Josh had brewed a pot of tea and brought Maya a steaming cup to where she sat on the couch.
"Thanks" Maya took the cup in the hands, letting the heat move across the ceramic and into her skin.
Josh sat down carefully beside her. Maya could feel the tension building in the door, Josh was clearly anxious to talk about it, but Maya felt hallow. The look in Riley's eyes when the doctor had confirmed what she already knew had nearly broken Maya apart. Maya felt Josh's arm wrap around her. She was comforted by the gesture, she wanted to lean back into him and fall to pieces, but that wasn't her place. She needed to be strong for Riley, even if Riley was there.
Maya could feel that Josh was bursting with questions beside her, and she finally gave in. She looked up into his eyes and nodded ever so slightly, encouraging him to go ahead.
"Does she….does she know what she's going to do?" Josh asked tentatively.
" She's still wrapping her head around it. She's in no shape to know what she wants to do yet." Maya explained. " Mostly she just doesn't want to tell her mom."
" How much time does she have to…. Figure it out?" Josh wasn't exactly sure how to say what he was trying to say.
"She's got some time but" her words faded off. She let her face fall into her hands and tried to breathe.
" I don't know how she's going to do this. Any of it" Maya whispered. The situation seemed impossible.
"Is she going to tell him?" Maya let out a deep sigh.
" I don't think she'll tell him until she's decided"
Maya let her head fall against the back of Josh's couch. She couldn't think straight. She couldn't breathe right. If Maya felt like this, she couldn't even imagine how Riley must be thinking.
After Riley and Maya had exited the student clinic, a stack of paperwork and pamphlets in Riley's arms, they had stood on the sidewalk, both of them unsure of what to say to each other. The nurse practitioner at the student medical centre had just confirmed that Riley was 8 weeks pregnant. Just as Riley had suspected, she had conceived right before Christmas. They had walked in silence back to Riley's dorm room and it wasn't until they made it safely back into Riley's room with her door closed that either one of them felt comfortable enough to speak.
"I think you need to tell your mom" Maya began softly, choosing her words with care. Riley looked up at Maya with more panic in her eyes than when the doctor had shared her test results.
"No. I can't." Riley's eyes looked frenzied as if she were deer caught in the headlights of a car and unsure which direction to run.
"Riles-" Maya began, starting towards Riley where she sat on her bed.
"No!" Riley got up before Maya could reach her and backed herself towards the far corner of the little room. Maya tried to reason with her
"Look, I'm here to help you. No matter what. But I don't know if I'm really the help you need right now"
"If I'm going to-" the words that came next seemed to catch her Rileys throat. She tried again,
"If I'm going to do that. I don't want her to ever know. I can't have her know. And if I'm going to do this" Rileys hand seemed to come absentmindedly to her stomach
"Then I need to think a lot more before I tell anyone else. But right now, I have no idea."
Tears started forming around the rims of Riley's eyes. She let out a big sigh, trying to pull herself together.
"You should go home. I've taken too much of your time already."
Maya scoffed. " As if I'm going anywhere"
" No, really. I know I freaked you out this week but I'm not going to do dark again. I'll text you and call you " Riley said in earnest. " Now that I know, really know, I need to really think. I need to make lists, and I need to read articles, I need to make a plan, and I need to do it alone."
"This can't be anyone's decision but mine"
Josh brushed a piece of hair out of Maya's face and behind her ear, bringing her back to the moment. She shook her head slightly, trying to clear her mind of everything that's gone on for the past few days.
"I'm going to go back up there next week. She's got another appointment to talk about her options."
"Are you ok? I know this is a lot for you " Josh asked carefully, watching her for her subtle reactions. Maya gave him a sad smile.
"I'm fine, I promise. I'm just worried about her."
"You're a good friend"
"I feel like I need to be a bad friend. I want to tell Topanga so badly. I know that Riley needs more help then I can give her, but I can't betray Riley. She needs to be the one to tell her mother, but at the same time, I feel like I'm betraying Topanga, the woman who all but adopted me and has loved me even when I didn't deserve it. We're supposed to go to dinner at their house on Sunday, how am I going to look her in the eye?" Maya ran her fingers through her hair in frustration. She had no idea what to do.
Maya had claimed illness to get out of Sunday night dinner. She had been too faint of heart to face Topanga with a secret sitting right on her chest. She knew that Topanga would be able to see right through her. She had sent Josh to dinner with her Apologies and hidden in her dorm room, trying to focus on her reading for tomorrow's class.
She was trying to put Riley out of her head until Thursday when she would take the train down to go to Riley's appointment with her. Every time that Maya asked Riley about it she said she was thinking, and Maya didn't want to push it. She knew that Riley would be feeling the pressure of her appointment on Thursday and she didn't want to pile anything else onto her.
Maya had almost put the whole thing out of her mind by Tuesday morning. She was walking down the block to her class across campus when her phone started to ring from its place in her pocket. She reached for it, nearly dropping the coffee cup she was holding in her hast to get to her phone before whoever it was hung up.
She didn't recognize the number but it had a Texas area code. Maya wasn't usually one to answer rouge calls but a feeling in her stomach told her to answer it.
" Hello?" she answered, slightly flustered.
"Maya?" came a voice she recognized from the other end of the phone
" Lucus?" she asked, almost not believing what she was hearing. He must have gotten a new phone number since moving back to the south.
"Hey. Sorry to call you out of the blue like this" He quickly apologized.
" What's up?" Maya asked, confused as to why Lucus would call her of all people. They hadn't really spoken much since the summer.
'Oh, um, well" despite the fact that Lucus has been the one to call her, he suddenly seemed quite flustered. He tried again.
" Actually it's about um" he stumbled again. Maya cut to the chase.
"Is this about Riley?"
" Do you know about that?" Maya rolled her eyes.
"Yes I know" Maya heard Lucus give a nervous laugh.
"I should've known. There are no secrets between you two."
" Anyway, I called because I'm kind of at loose ends here. Riley has been really distant the last few days and she left me this weird message last night and I'm just confused." He started rambling.
"I mean did I come on too strong? I just miss her and I-" her old friend's words spin in Maya's mind, colliding with everything that was going on with Riley. Her heart started aching for Lucus. Lucus, Riley's first real boyfriend. Lucus who was the lovesick boy who had proposed to Riley at their high school graduation in an attempt to not lose her, Lucus who had no idea what was really going on.
"Lucus" Maya stopped his rambling.
"There's a lot going on right now, and there's a lot that I can't tell you. But just" Maya sighed.
" Call her. Ask her to tell you the truth. If she's ready to tell you she'll tell you. If she isn't you have to be alright with that."
" I know that that's not the answer you're looking for but" Maya bite her lip, trying to find the right thing to say
"Give her time".