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"SO LIKE I SAID, we escaped at the right time," Alex said as Ella gave the tour," I was about to die from the lack of coffee and internet."

"Didn't you get kicked out?" Ella frowned.

"Speak for yourself."

"We won't stay for too long," Levi said, ignoring the other conversation completely," I don't want to bother your mother."

"You three live quite far from here," Sebastian said with a shake of his head," just stay a while, I don't see you guys that often."

"Because we're fun?" Alex asked.


"We have the space," Ella shrugged," I'm sure our mother wouldn't mind, considering she invited you."

"You sure?" Will said.

"It'll be fine though," Alex shrugged," I mean, St Joseph starts again within a week and we have our stuff with us anyway." His eyes lit up then and he raised his hands in a dramatic movement. "O my God guys, let's go go paintballing."

"You suck at paintballing," Levi said.

Alex just shook his head solemnly. "If I die, let me die while covered in paint at least."

"I should have enjoyed my peace and quiet while I could," Ella murmured to herself.

Levi blinked offendedly at her and she offered him her sweetest smile. Before she could even show them around though Sebastian had already grabbed Alex and Will by the shoulders, motioning for Levi to follow along too with his head.

"Come on up," he said," I'll take you to the guest rooms, we can spar after."

She frowned and Levi glanced at her, curious. A few locks of his combed back hair had gotten loose and were messily across his forehead, a bruise coloring on his knuckles as he pushed it out of his face. Though he seemed to own only dark-colored clothing, it suited him, the black shirt and jeans. His eyes were as quiet as he usually was when he spoke, wandering over her like her thoughts were written across her features.

"You don't want to spar?" he said.

"Don't get me wrong," she said," though I'd love to see if you would hold up your end of the bet, I imagined us to catch up without my brother first."

Levi looked from her to the guys then, who were already walking on the stairs in front of them, before grabbing her wrist and looking her dead in the eye.

"Let's go," he said.

"Wh -" she began, but he was already pulling her along, into the hallway and away from them.

"Where are you going, Levi?" she said, running along behind him.

"I have no idea," he said," I'm hoping there's an exit somewhere at the end of this."

They rounded the corner then, her living room showing up to their right and her kitchen to their left. Levi looked genuinely confused, before choosing to go left, his gaze settling in triumph on the door to her backyard there.

"What were you saying about my bad sense of direction again?" he said as he opened the door.

"I never said anything of the kind," she said.

"You didn't?" he frowned, before shrugging," see, you have insulted me so many times I can't keep track of what you said anymore."

"It's not an insult if it's true," she countered.

He looked at her, eyebrows raised. "I am a young gentleman, so that's a lie."

"Are you now?" she said amusedly.

His low voice carried through her garden, dancing across the marigolds. It settled as butterflies in her stomach, fluttering quietly.

"You know I always speak the truth, Eleanora."

They stopped then, having reached the end of her garden. Her mother really didn't have a green thumb, but Sebastian somehow managed to keep the plants alive, though Faiza played a large role behind it too. Her backyard wasn't as colorful as her neighbour's, but flowers still bloomed around the brick road in the middle, leading to the white shed in the back. A few wooden chairs were standing there in the shade of their weeping willow, blocking them mostly from view.

Levi halted at the chairs, waving a hand at them in a silent question. In reply she smiled and sat down, the only sound around them the soft chirping of birds. His eyes remained fixated on her when they sat down, hand still on her wrist, and for some reason it all felt very intimate all of a sudden.

"You are beautiful," he stated.

There was no smoothness in his voice or anything of the like and he changed the subject after, leaving her to do what she wanted with the compliment. As he spoke about how Clarkson had accused him as the main perpetrator because of his lack of guilt her heart glittered with warmth at it all.

"I am not surprised," she said," knowing Alex he probably let a fake tear roll down his cheek, so with your emotionless expression beside it I would choose you too."

"You're supposed to be on my side," he frowned.

"I am," she laughed, before adding," and you're beautiful too, Levi."

He blinked, before shaking his head, a ghost of a smile on his face. "I want to say I've never heard that before, but every time Will gets drunk he pulls Alex and me in a group hug and tells us that we are beautiful."

"As he should," Ella nodded.

Levi tugged at her wrist then, causing her to move more towards him, the wind dancing on their skin.

"I like it when you call me by my name," he said.

"What else should I call you by?" she said.

"Grumpy old man, big bad wolf, idiot-"

"Oh yeah, I forgot about that." She shook her head, amused, as she got out of her chair then. Levi's eyebrows knit together and she gently tugged her wrist out of his grip, gesturing at the shed with her head. "I'll get us something to drink. What would you like?"

"Water is fine," he said.

"I just knew already you weren't a tea person," she said.

"I could drink tea if I wanted to," he said offendedly," but I prefer black coffee and water. It's simple and effective."

"Effective in what?"

"In letting me hydrate myself," he said matter-of-factly.

She opened the door of the shed, her laughter warm. "You are a real life robot, Levi, I swear."

"I wouldn't mind being a robot," Levi said as he  got out of his chair," it seems super efficient."

The shed was lined with shelves, all of them filled with snacks, drinks and empty bottles. Just when she was planning to stand on her toes to grab the water from the top shelf, he reached out behind her and took it. His cologne was a scent she had gotten familiar with now and she inhaled, before turning around and looking at him.

The distance between them was small, his dark eyes glancing at hers and back at her lips. Breaking the silence felt like a dangerous thing, but she still did it, her words quiet.

"I'm really not that interested in flirting with a robot though," she said.

He dipped his head, hair brushing across her cheek and voice velvet against her skin.

"It's good I'm a guy then," he whispered.

When he kissed her, the water bottle fell to the floor, forgotten.

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