You’re as filthy as I am
Jessica filled his glass again and he drank, aware of the excitement of the drink pricking under his skin. Jessica watched him for a moment, and then leaned over.
‘You’re a nice boy, Roger,’ she whispered.
Her fingers tapped along the outside of his thigh and suddenly, as though a tap had been turned on, he began to feel excited. He turned inwards to face her. The room fell away down a very long steep slope and there was only the two of them, buoyantly riding a sea of alcohol with their lust like a coloured bubble between them.
The cool, remembered voice was like a dart that pricked the bubble.
Rosemary said: ‘Hello, Roger. Been here long?’
His boldness and lust melted away as he looked at her. She stood beside Jessica, dressed in a dark blue costume, smiling faintly. Her brown hair ran back immaculately into the fashionable bob.
She lit a cigarette, and offered the case to Roger and Jessica. Jessica was watching her in drunken rage. She refused a cigarette awkwardly.
‘Coming to collect Baby?’ she asked, thickly. ‘Aren’t you a little ashamed of yourself, Rosie, at your age? You sleek bitch, can’t you go and get yourself a man?’
Roger felt there was something he should say, but he was frightened. He knew Jessica was eager for a scene, and he realised he could not come well out of it. He looked appealingly towards Rosemary.
She glanced at him quizzically and smiled.
‘I thought Baby might be burning his fingers,’ she said to Jessica.
Jessica’s face crumpled, the slack lines puckering into wrinkles.
‘Oh, hell!’ she said. ‘Hell, I hate you, Rosie. How do you get away with it? How do you manage not to be ashamed of yourself? You’re as filthy as I am. You’ve no right to look clean.’