Maya's reaction to him showing up wasn't exactly what Josh had expected. He had been ready for her to yell and scream, to shove him away, to tell him to leave her alone. He hadn't expected her to throw herself forward at him and kiss him in a way she never had before. She clung to him, wrapping her arms around his neck, pushing herself all the way up on her tiptoes to reach him.
Josh was frozen for a half a second before he wrapped his arms around her in return. The water from is clothes soaked onto her while his arms laced themselves around her middle. Maya was already pressing herself as closely into him as she could.
He started to say her name against her lips but she shushed him, just happy in that moment to be held. It wasn't until another clap of thunder sounded overhead that Maya pulled away. She landed back on her feet from her toes, and felt her knees go slightly slack. Josh's arms around her kept her held up.
She rested her face against Josh's chest and let the tears flow freely from her eyes, truly sobbing in front of someone for the first time since her mother's death. She finally let every emotion that she had pent up over the past few days flow out of her. She was a lot to handle but Josh was still holding on tight.
The worst of the storm had finally passed by the time that Maya had finally settled down. Josh's wet clothes were hung by the small heater by the window to dry. Maya had an old pair of his sweatpants and one of his t shirts stashed away in one of her drawers and Josh had changed into that.
They hadn't talked much at first. Mostly Josh just held her. It had been over an hour before Maya was actual ready to speak, and even then she didn't know what to say. They were laying on Maya's dorm bed, Josh's arm wrapped around her shoulder and Maya's head rested against him.
" I don't know what to do." She stated her voice only slightly above a whisper. Josh looked down at her, watching her facial expressions carefully.
" I really don't know what to do next. What I'm supposed to do." She continued, toying with a loose thread on the hem of Josh's t shirt.
"About any of it. About anything." Maya took a deep breath.
" I don't know what to do about him."
"Your dad?" Josh asked. Maya nodded.
" I had it all set out in my head that I never wanted to see him again, so you'd think his being sick wouldn't matter. But before, deciding to never see him again meant that when i needed to i could imagine him anywhere. I could answer all my questions myself. I could think of him however i wanted. But now I know what his life is going to be, how he's going to die. That it'll be soon." Maya tapped her fingers along Josh's stomach.
"I've been reading about HD all day. It's not disease that kills you it's side effects. Most people get 15 or 20 years after their diagnosis but Kermit already has a bad heart. I guess years of Heroin abuse will do that to you." Maya almost laughed in spite of herself.
"He told me to call if I had questions, or if I just wanted to talk or anything. I don't want to see him. I don't want to talk to him, but I feel like I should. I've tried to make my peace with him, and I did that by deciding to cut out any possibility of having him in my life completely. But I guess it was kind of comforting to know that if one day, I ever wanted to look for him be would be there. The look on his face when he came to see me. When he asked me to call him. He looked so helpless. Now I just feel so guilty." Maya explained, her voice shaking at her last word.
"Maya you don't owe him anything." Josh said softly, smoothing down her hair.
"I know that but it feels like I do." Maya expressed and then faltered.
"But I also hate him more than ever." She whispered as if she was ashamed.
"The irony of it is that before this the only thing he'd ever given to me was life and now he's handed me a death sentence."
Josh felt a pit form in his stomach at Maya's words.
"It's hereditary." Maya continued
" Kermits dad was never around either but he figures that he must have had it too. There's a fifty percent chance of passing on the gene, so it's fifty/ fifty on if I have it or not." Maya felt her throat constrict, the fear roaring up in her again, causing her blood to go cold.
"I'm not sure if I should find out or not." Maya confessed. Josh's hand that had been stroking Maya's hair paused for a second.
" I've been reading articles about it all day. Some people say it's better not to find out. That it's easier to live a normal life that way. But I don't know how normal life can be if i'm spending every day like this. Wondering and scared. But if I do the test and I find out I have it, what then? At least if I don't do the test i'll get to hold on to the sliver of hope that it will all be okay." Maya took a breath.
"But the life i've thought about. The life i've imagined I could have... it would all be gone. Growing up, having a career, having a family...it would all just go away."
Maya had been having flashes of it all day. The life she could be losing. The plans she could have made and the things that she could accomplish. She thought about something that she'd never even considered in her life. She thought about kids. About being a mother. If she found out her test results were positive, it would never happen for her. She would never be able to risk exposing a child to the disease.
She thought about Josh as a father, holding a curly haired little boy with her blue eyes. She thought about having to push him away. About how he couldn't impose the pain of having to deal with her on him. She thought about being alone, and waiting for her hands to start to shake, and her limbs begin to twitch. She thought about the beginning of the end.
"I know I could walk outside and get hit by taxi tomorrow, but if i have this it means that I have a real expiration date. I could get hit by a taxi tomorrow or I could live another hundred years but if I have the gene I don't get that last option. I have a fixed mark that I can't move past and it's sooner rather than later. Most people with HD don't don't experience symptoms until their late 30's or 40's but it can happen sooner. 20's even." Maya let out a breath.
"And then what does my life look like? At the very end? When I can't take care of myself? When I become this disease?".
"You talked about getting the test and finding out you have it, but Maya" Josh started carefully,
" You could get the test and find out that you don't."
Maya raised her head to look up at Josh.
"You're just like Riley. You always see the good in things. You always find the hope." She said softly, raising her hand to run her thumb softly over his cheek.
"Whatever you want to do" Josh began, watching her as she looked back at him.
"I'm always going to be right here. No matter what happens." he promised.
Maya blinked back tears. Trying not to think of whether that could be true or not. She leaned up to press a kiss to Josh's lips before settling back down to rest against josh's chest.
Josh kissed the top of her head, and muttered into her hair.
"You should probably get some sleep." He encouraged. The thunder had long since passed, and the rain and slowed into a soft fall outside the window.
"I haven't slept. I haven't been able to since I found out." Maya admitted.
"Just try." Josh said as he rubbed his hand up and down her back.
"Nothing will have changed when you wake up."
Maya nestled into Josh's chest once again while he pulled the covers up around them. Maya closed her eyes and tried to focus on nothing more than the sound of Josh's heart beating beneath her ear.
Neither Josh nor Maya woke up to the sound of the dorm door opening the next morning.
It wasn't until Sasha spoke that either of them began to stir.
"Well now I know the boyfriend is real." She joked, placing her bag down on her bed and then plopping down on the top of her comforter herself.
" and his socks are drying on my bedpost. How charming." she continued, smirking at the two of them curled up on Maya's tiny twin sized bed together.
"At least I hope this is your boyfriend otherwise you keep way more secrets from me than I thought." Sasha continued to tease as she pulled off her boots.
"Sasha this is Josh." Maya mumbled, sitting up and rubbing her eyes.
" Josh this is Sasha who isn't supposed to be here." Maya stated, throwing a pointed look over at her friend. Sasha rolled her eyes at her.
" You didn't put a scrunchie on the door. I had a right to enter." Sasha teased once again.
"I should probably go." Josh stated, sitting up and swinging his legs off the bed.
"I've got a paper to finish." He explained. He gathered his things and leaned down to give Maya a quick kiss.
"I'll call you later." He promised. She flashed him a small smile and nodded.
"Nice to meet you." Josh said with a wave to Sasha before exiting the small room.
Sasha watched him go, before turning to look at Maya, her mouth slightly agape.
" Don't take this the wrong way or anything but your boyfriend is hot." Sasha stated. Maya smirked at her in spite of herself.
" I don't call him Boing for nothing."