Verna kept visiting Tom and they began to date.
It wasn’t really a date. Tom was using Verna as the ‘girl friend’ to prevent other women approaching. To prevent questions.
With Verna as the ‘girlfriend’ people believed he was healing, he was getting his life back on track.
This ruse was what Tom wanted.
Verna kept expecting him to do something, but he never did. She made all the first moves.
Verna thought he was shattered, that his confidence was eroded. That he was needy and helpless.
So she kissed him, she made love to him, she asked him to marry her.
Tom never loved her, which is why he married her. He could never love her. Never love anyone.