A/N: I apologize for the delay, I truly expected this to be up sooner but the official first chapter of the second installment Cracks in the Foundation is here. I know it's been an uphill journey ever since the dance and you aren't really sure where i'm going with this, but I'm hoping you will continue to trust me and follow this story through.

No buildup without payoff, and I'm building up to some big things (and no a bait and switch with Rucas and Lucaya is NOT one of them)

Here is a small preview of what's to come.

You can find the completed chapter here: s/12399588/1/Cracks-in-the-Foundation

"You awake Zay," he asked, nudging him gently with his shoulder.

The boy next to him mumbled "not again," as he shifted positions in his seat.

"Nope, not awake. In fact, very much asleep," he growled, tossing his head to the other side of his pillow.

The blonde sat quietly contemplating, alone with his thoughts, but it was no use. He thought much better out loud.

"What do you think it means that even in my dreams I can't kiss Riley without some type of interruption spoiling the moment," he pondered aloud.

Zay groaned in exasperation.

"I would tell you, but we've already established I'm not awake," he turned his back toward his friend.

Lucas gave the knob above a twist, silencing the hiss of the air conditioner, as if that were contributing to his distraction.

"Why can't I just kiss her," he bellowed, tossing his hands in the air. "It's not like I don't want to. I think about it all the time, but then when I'm with her it's like I can't work up the nerve and on the rare occasion I do, someone has a crisis or I lose a shoe. There's always something!"

The closest he had come was the night of the Valentine's dance and he had been acting purely on reflex at the time. She was making assumptions about his feelings and pulling further away from him. At that moment, something had simply snapped inside. All he could see was her disappearing into the night, just like she had back in Texas when he'd pleaded with her to reconsider. He wasn't letting her walk away again. He couldn't, but now that he knew she wanted him to- shouldn't that make it easier?

Hearing the desperation in his buddy's voice he twisted the other way around with a sigh. Clearly Lucas needed to talk and being asleep had not made Zay exempt from this conversation.

"Do I really need to spell this out for you, bro? Smackle and Farkle are two of the most scientific minded people on the planet and even they know you're doing this wrong," he grumbled, taking the blonde by surprise.

His brows knit together over his curious green eyes.

"What do you mean?"

Zay whined as he removed his pillow from his neck and shifted all his weight to one side.

"It's called the mating dance, Lucas. Dance is all about passion and rhythm; about expressing what you feel. You wanna get the girl? Stop thinking about it and just do it already!" he huffed as he resituated in his chair. "And now that I've given you the answers to the universe, I'm going back to sleep. You should do the same."

As he leaned back toward the window, the corners of his mouth lifted in a lazy smirk. He already kind of had the girl, not that he was ready to share that information with anyone just yet. His smile grew as he replayed their conversation that day at the friendship bench in his head. She had told him that she loved him that day, that she wanted all the same things he did. It had been their first step forward after so many backward and side steps, and he'd never been happier than when she had told him she believed they were worth whatever risk was involved.

Both had agreed that they weren't ready, and if he was being completely honest, part of him still wasn't. There seemed to be another part of him though that could think of little else. There had always been at least two elements to their relationship. They were friends first and foremost but there had always been a steady undercurrent brimming just below the surface of something more' something about the way she leaned her hand against her cheek when she had asked him to keep talking that night in the library, or the silly expressions she made when she got excited about something. There was just something about her, and all the ways she was different from anyone else he had ever known.


The courthouse was already in a frenzy when Farkle and his family arrived. The steps were littered with paparazzi. Every reporter and photographer within a fifty-mile radius must have camped out overnight, eager to make a name for themselves by covering his father's trial. There was also a large group of protesters circling the vicinity; investors in Minkus Incorporation who now felt deceived and were seeking retribution. From a young age, he had been taught the concept of economics and how it applied to the world he lived in; specifically, the family business, but he had always managed to detach himself from the ruthlessness of it all because it wasn't personal, it was just business.

But to these people it was personal. It was their life savings, their retirement, their hard-earned money going to a cause they knew nothing about. It was a violation of trust between them and the company; between them and his father. As the founder and Chief Executor of Operations, it was his face they associated with Minkus Inc's doings. It didn't matter what he had or hadn't known at the time. In their eyes Stuart Minkus was nothing more than a figurehead and guilty as sin.

As they neared the building, the angry swarm gathered around shouting their outrage and offensive line of questioning. Bulbs flashed and tempers flared as his father wrapped his arms around his family, steering them through the crowd. Unable to get a rise out of the defendant or his wife, one of the reporters turned their focus to their only child.

"As the heir to the Minkus fortune, how do you feel about your father's ill-gotten gains," she asked, shoving her microphone right in his face.

His crystal blue eyes turned to ice as he stared her down. Logically, he realized that this was just another story to her, perhaps even her "big break." In her mind, she was simply doing her job. Nevermind the family she was destroying or the innocent man she was condemning.

It wasn't personal, it was business, but that didn't make it okay.

"I feel like this whole thing is unfair," he spat with fury. "My father has done nothing but work and sacrifice for this company, for a legacy he could be proud of! It's not like we knew this was gonna happen!"

The reporter narrowed her eyes, seeing an opportunity to fortunate to pass.

"Didn't plan to embezzle or didn't plan to get caught," she asked, before turning toward the camera. "You heard it here first, folks. Minkus Junior, guilty by association or willing accomplice?

The grip on his shoulder tightened at his words. He glanced up to see his father, eyes full of gratitude and sadness.

"Don't bother son. Just let the system do its job," he whispered into his ear.

As much as he appreciated his son sticking up for him, he knew none of those vultures had any interest in the truth. They were only looking for a way to advance their own agenda and scandal sold far more headlines than innocence.