The post-Christmas exhaustion fell over the Matthews house like a heavy blanket. Its inhabitants couldn't find the energy to do much more than grazing on leftovers and watch reruns of whatever happened to be on the TV. The days between Christmas and new years blended together. Maya wasn't sure what day of the week it was let alone day of the month. After all the non-stop days of classes and exams, followed by the hectic days leading up to and preparing for Christmas, it was nice to spend a few long stretches of hours doing nothing. Most afternoons Maya would fall asleep on the couch with her head rested against Josh's chest and her feet rested in Riley's lap.
" I don't think I've ever seen someone sleep so much in a single week," Amy remarked as Maya finally came down the stairs on the morning of new years eve at 11 am.
"That's what winter break is for. Sleeping." Maya quipped as she flopped down at the breakfast table and happily accepted the cup of coffee that Amy placed in front of her.
"That's also what retirement is for. Where's your partner in crime?" Alan asked, taking another sip of his coffee without looking up from that day's paper.
Maya took a long drink of her coffee, letting the hot liquid scold the back of her throat in order to delay having to answer.
"She's still sleeping," Maya replied. More like she's sleeping it off, Maya thought to herself.
Riley had gone out the day before to meet up with a few of her friends from school. She had invited Maya to tag along but Maya could tell from the look in Riley's eyes that she was hoping that she would say no. Riley had promised that it was just lunch and that she'd be back to go ice skating with Maya, Josh, and Auggie in the afternoon.
Riley had disappeared around 11 am and had texted Maya a few hours later to cancel their skating plans.
I'm sorry! I'll see you tonight!
Maya brushed it off, she understood that Riley had a life outside of their friendship and if she wanted to have a day out with her other friends, Maya was fine with that.
So Maya hadn't been surprised when she went to bed and Riley hadn't shown up yet. It was only 10:30 and she figured that Riley would be showing up any minute.
Maya had woken up hours later to the sound of her phone ringing. She had groaned, rolling over and searching in the dark for her phone.
"Hello?" Maya answered groggily, rubbing her eyes with her knuckle.
"Peaches." Riley groaned on the other side of the phone.
"Can you open the door?" she whined. Maya could tell by her best friends voice that she'd been drinking.
"What door?" Maya asked, too tired to make sense of what Riley was asking.
"The door. The front door. It's locked." Riley whined.
Maya suddenly sat bolt upright in bed. It was the middle of the night and Riley wasn't beside her in bed. What time even was it?
"I'm coming," Maya promised, pushing the covers aside and quickly pushing herself up off the bed and out into the hallway. She walked as quietly and as quickly as she could down the stairs and to the front door. She turned the lock and pulled open the front door, revealing an intoxicated Riley.
"Come here." Maya reached out her hand and took Riley by the arm.
"I'm coming." Riley whimpered, allowing herself to slump forward and into her best friend. Maya caught her body with an oomph.
"Alright, let's go." Maya guided Riley up the stairs and into their shared bedroom.
" Down we go," Maya said softly, placing Riley down on her side of the bed.
Maya tossed Riley the water bottle she had stashed on her bedside table.
"Drink this" she commanded. She watched as Riley slowly gulped down the lukewarm water.
" Do you need to throw up?" Maya asked, trying to gauge the expression on her friends face.
"When did you become such a good mom?" Riley asked, looking up at Maya standing over her.
"And yeah throwing up might be a good idea."
After eating her breakfast with the family Maya had gotten up from the table, poured a fresh cup of coffee and made her way back upstairs.
"Hey pumpkin," Maya said softly, peaking her head through their bedroom door.
" How are you doing?" She asked,coming to sit down on their bed. Riley groaned, pulling the covers up and over her head.
" Come on now. Sit up." Maya encouraged, pulling at the edges of the duvet. Riley let out another long groan, but eventually poked her head out from under the blankets and slowly sat up.
" Do you want to try and drink this?" Maya asked, holding the cup of coffee out to her. Maya took the mug and held it in both her hands.
" You know tonight is New Year's Eve? You were supposed to wait another 24 hours before you got totally shit faced" Maya jokingly chastised.
" God I forgot that it's new years. I can't even think about going to a party right now." Riley complained, slowly taking a sip of the black coffee and wincing slightly.
"Well, you've got about 9 hours to buck up." Maya joked, although looking at the state of her best friend she wasn't altogether sure that Riley would be making it out for the new year.
Maya wanted to know what had happened to Riley the night before, how her lunch had turned into an all-night rager, but she knew that now wasn't the time.
