen.

“Riley what did you do?” Maya asks looking at the bowls scattered on the floor “you don’t even need them”

“I know but parts of the blender are in the dishwasher so I need the one up there” Riley whines pointing to the highest shelf in one of the cupboards

“And you called me to reach that?” Maya asks in disbelief

“I thought Lucas would have just followed you like a puppy like he usually does but he didn’t" Riley pouted

Maya thought about calling him for a second but decided she could probably do it herself because she wasn't as clumsy as Riley. So she climbed up onto the bench until she was face level with the cupboard

“Hey, I came to see if you needed any- Maya! what the hell are you doing up there?” Lucas had come to help and clearly, was alarmed by her standing on the bench now taller than him

“Look its the puppy!” Riley called teasingly to Maya, looking at her as if to say ‘i told you so’

Maya just rolled her eyes ignoring the comment and Lucas seemed momentarily confused but more distracted by Maya on the bench.

“Well huckleberry you see, Riley knocked some bowls down trying to reach this and then called me, god knows why, to help her and well now we're here” Maya responded before turning back around and taking the blender out of the cupboard “and I have succeeded” she exclaimed proudly holding the blender like a trophy before handing it off to Riley who immediately begun plugging it in and beginning to make the smoothies.

Usually Maya would have jumped off of the bench letting Lucas yell at her for jumping and tease him in response but instead, she brought him closer

“Hey come help me down” Maya called to Lucas who was in front of her in seconds with his hands on her waist.

Maya rested her hands on his shoulders jumping forward and landing directly in front of him. The momentum of her jumping had caused his hands to shift upwards pushing her shirt up slightly, causing the skin on her waist to be exposed to his hands. Lucas licked his lips and Maya could feel his gaze trailing from her eyes to her lips and down to where his hands were resting on her skin. It was a position reminiscent of the one they were in only a couple of weeks ago before Zay had interrupted. Only this time, they were aware of Riley’s presence, who wouldn't be with the noise of the blender that had just started up in the background.

Lucas slowly dropped his hands his gaze trailing awkwardly around the room before he took a step back

“Um, I’ll head back out let me know if you need anything” he stumbled through his words clearly resistant to let go and leave. Maya just smiled gratefully at him, watching as he backed his way out of the room and around the corner. Maya turned around lightly hitting Riley on the arm.

“Ow, what was that for?” Riley asked clearly oblivious to the moment she had ruined

“Lucas and I were having a moment and you interrupted with the blender” Maya explained whining

“Ohhhh what kinda of moment?” Riley asked wiggling her eyebrows

“An if you hadn't been here with your stupid blender he might have actually kissed me moment” Maya whispered harshly trying to avoid being heard now that the noise of the blender had stopped

“well sorry but my blender and I were here first” Riley pouted. “go back out there though, get close to him now and let him know he hasn't scared you off” Riley explained shooing Maya out of the kitchen.

Maya laughed walking away despite not wanting to leave Riley alone to do all the work.

“Zay go help your girlfriend before she manages to burn down this place with a blender” Maya jokes calling to Zay as she walks into the main part of the cafe

She hears Riley whine from the Kitchen but Zay simply gets up and follows Maya’s instruction heading out the back to help Riley.

Maya rejoins everyone in their usual spot sitting under the window next to Lucas, making sure she's close enough to grab his attention but not so close that it looks like she's trying too hard, it doesn't matter anyway because the minute she sits down Lucas shifts in closer leaning his elbows on his knees.

“You know you just sent the two clumsiest people to make the drinks together right?” Lucas asks his face close to hers and his voice low. Maya crosses her left leg over her right moving her body closer towards his.

“Mhmmm” Maya hums “maybe they'll have developed some teamwork since they started dating” Maya responds

“You just don't want to help do you” Lucas teases, not moving away but keeping his head close to hers

“Of course I don’t" Maya responds “I spent all day in there” she reasons “plus… I’d rather be out here spending my time with you” Maya teases, lowering her voice to a seductive tone but keeping a fun, cheeky look on her face.

She trails her hand up the length of his forearm, putting enough pressure on it that the back of his hand comes to rest on her leg as she does so. Lucas’ breath hitches as his hand comes into contact with the skin of her leg. Maya knows that the action of crossing her legs has made her skirt hitch slightly exposing more of the smooth, tan, expanse of her leg to Lucas’ gaze which travels the length of her leg.

The simple action on her part seems to have sufficiently riled him up, his pupils have darkened and his tongue juts out quickly to lick at his lips

“you’re not playing our game right” Lucas states his voice breathless and deep sending a shiver down her spine and making her shudder in a way she knows he noticed based on the slight grin that spreads across his face. It’s the first time either of them has addressed the change in her behaviour and the added heat that's now present in their interactions. Maya is surprised at his forwardness but glad he’s picked up on the shift in her behaviour and her efforts hadn't all been in vain.

“Maybe” Maya responds shrugging “or maybe the rules have changed” she adds dropping her tone of voice lower. She can see him gearing up to respond, the cogs turning in his head, he shifts his hand so that his palm is now on her leg and his fingers wrapped around her thigh just above her knee.

Before he can speak though, Riley and Zay emerge from the kitchen laughing at each other, Zay carrying a tray with their drinks on it. She shifts her focus back to the room, removing her hand from Lucas’ arm but noticing how his hand doesn't leave her leg and neither make any move to shift their bodies away from each other. She glances around the room as Riley places her drink in front of her. Zay and Riley are talking happily and Farkle and Smackle appear to also be in their own world, granted not as close in proximity as Lucas and Maya but, they are deep in conversation.

Maya is satisfied with the position she's gotten herself into. Even as Lucas turns his focus back to the group and conversation begins among them, his hand doesn't shift from where it's resting on her leg.

Conversation drifts between the group, discussing the start of there summer jobs and internships and planning days around them. Maya doesn't realise how tired she is until she's been sitting down for a while. She knows its stupid to complain after working like 4 shifts but she so isn't used to this on your feet all day kind of job. It's (almost) completely subconscious when she rests her head on Lucas’ shoulder. The rest of them are talking about some gossip with Missy and Billy which she hasn't been too invested in as she's been hooked on her plan to seduce Lucas so she's more than happy to just listen as she has little to contribute. He doesn't stop talking when she does so, only shifting his shoulder slightly to make it more comfortable for her head to come and rest. She catches Riley’s eye across the table a moment later and she's got a smug, suggestive, look on her face and Maya simply winks back at her.

Maya is quickly consumed by the overwhelming feeling of being in such close proximity to Lucas. It's not like she had never been this close before, hugs had become a constant in their relationship in recent years but they lasted seconds before she pulled away, Maya was more than happy to settle here for as long as he would let her. The feeling of warmth and safety surrounded her and she was now only partly invested in the conversation and the other half of her brain was focused on Lucas.

She felt him shift his head slightly looking down at her and she raised her head slightly shifting her gaze up to look into his eyes. His expression was soft and fond with something deeper that she could place circling in his eyes.

“Tired?” he asks a soft grin on his face and his voice quite

“I’m not made for 9-5 work” she responds a slight grin spreading across her face

She can feel his quiet laugh as his chest shakes slightly.

“You should go home to bed” he informs her slight concern in his voice

“I’ll be fine huckleberry, you’re a pretty comfy pillow” She teases curling further into him

Lucas laughs quietly again, clearly trying not to disturb the position of her head too much. He shifts his hand from its position on her leg and she's upset about it momentarily until his arm wraps around her waist, effectively tucking her into his side.

Maya decides to use this new position to her advantage swinging her legs off the floor and draping them across his lap.

“See?” She starts gaze still locked on his face “now you’re a comfy chair” she teases

“I knew you were only using me for my body” Lucas teases and Maya giggles in response nodding against his chest but leaving her head resting there. Lucas turns his attention back to the conversation his thumb making soothing circles on the skin of her waist and the other hand resting on her legs that are now draped across him. Maya attempts to rejoin the conversation, first checking the time on her phone which flashes back at her 6:30, but finds now she's actually really comfortable and her eyes are drifting closed before she has any say in it.

———————————————————

Maya is woken up what feels like not too long later by a loud laugh near her ear. She wants to be mad about it she really does but then she opens her eyes and sees the grin spread across his face and the sound of his laughter feels her with warmth. Suddenly though he turns to look at her his eyes remorseful

“Oh shit sorry Maya I didn't mean to wake you up”

“its okay huckleberry” Maya responds still not moving from her position curled against him

“Okay really though?” Lucas asks “you aren't going to threaten bodily harm against me for waking you up?” Lucas asks his face scrunched up in such a cute way that it makes Maya want to reach out and rest her hand on his cheeks

“I would but that would involve effort and also detaching myself from said body and I'm really comfy” Maya responds, lulling Lucas into a false sense of comfort before she continues “do it again though and I’ll break your wrist” She states nonchalantly causing Lucas to laugh again his chest shaking under her head and causing a huge grin to spread across her face.

“what time is it?” she asks addressing the group as she notices Riley skipping around the room on the phone.

“7:30” Zay chimes in “Riley’s ordering some Pizza” almost immediately her stomach responds letting out a quiet grumble

“When was the last time you ate?” Lucas asks and Maya has to actually think back. She took her break at 11 so it must have been around then

“I think 11, no wonder I’m hungry” Maya sighs.

At that point, she decides its probably time to remove some of the proximity between her and Lucas. She shifts around causing him to loosen his grip on her waist and she swings her legs back over until her feet touch the ground, removing her head from his shoulder she immediately misses the warmth and proximity and judging by the disappointed sigh she hears from Lucas he misses it too. She tries not to dwell on it and takes comfort in the hand that is resting on the bench next to her, his arm still wrapped behind her body and the space between them where they sit on the bench still limited.

The food comes and Maya re-engages herself in the conversation talking about all the exciting things to come in their senior year despite it only being the first week over summer break. They somehow get onto the topic of Katy and Shawn’s relationship and the likelihood of him proposing. Maya can't help how happy the prospect makes her and discusses it animatedly with her friends.

At 10 Farkle and Smackle make move to leave and no one questions the fact that there heading back to Farkles when they know his parents are away on a business trip. That couple gets rare alone time and never display any PDA so addressing any innuendo like that would scare Smackle too much despite her new found comfort and confidence in their friendship group. It's getting on 11pm before Zay, Riley, Lucas or Maya make a move to leave. They seem to be able to spend hours just talking and goofing around, not used to not spending every weekday (and usually at least one day on the weekend) together.

As Maya is picking up glasses and moving into the kitchen she makes the decision that she's staying at Riley’s knowing she never has to ask, that is unless Zay is staying which she knows he won't be tonight as she is positive that both Cory and Topanga were home.

Maya moves into the kitchen realising that in order to put the glasses in the dishwasher she has to unpack what's already in there. Zay and Riley are cleaning up the remains of the rubbish taking it out to the outside bins and cleaning any surfaces so she's not surprised when Lucas follows her into the kitchen. She decides at that moment to bend over reaching down into the bottom drawer of the dishwasher and pulling things out, knowing Lucas has entered the room and that from this position he’s getting a clear view of the entirety of her legs and that her ass looks phenomenal.

He clears his throat behind her as she's standing up and she simply stands up holding the plates in her hand and turning to face him.

“umm, could I help?” He asks his hand rubbing the back of his neck and his gaze travelling around the room before it lands back on her face

“sure. Just grab the rest of the plates out of the dishwasher and stack them up on that shelf” she explains pointing to a higher shelf that she was already contemplating how she was going to reach. While he does that Maya grabs all the cutlery placing it in the various draws across the kitchen. Together they place the other items away her directing him to the higher shelves while she puts things in the lower cupboards before they load up the stuff they used. As she's turning the lights off in the back kitchen making sure everything but the dishwasher is off, he rests a hand on her back walking her out.

“You look tired still Maya” he informs her concern evident in his tone “are you sure you want to go all the way home? You can stay at mine?” he asks and in any other situation she would have an innuendo to respond, would tease him and make that cute blush appear on his cheeks. But she's so tired and as much as staying at Lucas’ opens up many opportunities it doesn't really make sense when Riley’s is so close and Zay isn't staying with her.

“Thanks Huckleberry, I’ll stay at Riley’s tonight.” She informs him smiling up at him and noticing that he is slightly disappointed but she also knows his offer was genuine. “The parentals are home so Zay can’t stay so I’m not intruding this time” she jokes, masking her disappointment at having to deny his invitation.

Maya surveys the cafe as they step into the main area noticing that everything is as clean as it should be and that the group hadn't left any other mess behind. The four of them make their way outside, Maya locking up with the spare key given to her by Katy and they make there way up the stairs.

“Well, I’m guessing I’ll see you guys tomorrow?” Maya jokes causing them all to laugh

“Yeah probably” Zay starts “we’ve all got the day off so I don’t know why we thought this was our only chance to catch up”

Maya just shrugs and Zay pulls her into a quick hug goodbye before he turns to Riley and she turns to Lucas.

“Thanks for your help Huckleberry” Maya says standing up on her toes to wrap an arm around his neck as she hugs him. Lucas lets out a low laugh in response

“You are so short” he laughs an arm wrapping around her waist and bringing her in

“and you're a giant” she counters, too consumed by the warmth of him to retaliate by pulling away.

After saying their goodbyes Lucas and Zay turn and head in their direction of there street while Maya and Riley make there way back up to Rileys, taking the lift up rather than the fire escape. Riley waits until there in the lift, passed the doorman and away from Lucas and Zay before she lets out a squeal that almost deafens Maya.

“Riley!” Maya exclaims in surprise “what was that for?!” she asks spinning to face her best friend who is grinning from ear to ear.

“You and Lucas are too adorable honestly” Riley starts reaching out and grabbing her friends arm “ I didn't think you were actually asleep but then I realised you were and you should have seen the look on his face whenever he looked down at you, which was a lot” Riley explained and Maya couldn't contain the blush that spread across her face.

“I honestly don't know how it happened I didn't realise how tired I was” Maya tried to divert the conversation, slightly embarrassed at how easily she had become that vulnerable around Lucas

“Oh peaches he adored it, i swear I thought his favourite thing was having your undivided attention, like when you were talking to him when he got there, but then the moment you were asleep he was wrapping his arm tighter around you and he just kept glancing down at you and staring at you and oh my god is he obsessed with you” Riley continued

“Well that's good, I mean its nice to reaffirm the fact that he feels the same way I just wish I could see the way he looks at me when I’m not looking or asleep because you always tell me about it but its hard to gauge when I don’t see it myself” Maya explained furrowing her brow as her minor doubts about his feelings reared their ugly head.

“That's the best part” Riley turned grinning like a Cheshire cat at her as they walked off the lift on the Matthew’s floor “I took a photo” she exclaims reaching for her phone and handing it to Maya while she unlocks the door.

Maya grabs the phone out of her hand easily unlocking it and instantly finding the app on her phone. She opens the app scrolling down for a second and clicks on the last photo Riley took. Her breath catches in her throat when she looks at it and she's left standing in the doorway while Riley enters the apartment.

The proximity is undeniable, Maya's head is nestled on Lucas’ shoulder and his hand is tight around her, there's no space seen between them and her legs are draped across his lap, his arm pulling them in closer to his body. But all of the blurs into the background when Maya looks up at there faces. Her eyes are softly closed and she's clearly out to her surroundings, but Lucas, oh Lucas is looking at her in a way that makes her weak. There's a small smile spread across his face and his eyes are locked on her, the emotion evident even in the iPhone quality photo, there's a longing and a sense of hope and maybe she can even admit to herself a little bit of love in them.

She sends the photo to herself and makes her way into the apartment closing the door behind her. Riley is waiting for her standing in the middle of the living room giving her a knowing smile but she doesn't say anything, she lets Maya think it through for herself and Maya makes a very important decision that she announces to Riley.

“I’m giving this plan 2 more weeks, officially I am no longer waiting for all of summer vacation, if we aren't together by then screw it I'm asking him out myself.” Maya wants to hold her ground she wants to stick to her guns and she knows that its always been her putting herself forward to him and if that's the way this has to end it will, but she's also having all types of fun playing this game.

 

BONUS LUCAS POV

As Lucas separates from Maya and he and Zay head in the direction of there houses he can’t wipe the smile off of his face. He spent his night with Maya, the girl he's had a crush on (and may very well be in love with) for the past 2 years attached to his side. Zay interrupts his thoughts of Maya though, addressing exactly that.

