I wake up and look into the other room. Cat is still asleep. I wonder if there’s any rhyme or reason to which of us wakes up first. Anyhow. I get up and put on a T-shirt and some shorts, then grab the bathrobe. Mental note to self: buy one.
She stirs and wakes up. “Hi, Cat.”
She hesitates for a moment, then gets out of bed and walks towards the barrier. There’s underwear in the bed. Lena.
She gets through the barrier and I offer her the bathrobe. She puts it on and looks both relieved and embarrassed. I guess I would too, if my girlfriend was watching and I had a choice between being naked and wearing a ridiculous bathrobe.
“So Lena is watching?”
“Yes, she is. I don’t know long or how often. It might be the whole night or it might be three five minute snapshots.”
I have to smile. “I agree, you don’t know. But what do you think?”
“I don’t know about the whole night, but it’s going to be long.”
“That sounds about right. She is going to get bored at some point, I think. But it’s going to be a while.”
“So how was your day?”
“The midterm and then a lot of routine stuff and then the evening gang. I’m starting to like this role playing stuff. And then Kate drove me back.”
“You’re saying that like there’s an ‘and’ to it.”
“Uh, ‘and’. Yes. We got to talking and she— I— we both said we had a crush on each other.”
She smiles. “It’s finally out in the open. Good for you! So then what?”
“So then I asked if she would come up to my room for a bit to talk some more. I told her about Diana’s ‘scientific experiment’ and she asked if I wanted to try the other half of it.”
The smile gets bigger. “So how did that go?”
“I liked it. A lot. But then she asked whether this was becoming a triangle and said I’d have to chose. She’s right, but I don’t know how to do that.”
She hesitates for a moment, then says, “I don’t know either. Not by banging your head against the wall, probably. You’re seeing Mark tomorrow, right?”
“Both of them! I told her I was jealous of you two having had the clever idea of waiting until Friday so you could talk in the morning and then she asked whether that was an invitation to coffee tomorrow morning.”
She chuckles. “At least one of you deserves a ‘good move’ award there. Good. Just be with them and, err, ‘Search your feelings, Luke’.”
Search my— I just start laughing and can’t stop.
I nod. “Much better.”
She hugs me. “My poor love-torn brister.”
I look up at her face. “You thought of that word too!”
She grins. “It seemed better than being a sother.”
“Or part of House Sitherin.”
She groans. “So, stupid question time. You had the bathrobe ready for me. Does that mean that you haven’t…”
Oh God. I nod.
“Come with me a sec?”
He takes my hand and we walk to the barrier. He pushes his hand through. I feel a strange warm sensation and my hand is going through together with his! “What the?!?”
“Yes! I was wondering whether this might be possible.” He pulls our hands back.
“What gave you that idea?”
“With that Tolkien quote on the door. Tonight, as I was walking in with Lena, I was thinking that we can go to strange places, but can we take others there? And back again?”
“There. And back again.”
He looks at me and grins. “Bundle of mischief.”
I curtsy. “At your service. Speaking of, is it science night? Are you going to try to take me through?”
“You want to?”
“Then I guess it’s strip-tease night.”
Right. No clothes. I take the shirt and shorts off and he removes the bathrobe. He’s blushing. I guess if Lena is watching, this is a full frontal. Maybe you should have waited with this experiment until tomorrow?
He takes my hand again and together we slowly push through the barrier. It’s like warm jelly except it doesn’t stick. Weird but nice.
Back in his room, he grabs the bathrobe and puts it on. Looks much better than mine. He looks at me. “So what do you want to wear?”
Dozens of pictures of women curled up in a chair with a warm cup and wearing a guy’s shirt. I walk up to the closet and pull out a dress shirt. “I want to know what this feels like.”
As I put on the shirt, she says, “You’re going to have to be careful not to flash people if you make a habit of that.”
I smile at her. “I’ll be careful, I promise.”