" Try and sleep it off. Text me if you want some dry toast.' Maya offered, patting Riley's knee and getting up to leave.
"Thank you." Riley groaned. Maya smiled and softly closed the door behind her. She turned to see Josh standing in the hallway outside their door.
"How's your patient?" he asked, giving her a knowing look.
" A little rough," Maya admitted, leaning back against their closed bedroom door.
" I heard you guys come crashing up the stairs last night." Josh grinned knowingly. Maya rolled her eyes.
" She only hit the wall once." Maya defended.
" Is she going to make it out tonight?" Josh asked, referring to the party they had all planned on attending.
" If she should come out, and if she will come out are two very different questions. I can guess that she'll rally but she's going to hurt."
" So are you going to spend the night playing nurse again?" Josh asked.
" No, you perve I'm not that kinky." Maya teased. " She'll be fine. At least this time we'll both be there to keep an eye on her." Josh nodded and took a step closer to Maya.
" Do you remember last new years eve?" He asked, a glint in his eye.
" You mean the first time you kissed me?" She answered, reaching out and toying with the heam of Josh's shirt.
" I was so pissed at midnight when Riley came bounding up," Josh stated, shaking his head at the memory.
" not that it stopped you and then look what happened." Maya trailed off.
" I gave you the worlds worst cold." Maya laughed.
" yeah, but it was worth. That's when I knew the game was really on and that I'd won some major points.'
Josh took another step closer, his hips pressed against Maya body and her breath hitched as he moved in closer to kiss her. Suddenly the door that Maya was leaned against cracked open, causing her to lose her balance and reach out for Josh to steady her.
" could you guys go flirt somewhere else. It's just so loud" Riley complained her voice hoarse from the night before.
"Yeah whatever boozehound," Maya grumbled rolling her eye's and pulling the door shut again.
" Did you want to go take a drive?" Josh asked, brushing a piece of Maya's hair out of her eyes.
" is that code for go hook up in your car?" Maya asked, narrowing her eye's at him.
"Yes.' Josh admitted.
" Then yes," Maya answered, taking Josh's hand and pulling him after her down the hallway.
By the time that Maya and Josh got back later in the afternoon, Riley had rallied. She'd slept for another few hours, eaten the greasy eggs that Amy had put in front of her when she'd finally made her way downstairs and was finally feeling more like a human again.
" Take it easy tonight kids," Amy called after them that night as the three of them headed down the walk towards their waiting uber.
Cory, Topanga, Shawn, and Auggie had all headed back to the city the day before, leaving Amy and Alan to control the remainder of the hoard. Amy had been shocked when Riley had come out of her room that afternoon clearly hungover. She had raised four teenagers but she wasn't ready to be experiencing her grandbaby partying.
"Be safe!" she called out from the doorway before turning and heading back inside, excited to go to bed well before midnight.
They could hear the party from a block away. By the time that the car pulled up in front of the house Maya's heart was already beating faster. The grand house before them was bursting with people. Upenn students milled together with the majority of Josh's graduating class, while Riley recognized a few people from her classes and around campus, the entire party was strangers to Maya. So while Riley slipped into the crowd to mingle, Maya stuck close to Josh's side.
After a few hours, Maya was enthralled witnessing Josh mingle with people he had gone to high school with. He'd introduced her to many of his old friends and classmates. And Maya had heard so many different stories of Josh in high school that she could barely keep them straight in her head.
Midnight was only a few minutes away and Maya was feeling just the right amount of drunk. She'd had a few drinks over the course of the night. Just enough for everything to seem a little funnier, and for her whole body to feel a little more tingly.
Josh's hand had been on her lower back the whole night and her skin under her clothes felt on fire where his hand rested.
The music blasted through the house making it hard to hear what anyone was saying, but at some point, someone had noticed the time and started to shout out a count down.
The room around them was alive with excitement as people began to jump up and down or hang onto the people they were with. There were so many people crowded into the room that everyone began to jostle each other caught up in the moment.
Josh and Maya were pushed even closer together, and Josh wrapped his arms around his girlfriend.
With only 5 seconds left of the new year, Maya glanced up at Josh and found that he was already looking at her. There was a look in his eye that Maya had never seen before. Before she could say anything, he leaned down close to her so she could hear him over the sound of the party raging around them.
" I love you." Maya felt her heart fall into her stomach. Had Josh really just said that? Before Maya could open her mouth to say anything, the room around them erupted into celebration as the new year hit.
Josh leaned down to kiss her, ringing in the new year.