“Dude you are so whipped and you aren't even dating” Zay laughs and Lucas can't help but be a bit defensive

“Hey!” he exclaims the smile dropping from his face

“Oh come on man!” Zay retaliates “you spent half the night creepily smiling at her while she slept, in your lap might I add, and then you spent the rest of your night whispering to each other and offering to get her drinks and food and anything she could want” Zay explains “that girl has got you wrapped around her finger”

Lucas fights to hide the blush that spreads across his face and fails miserably. He knows there no use in denying it, especially not from Zay who can read him like an open book.

“Fine you're right” Lucas sighs resigned to the fact.

“of course I am” Zay scoffs “and don’t even get me started on Maya she basically crawled into your lap and spent the entire night flirting with you” Zay rolls his eyes. Lucas is taken aback a bit. He had noticed Maya was a bit friendlier then usual but he thought it was a product of the fact that that's what he wanted to believe and she wasn’t actually acting any differently.

“Really?” Lucas asks apprehensively. He had made the comment to Maya about her changing the rules of there little game but honestly, he thought it was all in his head.

“Are you blind?” Zay asks “Look Luke, you and Maya have had a mutual liking situation going on since you and Riley ended things and at that point you decided to wait for things to calm down or whatever weird shit you decided and my best guess is Maya is done with waiting” Zay explains and Lucas can tell he is being one hundred percent honest with him.

Lucas knew they had come to that conclusion all those years ago but it had been so long that he was beginning to wonder if she had moved on.

“Why didn't she tell me that though? She’s the one who decided we should wait” Lucas asks still not convinced

“Yeah and she's also the one who told you she liked you and you didn’t say it back for months” Zay explained rolling her eyes “She’s probably sick of being the one to put herself out there and is sending hints for you to do so, girls brains are weird man but I've spent a lot of time around Riley and I wouldn't put it past them.” Zay says

“Well do I ask her out then?” Lucas asks his confidence building as he thinks back to his recent interactions with Maya and how she had been more touchy and more honest with him than ever before and Zay was starting to make a bit more sense

“Well yeah you should but you guys have this fun flirty thing going so maybe play into it a little bit, even if she isn't scheming to get you to ask her out she's clearly hiding her feelings less so there's no sense in not letting her do it, I mean you clearly enjoy it you basically spent the entire time she was asleep grinning like an idiot. Zay explains “plus if you get a bit more flirty you might get more substantial proof that you two are back on the same page again before you ask her out” Zay finishes as they approach his front door

“Thanks Zay” Lucas says, a genuine, hopeful grin, plastered on his face

“No worries man, I'll see you tomorrow” The two exchange goodbyes before Zay walks inside and Lucas continues the short walk down to his house.

There's an unmistakable grin set on his face and for the first time since the initial weeks after his interaction with Maya in the art room he is filled with genuine hope that their relationship is on the horizon, little does he know that Maya is hoping the same.

(And little does Maya know that the statement “it takes two to tango” is never truer than right now, Lucas might not know he’s entering into her seduction game head first, but Mayas about to have to plot her own plans as well as experiencing Lucas’ flirty advances. She will have to do so without just immediately pushing him against a wall and making out with him. (it's going to be a lot harder to not do that than she ever anticipated))

Chapter Text

Maya wakes up at Riley’s Friday morning with a huge smile on her face, maybe its because its the first day she doesn't have work almost all week, it could be so many things and a combination of multiple events and people but she would be lying if she said she it had nothing to do with Lucas.

After a quick breakfast and a promise to make plans for later Maya climbs out Riley’s bedroom window, heading back to her apartment to shower and get changed out of the clothes she had to put back on from yesterday. As she walks she notices that the weather has changed, it had gone from warming up to actually reflecting summer weather and it felt like the hottest it had been in New York in a while. She rolls her eyes to herself knowing the minute Riley discovers this she’ll start plotting some outdoor activity.

Maya makes it home around 10, her Mom and Shawn already both at work, so she sends a message to her Mom letting her know she's home. She quickly strips off and heads for the shower, feeling immediate relief once the hot water hits her skin, finally able to wash up the dirt and grime from working in the cafe all day yesterday. She quickly washes her hair, knowing it's going to be a pain to dry, and savours her brief time in the hot water. Once she emerges she wraps a towel around herself, towel drying her hair before she runs a brush through it and dries it with a hair dryer until its presentable, her natural curls enough styling for today.

She walks into her room picking up her phone on the way and noticing a string of messages from her friends, beginning with Riley. She's really not sure how they managed to have such a large conversation in the 15 minutes she was away from her phone. Maya sits on her bed in her towel and scrolls through her messages.

Riles: Hi Guys!!!!

Riles: Mums got the day off so my parents are taking Auggie and Ava to the beach today and I thought we should go!!!!!
Riles: Lucas if you can drive we’ll all fit in two cars!!!!

Riles: Is everyone in?!

Huckleberry: Yeah sure Riley, when are we leaving?

Riles: Yay!!! Maybe at around 12?

Zay: Sure baby I'm in

Riles: 😘😘😘

Farkle: Yeah I'm in

Izzy: I would enjoy this very much

Riles: Yayayaya

Riles: Wheres Maya?

Riles: Mayaaaaaaaa

Riles: Oh well she's probably in the shower.

Riles: Everyone come to mine at 12 and we can pack everything into the cars and get going!

Maya rolled her eyes fondly and Riley’s excitement before typing her own response.

Maya: Sure thing sweetie, ill see ya at 12

Riles: Yay! see everybody then!!!!!!

Maya checked the time on her phone, noticing she had an hour and a half before she had to be at Riley's so she decided she may as well figure out what she was wearing now. She threw her phone on the bed and walked across to her dresser.

Maya pulled open her bikini drawer and scanned through the items. In the past years, Maya would chuck on a simple one piece that showed as little as possible and be done with it but she had an agenda, and she had also gained a lot of confidence in her body in the past years and wasn't afraid to show it off. Maya may be short but her ass and boobs had filled out fairly quickly during puberty and she was aware that she was attractive. Her boobs, while they had filled out, weren't huge and she knew her ass was her real asset and she embraced that when buying bikinis. She had also started fake tanning (not orange thank you very much she was classy and it looked (mostly) natural)

Maya pulled out a bikini she had splurged on a few months ago. It was a ribbed material, the top shaping her nicely without showing off too much and the halter neck was comfortable enough and easy to adjust. the bottoms were slightly riskier, they were high rise around her hips but were a cheeky style that showed off a fair bit of skin on her lower half. Maya pulled a pair of black denim shorts and a white singlet top over the top before searching through her wardrobe for her flip-flops.

She wasted time then packing a bag to bring with her, pulling out a beach towel, a jumper, a portable charger, a magazine and various other things packing them into her bag. As she was looking for all the different things she needed, reminding herself to pack sunscreen, her phone vibrated on her bed.

She walked over and picked it up, expecting to see Riley name on the screen but discovered Lucas’.

Huckleberry: I'm leaving mine in 10 with Zay and ill come past and grab you on our way to Riley’s.

Maya: Peeking a bit early? it’s only 11:15 huckleberry.

Huckleberry: Zay hasn't seen Riley in 12 hours and it pains him. Apparently, they’re that couple now.

Maya giggled to her self before responding to his message and saying she would see him then.

Maya quickly applied a very limited amount of makeup considering she would be swimming and ran her hands through her hair to tame the girls that she hadn't styled. She double checked she had everything and messaged her Mom to let her know where she was going and before she knew it there was a knock at the door.

Maya moved through the small apartment, quickly reaching the door and opening it to Lucas standing on the other side, a smile on his face.

“You could have just text me huckleberry” Maya rolled her eyes at him stepping out of the apartment and closing and locking the door behind her

“Hello to you too” Lucas responded cheekily

Maya turned around rolling her eyes and bringing Lucas into a quick (kind of) hug, still not saying hello

“What? I don’t even get a hello” Lucas asks as they begin there walk to the car, Maya notices the cute pout on his face but avoids scanning over his body as that would be too obvious when he was watching her so intently.

“You can have a howdy or you can have nothing” Maya joked causing Lucas to laugh

“I’ll take nothing then” he responded as they made there way down the stairs

“What did you do with Zay?” Maya asked remembering he was supposed to be there

“He’s in the car still” Lucas explained

“Aw did you crack a window for him?” Maya joked

“He’s not a dog Maya” Lucas tried to respond seriously but she could see the grin on his face

As they made there way out of the apartment building she noticed his blue truck parked only a couple of spots away from the front door. She also noticed that when Zay saw them coming he climbed through the centre of the two seats and into the back, allowing Maya to sit in the front.

Neither of them commented on it and neither did Zay when she climbed into the seat he had just vacated.

“Maya Penelope” Zay greeted her

“Isaiah” May responded fist pumping him between the seats

The conversation in the car ride to Rileys was limited to the beach, discussing how long it was going to take to get there and what weird shit cory would deem necessary to bring. Maya took the opportunity to scan over Lucas, noticing the shortish (not too short) blue swim shorts he was wearing and the white t-shirt that pulled tight across his chest. She also saw that he hadn't styled his hair leaving it messy, and noticed that it was getting a bit longer than usual. She liked. She liked a lot.

She was in the middle of staring at his hair when her phone buzzes and she looks down to see Zay's name flash across the screen. She's confused for a second before she opens the message

Zay: you done staring at him yet?

Maya rolled her eyes sending back the middle finger emoji but otherwise not acknowledging his message.

They arrived at Riley’s at 11:45 and Maya quickly ran up the fire escape the other following behind. She swung the window open but Riley wasn't in her room she called out for her and got a response from inside her walk-in wardrobe. Maya followed the sound of Riley and she noticed Zay and Lucas didn't follow, making themselves comfortable in her room.

As Maya found Riley looking through the dresses in her wardrobe she was relieved to see that Riley was also wearing a revealing bikini, a red triangle top and low cut bottoms, meaning Mayas risky choice of bathers wouldn't be as noticeable.

“Wow, you look hot trying to send Zay to an early grave?” Maya teased and Riley turned to face her rolling her eyes

“Oh come on he’ll survive” Riley laughed “what bikini did you choose? you've gained a lot of options in the last year” Riley asked referring to Maya's recent obsession with both activewear and swimwear

May lifted her top revealing the black bikini top that shaped her so nicely and Riley gasped, slightly jokingly

“I know that one! the matching bottoms make your ass look phenomenal” Riley responded a little bit too loud for comfort

“Riley” Maya hissed holding back a laugh “keep your voice down”

“All I’m saying is Lucas is going to be the one losing his mind today.” Riley said at a, thankfully, lower volume and Maya just grinned dropping her top.

Riley turned back toward her wardrobe pulling out a light pink sundress that she put on over her outfit and reached for her flip flops.

The two girls emerged from the wardrobe moments later to find both Zay and Lucas lying on their stomachs on Riley’s bed on their phones. Once they noticed the girls presence though Zay jumped up from his spot, his usual over energetic self, and animatedly talked to Riley, the two giggling and sharing short kisses they thought Maya and Lucas wouldn't notice (honestly these two were the most unsubtle people on the planet, PDA was always going to happen with them)

Maya took the opportunity to lie down on the bed next to Lucas, falling on to her back, her head landing next to his shoulder. She felt his gaze land on her the minute she did so and she ignored it for a second checking the notifications on her phone before she looked up. When she did look up, she noticed that his gaze wasn't on her face but down on her chest. She realised quickly that from his position he would be getting a clear view down her shirt.

“My eyes are up here Huckleberry” She teased, watching as the blush quickly spread across his cheeks and he looked away from her clearing his throat.

“So” he started clearing his throat again and composing himself “you actually going to swim this time?” He asks, referring to there beach trip at the end of summer last year where she had sat on the beach the entire time with Topanga

“Maybe” Maya responds sitting up and shrugging “it is the start of summer though, might be time to see if I can get a real tan” Lucas sits up next to her and turns to face her snorting at her response

“Maya we've discovered that you’re basically 100% Irish. That isn’t possible.”

“Never hurt to try” Maya responds teasingly

“Yeah you tell me that in 3 days when your entire body is sunburnt” Lucas quips back

Maya was about to retort when Zay called out to them that they were going into the living room. Both of them got up and followed the other two, the conversation is quickly forgotten.

Once the others had arrived the two groups packed into the cars. Riley, much to her disdain, had to go with her parents in order for everyone to fit. Maya took her seat in the front of Lucas’ car which, surprisingly, no one questioned despite Maya being the smallest and should have therefore been in the back.

Once they got to the beach Cory, Topanga, Auggie and Ava head down the beach separating from the group of teenagers and allowing them their own space.

The beach is relatively calm and they manage to find a fairly large quiet spot further down that is secluded from the noise of the other beachgoers.

They all set up their towels around each other, Maya and Riley next to each other in between Lucas and Zay and Smackle and Farkle set their towels up in front of them. They had all been read the riot act by Topanga about sunscreen before they had left and none of them wanted to get on her bad side each making work to apply there sunscreen, Smackle being the quickest to do so before pulling her book out and making her self comfortable on her towel, clearly having no intention to actually get in the water.

“Smackle did you even bring bathers?” Riley asks genuinely curious

“Nope” Smackle responds not looking up from her book “won’t be needing them”

Maya rolls her eyes affectionately. Despite Smackle’s quirks her bluntness and kindness mean that her, Riley and Maya have grown to get on really well.

Maya looked around her as she was applying sunscreen, noticing that Zay, Farkle and Lucas had already stripped down to there bathers and looked eager to finish putting on sunscreen and make their way into the water.

Maya found herself staring at Lucas as he rubbed sunscreen into his chest, the muscles in his arms flexing and the way he was looking out on the horizon made his jawline look phenomenal. She blinked and quickly looked away when she noticed his head begin to turn back to her direction.

Then Maya quickly realised that she would need to strip down to her bikini in order to completely cover herself in sunscreen. She pulls her shirt over her head slowly not needing to look to know that Lucas has his eyes on her, she glances any way as her shirt pulls over her head and confirms her suspicion.

She takes her shorts off next dropping them down on the towel and turning to face Riley as she applies sunscreen to her neck, shoulders and stomach. She contemplates asking Riley to apply sunscreen on to her back for her but just as she goes to open her mouth Zay asks Riley the same question.

Maya feels the grin that spreads across her face, perfect.

She turns to face Lucas who clears his throat as she turns obviously breaking his gaze from where it had been glued to her body. She takes a step closer to him and his head turns back, his gaze this time glued to her face.

“Help me out huckleberry?” handing him the sunscreen, turning around and pulling her hair over her left shoulder.

She knows she's got him when there's a moment of hesitation and she hears his breath catch in his throat. But then he surprises her, he steps forward into her space and she expects to feel his hands on her back but instead, she just feels one grip her waist and his breath on her neck

“Only if you return the favour” his voice drops to a seductive tone and he squeezes her waist to accentuate his words.

Maya feels the breath catch in her throat and this time she's the one caught off guard. She recovers quickly though, she doesn't know what game he’s playing here but she's more than willing to participate. She turns her head so that her gaze is locked on his, there faces close.

“Sure” she responds grinning seductively before turning back to face Riley.

His hand leaves her waist but she can feel his body heat from how close he’s standing behind her and it's no more than a few seconds before both his hands are back on her skin, massaging the sunscreen into her lower back and up to below the strap of her bikini. The sensation of it is almost overwhelming and when he slides his hand under the strap to ensure he’s rubbed it all in she has to hold back a small moan. His hands massage over her neck and shoulders, his thumbs digging into her back. She makes a mental note to herself to make sure that once this plan is over and there dating she gets him to give her a massage.

His hands run over the expanse of her back one final time before she can feel his breath on her neck again

“All done” he practically whispers in her ear before pulling back.

When she turns around she's met with the sight of Lucas broad back. She picks the sunscreen up from the towel before massaging it into his back. She can't help but notice all the muscles in his back and sees the way they tense when she accidentally scarps her nails across his back. So she does it once more as she's finishing up and can't help but be attracted to the way the muscles in his back tense and quiver from her touch.

“You're free to go Sundance.” Maya tells him, dropping her hands from his back and turning her gaze back to the water.

Maya and Riley make themselves comfortable on their towels, both lying on their stomachs, their heads down facing the water. They watch as the boys run off into the water, Maya knows that the minute that they’re far enough away Riley will have something to say, she was giving Maya the look just before.

To her surprise, and Riley’s, it was Smackle who spoke first.

“Jesus Christ Maya!” Smackle exclaimed dropping her book and turning her head to face Maya.

“What?” Maya asked she was convinced that Smackle had been absorbed in her book since they got there

“Oh just you and Lucas practically groping each other for 5 minutes” Smackle states bluntly

“We were n-” Maya goes to defend herself when Riley’s loud laughter interrupts her.

