Tarnished Memories by Tricia McGill
A gasp caught in her throat as shock waves rippled through her. Her eyes became riveted on the man just entering the hall. Inside the door he halted, his long legs apart as he moved his eyes over the few people remaining there.
When his eyes met hers they stared at each other for what seemed like eons of time, but must have been mere seconds. Then he was striding towards her, that lithe grace of his stirring all the old feelings she'd thought buried long ago.
Her whole body quivered and time seemed suspended as the noise about her disappeared. Spontaneously her arms lifted as if in readiness of flinging herself into the cradle of his embrace. Pulling herself up sharply she clenched her fists, nearly cracking the glasses she still held.
He looked as cool as a mountain spring in a lightweight shirt and denim shorts while she began to perspire freely. Her throat dried up like a cinder as he drawled in that once loved and always remembered voice, "Hello Sally, how are you?"
An expression flashed across his velvety brown eyes so swiftly that it was gone before she had time to grasp its meaning. His ruthless assessment of her stripped away the veneer of sophistication she'd garnered in the past four years, making her feel vulnerable and almost naked. Hadn't he always been able to see past her defences to see the real woman beneath?
"What are you doing here?" she asked with a harshness she knew was downright rude, as he bent to pick up the small case that sat by her legs. His eyes had turned cold and impersonal. She knew she sounded bitter and reproachful. It was a struggle to stop her hands from shaking as she made to take the bag from him. His smile held no warmth as he stepped aside with a small shake of the head.
"What happened to hello and how are you, among the other inanities that usually accompany a greeting," he asked in such a brittle tone that she flinched. Cupping her elbow in a palm he propelled her across the hall. "I take it you do have other luggage?" His brows rose as he led her to the baggage carousel.
"Of course. I was about to collect it," she snapped.
"In answer to your question, I'm here because your mother wasn't feeling the best. I was coming into the city anyway so offered to pick you up." He stared at the few remaining pieces of luggage going round on the platform, while Sally tried to gain some of her lost equilibrium, wishing devoutly she could run from this man whose presence dragged up so many memories; memories that wrenched at her heart until it became an agony.
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