Alex and Sophie sat at the kitchen counter, sipping on their Banana Boulevardiers. They had been friends since college, and they had been through a lot together. They had seen each other through breakups, job changes, and even the occasional existential crisis.
"I'm so glad I have you in my life," Sophie said, taking a sip of her cocktail. "You're the best friend a girl could ask for."
Alex smiled. "You say that, but you're the one who's always there for me," he said. "I don't know what I'd do without you."
They finished their cocktails and sat in silence for a moment, enjoying each other's company.
"So," Sophie said, finally, "what's new with you?"
Alex shrugged. "Not much," he said. "Just work and the usual."
"How's that new project going?" Sophie asked.
"It's going well," Alex said. "It's a lot of work, but it's also really interesting."
"That's good to hear," Sophie said. "I'm glad you're enjoying it."
They talked for a while longer about work and other mundane things. But as the conversation went on, Alex started to feel a little uneasy. He couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong.
"Sophie," he said, finally, "is everything okay?"
Sophie looked at him in surprise. "What do you mean?" she asked.
"I don't know," Alex said. "You just seem... different."
Sophie sighed. "Okay," she said. "I'll admit it. I'm not okay."
Alex's heart sank. "What's wrong?" he asked.
"It's my work," Sophie said. "I'm just so stressed out. I feel like I'm drowning."
Alex put his hand on hers. "I'm so sorry," he said. "Is there anything I can do?"
Sophie shook her head. "No," she said. "But just talking to you helps."
They sat in silence for a while, holding hands. Alex didn't know what to say. He had never seen Sophie so stressed out before.
"I'm just worried about my future," Sophie said, finally. "I feel like I'm not good enough. Like I'm going to fail."
Alex squeezed her hand. "That's not true," he said. "You're the smartest, most talented person I know. You're going to be successful, no matter what."
Sophie smiled weakly. "Thanks, Alex," she said. "I needed to hear that."
They finished their dinner and talked for a while longer. By the end of the night, Sophie was feeling a little better. Alex was glad that he had been able to help her, even if it was just a little bit.
As Alex walked Sophie to her door, he said, "I'm always here for you, you know that."
Sophie smiled. "I know," she said. "Thanks, Alex. You're the best."
They hugged each other goodbye, and Sophie went inside. Alex watched her go, feeling a sense of relief. He was glad that he had been able to be there for his friend when she needed him.