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A friend (in the night)

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A knock on Jess' door startled her away from her computer screen. Maybe it was the lady down the hall again? She seemed to make up reasons to knock on Jess' door. She was surprised to look into the peep hole and see Kayla, who was wiping at her eyes; then as Jess continued to watch, Kayla adjusted her dress.

Jess looked down at her Garfield pajamas and shrugged. She gently opened the door and noticed how Kayla's entire body was shaking, just slightly, like she had a chill.

"Kayla, what are you doing here? I thought you were on a date?"

Kayla looked down at her heels before taking a deep breath and looking back at Jess. "I told him I didn't feel well and left after the appetizer arrived." A single tear spilled down her cheek. "Can I come in?" Kayla asked, voice cracking.

"Shit, yeah. Sorry, come in." Jess moved out of the way and was going to point her toward the couch but Kayla seemed to remember her way around.

Kayla dumped her clutch and phone on the coffee table and curled her feet under herself.

"Can I get you some water? Tea?"

Kayla looked like she couldn't decide if she was going to let her body be overtaken by sobs or if she just stayed quiet if she could hold her distress at bay.

"Vodka?" Jess tried to lighten the mood and Kayla looked like she could use a drink.

"You know what? I'll just bring them all, and you can decide when I get back from the kitchen."

Jess left Kayla on her couch and went to put the kettle on. She dug around for her Vodka, which she poured into two glasses over ice. When she returned to the living room she had two drinks and a box of kleenex cradled in one arm and the hot mug of tea in her opposite hand. This seemed to pull Kayla out of her own head because she stood up to help unload the items and get them spread out on the coffee table.

"Thanks, Jess."

Jess touched Kayla's arm. She really did feel for her, and it had been gnawing at the back of her mind that she blew Kayla off when she first sought her out for a supportive ear. Kayla blew her nose and picked up one of the cups of Vodka. Jess grabbed the other one, clanking their plastic cups together.

"To...not letting them get away with it," Jess toasted quietly.

They sat back in silence sipping their vodka. Kayla continued to take deep breaths; Jess holding space for her.

When another 20 minutes passed, and their drinks were near empty, Jess asked, "Do you want to talk about it?"

"Not really," Kayla said softly.

"Another vodka then?"

"That sounds great."

When Jess returned with their drinks, Kayla was flipping through her coffee table book, The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience.

"Really? Clinton in every room?" Kayla prodded, good naturedly.

"Hey, if you're going to make fun of Hillary, you can go find someone else's vodka to drink," Jess said in mock offense.

Kayla closed the book and put her hands up.

"Thanks," Kayla said, taking her refilled glass. "I just needed to be with someone that wouldn't ask questions; someone that would sort of understand. I guess what I'm trying to say is I appreciate your company, Jess."

Jess sat back down and smiled.

"You're just lucky I didn't have company; I've been eyeing one of the secretaries down on three, I think she might be undercover as well."

"Don't tell me you have some sort of side pool with your liberal friends about how many women you can bed at Fox News."

"I'd never tell if I did." Jess smirked.

They both laughed and then settled back into companionable silence; this time though, Jess encouraged Kayla to lay in her lap and be held.