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SOPHOMORE YEAR

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"Could you also bring the bag of sour cream and onion chips?" Maya had her cellphone pressed to her ear, her heeled boots making loud clicks as she entered Topanga's.

"Why? There are plenty of pastries there." Riley was only heading home now from school, attributable to her student council meeting. And she had promised Maya a cheese danish if she studied for her biology test.

"But I'm craving potato chips." Maya pouted, sinking into one of the plush orange seats. She hoisted her feet onto the coffee table.

Riley sighed. "And you couldn't just text me this?" Her voice was wobbly, impaired by her walking.

"I wanted to make sure you got the message."

"Well, I got the message. I'm almost there."

"Okay, see you." Maya said before tapping on the screen to end the call. She sat back and leaned her head against the seat cushion, her eyes falling shut. What she wouldn't do for a good nap right now.

"Maya?" Her eyes flew open at the familiar voice. She snapped her head up, glancing behind her.

"Josh?" A small smile tugged at her lips. Maya stood up quickly, stuffing her hands in her pockets as she approached him in a slow saunter, trying to remain cool. "Haven't seen you in a while."

"I know." Josh flashed her a charming grin, rubbing the back of his neck. "I've missed seeing your face."

Maya averted her eyes bashfully, slightly taken aback. She hoped that her cheeks hadn't gone red now. "You have?"

"Of course." His deep blue eyes hooded enticingly. "You should text me, then we can catch up sometime."

"Well, I don't know, you're a busy college student." Maya chuckled nervously, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear.

"I'll make time for you." Josh leaned in slightly, his grin appearing cheshire-like. Maya's stomach flipped. But before she could respond, another voice chimed in, calling Josh's name. Maya looked to see who it was. A tall, tan brunette with metal framed glasses. Her teeth were very straight and the whitest Maya had ever seen.

"Abby." Josh raised his brows, glancing over at Maya frantically. He easily masked his apprehension when the girl came over to them. "I - I... what are you doing here?"

"Are you kidding me? I go here for coffee all the time." Abby giggled, in that annoying superficial way that some girls do. She playfully punched him in the arm. Very obviously flirting with Josh.

"This is Abby, I met her on campus." Josh turned to Maya, gesturing to his friend.

"Hey," She tilted her head stiffly, a tight grin on her face.

"Hi," Abby's smile was so broad it took up more than half of her face, Maya could tell that it wasn't sincere. "Oh my god, I love your boots."

Maya refrained from rolling her eyes. "Thanks," she responded through gritted teeth.

"This is Maya. She's, uh..." Josh paused, looking like he was debating in his head. "My cousin."

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