“Freeloader,” Kendra joked as she let Arian through the door, watching her throw her back-pack half way across the living room and plonking herself onto the sofa, face first, boots still on. “Can’t you take off your shoes first before you just make yourself at home?”

“I’m so tired.”

“Long day?”


She sat down on the floor near the sofa, her head resting on the empty sofa space between Arian’s chin and chest, staring up at the ceiling. “What happened?”

“I tried to go home today.”

“Still nothing?”

“They changed the locks.”

She felt Arian move her head slightly, and she moved her own, sitting up properly to look at her, practically curled up on the sofa, her chin almost touching her chest and her eyes clenched shut. She reached out a hand and petted Arian’s mess of hair down, curling her fingers into the locks in small, circular movements.

“You need anything?”

She could practically here Arian’s internal screaming over her short gasps of breath as she tried not to cry.

“I wanna stay here. I don’t want to face things out there for now.”


She reached a hand out that Kendra took, tightening her grip on it slightly as she looked up at her, eyes watery and red from the effort of trying not to cry. They stayed that way for a few minutes, before the sound of Kendra’s dog snuffling away in the kitchen made them both look up.

“Take your shoes off,” Kendra said again, making the effort to smile. “I’ll make us lunch.”