twenty-one

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Riley's birthday had fallen on a Friday. Naturally, it was Maya's duty to ensure that her best friend's surprise sweet sixteen was executed to absolute perfection.

The day had been incredibly hectic so far. Maya called all of Riley's friends at school to decorate her locker and to get cupcakes for lunch while the two had a special breakfast with the Matthews before school.

After dismissal, it was go time. Farkle had volunteered to be the distraction. He took Riley out to buy them enough time to prep for the party. Someplace fancy so she would be dressed for the occasion. Then he'd take her home for the grand surprise.

It was an airtight plan.

"What the hell do you mean the cake isn't here yet?!" Maya exclaimed. "Riley and Farkle are heading here now!"

"Hey, don't kill the messenger." Zay shrugged helplessly, grabbing a handful of tortilla chips from the refreshment table. He scrambled away as Maya glared at him.

The extravagantly decorated rooftop was already filling up with all of Riley's friends from school.

Topanga then popped up from the fire escape. "Maya, the cake is here," she grinned.

"Oh, thank god." Maya released a breath of relief. "Hey, you." She snapped her fingers, grabbing some guy's attention. "Get yourself downstairs and bring the cake up here."

"Geez," the guy muttered, shaking his head. He complied anyway.

"Don't you think you should tone it down a bit?" Lucas approached from behind her, holding a red solo cup, brimming with fruit punch.

Maya grabbed the drink from him and took one big sip. "What if she hates it?"

"You have nothing to worry about," Lucas placed a hand on the small of her back. "The rooftop looks amazing. You've done an incredible job here and Riley is going to love it."

With a growing smile, Maya stared up at him appreciatively. Her pocket vibrated and she reached into it to take out her phone. The screen lit up, showing a text from Farkle alerting them for their arrival.

Cake guy emerged from the door. "Where do I put this?"

"Quick. Place it on the center table." Maya stepped in front of the congregation. "Everyone, they're here! Hide!"

Maya grabbed Lucas' hand, dragging him with her. They both ducked behind the refreshment table. There were a few shuffling steps before the entire room quieted, the air buzzing with anticipation.

Then the door swung open.

"Surprise!" Everyone shouted simultaneously, jumping out of their concealed spots.

Riley's jaw was dropped, her hand pressed to her chest as her wide chocolate eyes scanned the room.

Everyone took turns giving her hugs and wishing her happy birthday. Maya resumed the music, letting the crowd around Riley clear out before sauntering towards her.

"Peaches. Did you do this?" Still stunned, Riley chuckled breathlessly.

Maya grinned, nodding.

"Oh my god, I'm gonna cry." Riley laughed as she pulled Maya into her embrace.

"Happy sixteenth, Riles." Maya mumbled against her shoulder.

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.

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Lucas was just about to head back up to the rooftop from the washroom when he saw Riley's open bedroom door. The brunette was sitting on the bay window, swinging her legs back and forth.

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