Focus (Page 53)

“I know. We’ll be back for New Years.”

“Good. Otherwise I’d fly up there. We’re definitely starting the New Year together.”

“Sounds good.” I yawned.

“All right, I’ll let you go back to bed.”

“How generous of you.”

He leaned over and kissed me gently. “I’ll see you at the final.”

I smiled. “Don’t forget, you have to take Hailey and me to the airport.”

“I won’t forget.”

He kissed me again.

“If you don’t cut that out, I’m not going to be able to go back to sleep.”

“Ordinarily I’d say that’s a good thing, but I don’t want any more trouble.”

“Good night, Levi.”

“Good night.”

Chapter Twenty-Two

My lips still felt swollen twenty minutes into our flight. Levi said he wanted to make sure I didn’t forget him. I think he was hoping to make me stay, or at least beg him to come. It’s not that I didn’t want him to come, but I needed to take some time and slow things down. I also didn’t want to deal with my mom’s reaction yet.

“Could you quit making those lovey dovey faces? It’s making me sick.” Hailey playfully punched my arm.

“I am not making a lovey dovey face.”

“If you say so.”

I shifted in my seat trying to get comfortable. “I do. Can we talk about something other than Levi?” To be honest, thinking about Levi was a welcome distraction from thinking over my art history exam. I completely blanked out on one of the pictures, and now I couldn’t get it out of my head.

“You’re acting like we’ve been talking about him for hours—just because you can’t stop thinking about him doesn’t mean I’m doing the same.” She smiled.

“I appreciate you coming.”

“It’s not a problem. I’m excited to ski.”

“I can’t believe you’ve never been.”

“I’m from New Orleans. How much skiing do you think we have?”

“Good point.”

She took a sip from her bottle of water. “So are you going to ditch me on the bunny slopes, or are you going to join the humiliation with me.”

“I’ll be with you. But knowing you, you’ll be on the double black diamonds by the end of the day.”

“You’re probably right.”

“Does that come from being a Pteron?” I gestured to her. “Or is it just you.”

“Probably both.” She laughed.


I thought it would be my mom waiting for us at the tiny airport, but it was Andrew and the last person in the world I expected to see. “Oh my god.”

“What?” Hailey followed my line of vision. “Is that our ride?”

“I can’t do this.” I stopped walking. People struggled to move by us.

“I assume one is the future step-brother, but who’s the other?”

“Toby.” I thought I might hyperventilate. I’m not one to panic, but this was bad. “And Andrew isn’t my future step-brother.” At least I hoped he wasn’t.

“The Toby?”

“Yes.” Somehow my ex-boyfriend was standing in the airport. I wasn’t sure who was behind it, but I wasn’t happy.


“My thoughts exactly.”

“We’ll get through this.” Hailey touched my arm.

“I hope so.” They hadn’t seen us yet, and Toby paced anxiously.

“The only good thing is that at least Andrew’s kind of cute.” Hailey checked out the black haired guy that liked to torture me in high school.

“Gag me.” If she only knew how much of an annoying jerk he was growing up.

“He is. He kind of has the geeky hot thing going for him.”

I was prevented from answering her when Andrew called my name. “Hey, Allie!”

At the sound of my name, Toby glanced over. He smiled and gave me a small wave.

“Hi, Andrew.” I accepted his awkward hug, but really I couldn’t take my eyes off Toby. I so didn’t want to deal with him. This was supposed to be my time away to think about things with Levi. I didn’t need Toby around.

“And hello to you.” Andrew moved over to Hailey, picking up her left hand and kissing it. She giggled. Hailey never giggled.

I snickered and Toby took it as an invitation. “Hi, Allie.” He stopped a few steps away from me.

“What are you doing here, Toby?”

“I needed to see you. You never came home for Thanksgiving, and Jess said you were coming up here.”

“Jess? When did Jess tell you?” I’d only told her a few days earlier.

“She was with Emmett when you guys talked. He filled me in.”

Of course, Emmett and Toby were practically best friends. “Oh.” That’s all I could muster.

“I’ve been a mess. When you didn’t show up at school in August, I thought I’d die.”

“Get real. We’d already been broken up for months.” I looked over at the empty baggage conveyor belt, willing it to start.

“I didn’t see it as a break up. I thought you just wanted some time.”

“I never gave you any reason to think that.” I crossed my arms.

“Come on, Allie, you must have missed me. I know there’s another guy, but he can’t possibly be as good for you as I am.”

I turned to look for Hailey. I’d gotten used to her saving me from awkward situations. She just shrugged. I guess there wasn’t much she could do at the moment short of us getting back on a plane. “Even without Levi, we wouldn’t be together.”

“I don’t believe that. Jess said that’s why you stayed in New Orleans. If you’d have gone to Princeton, we’d be back together by now.”

I shook my head. “No. We weren’t meant to be.”

“How can you say it like that? I love you. And you love me.”

How could I respond to that? I thought I’d loved him, but now I wasn’t sure I ever did. But how could I say that to the first boy who ever made my heart race, who I’d slept with more times than I could count. A boy who knew so many of my secrets, who knew what made me tick. “We’re over, Toby.”

“See, you can’t even say it. You can’t say you don’t love me.”

A loud beep announced that the baggage was about to start coming out. I used it as an excuse to get some space between us. I walked over to wait.