eleven

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"Lucas..." Maya whispered, her throat bobbing.

Her eyes were glassy, filled with empathy for him. Lisa was a few feet away from them, her shoulders wracking with turbulent sobs. Lucas had not said a single word since. He only stared, various emotions swirling in his intense seafoam gaze.

Without warning, Lucas fled out of the room. Maya immediately followed after him. He thrashed about in the hospital, flipping over chairs and a table. People watched in fright, their eyes wide as they distanced themselves. Security guards rushed to detain him but he managed to dodge them and angrily pushed through the double doors.

"Fuck!" Lucas' voice echoed in the parking lot.

Maya ran towards him just as he was furiously kicking at the bicycles stalled in the rack. She was able to grab ahold of him and he struggled for a bit before he went limp, collapsing to the ground. She crouched beside him and held him in her arms as his body shook violently, his screams muffled against her shoulder.

"Lucas..." Maya whispered again, rubbing his back consolingly. She felt her shirt dampening with his tears.

.

.

.

"Guys," Riley approached Farkle and Maya at their lockers, a worried look on her face. "Is it true that Lucas' father passed away last night?"

Maya nodded solemnly. "We were just talking about it. He died of a heart attack."

"Lucas was late to class this morning," Riley frowned. "He didn't even say a word."

"All he needs is time and space. We don't want to smother him," said Farkle, speaking in a hushed tone.

"Hey," Zay sauntered towards the group. A dark cloud hung over him, substituting his usual jovial behaviour.

"Did you hear?" Riley asked.

"It's all over the school." Zay shook his head, his gaze falling to the floor. "I'm just glad you were there with him when it happened, Maya."

"Wait, you were with him?" Riley glanced at her best friend.

"Yeah. We were just heading home when his mother called from the hospital, so I went with him."

"How did he take the news?" Farkle asked curiously.

Maya raked her fingers through her hair, biting the inside of her cheeks. "He made a mess in the hospital. No serious damage though. Then he cried, for hours. I... I had never seen him like that before."

Then Lucas walked up to them. The group muttered a pitying 'hey' almost simultaneously, aside from Maya who just studied him carefully.

"You okay?" Riley wrapped her arm around him. Lucas nodded silently. "Well you can always talk to me if you need to."

"Yeah, we're all here for you, bro." Zay added.

"Thanks, guys. But I'm alright." Lucas plastered a grin on his face, though his eyes remained sad. "Really, I'll be fine." He shot Maya a look.

"We should head to English now." Maya said, linking her arm with his as she turned them away from the group. They all patted Lucas on the shoulder.

"Thanks," Lucas said when they were far enough from their friends, a small but genuine smile on his face. "They mean well, but everyone's been looking at me with pity all day. It makes things worse."

"Tell me about it," Maya shook her head with a chuckle. "Hey, did you finish that essay?"

Lucas smiled gratefully at her for steering the conversation away from the topic. "Yeah, you?"

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