Greta stopped popping jellybeans into her mouth and sat up straight. She chewed her mouthful of candy the rest of the way and swallowed before looking her friend square in the eye. "Jules... what do you mean by 'complete'?"
Jules sighed quietly and reached for another handful of popcorn before replying. "Well, I mean exactly that: complete. I have a full life, Greta; especially now. I don't feel like my days are lacking just because I'm not in a relationship. I mean, I have occasional days where I feel a little lonely. Don't we all? But for the most part I'm content. Complete."
"Still, what emotion makes you feel complete? Or what lack of emotion?"
"Greta, I feel loved and held by God. And I have Grandad. My time is full of taking care of him, and keeping up with housework. Between my faith and my life here, I am kept busy and happy. I'm sure that if Grandad--well, if Grandad were to die, I'd feel lonely and incomplete. At least, for a while I would. But for now I'm content. And what about you, dear girl?"
"Well, it's just me at home. I don't really have a family. I find myself feeling lonely a lot; incomplete, even." She smiled as Jules gave her shoulder a gentle squeeze. "But I've got you back, and whether you like it or not I'm claiming you as my sister. I fully expect you to keep me accountable and keep me from wallowing in despair over my state of singleness."
"Yes!!" Jules bounced excitedly in her seat, sending popcorn and jellybeans flying across the blankets. "Let's be sisters. I need you, now more than ever. I think my life is going to get very difficult very soon. I need someone who will keep me from forgetting that God is good, and kind, and sovereign."
"Well then, its settled." Greta gave Jules a warm hug.
"Hold up," Jules said with a smirk. "Are you getting all mushy and huggy on me?"
Greta threw a small handful of jellybeans at Jules. "You wish. 'Huggy' isn't even a word, doofus."
Jules laughed. "It is now."
"Whatever." Greta rolled her eyes and shook her head, grinning. "Should we put the snacks away and try to get some sleep? It's getting late."
"I guess so. Just let me get one more handful of jellybeans."
Greta rolled her eyes again. "Here ya go. I'm gonna put this last piece of pizza away." She walked halfway to the door before turning around and sitting back down on the bed. "On second thought, I'm gonna eat it. Do you want half?"
Jules swallowed her current mouthful of candy. "Mm, no. You go ahead."
"Thanks," Greta winked. "I didn't really wanna share it, anyways."
Jules laughed. She started screwing the bright red lid back onto the large container of jellybeans. "Ugh. I guess I better put this stuff away before I make myself sick."
"Good idea, genius."
After a good fifteen minutes of cleaning up popcorn kernels and eating stray jellybeans, they finally had the bed made up again. Jules turned off all of the lights in the kitchen and then walked back around the doorway to the living room.
"You okay down here by yourself tonight?"
"Yup. Do I look like the type of sissy who's scared of the dark?"
"Duh. Here," Jules tossed something to Greta. "To keep you company."
Greta laughed at the fuzzy panda bear. "Thanks. You're such a weirdo."
"And you're fun to tease. Goodnight."
"Night Hon. Turn the light off on your way out, please."
"Got it." Jules smiled and flicked the light switch before heading upstairs to her room.
"Thank You for Greta," Jules murmured while she crawled into bed. "And thank You for uplifting conversations. Amen." With a quiet sigh and a small smile she drifted off to sleep, not waking up until her alarm went off at 7:30 the next morning.
She went downstairs and made her way to the kitchen. She was cracking eggs into a glass mixing bowl when she heard Greta walk in. "Good morning, sleepyhead. How does egg casserole sound for breakfast?"
"I'll interpret that to mean 'that sounds absolutely lovely and amazing, Jules.'"
Greta rolled her eyes. "Sure. Wait, what meat are you putting in it?"
"Oh good grief. I knew that. What an odd thing to be allergic to, though."
"I know, right? It stinks."
"I bet. Anyways, I have this skinless turkey sausage. Is that okay? It's bacon-free."
Greta laughed. "Is that even a thing? Bacon-free? And yeah, sausage is fine."
"Well it must be a thing. I mean I could put a label on your face that says "bacon-free"."
"You're such a nerd." Greta rolled her eyes and walked around the counter to join Jules. "Want some help?"
"Sure." She handed Greta a block of cheese and a metal grater. "I need about a cup of that."
Greta saluted lazily. "Coming right up, boss."
Once the casserole was in the oven, the girls went back into the living room. They started to fold blankets and sheets and put the couch back together. Greta laughed and held up a small handful of jellybeans. "Look here! Guess we missed these last night." She tossed them into a trash can and picked up her pillow.
"Thanks so much for coming over last night, Greta. I really needed that time to just relax and have some girl time."
"Aww girl, I'm just glad I was available to pamper you a little bit. I can only imagine how crazy rough your week has been."
"Well you're the bestest."
"No, you are." Greta wadded up her empty pillowcase and threw it at Jules' face.
"Ugh," Jules laughed. "Oh, there goes my timer."
Greta yelled after her while she ran back into the kitchen. "I won!"
"Sure you did." Jules' voice was muffled.
Greta walked into the kitchen to see Jules standing over the open oven. She had a bright green hand towel wrapped around her face. "What in the name of all that's sensible are you doing, genius?"
Jules looked up with red cheeks (either from the heat or the embarrassment; we'll never know). "I don't like the heat on my mouth."
Greta threw her head back and laughed, her sea green eyes sparkling. "Well at least you look cute with a towel drowning your face."
