At first, it was awkward between them. The silence hung like a pall, and Susannah turned alternately red and white, her shyness like a semaphore burning on the high apples of her cheeks. Thank God for the books -- they were a lifeline for Susannah, and she held on to them for dear life.
Somewhere in between describing the process of cell regeneration and explaining the difference between mitosis and meiosis, Susannah felt her confidence return again, the cool peace of it settling on her shoulders like a mantle. And then, suddenly, the chapter had been covered, all the review questions answered. They were done, just like that.
"So if you have any questions," she finished brightly as she closed the textbook shut. She looked up into his bright blue eyes and her newfound confidence fled.
He was staring at her with an intensity that made her insides quake. Her hands trembled in her lap, signaling the force of emotions inside her. And then suddenly it was as if the room began to spin, faster and faster. Susannah was aware of a dim haze encircling her thoughts, of a strange warmth, too, that began in the pit of her belly and spread to her limbs. Colors began to swim together, a wash of distortion and confusion. Susannah closed her eyes.
When she opened them again, she was in another place. She stood in a wide, green plain, shielding her hands from the bright sun. The heaviness of her long skirts surprised her, and when she looked down she realized she was wearing a voluminous green gown that was bunched tightly at the bodice, sculpted perfectly to her form. The lace at her throat itched, and the pins holding up her hair pinched at her scalp. But she was aware only of an overwhelming emotion that took hold of her as she saw a familiar figure appear on the horizon, someone riding a black horse. Someone with bright blue eyes, someone very dear to her.
"James!" She called, and then the vision changed. The green plain disappeared, and she was herself again, back in her dorm room with her study materials scattered before her and the same boy seated next to her with the same bright blue eyes fixed upon her face.
They were the last thing she saw before she sank down into a deep faint.