"I guess," Jayani said, her hand on the doorknob, "that this means you won't be at yoga tonight." She looked back at Becca and winked cheekily. "I'll tell Anna you're otherwise engaged, shall I?"
Becca gave Jayani a quick kiss good-bye. "Please do," she whispered in her friend's ear.
Jayani grinned wickedly at her and whispered, “Details, later!” as she slipped out the front door.
Becca turned back towards Jon, who was standing in the middle of the hallway, scratching the back of his neck again and looking a bit dazed.
"Whoa," he said. "She's a real . . . force of nature, isn't she?"
Becca frowned. "Are you okay? She was pretty hard on you. I didn't expect her to be so—"
"No, no." Jon waved a hand vaguely. "I'm fine. She's . . . not exactly what I was expecting your best friend to be like." He beckoned to her. "I might need a hug, though," he said with a smile.
With a rueful smile, Becca stepped into his outstretched arms, which he closed around her. She circled his shoulders with her own arms and pulled him in, holding him tight. He nuzzled his face into her neck and sighed contentedly.
"Jay and I have been best friends since we were kids—we're more like sisters," Becca explained, stroking Jon's back lightly as she talked. "We're both onlies—like you—and we grew up in each other's houses, right here on Coleridge Close. She was there with me all through my dad's illness, and his death. I couldn't have survived any of that without her."
Jon tightened his arms and hugged her even closer, but he remained silent, letting her talk. Becca settled her cheek onto his shoulder.
"She also helped me get through those two disastrous"—she searched for the right word—"encounters. Before you. Both of those happened after my dad passed. Jay's seen me go through a lot of pain and disappointment, and I know she would do anything to spare me that again. I guess that's why she comes on so strong—we're family to each other. But I never thought she would be that . . . hostile." Becca frowned, then lifted her head to bestow a light kiss on Jon's cheek. "She shouldn't have treated you like that, even if you were—"
"A complete shock and total disruption to the idea she has of who you are?" Jon leaned back slightly to look into Becca's face.
"A surprise, I was going to say," Becca finished.
"Rebecca, I think we've got to expect that the other people in our lives are not going to be as happy about 'us' as we are," Jon said quietly. "They weren't there, they don't know what happened between us. Usually, when people get together, it's more gradual—you know, family and friends see it happening. We're showing up, after three days gone missing, talking about fate and love. They aren't going to believe it, not at first.
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