Someday Soon @brookhacker
Chapter 64

SS 64

A rush of hot air hit Maya in the face as the group stepped off the train and onto the platform in Philadelphia. It was just as hot in New York City but the hour and a half in the air conditioned train car and cooled their temperature making the exit outside like stepping into a brick wall of heat. Maya staggered a bit as she descended the few steep steps of the train, her head going foggy for a minute. Josh had headed down the steps before her and she reached forward to steady herself on his shoulder.

Riley and Auggie joined them on the platform and their small group made their way across their platform and towards the terminal exit. Maya had her small duffel bag slung over her shoulder and as they walked Josh tried to lift it from her. She shifted away from him, and shoved at him playfully.

" Save your chivalry. I'm sure i'll be needing it later." Maya teased, shifting her bag to her other shoulder so that it was further from Josh's reach.

" You can take my bag!" Auggie piped up, pulling his backpack off his shoulder and slinging it in Josh's arm with a heavy huff. Josh staggered slightly as the bag came in contact with his chest, but quickly righted himself, shaking his head at Auggie but taking the weight regardless.

They hurried through the crowed of people and eventually came to the front of the building. They walked through the automatic sliding doors and out into the pickup area. Shawn was parked in the long line of waiting vehicles.

Auggie, unburdened by any luggage, sped ahead eager to claim shotgun in the car. Riley, Josh, and Maya weren't far behind. Shawn was out of the car, opening the hatch to the car he had rented so they could easily load their bags in. Shawn wrapped an arm around Maya and gave it a squeeze as way of greeting before ushering them all into the car so to not keep the line held up with their dottling.

Josh, Maya, and Riley slide into the back seat of the car while Auggie bounced around the front, excited about getting on the road. Auggie rarely rode in cars and seemed to find the whole thing a novelty.

Maya was stuck in the middle seat between Riley and Josh. The suburban Shawn had rented to get around Philadelphia was by no means roomy so the three were stuffed together, their arms and legs pressed together. Riley rolled down the window in the back, too impatient to wait for the air conditioning to cool down the car. She leaned away from Maya and stuck her head out the window like a dog, letting the hair whip around her face.

Rather than shy away from Josh because of the heat Maya let her knees knock against him as they shoved their shoulders playfully, shooting each other knowing looks. Maya was very aware that Shawn was throwing glances at the two of them in the rearview mirror. Maya straightened up a little bit and decided to cut some of the tension.

" How is party prep going?" She asked, leaning forward slightly so that she could hear Shawn more clearly. As she did this she felt Josh arm snake behind her back and come to rest on the edge of her hip, back just far enough that from the front seat Shawn wouldn't be able to tell it was there.

"You'll soon be in the thick of it. Amy's been running around like a mad man since yesterday. They've got half the neighbourhood coming tomorrow." Shawn explained, flicking on his signal and merging into the HOV lane as they sped down the freeway. Josh's fingers grazed her back as the whole car chatted about exactly how many different kind of salads Amy would have them whipping up and the likelihood that someone will end up with singed eyebrows from trying to set off fireworks.

It was a decent drive from the train station down to the suburb where the Matthews family home was located. Riley had rolled the window back up, cutting down the noise in the car and settling back in her seat. Maya leaned back in her seat herself, no longer having to lean forward and strain her ears to hear what everyone was saying properly. Josh hadn't moved his arm from around her as she sat back in her seat and she leaned sideway into his slightly as they drove.

Maya had relaxed slightly in the car as they made their way to their destination but when they turned onto the Matthews street she felt her stomach clench again. Josh must have felt her tense and he have her an encouraging smile. Shawn parked the car on the street in front of the Matthews house and before the engine was even off Auggie was out of the car and running towards the door to his grandparents house. Auggie had the door open and had run inside before the others had even climbed out onto the street. Shawn and Josh made it to the trunk before Riley or Maya had the chance and had placed the bags on their shoulders. Riley shook her head at the two boys. She offered her arm to Maya.

" Come along my fellow helpless damsel." Maya hooked her arm through Rileys as they followed Josh and Shawn up the walk and towards the front door.

Amy was there waiting for them, looking thoroughly exhausted but also excited to see them. Auggie was already gone, running through the house looking for his grandfather.

" Hello hello!" She said excitedly as they made their way through the front door. Josh and Shawn had placed the bags down by the stairs. Amy gave her youngest son a warm hug, craning up and placing a kiss on his cheek.

