Blair opened the first storage box. It was full of old clothes. He wrinkled up his nose. Definitely not usable. He pushed it to one side and pulled the other box over. It was heavy. This one looked interesting, with the amount of dust on the top of it, he figured it hadn't been opened in a long time. Blair hesitated, unsure of whether he should be opening something Jim either had forgotten about or had purposefully left unopened. He sighed; Jim had said that he could look through the stuff in the basement and sort out any items he thought could be donated to charity. And that stuff must have included this box. Blair's curiosity got the better of him and he pulled open the box and looked inside. Books. It was full of books. Blair picked one off the top.
"The Shore Road Mystery." Blair read out loud. "The Hardy Boys help Jack Dodd and his father locate a missing treasure." He picked up another book. "The Flickering Torch Mystery."
"So you were into the Hardy boys then." Blair dug deeper in the box and found they were all Hardy Boys novels. "Into them big time by the looks of things. Certainly explains a few things"
"Chief?" Jim suddenly appeared in the doorway. Blair jumped up, knocking the books over.
"Jeez Jim, you bought gave me a heart attack. Do you have to creep around like that?"
"Sorry. I thought you would have heard me come down the stairs." Jim grinned "Or did I do that extra creepy too?"
"Ha Ha. Mr Covert Ops is my middle name."
"What you got there?" Jim looked at the pile of books on the floor. He suddenly realised what they were. "Hey! Be careful with those."
"What? I haven't…" Blair began but was interrupted by Jim.
"They're classics - you don't just leave them on the floor." Jim bent down and started to pick the books up.
"I didn't put them on the floor - they fell when you made me jump. Wait a minute. You call these classics?" Blair looked inquisitively at Jim, who ignored the question and continued his rant.
"They're only paperbacks; you have to be careful not to crease any of the pages and you…" He realised Blair was staring at him What?"
"What? What? Is that all you can say? You just called these books classics." Blair smiled.
"These aren't classics. Classics are Jane Austin and Shakespeare, not Franklin.W. Dixon."
"They're classics to me." Jim retorted "Hey! You weren't thinking of giving these away where you?"
Jim looked so horror struck; Blair had to fight to keep his face straight.
"You can't. They're my books. I want to keep them. All of them. I've had these since I was a kid. You can't just get rid of them like that."
"Well. I don't know. Do kids still read this stuff?" Blair teased. Jim looked offended.
"I don't care. These books are staying here." Jim put the books back in the box.
Blair held up his hands "Hey man! Time out. I was only joking. If you still want them, there's no way I'd even contemplate giving them away."
Jim visibly relaxed.
"So why do you want to keep them?"
"For the same reason I've kept them all these years. They're mine. They're part of me. I grew up with these books. I've read them all at least 3 times, some even more than that. There's no way on earth I'd give up these books or any of my others."
Blair smiled, at last he'd found something Jim was passion it about. "Don't you think that's a little strange for a man your age to say?"
"Don't you think you're being a tad obsessive?"
Jim laughed "Okay - I do sound a little obsessive, I admit it, but I just love books. I know I don't have many round the Loft, but that doesn't mean I don't like books any more. I just don't have enough time now. I wish I had."
"Well you should make time. How many books have you got?"
"I don't know, a couple of hundred. Some are down here, but most are over at Stephen's house. We didn't have room for them all."
"We, as in you and Carolyn?"
"Well, we'll just have to go round and get the rest tomorrow."
Jim smiled "We will?"
"Yeah, so now we'd better go and make room for all of them."
As they both walked over to the door, Jim turned to Blair and said "Is this a good time to mention that I love the smell of books as well?"
"The smell of …….you mean you sniff books?"
Jim just grinned. Blair laughed, "No, don't mention that. That's way too much information."
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