"Mayaaaa," I heard the voice of my best friend appear at the window of my room, and was quick to let her in. I had only been drawing a girl...
She looked familiar, probably because she looked like Riley. Had I actually just drawn Riley without paying attention to it?
"Hey buttercup," Riley pulled me into a tight hug before smiling. God, her smile was infectious.
"Hello to you too, how are you?" I asked her, Riley just shrugged.
"As good as I could be, I'm here with you, aren't I?" she smirked.
"True, true. You're in extra exceptional company."
"She's pretty," Riley said, pointing out my drawing. That made me smile, she was great at being able to do that, it seemed.
"You are," I said, in a way of assurance.
"Oh it's me? Oh! Maya this is amazing...can I frame it?"
I laughed gently.
"Great!" Riley looked at me for a moment, prompting me to question her stare...not that I minded, her brown eyes were so beautiful to look at.
"Rileyyy, what's up?" I asked.
"Oh...nothing," Riley seemed to not be too sure about what she wanted to say, but either way, it was adorable when she got all quiet and contemplative like that.
"We have class in about..."
There was a knock at the door, Riley waited in the window seat as I went to answer it.
"Hey honey! Have you done the homework?"
"Uh...is no a bad response?"
My mom just smiled but then gave me a nod. I mean...homework was there, it didn't mean I was going to do it. Riley on the other hand had been on it with our homework recently.
I just didn't know how she did it, she was a whiz kid... though she could also have some blonde moments..I could have blonde moments.
Not like I liked the term, it was offensive to believe someone's intelligence was related to their hair color, right? I think so too.
"Riles, did you do the homework?"
"I can't recall...oh! Geography assignment right?"
I felt my heart sink.
"There was a geography assignment?"
Damn, perhaps Riley had been on my mind more than school had recently...and I didn't know why. It was just I had been her friend for so long and now...
Nothing had changed between us but this feeling I didn't understand, I was supposed to like Lucas, right?
We had been dating for a while now and... wait, why was I even thinking that? I needed to get my focus back on my work.
"Maya, something's on your mind buttercup! What is it?" Riley asked.
"Besides you leaving..." I sighed.
"Lesides me beaving," Riley joked, and then shuffled closer to me in order to nudge me with her shoulder.
I didn't want the distance to be increased any further than that...
I didn't want her to leave.
Friends didn't want their friends, best friends, leaving; it was going to happen, though. I just didn't want it to, I didn't want Riley to leave.
"Maya...what if I just stayed?"
Don't encourage me to try to get you to...
"Riley, you have to go, big world,"
"Ours now, and it's always been ours. Riley and Maya, Maya and Riley, but together, not separate...I just-"
More knocking occurred at the door, so I went to answer it.
"You two are going to be late for class," mom said.
"Screw class," Riley spoke out loud, prompting me to turn to her in surprise.
"I don't want to go," she added, my mom looked startled...
You know, you could tell by her eyes being the size of fried eggs and her mouth slightly parted that you worried a fly might decide that's its new home...
Then again, I could have an imagination... that was for sure.
"Go where?" it kind of slipped out... I knew she meant school though, nothing else.
"Outside, it's cold. And Maya still won't fully tell me what's wrong," Riley said.
Riley shushed me
"Maya, I know something's wrong, something that you won't tell me..."
"I don't know how to explain it..." I trailed off, and then my mom cleared her throat, prompting me to speak to her.
"I'm not going to school," I said.
She sighed, but nodded, and then headed out of my room.
"So now what..?" I asked, and then Riley almost startled me by placing her hands in mine, and she just smiled, then seemed to remember what she was going to say.
"You're in a daze," I pointed out, Riley smiled and shook her head.
"Let's go out, Maya, take your mind off things," she stated, I felt myself agree.
The two of us headed out to a nearby park and just walked around among the green turning red leaves beneath our feet. Autumn seems to come earlier every year.
...climate change, that's a thing.
"Where?" I joked, to which Riley rolled her eyes.
"Right here," she said, edging closer to me and placing a hand on either side of my face. "You peach,"
I couldn't help but laugh a little...okay, maybe a lot, at that. Partly because Riley was adorable, secondly because I was nervous and also because she was hilarious.
Maybe even more than me...
Who am I trying to kid? Definitely more than me.
"Soooo, Maya," she started.
There's always time to run and hide?
"What's on your mind peaches,"
"Honey pizza?" Riley's nose wrinkled up slightly before she laughed at her own joke, and then snorted slightly. My heart could almost not cope with how cute she could be.
She didn't even need to try, she was just adorable.
"Riley...you ever feel like everything could change if you just had the courage to say something?"
"Everything can change, Maya," Riley said, with emphasis on the 'everything'. Perhaps it could. That didn't make admitting my thoughts to her any easier.
