Still with plenty of time once she’d parked her car, she headed for the Old House, the Victorian mansion in the centre of the college campus. It now served as the college administration centre, and she spent a few minutes chatting to Beth Andrews, one of the admin. assistants, before collecting her final schedule for the summer term.
As she left the office, a voice hailed her. ‘Hey, Lisa, had a good Easter?’
She turned to greet Millie Shepherd, her colleague in the TV Journalism department. ‘Yes, great, thanks. I was about to come looking for you, actually. D’you have time for a coffee? We need to talk about the new schedule.’
Millie’s green eyes twinkled as she grinned. ‘You know I always have time for coffee.’
They set off along the covered walkway linking the Old House with the modern Charlton Building, named after the nineteenth century owner of the estate. Lisa was laughing at her friend’s account of her kayaking efforts during the Easter weekend when Millie said suddenly, ‘Hey, look, Fiona Hall’s found herself a new man.’
Lisa followed her glance to the two figures on the path leading diagonally across the lawn toward the Charlton. Even from a distance, their colleague Fiona Hall was unmistakable; immaculate as always, in a tight-fitting green skirt and jacket. Lisa had long since ceased to compare her own clothes–usually tailored trousers and a crisp cotton shirt–with Fiona’s designer outfits.
As her gaze moved to the man walking with Fiona, she frowned. There was something familiar about the tall, slim figure–the way he walked, and the way he tilted his head as he listened to Fiona.
Don’e, she told herself, but still couldn’t take her eyes off him. As the gap between them lessened, her blood started to run cold. It wasn’t…it couldn’t possibly be—
The man lifted his hand to flick back a stray strand of light brown hair from his forehead, and she knew it was Paul.
For an insane moment, she wanted to run towards him, be scooped up in his arms again, see the laughter in his blue eyes, feel his soft and sensual mouth against hers.
Stunned by her reaction, by feelings she thought she’d totally suppressed, she stopped abruptly. Another thirty seconds, and they’d come face-to-face. Total panic made her heart thump against her ribs.
‘I-I’ve just remembered–erm, I need some–some class lists.’ Without waiting for Millie to reply, she turned and quickened her pace back toward the Old House.
Dimly, she heard Millie call out something about coffees in the cafeteria. The whole world had receded, and she was aware only of the painful pounding in her chest. Shock mixed with incredulity. Paul here at Hillside? Her mind simply refused to believe what her eyes had seen.
When she reached the Old House, she went straight to the ladies’ room. To her relief, no-one else was there. She didn’t dare think, didn’t dare allow herself to feel anything. Not until she’d managed to control the trembling which shook her whole body.
She glanced at her reflection in the mirror. The blood had drained from her face, and her brown eyes looked back at her with shock and panic. ‘Oh God,’ she breathed. ‘Oh, dear God—’
Had she really seen Paul Hamilton again?