What Happens in Cornwall by T.A. Williams
At nine-thirty on the Sunday evening, fortified by a large glass of Chardonnay each and bearing a bottle of Rioja as an offering, they turned up at the party. It wasn’t in a scruffy terraced house in the heart of student town, but in a fine Georgian villa, high on the hill above the university, with a terrific view across the historic city. Even more surprising was the fact that the music was provided, not by a tattooed DJ with an earring and a couple of battered loudspeakers, but by a string quartet set up under a pergola of exquisite white roses. As they rounded the side of the house and took in the scene, both of them stopped dead in astonishment. They glanced at each other, the same thought on both their minds.
‘Bugger! We should have dressed up.’ Sam looked down at her shorts and regretted her decision not to go with a dress. Beside her, Becky was doing her best to tug her very short skirt down to her knees without baring her bottom.
‘There’s something about Bach, isn’t there?’
They turned towards the voice. It emanated from a tall man, probably in his early forties, with a patrician accent and immaculately styled long brown hair. He was wearing jeans and a plain white shirt. Samantha began to feel a bit less conspicuous about her choice of clothes. He smiled down at them. ‘Miles Vernon, Professor Miles Vernon. And you are?’ He held out his hand.
He was very good-looking and he knew it. Sam read the interest in his eyes, but she took a surreptitious step backwards, definitely not attracted to him and keen to avoid his getting the wrong idea. At the same time, she didn’t want to appear rude to a professor, even if his was a new name to her. But she needn’t have worried. Before she had time to extend her own hand, Becky had grasped his with both hands and was pumping it up and down. She beamed up at him. ‘Hello, Professor Vernon. I’m Becky and this is Samantha. We’re PhD students in the Archaeology department.’ She paused, then added for clarification, ‘At the university.’
Sam had a hard job restraining herself from giggling. Miles Vernon probably didn’t realise just how close he was to having his clothes ripped off him, Viking-style. You didn’t need a PhD to see the ‘target acquired’ look in Becky’s eyes. Sam waited until Becky had reluctantly released him and then shook hands with him in her turn. ‘Good evening. Is this your lovely house? Is this your party?’
He smiled at her, exposing a set of immaculate white teeth as he did so. ‘Good evening, Samantha.’ He pronounced it ‘Sementha’ and she repressed a shudder. ‘The answers are yes and yes. The house is indeed mine, and I thought I should do something for all my new friends at the university.’
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