A Good Book

A Good Book

I was walking across campus, heading towards my car. I had my head bowed and was reading Stork Naked, the latest Xanth novel and ran right into something – or rather, someone.

I would have been knocked off my feet, but a strong hand reached out and grabbed my shoulder, preventing me from falling.

Of course, the hand also forced my momentum in the opposite direction, so I ended up pressed that person's chest.

A hard, solid, male chest.

The man chuckled in a rather embarrassed fashion and said, "Sorry about that. I should have been watching where I was going."

"It's okay," I said wryly. "I should have been, too." I will get too focused on a good book.

"Caught up in your book?" He raised his right hand, which held the paperback I'd been reading, and only just noticed that I'd dropped when we ran into each other. He must've caught it as well as me.

I blushed. "Yeah, it's a really good one." I'd always liked Surprise; talk about a neat talent. I did wonder, though, when she'd get around to discovering that her talents came back after a time, like she did in The Dastard.

"Is it? I haven't had a chance to get it yet, but I've been meaning to," he said, gray eyes smiling.

I was stunned; I never thought I'd meet someone else who liked the Xanth Novels.

He grinned sheepishly as he handed me my book. "I'm sorry, I should introduce myself. My name is Grey, Grey Murphy."

Just like the Xanth character? But what I said aloud was, "Nice to meet you. I'm Amarin Marks."

"Since I have you here," and he blushed a bit; from the unintentional innuendo, I was thinking, "could you tell me which way the, uh, parking deck is?"

"Sure," I said, always willing to help out – especially someone who liked Xanth novels. "It's right past the Student Union," I pointed behind me and to my left, "and across the little bridge."

"Thank you so much," he said, then made an abortive move to leave, before adding, "It was nice meeting you, Amarin."

"You too, Grey," I said, and watched as he left. Something nagged me about him. His name, for one, while probably pretty common, was still a heck of a coincidence. Then again, I thought I remembered that Grey Murphy went to college in Florida, not Arkansas; but it had been a while since I'd read Man From Mundania.

His clothing had been somewhat old-fashioned, but I'd seen people on this campus in everything from business suits to pajama pants and ratty t-shirts, so that meant nothing.

I should have just shrugged it off and been on my way, but I had always been as curious as the proverbial cat. Absentmindedly stuffing Stork Naked into my backpack, I glanced at Grey's retreating back, indecisive.

But not for long. With a quick look around – what for, I didn't know; it just felt like something one did before doing something crazy – I turned and hurried to follow him.

I never could resist a good book – and knowing Xanth, this just might be one in the making. I certainly wasn't going to miss out on my chance to have an adventure.