“Oh come on Maya there was so much sexual tension I'm surprised you two didn't excuse yourselves and make your way back to his car” Riley laughs.

“Riley!” Maya exclaims “you’re the one who told me to get more physical” she defends

When Maya glances over at Smackle she sees confusion spreading across her face and Maya sighs before diving into an explanation while Riley continues to giggle by her side.

Maya briefly explains the whole seduction plan while Smackle nods along explaining that she had noticed the change in Maya's behaviour but hadn't picked up on the plan entirely.

“… yeah well I think Lucas has picked up on it more then I thought because I did not expect him to be like that.”

“Oh god no, neither did I.” Riley rejoins the conversation now that she's calmed down “Lucas the Texas gentlemen Friar appears to be acting on his sex drive” Riley joked.

Maya rolls her eyes but she doesn't disagree.

“Yeah well it's gone from me trying to seduce Lucas to Lucas in some way picking up on my behaviour and trying to tease me in return” Maya explains

“Hey, It's not a bad thing” Riley starts “you’re just going to have to be more careful you don’t jump his bones before he caves.” Riley explains

Maya hums in agreement her gaze travelling back to the ocean where the boys are.

Smackle returns to her book while Riley rolls over to tan and Maya is left stewing in her thoughts.

Not too long later Maya sees the boys returning from the water. Her gaze locked on Lucas, hidden by her dark sunglasses, as he runs up the beach towards them, she gets a chance to properly look at him.

Lucas had always been fit, like ridiculously so that even when they were in middle school he was built and had a six back. But since then he had grown, even more, become the quarterback of the varsity football team and started going to the gym, and it was hot. he had broad shoulders was over 6 foot and muscles that could kill as well as such a pretty face.

Maya broke herself out of her trance when the boys arrived back to their little area, making sure no one had noticed she was staring.

She rolled over onto her back, sitting up on her elbows and pushing her sunglasses on to the top of her head.

“Freezing cold?” She asks referring to the water and looking around at the three boys that had returned.

Farkle was already lying down on his towel while the other two were coming to sit down on either side of her and Riley.

“Not too bad actually,” Zay responded “better then I expected it to be.” He said finding a comfortable position next to Riley.

“Why do you care?” Lucas asks playfully to her left, “I didn't think you were going to make it into the water today?” He jokes referring to their previous conversation at Riley’s.

“Maybe I will, Maybe I won't” Maya responds playfully, moving her sunglasses back down to cover her eyes and lying back down on her towel.

The group of them spend the next few minutes talking about different things, from how their first week of work/interning was to the Texas trip that now seemed to be going ahead later in the holidays.

Only about 15 minutes after the boys got back Zay and Lucas decide that they’re ready to get back in the water. Riley gets up to go with them and Maya decides she may as well give it a go.

She regrets this the minute the water touches her feet.

“Zay! you lied! this is fucking freezing” Maya exclaims letting the three walk ahead of her and making no move to follow them.

“Oh come on” its Lucas who responds, Zay and Riley caught in conversation, “Its not that bad” he stops where he is, the water just around the lower half of his leg.

“Uh huh, yeah, no,” Maya responds crossing her arms over her chest. “I'll be back at my towel on the warm sand.” Maya says turning and making her way back up the beach.

She can hear Lucas following her but she pays no attention no way is she getting in that water, not even as an excuse to get closer to Lucas.

Then she realises she's not going to have a choice.

His hands grab her waist, spinning her around to face him and before she can even say his name he’s got her thrown over his shoulder and is running back towards the water

“Lucas!” Maya yells thrashing her fists against his back but she's struggling to hold back her laughter “put me down!’ she squeals

He's hip deep in water when he drops her down, submerging her completely, she tries to latch on to anything as she falls but fails.

He offers her a hand when her head re-emerges and she takes it, bringing herself up as close to him as she can, seeing the evident smirk on his face, clearly proud of himself.

“Careful Friar” she starts her voice low and seductive, she pushes herself onto her toes to get just a little bit closer and tugs him down by the firm grip she still has on his hand “paybacks a bitch”

Her face is much closer to his now, the smirk dropped from his face and she can hear him swallow in response to her threat.

She simply drops back to her feet before turning to find Riley and head back in her direction.

The 4 of them spend close to an hour messing around in the water, heading out a bit further where the waves are bigger and spending time wading in the shallows as well.

Maya looks back to the shore at one point and notices a group of three boys that look around there age have set up their towels a few metres away from where their stuff is, she frowns, hoping they aren't too loud in there little secluded area. She, however, shrugs it off and has forgotten about the boys completely by the time they’re ready to head back to Farkle and Smackle.
Zay has his arm wrapped around Riley and she's tucked into his side, the two of them talking quietly together, very clearly a couple, in comparison her and Lucas are walking near each other but they aren't touching, and she's probably a couple of steps ahead of him. This is why Maya isn't surprised when she hears whistles from over near the three boys and turns her head to see all three of them looking at her and one of them, presumably the one who whistled, waving at her.

Now usually Maya would have something to say, tell them to piss off and grow up, but instead, just to annoy Lucas, she simply rolls her eyes, laughing slightly and keeps walking.

The 4 of them all lie back on there towels and Maya can see the slight scowl on Lucas’ face. She puts her sunglasses back on after applying a quick layer of sunscreen to her face and the front of her body before she makes her self comfortable, happy to lie in the sun. Lucas is lying on his towel next to her, pushed up onto his elbows and scrolling through his phone. She curses his naturally tan complexion and the fact that he won't burn to a crisp as she would.

The group of friends idly chat for a while, most content to just relax and be with each other.

It's getting on 3:30 when the boys decide they’re going to head back in for one last swim before they have to head home. Maya rolls over onto her stomach then and has to ask Riley to put sunscreen on her back this time.

15 or so minutes after the boys have headed back to the water and Mayas had a good look at Lucas’ back muscles walking away she closes her eyes and rests on her arms. Not too long later, Riley grabs her attention.

“Just a warning that the boy who whistled at you before appears to be heading over here now that the boys are gone” Riley informs her and laughs slightly shaking her head “and Lucas appears to be keeping an eye on him from the water”

Maya glances up first at the ocean where she can see Lucas, she thinks he might be frowning but can't really tell from where she is. She follows his gaze to the boy that is walking towards her. Confidence etched into his features as he approaches.

“Hey, I’m Logan” the boy, Logan, introduces himself, very clearly talking to Maya. He extends his hand to her clearly for her to shake. Maya rolls herself over and stands up, not liking the vulnerability of lying on the ground while this boy talks to her.

“Maya” she responds shaking his hand briefly and then gesturing to her two friends “and this is Riley and Izzy”

He glances down at them briefly, clearly disinterested in them, she, however, takes her chance and glances over her shoulder to see Lucas heading out of the water and towards them.

“So are you from around here?” He asks

“New York, born and raised. What about you?” Maya responds pushing her sunglasses up her face. She's not going to lie, he's attractive, messy brown her and a fit body, but she's just not interested. The only reason she's smiling and engaging in conversation is because as she said to Lucas when she tossed him in the water, paybacks a bitch.

“Born in New York, but moved to Brooklyn 2 years ago, came back for the summer to stay with some friends” he says gesturing behind him to the two boys at there towels, she waves at them and they wave back, she glances at Lucas when she does noticing he's been delayed waiting for Zay and Farkle but is still heading back towards them.

“That's sweet.” She says smiling at him but not trying to be too open

“Yeah” he responds before she sees the way his physique changes from confident to cocky “so could I get your number?” he asks

“Sorry, but I don't give my number to strangers” Maya responds

The guy looks taken aback for a second, clearly not expecting her to say no.

“Really?” He asks “I mean, but you were so friendly to me?” he asks and she can see him getting a little angry.

“and I'm sure you're really nice, I just don’t know you well enough to give you my number.” Maya shrugs and she can hear the boys talking now, metres away from them, seconds away from them.

“But I thought we could hang out. Maybe I could take you on a date?” He asks, almost offended she's said no.

“Thank you, that's sweet, I'm just not interested.” she responds crossing her arms across her chest, Maya is ready to get defensive now that this boy just won't take no for an answer.

“but I want-” he starts stepping closer to her.

Then she feels an arm wrap around her waist and she knows immediately that its Lucas.

“She said she's not interested.” Lucas says, his voice low and a fake smile spread across his face “Maybe you should head back to your friends.” Lucas says more of an order than a suggestion.

The boy looks like he’s about to question Lucas, maybe even argue with him about not telling him what to do but then she sees the boy realise he has to physically look up to look at Lucas’ face and that seems to change his mind.

“Well, nice meeting you anyway” the boy sighs clearly annoyed he failed his attempt to ask Maya out.

Maya just smiles and uncrosses her arms to wave at the boy as he leaves, Lucas arm still firmly wrapped around her waist as she watches him join his friends and then Maya turns around to face Lucas her eyebrows raised, as his arm reluctantly drops from her waist.

“I was dealing with him myself.” Maya says crossing her arms over her chest.

“You shouldn't have even been talking to him, he whistled at you to get your attention that just rude.” Lucas responds mimicking her pose, his arms tightly crossed over his chest.

“I was being polite. He approached me and he was very nice so I had a conversation with him, I just wasn't going to give him my number.” Maya responds

“and he was handling that so well.” Lucas responds rolling his eyes and scoffing

“I could have dealt with him by myself” Maya responds.

“I know you could have but you don't have to.” Lucas responds his voice softening

Maya was taken aback by the sincerity in his voice her arms dropping to her side and the tight expression on her face softens

“Oh,” she responds, “well, thank you.” Maya responds.

Lucas just smiles at her and she feels a small smile cross her face before she turns dropping onto her towel and he does the same.

Maya lies back putting her sunglasses back over her face. A huge grin threatens to split across her face, she bites her lip in order to stop it and then a thought crosses her mind that almost causes her resolve to break because,

Holy shit she might be in love with him.

Now, this shouldn't be so surprising to Maya, she knew she really liked Lucas and that, as a friend, she had loved him for years, but this was still new and it was causing butterflies in her stomach. Great, now she's a cliche.

Not too long later, Riley informed them that Cory had messaged her and they were heading home, so the group began packing up, too meet them at the car park.

The wind was picking up a bit so Maya opted to put on the jumper she had packed rather than her shorts and t-shirt, shoving them and her towel into her bag she pulled her oversized hoodie over her head and turned around to face the rest of the group.

“Is that my jumper?” Lucas asked glancing at her jumper then at her face, a grin spreading across his.

Maya furrowed her eyebrows genuinely confused at his question.

“No it's my Yankees jump-” she glanced down realising that no, it wasn't her navy blue Yankees jumper but Lucas’ Navy blue Dallas cowboys jumper that he had left at her house a few weeks back. That's what that smell was, his cologne.

“Huh,” Maya says pulling at the material “well I thought it was my Yankees jumper when I packed it.” she says

“I wondered where that had gone." Lucas responded teasingly

“In all honesty I didn't realise I had it until now” Maya responds before a cheeky grin spreads across her face “but now you're not getting it back” She responds sticking her tongue out at him and skipping ahead to join the others where they had started walking, only a few feet ahead of them.

They join the Matthews at the car park and pile into the same cars they came in, beginning the trip back to Greenwich Village.

The trip is fairly silent, Maya fiddles with the radio and there is a brief conversation but most are tired from there day in the sun and sea.

Lucas drops Zay off at the Matthews first, he's having dinner with the family, before he continues his journey to the Minkus’ house where he drops Izzy and Farkle, leaving Maya and Lucas alone for the short journey back to Maya's apartment.

Lucas pulls in to a park out the front of her building and Maya gazes up at it sighing as she does so.

Maya loves her room, she loves her Mom and she loves the little family forming with her, her mom and Shawn but she really wishes they could move out of the dingy old apartment. Money is better with the cafe and Shawn fixes a few more things up when he's around but it rarely feels like home. Soon, she thinks, soon Shawn will propose, or at least ask for them to move in together, she just knows it.

She breaks her train of thought looking towards Lucas, noticing the soft expression on his face as he watches her.

“Thanks for the ride Huckleberry” She says smiling back at him

“No worries, I’ll see you soon?” He asks as she gathers up her bag

“I’m sure you will” she responds, before climbing out of the car and turning to face him “Riley won't let it be more then 4 days before she sees all of us, so if not before, see you Wednesday” Maya winks, closing the door behind her, she can see Lucas’ smirk through the window as she smiles before making her way into the apartment complex.

By the time Maya has made her way up into the apartment and showered again its 6pm and Shawn and Katy are both arriving home, one of the few times Shawn isn't out of state for work.

Maya threw Lucas’ jumper back on over her athletic shorts and sports bra to join her Mom and Shawn in the living room for the next couple of hours, helping Katy cook and then eating dinner with them

“So” Katy opened a sly grin on her face as they sat together eating dinner “how was the beach?”

“Really good” Maya responded “was getting a bit cold by the time we left though” Maya responded, having not noticed the suspicious look on Katy’s face.

“Oh” Katy responded her voice teasing, causing Maya to look up and see the smile spread across her mothers face “is that why you have Lucas’ jumper?” Katy asked causing Shawn to snap his head up from his meal, now interested in the conversation, his eyes glaring at the Dallas Cowboys jumper encasing Maya's body.

Maya couldn't help the exasperated sigh that escaped her lips

“No, he left it here a while ago and I packed it to take with me thinking it was my Yankees jumper” Maya responded, already knowing it wouldn't be a good enough response for her mother

“Why was he here recently when no adult was?” Shawn asks defensively

“EVERYONE was here” Maya emphasis “It was the weekend before term ended” She explained

“So you and Lucas are still getting closer seeing as you kept it rather than giving it back when you were with him today?” Katy asks

“I was cold, it was either wear this or ask someone else to borrow a jumper which would have just been ridiculous when I already had this one with me” Maya explains

“Oh, I'm sure. and you're still wearing it now because?” Katy asks knowing she had cornered Maya

Maya opens her mouth to respond but quickly realises that the answer to that question is that she likes that it still smells like Lucas so she can't exactly say that out loud.

Instead, she picks up her bowel from the table and heads to put it in the sink “No comment” is her only response as she makes her way to her room away from her questioning Mother and Shawn's growing annoyance.

Despite the minor interrogation from her mother Maya can't wipe the grin off of her face or shake the warm feeling she feels that had intensified when she realised how strong her feelings were for Lucas. So Maya does what she always does when her emotions feel all-consuming, she puts a canvas on her easel (a birthday gift from Riley) and she pulls her paints out of the drawer. It's nice that recently shes painting more regularly because of overwhelmingly good emotions rather than the anger and sadness she used to experience so often driving her artwork.

Maya tugs Lucas’ jumper off of herself, wanting to avoid the inevitable paint splatters from getting on it. She turns on her speaker connecting her phone and turning the volume up to a level loud enough to block out most noise but not annoy her Mom and Shawn or her neighbours.

She's consumed in her work ten minutes later, the centre of her painting covered in deeper reds and oranges swirling out together, when a loud knock on her window breaks her out of her trance and she swivels around in her chair to see Lucas on her fire escape.

She puts her paints and brushes on her desk, getting up and making her way over to open the window. A gust of wind enters her room as she does and she notices the significant temperature drop since that morning.

“Shit that's cold, come in.” she says opening the window wider for him to enter, she's yet to question why he's here, she's just happy to see him.

He climbs through her window, rather gracefully for someone as tall as him and then she's shutting it behind him, trying to stop the cold breeze from invading her warm room.

“What brings you here huckleberry?” Maya asks making herself comfortable on her bed and expecting him to follow and sit down with her but instead he looks almost awkwardly away from her before he speaks.

“You left this in my car and I wasn't sure if it was important.” He says looking down at his hands where he's holding one of her sketchbooks

She looks back at him and notices he still can't quite look at her, she soon realises its because she's only in her sports bra and shorts.

“Huckleberry” she calls teasingly to grab his attention and he finally looks up at her “It's a sports bra, I was wearing a lot less today, you can at least look me in the eye” she teases. She thinks about calling back to about a week ago when Lucas himself claimed that seeing each other in their underwear wasn't that weird, but then she would be thinking about the conversation that followed about her and Lucas and she didn't want to bring that up just yet.

Lucas huffs but joins her on her bed sitting next to her and seems to loosen up a bit.

“I didn't look through it, wasn't sure you'd want me to but I thought I should bring it back.” He says handing her the sketchbook

“Thanks.” Maya responds before opening it up and skimming through the pages, she has one sketchbook that has a few too many drawings of Lucas from him to look through it yet, but she doesn't mind him or her friends looking through this one, so she hands it back to him.