"But...for the better or the worse peaches, I'll always be right here,"
I held up my hand and met eyes with her momentarily before a smile appeared on both of our faces. "Ring power,"
"Ring power," she repeated, entangling her fingers with mine.
"Okay Riley...don't freak out,"
"Why...you're not going to tell me we're in the zombie apocalypse, are you, Maya?"
"No uh...Riley...what if I felt the way that everyone sees you feel about Lucas for..."
"Lucas? What has he got to do with this?"
"It's just uh..."
"No, Maya. I don't get it, are you jealous or something about me and Lucas?"
"Lucas and I," I corrected, to which she just let out a breath in slight irritation.
"Lucas and you aren't a thing, Maya. Lucas and I aren't a thing either..." she added, her voice getting slightly quieter.
"Well clearly that upsets you..." she stated.
"Yes it does, but not for the reasons you think, Riles. Please let me explain,"
Riley just sighed, and then stood up to leave the room.
My algebra teacher was going to kill me, and now I had Riley upset with me, too.
I decided to roll over and scream into my pillow to let out the frustration that I had within the fact that Riley just wouldn't let me explain to her what was on my mind.
Everything was so complicated.
I wished that things could just be simple...but then I guess, things would be boring, if that was the case.
I switched on my playlist for a moment and closed my eyes, letting my thoughts drift.
That was up until the point that Hayley Kiyoko came on.
What was more significant was how each time I listened to her songs I felt more and more like...I liked girls, and I liked Riley.
It hadn't always been this complex my life, had it?
If only I liked Lucas like I was allegedly supposed to...
But nah, life had other plans for me.
Riley: I hope you figure out whatever is going on with you, peaches. Maya: What am I supposed to be figuring out? Come back, I need to talk to you.
A few painstaking moments later I decided to do the one thing I could think of to do.
"Hello, this is Matthews, currently I am not taking calls,"
"Your fake voicemail isn't doing a very good job at sounding...real," I stated.
I could hear her sigh on the other end of the line.
"I don't want to talk to you right now, Maya. Or for a while"
"Mom," I greeted, as I heard her enter my room.
"Maya," she returned. "Are you okay?" she added. I honestly didn't know how I felt...Riley wasn't talking to me.
"Mom...I don't know how I'm supposed to tell you this," I began.
Her eyebrows wrinkled together slightly. "Tell me what?" she queried.
"I think I may like girls,"
"Honey, I know,"
She knew? How?
"I've been wondering how you and Riley haven't been calling eachother girlfriends for a while now, it's clear in the way that you look at her that it was something more...that and I may have looked at your playlists,"
I shook my head in slight amusement and disbelief.
"Now that's stereotyping," I said.
"I don't know what to do, mom. I like Riley," I blurted.
"Just like that?"
"Mayaaa," I heard the voice of Riley at my window and almost thought I was imagining things. Mainly because I was, she wasn't there.
And that hurt like a brick to the right ankle.
I don't know how I came to that simile...but it makes sense. I'm sure that would hurt a lot, anyway.
Friends...that was all we could ever be, right?
I would be okay with that.
Still, something tugged on my heart string which told me to tell her.
It felt wrong to keep anything from Riley, anything from my best friend. Riley was much more than just a friend.
She was everything.
I ended up going to school for the afternoon, mainly because I needed to speak to a certain Riley Matthews, who had left me in the window seat of my room.
"Maya...I'm sorry about earlier," she said, once she noticed me.
I just shook my head slightly. "You have nothing to be sorry for. Stupid Maya was just being stupid,"
"Hey, you're not stupid Maya, Maya is not stupid,"
She stepped closer to me, putting a hand on either side of my face again.
"You're Maya, and you are my best friend, and Maya, you know I love you,"
"Exactly why I have to tell you something," I blurted.
Here goes nothing.
"Exactly why you have to tell me what, Maya?" she asked.
"Riley...I- I like you,"
"I like you too, Maya,"
"No but like...I like you in the way that," I took a breath, Riley looked expectant, as if wiating for me to blurt out something considerably important.
It was certainly important to me.
"I like you in the way that everyone thought I liked Lucas."
"You like me?"
I waited for her to continue speaking, but she didn't. That made me feel slightly uneasy...but I needed to give her time.
Riley: Maya...sorry for heading off earlier it's just...I don't know if I can talk to you right now.
Maya: What? Huh? Honey says whaaaat?
Maya: No, you can't call me that right now, Riley. Just tell me what's wrong, I didn't expect anything from this, I just wanted to tell you how I felt because well, because you are my best friend and I love you.
Riley: I love you too, Maya. That's why I can't do this.
Maya: How does that even make any sense?
