Lucas has a gift too- he reads people well. That's how he knew that Riley was the right choice for his first crush in the city, even though he'd initially been more attracted to Maya. He knew that Riley would show him around, catch him up in school, and introduce him to other nice kids and he knew Maya would be trouble, plain and simple.
Lucas also knows that bullies are the way they are because they themselves are insecure. Not that he would necessarily say Maya was 'bullying' him, but even if he did feel that way he would know that she only wants to "break him", as she says, because she views him as a threat to her friendship with Riley, which she desperately clings to. Instead of reacting the way she wants him to and allowing her to get a rise out of him, he allows her to stomp around and make fun of him, awarding her antics with a tip of the hat and a rose.
Lucas notices other things about Maya too. The way she says she isn't embarrassed or disappointed by her mother, but acts quite differently. That's why, after Mr. Matthew's history class, he skips French to go find her in the art room. There are no classes there in the afternoon, so he figured that's where she'd go, somewhere where she wouldn't have to hide. And that's where he finds her.
"Fancy meeting you here, ma'am," he says, gently knocking on the door to the room. He sees her shape bent up over her sketchpad; she's finishing her drawing from the other day, Farkle the Bird.
"There ain't room in this town for the both of us cowboy," she jokes halfheartedly, "get lost."
"What if I don't want to?" he asks, sitting as close to her as he dares to without actually sitting next to her, because while he isn't exactly scared of the smaller girl, he isn't sure he necessarily isn't scared of her either.
"I'll make you," she said, glaring at him, a stare he's seen work on many, many other people, but one that didn't quite faze him, because he saw through it.
"No you won't," he said, inching closer, "you know how I know?"
"How?" she asked, her curiosity getting the best of her.
"Because," he pointed to her drawing, "you, Maya Hart, are a nice girl."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, partner," she said, pulling farther from him and taking her sketch pad with her, "you can't just follow me in here and start accusing me of things."
"Yes I can," he laughed, "Wanna know why?"
"Why?" she mumbled, eyes rolling.
"Because you like me," he nudged her and, noticing her incredulous stare quickly added, "I mean, we're friends."
"Friends?" she repeated, "You and me? I don't know, Howdy Doody."
"Think about it," he said, realizing he wasn't going to get through to her right now, "I'll be seeing ya. And you know I'm always around, if you need to talk."
She mumbled a goodbye at his retreating back, but he stopped when he passed another one of her pieces, a diner scene that was only half finished.
"Riley's right you know," he said abruptly, turning back to her, "You should do the art night."
Of course the night of the art show he was there to support his friend, and he was pleased to note that she had even submitted the diner painting.
"It's really good Maya," he said, smiling warmly although she scowled.
"Yeah, well, whatever," came the response, "I wasn't going to, but Riley signed me up and all, so here I am."
"Good for you," he said, nodding in appreciation.
"She's not gonna come, you know," she said, "Just a heads up, in case you care. Riley's gonna be all disappointed, maybe that'll be your moment."
"Is Riley going to be the only one disappointed?" he asked, carefully.
"Unless you and Farkle are holding out hope too," she shrugged; ignoring his obvious suggestion that she might be the one disappointed.
"I think we'll be okay," he said, "but it would be great if she showed, right? Plus, I want to apologize to her."
"For what?" the small blonde asked, confused. Nobody else confused her as much or as often as the much taller boy.
"Asking about her uniform after she ignored Farkle. I didn't know, I thought it was for a part or something," he explained. He'd been feeling bad about it since the woman had run out of the room.
"Hey, don't feel bad about that," Maya brushed it off, "She needs to quit pretending so much, you know? It's good to join the rest of us in the real world every once in a while."
"Still," he pushed. He was too much of a gentleman not to feel bad when he'd clearly hurt both Ms. Hart and Maya.
"Well she won't be here, so I'll just have to pass along the apology for you," Maya cut him off.
"Promise?" he said, smirking slightly, pinkie extended in a childish move she couldn't help but smile at.
"Hart's don't make promises," she said, "We're not good at keeping them."
"Fine," he said, "I'll just have to trust you."
He kept an eye on her the rest of the night. She didn't seem too upset, but he could still tell it stung a little that everyone, even Riley's parents, came, except her mother. He wished he'd been able to stop Farkle before he'd asked about the half woman in the painting, but there wasn't much to do after the fact except to hang around a little in case Maya needed to talk to someone. He knew the girl would probably rather eat toenails than admit to him that she was upset about her mom, but with Riley bailing like she had he knew she also didn't have many other options. He thought it rather odd that the brunette had run out of the school like she had. Anyone could guess where she was going, but he couldn't figure out why.
Riley couldn't possibly think that it was more important for her to deal with Ms. Hart than to be there for Maya right? Because that would be kind of ridiculous. The more he hung out with Riley and Maya, the more he realized how immature the first girl was, versus the second. Maya wasn't necessarily responsible, in the traditional sense of the word, but she was more street smart, and very protective of Riley. Maya was jaded, but he didn't exactly mind it. It was definitely more interesting than Riley's shy, innocent routine.