“You can look if you want.” she says and he looks almost stunned.

“Really?” He asks excitedly and her heart beats just a little bit faster, “Ms Klossal always said in middle school to never go through someone else's sketchbook because it was personal.” he explains frowning as he stares at the black cover of it.

“Trust me Sundance there are some sketchbooks that no one will ever see, but this one is fine,” She says shrugging, “I think there's even one of you in there on a sheep.” Maya teases.

“Hey” Lucas exclaims “that's just mean” he pouts.

God does she want to kiss that pout so bad.

“Now I’m going to find it.” He responds opening the sketchbook to the first page, clearly intent on looking over each picture individually.

She sits with him for a while, pressed close to his side as he flicks over her first few drawings, she hasn't seen some of them in a while so it's nice to look back on them. It's also nice to be that close to Lucas.

She can smell his cologne, stronger then the scent on his jumper and his body radiates heat keeping her warm. The slight graze of his arm against hers as he moves to rotate the book now and then also keeps her glued to his side longer then she should be.

She snaps herself out of her trance after a bit, telling him he's welcome to keep looking but that she's going to continue on with her painting.

She presses play on her music and sits back at her easel, attempting to focus all her attention back on her work. She can't help the fact that she's still mildly distracted, her work not really turning into anything, remaining a swirl of bright colours, reflecting her mood and easing her back into painting when she had been drawing for so long. She knows later she'll add texture to the work, maybe even create something more intricate out of it, but right now she's content to just paint the strokes and be a bit distracted by Lucas’ presence in her room.

There is a knock on her door a few minutes later and she panics for a moment. If that's Shawn he will chase Lucas out, or worse say something to embarrass her. The door cracks to reveal her Mom’s face. It takes Katy a second but then she notices Lucas on Maya's bed and Maya winces waiting for whatever is going to come out of Katy’s mouth next.

“Oh!’ Katy exclaims in slight surprise, “I didn't realise you were here Lucas.” she's gone a grin on her face that Maya doesn't like the look of but appears to be remaining neutral.

“I was returning Maya's sketchbook” Lucas stumbles through his words “I’m sorry I didn't come to the door Ms Hart” his Texas accent breaks through, a clear sign he’s realised that his Mother would not approve of his actions.

“It's not a problem sweetie” Katy responds and Maya can see she's been pulled in by his even slight Texas charm, not that Maya can blame her. “You and your friends have grown fond of windows, and call me Katy.” She's smiling sweetly now, clearly forgotten that this was her prime opportunity to tease Maya.

Or so Maya thinks. Katy’s attention turning back to Maya before the grin from before returns.

“I was just coming to tell you that Shawn’s making reservations for dinner tomorrow night with the Matthews to celebrate the start of the holidays and your last holidays before senior year.” Katy informs her and Maya nods agreeing with her, knowing Shawn likes to make milestones out of everything with Maya and Riley after missing so much of their lives.

“Okay, I’ll let Riley know” Maya responds hoping this is the end of the interaction, if only she were so lucky.

Katy’s eyes flicker between her and Lucas again before she focuses her attention in on Maya

“I won't let Shawn know that Lucas is here because we know how he is, especially after dinner, but I can't stop him from coming in here if he chooses to.” Katy says with a wink before closing the door and leaving Maya to explain that whole sentence to Lucas.

Maya can't help the sigh that escapes her as she closes her eyes composing herself.

“What happened at dinner?” Lucas asks and she turns around to see the shit-eating grin on his face like he thinks this is funny.

Maya levels him with a glare rolling her eyes, to indicate that she is very much not amused like he is.

“I was wearing your Dallas cowboys jumper still and Mom asked why I had it and when I informed them that you left it here a while ago and I had mistaken it for my own today Shawn was more concerned about that fact that you had at some point been in this apartment without adult supervision.” Maya informs him, trying to sound as casual about it as possible while also freaking out a little on the inside that he might ask questions she can't give the answers to, just like her mother did. But instead, Lucas seems unfazed and accepting of her response.

“So he’s Cory 2.0 now?” Lucas asks going back to look through the sketch book in front of him.

“Yes exactly.” Maya says, relieved that this is where the conversation gets to end because if he had asked her why she was still wearing it, she doesn't think silence would have cut it as an answer

She spins around a few seconds later though realising that she's almost missed a prime opportunity to tease him.

“Also don't think I missed the way you used your southern charm to woo my mother and make her not care about the fact you just crept in through my window without her knowing. Your accent is not that strong anymore” Maya says pointing her paintbrush at him accusingly.

“Hey it worked didn't it?” Lucas says shrugging “Plus you all secretly love my Texas accent.”

“Oh yeah right.” Maya responds (despite the fact that he is so right), “the only thing I love about your Texas accent is making fun of it. Bucky Mcboing boing.” she says.

“Huh” Lucas responds, “I haven’t heard that one in a while.”

Maya rolls her eyes turning back around to actually pay attention to her work this time, she has to clamp down on the really big grin that wants to spread across her face. It's something she can't help when she's around Lucas now, it just causes her to smile.

Maya manages to absorb herself further in her painting after then, and it's not until half an hour later that she turns around again, happy with her work for the night and feeling as though she's effectively released her feelings onto the canvas. She’ll add the more artistic touches and textures later.

When she turns around Lucas is still looking through her sketchbook, but is clearly nearing the end. He's also got his phone up taking a photo of one of them, a grin spread across his face.

“Did I say you could take photos?” Maya asks putting on a serious tone to her voice

Lucas startles slightly, a blush spreading across his cheeks as he looks up, a sheepish grin spreading across his face

“No” he responds, “sorry I should have asked.” he continues his arm coming to rub at the back of his neck.

“I'm kidding Huckleberry,” Maya says her resolve breaking quickly “I don't care.” She gets up from where she's sitting making her way over to the dresser. She can feel his eyes on her, something she's become used to noticing. She wipes the paint off of her arms and the bit that got on her stomach (she was right about not wearing the jumper) before she turns back around grabbing the jumper off her pillow and slipping it back on over her head.

She joins Lucas on the bed, this time sitting up against the headboard of the bed. He closes the book putting it on the bed next to him. Maya likes the way he looks in her room, he's relaxed now, taken his shoes off and clearly run his hands through his hair one too many times. Lucas makes no move to leave despite having only first intended to come to drop of her sketchbook and now been there an hour, not that she minds.

“So did you find one of you on Judy the sheep?” Maya asks a mischievous smile spread across her face

Lucas scoffs, rolling his eyes and turning to face her “Oh yeah, you mean the one of me falling off of Judy the sheep? Yeah, I got it.”

Maya can't help but giggle, a habit she's picked up in recent years, appearing to only happen around Lucas. Maya never thought she would be the giggling type.

“There's also one in there of Zay dressed in a tutu as a ballerina.” Maya reminds him.

Lucas lets out a laugh at that “Yeah that's one of the ones I took a photo of, excellent blackmail.”

“Only one of them?” Maya asks raising her brow, “how many photos did you take huckleberry?”

Lucas' hand comes up on instinct to rub at the back of his neck “A few” a slight blush spreads across his face before he meets her eye “you’re really good Maya, like really good, great actually.”

There is genuine sincerity in his voice and he doesn't break eye contact, she knows he means it, that he believes it.

“Thanks, Lucas” Maya responds, unable to hold back the smile “did you know you're the only one to consistently tell me that?” She asks thinking back to the multiple times since middle school that Lucas has reminded her he believes in her talent.

“No I’m not” Lucas protests, “Riley says it to you every five seconds” He argues not looking away from her.

“Yeah but I could paint stick figures and Riley would tell me they’re great” Maya says smiling at the thought of her goofy best friend, “and people tell me things I draw or paint are pretty, or show emotion or ‘fit the assignment brief’” She explains reflecting on the many comments she's heard over the years.

“You though, you always tell me that I’m good, not just the specific work, but me” Maya explains, “and I don’t know” Maya continues with a shrug, “It just… just means more.” She feels the slight blush spread across her cheeks but can't bring herself to look away and hide it, too caught in Lucas’ gaze.

Lucas doesn't look nervous like he did before, he's completely calm and he's looking at her in a way she always wants to be looked at. Admiration and something else lingering in his gaze, the word Love briefly crosses her mind but she quickly pushes it to the side, still wary of not getting her hopes up to high.

“Well,” Lucas starts his gaze locked on hers “I’ve never not meant it and I'll probably never stop telling you it.”

“Thank you” Maya responds, a matching grin spread across her face.

They sit for what feels like minutes but is probably only seconds, just staring into each other's eyes and Maya briefly thinks about just leaning forward and kissing him, even considers it for a second and then she's interrupted by the sound of a text message on her phone.

They both break eye contact, turning their gaze to where the noise has come from and Maya gets up to retrieve her phone from her dresser. Lucas clears his throat behind her, the air surrounding them isn't awkward but the intensity has died down from before.

Maya noticed the notification was from Riley, letting her know that she had heard from her parents that they were doing dinner tomorrow and asking if they should convince them to invite their friends. Maya pockets her phone in the hoodie, deciding her response can wait a minute.

When she turns around Lucas is slipping back into his shoes and standing up.

“I should head home before it gets too late.” Lucas says

“Yeah, thanks for bringing my sketchbook back.” Maya says again, hiding her disappointment that he's leaving “Do you want to head out the door or the window?” Maya asks a grin spreading across her face.

“Shawn doesn't know I've been here and I think I'll keep it that way.” Lucas responds smiling back at her

“Fair enough.” She says following him to the window and watching as he climbs out, she stops him before he can go though. “Hey Lucas,” she says grabbing his attention.

He bends down on her fire escape so he's looking at her through the window “Yeah?” he asks

Maya doesn't verbally respond, instead, she wraps her arms around his neck pulling him into a hug. Lucas hesitates for a moment before his arms come to wrap around her waist pulling her closer to the window. She feels warm and safe in his embrace

“Thanks for you know.. believing in me.” She says still wrapped up in his arms

“I always will.” He responds “Thanks for letting me look through your sketchbook” he adds on.

She lets go after a few seconds stepping back slightly into her room when he unwraps his arms from around her waist.

“Night Huckleberry” She says as he turns this time beginning to make his way down the fire escape.

“Night Short-stack” He responds pausing to smile at her, he’s got this shit eating grin on his face and she rolls her eyes but she can't wipe the small smile off her face. She closes her window after she's seen him reach the bottom of the fire escape and she lies down on her bed, grinning like an absolute idiot. My god she is so far gone for that boy and she can't even bring herself to be the least bit mad about it.

Chapter Text

Riley convinces her parents to let her bring their friends to dinner and suddenly the Saturday night dinner goes from the Matthews family, Shawn, Katy and Maya, to all of them plus Lucas, Zay, Smackle and Farkle.

Shawn booked them into a fancy Indian restaurant over near the Matthews apartment and he's not so keen about the additions to the dinner. Well, he's not so keen to Lucas being added. But he gets over it and doesn't argue when he has to ring and add 4 to the reservation.

Maya works 9-1 Saturday and finds herself still running late to get ready for dinner because she procrastinates for hours after getting home. Maya picks out her outfit quickly, easier then she did a week ago because She had been shopping with Katy. She pulls out her black ankle boots and a red and white top she had bought on sale, along with a short, tight, white skirt that had a bit of a flare at the bottom, the top was fitted with little white spots and showing a slither of her stomach. The skirt and top together accentuated her curves without being too revealing. She opted to leave her hair down, not having the time to do anything with it and her makeup was simple. She grabbed her black bag throwing it over her shoulder and rushing to join her family in the entrance where they were calling for her to leave. Shawn frowned at the sight of her, wanting to say something but knowing he would be shut down if he did. To her surprise, her mom didn't make a comment about Lucas or even allude to it, instead of that her mom genuinely commented on how nice she looked. It felt good to hear, Maya likes playing this game for Lucas but she also loves the new found confidence she's gained from it.

The subway ride to the restaurant is quick and the walk even shorter and Maya is glad for it. Her shoes are relatively new and she could already feel the pain in her toes as they approached the restaurant. She forgets all that pain seconds later though when she enters the restaurant to see, Lucas standing only a couple of feet inside the doorway laughing at something Zay’s saying to him, Riley and her family just in front of them talking to the waitress. She couldn't stop the grin that spread across her face as she walked over to join them.

“Zay, Huckleberry” She greeted them coming to a stop in front of them, her Mom and Shawn following behind her.

“Maya!” Zay exclaimed turning to face her and pull her into a quick hug before letting her go and she turned to face Lucas.

“Shortstack” Lucas said wrapping his hand around her waist to pull her into a hug, because of where he put his arm she had no choice but to wrap hers around his neck, meaning she had to push up onto her toes a bit

“You do that to make me feel short don't you?” she said into his ear

“Pretty much, yeah.” Lucas responded and she could feel his grin against the side of her head before he released his arm from around her and she dropped back down.

He was grinning down at her and she could feel the matching smile on her face as she looked up at him. They were interrupted seconds later though when Riley noticed Mays’s presence

“Peaches!” she exclaimed and pushed the two boys apart to make her way to Maya and wrap her in a hug.

“I missed you” Riley exclaims

“You’ve been apart a day” Zay reminds them from behind them.

“Shut up Babineaux, don't be jealous just cause your girlfriend loves me more than she loves you” Maya responds sticking her tongue out at him, say dramatically gasps in response placing his hand over his chest

Riley only laughs before turning back around to face the group.

Then the waitress is leading the large group to there table and Maya realises she didn't even notice that Katy and Shawn had joined Cory and Topanga at the front of the group.

Maya finds herself seated between Riley and Lucas, a common occurrence at this point. Farkle and Smackle join the group not long after and conversation is animated amongst the table.

Maya makes sure this isn't a wasted opportunity, resting her hand on Lucas’ arm as they talk and leaning across him to reach for different things across the table. Its when she crosses her legs though that she gets a proper reaction. She slowly, ‘accidentally’ slides her foot down his shin as she crosses her legs and she feels him stiffen as she does so. Her foot dangles near the ground and she makes sure who toes are pressed into his foot ever so subtly.

He doesn't comment or retaliate for a while, simply shifting in his seat momentarily and relaxing, joining the conversation around him again. Then the waitress comes to take their order and he leans across Maya to point on the menu that is between her and Riley and his right hand comes down to rest on her left thigh, her breath catches in her throat and she makes no move to remove his hand. A moment later he shifts his body back into his seat but he doesn't move his hand from where it is resting halfway up her thigh.

It's a bold move for Lucas, but really after the sunscreen incident yesterday she shouldn't be so surprised. His hand stays where it is, occasionally his fingers drum against her leg and really it is affecting her way more than she would like to admit but she is overwhelmed by the sensation. His hand doesn't move until the waitress brings the food to their table and he squeezes her thigh ever so slightly before moving his hand up and picking up his knife and fork. She's flustered momentarily before shaking herself out of it and continuing with her meal, chancing a glance to the side she can see the smug grin on Lucas’ face and she can't help but want to rile him up in return.

She waits until they’ve finished eating before she does. Knocking her fork off the table and onto the floor with a very exaggerated “whoops” she shoots Lucas a teasing grin before attempting to pick it up, noticing the confused look on his face. But she places her hand on the top of his jean-clad thigh and she feels him tense in response. Got him.

She exaggerates how far she needs to lean under the table, sliding her hand down to his knee as she goes and then sliding it back up as she sits up, removing it entirely and sliding her chair back into the table. The cheeky grin from before has disappeared and been replaced with a light blush across his cheeks.

The rest of the dinner goes smoothly as they wrap up their conversations and head out into the night, opting to head home rather than continue on for ice cream because Katy and Maya both have work the next morning.

Lucas pulls Maya into a hug as they’re all making their goodbyes and his hand wraps around her waist resting on the skin exposed by the crop of her shirt.

It lingers longer then it should and judging by the look her mom gives her as they begin their walk home, people noticed.

———————————————————————————————————————————

Maya ends up having a boring Sunday shift. She works 9-1 on Sunday and much to her disappointment Lucas doesn't come into the cafe. She gets to spend the afternoon with Riley though which is great, they get lunch after her shift and then they get to talk through the rest of the plan. According to Riley, they've reached the 4th and final phase of the plan.

“What do you mean this is the last stage? It's only been like 10 days since this started?” Maya responds, she's sitting on Riley’s bed across from her in complete disbelief. She knew she wanted this to move fast, she just didn't think Riley’s plan was going to accommodate that so quickly.

“Maya, you've got him eating out of your fucking palm, the boy is whipped!” Riley responded, “I thought we would get to phase 4 like 5 weeks into summer break but he’s making this easy.” She explains.

