Someday Soon Chapter 26
"This isn't fair." Maya complained leaning back on the only slightly lumpy couch that Josh had got second hand.
" A bet's a bet." Josh stated straightening the stacks of papers in front of him. Maya rolled her eyes at him.
" So because you bet that i'd do well on a test, i now have to take another test?" Maya questioned, tapping her fingers against her knee in annoyance.
"Yes that's right." Josh said with a smirk.
Josh had decided to cash in on the bet, and Maya's punishment was having to participate in one of the exercises from a course Josh was taking through Columbia over the summer. Josh was working to become certified to administer psychological tests for students. He'd be starting an internship with one of the New York School districts as part of his graduate work, and in order to do so he needed his certification. Part of Josh's course was to administer a basic learning and psychological assessment test. While the test was deemed to be "basic" it also took upwards of two hours to complete, and Josh needed at least three participants. He had already roped Auggie into doing it, and his mom had been more than happy to participate, but he had needed someone in the young adult age bracket. He could have asked Riley for her help, but had liked this alternative more.
Maya pouted, although she wasn't really angry.
" You only won on a technicality." Maya pointed out, still trying to wriggle out of her end of the bargain. Josh gave her a pointed look. Then she let out a long sigh.
" I guess it's just a few extra hours of therapy." She joked. She pulled up her legs onto the couch beneath her and attempted to make herself comfortable.
" Alright shrink .Bring it on."
The afternoon passed by while Josh and Maya sat in the tiny living space of Josh's new apartment. While they sat on the couch, Josh asking questions or getting her to fill out questionnaires, the sky outside opened up and rain began to pour down from the clouds in buckets. Despite it being early May and well into spring, the past few days had brought dark grey skys. There was clearly a storm brewing, although every weather channel seemed to have a different opinion about when exactly the storm would hit.
It wasn't perfect timing for Maya. Shawn was out of town on business for the whole week, writing a piece about the coast of Nova Scotia. While Maya didn't mind staying home alone, she wasn't exactly crazy about storms. She was old enough to know that there was no way that thunder could hurt her, in fact for many years storms hadn't bothered her at all. As a little girl she had shaken with fear during a passing storm, but her mother had always been there to calm her down and comfort her. However since Katys desk Maya had become jumpy during storms. Her anxiety would get the best of her and while the storm raged on outside she could often be found curled into a ball expecting her heart to stop any moment.
She could handle a storm if she really put her mind to it. There had only been one major storm since her mother's death. Maya had slept through smaller bursts of thunder throughout the year, but one night the previous september there had been a massive storm passing over the city. It had began just after midnight, and Maya had still been awake. At the first crack of thunder Maya had felt her heart fly into her throat. After a few strikes of thunder Maya had worked herself up into a panic.
Without thinking she had ventured out of her room and without thinking had gone straight to Shawn's room. She knocked feverishly at his bedroom door, pounding on it until a sleepy Shawn emerged in front of her. While he had been half asleep he had quickly sprung into action when he saw the look of distress on her face. He'd sat up with her until the storm had passed. They had sat on the couch and drank giant mugs of tea, and Shawn had talked near constantly to distract her. He didn't make fun of her for being afraid of storms at her age, although he definitely could have. He just talked to her, and while Maya had still felt the ache of panic in her chest, he had made her feel like she would be okay.
Maya had been nervous that the storm would hit while Shawn was out of town, so she had been staying with Riley while he was out of town, just in case the storm arrived unexpectedly.
But it was only raining outside, no need for Maya to worry about a storm, at least not yet.
She was however beginning to get ancy due to sitting still for so long. She had participated in the exercises wholeheartedly for at least the first hour as she had wanted to help Josh do his best, however she was starting to grow tired of the whole ordeal.
"And what does this one look like?" Josh prompted, holding up a picture of an abstract blotted image.
"A butterfly." Maya deadpanned, although she had barely glanced up at the paper and was more focused on picking at a loose thread on her sweater. Josh sighed.
" You've said that about the last six cards." Maya shrugged.
" They all looked like butterflies." She said simply. Josh shook his head at her.
"Maybe we should take a break." Maya suggested for what seemed like the hundredth time that hour.
" We just took a break 20 minutes ago." Josh reasoned but Maya persisted.
" That's true. But this test is supposed to be assessing about how well i learn and how stable i am psychologically. Well i learn best with minimal information and frequent breaks and i'm most sane while eating a danish from the bakery down the street."
Josh shook his head again.
" We're over halfway done, and when we're finished i promise you can have the chinese food i have in the fridge."
Maya's eye lit up and her jaw went slightly slack.
" You ordered chinese food?" Maya asked excitedly.
" Before you came over. It'll be your reward if you behave." This time it was Maya's turn to shake her head.
" Fine. The cards a tractor. The first one was tree, then a flower, a house, a vase, an armchair, but the sixth one actually was butterfly."
"Thank you." Josh said, taking note of her real answers.
Josh administered the rest of the tests. He was measuring if Maya retained information better visually or audibly, and several other psychological exercises to assess her mental readiness for learning and coping in a school environment. Maya was doing her best to participate, but in reality all she could think about was the lo mein and ginger beef that was waiting for her in the kitchen.
"Final question." Josh said, straightening his notes.
" Thank god." Maya muttered.
"Kungpow chicken or sweet and sour pork?" he asked with a smirk. Maya let out a sigh of belief.
" Your chopstick technique is pathetic." Maya teased. She and josh were both back sitting on his couch, this time with heaping bowls of chinese take out.
" Oh like you're much better." Josh shot back as he did his best to navigate his piece of chicken into his mouth. Maya rolled her eyes at him. Both could use their chopsticks well enough but it wasn't unusual for there to be a slip up. A vegetable would slip or someone would give up and merely stab a piece of meat rather than try to pick it up.
While the two enjoyed their late lunch rain began to pour down harder and harder outside the window. Clouds had filled up the sky to the point where almost no light could shine through. It looked more like the middle of the night then the middle of the afternoon. But neither Josh nor Maya were paying much attention to the sky.
Then maya felt her phone ring in her pocket. She pulled it out and saw that Shawn was calling her. This wasn't unexpected. He usually called at least once a day when he was on the road. Maya slide her finger across the screen to answer the call and lifted the phone to her head.
" Hello?" Maya said pleasantly.
" Maya?" the panic in his voice had caught her off guard.
"What is it?" She asked, fear flooding through her chest. What had happened? What was wrong?
" Are you at home?" Shawn rushed on.
" No. I'm at Joshs." She said quickly. She could feel Josh's concerned gaze on her face but she couldn't look at him.
" Okay good. Stay where you are. Don't move." This wouldn't have been Shawn's usual response to hearing at Maya was hanging out with Josh. Shawn liked Josh fine but he was always cautious about Josh's relationship with Maya.
"Whats wrong?" Maya pressed on feeling the anxiety rising in her chest.
"They've just issued an emergency storm warning over the city. You need to stay inside and away from windows until it passes." Shawn explained. Just as Shawn spoke a clap of thunder shook through the apartment and the lights flickered off.