First (Page 12)

Natalie looked torn for a second. “She’s in the back.”

“Thanks for the assistance.” I nodded before heading back around behind the desk.

Natalie nodded. “Of course.”

I walked down the narrow corridor, peeking into each cubicle and office until I saw her. She was standing by the copy machine, sorting through a pile of papers.

I quietly made my way over to her. “Ready for lunch?”

Allie’s mouth fell open. “What are you doing back here, Levi?”

“Oh, Natalie told me I could come back.”

“Oh, did she?” Her face scrunched up the way it seemed to always do when she was getting heated.

“Yeah. You ready?”

“I’m not having lunch with you.” She lowered her voice.

I wasn’t going to do the same. I raised mine. “Well, you left without letting me make you breakfast this morning, so I thought I could at least take you to lunch.”

The stares of everyone around us did the trick. She took hold of my arm, and we walked down the hall.

She stopped when we were out of view and earshot of everyone else. “I don’t know what kind of game you’re playing, but I’m not having it.”

“What game? It’s just lunch.” I stood right next to her, fighting the urge to pull her into my arms.

“So, you just like humiliating me in front of the people I work with?”

“That humiliated you?” I’d been going for humor not embarrassment. And, well, I also wanted to make sure any male in the vicinity knew she was completely off limits.

“Of course it did!” she hissed. “Now they think I slept with you.”

“And that’s a problem because…” I let a small smile slip.

“Because this is my dad’s hotel. Okay, Levi? My dad’s. I don’t need my dad hearing about this and thinking his daughter is some sort of slut.”

“Being slutty would imply spending the night with lots of guys, not just one. Heck, you can even tell him I’m your boyfriend if it makes you feel better.”

“My what?”

“Your boyfriend.” Isn’t that what girls wanted? They wanted people to think they were in a committed relationship. I didn’t care what term she used as long as I got to see her again.

“Do you even know what that word means? Have you ever had a relationship that lasted more than a few days?”

“There is a first time for everything. Most girls would want to tame me.” I was pushing it, but the expression of horror on her face was worth it. Allie’s reactions were too much.

“Tame you? Oh my god, leave. Just leave, okay?”

“Not until you agree to go out with me.”

She wrung her hands at her sides. “You have to be kidding me.”

“Not at all. I have no place to be. I’m staying here until you agree.”

“Why? What angle are you playing?”

“First you accuse me of playing games and now angles. You aren’t very trusting, Allison.” She was going to break. She wanted to give in, and she would.

“It’s Allie! And you haven’t given me a reason to trust you!”

“Let me.” I ignored a few employees who were watching us while trying to act like they were doing something else.

“Okay.”

Okay? Nice. “Dinner tonight? I’d say lunch but I’d rather give you time to cool down.”

“Don’t you ever give up?”

“Never. I’m not leaving until you say yes.” I needed to see her again. I needed another chance.

She sighed. “Fine. Coffee Friday night. Then you leave me alone.”

“I’ll pick you up at 8:00 then.”

“Sure, whatever. Now leave.”

“I’ll miss you too.” I grinned. Mission accomplished.

****

“I think I should tell her.” I sipped my beer, feeling old as we sat at the unofficial Tulane bar, The Boot. We didn’t go in there much anymore, but I’d had business to discuss with one of the bouncers so we decided to stay for a while.

“Tell her?” Owen looked at me like I’d lost my mind. “I hope you’re kidding.”

“Why not tell her? Why wait?”

“And lose her before you even get a chance?”

“Don’t be so overdramatic, man. Not every guy makes girls run from him.” Jared took a jab at Owen’s weak spot.

Owen moved his empty beer bottle around on the table. “Most girls would run from what we are. Why would Allie be any different?”

“I have a good feeling about her.” I finished off my beer. “I think she’s the one.”

“You’ve only been out with her a few times. How would you even know?” Owen eyed me warily.

“Wait. As in the one?” Jared stopped checking out the girls at the next table long enough to comment.

“I don’t know for sure, but there’s only one way to find out.”

“How could you possibly know that from sleeping on the couch with her? You’re being crazy.” Jared finished his beer and pushed the empty bottle away from him.

“Just make sure you know what you’re doing.” Owen watched me with concern. I understood. He’d met a girl freshman year and was ready to marry her after a few months. We all told him he was crazy, but he didn’t listen. He let her in on the secret that we weren’t human, and she went as far as transferring schools and changing her number to get away from him. He hadn’t dated anyone since.

Owen wasn’t me, and Allie wasn’t that stupid girl. “This is different. This is real.”

“Real?” Jared snorted. “It’s because she’s playing hard to get. Once you bag her, the feeling will pass.”

“Shut up.” I pounded my hand into the table, splitting the wood. “Okay. We need to go.”

I nodded an apology at the bartender as I headed for the door. He knew we’d pick up the tab later.

“This is why you have to stay away from her.” Jared caught up with me outside. “She’s already screwing with your brain and you haven’t even f**ked her.”

I felt my body tense, it wanted to transform. “Use a word like bagged or f**k in reference to Allie again and I’ll rip you in two.”

He held up his hands in front of him. “Chill out. Just think about it. Why are you getting so bent out of shape over her? She’s just a girl.”

“Maybe he actually likes her. Crazy concept, I know.” Owen walked ahead of us.