DELIA was in the sitting-room of her digs. It was the usual type of accommodation, a large Victorian terraced house, rather gloomy but spacious and clean. The armchairs and sofa were large and rather worn but comfortable, and on one wall
a gas fire flickered and sputtered and took the chill off the day, which was dark and wild.
Max had kept glancing at her during band call, but hadn’t approached her. He was kind, considerate and attractive. They could have a contented life together. She was forty-six years old and
this was perhaps her last chance to find happiness and contentment in a marriage to
a good man. Nesbo married! For some reason it had never for a moment crossed her mind.
Sally came into the room, singing. She’d enjoyed the band call. To get back to her original routine had been refreshing and familiar at the same time.
“Someone’s happy,” Delia said.
“I’m back with the Jolly Goods and all’s right with the world.” Sally did a little pirouette around the room.
“And not to mention a certain young man,” Delia added.
Sally continued to dance.
“Will. My darling Will. My sweet William.”
They heard the front door open and close and a rather damp but glowing Kate came in.
“Hello, dear,” Delia said. “You’ve been a long time. Ignore Sally. She’s feeling very giddy.”
“Well, actually,” Kate said, “I’m feeling pretty giddy myself. I met a man,” she announced. “A lovely man.”
She was immediately pounced upon by Sally, who quickly divested her of her wet hat and coat and plonked her down on the sofa.
“Now tell,” she said. “Every little detail. Leave nothing out!”
So Kate began her account of events.
“He picked you up in the street, Miss Flynn! How shameful!” Her hands flew to her face in mock horror.
“Take no notice.” Delia laughed. “Go on. You say he’s Canadian?”
Again Sally intervened.
“Does he wear a big pointy hat and a red tunic? I bet he has a horse called Old Faithful.”
Kate was laughing.
“He’s a lawyer and he lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, off the east coast of Canada. I went into a library and looked at it in an atlas. Nova Scotia, that’s New Scotland, you know.”
“What’s his name, dear?” Delia asked.
“My favourite name,” Delia said. “He sounds lovely.”
“He is, and I’m having dinner with him. Isn’t that splendid?”
There was a ring at the bell.
“I’ll go,” Sally said cheerily. A moment later there was a murmur of voices and Sally came back into the room with Nesbo.
He stood in the doorway. All the women looked at him. He turned to Kate.
“I’m sure you managed band call without me. Is everything in order for tonight?” he asked her.
“Yes, it is. I hope so.”
“And so do I, Miss Flynn.” His gaze went to Delia. “I was hoping for a private word with Miss Desmond if . . .”
Kate stood up.
“I need to sort out what I’m going to wear for . . .”
“I’ll help you,” Sally said quickly. Both girls left the room. Kate closed the door behind them with a last glance at Delia.