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“I love you, darling.”

“I love you more.”

“No, I love you more.”

“No, you can’t, because I love you most.”

“But I still love you more.”

There was a silence.

After a while the silence stopped being silent. There were a few dampish noises, and some murmurs of satisfaction.

“Hm.” Kathie sat back on her heels. “So, what do you think? Eight and a half?”

“Oh, it was definitely a nine,” said Nancy, straightening her garments.

Kathie pursed her lips. Then she got up and went over to the blackboard that hung from the wall above their bed.

“Ok, you’re right. That was a nine. So now we’re averaging – um – eight.”

“Eight and a quarter.”

“Whatever, Miss Maths Genius.”

“Why don’t we try to raise the average a bit?”

“Mm-hm.”

A few minutes of damp, slurping noises, frequent murmurs, and one or two squawks, then a subsequent agreement that that was definitely a nine and a half, bringing the average up to eight and five sixteenths.

“Maybe we should try again?” suggested Kathie, whose nickname in private was The Insatiable One. Well, one of her nicknames, anyway. Most of the others were unprintable.

“Actually, there was something I wanted to talk to you about,” said Nancy, disengaging reluctantly.

“Now? But you’re wearing your purple sparkly bikini. Do you really expect me to be able to talk seriously when you’re wearing that?”

“Yes.”

“No.”

“Oh, come on, Kathie.”

“Ok, but only if you give me a ten afterwards.”

Nancy smiled.

“I’ll give you a ten you’ll never forget, darling.”

“Mm, sounds good.” Kathie lay back on the pillows and linked her hands behind her head. “So what was it you wanted to talk about?”

Nancy looked down at her and very nearly forgot what she had been going to say.

“Um,” she said.

Then she took a deep breath and recovered herself. At least, she thought she’d recovered herself.

“I want a baby,” she said.

Kathie shot into an upright position.

“A what?”

“Sorry.”

Apparently, Nancy thought, she had still been a bit distracted. She had meant to beat around the bush for quite a bit longer before broaching the subject.

“A what?

Oh well, Nancy decided. Now she’d done it, she’d better run with it. She fixed a beaming smile to her face.

“A baby,” she said again. “You know, a tiny, pink screaming thing that deposits unpleasant substances over you at regular intervals.”

“I have heard of them,” said Kathie, with deep sarcasm.

The smile faded slightly from Nancy’s face.

“You don’t want a baby,” she said.

“Why do you?”

“Because – I always have. And I want one with you.”

“There are certain difficulties with that.”

“I know. I just thought I’d talk to you about it. But if you don’t want one, it’s fine. Really.”

Kathie folded her arms across her chest. Nancy blinked and turned a little pink, but resisted the strong urge to change the subject and her position.

“Who said I didn’t want a baby?” said Kathie.

“Well – you did.”

“No I didn’t.”

“Yes you did.”

“No I didn’t. I just asked why you wanted one.”

“So you do want one?”

Kathie smiled.

“Of course I want a baby, dummkopf.”

Nancy’s face lit up.

“Oh, Kathie, I’m so glad!”

“So am I. I’m not sure I ever would have dared suggest it. But let’s discuss the details tomorrow, shall we? I don’t think I can wait much longer for that ten.”

“One ten – or if you’re very good, maybe two – coming your way.”

The lack of silence resumed.




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