Focus (Page 23)

“So? You two are making out, I’m sure you can handle a tutoring session with him.”

“Maybe in a public place…”

Hailey laughed. “Are you more afraid of him or you?”

I shrugged. “Both.”

“I’m going to go do laundry. When I get back, I expect you’ll have called him.”

“Fine, but could you do me a favor and wash these jeans for me?” I picked up a pair from my hamper. “I think I’m obsessed with them.”

“Not a problem.”

I waited until the door clicked closed before making myself pick up my phone from where it lay on my bed. Finally, I leaned back against the pillow and pressed call.

“Hey, love.”

“Hey, Levi.”

There was a momentary silence when I tried to get up the nerve to ask. I’m not sure why I was so afraid. I just didn’t want to deal with him rubbing it in my face.

“As much as I love listening to you breathe, is there a particular reason you called? Or is it just to hear my voice.”

“Very funny. There is a reason.”

“I’m listening.” I heard a door close, and I figured he’d gone into his bedroom.

I took a deep breath and let the words out. “I need your help.”

“My help? This is going to be interesting.”

“Forget it.”

“No, no. Come on, you know I’d help you with anything.”

“It’s French. I’m going to destroy my GPA with freaking intro French.”

He laughed. “Have you had dinner yet?”

“This is serious, Levi. Will you help me?”

“Of course, but answer my question.”

“No. I haven’t eaten.” I was never in that much of a rush to go to the dining hall.

“I’ll pick you up in thirty minutes. Pizza or Chinese?”

“Neither. I need help with French, not food.” Although takeout did sound good.

“And I need food to help you so I’ll see you outside in thirty minutes.”

He hung up before I could respond.

The door opened, and Hailey walked in with her empty pop-up hamper. “So, I have twenty minutes until I need to move my clothes, want to get dinner?”

“If you were only two minutes earlier, I could have saved myself.”

“Saved yourself?” Understanding crossed Hailey’s face. “Wait, from Levi?”

“Yeah…evidently he needs takeout to help me with my French.”

Hailey sat down on her chair. “Want to come with me to Bruff first? I don’t know where everyone else is, and I don’t want to eat alone.” She referred to the campus dining hall.

“You don’t want to eat alone? Wow. I’m impressed you even care.”

“Are you coming?”

“Yeah, of course.” I might have given her a hard time, but I’d have hated to eat alone during dinner time. Sometimes the dining hall seemed the most like high school—social pressure and all.

***

I was a few minutes late meeting Levi, but he didn’t seem to care. “Hey, you ready?”

“Yeah, I think I have everything.” I patted my bag that was filled with my French book and notebook.

He put a hand on my back, leading me to his car. “So what are we working on exactly?”

I was surprised that he was asking before dinner. I noticed the brown bag in the backseat when I got in.

“A composition about my summer vacation.”

“Oh, this is going to be so good.”

“I just can’t figure this stuff out. I thought my last paper was perfect and I got a C!”

Levi turned to me with mock shock. “A C? Alert the authorities.”

I crossed my arms. “Yes, because caring about my grades somehow makes me lame.”

“That’s not what makes you lame.”

“That had better be a joke.”

“It is. It is.” Levi pulled up out front of his place and parked.

He grabbed the bag of food from the back, and we went inside. I hadn’t been over since the night we went to the paranormal bar.

“Is that enough food?” I watched as Levi took out a few containers and placed them on the kitchen table.

“How much were you planning to eat, hon?”

“You know what I mean. There are four of us.”

“No, just two.”

“Wait, Jared and Owen aren’t here?”

Levi smiled. “No, it turns out they both had plans tonight.”

I threw my bag down on an empty chair. “Convenient. Very convenient.”

“It is, isn’t it?” He took two plates down from a cabinet, and pulled out two sets of disposable chopsticks from the paper bag.

“Whatever. Let’s eat.” I sat down and opened the containers. “Chicken and Broccoli? Veggie Lo Mein?”

“Is there a problem?” He leaned back against the counter.

“How did you know what I like?”

“Wait, you like these?”

“Yes, they’re my favorites.”

“It looks like we just like the same things.”

“Vegetable Lo Mein? You expect me to believe that?”

“Your roommate may or may not have helped out.” He took a seat.

“Hailey? Hailey told you?”

“I didn’t realize you guys were doing a weekly takeout and movie night without me.”

“Yes you did. You definitely did.” Levi had asked to join us on more than one occasion.

He shrugged. “I don’t remember getting the invitation.”

“Because you’re not invited. It’s girls only.”

“I’m not complaining. I wish all of your girls’ nights involved you at home with your friends in pajamas.” He scooped some food on his plate. “On the other hand, I’d rather you didn’t insist on going out to bars without me.”

“Do you realize how insane you are?”

“Why? Because I’d rather you not be out in a short skirt with guys throwing themselves at you?” He casually grabbed an egg roll like we were talking about nothing of consequence.

“You can’t tell me what to do.”

“Did I try to? I only told you my preference.”

“All right, let’s eat.”

“I already am.” He bit into the egg roll.

I made myself a plate. “When did you ask Hailey?”

“About your favorite dishes?”

“Yes.”