(Ben's greatest love)

(from p. 142 of the novel)

     Why was I in the library trying to study that night? My mind wasn't on pharmacology. The burden of the Ashton project was lifted and I had received A's on my first exams. When I looked up and saw her coming, my heart missed a beat. It was a cute medical sophomore that I'd seen around. I smiled, she smiled back, and we held each other's gaze as she walked by. She slowed, sat down and sank into the sofa near my carrel. Quick, Ben. She's opening a book. Say something. Say anything.
     "Oh, it's so late to be studying."
     "Yes. Too late to study, but too early to quit," she said with a resigned smile.
     My dream girl. Expressive face, dark straight hair tied up in a pony tail. Slim and about my height. Dressed in stylish beige slacks and a loose-fitting blouse
     I smiled and told her, "I know the feeling."
     "Well, you see I have this roommate, and she has this boyfriend, and they are in this hot and heavy stage. It would be hard to study there even if I wanted to."
     "My place isn't very conducive to study either," I said, quickly thinking up a quip about rocking the boat.
     She cocked her head to the side for a second. "It looks like you are pretty well set up with that computer plugged in and with all those books. Are you working on a dissertation?"
     Friendly, honest intelligence. I hoped against hope that she wasn't someone's girlfriend.
     "I'm not that far along yet," I said.
     "What are you studying?"
     Fine-featured, open and sympathetic face.
     "Pharmacology," I answered.
     "We're just starting Sophomore Pharmacology. I'm Rebecca Levis," she said, moving forward in the couch and extending her hand.
     "I'm Ben Candidi. Pleased to meet you, Rebecca."
     As our hands touched, mine tingled. Rebecca was the type of girl I could get real serious about. Perhaps the feeling was mutual.
     "What year are you in, Ben."
     "First year," I answered. Her dark green eyes studied me for a second. I could see the wheels turning, trying to figure out how much older I was than twenty-three. "I worked six years in a forensic laboratory. Came down here after my B.S. from Swarthmore in chemistry and physics."
     "I went to NYU in premed and anthropology."    ...   ...   ...

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