Flight (Page 10)
“We all want what we don’t have, am I right?” Hailey asked.
“Are you girls done gossiping yet?” Jared whined, putting an arm around Jess.
“Gossiping? Yeah, okay.” Hailey rolled her eyes again and this time I laughed.
“I got your drink for you,” Levi said from behind and I realized I hadn’t even noticed him leave. He held a glass towards me in one hand, while holding an Abita beer in his other.
I accepted the glass. “My drink?”
“You seemed to like it the other night.”
“And you still aren’t going to tell me what’s in it?”
“Well, there are other ways of figuring it out.”
“Are there now?” He arched an eyebrow.
“You care to share?”
“Not right now.” I smiled and took a seat at a table next to Owen. Before Levi could sit down next to me, Hailey jumped into the seat. The dirty look Levi gave Hailey wasn’t lost on me.
There were a few other guys sitting at the table that started laughing when we sat down. I couldn’t tell if it was about Hailey annoying Levi or the fact that Jess was sitting in Jared’s lap. All the seats were taken.
I waited, curious as to how Levi was going to react.
“You can have my chair.” One of the other guys at the table stood up quickly.
“That won’t be necessary. I’m sure Allie and I can share.”
Taken aback by how the guy was so willing to defer to Levi, I almost missed what Levi was suggesting. “You wish.”
“Why? You afraid you might actually like it?” Levi said arrogantly. Almost everyone at the table laughed, even Jess, which annoyed me. Only Hailey stayed quiet.
His words sent chills down me because a part of me knew he was right. “Not a chance.”
The laughter stopped, and I got the distinct impression that people didn’t usually argue with Levi.
The whole situation seemed so dumb that I got up and walked inside. I watched the band play, drawn in immediately. I had never heard anything quite like it before. The band was comprised of a tuba, trombone, trumpet, and drummer. The music had a jazzy feel with a funky beat. Without meaning to, I started moving to the beat; this was not the kind of music that let you stay still. I finished my drink before placing it on the bar.
“I told you you’d like it here.” Levi leaned on the bar next to me.
“I admit it’s pretty cool. Who is this, by the way?”
“Oh, it’s the Rebirth Brass Band. Heard of them?”
“I don’t think so, but that isn’t surprising. I’m not exactly up on the New Orleans music scene. Anyway, what was that all about back there?”
“What do you mean?”
“Why do people act like you walk on water or something?”
“How do you know I don’t?” Levi handed me another drink, and I sipped it slowly this time. I needed to avoid getting drunk, my willpower around Levi was weak enough sober.
“Walk on water.”
“Wow, you are even cockier than I thought.”
Levi laughed and I hated how sexy it sounded.
“All right, I can’t walk on water, but I can do other things very, very well.”
“Oh yeah?” I sounded flirtier than I wanted to. The alcohol hit me harder than I expected, probably because I had skipped dinner.
“Let me show you.”
The heated look in his eyes told me he was going to kiss me, and I didn’t bother to stop him. Instead, I closed my eyes. His lips brushed mine lightly, and for a moment I thought that was it, but just as I prepared for him to pull away, his lips crushed mine more urgently.
The chaste kiss became much more as his strong arms went around me, pulling me against him. I reached up, twisting my hands in his hair. His mouth tasted like a mixture of alcohol and sweetness, like a perfectly mixed cocktail.
He pulled his head back just enough to look at me but didn’t move his hands. “Still going to pretend you aren’t interested, Allison?”
Dazed, it took me a moment to answer. This only made Levi laugh which, of course, made me angry. “I told you to call me Allie.”
“You said everyone calls you Allie. I’m not everyone.”
“Are you always this frustrating?”
“Depends on who you ask.”
Groaning, I placed my half-full glass on the bar and walked back outside. I didn’t glance back, but Levi’s laughter carried over the music and conversations, letting me know he was still right behind me.
Some seats had opened up at the table, so we avoided that drama the second time around. Of course, this time I would have had a harder time denying my interest in sitting on Levi’s lap.
We hung out for hours, listening to the music pour into the courtyard from the bar. With Jess preoccupied with Jared, I got to spend a lot of time chatting with Hailey and we really hit it off. It turned out she had the same love of action movies that I did.
“Okay, so who would win in a fight, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Stephen Segal, Bruce Lee, or Jackie Chan?” Owen asked, after listening to Hailey and I dish on our favorite movies.
“Easy, Jean-Claude. I mean he’s hot and bad a*s. Can you get any better?” I answered immediately.
“Wait, so I’m not the only 18-year-old Jean-Claude fan? Nice!” Hailey gave me a high five.
“That’s who you find hot?” Levi smirked. “But anyway, Owen, you left out Chuck Norris.”
“Please no. Someone stop Levi from starting in on Chuck Norris. There are only so many of those jokes I can take.” Hailey’s hand hit the table hard, spilling some of our drinks, which for some reason seemed incredibly funny, so I started to laugh which only made her laugh too.
Thirty minutes later, we were no closer to reaching a consensus.
“Wow, is it really 2:30?” I squinted to look at the hands on my watch. I could barely keep my eyes open. I wished I had my glasses with me so I could take out my contacts. I settled for putting a few drops in my eyes. I was glad I’d remembered to throw them in my purse.
“Did you guys drive?” Hailey asked.
“No, we took the street car.” Once I discovered how late it was all I wanted to do was go to sleep. I so didn’t want to sit on a streetcar for a half hour.
“Why don’t you guys come back to our place? It’s really late anyhow,” Jared suggested.
“That sounds like a great idea,” Jess said quickly.