Martine finally re-emerges after tucking little Stewart in for the night – this is none of her business, and Lauren has promised herself she would not pry, but the resemblance sure is uncanny – and pours herself another cup, though it’s more scotch than tea this time.
“A little drink won’t hurt you, you know,” Martine teases her, and there’s something about her tone of voice she can’t quite put her finger on, but she feels like she has to, for some reason.
Just a tiny little peek, she reasons to herself, tentatively reaching out with her mind. She finds no defences she needs to get past – it feels as if Martine has been waiting for her all along, and is now swinging the door open and welcoming her into the hall of her consciousness.
Gratefully, she accepts the invitation and steps in, only to pause like a rabbit caught in the headlights as the living room around her gradually morphs into a rather opulent bedroom, Martine herself now wearing a daring cocktail dress that leaves very little to the imagination.
‘Oh,’ she squeaks, her inner voice more high-pitched than she would expect. ‘I thought you and Mr Steel –’
‘Why bat for just one team when you can swing both ways?’ Martine laughs, a sly gleam in her eye. With an odd sense of foreboding, Lauren looks down at herself, and is more than a little flustered to notice that most of her clothes have somehow disappeared, leaving her exposed to the other woman’s gaze.
‘You’re the one who wanted to see,’ Martine reminds her, her long legs crossed elegantly as she perches on the edge of the bed. ‘Does any of this offend you?’
She’s pretty sure her corporeal form has blushed crimson by now. ‘I – no. Why would it?”
‘Good,’ Martine nods, patting the luxurious bedding at her side. ‘Now, shall we?’
Lauren swallows, shivers in anticipation, and breaks the contact.