Someday Soon Chapter 42
Josh was walking briskly down the near empty city streets. It was a little after midnight but Josh hadn't been asleep when Maya called. He'd still been awake, having just got back to his apartment not half an hour before. He had gotten home from his job with the school district around 6 that night and had quickly hurried back out to meet up with some friends in Williamsburg. He'd sat around on a peeling leather couch, nursing a heineken and mostly just observing the people around him. The loft he was in belonged to his friend Kate who he'd met in an abnormal psych class a few years before. The room was filled with a variety of people, some of whom Josh recognized from school, and others who were complete strangers.
Kate had spent nearly an hour trying to convince Josh to attend the gathering that night. Josh had been trying to finish all his paperwork at his desk that afternoon but hadn't been able to focus as his phone had been buzzing every few seconds with messages from Kate detailing her plans for the night.
She was having a few people over to her apartment
He should come
She hadn't seen him since graduation
He needed to get out more
He'd have enough time to spend long lonely nights in his apartment after his graduate work started.
Josh wasn't stupid. He knew what Kate's motives were. Ever since they had met during their sophomore year Kate had been hounding Josh about why he was habitually single. Kate herself wasn't interested in him in any way. But she was however very interested in nosing around in his personal life. For the past few years Kate had been trying, mostly unsuccessfully, to set Josh up on a series of blind dates. Despite the fact that Kate was starting at the NYU school of Law, with her heart set on becoming a ruthless divorce lawyer who tore apart marriages with as little as a blink of her eye, she was a romantic. She read countless romance novels with embarrassing covers of a man and women locked in each other brace, their hair blowing dramatically in the wind. Kate could recite every word to almost every major romcom from when she was growing up.
For this reason Kate was obsessed with Josh and his personal life. She of course wanted to see one of her best friends in a happy relationship, and took it upon herself to attempt to set him up with this or that girl that Kate had met at this or that place. It never worked out. At most Josh would go on a second date with one of these women that Kate threw at him. They were all perfectly nice people, interesting and smart. But it was never right. Despite this, Kate never stopped trying.
Josh played along mostly just to keep Kate happy. She was an only child and was very used to getting what she wanted. It wasn't the end of the world to go to coffee with a girl every month or so.
He never admitted to Kate or anyone, that the real reason that nothing every happened between him and his blind dates was that maybe he was waiting for someone. Maybe he hadn't even admitted it to himself. His life had been rather dull romantically over the past few years. He had gone on a few dates, maybe hooked up with a few girls at parties he could hardly remember when he had been too drunk. Nothing serious had happened. Not yet.
Josh had known that going to Kates that night would mean that there would probably some liberal arts major there who Kate no doubt thought would be his soul mate. Josh attended that night for two reason. One, because he really did enjoy Kates company and hadn't seen his friend in a while, and two because Randall would kill him if he turned down the invitation. Randall, Josh's roommate from NYU, always tagged along with him to any function that Kate invited him to.
Randall had been pining over Kate for the past three years. It seemed like an odd pairing to Josh. Randall was from the midwest, a little stringy in frame. He came off as a douche at times, but in reality was a bit of a dork. He was good with numbers and becoming an accountant.
Kate on the other hand was nothing short of a shark. She was born and raised on the upper east side. She was the daughter of two powerful business types and had attended only the best schools. She oozed confidence and power with every step she took and word she spoke.
So in order to be a good friend to both Kate and Randall Josh had taken the train over to Brooklyn. He'd sat on the couch and been quickly joined by the girl Kate had lined up for him. Her name had been Claudia. Her hair was a dark brown almost black colour, a few tiny braids mixed into it. He was a sophomore at the New School and had met Kate at a book signing for an obscure author they both liked that Josh had never heard of.
Josh hadn't really been paying much attention to the conversation they had been having, mostly just nodding along, Claudia seemed happy to do most of the talking. Josh looked up across the room to see Kate leaning against the breakfast bar of her kitchen, a large glass of pinot grigio in her hand. She was watching him carefully, while Randall stood to her left, talking her ear off no doubt. When she noticed him looking back at her she shot him an encouraging smile before motioning him back to continue his conversation.
Josh bowed out of the gathering early. He didn't give an excuse. Just getting up from the couch and crossing the room to thank Kate for having him. She'd had enough wine over the course of the evening to not protest too much to hear that he was leaving.
Josh had gotten on the train back to his side of the bridge. Plugging in his headphones and turning up the volume. He was listening to an album Maya had suggested to him a few weeks back. He closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the train window. He didn't want to think about how much dirt and grime that was collected on the glass behind him. It was approaching eleven o'clock and Josh still had quite the ride ahead of him before he would be home.
His thoughts began to wander as the vibrations of the train shook his brain. It didn't take long for his mind to settle on Maya. He hadn't seen her since the previous weekend at his apartment during the storm. Josh was working at the school district now so he was no longer picking up shifts at the bakery. They still texted back and forth most of the day but hadn't been face to face in almost exactly 7 days. It made Josh sort of uneasy. They had spent so much time together the past few months, seeing each other for a few hours a few days a week almost every week. He thought about maybe calling her the next morning, seeing if she wanted to go see an afternoon movie.
