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Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse . . .
Well, okay. Not the ‘night before’. In fact, it was the morning before and at least one creature was stirring. A small reddish-brown dog who pricked up his floppy ears and darted his big brown eyes towards the door he lay beside.
A high-pitched, tinkly laugh floated through the air, followed by a lower, throaty chuckle. He knew these sounds. His Supreme Commander made the first sound; The Other One made the other one. They weren’t sounds that his Supreme Commander needed protection from – and yet they couldn’t be ignored either.
The dog sat up and cocked his head. A little wuff vibrated in his chest.
In the room beyond the door, Bette Porter-Kennard lifted her head from between her wife’s thighs.
‘Was that Sol?’ she asked, pushing the bedclothes away so she could hear better. Tina sank back against the bed with a long-suffering groan. Bette leaned up on her elbow.
‘I heard something,’ she whispered. ‘Did you hear it?’
‘He’s probably dreaming.’
Tina stroked Bette’s long, elegant neck, trailed her fingers over her shoulder then down her back, scratching her a little, trying to coax her attention back to where she wanted it. Bette turned and looked at her. It wasn’t dawn yet but she could make out the shape of Tina’s body, one arm above her head, her blonde hair splayed on the pillow. Beguiling. Enticing. And yet . . .
‘We should lock the door.’
‘Then fucking lock it!’ Tina’s voice came out louder than she intended, so she caressed Bette’s face and added, much more softly, ‘. . . baby.’
Bette smirked at her wife’s frustration then climbed off the bed, stepping over discarded nightwear as she padded to the door. There was a little brass bolt at the top. She threw it and Solly wuffed again. On her way back to the bed Bette said, ‘Are you sure about this? If he starts barking he’ll wake the kids and then our sweet little bucket of ice water will be up here like a rocket.’
Tina exhaled impatiently.
‘Mark my words,’ Bette said.
‘I know, I’ll be quiet, but just . . . c’mon . . .’