The pressure of the hug and the press of Nikki's ample breasts into her back pushed a switch in Sammy's brain. She went as limp as she could and gave over to being held. Her right hand rested on Nikki's knee. "mmmhmm," was all she could manage. The smell of rich coffee and clove enveloped her along with a vaguely feral smell. She associated all three scents with her friend, though she couldn't place the source of the last. It wasn't a perfume.
Nikki buried her face in Sammy's hair and began purring softly. "So warm." She continued the low rumble with her tongue.
Sammy turned in the firm embrace as best she could and rested her forehead against Nikki's. Arms around her friend's shoulders, she smiled slightly. "Thank you."
"What are friends for, beautiful?" Nikki's smile matched her scent, a wild grin in spite of the darkness they'd talked about. "Listen, you know me. Someone's ass needs handed to them verbally, I'll do it. You need to get somewhere, I'm your bus. You need some time in the cuddle pit, I will be your hugladiator."
Sammy had to laugh a little at that. They sat for a minute or two like that and then she drew her knees up and went a little fetal. "This is just too much. I've been too scared tonight."
Nikki gathered her up as best she could, cradling her head in the crook of her elbow and resting her other hand on Sammy's hip. "Sssshh, doll, I got you. You're among friends here. You're safe. I don't care who this fucker is, we got you."
Sammy's brain whirled. Was that true? Could these women fend off the man she'd seen earlier? There was something about him that terrified her on a primal level. The smell of death and blood stuck to him like Axe body spray on a teenage boy. WHatever brought him into her life, she'd endangered her friends by just coming here. The tears began to flow in earnest. "I'm sorry." She whimpered and fisted at her damp eyes.
"I don't know if you're apologizing for crying or what, but you just lay here and let me love on you for a bit and then we can work on fixing this problem." Nikki pressed her lips against Sammy's temple.
Sammy nodded dumbly. She cried and let herself be held. Normally she might not be openly weeping in a public place but this hadn't been a normal day and this wasn't a normal place. Her crying was snotty and the body racking sobs hurt, but after some time, when the warmth of bodies pressed together and the pressure of hugs had increased she came back to herself.
Beth had joined the huddle. An intellectual property lawyer, the older woman's frame was slight but she was legendary for long hugs and buying rounds. Long silver hair had been tied back in a bun and she wore blue jeans and a rugby shirt. Dark brown eyes looked into Sammy's. "Been a while since you've been here." The cuddle pit, and not the bar. "I say I buy us all a drink and we work out what's going on,"
Sammy shook her head. "I could use another chai, but there won't be any solving this tonight." Slowly, so as not to make anyone end up on the floor, she managed to sit up. Nikki handed her a handful of tissues and she used them to blot tears and blow snot. "Thanks." As she blinked and looked around, she could make out shapes of other people on the couches and on the floor. She'd started something. Either that or some of the cuddling pros were teaching a class. That was a thing that happened these days. The three women got up and made their way back over to the bar.
Creetch had a coffee for Nikki, chai for Sammy, and a scotch for Beth already waiting. "Looks like there's a break in the storm." The recovering goth smiled at the trio. "Do I need to get Johnny to break some knee caps?"
"No, not tonight anyway." Nikki sat at the bar and drank deeply from the steaming mug. How she didn't need skin grafts Sammy didn't know.
"I don't like violence, but let's not rule that out." Sammy blew over the lip of her mug.
Beth grunted. "Violence is never the answer. Unless it is." She sipped at her scotch. "I won't pry, but if you need to get bailed out later this week, let me know."
Sammy snorted and put her hand to her chest. "No, I don't think I'll need that." She looked over at Nikki. "I will need that ride. I'm going to go check on Lin and even if I could do it alone, I don't want to."
"Let me know when you're ready. Creetch and Kim can hold this place down." Nikki looked back at the cuddle pit. "Those limp noodles aren't' going to cause any trouble."
Sammy sat and drank her second cup of tea. As she did, the others left her to her thoughts. Once she'd finished it and gone to the restroom, she came back and stood in front of Nikki who'd moved behind the bar. "Ready when you are. Let's go before I change my mind."
Picture by Laurel F from Seattle, WA (Tea) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons