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‘What the fuck is that?’
Shane’s voice, coming close to Bette and Tina’s heads, out of the darkness of the room, made them both leap up and scream.
Solly barked and growled and snarled with a ferocity that Tina had only seen a couple of times in the whole seven years they’d had him.
‘Fucking hell! Calm down, man, calm down!’ Shane shouted, putting her hands up in case the dog pounced at her.
Tina grabbed Solly by the neck. He was reacting to their reaction, so she tried to talk calmly to him while Bette ran to switch the overhead light on, so that he would see more clearly that it was Shane.
‘Fuckfuckfuck . . .’ Shane muttered, pacing around, rubbing her head, her eyes never leaving Solly.
‘That was a really stupid thing to do,’ Bette said.
‘Are you okay?’ Tina asked.
‘No,’ said Bette. ‘My fucking heart—’
‘I was talking to Shane,’ said Tina.
‘I’m okay,’ said Shane, massaging her face. ‘I think I’m— no, wait a minute, what the FUCK is that???’
She was pointing at the tv screen. Bette and Tina’s head snapped round just in time to see Hendrix smirking at Fake Angie as he did up his pants.
‘Oh Christ,’ said Bette, putting her head in her hands.
‘Okay, okay,’ said Tina, ‘we can explain . . .’
Solly scampered round the couch and put his paws up on Shane, his ears folded back apologetically. She stroked him. But her eyes were still on the tv, where now Tess was dancing alone, drunkenly, at Dana’s. And then . . .
‘Pause that!’ Bette snapped at Tina as she saw what she knew to be Fake Shane’s hands packing up Tess’s things.
Tina grabbed the remote and paused the show just before the camera panned all the way up Fake Shane’s arms. Then she turned and looked at Shane with an expression of clear, self-incriminating dread.
Was it too late?
‘Is that me?’ asked Shane.
Fuck. Bette stood up. Shane’s eyes were riveted on the tv, her jaw slack with disbelief. Tina went round the couch and put her hand on her friend’s shoulder.
‘Let’s get you a drink and we’ll explain, okay?’ she said, then guided Shane gently round to sit down. Solly watched them for a moment then went trotting after Bette, who’d hurried to the utility room to get the whisky.