Sam walks into ARTHIST 6: Art & Art History's Greatest Hits and looks around for an empty desk. There's one next to a pretty blonde girl. "Can I sit here?" he asks her.
"Sure," she says.
That's pretty much the last they say to each other all month. Sam has never had any idea how to approach pretty girls. Besides, he only just broke it off with Brady.
Of course Brady's taking ARTHIST 6 too. Same section.
It's late September when Brady comes up to him in the dining hall, dragging Pretty Girl behind him. She's tall. Sam knew that, but it's a lot more noticeable when he's sitting and she's standing in heels.
"So I hear you two have been sitting next to each other for a month and still don't know each other's names," Brady says. "Sam, Jess. Jess, Sam. You're both into European folklore. Discuss." Brady takes off.
"Sorry about him," Sam says.
"It's all right," says the girl. Jess. "I may have admitted I've been trying to work up the nerve to talk to you."
Sam feels himself going red. "Um. Me too. Talk to you, that is."
"Shut up," Jess says, amused, and sits down across from him. "So. European folklore."
"I've been researching the pesanta," Sam says. "It's a big black dog, or possibly a cat but probably a dog, that apparently has colanders for paws. Steel with holes in them, anyway. Unfortunately all the references to them are in Spanish or Catalan."
Unfortunately because Sam was pretty sure it was a pesanta killing people in Portola Valley—he'd had a look at the pawprints—and all the English-language sources on the subject were derived from the unsourced article on Wikipedia, which did not, of course, mention how to kill the damn thing.
"Sounds fascinating," Jess says. "Sounds like the Hounds of Annwn, actually."
"No, those escort dead souls to the next world, don't they? These just kill people with sleep paralysis..."
At the end of the semester, Sam and Jess move in together.