He is frail and small, baby bones and fat cheeks with bottle pea eyes and a runny nose to match. He is screaming, crying, wailing, and Maya calls him a little booger and claims that that is all he really is. Except he isn’t, and she knows this. She knows this the best. It’s all in the way she sees her mother’s eyes glimmer at the sight of the newborn and how the father of said child is tearing up at her side. The scene before her is too picturebook-esque and fairytale-like that after she gives her new brother an accepting look and a touch to the chubbiness of his pink face, she finds her way out of the room.
Except her mother’s smiling ear to ear, pearly whites and damp forehead and the Hart girl can’t remember the last time her mother had looked at her like that. She also finds it amusing how she had quit her job for this kid with beaming eyes and barely any hair that tends to grasp onto anything that comes into sight. He gargles his spit and blinks much more than necessary and Maya isn’t jealous. She’s not.
There isn’t a reason to be. She was given a home and food for dinner (almost) every night and a bed (that’s actually a mattress on the floor, but a bed, nonetheless) and a room (the living room was all hers) and an education. It’s not the fact that she hadn’t been beautiful enough for her own mother to have sparklers in her eyes and heat radiating off open arms for her or good enough for her own father to stay for the likes of her, either.
She doesn’t tell Riley about the kiddo. Doesn’t need to. By the time she sees her at school, the too-cheerful brunette’s already practically jumping for joy since her mother had told her there’s a new baby in her best friend’s household that she just had to meet. She bursts of genuinity with her crescent shaped eyes to accompany beds of teeth. Farkle’s more on the curious side, nonstop questions and perkiness and goddammit just shut up a second, Farkle, please. And then there’s Lucas who is surprisingly the less annoying of the two, which is too damned ironic since he knows just how to get under her skin. He knows that he shouldn’t, though. Not at this moment, at least. He walks her to her locker and she tells him about her dislike for babies and children and whining and crying and how she’s going to dread living in her apartment for awhile.
And then she’s rambling about her mother, her mother’s boyfriend, and they’re failing relationship status and how her little brother’s going to soon be taking her mother’s last name, too. She remembers the legal process of having to have changed her last name all that time ago. She remembers tears and files and struggling and a runaway father. Maya stops herself before the darkness of her thoughts make its way to her mouth. They coincide all too well together. She bites at her tongue and looks over at the boy beside her who’d been listening to her nonstop babbling in all his sincere glory.
“Sorry ‘bout that,” she grabs her textbooks from his hands (when had he even started holding her books for her?) and shoots him a small smile. “A lot’s going on right now.”
“Well, you’ll always be my favorite Hart.”
And well, Lucas had always been her favorite listener.