Maya can’t disagree, Lucas had been very responsive to her advances. When she had started this with the intention of attracting his attention she realised she basically already had it and showing him things were changing wasn't difficult. Then with the first dinner, he was very clearly interested in her appearance and he knows Josh is out of the picture. Physical touching had been the most successful component, not only had Lucas been receptive to it he has been giving as good as he got; Example A: sunscreen, Example B: that dinner.

“Okay,” Maya sighs “Whats the final phase of your crazy plan that's surprisingly working then?” Maya asks

“You gotta make him snap” Riley responds an evil grin spread across her face.

“That's it?” Maya asks confused “but how? What am I supposed to do to make him snap?” Maya asks needing more information. The end goal was to make him snap but she didn’t think that was a step in itself.

“That is up to you” Riley starts, “you and Lucas have been playing this game for years, you know how to push his buttons but up until now you never pushed too far, because you were friends,” Riley continues to explain, “you’ve got the physical contact now, you knows he's interested, I’m almost 100% sure he knows your interested he just needs that final push.”

“Okay,” Maya thinks for a moment, contemplating all that information “so I need to make him jealous and build the sexual tension?” Maya asks.

“If that's what you think will work” Riley responds still grinning, “you gotta let him know that you're doing it to push his buttons though if your flirting with people to make him jealous, like at the beach, if he hadn't realised it was to make him jealous it might have put him off and made him more worried then he was jealous.”

“so basically what you're telling me is I'm on my own for this one?” Maya asks sighing, exasperated with the whole situation.

“Pretty much” Riley responds shrugging, but still smiling at Maya, “you can do this peaches.” Riley says reaching forward and grabbing Maya’s hand

Maya sees Lucas on Wednesday at Topanga's, she's working when he and Zay come in, serving a couple at the counter as they approach and she's been ready for this since Sunday. She just needs to push Lucas over the edge, a combination of a few things building up is all she needs and she's got Lucas' attention the minute he walks in.

The couple walks over to take a seat at one of the tables out the front and she sends there order back to Sophia before turning her attention to Zay and Lucas who have already made there way over to the tables just past where they normally sit towards the front corner.

She knew Lucas would drop by some time during one of her shifts, and she had been prepared yesterday and she was prepared today, the lack of dress code for Topanga’s helping her a lot. She's got her normal white converse on but she's also wearing short high waisted denim shorts and a light blue, cropped strapless top, that only shows off a slither of her stomach. She's got her apron folded and wrapped around her waist and her hair is up in a messy ponytail.

“Cute date boys.” Maya says approaching them a sway in her hips and a teasing grin spread across her face

Zay simply scoffs, only glancing up from his phone briefly to roll his eyes. Lucas is the one to engage her in conversation.

“We wouldn't be so lonely if all of you stopped going to work.” Lucas responded a slight pout on his face.

"Sorry Huckleberry, gotta be able to afford all the shiny things I want.” Maya responds

Zay interrupts, stopping whatever response was on the tip of Lucas’ tongue “Hey have you seen the event for Missy’s party?” He asks putting his phone down on the table in front of him

“No why?” Maya responds resting her hand on the back of Lucas chair and leaning towards him

“She’s throwing a party this Friday night at her gigantic house, parents are out of town apparently.” Zay explains, clearly excited about the idea of a party.

“I’m just surprised it took someone this long to have a party, were almost two weeks into summer break.” Maya responds thoughtfully, but really the gears in her head are turning with ideas about how this is exactly what she needs to push Lucas.

“So you’re going to go?” Lucas asks looking up at her

“Of course I am Huckleberry.” Maya responds ruffling his hair, “my Mom and Shawn are out of town as well this weekend and two parties that aren't hosted at my apartment sounds like a great way to celebrate.” she finishes deliberately reminding him of the fact that they've been invited to another party that Saturday.

“Whats the other party?” Lucas asks his brow furrowed a look of confusion spread across his face.

“Josh’s remember?” Maya asks and she watches as the confusion on Lucas’ face immediately morphs into anger.

“We’re not actually going to that are we?” Lucas asks his tone not as happy as it had been moments ago.

“Of course we are, free alcohol, duh” Maya responds, “plus Josh sent the details to Riley and I this morning, told us to pass on the message to you guys.” she explains and she can see Lucas struggling to conceal his anger.

She does, however, take a moment to look around the cafe and notices at that moment Sophia waving her down and holding up drinks for the elderly couple outside.

“Duty calls boys.” she says before winking and spinning around to collect the drinks and take them outside.

She can't wipe the grin off of her face as she delivers the drinks and makes her rounds around the cafe to check on all the tables. Lucas is up at the counter, ordering for himself and Zay when she walks past their table and Zay stops her.

“you look like you're plotting something, Penelope.” Zay says to her a slightly mischievous look on his face.

“Maybe.” she shrugs.

“Yeah well get the plan into action quickly and put us all out of the misery of being around you two with all that sexual tension.” Zay explains a smile still spread across his face.

Maya simply rolls her eyes and makes her way back to the counter, grinning at Lucas as they pass each other. If only Zay knew the plan was already in motion.

Her shift seems to fly by from then on, she's back in the kitchen when Zay and Lucas leave so she doesn't see them. She's sad about it momentarily before she remembers that the next time she does see them will most likely be at Missy’s party and then she can't help the grin that spreads across her face. Because finally, finally, she is going to make sure she gets what she wants. Lucas.

———————————————————————————————————————————

It sets off a plan in her head, a pretty stupid and likely to fail one she’ll admit, but, still its a plan. So when she gets home from work that day and she's got her 'I want something' smile on her face Katy picks up on it before she even opens her mouth.

“What do you want Maya?” Katy asks a hand on her hip where she leans against the kitchen sink.

“How do you know I want something?” Maya asks faking innocence, Katy simply raises her eyebrows in response and Maya knows she's caught.

“Fine, I do want something.” Maya sighs sitting down at their small kitchen bench

“Spill” Katy says coming to lean against the bench Maya was sitting up.

“So Missy Bradford's having a party this Friday night while you’re away,” Maya first explains pausing momentarily.

“Okay, and you can stay at the Matthews like you are for Josh’s.” Katy says shrugging.

“Orrrrr” Maya continues, “I thought as a fun bonding thing for me and my friends before senior year, you know because we're going to be so responsible…” Mayas rambling now trying to glaze over the details but her Mom cuts her off.

“Get to the point babygirl.” Katy says an amused grin on her face

“I was wondering if everyone, Me, Riley, Zay, Lucas, Smackle and Farkle, could stay here on Friday night.” She says finally getting to the point.

Her moms silent initially, appearing to contemplate the details of what Maya’s said and Maya thinks she's done for.

“Okay” Katy responds and Mayas shocked, all ready to defend her plan.

“Wait, really?” Maya asks, and now she's the confused one.

“Sure” Katy smiles “But-”

“Oh no.” Maya doesn't think she's going to like what comes next.

“I will message everyone's parents and inform them of the situation so they can't all lie about where they are, and only if every parent agrees will it go ahead. Got it?” Katy asks.

“Wow at first I was surprised you said yes and now I’m kind of surprised at how stricture being with this.” Maya explains, not fighting the conditions because she knows its as good as she's gonna get.

“Maya honey, I'm not stupid” Katy starts, "I know how these things go. Riley tells her parents she's staying here and so does Smackle, it's a girls night. Then Farkle and Zay say they’re staying at Lucas’ and Lucas says he’s staying at Farkle’s and then none of the parents know where their kids actually are.” Katy explains and Maya hates to admit that she's right.

“Plus babygirl, you were conceived when I lied to my parents about where I was staying after a party.” Katy finishes laughing to herself while going to get her phone, hopefully, to message their parents.

“Mom!” Maya explains but the only response she gets is Katy laughing in the distance

Maya tries to forget that horrifying fact while she reaches for her phone and sends out a group text about her idea of them all staying at hers. She explains that it will be fun, her ulterior motive, however, is to get more time with Lucas. Whether it be at Missy’s party or her house, she will finish this thing that night.

———————————————————————————————————————————

To Maya’s surprise, all the parents agree, of course with some rules, including that they all leave the party together and that Riley must call her parents once they get back for the night. But other then that, they’re set. Maya tells Riley about her idea as they get ready together at Maya’s, explaining that she wants to finally push Lucas into making his move tonight.

“Thank God” Riley started “I can't wait to tell him he could have been dating you for the past two weeks but he was too slow” Riley explained mischievously.

Maya couldn't help but laugh, she was just excited to finally get to kiss Lucas. After that near thing at the campfire, she had always wanted to know and even before then she can admit to thinking about it.

Maya and Riley spend an hour together getting ready and dressed. Mayas in a strapless red, ribbed dress that shows off her curves with her black wedge heels while Riley is wearing a denim skirt and a black bandeaux top. Maya decides on leaving her hair down and adding volume to it.’

She looks hot, she knows it, and she's going to use it. The rest of them get ready individually and the plan is to meet at Maya’s before going to Missy’s together.

Theres a knock at the door while Riley’s still getting ready so Maya goes to answer it, not paying much attention as she does so

She's greeted by Lucas when she opens the door, he’s in a white Calvin Klein t-shirt, ripped black jeans, and of course his boots. She takes a moment to look him up and down before she meets his eye and when she does she realises he’s to busy checking her out to realise she was doing the same thing only moments ago. She gives him a few more seconds before she interrupts his gaze.

“Hey Huckleberry.” She says, a smirk spread across her face as his gaze finally flickers to meet her eyes.

“Shortstack” Lucas responds, either not realising he’s been caught or not caring. He pulls her into a hug wrapping an arm around his waist and she, like always, has to stand up on her toes to reach his neck. his hand rests on her lower back, lower than he usually does and it sends a spark up her back. This is off to a great start. She waits for him to pull away before she steps back and he makes his way into the apartment closing the door behind him.

“Come on,” She says turning to walk towards her bedroom, “Riley’s almost ready.” he follows obediently and she can't help but exaggerate the sway of her hips as she walks.

Over the next 5 minutes, Zay arrives, followed by Smackle and Farkle and they’re all on there way to Missy’s

Maya’s heart rate picks up in anticipation on the way there and once they finally reach Missy’s street and she can hear the music coming from her house she feels the base in her bones and she's ready. Its go time.

Once they've made their way inside the house, and it is packed, Maya quickly guides them all over into the kitchen, quickly finding the Tequilla.

“Shots!” she exclaims turning to face her friends and quickly realising she's already lost Smackle and Farkles

“They’re together, they’ll be fine. Probably gone to find there other smarty pants friends.” Riley informs her at the sight of her confusion.

Maya simply shrugs pouring out 4 tequila shots for them. She slides two down towards Riley and Zay and turns behind her to pass one to Lucas but he simply shakes his head.

“Party pooper.” she pouts leaning back into the corner of the kitchen

“I’ll stick to beer for now” he responds pulling a beer out of the esky next to him.

“Ready Maya?” Riley asks and Maya quickly licks her wrist pouring salt onto it.

“Yep.” Maya responds readying her tequila and lime.

She can hear Riley counting down from 3 but her gaze isn't on Riley or Zay, instead, it's locked with Lucas. She hears Riley get to 1 and then she licks the salt of her wrist, holding his gaze as she does so, then she tilts her head back downing the shot before biting into the lime and meeting his gaze again.

Lucas’ eyes are dark and she can see him gulp as she bites into the lime.

When they’re all finished and Mayas pouring another one for Riley and Zay Lucas interrupts

“Fine pour me one.” He says, and his voice is deeper, rougher then it was moments ago and Maya loves knowing she has had the effect on him.

“Saddle up cowboy” Maya says grinning and handing him the salt shaker before pouring him a shot and passing it and a lime to him.

The group are all facing each other this time as Riley counts it down, but Riley and Zay are watching their friends intently and Lucas and Maya are watching each other. She can feel the heat from his gaze as they both lick the salt off of there wrists and she can feel it pumping in her veins as she tilts her head back before coming back to meet his gaze again.

She's officially turned on and on her way to tipsy, exactly where she wants to be right now.

The four of them spend the next hour wandering around the party and talking to all their different friends. Lucas’ arm finds its way around her waist not long later and she's intoxicated by the feeling. By the time the four of them make it to the area where everyone is dancing and grinding Maya is three shots and two mixed drinks in and most definitely a lightweight. Its also 2am and she knows she's got an hour max before her friends want to leave.

Which is exactly why she agrees to dance with the boy who comes up to her, he’s not from there school, most likely a plus one of a plus one, but, when he asks she goes to say no but thinks again before turning to catch Lucas’s gaze and see the frown on his face. She smirks turning back to the boy.

“Sure” she responds moving towards the boy and following him into the pack of drunk teenagers she turns around as she goes though, locking eyes with Lucas and raising an eyebrow at him. She's challenging him, she just hopes he knows it.

The blood is pumping through her veins and she can feel the music in her bones but she's not really at all interested in this boy, she dances near him, close enough that Lucas is jealous but far enough away that she can get herself out the minute she wants. She stays with the boy for two songs before she leans into his ear.

“Thanks for the dance but I should probably get back to my friends. She doesn't wait for him to protest before she makes her way back to where she left Lucas. Thankfully, for her, Lucas is exactly where she left him, a new beer in hand and a frown etched into his features, Riley and Zay long gone it seems.

“Wanna dance?” She asks him coming up closer to him.

“What happened to your little boy toy?” Maya rolls her eyes at his obliviousness.

“He’s gone.” she responds before leaning up and resting her hand on his shoulder, bringing her lips closer to his ear, “Come dance with me Lucas.” She whispers in his ear and she knows this confidence is at least 60% alcohol but she isn't mad about it when he skulls the rest of his beer and lets her take his hand and drag him back over to the pack of teenagers in Missy’s living room.

She lets go of his hand when they get there but stays close to him. She runs one hand up through her hair the other sliding down the side of her body as she moves to the music. Lucas is behind her and she can feel that he’s still not letting himself relax.

She moves back closer to him and reaches her arm back with the intention of warping it around his neck. This is her last move, the balls in his court now and if he doesn’t take a shot, she's not going to throw herself at him.

Luckily he must take it as a good sign as before she can even wrap her arms around his neck his hands are on her hips and he’s pulling her closer, there bodies still not quite touching but now at least they're moving together.

She continues her arms path wrapping it around his neck and he responds by dropping his head down to rest on her shoulder and oh my god she wants to spend the rest of her life wrapped around him like this.

His confidence grows the longer they spend like this and soon he is pulling her back so that their bodies are pressed together. She can feel her heart rate beating faster as his hands roam down the sides of her body. She's caught up in the feeling and she knows that the confidence that's causing him to do this is fuelled by the alcohol in his system but she also knows it stems from him wanting to be with her if the last 2 weeks are any indicator.

His lips are grazing her collar bone and she just wants to feel the pressure of them against her skin, but he’s still holding back. The pressure of the bodies moving around them forces them towards the far wall of the room but it doesn't stop them from moving against each other. Maya pushes herself back into Lucas and his hands squeeze at her hips encouraging their movements.

Its when she makes the move to spin around that she feels the air leave her lungs.

She's got both her arms wrapped around his neck and he instinctively pulls her hips in towards his, their face's inches apart. They're both breathing heavy, chests rising and falling and she can see the darkness that consumes his eyes and she knows that hers probably looks exactly the same. She uses her grip on his neck to pull them back until her back hits the wall and he’s pressed up against her. Every part of her is screaming to just close the gap and kiss him but there's this part of her brain that's still screaming to wait for him to make the move, to let him close the gap and despite her intoxicated state she still manages to find the strength to listen to it.

It feels like hours before he does anything, realistically, she knows its probable seconds, maybe a minute's at most but it feels like forever before he speaks. But when he does she feels a sense of relief rush over her.

“I really want to kiss you” His voice is low as he speaks, laced with lust.

It causes her to let out a quiet gasp before she composes herself and uses the leverage of her arms around his neck to pull her mouth up so that it's next to his ear.

“Then do it.” She whispers seductively in his ear, causing him to groan and drop his head back down so that it's resting on her shoulder his breath ghosting over her collar bone. He seems to compose himself though bringing his head back up a few seconds later to rest his forehead against hers.

She thinks this is it, that she's finally going to get what she wants. That this game of cat and mouse is finally over and they can finally just be together. Maya knows a drunken kiss at a party doesn't exactly reflect a committed relationship but this is more than that, the past 3 years of their friendship make it so much more than that.

“I can’t.” He says his forehead still resting on hers

And it feels like being doused with cold water at that moment because he sounds so serious and she already knows she doesn't want to have to argue with him for this, doesn't want to ruin the moment.

