Starched sheets and that antiseptic smell that fills the house when Beryl does her Friday clean. A scent reminiscent of his mum but she's been dead thirty years so not her. Lily of the valley? Roses? Freesias. Yes, freesias. Who likes freesias? Beryl? His sister Deborah? He hasn't seen her since she lasted visited what? Two years ago? He really must make the effort to see her. France must be lovely in... Was it May already?
“Cameron? Are you awake?”
Beryl. What time was it? He was normally up by now. “No toast today, thanks, love. I've got killers to catch.”
“He thinks he's at home. Cameron, love? Wake up. You've got to take your tablets.”
“Tablets?” White opened his eyes, momentarily confused by the speckled pattern of flame-retardent tiles across the ceiling. Didn't they have Artex? And why were there recessed light panels? Where was Beryl's rose-painted glass lampshade? Why was there pressure on has finger? Why did his hand hurt? He fell, didn't he?
He had a bitter taste in his mouth. Had he been sick? He seemed to remember being sick. Lasagne, gobbets of orange fat congealing on the side of the plate. He felt it coming up again.
Someone touching him. Not Beryl. Pretty, though, in a bossy kind of way. He used to like bossy women in his youth. Tell me what to do... Then Chief Superintendent Maybury when he did a stint in Manchester. That cured him of any desire for bossy women.
He blinked a few times. There was his wife. “Beryl? I'm so sorry. I think I've been sick.”