Flight (Page 36)

“Good morning, beautiful,” he said playfully, picking up a few strands of my hair where they lay on the pillow.

“Good morning.” I smiled.

There wasn’t even an ounce of awkwardness between us. You would have thought we had been waking up next to one another for years. I laughed to myself remembering that this was actually the second time we’d awoken together.

“You are so beautiful when you sleep,” he said quietly.

“You watched me sleep?”

“Yeah, I couldn’t resist. It’s not often I’m around you when you aren’t being all feisty and defensive. It was nice to see you completely peaceful for a change.”

“I didn’t get to see you sleep… too bad.”

“You can always watch tonight.”

“Tonight? What makes you think this is ever going to happen again?”

He raised an eyebrow “Sweetheart, you and I both know that there was nothing one time about last night.”

I knew he was right and said nothing, realizing my silence was tantamount to agreement.

“How about we just stay here all day?” he asked, pulling me up on top of him.

I rolled off him. “Very funny. You know I have to meet Hailey for brunch.” I looked at the clock on the bed stand. “Wow, I need to meet her soon, we slept late.”

“Yeah, I guess we did. You could always call and cancel.”

“Cancel on Hailey?” I said skeptically

“Okay, maybe not. She’ll blame me and I’ll be the one dealing with it.” He laughed.

“Besides, you have plans this morning too, don’t you?”

“As if I would choose basketball with the guys over this?”

“Well, either way I’m going, so you need to leave.”

“Fine. But we’re having dinner tonight. I have something to talk to you about.”

“Dinner sounds good, but what do you need to tell me?” I asked curiously.

“Relax, it’s a good thing.” Levi fingered the ruby ring. “This looks good on you.”

“Thanks, I like it.” I had nearly forgotten the ring with such a whirlwind evening, but it looked just as beautiful in the morning.

“I’m glad.” Levi watched as I slipped out of bed to find some clothes to throw on.

“If you’re done staring, get dressed.” I tossed his pants at him.

Catching them in one hand, he grudgingly got out of the bed and started dressing. “Okay, okay. Are you always this bossy in the morning?”

“I’m not exactly used to having company this early.”

“Too bad, you’re going to have to get used to it.” He winked, fishing his shirt off the floor.

Pulling me into his arms, he trailed light kisses from my ear to my neck, almost making me forget how late I was running.

I pushed him away. “You better stop that, or we’re never getting out of here.”

“My thoughts exactly.”

“Levi, come on.”

“All right, I’m going. How about I meet you around six?”

“Okay, I’ll see you then.”

I walked Levi through the living area and to the door. With his hand on the doorknob he paused. “For the record, that was the best night ever. I’m going to spend the day thinking of ways to make tonight even better.”

“Good-bye, Levi.”

“Bye love, don’t miss me too much.”

Shaking my head, I closed the door and headed to the shower, letting my giddiness surface now that Levi wasn’t there to watch.

***

Parking on the street about half a block from the Columns Hotel, I walked briskly up the front steps. I scanned the dining room, my gaze settling on a small table where Hailey sat studying a menu.

“I’m so sorry I’m late!” I apologized taking a seat across from her.

“It’s okay. Have a good night?” she asked inquisitively.

“A very good night.”

“That sounds promising. Care to share?” She pursed her lips like she honestly expected me to hold back on her.

“It was incredible. Every moment of the night was spot on. It was the most amazing date ever. And Levi wasn’t even Levi if that makes sense.”

Hailey laughed. “Where did he take you?”

“Antoine’s. The food and wine were fantastic.”

“He was showing off. Feel very special, he never takes girls there.” She smiled.

“How would you even know?”

“I’m around him enough to notice those things. Anyway, did you guys do anything after? If he was trying that hard, there has to be more.”

“No, not really,” I said, trying to change the conversation before we entered way too much information territory. I knew that Levi wasn’t Hailey’s brother, but I was pretty sure it would have the same weirdness for her.

“Well, I’m glad things are working out with you two.”

“Me too, although it’s going to make leaving even harder.”

“You could always just stay here.”

“No I can’t. I have to start school in a few weeks.”

“I know; it was just wishful thinking. I ordered us champagne by the way,” she explained right before a waitress set down two flutes on the table.

“Thank you.” I smiled at the waitress as she walked away. I was smiling at everyone.

“Okay, let’s toast.”

“What should we toast?” I asked.

“To amazing dates and incredible friendships.”

“All right.” I held up my champagne ready to clink glasses with Hailey but her glass never connected with mine.

Hailey stilled. “Did Levi give you that ring?”

“Yeah. He said it’s a family ring or something but he really wanted me to have it.”

“Oh.” She bit her lip nervously.

“What’s wrong? What aren’t you telling me?” I placed my glass on the table, starting to worry.

“Levi didn’t explain its significance?”

My stomach sank. “What significance?”

“He wasn’t making up the family ring part. Except it’s more than that. It’s the ring. The future leader gives it to his intended.”

“What!” I said louder than I meant to and people from the surrounding tables turned to stare. I lowered my voice. “What are you talking about? Future leader?”

“Calm down. He must really like you, but you can always give it back.”

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