Eden 45:2

“You kissed Gertrude.” Sophia had her back to Eden. She was standing by the washbasin in a cotton nightdress, combing out her hair.

The cufflink Eden was unfastening fell to the floor with a clatter. She cursed beneath her breath and knelt to search for it under the chest of drawers where it had rolled.

She found it and stood. “Gertrude kissed me, actually,” Eden said. “But I’m surprised you were watching us.”

“I wasn’t. I came to the back door to ask if she wanted tea before she left and you were kissing her.” Sophia still did not turn.

“She was kissing me,” Eden repeated stupidly.

“She’s married. But I don’t suppose that will ever be a real problem for someone like Gertrude, if she wants something…someone.”

Eden heard neither anger nor sorrow in Sophia’s tone. She could not tell what Sophia felt. “Well, it’s a problem for me,” Eden said, then after a beat, “and I don’t want Gertrude anyway.”

Sophia put her comb beside the basin, splashed water on her face and dried it with a towel. At last she turned to Eden, her eyes cool and tearless, her mouth relaxed but unsmiling.  She walked to the bed and pulled back the counterpane, “What do you want?” she asked.

Eden looked across the bed at Sophia’s soft brown hair falling across her shoulder. “I want to paint you,” she said.

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