Rosemary always made Dominic wait outside the door until she was in the bed. He could feel the slackness in her thighs and arms; he didn’t have to look at it as well.
“Come in,” she called when she was ready.
Dominic bounced into the room half-undressed and dropped his shoes.
“Wait now,” he said, and brought in a bottle of red wine and two glasses.
“I’d have been here sooner but only young Andy, you know Andy, he gives me a hand sometimes for a bit of dosh . . . ah, that’s the best sound in the world,” he said as the wine gurgled into the glasses.
“So, himself and another young fella stopped me going in to the shop. Booze, they wanted, trying to talk me into getting it for them. Well, I gave them a good telling off but sure they’d hardly listen to me – look like babies, the pair of them, skinny, wee feckers. A good feed would suit them – “
“Did you shower before you came over?” Rosemary interrupted him, sniffing at his shoulder.
“I can still smell fish.”
“Well I did, Rosie.” Dominic got in beside her, wrapping himself in the duvet. “But the water wasn’t all that hot. Sure what harm is a smell of fish?”
“No harm, I suppose, but I don’t want to be covered with fish scales. I’m not a bloody mermaid.”
“God, Rosie, you’re a cruel woman sometimes. The smell of fish is a grand honest-to-God smell attached to a man going about the business of survival. Drink up now,” he said. “That will warm and sweeten you.”
Rosemary took a drink.
“Dominic,” she said. “I won’t be able to see you for a while.”
“Oh?” Dominic took Rosemary’s hand. “What is it, Rosie, my pet, my dear? Tell your old man.”
“Oh, it’s all right, nothing tragic – just – I got a letter from Vera this morning, a letter if you don’t mind. You know her husband died – the horrible Tony. I went to the funeral, remember? She wants to come and stay for a while. She thinks I’m fading away from loneliness.”
“Well you’re not.” Dominic squeezed her hand. “You’ve got me.”
“I couldn’t tell her that. She’d have a heart attack.”
Rosemary took a long drink and caught her breath.
“You don’t know what she’s like. It’s a miracle she ever got herself pregnant . . . she said for a week or two but that could mean anything.”
“Well, sure, well – will we not meet at all then?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know what it’ll be like with someone here. Could you not get rid of your landlady now and again?”
“Ha! Might as well try to get rid of – of – barnacles on an old boat.
They were quiet for a minute and Dominic topped up their glasses.
“What’s the woman like anyway?” he said. “Not like you by the sound of it.”
“She’s neat and tidy and she wears shoes all the time. God, Dominic, I don’t know why she wants to stay with me – we never got on – and I’ve an awful feeling she’s thinking of something permanent.”
Rosemary leaned over and set her glass on the locker.
“Right,” she said. “I’m not going to think about her.”
She put her arms around Dominic.
“It’s getting late – are you not ready for action yet?”
“Now, Rosie, don’t be rushing your old man. Didn’t I take my cod liver oil this morning? Will I stay the night? We could stock up for the few weeks!”
Read the rest of the story – and all the other interlinked stories in “WE ALL DIE IN THE END” on Amazon Kindle.