‘So why’s a good-looking woman like you not got a husband then?’
‘I was my mum’s carer, so I didn’t have time for dates.’
So you live with your Mum?’ Thomas asked, and swirled the champagne around his glass.
‘No, she died a few months ago.’
‘I’m sorry to hear that, was she ill for a long time?’
‘For about five years, her liver was damaged due to drinking, it was quick in the end.’
‘Is that why you’re wearing black?’ he said.
‘No, not really. I know I shouldn’t say that but.’
As Thomas poured out some more champagne, Elizabeth blushed, but allowed him to refill her glass.
‘Was she not a nice woman then?’
‘Mum was a . . . difficult woman to be around, let’s just leave it at that.’
‘I get you, Mum, I loved her, but she liked things perfect. I never really lived up to her expectations. I even married the wrong girl, but I think I might have found the right one now.’
‘You were married?’
‘Martha . . . died a couple of years ago, I live with my sister now.’
‘I’m so sorry Thomas.’
‘Time has helped, and now so have you. I have a feeling we could make quite the team.’ He leant forward, kissed her lightly on her cheek.
At Thomas’s suggestion they walked along the river. It was different at night. She put her hand where he it touched her so gently. Miss Moneypenny had finally got her man. The barges were bobbing on the calm water. With its loud disco music, a passenger boat, cut through the silence.
Feet, now with a dull ache on the heel, she didn’t want to walk any further. Thomas carried her to a bench, where she removed the offending item.
‘That’s better, I don’t know why I chose these heels in the first place.’
‘I’m glad I don’t have to worry about that sort of thing. Men are lucky because they don’t have to wear heels.’ Thomas’s hand brushed her knee.
Elizabeth glanced down, but didn’t remove it. Slowly, he leant in for the kiss. He smelt of champagne and cream. With his jacket around her shoulders, Elizabeth didn’t want the evening to end. When they got up to leave the thought of going home alone to an empty bed was a hard thing to contemplate.