ON February 14, 1927, Kate had stood behind a shop counter. She had few prospects, no romance in her life and, if memory served correctly, it had been raining. And, of course, it was St Valentine’s Day without a valentine.
On February 14, 1928, she stood looking at herself in the mirror in a bridesmaid’s dress. She looked at her reflection and reflected on her life. She was engaged to be married and that was wonderful, and it was Delia’s wedding day and the sun was shining.
As soon as the divorce had been granted, Nesbo had applied for a special licence and here they were, in Chester, to be married in the Lady Chapel of Chester Cathedral.
“I want a proper church wedding,” Nesbo had said to Delia. “With you in a wedding dress. And with all our friends around us. A proper wedding.” Then he’d looked at Delia and said, “If that’s all right with you.”
“Yes, Leopold,” she’d said demurely.
His eyes narrowed as he looked at her again.
“That’s what you’d already decided on, isn’t it?”
“Yes, Leopold.” She smiled at him.
“Are my seams straight?” Sally interrupted Kate’s train of thought. She was standing by the hotel room window, her back to Kate.
“Perfect,” Kate assured her. “Turn round so I can look at you.”
Both girls wore simple chemise dresses of pale
yellow with a cloche cap of tulle with a daisy and crown trim. They wore cultured pearl earrings a present from the groom.
“I think we’ll both pass muster,” Sally said. “Shall we give Delia another minute before we go and see how she’s getting on?”
“I’m so glad I can be here today,” Sally said. “I couldn’t have borne it if I’d been in London and missed it.”
“You go next week?” Kate asked.
“Yes, for rehearsals.” She was quiet for a moment. “Kate, do you think I’m being an idiot?”
Kate shrugged her shoulders.
“I don’t know, Sally. Only you can decide.”
“If Will had said no, I wouldn’t. But . . .”
“But you might have regrets later?” Kate suggested.
“Yes, that’s what Will said. This job is well paid, Kate. It may last twelve months, perhaps longer. I’ll have enough money to set up my own dance and drama school. I’d love that. Teaching. Every little girl wants to dance and sing. I’m no Clarice Dupont, you know. I won’t pretend to be twenty-five for ever.”
Kate took both of Sally’s hands.
“You’re not stupid and you’re not selfish. Dance while you can, and Will will be there in the wings until the performance is over.”
“Thank you, Kate.”
“Hey!” Kate said. “We are bridesmaids. Let’s go and look after our bride.”