That was normal right? Something that friend did together? In the back of his mind the thoughts of Maya's approaching graduation were lingering. Josh tried to push those thoughts farther away. Just because Maya wasn't going to be in high school anymore didn't immediately mean that something would happen between them. At least not right away. Josh had attached meaning to this date as if it would mean something. Was that someday? Was someday even possible? Some days he didn't seem so sure. But other times it seemed inevitable. Whenever Maya made him laugh so hard that his stomach ached, or the skin of her hand brushed against his spending sparks of electricity across his flesh. What he didn't know was what came next.
Josh had been surprised to see Maya's name flash across his screen when she called, but hadn't been displeased. Quite the opposite in fact. He was surprised as it had been after midnight and for a moment a flash of fear faced through his chest. What if something was wrong.
Maya had spoken quickly on the other end, full of explanations and apologies and a question he had an easy answer to. She was half way across town but Josh was more than willing to put his shoes back on and venture back out of the comfort of his apartment and onto the city streets.
Maya had texted Josh the address and it took him a little over half an hour to get there. He was finally on the right street, walking down the rows of beautiful town houses. Josh wondered what kind of friend Maya had that's family had enough money to live in a neighbourhood like this. He could hear the party once he was within half a block of it. Josh was surprised the police hadn't received a noise complaint.
Once Josh was close enough to his destination the house came into focus. It was a few stories high with a small set of concrete stairs leading up to the ornate front door. Sitting on the middle step was Maya, leaning forward to let her elbows rest against her knees, a lit cigarette between her fingers.
Josh was surprised at that. Shocked even. Maya noticed him then. Her face breaking out in a smile as she got to her feet the cigarette still in her hand as she walked down the final two steps and came to a stop in front of him.
" I'm sorry." Maya said in place of a greeting.
" I hope i didn't pull you out of bed." Maya joked. She had often poked fun at him about how much of a home body he had become lately.
" It's fine." He said distractedly. Without thinking he reached down and snatched the cigarette out of her hand.
"What is this?" Josh asked confused, raising it up between them so it was level with her eyes and his chin. She knew what he was asking. She could see that he was ready to get angry. Ready to lecture with her about the dangers of smoking and shake her from frustration that she would do that to herself.
"That" Maya said said calmly taking the cigarette back from him dropping it to the ground and stomping it out under her boot.
" was my excuse to wait outside." Maya hadn't wanted to stay inside the party any longer then she had to. The music had been too loud and there had been too many people, none of which she particularly wanted to talk to. She had tried to move to wait outside but had got caught up by Kevin Flint who had graduated the year before but still attended high school parties. Maya kept trying to move around him but he seemed intent on talking to her. Maya had created the excuse that she was going outside of a smoke. Kevin was a known smoker who was trying quit. He had just informed her of such. So that was her out. She headed out the front door and bummed a cigarette from one of the two girls who were standing on the front steps smoking their own. She had just wanted to make her story look believable in case Kevin stuck his head out the door to check on her. He was the type to do so. The girl had offered to light the stick up for Maya and she had agreed as to not look odd. She had been holding it as a distance as she waited.
"My mom died of a malignant brain tumor. I'm not going to try and give myself cancer." Maya said only half jokingly.
Josh stood there unsure what to do for only a moment and then his face broke out into an awkward half smile. Josh shook his head as if to clear his thoughts.
"Sorry. Gut reaction." He said as he turned so they could both walk the correct way back down the street. Maya gave him a knowing look.
" Oh i can just see it. You were going to go all uncle josh on me. Give me one of those lectures you used to give Auggie when you'd baby sit and he wouldn't go to bed." Maya said jumping her arm against his as they walked.
Josh stayed silent, but Maya wouldn't let up.
" weren't you uncle Josh?" she pushed on nudging her elbow against chest. Josh shuttered slightly.
" Please don't call me uncle." Josh said as he continued to walk. Maya's footsteps beside him stopped. Josh turned and saw her standing still on the sidewalk smirking at him.
"Why not." She said challengingly giving him a knowing look. She was playing with him. She had some confidence in her that night. She was going to flirt. She wanted to get a rise out of him. Josh wasn't sure what to do. Should he play into her game? Would it be safe? Could he trust himself?
" No really. Why not?" she said again a glint in her eye. Challenging him once again. He just rolled his eyes at her.
"Come on. Let's get some breakfast." He said as a way of escaping her questioning. He turned and started walking again and he heard Maya follow him. When he glanced over at her while he walked he saw that she was giving him an amused look.
"What?" He asked trying to feign innocence. She just smirked at him.
" Nothing." She said in equal innocence. She let a beat of silence pass between them and then quipped
"Uncle Josh." He reached out and pushed against her shoulder. She let out a laugh and as she caught her balance again she felt Josh reach down and grasp onto her hand, as if to say this is why. He interlocked his fingers in her own. Maya felt her breath catch in her chest for just a moment.
Maybe it was just her. But there was something about the way he was holding her and the way the air felt around them that made Maya think maybe tonight was different. Maybe it was special. Maybe it was tonight.
I know some people are getting impatient for the a little more Joshaya action but trust me, the next few chapters are big ones! Thank you all for all the support! Hope you're still enjoying!