This one is purely because I figured we needed some sister fluff between the girls and comes straight from a situation I once found myself in with my own "Saoirse"…
(twelve, fifteen, seventeen)
"So, yeah, Gym's Hell at the moment, basically…" I groaned, sipping at the elderflower cordial Peter had brought back from the UK. Saoirse glanced at me sympathetically, as I continued, "I just can't trust anyone to catch me and Miss Lacrux is sweet about it, but she's losing her patience."
"Get up. " Saoirse suddenly sprang to her feet. Puzzled, I followed suit. It was only once she positioned me and then went round behind me that the penny dropped.
"Oh no. No, no, no and no again. This is not happening."
"Oh yes it is. Fall back. I've got you. Just go back."
"Saoirse, this is a terribly bad idea. The garden table's right there and it's sheer concrete behind me."
"Fine," I heard Saoirse take a step forwards and then her hands came around my hips, resting on them lightly. "Now," she continued, "Lean back."
Still sceptical, I leant back slightly…straight into the warm security of her arms. I rested my head on her chest.
"Uh-uh," I shook my head, "I like you holding me like this."
Saoirse laughed softly, running her lips over the crown of my head. "So do I, but it's not going to help, milady. Back up."
Saoirse gave me a gentle nudge and, sighing, I did as I was told. She stepped backwards a pace or two. Steeling myself, I started to fall back, feeling my heart rate speed up as I did so. Just as I was starting to get nervous, her arms came round me.
"See? That wasn't too bad, was it?"
Reluctantly, I demurred, "Maybe it's not that bad after all."
"I know it's hard at first, but you've just got to trust the person behind you to catch you. That's why I just held you first time round."
I nodded and was about to go and sit down again when Saoirse called, "Marie, come out here a minute, will you?"
"Sure, what is it?" Marie appeared by the French doors.
"I'm trying to teach Cara to fall back into someone's arms. Come out and give me a hand."
"What do you want me to do?"
"Get behind her and hold her by the hips. She's going to lean back into you."
"No I'm not!" I protested. "Saoirse, just because I can do with you doesn't mean I can do it with your sister!"
"Chill, Marie's not going to let you go," Saoirse shrugged, then hissed at her sister, "Marie, if you drop her, I'm going to kill you!"
"I heard that!" I exclaimed. Saoirse came round in front of me. "Right, when I say. Now."
I tipped backwards and Marie caught me skilfully, nudging me back upright in a matter of seconds.
The sisters exchanged a glance and Marie's hands left my hips. I closed my eyes.
"Yes, you can, Cara. There's no such word as can't, remember? Now look at me. Don't let your eyes leave mine, got it?"
"Got it," I murmured, shakily raising my head so that our gazes met.
"I'm going to count to three and then I want you to go back. Relax and just let yourself go."
"You're not going to hit the concrete. Marie's behind you. Just let yourself go."
"1-2-3," My best friend's voice was implacable. Unwilling to do as she asked, yet unable to defy her, I leant back…and tumbled straight into Marie's arms.
"Thank God!" I couldn't help the exclamation. My eyes fell shut in relief.
"Good God, she's trembling! Saoirse, I think you've traumatised her enough for one day!"
"All right, all right…I was going to make her do it again…"
"Not today. Let her be for today."
Saoirse fell silent in the face of her older sister's determination and Marie gently touched my arm. "It's all right, Cara," she chuckled, "It's over. You can open your eyes now."
I did so, laughing shakily. "Sorry for being such an idiot."
"No, it's all right. Everyone's scared of something. You just don't like losing control of your balance. It's probably just an after-effect of that accident of yours years ago."
"Did I do all right, Saoirse?" As usual, I looked to my older friend for reassurance. Reaching out for me, she took me from her sister's hold and pulled me into her own.
"We'll work on it, but for today, you did absolutely fine, milady. You did absolutely fine."
Soothed by her comfort, I relaxed into her arms and let her hold me, wishing we could have more days like this.