Someday Soon @brookhacker
Chapter 112

SS 112

Maya felt a little bit like a child as she lay on her back in the pillow fort that she and Josh had built, staring at the blanket that made up at the roof of their flimsy structure. It was the early hours of the morning, and Maya found herself laying awake, no longer able to sleep after drifting off for a few hours.

Josh was sleeping soundly beside her, his soft breath the only sound in the small apartment. At first Maya had tried to count the rise and fall of his chest the way she might have counted sheep to try and get back to sleep. Despite her efforts, sleep never came to sweep her back into its embrace. Her mind was too full, her thoughts swirling too fast to quiet her brain back into submission.

She hadn't looked at the offer that Topanaga had received for the cafe, but she knew it had to be a considerable amount of money to be even entertained. She'd pulled up real estate sites on her phone and looked up the pricing for comparable spaces in similar neighborhoods. The numbers were astronomical, and if Topanaga and Cory decided to give Maya even a portion of the sale price, her life would be completely changed.

Shawn had a college fund for her, but with this kind of money she could pay the rest of her costs herself and still have a large nest egg left to set up her life. Shawn could put the money he had saved towards his retirement. Maya had struggled with money her whole life. She had grown up with a single mother who worked as a waitress in one of the most expensive cities in the world. Her financial situation had changed a lot since Shawn had come into her life, but he was a freelancer. No paycheck was guaranteed, and while Shawn had a steady stream of gigs and worked often with the same clients, nothing was certain. She also knew that her dad had grown up in difficult circumstances, straddling the poverty line at different times in his life. What would it be like to have the means to take care of the man who had spent the last five years taking care of her?

Still she wondered, what would it be like to walk past the cafe and see someone else's name on the door? What would it be like to walk into a redecorated room with a different menu and new regular customers? The cafe was one of the few places she could clearly picture her mother. Katy had never lived in the apartment she shared with Shawn, she had never stepped foot into Maya's dorm room or seen Josh's crummy one bedroom hole in the wall. But she had been at the cafe almost every day. Every stool and ever cushion felt like a little tiny piece of her. Sometimes, it felt like Maya could walk into that room and step back in time. She would almost expect her mother to come walking out of the back room, a tray of fresh scones in her hand, ready to take on whatever difficult customer was giving the new barista a hard time.

Maya flipped onto her side and stared at Josh sleeping. She had put this off enough. She needed to talk about it. She hadn't been ready before, but she was now, and now she didn't want to wait.

She carefully reached out with her toe and prodded Josh's leg. She snatched her foot back and watched Josh's face carefully for any sign of stirring. Nothing. She reached out again, nudging his leg a little harder and then quickly pretending to be asleep. Again, nothing. Losing patience, she gave Josh's leg a solid and swift kick.

Josh's eyes flew open with a groan as he was roughly pulled back from the clutches of sleep.

"Oh good. You're up" Maya greeted him casually, as if his waking up was a happy accident.

"What time is it?" Josh asked, sitting up on his elbows, confused from his abrupt wake up call.

Maya shrugged "Four, maybe?" she guessed, balancing her face on her hands and watching him carefully.

"Jesus Maya really?" He said gruffly. Josh was often grumpy first thing in the morning, especially now considering the sun wasn't even up yet.

"I'm sorry! I'll make it up to you later" She promised, sitting up straighter, her head almost scraping the top of the pillow fort.

"What's up?" he asked, his sour mood already melting away as he rubbed at his tired eyes.

"I want you to tell me what you think I should do," Maya said as if it were the simplest thing in the world. He narrowed his eyes at her.

" I can't do that" he said, not having to ask what she was referring to.

"Let me rephrase" Maya offered " What would you do if you were me?"

He considered that for a minute.

"I'd probably make a list of pros and cons" he admitted. Maya rolled her eyes.

"You are such a nerd" she said, taking one of the pillows from the pile she had slept on and whacking him with it.

"Yeah yeah, say what you will, but it's helpful" he insisted, taking the pillow she had hit him with and throwing it back in her face.

Maya rolled her eyes again but didn't protest when Josh crawled out of their fort to fetch a pad of paper and a pen.

He crawled back in and sat down beside her, drawing a line down the centre of the paper and writing the word PROs in big black letters on one side and CONs on the other.

"This is super lame" Maya teased, poking Josh with her toe under the blanket they were sharing.

"Embrace it," Josh recommended, posing his pen at the top of the page.

"Let it out" he prompted. Maya bit the inside of her lip, her thoughts drifting to everything she'd been mulling over that morning already.

"Alright, as bad as it sounds, I guess the biggest pro is the money" Maya reasoned. She felt self conscious saying that out loud. Did it make her sound greedy?

"I mean, I have college to think about and you're going to have loans to pay off when you come out of school-"

Maya caught what she was saying just as she was saying it. She had unconsciously hooked Josh's wagon to her own. Somehow she was already thinking about his debt as her debt, and truth be told, Josh was going to have a lot of student loans to pay off.

It was true that he was working with one of the new york school boards while he was getting his masters, but his salary wasn't much and Columbia tuition fees were not cheap. Add in the cost of living in New York and the looming costs associated with getting a doctorate, there wasn't enough financial aid and penny pinching to keep Josh out of the clutches of a student loan.

Maya decided to skate over it, by keeping talking, hoping that if she'd freaked Josh out, her continued chatter would sweep it under the rug.

" and this is the only chance I have at EVER owning a place here. In what world would I ever have that kind of money for a down payment. This could mean not having to rent the rest of my life"

Josh calmly wrote the word money under the pros column.

"And not having the cafe would take a lot of pressure off of Topanagas plate" Maya continued, switching away from a money mentality.

"I mean she's a corporate lawyer for god sake. She's busy enough. She took on the cafe with the idea that my mom would run it, but now she is alone. It's not really what she signed up for"

"That's a pro for Topanaga, not for you" Josh stated, watching her carefully.

"Well she's family so her pros are my pros"

Josh nodded and wrote Topanaga on the page.

"And then there's my mom," Maya continued carefully. She had been absentmindedly picking at the skin around her nails and when she glanced down, she realized she had drawn blood.

"And I think she could go in both columns"

"Go on" Josh prompted. Maya sighed, continuing to dig her nail into her thumb.

"That was her place. Everything about it reminds me of her. Which is wonderful but also heartbreaking. Sometimes when i'm sitting at the counter and I close my eyes, I can almost forget. I'll feel like I can open my eyes and she'll be standing right there" she said quietly.

"But then I do open them, and it all comes flooding back at once."

Maya felt silent tears begin to slide down her face but she quickly tried to wipe them away.

"God I am so sick of crying. It's stupid. I'm being stupid, it's just-" She cut hersdelf off as Josh reached out to brush the last tear off her face.

"It's not stupid" Josh reassured her.

" I hate change" Maya said frustrated with herself " but life can't happen if everything stays the same. I just…..want it to"

Josh sat up fully and pulled her closer to him.

"Not everything changes. You're right here, and I'm right here, and I'm not going anywhere" He promised.

Maya leaned into his chest and closed her eyes and tried not to think about how that was a promise that wouldn't always be his choice to keep. It hadn't been her mother's choice to leave her.

Maya shook her head slightly. She couldn't think like that, or she'd drive herself crazy. She had to hold onto the here and now, and here and now she was wrapped in the arms of a boy she loved, who somehow loved her back.

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