I jumped and spun around, heart slamming in my chest.
Maya was laughing on the other side of the window. I rolled my eyes and opened it.
"You know I have a front door, right?"
"Where's the fun in that?" Maya grinned as she climbed inside.
"You just wanted an excuse to come in through the window, didn't you?"
"Yes. And it was totally worth it to hear you screech like that."
"I did not screech."
"You absolutely did."
I rolled my eyes and glanced toward my desk," Since you're here, I might as well stop studying."
The teasing smile immediately dropped off her face," Crap, I'm sorry. I didn't even think that you might be studying."
"No, you're fine. I really don't think I can absorb anymore than I already have. You're kind of doing me a favor." I waved her off and sat on my bed, pulling my laptop closer.
"Are you sure? I can quiz you if you want."
"Maybe later. Come over here and pick something for us to watch."
The smirk appeared on her face again. She sat down next to me, focusing on scrolling through Netflix," I break in and interrupt your studying, and you let me choose the show?"
"You're annoying and shouldn't be allowed to choose, but you're cute so I'm making an exception."
Her eyes flickered back up to me," You think I'm cute?"
All of the sudden, the room felt stuffy. Maya was closer than usual, and it was making my heart race. We had become unbelievably close friends in the three months we had been hanging out. Usually, I spent all of my free time responding to texts and snapchats from her. Whenever we got together, we were drinking smoothies and sitting in parks or walking around stores or just driving around. We were never physically close, and right now, her nose was only a few inches from mine. I could count every freckle on her cheeks.
I cleared my throat and stood up," I gotta clean up my stuff."
She watched me for a couple seconds before she looked back at the laptop. I took my time closing my notebooks and putting everything in my backpack. By the time I sat back down, I was ready to focus on whatever she had chosen to watch.
"Is this that show you've been telling me about?"
"Yep. And we're getting through at least three episodes tonight."
"You have an exam tomorrow."
I felt her chuckle before she scooted a little closer and balanced the laptop on our knees. Her arm threaded through mine, and her head leaned on my shoulder.
Calm down. This is just so she can see better.
I took a deep breath and let myself relax.
Maya pulling away woke me up.
"Hey, sorry. I didn't mean to wake you up." She whispered.
I rubbed my eyes and glanced around. My laptop was on my side table now, and Maya was already halfway to the window.
"Where are you going?"
"It's late. Just stay here."
"You have an exam in the morning."
"Didn't you say that earlier?"
"Yes, and that doesn't make it any less true."
"You staying over isn't going to change my grade. Just stay."
"I don't know, Rach."
Instead of arguing, I pulled her back onto the bed and rolled over so I was basically laying on top of her," You're stuck now. You have to stay."
"You're such a dork," she said with a small laugh.
"Yep. Now shh. Sleep time."
Her fingers lightly ran up and down my arm until I fell asleep.
Maya disappeared that morning.
She woke up with me and left while I was in the shower. Then I didn't hear a thing from her for three days. And I knew she wasn't missing missing because she was posting on Instagram and Snapchat.
Which meant she was just avoiding me.
And that hurt like hell.
When she didn't answer any of my messages on the third day, I decided to go to her house and make her talk to me.
Her car was in the driveway when I got there. I looked at the second floor- where her apartment was- and saw her walk past.
She didn't answer when I rang the doorbell, and I knew knocking would be pointless. Her apartment was the entire second floor of a house, so her front door was downstairs. There was no way she would hear me unless I was literally knocking down her door.
I took a couple steps back, hoping I could catch her eye from the window. But she wasn't near the window anymore. With a sigh, I glanced around.
Should I go old-fashioned and start throwing pebbles at her window?
Or I could just climb this oak tree. Maya has told me so many stories about leaving through her window.
The tree in question was in the front yard, and Maya happened to live in a relatively populated neighborhood. So when I started climbing, two different men walked up to me and asked if I needed help getting down. After I sent away the second one, Maya's downstairs neighbor poked her head in the window and watched me make my way higher and higher.
Maya was sitting on her bed when I finally reached her window. She was staring up at the ceiling, and she looked...sad. Like she had been thinking too much.
I knocked on the window and bit my lip when she fell off her bed in shock.
Serious moment. Don't laugh.
"What- how did you get up here?" Maya looked at the front lawn.
"I climbed the tree. I thought that was obvious because I'm...still in the tree. Can I come in?"
She nodded and moved to a side. After I climbed in and closed the window, I turned to face Maya.
"Why didn't you use the front door?" she asked.
"Where's the fun in that?" I joked.
She cracked a small smile but didn't say anything.
I sighed and ran a hand through my hair," I rang the doorbell but you didn't answer."
"Right. My doorbell is broken. I keep trying to get my landlord to fix it, but he keeps telling me that it's my responsibility."
"That's literally illegal."
"I know. Anyway, what are you doing here?" She crossed her arms and took a small step back.
"You've been avoiding me." I said softly.
"I'm sorry," she muttered, staring at the ground.
"You don't have to explain anything, but I want you to know something. I realized over the last few days that I don't want to lose you."
She raised an eyebrow.
I shook my head with a frown," Wait, that came out wrong. I already knew I didn't want to lose you, but I felt lost without you this week. Because you became my best friend, and then I-I fell for you."
Her mouth dropped open slightly. Before she could save anything, I kept babbling.
"The other night, I wanted to kiss you so bad. You just showed up with a grin, and then we were cuddling and fell asleep watching Netflix. When I was done with my exam the next day, I was so excited. I texted you. So many times. And you never responded. And somehow...somehow it felt like a breakup."
Maya wiped her eyes and refused to look at me.
"Not talking to you for three whole days and knowing you were okay was...it kind of felt like agony."
"I'm sorry." She muttered.
"Don't...don't say sorry."
"Just...don't ghost me again."
Maya shook her head before stepping forward and pulling me into a gentle kiss.
"Take a girl on a date first." I joked when she pulled back.
"Are you free right now?"
"I think I can squeeze you in."
She laughed and pressed a kiss to my cheek," Let's go get coffee."
"You hate coffee."
"But you don't. And that's how we met."
"You're such a dork."