She pulls her head back, confused by his admittance

“Why not?” She asks, her hands dropping from around his neck to rest on his shoulders.

“Because we're drunk Maya. I’m not going to take advantage of you like that.” He responds, his grip has loosened on her hips and he’s rubbing what she presumes are meant to be soothing circles into her hips through the fabric of her dress.

It makes her unreasonably angry and she knows its an exaggeration, he’s being a good guy and maybe he is doing the right thing. But she's frustrated with the situation and she is a bit drunk so she can’t help but be angry. Maya crosses her arms over her chest and he clearly takes that as a sign to drop his hands.

She opens her mouth to dispute him, to argue the point but she feels like she's been slapped across the face like she's taken one step further than him again and been left in the dirt so all she can do is walk away.

So she does just that. She can hear him say her name in that soft tone but she refuses to turn around and he's following her but she doesn't care.

She sees her friends grouped together by the door, looking like they’re ready to leave and she is more than happy to leave and get away from this stupid mess she's gotten herself in.

She catches Riley's eye as she walks towards them but Riley clamps her mouth shut the minute she opens it to ask questions as she notices the anger set in Maya’s features and the concerned Lucas trailing behind her.

“Maya I've been looking for you!” Riley exclaims clearly trying to draw attention away from the awkward tension. “We’ve ordered 2 Ubers to get home.” Riley explains grabbing onto Maya’s hand and squeezing it tight to offer comfort.

“Great.” Maya responds, running her free hand through her hair and trying to breathe out and release some of the tension, Lucas' close presence behind her isn't helping though.

“I’ll go with you and Zay.” She says, leaving no room for anyone to argue, pulling Riley towards the exit.

When the fresh air hits she feels like she can actually breathe again and the uber shows up before Riley can ask any questions.

Zay gets in the front and Riley and Maya climb in the back. The minute the doors shut Maya cant help but let out a frustrated groan covering her face with both her hands.

“So wanna tell me what happened?” Riley asks turning to face Maya.

Maya drops her hands and goes to tell Riley exactly what happened but glances in the front seat and sees Zay has twisted himself around to face her.

She stops then, put off for a moment because Zay is Lucas’ best friend.

“Oh come on,” Riley says, “we all know you and Lucas are in love with each other now tell me what happened” Riley continues and Zay simply shrugs and nods from the front seat

“Okay,” Maya sighs, because she's too tired and tipsy to argue, “well you know phase 4?” Maya gestures vaguely and Riley nods but before she can continue Zay interrupts.

“Whats phase 4?” Zay asks clearly confused.

“Don’t ask questions.” Both Riley and Maya shoot back at him before Maya continues.

“Anyway, you guys left when I was dancing with that guy and I came back literally like 5 minutes later and I asked Lucas to dance, because you know I just need to push him over that last ledge?” Maya clarifies and Riley nods agreeing with her and Zay seems to be vaguely following.

“So I ask him to dance and he resits a bit but then finally agrees and after a bit, he even relaxed and I thought finally you know? Finally, he’s actually going to catch on” Maya continues to explain before pausing and pressing a hand against her forehead in a weak attempt to stop the headache she can feel coming.

“So we end up all wrapped around each other and up against that far wall and he fucking tells me he wants to kiss me so I tell him to do it and his response is that he can’t,” Maya lets out a frustrated sigh before continuing

“So at this point I'm irritated. So I ask him why and he has some bullshit excuse about being drunk and not taking advantage of me and if he doesn't want to actually kiss me he shouldn’t have fucking to me he did.” Maya finishes crossing her arms across her chest and collapsing back into the seat behind her.

“Oh, Peaches,” Riley says sympathetically, “this is not how you wanted this to go is it?” Riley rubs her arm comforting her.

“No,” Maya grumbles, “why can’t this be easy?” She says closing her eyes.

“You don't actually believe what you just said do you?” Zay asks from the front and she can see the confused look on his face.

“What?” Maya asks opening her eyes to glare at Zay.

“Lucas has wanted to kiss you for at least 3 years now, he's just being a gentleman. He probably thought you were drunker than him and kissing you would have gone against his southern values.” Zay explains.

Maya sighs leaning back in her chair “Yeah well he shouldn't have presumed that I don't know what I want. I told him to do it and it's not like I'm too drunk to fucking think straight as you can both tell by the fact I've been holding a completely literate conversation with you and remember literally everything that happened in the past hour” Maya says frustrated with the entire situation and herself

Before Zay can respond the car has pulled up in front of her apartment complex and Maya is quick to get out of the car.

She storms off, Riley and Zay following closely behind her and all she can think about is that she wants to get to bed so she can wake up tomorrow and hopefully the embarrassment sitting at the pit of her gut is gone.

Maya is quick to get to her room and get changed, throwing on her oversized pyjama top that she was wearing last night and some pyjama shorts that definitely do not match. She hears the apartment door open again as she's in the bathroom trying to scrub all the makeup off her face as quickly as possible and get to bed.

She brushes her teeth and takes a moment to look at herself in the mirror, take a few breaths and calm down.

She opens the door to the bathroom praying Lucas will be in the family room and she can just go straight to bed.

She’s not so lucky.

He’s standing in the hallway, just between the bathroom and her bedroom.

She lets out a sigh before speaking “What do you want Lucas?” She asks, crossing her arms across her chest and walking, pushing past him and opening her bedroom door.

“I think we need to talk” Is his response and she knows he's right but she's still angry and she can't do it right now.

“Yeah well someone thinks I’m too drunk to know what I want, so I guess that would also make me too drunk to talk about anything right now” is her response. She knows she sounds bitter but she the liquid courage from early still hasn't worn off.

“Maya come on” Is Lucas’ response as he steps towards where she’s standing in her door way but not crossing the line into her room.

“Not now Lucas.” Maya responds and her resolve falters slightly at the kicked puppy look on his face and she lets out a sigh.

“Look, Lucas, I'll get over it okay? I just don’t want to talk about it right now.” She responds keeping her composure as still as she can.

“Are you angry?” He asks and he looks scared of the response.

“Yes, Lucas, I'm angry right now but bugging me about it tonight isn't going to make me any less angry so please just let me go to bed.”

He looks like he's going to argue for a moment but he restrains himself from saying anything.

“Okay,” he sighs running a hand through his hair and taking a step back, “Goodnight Maya.”

Maya simply nods in response and shuts the door leaning her head against it. It's so hard to stay angry at the person you’re pretty sure you're in love with but she's embarrassed and Maya Hart doesn't like being embarrassed.

She crawls into bed and only 5 minutes later Riley and Smackle open her door and come in. She watches as Smackle shuts the door behind herself and makes herself comfortable on the trundle while Riley crawls into bed beside her, grabbing her hand and squeezing.

“He’s sad you know?” Riley starts, “He didn't mean to upset you, he thought he was doing the right thing.” She explains.

“I know he did,” Maya responds, “and maybe in the morning that’ll make more sense but right now I just need to sleep.” She explains and Riley just nods in response, squeezing Maya’s hand again before she lets go and curls into her pillow.

Maya thinks it should take her forever to fall asleep, with all the thoughts swirling in her head. But its seconds, maybe a couple of minutes later that she's completely out of it, knowing she has to deal with this tomorrow and may as well try and sleep off some of the uncomfortable feelings.

Chapter Text

Maya wakes up early the next morning, she knows it’s before 9 because Riley is still asleep next to her. She thinks back to them leaving the party just before 3 and knows she must have had around 5 hours asleep. She has a slight headache but nothing abnormal, and a lot better then she usually feels. Maya knows that's because she was pretty much sober by the time they left and then everything that happened at the party especially everything that happened in the hour before she went to sleep come to the forefront of her memory and she can’t help but let out a frustrated sigh. She doesn't feel as angry as she did last night and she takes that as a good sign as she gets up heading for the bathroom.

She stands in front of the sink after she's washed her hands and brushed her teeth, feeling slightly more normal. She takes a moment to think over everything. In the light of day, she can admit to seeing Lucas’ side of things. She was slightly more intoxicated then she admitted and while she knew what she wanted but she hadn't told him that so how was he supposed to know?

She’s still a bit annoyed but now she knows that its mainly at the situation and less at Lucas. Heading back to her room she looks towards the living room and notices only Zay and Farkle are still there, Lucas’ half of the air mattress empty. It means he’s in the kitchen and that once she walks forward he’ll see her. She thinks to herself for a moment before deciding that she may as well face him now. Before everyone else wakes up and it's just awkward.

So Maya makes her way out into the small entrance hall and turns to face the kitchen. Lucas is standing with his back to her getting a glass of water from the sink. He’s still in the same white t-shirt from the night before, probably throwing it back on after he woke up but he’s in loose pyjama boxer shorts instead of his jeans. Maya doesn't think he's aware that she's standing there, so she opens her mouth to make her presence known but he interrupts.

“Good Morning Maya.” He says still facing the sink, his voice groggy.

“How did you know I was here?” she asks taken aback.

“I’ve been up for the past half an hour, you didn't notice me when you walked to the bathroom.” He explains turning around and putting his glass on the bench next to him.

Maya thinks back to her walk to the bathroom and remembers just looking down, barely awake and realises that that's why she didn't notice him.

“Oh well I think we need-” She starts, now prepared to have a conversation about last night but he interrupts her again,

“Before you say anything can I just ask you a question?” He asks and she's growing a little annoyed now but nods anyway.

“Do you still feel the same way as you did last night? Do you still want the same things?” He asks taking a few steps towards her as he speaks.

The question frustrates her even more because this is what she's trying to talk about it and he was so eager last night but now he won’t let her talk about it.

“Yes, Lucas. I feel the same fucking way I did last night. I thought you were the one who wanted to talk about this so badly so why don’t we fucking talk ab-” he cuts her off again taking 2 long strides to close the distance between them and grabbing her face in his hands. She's shocked for a second, caught off guard momentarily. The second it takes for her to realise what's happening appears to be the same second it takes for Lucas to make his final decision and his lips descended onto hers.

It's probably about 3 seconds later that Maya catches up with exactly what's going on and she only does so because Lucas feels like he’s about to pull away. Her body seems to have caught up before her mind and knows that it does not want that. Her arms wrap around his neck pulling him closer and her brain finally catches up.

This is everything she's wanted for the past 3 years and more. His hands are gripping her waist and hers are wrapped around his neck and Maya is pushing herself up onto her toes so they can meet in the middle properly.

And oh God his lips. There soft against hers, the kiss is messy, to begin with, the two of them trying to find a rhythm with each other but it only takes a few moments for them both to relax and then it turns heated. Both of them releasing some of the tension built up from the past couple of weeks and before that.

His tongue swipes out against her lower lip and one of his hands drops down to squeeze her hips. She lets out a groan in response and feels him smile against her lips before he moves his head back and she is forced to catch her breath. His gaze is dark but his smile is huge as he looks down at her.

“Part of the reason I couldn't kiss you last night is that I wanted to make sure that both of us were sober enough to remember our first kiss. I wasn't sure if either of us were.” He explains.

“Yeah well, I won't forget that.” She says, the lingering anger and embarrassment from the night before completely evaporating at that moment.

“So will you go on a date with me?” Lucas asks and actually looks nervous about her response.

Maya just laughs slightly “Of course ill go on a date with you, you idiot” She can't help but grin and Lucas’ matches hers.

“Topanga's for lunch?” He asks, “I’ve gotta redeem myself” he explains referring to there failed attempt of a date in middle school.

“Sure” Maya responds grinning before connecting their lips again

They share soft kisses together and Maya cannot believe after the past few weeks that the day after a fight, she's standing in her kitchen in her most mismatched pyjamas kissing Lucas. This is not how she saw this ending, but she can't find it in herself to be angry. The moment feels very them like there would be no better time for this to begin than when they’re arguing because it's just how they've always been.

There interrupted only a couple of minutes later by an ear-piercing squeal that Maya has no doubt came from Riley. She lets Lucas go, turning to face Riley who’s standing in a pair of Maya's pyjamas 3 metres away from them with the biggest grin on her face. Maya can feel the blush spreading across her face but she can't hold back her smile.

“Good Morning Riley.” Maya greets, struggling to contain the blush when Lucas' hand comes to rest on her hip.

“Do not good morning Riley me!” Riley yells in response and Maya can see that the two boys have woken up in the room behind Riley and she's really not ready for all this attention, but Riley persists.

“What’s this here?” Riley asks her hands on her hips.

“We're not fighting any more?” Maya offers her explanation.

“Yeah, I can see that!” Riley squeals, “is this a thing now?!”

“We’re going on a date and all questions will be held until after that.” Maya tells Riley giving her a stern look to let her know not to push it.

Riley seems to get the message and when Maya directs her gaze to Farkle, Smackle and Zay, who are all standing behind Riley, and glares at them, they all nod along.

The 4 of them seem to disperse then, to tidy up and go to the bathroom and Maya is satisfied that she has stopped Lucas and herself having to label their relationship before it's even started.

She turns around to face Lucas smiling up at him “Let's make breakfast.” She says before making her way towards the fridge, pulling stacks of bacon out and getting the carton of eggs out of the fridge.

She spends the morning making breakfast with Lucas and sitting down with all her friends to eat. She can't wipe the smile off of her face but she's glad their friends don't try to tease them because she's not ready for that yet. After breakfast Farkle, Zay and Smackle leave fairly quickly leaving Maya with Lucas and Riley, who not so subtly removes herself from them.

“Well," Riley says turning to Lucas and Maya where they stand in the living room as Lucas packs his stuff up, “I'll be in Maya’s room,” She rushes out before quickly leaving the room and closing the door to Maya’s room

Maya just rolls her eyes in response and follows Lucas to the front door. He opens it, stepping out into the hallway and turning back around to face her.

“So Topangas'?” Lucas asks a grin spread across his face

“I’ll meet you there at 1.” she says a matching grin on her face

“I’ll come and pick you up.” He offers

“That's sweet Huckleberry but I'm pretty sure Rileys not leaving here until I do.” Maya says gesturing vaguely in the direction of her room.

Without a word, Lucas pulls her towards him bending down to connect their lips. Maya uses one hand to grab onto the collar of his shirt and the other lands on his side, melting into the feeling of his soft lips against hers. He pulls away almost as quick as he pulled her in and she's mildly disappointed

“What was that for?” she asks confusion etched into her brow her tongue tracing her bottom lip

“I like when you call me huckleberry, you only call me Lucas when you’re angry.” He says a slight blush on his cheeks.

Maya pulls him back down for another kiss, pulling away before it can go anywhere but simple and sweet. She pushes her self away from him grabbing onto the door handle

“See you at Topanga's.” She says starting to close the door on him.

“I’ll be there” he responds with a wink just before she shuts the door.

She leans against the door letting out a sigh and grinning to herself. Then she readies herself to face Riley, pushing herself off the door and heading towards her bedroom.

She opens the door tentatively expecting to be bombarded by questions, but Riley is simply waiting patiently in the desk chair, and Maya can tell she is restraining her self.

So Maya goes and sits on her bed against her headboard, turning to face Riley, “anything ya wanna ask me?” Maya asks and it breaks all of Riley’s self-control

Maya watches as she squeals launching herself across the room onto the bed next to Maya

“Tell me everything!” she yells bouncing on her knees in front of Maya

“Well..” Maya explains getting up in the morning, how she had noticed Lucas was gone from the family room and her decision to face him then and him interrupting her “and then he asked me if I felt the same as the night before and I told him yes but I was a bit angry that he interrupted me and as I was telling him that he just grabbed my face and it was literally the exact same view I had at that campfire so many years ago but this time he didn't stop he actually kissed me.”

“Oh my god! This is so much better than you to getting together drunk at a party.” Riley exclaims.

“I know, I know.” Maya sighs “he was right” she can’t help but fondly roll her eyes.

“So you two came up for air at some point to arrange a date?” Riley asks teasingly

“Yes, briefly, were meeting at toppings at 1.” Maya exclaims this time managing to stop the blush from spreading across her face.

Riley turns to the side grabbing Maya’s phone of her nightstand, “Well it's only 11 now so you’ve got a bit of time.”

“Yeah I should have a shower soon” Maya sighs but she can't bring herself to start getting ready yet

“So” Riley starts making herself comfortable on Maya’s bed, “are you going to tell him about the plan?” she asks wiggling her eyebrows.

“Well, I hadn't thought about it.” Maya responds furrowing her brow. “I guess maybe a bit, definitely not the whole plan, maybe just that I’d been trying to get him to ask me out for the past 2 weeks”

“Yeah probably shouldn't reveal all your secrets too soon.” Riley says and Maya can’t help but laugh.

