Flight (Page 19)
I felt heat rising to my cheeks and hoped I could stop it. I was not the girl who blushed. “Okay, my turn again. What’s with Jared and Owen?”
“What do you mean?” Levi asked.
“You act like girls or something. You’re never apart.”
“They’re not here now.”
“I get this vibe that they answer to you or something. Does this have to do with the ‘family business’?”
“Seriously? You’re evading my question again?”
“And here I thought girls liked a man of mystery.” Clearly, he was unwilling to answer the question.
I groaned. “On that note, are you ready to get going?”
“Sure.” He threw some cash down on the table and we got up to leave.
I stopped to dust some powdered sugar off my skirt. “So, where to now?”
“Where do you want to go?”
“Hmm, I don’t know.”
“What would you be doing if you were home?”
“I’d probably be at the beach,” I confessed, picturing how good the cool water would feel. “It’s pretty much my favorite place to be.”
“I’ll have to keep that in mind. The beach is a little hard to give you right now, but how about we check out the French Market?”
“Is that a problem?”
“Not at all, I am just surprised by the suggestion,” I admitted.
“It’s not like I’m taking you to the mall.”
“True, but you don’t seem like the shopping type.”
“If you’re done complaining…” he trailed off with a hint of a smile.
“Lead the way.” I gestured him forward with my hand.
The French Market provided some much-needed shade. After several weeks, I was still no more used to the heat and humidity of the city. Not that summer in New York was particularly pleasant, but New Orleans was on a whole different level.
We weren’t the only ones visiting the market, and I guessed it was the usual Saturday crowd.
“I think I remember now why I don’t come here much,” Levi mumbled.
“Not one for crowds?” I asked.
“Not really. You?”
“I actually kind of like them. I think it’s why I like New York City so much. I love the feeling of getting lost in a big crowd.”
“I learn something new about you every day,” he joked, guiding us down the center aisle.
“I think you won that contest last night.” I smiled, thinking about just how much I had learned. “Well, we can leave if you want.”
“Not until we do one thing.”
“You like sweets, right?” he asked.
“Loretta’s has some great pralines you’ve got to try.”
Levi stepped into a small store within the market. I stood back watching the crowd move by as I waited for him to finish his purchase.
“Ready?” Levi took my hand leading me out of the market back the way we came. He never let go of my hand, and I didn’t fight it. Something had changed the night before. I had seen a hint of the real Levi and I wanted more. We passed back through Jackson Square and I never bothered to ask where we were going. I ate my praline, enjoying my breakfast of treats.
Levi came to a stop in front of a large building that appeared to be an old brewery. “The view here isn’t quite as good as last night, but it’s pretty nice.”
I noticed the sign hanging in front of the door. “Pat O’s?”
“It’s Pat O’s on the River, good drinks and a nice view.”
“Drinks in the middle of the afternoon?”
“You’re in N’awlins Al, get used to it.”
He led me inside and up in the elevator. We walked through the indoor bar and out onto the patio.
“Hi Levi,” a busty waitress called as we headed outside. She watched him eagerly waiting for his response.
Levi barely nodded in acknowledgement. I smiled without meaning to.
We took seats at a high top table overlooking the river.
“You weren’t kidding, this is a great view.” I settled back into my chair, thankful for the awning overhead.
“I thought you would like it. You seem to really like good views.”
“The usual?” a waiter asked as he approached the table.
“Yes and a hurricane for her.”
“All right, be right out with those.”
“Does everyone who works here know you?” I asked.
“Not everyone.” He smiled.
“Well anyway, what did you order me?”
“You’ll like it. It’s pretty much the signature drink of the city and the specialty drink here, so you need to have it at least once.”
“Is it as good as the other drink you keep buying me?”
“Maybe not as good, but you’ll still enjoy it.”
“What did you get?”
“How do you know I wouldn’t prefer that?”
“I don’t take you as the type to take your liquor straight.” He watched me, daring me to contradict him.
I contemplated arguing, but that would have ended in me drinking whisky, and that wasn’t something that sounded remotely appealing. “You’re right. I was just asking.”
The waiter brought our drinks over. I took a sip and Levi was right; I did like it. It was sweet but still had something to it. “Ah, it’s such a gorgeous afternoon.”
Levi laughed lightly. “I’m glad to see you enjoying yourself.”
“Is there any chance you’ll take me—” The blare of a barge drowned me out. “Any chance you’ll—” It happened again and I decided to wait.
“What were you asking?” He seemed genuinely interested.
“Any chance of a repeat performance from last night?” I finally got out.
“You liked that, huh?”
“Yeah, I can’t say I’ve ever had a ride like that before.”
A middle-aged woman at the table next to us coughed, evidently misinterpreting our conversation. Levi must have realized it too. “Sure baby, I’ll take you for a ride anytime.”
I smacked his leg under the table.
“You so deserved that.”
“You’re the one that wants the ride.” He tried unsuccessfully to stifle a laugh.
I ignored his last statement. “Is that a yes? You’ll take me again?”