Riley: I'm sorry, Maya.
I sent her a few more texts after that, but there was nothing, absolutely nothing.
Riley knew how I felt, and now we weren't speaking.
This is exactly what I didn't want to happen.
"Hey," said a voice, as an arm wrapped around my waist.
"Oh so you're batting for team maya now, are you? what about riley?" I questioned.
"Needed to get your immediate attention somehow now, didn't I?" he smiled for a moment, but then his expression shifted.
That kind of look signalled to me that he knew something.
"Maya...how long and when exactly were you going to tell me that you liked girls? More specifically, you like my ex-girlfriend?"
"She broke up with me yesterday,"
"She did what?" I blurted my thoughts out loud. Why would Riley do that? More importantly, why did some weird selfish side of me find hope in that matter?
Riley didn't want to talk to me right now, and that was that.
It sucked, but that was how things were headed.
To Maya and Riley aren't speaking Ville. Don't ask for directions, I've heard it can be a very confusing journey.
Places that are new tend to be that way, though.
"Yeah I don't really get it either, Maya,"
"But Riley can be impulsive...like me,"
Lucas patiently waited for me to continue speaking.
"I'm going to go and find Riley, and talk to her," I said.
"See you in a few, Maya," he said, the corners of his lips turning up slightly in one of his friendly smiles. One of the smiles that didn't piss you off.
Lucas was great...he just annoyed me.
I didn't really know why, but part of it, maybe just maybe, was to do with Riley.
And feelings...damn it.
"Riles," I said, once I found her, she turned around to me, and then I noticed she had been crying.
At least, it looked that way.
"Riley, what's wrong?"
"It's leaving, Maya. It's one thing to leave my best friend but another to leave the..." she caught herself from saying anything else, so it was left as some kind of mystery for me to work out.
"The one person I trust, Maya. The one person I have ever truly loved, and love."
"I love you too, Riley,"
"No, but Maya, I'm serious,"
"Serious-what-now?" I asked.
"I love you, more than..."
"More than just friends?"
"Maya...I don't want to go. I don't want to be without you,"
I felt...relieved, that Riley had said how she felt, but I still wasn't sure that she felt the way I felt for her.
"I realised after you said it that there's no way I could feel anything for Lucas when I feel that way for you..."
"Maya, what's the point in playing pretend anymore?"
"That there's nothing there when you mean everything to me,"
"You mean the same, to me, too," I added, smiling which made Riley's face brighten up a little too.
"I love you, Maya,"
"I love you,"
So now I wondered what we were going to do...what exactly could we do?
Riley's parents wanted their family to move away.
Then, like water going down a drain, Maya and Riley fade away.
It felt too horrible to even think about life without her.
"Ring power," I said, moving my hand around Riley's.
"So we promise each other that we find a way to get through this,"
"Agreed," I said, a slight smile on my face.
Later that day, the two of us headed back to Riley's place, so that she could continue sorting out her boxes...packing...to move.
I could lie and say it was only slightly painful, but that would be a lie.
"What's up buttercup?" Riley's mother asked her.
Riley moved closer to me and put her hand in mine. "I...I want to stay," she said.
"Stay?" asked her father.
"Stay," she agreed.
"The guest room," Riley and I said simultaneously.
"I mean...a few times a week, at least. I just don't want to leave Maya because..."
"Because...we love each other," I finished for her.
"Completely and truly," Riley added.
"You two?" Riley's dad asked.
"Two you?" Riley's mom's face wrinkled up slightly at her amusing question.
We both nodded.
" I guess it could work then..."
"Three times a week...you have a deal, but you're going to have to work something out with your uncle as he's probably going to have to help you down here," her mom said.
"Got it," Riley stated.
"So..." I began, once Riley's parents had left the room and for one of few times in the past few weeks Riley was grinning.
"Maya, I'm glad we can still be together,"
"Because you're my best friend. No way would I just leave you," I stated.
"I propose a mutual agreement,"
"Interested. What could this mutual agreement be?"
"This mutual agreement could be that...what if we say...became girlfriends?"
"Then I'd say yes, I would love to, honey," I smiled.
Riley edged closer giving me a hug and quick peck on the cheek.
Everything always felt safe when she hugged me. I was with Riley, she was with me, and I knew no matter what, we were going to be okay.
Just peachy, if you will.
Riley pulled slightly away from the hug and then her eyes looked between each of mine before she spoke again.
Well, it seemed she was about to, her pink-glossed lips parted slightly, but then she moved her face closer to mine until her lips were a millimetre from mine.
And then she kissed me, and it felt like every part of my mixed up jigsaw puzzle had been put together, because I had finally found out the piece I always needed.
The piece who was my best friend, girlfriend, soulmate, that piece was...