Vera lifted high-lighted curls from her face and held them behind her ears.
“You didn’t invite him for my sake, did you? Because I’m used to male company? It wouldn’t do, Rosemary. What would people think if I started seeing some – “
“Vera! What are you saying? I didn’t ask him for you. For God’s sake! The notions you get. Wear anything, whatever’s comfortable.”
“That’s where you always went wrong, you never made an effort. You always wore whatever you wanted, that eternal white, every stitch white. You have to dress up a bit. It makes men feel important if they think you went to a bit of trouble. Why don’t you cut your hair? Hanging down like that at your age, all that grey. Put a colour in it. You could have been like me if you’d tried – you could have had a proper life.”
“Jesus Christ!” Rosemary dropped the knife. “What would you know about a proper life? You had no life – everything for horrible Tony. What did you want for yourself? You don’t even know!”
“What do you mean? What are you saying about my husband? He was a good man. I had what I wanted. I had a proper home, and children. Jealousy is a terrible thing, Rosemary.”
“Jealous! Oh my God, this is too ridiculous. I’m not going to argue with you.”
“It’s all right, Rosemary.”
Vera trailed a hand across her forehead.
“You’re not used to company, people get odd when they live alone, I know you don’t mean any harm.”
She squeezed Rosemary’s arm and smiled gently.
“I think I brought my blue, silk dress, it’ll need pressed. I’ll just go up and get it.” Rosemary looked up. Her eyes followed the footsteps across the room above . . .