“I’m thrilled to see you again, Miss Farnaby. It’s been so long,” he sat down. “You’ll be glad to know that I saw Bert and Alice the other day, they’re getting along swimmingly. Well, as close to swimmingly as Bert and Alice can get. Mr. Smith crossed my path yesterday. I suppose I can tell you now, he’s my father,” Mulberry laughed nervously. “I wonder how you’d’ve reacted if you’d known at the time. Not well, I expect.”
He shifted slightly and cleared his throat. “I suppose what I’m really here to say is… I miss you, Rose. Life isn’t the same without you. I’m of the opinion that it was much better with you.”
Mulberry set down a small bouquet of roses on the headstone, brushing stray bits of stone as he did so. “But don’t worry, I’ll always remember you—and be better for it.”
“That wasn’t he most successful dinner party I’ve ever had,” Miss Farnaby watched Mulberry pour two glasses of champagne. “In fact, had two people been making love amongst the dishes on the table it would have been more successful.”
Mulberry handed her a glass. “Well it generally dampens the mood when someone drops dead in their asparagus.”
“But people came, didn’t they? That’s reason for celebration if nothing else.”
“I suppose so,” she sipped at the bubbling liquid. It was such a Mulberry-ish drink and bubbled almost as much as he did. “But I don’t think they’ll come again. Deaths also have a way of keeping people at a distance.”
It might have been her imagination, but Mulberry looked distinctly uneasy at the mention of Death.
“Can we stop talking about this?”
So it wasn’t her imagination.
“Tonight is a night for celebrating your dinner party—and that new dress of yours.”
She smiled and shook her head. “I still think I look like a French brothel keeper.”
“The real question is: can you act like one?”
Miss Farnaby raised her eyebrows. “I don’t think so.”
He slid forward. “Let’s see if you can.”