“I don’t think keeping secrets is a healthy way to start a relationship” Maya responds

“Oh god no it's terrible but these are more like seduction secrets, can’t tell him them or nothing will ever be a surprise” Riley exclaims

“Yeah maybe” Maya shrugs

“What about Josh’s party tonight?” Riley asks.

“I don’t think Lucas will be too keen to go to that.” Maya responds, not too fussed about missing the party, “he really isn’t Josh’s biggest fan” Maya reminds Riley.

“Oh I know, but he might be a bit less reluctant to go now that he's not worried about you liking Josh.” Riley explains getting a mischievous look on her face.

“I don’t mind, either way, I've done enough drinking for the next 2 weekends.” Maya says referring to the drama she managed to get herself into last night.

“Hey, don’t be mean to alcohol, liquid courage got you a boyfriend” Riley scolds her and both the girls laugh at the thought of it

“Yeah well he only asked me on a date, I’m hoping lunch will get me a boyfriend” Maya responds

The two girls talk for the next half an hour before Maya decides to get in the shower and start getting ready. She washes her hair and takes the time to dry it in a way that makes her curls look really nice, wavy and a little messy, the way she likes it. She wraps a towel around herself before heading out to look through her wardrobe, checking her phone as she goes she notices its now 12.

Riley is standing by Maya’s wardrobe when she walks out and Maya knows that with Riley here picking outfit is going to be a long process. They decide nearly 20 minutes later on Mayas black heeled boots and a white denim skirt and distressed band tee combo. Maya feels really good when she puts it on but not too overdressed for a lunch date. She opts for a limited amount of make up, keeping it fairly natural with no eye shadow and grabs a shoulder purse that she can put her phone and purse in, because you should never assume the guys gonna pay (even though she knows Lucas so is).

It's 12:45 by the time there leaving Mayas and she can't help the butterflies in her stomach. She's not sure why she's nervous, she thinks it mainly excitement. She just can't wait to actually talk about what they are. Don’t get her wrong, she really, really enjoyed kissing Lucas, but actually talking about the fact that they've been skirting around this for the past 3 years and getting on the same page will be a nice feeling.

Riley leaves her at the steps of Topanga’s with a final squeal and making Maya promise to text her after.

Maya heads down the stairs and into Topanga's. The first thing she notices is that he's not sitting in there usual spot but then she spots him, further to the back and in a booth seat. Well done Lucas, she's not one for sitting across the table when they could be closer.

She's quick to get over to him and he goes to stand up at the last second as she gets there but she just slides into the booth next to him “It’s not Texas huckleberry, don't have to stand when the lady enters the room” she jokes

“But you just love my southern charm” He argues a mischievous grin on his face

“I would argue but I'm currently on a date with you so I don't have much to back me up” she responds, letting him have just this one.

They have what feels like a normal, friendly conversation before someone comes over to take their order and once the waitress, Lucy (Maya has had 2 or 3 shifts with her) leaves Lucas directs there conversation back to them.

“So do you want to talk about the fact that we put this on hold over 2 years ago and now we're on a date?” Lucas asks turning to face her. There sitting close but not touching and she just wants to kiss him again.

“Well, the fact that it's been two years is your fault.” Maya informs him.

“How is it my fault?” Lucas argues “I was ready to date you the day I walked into that art room” he explains.

“I know, but I mean it wouldn't have worked” Maya started, “I would still be worried about Riley and we were like 15 years old. But if you had asked me out this time last year I would have said yes” she explains shrugging at the end.

“You’re kidding right?” Lucas exclaims, but he’s not angry. His expression reflects amusement and disbelief “Why didn’t you tell me?” he asks

“Because I made the first move last time back in middle school and it took you months to even tell me you liked me back.” She explains, “I wasn't going to risk it again” She shrugs avoiding his eye contact.

“Maya,” he says tilting his head so that it’s facing him again, “I really like you. I want to go on dates with you, I want to kiss you, I want to take you home to have dinner with my Mamma and I really want you to be my girlfriend” there is sincerity in his eyes and tone and Maya believes every word.

She closes the gap between there lips. Its a sweet, quick peck but neither of them can stop smiling. He wants her to be his girlfriend and really that's more than she hoped for a month ago.

“Good, because I want all of that too.” She says and Lucas drops his hand from her face, wrapping it around her waist and pulling them closer together.

“So do you also want to explain why you've been acting more forward since summer started?” Lucas asks almost hesitantly

“I was trying to get you to ask me out” Maya explains. “Well, I wasn't going to tell you I wanted to go out so I had to get you to ask me on a date, and look here we are!” Maya exclaims

“You’re a tease” Lucas responds almost in disbelief that he had been playing her “you knew this whole time that I liked you didn’t just talk to me?” he continues

“Seduction is a powerful tool” Maya responds turning her head so that their faces are close together

He doesn't say anything but he closes the gap between them, this time the kiss is a little more heated than the one prior.

But then there brought out of there haze by a familiar voice.

“Well hello there” Maya looks up to see Sophia standing there, holding Lucas and her meals a sneaky grin on her face.

Lucas coughs awkwardly and puts a little bit more distance between himself and Maya.

“Hi Soph” Maya responds, unable to contain her grin

“Well, I can’t say I'm surprised to catch you two like this but K will say that Riley works fast!” Sophia responds placing their meals in front of them “Have fun and I’ll see you Tuesday Maya” Sophia winks before turning to head back for the kitchen

She can feel Lucas gaze on her since Sophia's comment about Riley and she knows he's going to ask about it before he does.

“What did she mean about Riley?” Lucas asks a grin on his face but his brow is furrowed

“Well,” Maya starts trying to think of the best way to explain this, “… Riley was the one who was helping me…” Maya trails off trying to think of the right word, “get you to ask me out” she explains.

“So you've been plotting against me?” Lucas asks.

“Hey, you seemed to be enjoying yourself.” Maya says with a smirk causing Lucas to laugh

There conversation drifts away from them while their eating and focuses on Maya’s job and Lucas’ internship. But as they finish eating Maya can’t help but ask him a question that's been on her mind since that morning.

“When did you decide you were confident enough in my feelings to ask me out?” she asks, genuinely curious.

“Probably last Thursday night after we all came here” Lucas starts, “I wasn't 100% confident but I had certainly started to pick up some of your cues.” Lucas responds shrugging, “What about you? When did you decide you would be okay with me asking you out?” he asks

“Well like is said I was comfortable with the idea for the last year and a bit but the moment that made me want it to happen soon was our free period a couple of weeks before school finished” She explains.

He has a curious look on his face like he’s trying to think back to the day she's talking about and then she watches as it clicks in his brain.

“Ohhh” he exclaims “by the lockers?” Lucas asks a smirk on his face and she knows there both thinking back to that moment, his hands on her and their faces close

“Yeah” Maya responds grinning, “I could have killed Zay that day.” She adds on causing Lucas to laugh.

The two of them wrap there lunch up pretty quickly after, once Maya lets him know she plans on them both heading back to her apartment.

Lucas pays for the meal, Maya shoots him a look that reads ‘I can pay for myself’ and he raises his eyes back at her letting her know that he doesn't care.

They're on the walk back to her apartment from the subway stop when she brings up the Josh issue.

“So” She starts grabbing hold of his hand and intertwining her hand with his, “what are we thinking about that college party tonight?” She asks, the sweetest smile on her face as she looks up at him

“Oh, we’re going.” Lucas responds matter of factly.

“Really?” Maya asks taken aback by his certainty, “We don’t have to go, we can watch a movie instead” she says wrapping her hand around his arm.

“Or,” Lucas responds a smug grin on his face, “we can go and I can laugh in Josh’s face when he realises that I got you and he doesn’t, and then watch a movie tomorrow night.” he presses a kiss to her forehead as he finishes his sentence.

“Huh” Maya responds “Riley was right, she thought you'd be more keen to go now” Maya explains

They reach Maya's door then and she lets go of his hand to get her keys out and open the door.

She's got the key in the lock when Lucas hands land on her hips and his lips are right next to her ear, “I don’t have anything to worry about any more.” His lips graze her ear before he pulls his head back, leaving his hands on her hips.

Maya quickly unlocks the door and he follows her into the apartment, closing the door behind him. She hesitates for a second, looking towards her bedroom door and glancing at the kitchen. She decides quickly on the kitchen and he follows her.

She pushes herself up so she's sitting on the bench, now eye level with him as he walks towards her. He stops a teasing distance away from her, a smirk painted across his face but she can see his hands fidgeting, he wants to reach out to her as much as she wants to pull him in.

So she does just that, grabs the collar of his shirt and drags him closer to her. He’s right in front of her now and finally reaches out, one hand on her waist, the other reaches up to rest on her face, his thumb stroking her cheek. This time it's her who kisses him first, her patience running thin and her desire to have him closer winning out.

She moves the hand that isn't grasping at his shirt, wrapping it around his neck and pulling him down, connecting their lips.

If she thought their first kiss this morning was hot and heavy, she knew nothing. The build-up of the last 2 weeks of escalated sexual tension came to the surface of this kiss.

Their lips move together in sync, it wasn't long before their tongues were involved. The minute Lucas’ tongue came into contact with hers Maya couldn't hold back the moan that had been building up, it caused Lucas to wrap his arm tighter around her waist dragging her closer and his kiss got more eager.

Maya dropped her hand from his chest bringing it down to rest on his waist, he dropped the hand from her face as well, dropping it to the line where her shirt touched the top of her skirt. She wrapped her legs around his waist pulling herself closer to the edge of the bench and causing Lucas to groan in response to the contact. He slid his hand up underneath the edge of her top, and it came to rest on the skin on her waist. The contact sent tingles up Maya's spine, the feeling sending warmth to pool in her abdomen.
Their heated kisses continued for a few more minutes, hands roaming, before Lucas pulled back, both of them breathing heavily.

“We should slow down, or I don’t think we’ll stop.” Lucas said in between breaths.

“mmm” Maya hummed her arms still wrapped around his neck and legs around his waist “this isn't exactly first date protocol is it?” she said a grin spreading across her face

Lucas chuckled in response “no but I think when you have 2 years of waiting and 5 years of knowing each other before the first date, the circumstances change just a little”

“Is that so?” Maya asks a cheeky grin on her face “does that mean I can move the sex up from date 6 to date 3?” she continues, knowing she's taunting him

The beauty of those past 5 years, there's very little awkwardness left between them and Maya has no qualms discussing sex with Lucas.

“Maya” Lucas groans resting his head on her shoulder, “you’re going to be the death of me” he mumbles into her shoulder.

“Hey, I’m better than Riley,” Maya starts, “after you put sunscreen on me at the beach she suggested we take it back to your car” Maya knows its teasing but she can't help it, it's how their relationship has always been.

Lucas just groans against her shoulder again and Maya can’t help the giggle that she lets out in response.

He looks up at her then and she's got this shit-eating grin spread across her face and she's always pushed further in their game then he did so she doesn’t see why their relationship will be any different. The past 7 hours have felt nothing but comfortable, the usual new relationship nervousness and hesitation just not present due to the strong friendship they had built up over the years.

Maya’s phone vibrates in her bag next to her and she breaks her eye contact with Lucas to reach for it, knowing it’s most likely Riley either asking about her date or the party tonight. Her suspicion is confirmed when she checks her phone, she also notices the time is 5pm. Had it really been that long already?

Riles: so party tonight or no party? because I am sooooo not going if you aren’t but if you are I can’t wait to watch you embarrass my uncle :)

Maya rolls her eyes at the message before clarifying with Lucas that he really is comfortable going to this party tonight.

“You’re sure you want to go to that party tonight?” Maya asks levelling Lucas with her best serious expression.

“Are you gonna let me show Josh what he missed out on by being a dick?” Lucas asks his hand running along her hips to clasp together behind her back

“Of course, he strung me on for years.” Maya says with a smirk on her face “and I’ll never say no to an overprotective Lucas” Maya clarifies, “he’s hot” she whispers pressing her mouth forward to give him a teasing kiss

“Good. Were going.” Lucas responds and she can see the determination in his eyes.

Maya: We’ll be there. Are you coming here before or should I come to you?

Maya responds before turning back to Lucas and unwrapping her legs from around his waist. He pouts in response but she just rolls her eyes, pushing against his chest so she has enough room to jump down from the bench. Her phone vibrates in her hand again

Riles: I’ll be to you in 15. Is your boyfriend still there?

Maya: Yes and you know you can still call him Lucas right?

Riles: But that would be less fun :(

Maya rolls her eyes affectionately at her best friends antics before making her way towards her bedroom to start rummaging through her wardrobe for something to wear. She gets halfway there before she notices Lucas isn't following her.

She turns to see him standing in her kitchen still looking almost lost.

“You coming?” Maya asks one hand on her hip and a bemused smirk on her face.

“To your room?” Lucas asks his eyebrows raising.

“Yeah,” Maya responds grinning at his antics, “don’t worry, Riley will be here in 15. I’m not going to corrupt you just yet” Maya teases before turning and heading in the direction of her room. This time she hears Lucas footsteps as he follows her.

She opens the door to her room doing a quick scan and noticing there's nothing she needs to quickly hideaway.

She sits down on the end of her bed and Lucas pauses as he enters her room before making himself comfortable next to her.

“We’ve got a bit of time before we need to go anywhere so I’ll text everyone to come over for pizza before we leave” Maya informs Lucas draping her legs over his lap and making herself comfortable

“Really? you want to bring all of them here so they can tease us?” Lucas responds circling his arms around her waist.

“They’ll be fine” Maya responds “Plus Riley’s going to be the worst and she's already on her way over Maya informs him patting his cheek in response

Maya: dinner at mine before Josh's. come ready, or get ready here I really don’t care

Maya sends the message out quickly because as she starts to type Lucas’ lips press against the side of her neck. They trail down from just below her ear all the way down to her collar bone and when he nips at the skin just above her collar bone she lets out a gasp gripping onto his arm.

He trails his lips back up her neck until he's face to face with her again

“Hi” he whispers grinning from ear to ear

“Hey” she responds trying not to sound as breathless as she feels

“Before Riley gets here I need to ask you something,” Lucas says his eyes flicking between her's and her lips

“Sure” Maya responds a twinge of nervousness in her mind but nothing too consuming.

“I know we glazed over it at lunch and it may just be presumed, or I might be asking after one date when I should be waiting 3 but,” Lucas cuts his own rambling off, “will you be my girlfriend?”

He has the audacity to even look nervous like he thinks Maya might possibly say no.

She grabs the sides of his face with her hands and kisses him before pulling back to look him in the eyes “Of course ill be your girlfriend you idiot” Maya says unable to hold back the grin spreading across her face.

“Good” Lucas responds.

“Good” Maya replies, the two sharing matching grins as they lean back in their lips meeting again.

There rudely interrupted by Riley only moments later

“Ohhh knock knock love birds,” Riley says and they both quickly pull away and turn their heads to face her, “shouldn’t leave the door open if you’re gonna suck face” Riley finishes a wide grin on her face.

Maya flips her legs around so she's facing the door where Riley is standing “I don’t believe you and Zay adhere to that rule.” Maya says with a smirk, referring to the time a few weeks prior when she had come up to the -open- bay window only to find Zay and Riley in a compromising position on Riley’s bed.

“Hey windows and doors are different” Riley scolds a slight blush on her cheeks.

Maya just rolls her eyes getting up and heading towards her wardrobe to rummage through it for an outfit. She watches as Riley swings her bag down onto the floor next to Maya's bed but makes herself comfortable in Maya’s desk chair, one leg tucked underneath her as she swivels from side to side.

“Soooo” Riley starts “this is a thing now?” Riley asks her eyes on Maya but gesturing between her and Lucas

Maya rolls her eyes at Riley’s antics, it should be awkward, talking about their relationship with her best friend who is also his ex-girlfriend. But that's so long in the past that it doesn't seem to cross any of their minds at all.

“Yes, Riles” Maya responds turning back to her wardrobe

“Good because I was out of ideas” Riley responds leaning back into the chair

Maya just goes back to rummaging through her wardrobe for clothes and Lucas laughs in response

“Oh come on!” Riley exclaims “you guys are already too comfortable to tease what's that about?” Riley asks

Before Maya can respond its Lucas who does

“You’re talking to Mr Okay with everything and Maya I-won't-let-you-embarrass-me Hart, that's why” Lucas explains

“Ha,” Maya says pointing at Riley “you don't get to embarrass me the way I did when you started dating Zay.” Maya says throwing her black, ripped, skinny jeans onto the bed next to Lucas.

