Cara Davies, by her own estimation, owed Julianne Draper approximately seventy-four love letters at this point in her life.. At minimum. The thought had flittered by when Jeremiah had shrieked for more whipped cream on his pancakes, and Cara -- ever the exciting aunt to Jules' son -- had dispensed it right on his nose, complete with raspberry garnish placed right on top.
To no one's surprise, the berry landed on the table, along with a good portion of the aforementioned topping. It was after the twelve 'hold still's and fits of giddy laughter that he'd finally settled down with Noodles, a dog who'd had no pups of her own, but had warmly accepted Julianne's well-meaning son as a surrogate, one that was content to watch an episode of a children's nature show on Netflix while the dog curled her tail over his legs. An odd one, but it was a family that'd come together on its own after a near-decade of friendship.
There were fights, sure. Ugly ones, even. No human relationship could've been strengthened without them, Cara'd conclude, and she was thankful for the bumps and bruises. In their younger years, they'd jousted over menial things; dress shopping, parking tickets, and grabbing the check at dinner were all fodder for two quick-mouthed and even quicker-minded women, but as they'd gotten older, the topics had gotten more complex and the cuts deeper than either of them had intended.
They had grown together as humans, barreling their way through the echoing aches and pains that matured unsure girls into strong women -- Cara and Jules had learned to balance one another out in more ways than one.
By the time Jeremiah had fallen into a blood-sugar stupor and Noodles had ensured that she was comfortably curled around her favorite, giggle-prone boy, a friendly lemur was declaring that it was time for the end of the episode (to which Netflix warned, the subsequent one would begin in 3, 2..); Jules had her hands on a mug of coffee (not dangerously full) and Cara took full-advantage of the moment by slipping over to the couch, arms around her friend without a word.
They were superheroes now, whether they'd liked it or not, and there was a world of things out there worth defending or avenging. Several of those very things were in this one room, in this one house, and the thought wasn't lost on either of them. Cara closed her arms around Jules' shoulders, comfortably propping her chin on top of her best friend's head without a word. Her person, the one that never gave an awkward side-hug, but never asked for one when she'd needed it.
"It's gonna be okay, you know."
Unprovoked, well-intentioned and soft while Jeremiah snored. Brilliant pancake execution.
"You're safe. He's safe."
That murmured conclusion got a small bit of movement from Jules, in what Cara would've guessed was a protest. There weren't many words of advice that she could give to a friend that was going through exactly the same, if not, more frightening thing than she was. It was different when a child was in the equation, she supposed, but it didn't tamper Cara's bright determination when it came to loving and protecting those closest to her -- no matter what hurdles were placed in front of her. Number 75, Cara thought idly, tightening her arms around her sharp-as-a-tack best friend. Her family.