A/N: So this is how I picture Girl Meets World looking. I took the liberty of adding a main character that I thought meshed well. I also wanted to make Eric and Shawn a part of the series, even if they won't actually choose to be a part of it. I wrote this like the show is written, so while it is based around the main character, Riley, it is really an ensemble show. So everyone carries equal weight and equal lines, even if the main character is what holds the show together. So after all those formalities, I present to you, Tangled (not the Disney movie).
Growing apart doesn't change the fact that for a long time
we grew side by side; our roots will always be tangled. I'm glad for that.
― Ally Condie
"Riley!" Topanga shouted for the third time. Riley was never a morning person. Even as a baby, Topanga could have sworn that she would cover her face with her hands every morning, pretending to be asleep. But today wasn't just any day—it was the first day of eighth grade. The first day that Riley would be joining her brother and cousin at John Adams High.
"Why do they have eighth graders in high school anyway!" Riley screamed, throwing an armful of clothes down the stairs. "This doesn't make any sense!"
"Riley, honey, it's just the way it works," Cory Matthews said, gliding into the room and grabbing a cup of coffee out of his wife's hand. "I did it. Your mother did it. Your uncles did it. Your aunt did it. Your—"
"Okay, Cor, we get the point," Topanga said, hushing him by placing her hand on his shoulder. "Riley, seriously, you have to get moving!"
"It's not a problem," Cory said, sipping the coffee and recoiling from the burning temperature. "I'll take her. We're going to the same place, anyway." He spoke with a lisp, a result of his tongue having been scorched.
"Don't remind me!"
Riley skulked down the stairs, her hair half-curled and lopsided. She was donning a pair of zebra print leggings and a hot pink sweater with Converse.
Topanga just stared, her face tinged with discomfort. "Um, sweetie, don't you want to wear something a bit more..."
"Normal," Cory said, nodding matter-of-factly. Topanga shot him a glare.
"Not normal, sweetheart," Topanga said, gently. "Just a little more...subtle."
"It's my first day of high school, Mom," Riley said, crossing her arms. "I can't just go into it acting all 'subtle.' I have to make my mark! Plus, everyone at school dresses like this."
It was then that Riley's older brother Elliot walked in, carrying his skateboard over his shoulder. He grabbed a cup of orange juice from the table, took a sip, looked at Riley and laughed, squirting juice everywhere.
"What are you wearing?" Elliot said between laughs. "Is this 1987? Are you going to a rave?"
Riley stood, her arms frozen at her sides, with an shocked expression on her face. "Oh my god! Elliot!"
Topanga clenched her teeth to avoid laughing and pointed her daughter towards the stairs. "Honey, just go change, please."
"I can't just change!" Riley shouted as she ran up the stairs. "I have to shower! I can't smell like citrus on my first day of high school!"
"No time, Riles," Cory shouted upstairs. "Just go clean yourself off and come back down, we have to be at school in ten."
"Twenty," Elliot said, mouth full of first day of school pancakes.
"Twenty," Elliot said, knowingly. He took a sip of what was left of his sister's glass of orange juice and cleared his throat. "We have to be there in twenty minutes."
"Um, Elliot, I'm pretty sure I know when we have to be at school," Cory said, gesturing to the large calendar on the wall. "I am pretty well-organized. It's on the calendar. School at 7:50."
"Yeah, I put that up there. It's at 8," Elliot said, finishing his food.
Cory froze. "Wh—Wh—What did you just say?" Topanga took one look at Cory's face and took that as her cue to go.
"Okay, guys, I'm off to work," Topanga said, edging out of the room. "See you at—I'm not sure yet. Don't wait up!"
The silence between Cory and Elliot had gone on for three minutes after Topanga left for work. Riley came downstairs, interrupting it.
"It's not as good as it was before, but it'll have to do," she said, smoothing out her striped shirt. She looked around the room. "Did I interrupt something, or..."
"What did you say?" Cory repeated calmly to Elliot. It was almost too calm. Like a scary calm.
"I changed the calendar," Elliot said, simply. The entire time that Cory had been pausing for dramatic effect, Elliot had been looking at his phone. "I added an extra ten minutes. Buffer room."
"Why would you do that?" Cory said, nervously. "I—I organized it perfectly. Everything is perfectly timed out and organized. Wh—What do I do with this?"
Elliot shrugged his shoulders. He had been used to his dad's neuroticisms. At this point, they weren't tough to deal with, just annoying. "We need to leave earlier because we have to pick up T.J. this year, remember?"
Cory's face warmed, returning to a natural shade. He had completely forgotten about agreeing to take T.J. to school this year. Eric's hours at the station had changed and he needed to be there earlier to give the morning weather report. That coupled with Lucy not driving meant that if T.J. was going to get to school, Cory would need to carpool.
"Oh," Cory said, breathing a sigh of relief. "Okay. Okay." He looked at the clock. In the time it took them to sort the situation out, he had wasted five minutes. They had to race to get to T.J.'s house and school before the first bell. He couldn't be late for the first day of school, the other teachers would never let him forget it. It would be just like the time he came to work with his shirt zipped into his fly. Now he was known to fellow teachers as "Fly." He didn't want to think about the new nickname he would harbor if he was late to the first day of school, especially after his new salary raise.
"Okay, team, let's go, let's go, let's go," Cory said, hustling Riley and Elliot out of the house and into the car. Whenever he felt under pressure he would act like a coach of a football team at the Super Bowl. He drove the eight blocks to T.J.'s house like he was in NASCAR, honking the horn aggressively.
"Come on, T.J.!" Cory shouted, lowering the passenger window to make sure she heard him from outside. The blonde poked her head out of her bedroom window, confusion present on her face.
"No time to waste, Teej," Cory shouted again. "Let's go, Matthews, let's go! Let's go, Matthews, let's go!" A small crowd of students walking to school gathered to watch the scene, and Riley covered her face in embarrassment.
After two minutes of this, Tessa Jane "T.J." Matthews walked out of her house as slowly as possible. She knew it would upset her uncle, and she liked to make him squirm. A vein on the side of his head poked out when he got really mad, and she wanted to see how big it could get.
"Tessa Jane, get into the car now!" Cory screamed. The time was 7:55 and they needed to be in their classrooms by 8. T.J. cringed at the sound of her full name. Why her parents decided to give her a two part first name, she would never understand. Like Tessa tortured him just seconds earlier, Cory tortured her. "Tessa Jane! Tessa Jane! Tessa Jane!"
T.J. hurried to the car, jumping into the backseat with Riley. She looked out at the small crowd of people, now dispersing as they got closer to first bell. "My name is not Tessa Jane," she said, quietly. "It's T.J."
"You walk slowly during crunch time, I call you by your full name."
"It's too early for this," T.J. said, falling back into her seat. Elliot nodded in agreement, too tired to say anything. The car ride to school was silent until they got to the stop sign before John Adams High. Riley looked up in awe. She had seen the school when they dropped her brother off for the first time two years ago, but this time it was different. This was a brand new world, and she was ready to conquer it.
T.J. looked over at Riley as she looked at the school. She caught a whiff of something, and just as Riley started to daydream about what her life at John Adams High would be like, she brought her back to reality.
"What smells like citrus?"