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‘Ben, Nik and Sonny in the kids’ room,’ Bette said, ‘Kit, Angie and Sasha in the third room. What’s wrong with that?’
‘Shane,’ said Sasha and Tina in unison.
Bette groaned. It was eight o’clock on Wednesday morning and they were in Bette and Tina’s bedroom, packing to go to the cabin and trying to solve the accommodation conundrum.
‘Shane can sleep in the living room,’ Bette declared.
‘That’s hardly fair,’ Tina said as she stood evaluating which of two cashmere sweaters to wear on the drive up to Vermont.
‘Well, she did it last year, so . . .’
‘We didn’t know she was coming last year.’
‘If Shane sleeps in the living room, can I sleep there too?’ Sasha asked.
She was sitting at her mothers’ dressing table examining the various jars and bottles and hair accessories. Tina levelled a look at Bette. Sasha sleeping in the living room would mean she’d have to stay up till all the adults had gone to bed. So everyone would have an earlier bedtime or they’d have an over-tired eight-year-old still on the go at God knows what time.
‘No one’s sleeping in the living room,’ Bette said decisively, reading her wife’s mind.
The two women waited a second for pushback but their youngest just let it go, absorbed now in playing with a scrunchie, wrapping it round her fingers and stretching it.
‘What about the pool room?’ Bette suggested.
‘Oh God, no,’ Tina said, pulling a face. ‘You can’t ask anyone to sleep down there, it gets so cold and damp.’
Bette shrugged. ‘Put a heater in it.’
‘It’s not a nice space, the window’s—’
Tina was cut short by a scrunchie flying across the room and hitting Bette in the head, its rough fabric clinging to her hair. Sasha burst out laughing and covered her mouth in shocked delight. There was a pause while Bette picked the scrunchie slowly out of her locks.
‘Have you finished your packing?’ she asked calmly.
‘Is that the truth?’
Bette had to hide a smile at her daughter’s brazenness. ‘Well, go get it finished.’
‘I don’t want to.’
‘Hey,’ Tina said. ‘Try again?’
Sasha glanced at her, then got off the stool and mumbled ‘Sorry, Mom’ to Bette, then left the room and went downstairs. Once alone, Bette and Tina exchanged a thoughtful look. They really had hoped to avoid having Sasha in their room over the holiday. Not just because they might enjoy a little something-something, but because they were taking a very firm line on co-sleeping.