eighteen

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"Shit, shit. I think he's behind me."

"Okay, I think I got him..."

"Hurry, there are like three surrounding - shit! Damn it, Farkle!"

"Sorry! I thought I had him!"

Lucas tossed the controller over his shoulder and onto the bed. He ran his hands over his face then rubbed upward, his cheeks gathering up around his eyes as he stared at the screen in defeat. Game over in huge, capitalized letters. Zay was sprawled over the bed behind them, his quiet snores filling up the room.

Lucas picked up the controller, adjusting in his seat and readying himself for another round.

"Are you sure? It's..." Farkle glanced at his watch. His eyes went wide. "Almost four in the morning."

"Oh. I didn't realize." Lucas spoke absentmindedly.

Farkle yawned. One of those big, jaw-aching ones. "You can keep playing, but I'm going to go to sleep." He placed his hands on his knees, pushing himself up from the bed.

"Wait." His brunet friend turned to him with a questioning brow. "Can I talk to you about something?"

Farkle nodded his head and took his seat again next to Lucas. He caught onto the sudden tension in the air as Lucas nervously fidgeted with the pieces on the controller. "Is it serious?"

"Yeah. I'd say so." Lucas sighed, his eyes on his lap where he fiddled with the thumbsticks. "It involves Riley and Maya."

A soft chuckle rumbled in Farkle's throat. "What, are you guys in a triangle again?" He remarked jokingly. Lucas' serious gaze shifted up to meet his and the grin dropped from his face. "Wait... what?"

"Well, it's not a triangle. Um..." Lucas glanced away sheepishly. "You see, I... I like Maya."

"What?" Farkle's brows drew in at the center, his face contorting. He looked a little angry. "And what about Riley?"

"What about Riley? She and I are broken up. Have been for a while now."

"So now you're just going to go for her best friend?"

"It's not like that."

"Then what is it like?"

Lucas opened his mouth a couple times to speak but nothing came out. Nothing ever came out. He stayed silent.

Farkle shook his head with an incredulous laugh. "I never thought that you would be that kind of guy." He spoke with such disdain. "To–"

"To what?" Lucas snapped. "To stop being okay with anything that happens for once?! To finally go for what I want?!"

Another interval of silence followed his mini spiel. Farkle was gaping at him, guilt clouding over his blue eyes.

"I'm sorry..." He mumbled.

Lucas exhaled slowly then wagged his head. "No. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have yelled."

"I didn't mean to offend you, I... I've just always been very protective over Riley."

"Yeah," Lucas nodded. "I get it."

"I just don't want her to get hurt, you know? She's amazing, and she deserves to be happy, and -"

"You like her." A knowing grin slowly crept on Lucas' face as he watched his wide-eyed friend.

"What?"

"You like Riley."

"Well, yeah, I love her. She's one of my best friends."

"No." Lucas shook his head, smiling. "You love her love her."

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