( Levi has an issue that has been mentioned three times in the story. Some of you may have missed it, but it is the reason behind his mind-boggling behavior. Today's snippet is a little longer because it might be the last.)
Still, she waited in the kitchen, not sure what to do. Maybe she could pretend she hadn’t seen Levi at the diner. She might not have noticed him if her date hadn’t mentioned some unknown man was staring daggers at him. When they turned to leave, she saw Levi. Part of her wanted to hide, but another part wanted him to see she could enjoy the attentions of another man. Someone not as mercurial as Levi was. Her exaggerated laughter declared Shaun was the most entertaining man alive. It must have been believable because Shaun accepted it as real.
His footsteps came neared, but stopped, not coming into the kitchen. Where was he? Melody waited. She’d spent all this time readying herself for his reaction and now nothing. The television wasn’t on. What happened? She crept forward intent on looking into the living room to see exactly what the aggravating man was up to now.
She made it to the doorway only to discover both Levi and Charmer waiting. “Ahh!” She jumped back in surprise. “I didn’t expect you to be there.”
“I know.” Levi had the temerity to grin. “I could tell by your shadow that you were lurking over by the cabinets."
The sink light behind her did cast her long shadow on the floor. “I wasn’t cowering.” She hurried to defend herself while realizing that cowering did sound like an accurate description.
“Yeah. How would you describe it, then?” He hoisted an eyebrow as he casually leaned against the doorway frame.
Her mind flipped through various excuses and rejecting them just as rapidly. Most sounded silly and contrived, which was what they were. “I was getting a drink of water when you came in.”
“Sounds plausible.” He nodded as if accepting her reason.
His attitude irritated her. Sure, he didn’t question her excuse, but she felt like he didn’t believe her. Her back rigid, she stomped the two steps needed to reach the sink and grabbed the empty glass. Flourishing it, she announced, “Here’s the glass. Whadya say now?”
Levi pushed away from the wall and took three long legged strides that put him right at the edge of her personal bubble. The smell of onions and country fried steak hung in the air. They had the same entrée. It was odd how similar the two of them were. Her pulse kicked up, but that was probably just anger.
Putting the glass back in the sink, she whipped back to stare him down. No way, she’d let Levi intimidate her. Nope, no good would come of that. “Are you satisfied now?”
Levi blinked twice before he took a step closer less than a foot separated them. She’d read somewhere that Middle Eastern people often stood very close when talking. Could be he hadn’t adapted to American ways being gone so long.
His eyes held her. “No, I’m far from satisfied. How about you, Mel? Did glasses boy ring your bell?”
The unexpected response shook her. Using both hands, she shoved at his chest. “Jerk, that’s what you are.” Just when her image of him had softened a little, he spoilt it again. Her shove didn’t budge him.
Her eyes drifted down to his wide stance wondering if she should kick his shin to get him to move. It might work. Of course, if he fell she’d feel horrible. Part of her was curious to see what he’d do next. His large hands clamped on her shoulders.
“Did you have fun with your date?” He pushed the words out through clenched teeth.
The idea of her date bothered him, which made no sense since he all but encouraged her. Told her there were plenty of men who’d appreciate her. “Yes, I had fun. It is quite a change to go out with a man who isn’t always playing mind games with me.”
“Mind games is it?” Levi used his grip on her shoulders to pull her closer.
His pupils darkened and widened almost eliminating the irises. “Mind games, you know you do it, first you’re like all prickly, then you’re—“
His lips landed on hers stopping her words. Heat rushed through her body flushing her skin. Her hands reached for his shoulders. Her fingers worked their way up his neck, to anchor his head to hers. Her knees weakened causing her to droop a little. Levi slid his hands down to her waist embracing her and moving her back to the counter.
Her lips parted. Something she needed to tell him. Although it was hard to remember. “Levi.” His name came out more as a whisper. Was it an entreaty to stop, or a plea to continue? He took it as the latter slipping his tongue into her mouth to trace the roof of her mouth, tickling her and exciting her with the same motion.
Oh yeah, the man could kiss, but she knew that. It made her wonder how well he did other things. Melody rocked her hips against his feeling his readiness, letting him know she was ready too. Levi’s hands stopped their downward progression toward her hips. His lips stilled on hers. His embrace loosen, and then dropped as he stepped away. His face was hard to read as he backed away. He acted like a character from a horror novel that suddenly found his arms full of a decaying corpse.
“Does your boyfriend make you feel like that?” He stood and stared at her, before swinging away to grab Charmer’s leash.
Melody’s hand came up to touch her lips. How did he do that? Why did he do it would be a better question. She was all but melting in his arms and he managed to turn off the attraction between them and turn away. God, she wished she could do the same. The jingle of Charmer’s tags indicated Levi was fastening the leash.
“Shaun isn’t my boyfriend.” She shouted the words making sure he heard, but he didn’t answer. No need to add she had a follow up date with the man. It really seemed like he’d like to be her boyfriend. The screen door slammed.
Cradling her head in her hands, she finally answered Levi’s impertinent question when he was too far away to hear.
“No Shaun never makes me feel the way you do. I doubt any man would. You’re too much like a Viking ship with sea goddess figurehead with all the high swings and stomach turning fast falls. Shaun is a carousel compared to you. Sometimes, though,” she paused to wipe an eye, “a girl might want a Viking ship, but needs to settle for a carousel.