Up close, the first thing he noticed were her eyes–wide and brown and slightly tilted at the corners, and almost too big for her face. And then she looked up and met his gaze, and he lost his breath. Her eyes were dark, liquid brown with little flecks of gold in them that sparkled like stars.
The thirteen year old boy in him scoffed at such a flowery phrase; that was for girls and fairytales. Fifteen year old Lucas, looking back at that moment, could say with perfect clarity that at that moment he had gained at new purpose – to never let the stars in her eyes go dark when she looked at him.
“Hi, I’m Riley. We were just talking about you. You used to go out with my friend Maya.” She blurted out, her voice light and sweet and a little breathy.
Lucas glanced briefly over to the crazy blonde, but was far more interested in the girl in front of him.
“I’m Lucas,” he replied instead, silently cheering when his voice didn’t crack.
“I love it.” Riley’s eyes widened the instant the words were out, and she squirmed slightly as color bloomed on her cheeks in embarrassment, forcing him to let her go enough to sit next to him on the seat.
He didn’t want her to move. She felt comfortable in his arms; it felt right. He didn’t understand the instant connection, but he didn’t fight it, either. So he compromised by scooting close enough that their legs and shoulders still touched lightly, aware of the reactive shiver that ran through her at the contact.
Unfortunately, they were interrupted before he could strike up further conversation. Riley gave up her seat to the pushy older woman, and returned to her friend as Lucas watched in disappointment. Maya had that mischievous look in her eyes again as she deliberately caught his eye and glanced between him and Riley over her friend’s shoulder. His eyes narrowed slightly in response; she was up to something; he could feel it. Sure enough, here came Riley again, this time stumbling past him to land in the woman’s lap. Lucas watched as they stared at each other; Riley’s eyes were wide and an apologetic ‘please don’t hurt me’ smile stretched across her face as her companion glared at her. But then her face lightened into a smile. “It’s for you.” She announced as she slid one arm under the girl’s knees and the other behind her back, lifting her high and depositing her back into Lucas’ lap like a present.
Can I keep her?
Riley met his gaze with an apologetic smile, which he returned more openly. She tugged her skirt down to cover her knees a bit more, and he moved his hand, but still kept the other one lightly resting on the small of her back. They sat in silence like that for the rest of the trip.
“So I was right. You did like her from day one.” Maya said smugly, interrupting his reminiscing. “The problem is, I love Riley to death, but she has a tendency to believe in and have hope for everyone in her life except herself.”
“What’s your point?” He demanded impatiently.
“If you go tell her you choose her over me right now, this won’t be the end of it. Because in Riley’s mind, she will be wondering why you chose her over me. Even though we both know there wasn’t a decision to really be made in the first place.”