Kate smiled and moved forward through the gloom, her heels echoing loudly on the old flagstones, ‘Good afternoon, I’m Kate Bennett.’
The receptionist smiled back, revealing annoyingly perfect white teeth, ‘Of course, Dr. Bennett; Dr. Jordan is expecting you. If you take a seat in the waiting room I’ll let him know you’re here.’
‘Fine. But in fact it’s not Doctor, it’s just plain Ms. Bennett. Or better yet, Kate.’
The receptionist hesitated, and Kate said, with a smile, ‘I have a Ph.D., not a medical degree, and I hate Ph.D.’s who call themselves doctor. I despise that petty pretentiousness, don’t you?’
The receptionist smiled again and replied, ‘Of course, Ms. Bennett. Please take a seat while I ring Dr. Jordan’s office. Or perhaps I should say Mr. Jordan’s office?’
‘You bloody well better not if you want to keep your job!’ boomed a deep voice from behind Kate, ‘I’m a psychiatrist, not one of these quack psychologists, and I earned my medical degree.’
That voice was almost as familiar to her as her own, and with a warm glow of joy suddenly suffusing her Kate turned and smiled at her old friend and college mate before saying sweetly, ‘No, you didn’t, Trevor; you cheated on your finals, remember?’
Trevor Jordan strode across the great, vaulted hallway with his long, gangly arms outstretched in welcome and a broad grin splitting his face. He was a tall, thin, red-haired man, slightly balding on top, with a lust for life and an unquenchable optimism that few could resist. He was interested in people rather than subjects, and his humor and bright outlook on life had cheered and encouraged Kate through some difficult times even after their brief affair had ended.
Now, looking at the genuine pleasure in his sparkling blue eyes and on his contentedly ugly, freckled face, Kate was glad she had come, though still astonished that the penniless student she had once dated now held perhaps the most coveted position in Irish psychiatric circles. But then so many of her contemporaries now held positions of authority; a sign of approaching middle age, no doubt, like the fact that most of her old girlfriends now had children.
It was obvious from the expression on Trevor’s face that he was delighted to see her, and obvious too that if they had not been in full view of some of his staff -and if he had not been the Director of the Institute with a position to consider- he would have hugged her. Kate just had time to think this and extend a hand in greeting before she was scooped into his vast embrace and had all her breath emphatically hugged out of her body.
I should have known! she thought, fighting to breathe, a little dazed but also amused. Trevor practically made a career out of doing the unexpected, and cared little for the opinion of anyone save his closest friends. Having thoroughly hugged her, he kissed her cheek and said softly in her ear, ‘Welcome home, Kitty-cat!’
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Genre - Mystery, Thriller
Rating – PG-18
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