"Well, um, Starla -- first of all hi. It's ..." subtle but noticeable pause, "it's nice to see you."
"I don't buy it, Stephanie." I crossed my arms and stood up to face her. At 5'2", I wasn't intimidating anyone with my stature, but push comes to shove, I can bite as hard as the biggest of them. "What are you doing in my house and who are these two guys?"
"It's a bit of a situation out there. We had to hide and I recognized your home, so we came here." Suddenly she seemed pale and I noticed her hands on her hips were shaking. I looked her over again slowly.
Her shoes and pants were muddy halfway to the knees; some fingernails broken, her hands scratched and bloody; her breathing fast and shallow; her hair wet from sweat stuck to her forehead -- oh my, Stephanie was scared of something!
"Get the heck out of my house," I said, not bothering to hide my pleasure.
I didn't know if it was the words or the chuckle, but she broke down. Fell to her knees, hid her face in her hands and started sobbing loudly. What. The . HELL?
She had been my best friend once. A long time ago, before she turned on me and became "Stephanie" instead of "Steph." If she came to my house and started crying in front of me, maybe there actually is something scary outside.
"Alright," I said loudly to be heard over her sobbing. "I'm making tea, and you three have until it's done to give me a good reason not to kick you out, because right now I really have to study for tomorrow's test. Oh, and I don't like you either, yeah, there's that too."