"And my girls!" Amy exclaimed pulling both Riley and Maya into a tight and warm hug. Maya felt her heart thump a little to be lumped in with Riley in that category, one of her girls. Not that girl, the one going after her youngest son. Not some tag along guest or an add on no one had requested. Amy broke away from them but grabbed onto one of each girls hands. She took a step back

" . Let me look at you." Amy beamed as she appraised the too.

" Beautiful. The two of you. Fresh graduates. Soon to be college girls." Amys happiness radiated to all of them.

"Now Shawn's already settled upstairs, Josh you're rooms all set up for you. Cory and Topanga are the latecomers so we can shove them in the basement bedroom for tomorrow night. I thought you girls could share Morgan's old room and Auggie has his heart set on pitching a tent in the back yard." Amy explained.

"Now everyone go put your things in your rooms and meet me in the kitchen. Since you're all here I'm putting you to work" Amy mandated, ushering them off. Josh, Maya, and Riley all snatched up their bags and climbed up the stairs well Shawn headed straight for the kitchen. Maya and Riley turned to entre Morgan's old room and Josh turned to the room directly across from their own.

Maya threw Josh a look over her shoulder as she walked into the room to put her bags down. They all met back downstairs and funneled into the kitchen Where Amy was busy at work and Shawn was peeling a mountain of potatoes by the sink.

" I don't know what I was thinking inviting all these people. I swore after last year that that would be it but here we are. Alans in the backyard trying to get that god forsaken smoker up and running. As if barbequing isn't enough he's adding another torch to the fire." Amy complained, although not unpleasantly.

" Would you girls chop these for me?" Amy asked, pressing a bag of mixed vegetables into their hands and guiding them over to the kitchen table where cutting boards and knifes were already set up.

"And honey could you help me prep some of this meat?" Amy requested, gesturing to the giant mixing bowl where a mound of ground beef had been defrosted and was waiting to be formed into patties.

There was a hum in the kitchen as they all chatted while they worked, Maya and Riley peeling carrots and prepping celery for garden and pasta salad. Amy was flitting around the kitchen, directing them all while taking on her own tasks. Every once and awhile you could hear Allan swearing from the backyard as he tried to get his smoker going and Auggie roaring with laughter. Shawn was peeling potatoes ready to be mixed. Josh was cracking eggs and adding chopped onions into the raw meat before shaping them into perfectly proportioned hamburger patties.

"That's disgusting." Maya declared as Josh picked the bits of meat drenched in the egg mix, off his hands that has stuck to his skin after forming the burgers. Josh raised his eyebrows at her.

"You think so?" He asked, walking around the kitchen island and towards where Maya was seated at the table with Riley.

" Don't you come near me with those things." Maya warned, taking the short knife she had been using to chop carrots and gesturing it at him as if for protection.

" You don't want to hold my hand?" He joked reaching out as if he was out to take one of her own.

" Not unless you go soak them in bleach. " Maya declared, leaning away from him and closer to Riley for protection.

Everyone around the kitchen chuckled at the two of them and Maya felt a goofy smile sneak onto her face as she turned back to her chopping board and Josh went to wash his hands.

Maya was surprised as to how comfortable she felt despite the theoretical change in dynamic between her and the rest of the Matthews. Her nerves were still present but were subsiding with every joke cracked or remark made. She still felt as though she could belong with this group, that they were still willing to welcome her into their family.

They'd ordered pizza for dinner. The fridge was so packed full with food for the barbecue the next day that no one even wanted to open the door to look for anything to cook for that night. The whole group had sat down on and around the couch, grabbing slices of pizza and drinking from cans of soda or bottles of beer. It wasn't until later in the evening that they had even gotten around to having dinner, everyone had been so busy first cooking and then setting up lawn chairs and umbrellas in the back yard.

By the time they had finished they were all full and happy and about ready for bed.

" We've all got a big day tomorrow I think it's about time we all head to bed." Allan announced, leaning forward in his recliner and starting the process of trying to get up.

" In our own rooms." Shawn clarified, throwing a pointed but joking look at Josh and Maya who were seated on the couch with Riley on Maya's other side.

" By ourselves." Alan contributed.

" Were we will all stay." Shawn piped in.

" In our own rooms." Alan added.

"By ourselves." Shawn repeated. Amy could tell that this could go on all night and cut the two boys off.

" Enough they get it. We all get it. To bed!" She declared, getting up from her own chair and pulling Alan up.

Riley had her head down on Maya's shoulder, her body shaking slightly as she laughed silently.

" I don't get it." Auggie whispered to Josh, feeling confused. Josh just shook his head at his nephew, giving him a playful push and getting to his feet. Throwing Maya a smile.

"Alright giggles let's go." Maya declared, standing up and pulling Riley with her. Riley's face was red from laughing as she let Maya tow her up the stair and toward their bedroom.

Josh and Maya followed the rules at first. They got ready for bed, went to their separate rooms and attempted to go to sleep. Maya and Riley were sharing the queen sized bed in what used to be morgans and was now the guest room. Riley fell asleep almost instantly, but Maya found herself tossing and turning, trying to get comfortable enough to fall asleep.

It had been almost two hours by the time that Maya picked up her phone and opened up the app for yahtzee. She and Josh had been playing the virtual game online together for the past few weeks. Maya took her turn and was about to exit out of the app, assuming that Josh wouldn't play back until the morning but was surprised when he responded almost instantly. They played back and forth for a while until one of them finally won. Then her phone buzzed with a text from Josh.

It read: Meet me in the hallway? I want to show you something.

Maya paused for just a second, considering what she should do, if she should be good and just stay in bed like she was supposed to, but soon she was carefully climbing out of bed and tip toeing over to the door and pulling it open.

Josh was already standing there. Neither of them said anything, in fear of waking up the others but Josh smiled at her and extended his hand. She took it and allowed him to her surprise to pull her back into his room. He closed the door behind him as Maya looked around the room where Josh had grown up.

"You've got a window seat? Do they run in the family?" She asked softly.

" They must." Josh concluded as he took her hand again and lead her over to it. Maya was confused as to what exactly he wanted to show her, when Josh pushed open the window and began to climb out.

"What are you doing?" Maya hissed.

"Come on." Josh said softly, calling to her from the patch of roof outside the window. Maya climbed out the window after Josh, who was already climbing up the steeper patch to get higher on the roof. He extended his hand out to her and Maya took it.

"See this is when I require the chivalry." Maya huffed, as he pulled her up further on the roof until they reached patch of flat top.

" Sit down." Josh encouraged, taking a seat himself. Maya sat down beside him and looked out over the yard. Auggie had set his tent up in the corner of the yard away from most of the equipment for the barbeque.

"Quite the view." Maya said, looking out at the grass and the roofs of the other houses.

" The real view is up." Josh stated. Maya tipped her head up to the sky and felt her heart drop in her chest. There were so many stars in the sky that it almost made Maya's head spin.

" God. I can't remember the last time I really saw the stars." Maya muttered softly.

" Thought so ." Josh said with a smile, draping his arm around Maya's back. Living in New York meant a lot of light pollution which meant that the stars were almost never visible but this sleepy Philadelphia suburb let the stars shine on their own.

Maya stared up at them transfixed. When she was a little girl and Katy would take her to see her grandmother in Delaware Maya's favourite part was going out into the yard after dark and laying out in the grass, staring up at the sky and trying to count the stars. She glanced over at Josh who was looking up at the stars to.

"Thank you." Maya said softly, watching his face as he watched the stars. Josh looked over at her and smiled. He brought his other hand up and wrapped it around the side of her neck letting his thumb graze her cheek softly. Maya leaned in as Josh moved to kiss her. It was a long deep kiss, the kind that made her head spin just as much if not more than the stars above her. She reached up one of her hands and let it rest against Josh's neck. Josh was pulling Maya closer to him when the sound of a door slamming below them made them both start and jump apart.

Down on the lawn below them Alan was stocking across the yard in his house coat, headed towards the smoker that was set along the side of the garage. Alan opened the door and began messing around with whatever he had inside.

"He is so obsessed with getting this brisket just right that he'll probably be out here three more times tonight." Josh whispered, dipping his head low so he was speaking right into Maya's ear. The feeling of his hot breath against her skin made goosebumps rise on Maya's arms. Maya had to bite her hand to keep herself from laughing and alerting Alan to their presence on the roof. After a few minutes Alan shut the door to the smoker and began shuffling back into the house.

" We should probably get back inside too." Josh admitted, his arm still wrapped tightly around her. Maya looked at him and found that he was watching her, and that his eye's were trained on her lips.

"Probably." Maya admitted although she was leaning in closer to the point that she could feel Josh's breath on her face.

" But maybe just a few more minutes." Maya conceded, leaning forward and connecting their lips once again.

Okay I know I said I was going to get into the 4th this chapter but what can I say? It got away from me. But you'll see me it next chapter I promise! Thank you again for all your suggestions and PLEASE keep them coming! Hope you enjoyed!

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