"I can't very well go gadding about with just any Tom Henry on my day off, can I?"
When Jane asked Mary why she'd come to her, this was all the answer she got.
Mary was snappily buttoning up her blouse, patting her hair back into place with satisfaction. This was after Mary had stripped them both efficiently, turned down the sheets and straddled Jane's face. She parted Jane's thighs and demonstrated with her fingers how Jane should lick her.
"Get yourself dressed dear, spit-spot. We mustn't lie abed all day."
This was six months after Jane had found her.
It wasn't clear how they'd gotten to the flat. But there they were, and Mary was handing Jane a patterned china cup. Every detail was true to Jane's recollection: Mary's milk-perfect skin, lips rosy and succulent as a wedge of candy apple, the tingly magic of her fingertips when they brushed Jane's wrist in the exchange. A volatile magic for an almost-grown-up. The teacup clattered to the floor as Jane leaned into Mary and kissed her, shattering into a mess of shards and spill.
Mary clutched her, arms banding her torso as an incantation against loss, and kissed her back.
There was no advantage in stealth. Mary turned before Jane reached her, said "Jane Banks" in greeting, as if their meeting were commonplace. Her face was wet with unheeded tears.
"I was looking for Burt," Jane said.
"As was I," said Mary. "He died yesterday. Run down by an automobile." Her tone was brusque as always. The way her tongue curled in distaste around 'automobile' suggested only the barest sliver of grief.
Jane's eyes welled up with the shock of it.
"There there, child, such a fuss." Mary encircled Jane with her arm. "Come and have a cup of tea."
She never stopped looking for Mary. Out of the corner of her eye she'd catch a hat plume, the bright handle of an umbrella. When she turned she was always disappointed. The habit became native, a secret investigative fervor. If the elusive glimpses of memory plagued her, she searched out Burt in the park. It was a lust he understood.
It was ten years later, perhaps, when she traversed the greens without finding him. A prim figure was perched on a bench by the far gate, ramrod and still, carpet bag at her feet.
Jane approached silently, like a huntress.