⚠️⚠️Double update!! Don't forget to read 'Surprise' First!! ⚠️⚠️
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The minute I park the car at the batting cages, Max is out the door and running towards the entrance.
I wish I was as eager as he is, but nothing but nerves seem to want to inhabit my body. There is only so long I can put off talking to Levi and finding out what it was that brought him to my door today.
"Brandon, I-" my head slowly looks over to him still sitting in the passenger seat. Is it me or did the entire atmosphere in here just change?
It isn't tense or awkward but something else. Something that has both of us frozen in our spots, him mid-sentence the minutes our eyes locked onto each other.
"Come on, Brandon! Levi!" Max shouts from the gate, breaking the moment.
I jump like his words burned me and without wasting another second, I get out of the car. I didn't even wait for Levi as I walked to where Max was waiting.
I pretend to not feel Levi behind me as I pay for the bat and helmets but his presence seems to charge up the air around him. I turn from the cashier and see Max and Levi already at an empty stall.
Levi stands like he is giving advice on best practice with batting. I don't know how Levi always manages to get my heart to beat like helicopter blades or like a tornado of butterflies just swept through my stomach. But he is so good with Max and watching them together brings a smile to my face.
I walk up to them, pushing the helmet down on Max's head and handing him the bat.
"Alright, Max, you ready?" I walk with him over to the home plate, helping adjust his grip on the bat.
"Remember what I said Max," Levi calls from behind the chain link fence.
Before I can ask, Max looks at his feet and adjusts his stance so that they are shoulder-width apart. I smile, knocking him on the helmet a few times before leaving the cage.
The sound of the pitching machine mixes with the sound of the metal bat hitting the ball. It echoes in the air around us and I can't help but think how it's one of my favorite sounds. I've loved it since I hit my first ball back when I played Little League.
"I didn't know you played baseball," I mutter to Levi, not taking my eyes off of Max.
A warm hand clamps around my forearm, pulling me away from where Max is. I can't deny the goosebumps that erupt on my skin from the contact and I suppress a pleasant shiver as Levi stops us just a few feet away.
I can still see Max in his cage and hear the sound of his hits, but he shouldn't be able to hear whatever Levi is about to say to me.
My heart beats wildly against my chest as Levi spins around and faces me. His eyes are intense as they roam my face and I watch a storm of emotion rolling off of his. Try as I might, I can't stop my eyes from wondering over his entire form, noticing that within two steps, our chests would be touching.
"You've been ignoring my calls and texts," He accuses, dropping my arm and crossing his over his chest.
Disappointment floods through me at the loss of contact but I don't let it show. I try not to read into the emotions I'm feeling too much. Levi doesn't like me like that. I made the mistake in believing that Miles did because I was foolish, but I won't make the same mistake again.
"I just needed a day or two to deal with it all. I would have gotten in touch with you," Probably. I add in my head as my hand rubs the back of my neck.
My eyes move back to Max, making sure he is still where he's supposed to be. It's an older sibling thing to constantly check where the younger sibling is when they're with you. Sometimes I do it without even realizing.
"Brandon," Levi's hand grabs my wrist gently, pulling my attention back to him.
My eyes drop to where he's touching me, my heart skipping beats in its excitement.
It doesn't mean anything. Don't do this again, Brandon.
"I'm sorry about what happened with Luce," he drops my wrist, shoving his hands into his jean pockets again.
I don't know what to say. I mean there is plenty that my mind is telling me to say, but short of 'I was only dating her to hide the fact that I'm actually gay,' nothing is coming to mind.
"I didn't know that," his voice trails off as his gaze moves to his shoes, "And I wouldn't have sent you up there if I did."
I can see the guilt sitting behind his expression. But it isn't his fault. I never once thought that it was and I certainly wasn't ignoring him because I blamed him if that's what he thinks.
I wasn't ready to talk to him because I was afraid that he wouldn't want to be my friend anymore now that Lucy isn't dating me. It's a stupid thought I'll admit, but it was mine.
"It's okay. I jus-"
"No! It's not okay!" his eyes flash with anger as he looks back up at me, "What she did was wrong! I don't even know what she was thinking! She's an idiot for doing that to you!" Levi ran his hand through his hair looking ten times more agitated than I have ever seen him.
I try to tell my heart to calm down as it takes off again in my chest. I try to tell it that his words don't mean anything more than he knows right from wrong. That he is just passionate about the line his sister has crossed, but the stupid thing in my chest won't listen.
Levi looks at me from under his lashes and it's in this moment that I know for sure, I'm a goner. I had tried to convince myself that Lucy was on the same page that I was, just as I'm trying to convince myself that Levi is just a friend.
But there is something in the look that Levi is giving me now that contradicts what my head has tried to convince me of. A look that has my heart screaming I told you so.
I didn't even realize that he had taken those two steps and closed the distance between us, but I can feel his chest brushing mine with every breath.
The air around us seems to be crackling, but is it just me that thinks so? Is it just me that is suddenly finding it nearly impossible to breathe?
"Brandon," my eyes drop to his lips, watching the way they form around my name. It's intoxicating, disorientating and absolutely perfect in every way.
It would be so easy to just lean forward and find out if his lips taste as good as they look. His eyes flick to my lips before moving back to my eyes and I can feel myself leaning in.
"Levi! It's your turn," Max shouts from the cages and just like that, the spell is broken.
I can feel my cheeks heating up as I step away from Levi. My mind running a mile a minute and not knowing what else to do, I turn away.
"You feel it too," Levi's voice is soft as he grabs my wrist to stop me from leaving.
I turn to look at him, his eyes immediately finding mine. My immediate response is to deny it. To protect my secret until I'm ready to confront it, but Levi is quick with his words.
"Can we meet after school tomorrow to talk? Alone?" his eyes flick to Max who is waiting for us, with his hands hanging on the chain link.
My throat tightens and even if I wanted to, I couldn't make a sound. So I nod once before walking to Max pretending that I didn't almost kiss Levi.
That I would have kissed Levi, had Max not interrupted.
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