He tries not to play favorites among the alters, he really does, but if he can't have his wife, he'd rather have Alice than anyone else. When it's just the two of them, he can imagine that this is an alternate life for one, but one that he chose; he can imagine that they are together because they want to be and not because they're both obligated to be.
It's always tricky with her, though. She knows they aren't technically married, but it still feels the same to her. She's told him as much. He's not sure what else he can say to make it easier for her, for them, for him. They're not married. He doesn't expect what she was raised, or trained, or whatever happened that led her to believe he would expect it - he doesn't. Which isn't to say that he doesn't appreciate it. Most of it. She makes the best damn bagels he's ever had, her laundry is always fresh and crisp in all the right places, and she somehow manages to get the entire house clean in less time than it takes him to walk from end of it to the other. He appreciates the results of all of that.
He doesn't always appreciate that she doesn't think she has a choice about it. Being happy with the way the lack of choice has gone doesn't make a bit of difference. The fact that she thinks it's her duty as his not-quite-wife makes everything just a little bit weird. He thinks she likes it all, or most of it, or is at least content with her perceived lot in life. There's really only one thing he's sure she likes, and one thing he's sure she doesn't like, even if both are approached with the same attitude as everything else.
"Close your eyes," she says to him, quietly, and he does, ducking his head so she can reach the back without much effort. He has to take a small step forward so the spray falls on his back without taking the shampoo with it even as she continues to rub it in. Her fingers scratch gently in all the right places after all this time, all this practice, and he makes a soft sound. She huffs out a tiny laugh; all of the alters agree that he sounds like a contented cat.
"Lean back." Alice steps closer, pressing Tara's body against his as she directs his head under the shower. He lets his neck loll loose in her hands, eyes still closed as she strokes his short hair until there's no doubt that every last sud is gone.
She tugs him forward again, switches places with him so the water falls on her back, and runs a hand lightly over his chest. "Bar or gel?"
"Alice," he says moderately, and she nods. Shower gel, and bare hands, belong to Tara, but she asks every time anyway. Still, a bar of soap feels fantastic when it's glided across his skin so slowly, so carefully. She's meticulous but tender, and it relaxes him more than any drug he's ever tried.
She finishes his chest, and he turns without prompting. Down his arms, his back, and then he hears the sound of her sliding gracefully to Tara's knees to rub his legs. He locks his knees against the shake as she tends to his ass on the way down, gaining an extra rub over as reward. She lifts one foot at a time the way a farrier would a horse's hoof, strokes the soap firmly over the bottom to avoid tickling. When he stretches his toes, she turns the bar on end and pushes it into the muscle in an impromptu massage. He sidles around again as she finishes between each toe and leans his shoulder on the wall as she works her way slowly back up from his shins.
She always finishes at his crotch. He's hard, and she's torn between wanting to make him happy and not wanting to encourage sexual contact that isn't intended for procreation. (He hasn't been able to explain that he and Tara don't want any more children, that any kids he has with Alice will be Tara's pregnancy, too.) But she never hesitates with whichever course she's chosen; tonight, she rubs the soap just as thoroughly over his erection as the rest of his body before moving the bar over to her own skin. He groans out loud as it glides between her breasts - between Tara's breasts.
"Max," she murmurs quietly, and he reaches down for himself. If he would have 'procreative intercourse' with her, she would do all the work, she's told him. His fingers curve around his erection and start to stroke over the soap-covered skin as hers rub suds down her stomach. Down Tara's stomach. "Let me rinse you," she says quietly, brushing the soap quickly from herself.
"Okay," he says, still holding himself but not moving. "How do you...."
"Front first." She steps back enough for him to share the spray and rubs the washcloth gently over his chest, down his hips and up his arms to his shoulders. He leans against the wall again as she slides past and starts the same process on his back.
He strokes himself now, slowly to match the motions of the washcloth across his shoulderblades. It never takes him long with this kind of tenderness and care, the intimacy that Alice loves just as much as him.