Maya stayed at the cafe long after Shawn left, thinking. And no matter how she tried, she always came back to the same conclusion – she still didn’t know how she truly felt about Lucas Friar. “What I need to do,” she muttered. “Is to do something. Stop thinking and talking about it, and just do it.”
Jumping up, she pulled out her phone and shot off a quick text to Lucas, telling him to meet her at the cafe in two hours. Meanwhile, she sent another text to the fourth side of this triangle – one that Riley refused to acknowledge the connection to, but Maya knew this impending conversation would answer a lot of questions and clarify her path going forward.
This was quite possibly the worst idea she had had ever had –or the best. Maya stood, shivering, in front of entrance to the Museum of Modern Art, wishing she had thought to grab her change purse off of her dresser. Her favorite coffee stand was only a block away, but she had been so intent on going to the meeting spot before she chickened out that she had blown right past it.
Her heart jumped at the quiet, uncertain baritone. She slowly turned to face Josh, her face lighting up with surprise and pleasure. He had actually shown up. She took a moment to drink him in; tall, lanky without quite the broadness of shoulders and definition of muscles that Lucas had, but still with a wiry inherent strength. Lucas could sometimes be a bit physically overwhelming and intimidating, even when he wasn’t trying. Maya rebelled against that by physically getting into his face every chance she got. Better to go too far and know where the line was drawn than live in fear and doubt of the unknown. Josh, by contrast, didn’t rile that defensive instinct up in her. She liked that she could almost look him in the eye when she was wearing her heels, yet she still felt feminine and protected.
He shifted uncomfortably when she didn’t respond to his greeting, but merely stared at him with those slightly exotic, fascinatingly blue eyes.
“I’m glad you came.” She said quietly after a moment.
He frowned at her, confused and yet still warily intrigued. “I don’t know why I’m here, honestly.” He replied bluntly. “I was on my way back out of town after taking care of some last minute paperwork at school. But here I am, so whatever you have to say–”
She moved before he could finish, cupping her hands around the nape of his neck and pulling him down the small distance to cover his mouth with hers. Josh went completely still under her hands, but he didn’t jerk away. So she became a bit bolder, tentatively nibbling and moving her lips to elicit a response, going on pure instinct.
It took all of eight seconds for his resolve to crumble. He ran his hand through her wild golden locks, taking control of the kiss. Maya melted into him, her entire body softening as her head tilted back slightly under the force of his response. Innocent, innocent, innocent, his mind chanted, so although he wanted to take things in a much different direction, he reined in hard on his control, keeping things as light as he could. Her eyes were still closed when he drew back, letting his hands fall away and putting some much needed physical — and mental — distance between them.
“This can’t happen again.”
Maya kept her eyes shut for a moment longer as she licked her lips, savoring the taste of him. When she opened her eyes, they were clear and cool blue, darkened with resolve. “You’re right.” She said calmly. “You’re nearly eighteen, and I’m fifteen. We both have a lot of growing up left to do. And that helped to answer some unanswered questions, so thank you.”
This girl was going to drive him to drink before he attended his first real college party, Josh thought, running a hand through his hair and checking to see if he had pulled out any grey strands. Either that or he was going to be the youngest guy ever with silver hair.
“I have never hidden my feelings for you, Josh. You have always known where you stand in my life. You just need to decide if I might someday fit into yours in some way beyond your niece’s best friend.” With that said, she turned and walked away, her voice drifting back. “They say that the first person you kiss in the New Year is the one you’ll kiss again at midnight the next New Year. See you in twelve months, Cinderella.”
As soon as she rounded the corner, she collapsed against the wall, her heart nearly beating out of her chest. “Oh. WOW.” She whispered, still hardly daring to believe that she had done it. She had finally kissed Joshua Matthews! And that jolt of something that had zapped through her the first time their eyes had met was nothing to actually tasting him for the first time. Blowing a lock of hair out of her eyes, she took one more moment to savor, before returning to business. Next stop: Lucas.