Then my brain came back on. This is how I get into trouble. I moved my hand up to the small of Dorabella’s back, where it could be affectionate and non-sexual. I kissed her cheek. “Um. Bellie, I better say goodnight.”
Her face had reddened nearly as much as Raylene’s ass. “I guess you better. Are you really going to strap Raylene again in the morning?”
“Christ. I should be horrified. But … well, she was a brat during dinner. Give her one for me.”
I should have left on that note.
But it was a generous concession from Bellie, and I was happy not to be a monster any more. So I kissed her mouth. She opened her mouth and we explored each other’s tongues and teeth, the way we’d done after that party, years ago. Bellie moved her feet apart. I knew that if I put my hands firmly on her ass, she’d lift her legs so I was carrying her. Then we’d fuck. I said, “Bellie. I have to go to bed…”
“And fuck Raylene.”
“Yup. Fucking will happen.”
Bellie sighed again, still in my arms. “Yes. I’m sorry. I’ve made a bit of a mess of this. I was wanting to tell you to be careful with Raylene, not try to fuck her … boyfriend.”
“We’re all people. You’re a good person. So’s Raylene. And Lynette, I guess.”
“You’d better think so. If you’re going to cane Raylene for being cheeky to her. Can she listen?”
“She can watch, if she likes.” That was my cock, seizing control of my vocal cords. I didn’t expect that Lynette would want to watch a woman being brutalised by the patriarchy.
Bellie probably would, I suspected, but not with her sister. Probably. “Anyway, I try to be good too. So I’d best get the hell out of here and join Raylene. Goodnight, sweetie. And I will take care of her.”
I let go of Bellie and stood back. She smiled again, a mock-brave smile like a woman waving goodbye to a lover about to join the troops. I managed not to kiss her again. She said, “goodnight. Sir.”
That was a joke, mocking me and Raylene. I tried not to think about how it would sound if she’d meant it. I said, “Good night. Sleep tight.”
And I went to Raylene’s bedroom, not sure whether I’d just been heroically self-denying, or just an asshole.