I didn’t reply, but he kept going. “Oh! And I made a list of reasons why you’re perfect. You want to hear it?”
“Do I have a choice?”
“No. You don’t.” He reached into his back pocket and pulled out a piece of paper. “You’re the only person who understands that tuna and roast beef go together. You can quote Star Wars movies. Your art skills are legendary. You keep cleaning wipes and hand sanitizer in your bedroom for me. You’re funny even when you’re not trying to be. You’re pretty much…” He didn’t stop for quite a while, he just kept going and going.
I could hardly listen to him, though, because all I was thinking about were the blue Chucks that had to arrive at the corner sooner than later. Levi almost missed the bus. He showed up about thirty seconds before the yellow cage pulled up. My eyes shifted to him, and I felt extremely bad.
What kind of jerk was I to call him a creep? There was nothing creepy about him. The only thing that was odd was how nice he treated me, especially after the lipstick on my locker situation.
I hadn’t thought of what I would say to him. I knew I had to say something, but I wasn’t sure how to pull my foot out of my mouth.
He looked like he hadn’t slept at all the night before. His shirt was wrinkled and his brown hair was still dripping wet from his shower. Our shoulders were next to one another, only inches apart, but for some reason Levi felt miles away.
I didn’t know him well enough to ask if he was angry with me, or if he’d had a bad night, or if he wanted to talk.
I didn’t know him at all, really.
Simon was the first to step onto the bus. Before he officially climbed aboard, he pushed his glasses up his nose and said, “You’ve befriended me, the biggest weirdo ever! You volunteered as tribute like that one girl from Hunger Games…” He frowned. “I can’t think of her name, though.”
“Katniss,” Levi said softly, nodding toward Simon. He brushed his thumb against his bottom lip. I swear he did it in slow motion, too, making me stare at his mouth as it formed words that made my heart skip. “Katniss Everdeen.” Levi Myers, ladies and gents. The biggest oxymoron of them all.
“Yes! You’re Katniss Everdeen,” Simon exclaimed, not taking notice of my heart flipping in my chest as I stared at Levi, who refused to look at me once.
I wanted to apologize, but I didn’t know how.
* * *
Levi was putting salt in my wounds as he sat and spoke to Tori during lunch. He’d caught her red-lipstick-handed the day before at my locker, and instead of yelling at her, he was giving her his stupid smile that made every girl in school want to have his babies.
Well, except me. Once you get knocked up by someone at sixteen, the idea of having babies takes on a whole new meaning. Watching him talk to Tori was annoying. I should’ve looked away, but I couldn’t.
“I’m so happy I didn’t swoosh in after Tori and Eric broke up,” Simon sneered. “It seems the new guy is all over that anyway. Too bad for him, she’s a bitch.”
“You think he’s into her?” I asked, trying not to sound too interested, though secretly one hundred and ten percent interested.
“Are you kidding me? Of course he is. Look at her! And heck, look at him. I mean, I’m not into guys or anything, but he’s easy enough to stare at. He looks like he walked out of a soap opera as the hot lead character.” He paused. “Was that a weird thing to say?”
“Can we pretend I didn’t say it?”
“Probably not, no. But really, you think they are a match?”
“It’s like a match made in popular kids heaven,” he said.
“You don’t have to hate her just because I do.” I knew his eyes were still looking at Tori. She was his heaven, but he refused to say anything like that after what she’d done.
“No way,” he nudged me in the side, “you’re my best friend and we hate Tori. You know what they say, chicks before…chicks.” He paused. “People don’t say that, do they?”
I shook my head. “Probably not, no.”
Simon kept staring at Tori, and I kept staring at Levi. He was laughing with her and as her hand landed on his shoulder, I wanted to vomit. If there was one way to describe Levi, it was that he was a noticer. When he spoke to people, he stared as if he was really noticing every feature about them. He really paid attention. I hated how much attention he was paying to Tori right then instead of me, which was stupid because 1. I’d pushed him away, and 2. Sixteen and pregnant.
Tori tossed her head back in laughter and twirled her hair around her pinkie finger.
She was ridiculously perfect, and Levi noticed that fact. And I noticed him noticing her, too.
* * *
Around sixth hour, I considered skipping class. I’d never skipped a class in my life, but for some reason, it felt like the perfect time to run away. The front doors of the school were only a few feet away from me. With a quick movement, I could disappear onto the streets of Mayfair Heights and take a few moments to actually think.
Ever since I’d learned I was pregnant, I took no time whatsoever to think.
I stepped toward the doors.
Am I really going to keep the baby?
Does James have any say in that?
Am I ever going to feel as if I’m good enough?
My stomach was upset because of the mystery meat the lunch lady served, and I was fully convinced that I was leaving. I was walking out of that building come hell or high water.