"I don't know what's keeping them." Tessa stood by the window, curtain pulled back in her hand, watching the street.
"Do sit down, dear." Ned smiled up at his wife. "You know young people. Something always turns up to distract them. Especially young people in love."
She dropped the curtain and turned towards her husband. "Do you have put it that way?"
"Ned, I'm doing my part. I've invited Rachel and her friend to tea."
"She's rather more than a friend."
Tessa glared at Ned. "There. You've done it again. Why do you have to be so... so... so accommodating?"
Ned poured from the pot into his bone china cup. "This is rather weak, don't you think?" He started to rise. "I think I'll nick into the kitchen and get another teabag..."
"Stay right there. You're avoiding me. You always try to avoid me."
He did his best to look sternly at his wife. "You're the one trying to avoid things. Luce is not just Rachel's friend, she's the woman she loves. I want my daughter to be happy, and to be comfortable in our home."
"Perhaps Hec was the wrong man for her after all, but I hardly think she's explored all her options. My friend Ellen has a lovely boy. Rachel hasn't met him and..."
Ned put his hands on Tessa's shoulders. "Stop it Tessa. Please. Just stop it."
Her body stiffened. For a moment she looked as though she was going to shout at him. Instead, she lay her head against his chest. "I don't know what to do. Why did it have to be another woman?"
"Luce is the person she loves. Who loves her. You know this."
"Ned, I'm fifty-two years old. I wasn't raised this way. It's hard for me."
He wrapped his arms around her, kissing the top of her head. "I know, dear. I know."