Erika waited until the servers were out of earshot, then she continued. "When we got there – 'the refugees,' as her mother calls us – we were never asked about our preferences in sleeping arrangements. Claudia moved back into her old room, and I was given a guest room." She shook her head. "I'm sure it didn't take long for everybody to figure out that I was sleeping with her every night, but that's never mentioned. They just ask me if my bed is comfortable, and whether the morning sun bothers me, and so on.
"They even ask us whether we met any nice, respectable men in U-town. I just want to say, 'I'm sleeping with your daughter, you stupid woman!' But of course she's not stupid, and she knows the truth, but she will never say it. They even call me her assistant sometimes."
"Which is an honorable thing to be, of course," I put in.
She laughed. "Oh, I'm sorry," she said, covering her mouth. "I didn't mean–"
We were all laughing by then, and I said, "My point is just that relationships can be complex and not easily summarized in a single word."