The Holograms tease each other, as many sisters do. It's born of affection and all in fun, and it's understood what subjects are on- and off-limits.
The way Kimber's attention will jump from one girl to another to yet another in the time it takes most people to check out the first girl, for example, is fair game. Her romantic escapades and misadventures in and of themselves tend to follow as well, not only at her expense but at the expense of others (it's hard for any of them to keep a straight face remembering Aja dragging herself fully-clothed out of the pool, expression like a gathering storm). Every new crush, new declaration of intent, new relationship, is met with at least one grin, one elbow at her ribs and one smart remark or sly aside.
But no matter how they might razz her for her wandering affections and wildfire flings, it's understood among her sisters that break-ups are off the table.
So when Jerrica comes home one day and finds Kimber sprawled on the couch and staring at the wall with eyes red from crying over a relationship Jerrica had joked two days before wouldn't last through the weekend, she quietly puts down her things and walks into the kitchen to take stock. She texts Shana and then Aja, who she knows will understand the severity of the situation that would lead Jerrica to subject her to a text message.
With that done, she scoops the last of the coffee ice cream into a dish and dumps a generous helping of chocolate over the top, digs out two spoons and goes to join Kimber in the living room.
Kimber sighs when Jerrica walks into view, so like the way she sighs over a new flame and yet so different. She rolls her gaze from the wall up to Jerrica, a smile twitching at the corners of her mouth when she catches sight of the ice cream. Jerrica smiles back, stroking Kimber's hair before giving her a quick tap on the head, a silent direction. Kimber lifts her head just enough for Jerrica to put her hand under it and lift it enough to wedge herself between Kimber and the couch.
The moment Jerrica is in place, Kimber snuggles against her, wrapping her arms around Jerrica's waist and burying her face against Jerrica's belly. Jerrica holds the ice cream aside with one hand and runs the fingers of the other through Kimber's hair, whispering reassurances.
She doesn't tell Kimber she'll find someone else by next week, even though she probably will, or that her attention will have wandered by the next day, even though it definitely will. That Kimber will most likely have forgotten this girl whose name Jerrica doesn't know in a month has no bearing on the pain she feels now and Jerrica knows that. No, Jerrica assures her baby sister that she's here for her, to listen or just to hold her, assures her that she acknowledges and sympathizes with what she's feeling, assures her that she can cry if she wants to.
But Kimber doesn't cry this time, not just yet. Her breath hitches, she sniffles, but she seems to be cried out for the moment. She lays there and lets Jerrica pet her for a few minutes, then heaves another, heavier sigh and drags herself up to curl against Jerrica's side. Jerrica's hand slides from her hair around her shoulders and pulls her tight as she offers her the ice cream.
They don't talk, just sit together, Kimber huddled in Jerrica's embrace and spooning ice cream into her pouting mouth. Jerrica takes a few bites of her own, but leaves most of it for her. Once, they get into a short spoon fight, going for the same portion, and Jerrica lets her win when Kimber hiccups an almost-giggle.
Kimber is slurping the last of the melted ice cream and chocolate from the bowl when Aja comes in, carrying a stack of pizzas three boxes high. Kimber squeaks out a happy sound, though it still sounds too tight to be normal. The food is laid out and Aja is bringing in drinks and plates from the kitchen by the time Shana gets there. She walks directly to Kimber, bending to drop a kiss on her forehead and pass her a slice of red velvet cake from the bakery they all like.
The four of them all huddle in to eat. Kimber and Jerrica move from the couch to the floor to be closer to the coffee table, Aja now pressed to Kimber's other side. Shana settles on the couch behind them and Kimber is quick to lean back against her legs. They still don't talk, except to ask for another slice or another drink or more napkins; they don't have to. They can all see the way Kimber begins to perk up under their attention.
She sighs blissfully around a slice of red velvet cake, pampered and basking, the heartbreak already dim against the light in her eyes. She leans against all of them as best she can at once and declares, still too tight but closer to normal, "Best sisters ever."