Rose Henslowe was an after thought (believe it or not! She becomes very important!) but I really like her a lot! She lives with her parents in their theatre, The Little Rose. Tommy meets her while delivering flowers and is instantly smitten…
…A large voice boomed from behind the castle walls. ‘God damn it! Where is Mister Palmer? Not that he’s of any bloody use anyway.’ Mr. Henslowe stormed onto the stage and noticed Tommy instantly. ‘Who the hell are you?’ Tommy opened his mouth to speak but nothing came out.
‘His name is Tom, papa. He’s here to see the play with me.’ Rose announced rather sternly. Tommy looked down at her and then back to the huge man in front of him. He had never expected her father to be so, large. The man only came to Tommy’s nose but he seemed taller. Perhaps it was the tuft of dark black hair that stood up straight on his head as if he spent a great deal of time trying to pull it out. He had a bushy moustache that moved when he talked, or at least the few words Tommy had witnessed so far. His arms were thick from years of carrying sets back and forth, his body solid and strong. The only thing small on the man were his black eyes—or at least they seemed that way because they were beating down on Tommy with such ferocity that he could feel the sweat bead up on his neck.
‘Is he then?’ He continued to look Tommy over for a moment before looking at Rose and cocking his head slightly. ‘What in the hell are you wearing? I’ve never seen that dress before.’
Tommy saw her jaw tighten slightly and her cheeks turn bright red. So, the dress was just for him. He couldn’t help but smile.
‘That’s because I don’t usually wear it.’
‘Oh my! Don’t you look lovely!’ An excited voice came from behind them and Tommy spun around to see a tiny woman with very large hair walking briskly towards them. He knew instantly this had to be Rose’s mother. While Rose had her father’s colouring she had her mother’s figure and large blue eyes. ‘You did such a beautiful job with that dress darling! Let me just look at you!’ She turned Rose around to see the full affect. Rose closed her eyes for a moment then managed a smile.
‘Thank you mother.’
‘Isn’t she so talented? She does a lot of our costumes when our regular designer is too busy or just not able to keep up. You must be Tom.’ She held out her small hand and Tommy took it. He wasn’t sure if he was supposed to shake it or kiss it from the way she offered so he just held it for a moment and smiled.
‘Yes ma’am.’ Seemed to cover everything she had just crammed into the sentence and was all he could really manage before she started talking again.
‘We’re so glad to meet you! I hear you deliver our gorgeous flowers now? They really lighten up our lobby! We do love fresh flowers every day.’ He could feel Rose tense up beside him and he shifted a bit closer so he could grab her hand without anyone seeing. She squeezed tightly.
‘God woman, give it a rest will you? He doesn’t care about the bloody flowers right now.’ Mr. Henslowe sighed and his wife stopped instantly. She didn’t seem to mind being told to shut up. She just smiled and admired Rose’s dress again.