A/N: Hello and happy new year! If you are unfamiliar, last year I ran the Lucaya Project as daily short prompts from a number of words I kept in a bowl and drew from. This year, I decided to take this project to a new format, no longer as prompts but as one story, 365 chapters, one to each day! So let's go!
A HART IN TEXAS
THE LUCAYA PROJECT 2017
January 1st 2017
Her Departure From What Was Known
Her life was and would remain what it was. She had come to a point where, even at thirteen years old, she had seen the lot she had been handed and stopped it from feeling like a weight on her shoulders. It didn't protect her a hundred percent of the time, but when it did then she felt good. She had a mother who was… who she was. She didn't have a father, and that was all she would choose to say on the matter. She had a best friend, a ray of sunshine that was a lot of work, sure, but worth every bit of it. She was in 7th grade, and her grades… existed.
She would go on her own in the morning, climbing her way into Riley's home, and together they would head to school. Today, the two of them would head on that way by getting on the train, underground. Here Riley would stand out in her uneasiness, but oh, not her. Maya was known here, greeted in passing as an integral piece of this small world. How could she ever pass it up?
For Riley, it was a different experience, and Maya had to smile, seeing her standing there with so much fretful pride in herself. She applied kiwi lip gloss, the gloss already new to her, and she declared herself just as cool as her now. Maya could do nothing but keep on smiling, laughing a little. It would only have been her pleasure to test this theory. She surveyed their surroundings, the other passengers of the train car, but on that morning it was slim pickings, just men and women probably off to work, some parents with their kids… What she wouldn't have given for a cute boy to unleash 'cool grownup Riley Matthews' on.
Instead, all she could count on was one more uneventful day at school, and that could be dangerous where she was involved. One boring day too many and she just might earn herself her longest bout in detention yet. She could try and focus on Riley, see where this streak would take them… That usually did the trick.
By lunch, she was feeling control slipping. It was her, and Riley, and Farkle, just as it had been since they were all little. She liked their trio, not to be mistaken for being in any way ungrateful for the friends she had. She had different friends once, so far from Riley Matthews and Farkle Minkus as one could get. These two had given her so much in doing little more than to be her friends, but to her it was as good as gold. She would never let anyone hurt either of them.
As close as she was to them, what they knew of her life did vary to some degree, and even so she knew that there were still things she did not tell either of them. It wasn't as though she didn't trust in their ability to keep secrets. There were just some things she could not see herself putting into words, feelings that lived so deep inside her that she wouldn't have known how to bring them to the surface and even try. Someday, maybe, she would be grown, would be strong enough.
Their lives were good, and sometimes she would say something in passing, only to see one of those looks on their faces, the ones that said they didn't understand, or they didn't know how to respond, or they just… didn't know what she was talking about. She never wanted to hold that against them. It wasn't their fault. They were wonderful people, worthy of the protection she felt drawn to lay over them, to shield the light that burst right out of them. In return, they made her darkness feel that much more bearable.
The day had reached its dull end. No incidents to report, and as good as that was, it did make her wonder. A day like this, it would make her anxious. Things had been too quiet. Surely, something would come and disrupt it. They never had it so easy, not here. The height of this day could not possibly be Riley Matthews and her new lip gloss, no, she didn't buy it.
They rode back to the Matthews house, and again Maya had tried to find a way to test Riley on, but the best they got was one more sighting of Crazy Hat. Bad, this was bad. She left to head home, and she felt like a hunter on the prowl for… trouble. Her mother would still be at work, what was she going to do, her homework? No, that was what they wanted her to do, ha. She wasn't going to be lulled into thinking this day would end that way.
She reached her apartment building with no incident, climbed up to her floor, reached the door… and heard noise from inside. Had she been right or what? Someone had broken in, of course. So this was what she'd do. She would knock, loudly, back away and wait to see what came out of there. She was brave, not stupid.
So she knocked, three good knocks, sprang back… and then the door opened and there stood…
"Mom?" she blinked. "You're early, what… what's going on?" Her mother looked… nervous?
TO BE CONTINUED
See you tomorrow! - mooners