Still, this was his little brother, and from the sound of it, it seemed like their father hadn’t even tried to argue. Also typical. Lucas could see the vein in his forehead pulsing slightly, even though the screen, and winced.
“Anyway, fast forwarding to after the rodeo, where Riley decided to rearrange everyone’s lives by suddenly deciding that she loves me, but only like a brother, which I still don’t get what that even meant— “Lucas hastily returned to the original topic of conversation, only to get frustrated all over again. “—but she decided that because she believes that Maya likes me, and actually has from day one, which I have my doubts about, but whatever.”
“Lucas,” Matt interrupted. “I don’t need the full recap; I actually had a point until you interrupted me. Let me ask you this: If Riley hadn’t put you in the friend zone, would anything have changed, even knowing that Maya liked you? Don’t think, just answer: yes or no?”
“No. Nothing would have changed.”
“Because I don’t like Maya romantically. We joke and tease and push each other like you and Ami —ohhh.”
Matt could practically see the light bulb click on over Lucas’ head. “Okay, next question: would you and Maya have ever gotten together at all if Riley hadn’t stepped back?”
Lucas’ first response was to say “no” but he paused, thinking. He had known Maya was teasing; had even enjoyed their little competitions and commentary back and forth over the years. Maya didn’t trust many people, especially guys, to get close enough to talk to, much less tease. Yet something about him had triggered a response in her from day one. Now that he had an idea of how wary and cynical she could be, he was a bit honored that she had let her guard down enough to tease him and let him in her inner circle.
But would the teasing have turned to something more? He wanted to say no, but couldn’t. Riley had always been in the forefront of his mind, partly because he did genuinely like her, but partly because he had known that he hadn’t had a chance with Maya. Until he did. And then it wasn’t all it had cracked up to be.
“I don’t know if we would have or not,” he said slowly. “Without Riley to balance us out though, we probably wouldn’t have even become friends in the first place, so I guess not.”
“So then why are you still wondering what you should do?”
“Because Riley lied to me!” Lucas snapped. “She stood in front of me, looked in my eyes, lied to my face, kissed me on the cheek, and walked away without even hesitating. Why would she do that?”
“To protect her best friend?” Matt replied instantly. “She obviously wants the best for Maya, right? So who better for her best friend than the boy she likes and knows and trusts?”
Lucas sat back with a thump. Matt was right. From the first day he had met her, Riley had always tried to do best by her friends, especially Maya, even when it meant setting aside or sacrificing her own happiness.
“Not that we Friar men have a type or anything— “
Lucas rolled his eyes.
“—But she sounds a lot like Amelia. Let me guess—she’s more focused on what might happen in the future rather than what is happening right in front of her.”