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Crestview 
#1

Cassidy walked the mile or so to Natalie's place and approached the front door with a PetSmart branded plastic bag looped about her wrist. The offer stood whenever Cass wanted to borrow Boris she only needed to ask. She asked a few times and once past the initial awkwardness of borrowing another's animal for an hour, she warmed to the prospect. Work picked up lately and it'd been a while since she last stopped by.

Cass rang the doorbell and waited, passing the time on her phone.
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#2


Out of the things she had expected today, Cassidy was definitely not it. Looking through the peep hole and seeing her there was a weird slap. Oh no. Pretending she wasn’t here would just mean the woman would come back with the same thought that Boris walking was definitely a sure thing. But… So it was best to at least see this visit through.

Plastering on a mediocre smile, Natalie unlocked the door and opened it.

”Hey there, how’re you?”

There was a bit of a hesitation before stepping away and opening the doorway wider so the woman could come in if she wanted to.
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#3
"Hey!" Cass smiled back and noticed the reluctance in her friend's smile; must be a shitty day or busy… best make it quick. But she was already looking past Natalie and onto the empty hallway. Normally a skitter of claws on hardwood accompanied her friend, but not today. Cass raised an eyebrow and crossed the threshold, pocketing her phone.

"Yeah, good. Feeling better; work's busy as all hell." She began to grouse then stopped herself with a sharp inhale. "How's things with you?" Cass kept an eye on Natalie and the other on the hallway beyond, expecting an energetic Boris any second now.
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#4
The eyebrow raise had Natalie’s gaze fall to the ground, not able to keep eye contact and the clear questions behind it. As Cassidy walked in, she closed the door and began making the way down the hall, pausing at the entrance of the kitchen, listening. ”That’s great to hear,” she said genuinely, giving a more wholehearted smile, happy to hear everything was well in her neck of the woods. ”That you’re feeling better, not the work thing.”

Biting her lip, Natalie saw the bag in Cassidy’s grip and her heart tore a bit. ”I, uh, I’ve had a rough month. Do you… do you want anything to drink?"
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#5
Cass watched how Nat moved, noted the lack of eye contact, and the downtrodden demeanor. Something was very wrong. The door clicked closed and Cass hummed in concern. Still no Boris, but that disquiet slipped to the background. She followed Natalie towards the kitchen, walking slowly, as if careful not to disturb the depressive pall smothering her friend.

"Coffee…" She ventured, feeling they'd have the time. Coming to a stop just inside the kitchen, her concern veering towards bluntness. "Nat, something happen?"
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#6
With something to do, Natalie made her way to the counter, opening the water reservoir on the coffee pot. As she turned on the sink to fill the pot, the action became really very interesting as Cassidy direction a question at her that seemed a bit cornering.

”Umm, sort of… yes.” Water reaching the appropriate fill line, a move to turn the handle to turn the water off was made. Taking a breath, Natalie looked towards Cassidy trying and failing at a brave face. Might as well at least let her know some of it. Being upset for the topic was normal, but hopefully she could keep it together. ”Boris,” she shook her head before turning back to put the water in before putting the pot into place and making to measure out ground beans.

Clearing her throat, she forced herself to put some effort into words.

”It’s been hard, but Boris ran away, got lost somewhere or something.” And got eaten but really Cassidy didn’t need to know that. She was toeing the half lie half truth land and it was uncomfortable, her voice cracking a bit.

Starting the pot, she sighed as it began to gurgle. The wolf was being very aware right now and it really wasn’t helping, seeming to dig where the pain was. Turning around, she leaned against the counter, folding her arms. ”I’m sorry I didn’t call. I just thought he’d come back.” She’d managed to add that, but couldn’t meet eyes at all. A shrug was given, hands coming up and then back down with a pat of defeat to her thighs.
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#7
Boris was dead. Cass knew this even as Natalie hung to flimsy hope of his return. With lips set into a disquieting frown, Cass nodded slow and thoughtful. She spent the moment as Natalie apologized for not calling sooner to imagine Boris in a ditch along the roadside, fur matted and stomach bloated in the sun, a crow pecking at the eye. Cass huffed and shook her head. The good boy deserved better than roadkill.

