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Tina was out in the yard when Bette called out to tell her that it was nine forty-five.
Tina called back, ‘Great! Be right there.’
She switched off the watering hose and left it on the ground for Solly to lap at while she slipped her feet back into her Birkenstocks, ran her hand over a few of the plants, just for the pleasure of feeling their green loveliness, and then went into the kitchen.
‘Warm,’ she sighed, pulling her tank away from her stomach to try and get some air moving over her skin.
Bette made a sound of disgust. ‘I fully expect to see Sasha again tonight.’
Tina smiled sympathetically. Their youngest was a notoriously fussy sleeper. Usually they’d leave the city for a week around now, but this year the kids’ schedules wouldn’t bend enough and they were stuck toughing it out. The house had air-con but installing it had been a trade-off between aesthetics, noise and environmental concerns, so occasionally sheer heat still won the day, especially higher up the building.
‘Popcorn?’ Tina suggested. Bette pulled a face. ‘Or a popsicle?’
‘Do we have any?’ Bette asked, suddenly alert.
‘Adunno, lemme see . . .’
Tina went to their huge refrigerator/freezer and started rummaging while Bette called Solly in and closed up the bifold doors that went out to the yard.
‘No popsicles, honey,’ Tina called over her shoulder, ‘but go sit down and I’ll make us a pitcher of something cold, okay?’
‘’Kay,’ Bette said, the heat forcing her to save energy even on syllables.
‘So,’ Tina said ten minutes later, as they sat on the sofa watching the ads on Showtime, bowls of strawberries and a pitcher of virgin mojitos on the coffee table, ‘place your bets on Finley making it out of there alive!’
‘Finley?’ Bette said. ‘Don’t you mean Sophie?’ Tina started to reply but Bette cut her off. ‘Look, Finley’s an asshole for humiliating Dani on her wedding day, but Sophie is the cheater. She’s the one who should be getting her ass kicked and I for one am here for it, in fact if it doesn’t happen I’m gonna . . . Well, I don’t know, but I’ll be fucking mad, is what I’ll be. I mean very. Extremely mad.’