Lucas Friar sat at the bay window between the two girls that meant more to him than the entire world. Both were one of his closest friends and both had developed feelings for him. Now they were looking to him to make a choice. He had always heard the expression between s rock and a hard place but he had never truly felt he understood what it meant until this moment.

"You mean choose one of us over the other? What happens then?" The blonde on his right asked.

"That would be the end of us," mumbled the brunette to his left.

Lucas hung his head. That was his biggest fear. Of course, it would be Riley that understood that. She always understood him...except when it came to his feelings for her. That seemed to be the one subject in which they couldn't properly communicate.

"What does your last card say?" Maya asked.

He didn't have to look at it. He already knew what it said but for some reason he removed it from his back pocket and read it aloud for both girls to hear.

"I don't want this to be the end of us." He said with a sigh.

The three of them sat there in silence wondering how they had gotten themselves into this mess and more importantly what were they supposed to do now. Maya had pushed Riley toward him. Riley had stepped back for Maya. The only one that hasn't had a voice throughout this entire experience was Lucas. No one has bothered to ask him what he wanted before making decisions that altered all three of their lives.

Finally it was his turn to speak. The only problem was that he wasn't sure what he wanted anymore. All he knew was what he definitely didn't want and that was to lose either of his friends or to come between the two of them. They had been a duet long before he'd come along.

He wasn't confused about Riley. He had known almost from the very beginning how he felt about her. He admired her strength of character and endless optimism. He adored her goofy quirks and horrible accents. Everything about Riley Mathews had drawn him in. She was the first girl that he had ever liked, his first date, his first kiss. She was the one he had wanted. Had she not pushed him away in Texas there would never have been a question as to who he would choose. The answer would have automatically been her.

Lucas's feelings for Maya weren't nearly as clear. They had been at one point, when he had looked at her as a friend only, but Texas had changed everything. That one night challenged everything he knew. He liked Riley. It had always been Riley. So then how had he wound up standing by a campfire with Maya's face in his hands, literally seconds away from kissing her? From that night on, he couldn't look at her as just his good friend Maya. Every time he looked at her it took him back to that moment and the question of had posed; did he like Maya as more than a friend. He wasn't sure if he could say yes but somehow he couldn't say no either.

They couldn't go on like this. They had tried ignoring it. They'd been doing that for months and it wasn't helping anyone. They would be starting high school in three short months and everything would change. With so much already up in the air it seemed like the smart thing to resolve at least one major issue before moving on to whatever came next.

But how was he supposed to choose? Both girls were equally amazing yet vastly different. Was he supposed to choose based on who he could talk to easiest because that would obviously be Riley? Or was he supposed to base his decision on who everyone thought he should be with, because that would be Maya. Should he choose based on who would be a better girlfriend? He couldn't answer that. They both made him feel alive. They both brought out different parts of him. He was himself completely with both girls. No matter which way he looked at it there seemed to be no viable way to choose between them.

Riley didn't want this to be the end of them either. That was why she had pushed him away to begin with. Yes, Maya had factored into the equation once she realized that her best friend had been secretly pining for her boyfriend since the day they met (no, he was not then nor was he now her boyfriend and she had no right to be angry with Maya. She had stepped back for her) but even before Texas, she had already made the decision to give him up. So why was she going back on it now? Because she loved him, that's why. She had said the words before she even fully understood them, but whatever they meant she had certainly meant them with all her heart. Standing there letting him go was physically painful. She wasn't sure she could do that again. She would if she had to. If he chose Maya she would find a way to be happy for them, she would, even if it killed her. She would rather lose him as a boyfriend than lose one or two of her best friends.

Maya didn't want this to be the end of their friendships, but more than that she just wanted this nightmare to end. She hated feeling like she was competing with Riley, and she really hated feeling like she was losing to her. It was easy to see that he still had feelings for her. He had always liked her, but no matter how hard she fought against getting her hopes up, part of her kept reminding herself that he had almost kissed her and that had to mean something. He had told her that her liking him had been worth everything she had put him through. There had to be hope...right?

Later that day the girls were sitting at the kitchen table of the Mathews residence when Lucas came through the door. He had thought long and hard about what he was choosing and why. He just had to hope they would all make peace with his decision.

He pulled out his white notecards again. He'd gone through an entire pack for this one speech, same with the one he had given earlier that day.

"Hi. It's me, Lucas Friar, again," he began reading nervously.

"Lucas put the cards down and just say what you need to say," prompted his history teacher...who was also basically a father to both girls. He was probably going to hate him by the end of this announcement

"You both mean the world to me and I would never want to hurt either one of you, but you asked me to decide and I did. So I choose...