NEVER BEFORE HAD ELLA seen a room get quiet so quickly. Everyone except Mia and Will seemed to notice the tenseness, though Will got cued in by Alex' frown. Ella had to give it to him, at least Levi was brave. As if hearing her thoughts he was the first to take a sip, before looking right at her.
"You have balls, Peterson," Ella chuckled, following his lead.
Once she took the sip he smiled, one which let the monarch butterflies in her stomach melt into honey. He always looked so quietly warm when happy, a calming feeling which was such a sharp contrast against her ex. Whenever Samuel had smiled it had been full of excitement and fireworks, Levi was just moonlight and silent water kissed by dawn. She wanted to dive right in it, until she drowned in that spring heaven in his eyes.
"Fuck it," Sebastian murmured," if my baby sister can do it, why can't I?" He raised his glass then, before downing it.
"You like someone here, Sebastian?" Faiza said, looking puzzled. "You met them all to - Oh."
The realization settled quickly, her eyes widening as she stared at him. When she didn't immediately say anything, Sebastian shrugged.
"I may not be able to recite any fancy writers," he said," but I'm willing to listen to you talk about them forever, until they too have spun their way in my mind."
"Where was my romantic speech, Levi?" Ella said as she looked at him, voice serious but smile betraying her.
Levi just frowned. "I just gave you a love declaration."
Their conversation had been quiet, but only when they stopped talking did Ella realize everyone else had too. Faiza was still staring at Sebastian, expression undecipherable. Whatever courage her brother had found earlier it seemed to have dissipated along with the last rays of the sun, stress slowly beginning to seep in his posture.
"Faiza?" he asked, hesitating," what is it?"
"I don't know Sebastian," she said softly," you know I love you, but you have a different girl each week. How am I supposed to take this?"
"That doesn't mean anything, Faiza," he said desperately," not like you, never like you. I was just too scared to ever try, so I decided to try to forget about it." He ran a hand through his hair, tousling it. "I can't though. You're still the person I dream about at the end of the day."
Faiza looked troubled, the emotion foreign on her usually so calm face. Only then did she realize everyone was looking at her, the realization seeming to shake her out of her thoughts as she took his hand in hers.
"Let's talk about it somewhere private," she said," this is no place for conversations like this."
Sebastian nodded, immediately jumping to his feet. Faiza followed more graceful, her long dress sweeping the floor and fluttering behind her like wings of tule. She offered them all an apologetic smile, before taking her leave, Sebastian following.
"So," Alex began awkwardly, scraping his throat," time for the next question?"
"Did everyone drink?" Elisabeth said.
Ava glanced at Alex, shaking her head. "Yeah, shouldn't you? We all know you're prone to like anyone if they're female."
"Don't start with me again, Ava," Alex said, voice rising in volume," we both know we were on a break when I kissed that girl. And you can't say anything when you got with that fucker Trevor right after."
"What break?" Ava said," we had a fight again and you decided to kiss another girl in the same club I was at."
"Oh, don't change the story!" Alex said, eyes burning," you screamed at me that we were done forever again, am I supposed to just cry at home until you take me back each time?"