“That's not fair,” Riley responds pouting, “it took me a month to stop blushing after you made kissy noises and moaning noises every time Zay and I spoke to each other” Riley explains

“What can I say its a gift,” Maya says grinning as she thinks back on her days of embarrassing Zay and Riley, “plus, you wanted this” she gestures between her self and Lucas, “just as much as I did.”

Riley scoffs “Just as much?” she asks raising one eyebrow

That gets Maya to blush just a little, “Fine maybe not as much but you still wanted it.” Maya responds turning back to her wardrobe and opening the drawers to avoid looking at Riley.

“I’m satisfied now.” Riley says uncrossing her arms “I got you to blush and that's more than I could have hoped for.”

Maya doesn't respond verbally, just pulls out the bodysuit she had been looking for and throws it in Riley’s direction, satisfied when Riley squeals and Maya knows she's hit her target.

“Ohhh when did you get this?” Riley asks a second later.

Maya pulls the black boots out, putting them at the end of the bed and turning to face Riley who is holding up her red, lace bodysuit.

“I ordered it online a couple of weeks ago” Maya responds giving Riley the look

“Nice” Riley responds making no further comment on the fact that this was definitely one of the things Maya bought when they started this whole Lucas plan.

Maya checks her phone for the time and to see if any of her friends have responded to her message. Its almost 6 and people will be there in the next 30 minutes or so. Party doesn't start 9:30 (middle school Riley would have a fit) but they all plan on ordering pizza.

“Farkle, Zay and Smackle are coming in about 30” Maya informs Lucas and Riley “But we don’t really need to leave here for another 3 hours”

“We could get dressed now and then do make-up and all that after dinner?” Riley suggests

“Yeah probably the best idea, Smackle will come ready and the boys just wear the same thing to everything” Maya comments, almost forgetting that Lucas is there

“Hey!” Lucas exclaims attracting her attention

“Oh come on,” Maya says turning to face him, “when did you put that outfit on?” Maya asks.

“12 this afternoon” Lucas says looking slightly sheepish

“and were you planning on getting changed before tonight?” Maya asks hand on her hip

“no” Lucas responds resigned

“Point proven.” Maya responds grinning at Lucas, happy they can still interact the way they have for years as friends.

“Well,” Riley interrupts moving towards the door, “we should get changed and I would suggest that Lucas leave but instead I’ll be in the bathroom.” She finishes bolting out the door before Maya can protest.

“She’s ridiculous” Lucas says laughing at her antics

“She’s Riley” Maya responds shaking her head affectionately at her best friends antics before moving around the room to pick up her jeans off the bed and then her bodysuit off the back of her desk chair.

“do you want me to leave?” Lucas asks his voice hesitant

Maya thinks about it for a minute, contemplates asking him too. But, just because she doesn't need to play the game any more, there's no harm in a bit of light teasing.

“No, just face the window for like 2 minutes” Maya responds winking, making her way over to the opposite side of her bedroom, she notices the light blush on Lucas’ cheeks as she does so.

Maya makes quick work of getting her underwear and skirt off and pulling the bodysuit up to waist level.

“I really don’t know why you’re getting changed. What’s wrong with what you’re wearing now?” Lucas asks

Maya pulls her shirt over her head, undoing her bra and pulling the red, lacy bodysuit up, shaking her head at the question, such a boy thing to ask.

“Because I have a lot of clothes for different occasions,” Maya responds, “my outfit from today would have been fine but this one is better.” She explains.

She pulls her black jeans up doing them up and slipping into her velvet, black, heeled ankle boots. Maya walks back over to where Lucas is sitting on her bed, his eyes still trained on her window

“You can turn around again Huckleberry.” Maya tells him standing in from of where he sits on her bed.

When he looks at her she watches as his mouth slams shut at what he was going to say before dropping open again as he very obviously trails his eyes down her body from head to toe.

“Close your mouth sundance you'll catch flies.” Maya tells him tapping her finger under his jaw.

“Maya you look so good.” Lucas says his hands reaching out to grab her hips

Maya leans down connecting their lips in response and Lucas squeezes her hips pulling her forward as she traces the seam of his lips with her tongue. Maya pulls back quickly though, her arms wrapped around his neck

“I’m so glad you’re my girlfriend or I would be having the worst night of my life tonight.” Lucas says

“Why?” Maya asks, moving her hands from his neck and grabbing his hands to pull him up so he’s standing

“Because I wouldn't be able to put my hands on you how I can now” Lucas responds, exaggerating his point by sliding on hand around to her lower back and the other resting on her hip

Maya smirks wresting her hands on his jaw and pulling him down to join their lips, it doesn't last long, Maya aware of Riley being somewhere in her apartment and the rest of her friends arriving soon.

“Come on Huckleberry,” Maya says pulling away and grabbing his hands in hers, “we have friends to interact with.” Maya says pulling him towards the door.

He groans disapprovingly but follows her anyway, out into the kitchen to join Riley.

Their friends arrive not long after and the group order Pizzas to share, Maya and Lucas are met with the initial awkwardness of explaining that yes they are together (Farkle), no this really isn't going to change the group dynamic at all (Smackle) and wait you had a bet on us (Zay)? But other then that the group interacts as normal, Maya and Riley breaking off after dinner to finish getting ready and them 6 of them leaving Mayas at 9:30 in the direction of the house party Josh had invited them to.

As they approached the house down the street they realised that it wasn't a huge party, thank god, but rather looked to be a smaller group of people, still wild by most peoples standards but after Missy’s the night before anything was calmer.

They made their way into the house and the minute they stepped through the door Lucas had his hand on Maya’s lower back and she could see him looking around. Maya decided not to worry about Josh, sure she would keep him in his place but she was going to let Lucas do whatever he wanted as well.

They all found their way to the drinks, saying hey to the few people that they knew along the way. Zay spotted some boy he knew and was dragging Riley off after they got their drinks to the direction of his friend. Smackle and Farkle got caught along the way by some friends they knew from a summer workshop at NYU, leaving Lucas and Maya leaning against the wall near the kitchen both with some form of mixed drink they had got from the kitchen

“No shots tonight?” Lucas asks grinning down at Maya, his hand firmly wrapped around her waist.

“No I think I’ll being staying relatively sober after last night” Maya responded

“It wasn't that bad, if it wasn't for tequila I wouldn't be your boyfriend right now” Lucas responds

“You make a good point Huckleberry,” Maya responds, “but for some reason, even without tequila, I think we would have got here eventually” Maya explains smiling up at him.

Lucas leans down to press his lips to her forehead and she watches as something grabs his attention over her head, she follows his gaze and sees Josh talking to his friends and pointing in their direction

“Is he going to come over here?” Maya asks sceptically and before Lucas evens responds Josh is heading in their direction, two of his friends in tow.

“Play nice” Maya mumbles to Lucas

“Maybe” Lucas responds and she can't find it in her self to be angry at him for wanting to be mean to Josh

“Maya!” Josh calls approaching her “Liam, Noah, this is Maya who I was telling you about” Josh says gesturing to his friends as he introduces them.

“Nice to meet you” Noah and Liam chorus, “How do you know Josh again?” one of them asks, she thinks its Noah.

“Oh, he's my best friend Riley’s Uncle.” Maya says, providing no other explanation.

“Come on Maya, we're not that disconnected any more, were friends now.” he says wrapping his arm around her shoulder and she has an urge to push it off but Lucas’ hand is present on her back, she knows one more step and this will be very embarrassing for Josh.

Josh doesn’t even need to do anything to set Lucas off though, one of the boys, Liam she thinks, asks the right question at the perfect time.

“And you are?” he says gesturing to Lucas

“Lucas” Lucas responds extending his hand to shake both boys hand in greeting “Maya’s boyfriend” she’s not even looking at him when he says it but can she can hear in his voice that he’s grinning.

Josh’s arm drops from around Maya’s shoulder as if he’s been burned and Lucas takes that opportunity to wrap his around her waist, pulling her closer into his side.

“Wait, you two aren't dating?” Josh asks, confusion etched into his features, anger creeping up

“As of today, we are.” Maya responds bringing her left hand up to rest on top of Lucas and intertwine their fingers on her waist.

“But you two didn't work, I thought you liked me?” Josh directs at Maya and Maya honestly didn't expect this reaction, didn't think he would risk embarrassing himself in front of his friends like this.

Maya opens her mouth to respond but Lucas gets there before her

“Actually,” Lucas says and she knows he’s grinning now, “Maya got over you years ago because you weren’t interested.”

“So what you got annoyed at me and settled for him?” Josh asks looking at her and gesturing to Lucas

“I didn't settle actually,” Maya responds, starting to feel a bit of Lucas’ anger, “I realised I deserved more than being put on the back burner to wait until you were 'ready', while you fucked around with other girls, and that I didn't even like you that much”

Josh looks taken aback like he didn't expect Maya to respond that way despite the fact that he had tried to diminish her boyfriend.

“I think its time you walk away Josh.” Lucas tells him and he seems frustrated but he shakes his head, not arguing.

He and his two friends disappear into the crowd and Maya turns around to face Lucas, pulling him down she connects their lips in a heated kiss

“I can’t believe I ever thought I liked him” Maya mumbles crossing her arms across her chest.

“but you don’t anymore and hey,” Lucas starts, “that’s what matters to me”

It puts a smile back on Maya’s face and she stops glaring in Josh’s direction, turning herself around to face him.

“You know when I figured out I liked you, back in 8th grade I realised that I think I always had” Maya explains. “Just kind of repressed the hell out of it” Maya laughs and Lucas has a grin on his face pulling her up to kiss her.

"sorry I kinda put you on the back burner" Maya frowns pulling away, realising at that moment that she had done a similar thing to Lucas that Josh had done to her.

"Hey, no." Lucas says putting his drink down on the table next to them and grabbing her face with both hands, "You didn't do that" Lucas starts.

"We were both just getting out of a really weird situation and rushing into a relationship then wouldn't have ended well. You made the right choice Maya. It was what was best for both of us then, we needed to figure stuff out."

Maya smiled up at Lucas and he grinned back at her

"Plus" Lucas added looking a little nervous "you weren't fucking around with other boys for the past 2 years right?" He asks half-jokingly

"Oh please Huckleberry" Maya started giggling, "you were my first kiss, and that was today." Maya explains to prove her point.

"you were my second." Lucas responds causing both of them to laugh.

"That's only okay because I was there for your first" Maya jokes before pushing herself up to connect their lips in a slow kiss that both of them sigh into.

"So," Lucas starts pulling back slightly so their foreheads are pressed against each other, “You’ve liked me since 7th grade?” he asks referring to her previous comment.

“I kind of thought you knew this” Maya responds shrugging

“No,” Lucas responds, “I thought you started liking me maybe a couple of months before Texas, no longer than that.” he explains

“well... surprise” Maya says, not able to hold her blush back

“Hey, if it helps I'm almost positive I've liked you for the same amount of time, just didn't realise I would have a chance until Texas.” Lucas responds

“almost positive?” Maya asks a teasing grin on her face

“Hey, I was a 14-year-old boy! confused was my middle name” Lucas responds

“Yeah well you're definitely not a confused 14-year-old boy anymore” Maya smirks wrapping her arm tighter around his neck

Lucas smirks down at her, his hand squeezing her hip before his eyes glance over her shoulder and back to her face

“Josh is standing just across the room glaring a hole in the back of your head right now” Lucas informs her.

“Well,” Maya smirks, “let's give him a show” She whispers against his mouth before closing the distance

Maya still has to push herself up and Lucas bends down despite how high her heels are but she doesn't care. Lucas tastes like mint and raspberry and she loves it. Maya can't hold back the moan that escapes her when his tongue slips into her mouth. She rakes her nails at the base of his skull and he groans in response. She feels him move around to put his drink down with hers on the table next to them and when he has use of both hands the kiss intensifies. One of his hands rests on her lower back, the other on her hip and when she breaks the kiss to trail her lips down his neck the hand resting on her back slips lower and he squeezes her ass causing her to moan against the skin of his neck. He places his hand in her back pocket and she pulls away meeting his gaze. He presses a kiss to her swollen lips and a grin spreads across her face.

They spend the rest of the party attached at the hip, Lucas’ hand slipped into Maya’s back pocket wherever they go. She manages to steer them around and avoid Josh until the rest of their friends are ready to leave at 1.

Riley, Maya, Lucas, Zay, Farkle and Smackle are all heading in the direction of the door when Josh intercepts them, well he intercepts Riley. Bringing her into a hug and talking to her while avoiding looking around the group of friends. Riley, ever so friendly engages her uncle in the conversation for a bit before Zay says something into her ear and she makes a move to leave.

“Well thanks for having us!" Riley says, taking Zay’s hand and turning back towards the door.

“What you're leaving so soon?” Josh exclaims a devious look in his eye

“Yeah, we had a big night last night so we're gonna head home” Riley responds a frown on her face.

Josh’s eyes flick to Maya before he speaks “Oh come on, we could start a game of truth or dare, maybe spin the bottle? That’s very high school. You’d like that wouldn’t you Maya?” He asks and she can tell he's completely intoxicated but it doesn't excuse the fact that he's openly trying to be rude and hit on her despite everything that has happened.

Before she can tell him to fuck off Zay’s the one to respond.

“Look Josh” he starts anger underpinning his words “thanks for the invite, we’re leaving. Lucas is gonna go home with Maya, you’re not. Get over it.” Zay tells him crossing his arms over the chest. Farkle takes that moment to chime in, “For a guy who went on about maturity you sure as hell didn't grow up after high school.”

Maya feels triumphant, Josh got shot down and she didn't even have to do it. The group don't wait for a response. Riley shoots Josh a mildly apologetic look, that Maya knows isn't entirely genuine and they manage to make their way out of the party without another incident.

Smackle and Farkle part ways from the rest of them ordering an uber to leave while the four other friends make their way back to Riley’s.

Zay and Lucas leave Maya and Riley at the bottom the fire escape and it takes everything in Maya’s power to pull away from the quick kiss Lucas plants on her lips and walk up the fire escape. However, she manages and she realises that since their date that afternoon they hadn’t been apart.

Climbing in through the window the girls sit on the bay window, Riley knows before Maya says anything that she's gonna need a bay window chat.

“So” Riley starts before turning to face Maya a giddy grin spread across her face “you and Lucas are a couple!” Riley sing songs grabbing Maya’s hand and squeezing it. Despite Riley growing up and maturing over the years, the excited little girl never really went away (and Maya wouldn't have it any other way)

“Yeah” Maya sighs “how about that?” she feels like she's floating, alone with Riley she feels like she doesn't have to bite back the ridiculously cheesy grin that has threatened to spread across her face all day when she thought about Lucas.

“I really like him Riles” Maya responds grinning at her best friend “Like, I might even love him” Maya responds

“I know Peaches,” Riley says pulling Maya into a hug, “and I am so happy for you”
Maya is content in Riley’s arms, 3 years ago she would have thought this conversation was impossible, with the triangle and then Riley and Lucas Maya never thought she would get this.

“plus” Riley adds on pulling back so she can see Maya’s face “now you guys can put the rest of us out of our misery by getting rid of that sexual tension.” Riley says wiggling her eyebrows

“Riley!” Maya exclaims playfully slapping her arm “we haven't even been together 24 hours.” the blush gracing her cheeks

“Zay and I only waited a month” Riley responded “I doubt you and Lucas will make it that long” “Hmmm” Maya hummed in response “We’ll see.”

The two girls, both who were exhausted from there very eventful past 30 hours crawled into Riley’s bed, and Riley was out like a light. Maya found herself lying next to Riley still awake a grin on her face as she thought about everything leading up to this moment and how she had never thought she would be this happy. Just as she was beginning to drift off the sound of her phone woke her up again. Rolling over she pulled out from under the pillow and the message on her screen caused her to smile even wider.

Huckleberry: Night Shortstack x

Maya had almost forgotten she told him to text her when he was home safely

Maya: night huckleberry, sweet dreams

Huckleberry: only if they’re of you

Maya: that's so gross wow how cheesy are you

Huckleberry: if you don’t like that you’re definitely not gonna like when I start calling you babe 24/7

Oh, no Maya would very much like that but she wasn't about to tell him

Maya: night ranger rick, we’ll discuss this tomorrow

She responded rolling back over in bed and waiting for his response

Huckleberry: night babe (winky face emoji)

She couldn't stop the affectionate roll of her eyes before she closed her eyes and let sleep take over. All she needed now to make everything fall into place was for Shawn and her Mom to get married.

But she’ll take what she has for now.