Perry was sitting on the bed, wondering exactly how SarahBeth was going to make an army, when there was a thump against the door. He waited a moment, listening. There was silence, then there was a shuffling noise, and he got up to go investigate.
When he opened the room door, he found Daphne lying on the floor in the hall. She didn't move, and she didn't look at him.
"Daphne," he said softly, "do you want to come in?" She was curled up and looked as if she was about to cry, and he wasn't sure what he could do to help. He had an urge to pick her up and carry her into the room, but, if he had been able to lift her at all, he'd be afraid he'd drop her.
He put one hand on her shoulder, and stroked her head with the other. "SarahBeth is out," he said softly. "Come in and keep me company. She's out creating an army, so we can worry together about the implications of that idea."
That got him a smile, a very small one, and she slowly got up on all fours. He walked into the room, and she followed, her head hanging.
He sat down and patted the bed next to him. "Come on," he said. She came over and peered up at the top of the bed, then she shook her head. At first, he though she was complaining that it wasn't clean enough, but then he figured it out.
"Come on, Daphne" he said. "You won't get into trouble for being on the bed. I promise."
She put her hands up on the cover, then she looked at him again, as if wanting to be sure that it was okay. He smiled and nodded, rubbing her head.
After she had climbed onto the bed, she fell over sideways, looking sad again. He slid himself over next to her and put his hands around her torso, trying to lift her so that her shoulders were in his lap. He had trouble doing this, since he was trying to avoid touching her breasts or her belly, and finally she put her hands on the bed and lifted herself so she was lying across his lap.
At this point, he was unsure about what to do next. Was he allowed to touch her or kiss her, with SarahBeth not there? He wasn't worried about Daphne's reaction, his concern was more about SarahBeth. He and Daphne had already had sex, of course, but that had been with SarahBeth there.
He had already been together with SarahBeth long enough to figure out that the rule was probably that she could have sex with women in his absence, but that he didn't have that option.
"Would you like to hear a story?" he asked.
She shrugged, her eyes closed.
"Okay," he said, ignoring her lack of enthusiasm. He rubbed her shoulder. "This is the story of Daphne the Dog," he said.
She frowned. "Don't make fun of me."
"I'm not. Hey," he said, poking her, "I'm a big famous writer here, and I'm telling you your own personal story. You should be honored."
She looked up at him and rolled her eyes.