Riley Matthews was exactly like her father in too many ways to count. It was also only fitting that her best friend Maya was a carbon copy of Shawn Hunter, also Cory’s best friend. And while Stuart Minkus hadn’t remained in Cory and Shawn’s lives for very long, his son Farkle was determined to be much more than a supporting role in the girls’ lives. That meant that there was only one more role to fill in this little déjà vu game they called life. Luckily for him though, Topanga had recognized a kindred spirit in Lucas Friar from the first moment she saw how he looked at her daughter. Like called to like. And sooner or later, she knew he would seek her out for advice.
She had forgotten, however, to factor in the stubbornness of teenage boys–and girls, since she suspected that Riley was equally to blame somehow. Still, her now fifteen year old daughter was too busy complaining to Maya, while Topanga pretended to organize the register as she considered the woefully pitiful and stubbornly defiant boy–young man–sitting at the corner table of her cafe, glaring into a coffee cup.
“You’ll never truly understand, so quit driving yourself crazy trying to decipher her logic.”
Lucas looked up as she set a blueberry muffin down in front of him before returning to the counter to grab the drinks.
“To be honest, I was expecting Mr. Matthews.”
He had been aware of her since he had entered the cafe, but hadn’t really expected her to come over. Where Mrs. Matthews went, her husband usually followed close behind, figuratively and literally.
She paused in the act of setting a cup of chai–sweetened with milk and just a hint of vanilla, just the way he liked it–to fix Lucas with her best mom look. His green eyes widened a bit, but he held her gaze with a hint of challenge in his own as she settled onto the bar stool across from him. “Why were you expecting Cory?”
“Because he has a sixth sense for teaching moments. It’s like a natural instinct–he just can’t help himself, even if the father and the teacher are arguing the whole time.” Lucas instantly winced as the words came tumbling out, snarky and a bit frustrated. “I’m sorry–I didn’t–”
Topanga laughed in delight at the candidly honest and blunt answer. “No, you’re right. Cory has a way of blurring the lines between home and work, and especially father and teacher. But then, he grew up next door to his mentor, so he can’t help it.” She said fondly, if a bit exasperatedly.
“You mean Mr. Feeny, right?” Lucas said, a bit hesitantly. Of all the people in Riley’s family, her mom had always been the hardest for him to get a read on.
He had come to the cafe early to think and be alone. Since it was Sunday morning, January 2nd, he had assumed that Riley and Maya were sleeping in, as was their habit, and hadn’t expected Riley’s mother to be working either.
“Katy requested Sundays off so that she could have Sunday brunch with her daughter.” Topanga said quietly, following his thoughts in her uncanny way. “It was something that she came up with on her own a few weeks ago, but it is quickly becoming a mother-daughter tradition, which they both need.” Her smile invited him to share the joke as she added, “And contrary to popular opinion, I do know how to bus tables and serve customers.”