"Thanks." Jules jerked the towel off, but her own eyes twinkled back at Greta. "I look cute all the time, anyways."
"I'll give you that."
"Duh. Breakfast is ready."
"Good, 'cause I'm starving."
After breakfast was over, they rinsed and stacked the dishes and made their way upstairs to Jules' room. Greta carried her leather jacket and black boots with her. She set them down on the wooden bench that sat at the foot of the bed.
"I didn't think to bring clothes for church. I guess I could make the ten minute drive back to my place and change."
"Where would the fun be in that? You can wear some of mine."
"But do you have anything besides pink, and yellow, and other equally happy colors?"
Jules smirked and playfully shoved Greta in the shoulder. "I keep forgetting that you're the epitome of coolness. Here, try this red shirt and black skirt. They'd go well with your boots and jacket. And here," she tossed something to Greta. "Are some black socks. Happy?"
"More than," Greta grinned. "This is perfect. I'm totally shocked that you even have black clothes in your closet!"
"Uh, what color are those pajamas you wore all night?"
"Yeah well they may be black, but just look at the pajamas you're wearing." She pointed over at her friend and smirked. "You're practically drowning in lace and pink."
Jules stuck her tongue out at Greta. "You're so dark and brooding."
"You know it. Anyways, what are you gonna wear? You need something that matches your nail polish."
"I was thinking about this dark green fifties style dress and my black Mary Janes."
Greta cocked her head to one side, contemplating the outfit. "Yes to the dress, but I think you should wear those nude colored pumps instead. You don't want to look like you're at a dress-up party."
"Ah, true. What would I do without you?"
"Walk around looking like a hopeless nerd."
"That was a rhetorical question."
"Whatever." Greta adjusted her boot laces and then looked at her reflection in the full length mirror. She turned back to face Jules. "How do I look?"
"Classy and cool, as usual. Emphasis on the cool."
"Thanks. And you look amazing, as usual. That dress is perfect for you."
"Thank you, dear. You want a pair of earrings?"
"Nope, I'm good. You ready?"
"Almost. I just need to brush my teeth."
"Nah. I don't wear it very often, and I don't feel like putting it on today."
"Understandable. Alright, I guess I'm ready. Should we ride together?"
Jules put her toothbrush away and dried her hands and mouth. "Umm, good question. Are you planning on coming back here for anything after church?"
"No. I mean not unless you need me to."
"Okay. Then I guess you should go ahead and take your car. It's not really on your way to drop me back here, so I'll take mine, too."
"Okay then. I'm gonna head out."
"See you in a few."
"Yes?" She paused in the doorway.
"Thanks again for last night."
"Any time. And I mean that."
Jules made sure all the lights were off in the house before going outside. She locked the front door behind her and then headed off for church. She pulled into the parking lot with a good thirty minutes before the services would start. She and Greta located Martin and Miles and said good morning.
"Jules! I wasn't sure if you'd be here today."
"Hey Martin. My dad offered to stay with Grandad last night, so I came home and rested. Dad was sweet and didn't want me to miss church if I could help it."
"Wait, so your dad is still here?"
"Yes, he's staying in town until the end of this week."
"I'm really glad. Did you meet him, Miles?"
Miles cleared his throat before answering. "Yes, I did. I really like him."
"Church is starting in ten minutes, so we should probably find some seats."
"Right, Greta. We could all sit together if y'all want. Jules, Miles, what do y'all say?"
"I'm fine with that."
They made their way to the back to sit down, and Miles' grandfather joined him on the end of the row. Once they had settled into their seats, Jules turned to Martin.
"Hey Martin, where's your mom? Is she doing okay?"
"She had a long night, so we thought it'd be wise for her to stay home and rest. She's been doing fairly well for the most part. Mostly just really tired all the time. Which means," Martin chuckled, "that I do a lot of the cooking now."
"Oh wow." Greta winked. "That's gotta be rough on both of you."
Martin laughed quietly. "Very funny. My cooking isn't that bad. At least, neither of us have gotten sick from it yet."
"Would it be helpful if some of us made meals for you a couple of days a week? That might make things easier on you since you work."
"Hmm, that would actually be great."
One of the elders stepped behind the podium and began the opening Psalm.
Jules leaned over to whisper. "We can talk about it more during lunch."
After the service was over, Jules sat down for the fellowship meal at a small table. She was with Miles, Greta, Martin, and Miles' grandfather, Angus.
"How is your grandfather doing, Jules?"
"Well, he's paralyzed on the left side, and right now he can't talk at all. He sleeps a lot (as he should), but he has his moments of being alert. He can squeeze my hand or blink his right eye to communicate. Yesterday he wanted me to sing to him, which was very sweet."
Angus patted Jules' hand. "You know we're praying for all three of you."
"Thank you so much, Mr. Stanley. We really appreciate it."
"Please, call me Angus. And tell me, how are you holding up in all of this?"
"Well," Jules hesitated. "If I'm being honest it's very difficult. It's so hard to see Grandad like this. But at the same time, I've seen my friends and my pastor rally around me, and I've been reminded that God is sovereign. I can rest in knowing that He is taking care of us. He will give me the strength I need to push through and care for Grandad."
"Very good answer, my dear. I hope you know that Miles and I are willing to help in any way we can."
"Thank you so much." Jules smiled. "I will definitely keep that in mind."
Let me know if any of the diologue is difficult to follow, and I'll see if I can fix it. I feel like I'm terrible at writing conversations that happen between more than two people, but it's something I'm working on.