She squeezed him tighter when he felt his arms come up around her. Frankly she was surprised he had responded at all. At the start he had seemed so cold and distant, as if he were afraid to show any emotion at all. Which was just silly. She knew first hand how badly that would turn out, bottling everything up inside.
“I know,” she mumbled. And while she didn’t exactly know what it was like losing a best friend she knew a feeling that came close. Yes, losing a pet and a person is not the same thing on the outside but the feeling of loneliness and pain came close. She rubbed at his back and held on until his grip loosened a little, not wanting to abandon him in a way in his time of need. What kind of friend would do that?
Brushing away his tears with the pads of her thumbs she said with a small smile, more for her own benefit, “You’re going to get fat from the stuff I’ll bake for you. You won’t ever go hungry, okay? And if you ever want someone to talk to or…just sit with you can always come to me, okay? I’ll never be too busy for any of my friends so don’t ever worry about that. And I could bring Sophia and you could meet her. You’d love her. She’s the sweetest girl on the planet, has a smile for everyone.” Chuckling a little she added, “Yeah, she has my hair, just not this bright.”
She squeezed him again and stepped back, holding him at arm’s length and looked him over. “Do you need a place to stay? Better yet, can I do anything to help at all? Even the smallest of things. Hmm, changing the subject’s probably not helping but I don’t know if you want to talk or not. Why don’t we sit, just in case your legs give out.”
Terry felt Mel’s arms tighten and he realized that being alone, keeping to himself, having no one to talk to, was all getting old. He hadn’t had a hug in so long, and maybe that’s why he accepted it so quickly. Or maybe it was because after being by himself for those long months away, he hadn’t realized how much he needed a friend like Mel. He mumbled a “Sorry,” as Mel began wiping away his tears. Frankly, he was a grown man and having a girl brush away his tears for him while they both stood in the middle of a restaurant seemed rather embarrassing, so he nodded and they sat back down.
“Thanks, Mel,” he said, with another little smile. “Sophia sounds wonderful, by the way.” He had no idea how she was being so hospitable to him, but he wasn’t going to complain. “Did I mention that I missed you?” he asked with a sigh before returning to his previous activity of pushing his salad around on his plate.