Darrington was hunkered over his hard cider and rum, crying and mumbling a song I could not decipher. He would stay until I pushed him out into the night to stumble across the way, up that narrow staircase and into his poor wife's bed.
Outside, the air was easy and fair and not completely still. So unlike the tavern, with its lingering pipe smoke and the feeling of men with their needy eyes. There was one table left to scour.
My ears pricked at the sound of a cart. It neared the tavern and I hoped it would pass. But the rumble of its wheels stopped beneath shuffling reins and I sighed with disappointment.
To my surprise, it was the voice of Alvy Jameson calling whoa to her ass. The beast snorted and whinnied and finally settled after a few snaps of the reins.
"Sorry for the late hour, Rose," she said as she stepped in. Her tone was conciliatory, considering she was a woman with a handsome purse and a dead husband. "Have you time for one drink? Will you have one with me?"
* * *