"You don't owe me anything." What was supposed to absolve Nat of any guilt sounded unfriendly to Cassidy. She grimaced and then her lips tightened into a commiserating half-smile. Shifting against the kitchen doorframe, the PetSmart bag in her hand rustled. With a soft curse she moved the bag behind her back. Boris wore tags; maybe the county would pick him up and Nat would get the call then?

"I'm sorry to hear that." It was easier to deal with this situation detached and Cass slipped into cop mode. Shit; she'd miss that dog. She breathed out a heavy sigh and watched the floor.
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#8
Natalie looked up at that, gave a wobbly smile that fell immediately. She didn’t owe Cassidy, true, but she’d deserved to hear sooner. She’d failed there. Guilt welled up and there was a tension in her throat as tears began to fall at the sorry. Boris was dead and she was a freaking werewolf. Her life had turned upside down so fast. But, Cassidy didn’t need to say sorry. None of this was her fault. It was Natalie’s.

Using the back of her arm to wipe at her eyes furiously, Natalie shook her head. ”No, you don't have to-,” she had to take a big breath and there was a warning of tension in her shoulders. Shaking her head, she brang the arm away. Not able to get much other words out, Natalie managed a simple one. ”Thanks.”

An unsteady breath and she opened the cabinets above to pull out two mugs.
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#9
Unspoken worry rose as Cass watched Natalie in the kitchen. She huffed another sigh; the PetSmart bag rustling at her back. That fucking dog was all that linked them and now that Boris was gone… Nat wiped tears from her eyes and Cass fought to say something comforting. Their apologies still hot on the air, adding another into the mix was repetitive and rung false.

Other questions cluttered Cass' thoughts. When did this happen? How long had passed? What had she done since? Had she checked with the county or animal control or the local shelters? Maybe Nat would get a new dog, and they could put this behind them and move forward?

Inquiring about a replacement felt tasteless when Natalie was still raw over Boris. God, what else did they have in common? Awkward and guilty for dwelling on how this impacted her when the other woman sagged beneath her loss, Cass drew inward.
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#10
There were a few moments of silence as the coffee pot finished its gurgling. In which, she’d drawn into herself a bit. Boris’ death was a thing that weighed heavy, but in the end it was just an addition to all the horrible other stuff that happened that night and now and well her life in general right now. It was a stupid catalyst and at the heart of it was just stupidity on her own part.

Pouring the coffee out, she went to the fridge and opened the door, looking towards Cass again and using the moment to distract spiraling thoughts. ”Do you want milk or creamer?” Natalie’s voice sounded bit weird and she cleared her throat in efforts to stem that. Sending a small smile over, she continued. ”It’s, uh, mocha flavored. It’s a nice swaddle of sweet that helps perk you up in the morning, er, well anytime of day I guess,” she said with an an attempt at a good natured huff.
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#11
"Black." She held up a hand to decline any milk or creamer. Coffee needed to stand on its own two feet. Muting the taste with dairy or creamer or whateverthefuck diminished the experience. Cass nodded slowly to the mocha, hating both syllables but unwilling to put voice to her concern, especially after hearing about Boris.

Cass drew a long breath, still nodding, preparing herself for this sweetly caffeinated abomination. "I bet."

She waved to the table, indicating for them to sit. The PetSmart bag slid behind the chair as Cass sat; out of sight and out of mind.
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#12
Ok, she could do that. Pouring creamer into her own and a spoon to stir, Natalie took both mugs over to where Cass was sitting down. Setting those on the table, she took her own chair.

Wrapping her hands around the hot mug, Natalie tried to figure out where to go from here conversation wise. ”So, you said you've been feeling better?"
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