Roy woke with his face in a pillow and a wet doggie nose on the back of his neck. He rolled to one side and saw Black Hayate, front paws on the side of the bed frame. "Watch out for your master, buddy." But Riza wasn't there. Roy could hear the shower running through the open bedroom door. He sank back into the soft mattress, thinking about Riza and steaming heat. . .
Hayate whimpered. Roy opened an eye. The dog was still poised, his body quivering. Roy rubbed a furry cheek, and looked at his eyes, his big earnest eyes.
"You win. Up, boy." The dog vaulted over him, and snuggled into the duvet. "Good boy. Ohh. . . you're soft." Everything was very soft, and very warm. . .
A piercing whistle cut into his sleep. As Roy sat up, Hayate scrambled over him and shot out the door. "Bad dog!" Riza called after him. She kicked the door shut, and turned with a frown, twisting a towel in her wet hair. "He knows not to do that."
"Umm. . ." Riza had another towel around her body, the ends tucked between her breasts, and when she sat on the bed, the edge slid to the top of her thigh. Hot water had raised pink undertones in her skin, and he let his gaze rest at the traveling hemline for a moment, before looking up. "I was asleep so I didn't notice?"
Riza cleared her throat.
"He was looking at me. Like –" Roy tried a forlorn puppy dog look of his own.
Riza swatted his arm. "You know that dog is not allowed on the furniture. I've had him trained for years, but a week of you sleeping over –"
"Look at the positives. For a long time, I wasn't sure he liked me."
"He likes the furniture."
"Now I get the sense he wants to spend time with me."
"He wants to spend time on the furniture. Roy, you are a senior military officer. Do I have to tell you that discipline matters?"
"No." Roy knew he sounded petulant. "But if I tell him he can do something and you countermand me, that undermines my authority . . ."
"Your authority? You have no authority with my dog."
"I –" He coughed. "I suppose that's valid."
She counted out on fingers: "My dog. My house. My bed. All outside the sphere of your authority. Which, I should point out, is otherwise considerable." Riza leaned back on her hands and tilted her head at him. "Leave me those, what do you say? It only seems fair."
"I'm beginning to see your meaning." Roy's mouth twitched. "I'm a little unclear about how much authority I don't have in bed. Do you think you could --?"
Riza's hand slid to his wrist. "Demonstrate?" She leaned into him, and the towel started to slip from her breasts. "I'd better hurry. Discipline around here is going to the dogs."