Some Sort of Love (Happy Crazy Love #3)(3)


by Melanie Harlow

“Jillian! Are you hiding?” She stuck her hands on her ample hips.

“No, Aunt Irene. Just taking a break.” Lifting my glass, I downed the rest of my champagne and immediately wanted more. Why were champagne flutes so small? Would it be wrong to ask for a bigger glass? Or maybe the whole bottle?

“Well, you should be dancing! You look so pretty in that dress, and you’re never going to meet anyone if you don’t put yourself out there. You know what they say, always a bridesmaid…” Her voice trailed off as she pointed one pudgy finger at me.

I squeezed the stem of my glass so hard I thought it might snap, but I managed a smile. “I’m not much of a dancer.”

“How’s the new job going? Your mother said you’re loving it.”

I nodded enthusiastically. “I am.”

“Are the hours any less grueling? Do you have any time to yourself?”

“They’re a little better, not much. But I love getting to know the families. Last week I—”

“What about your own family? Don’t you want one?”

I bristled. “Sure. Eventually.”

“Well, you’re never going to meet anyone hiding over here with that frown on your face, silly girl.”

Actually, I wasn’t frowning until you came over here.

“You need to stand where you can be seen. Smile. Look more approachable,” she admonished, patting my arm. “Let me find you a partner.”

“No, really. I don’t want to dance right now.”

“Well, you’re much too lovely to be standing over here so single—I mean, so alone. You’re at that age where you have to be proactive about these things, Jillian. You have to let men see what a prize you are or risk being sad and lonely forever.” She grabbed my arm and began to drag me toward the tent.

“Please. I’m not a prize, Aunt Irene. And I’m not sad, either.”

“Of course you are! Every woman wants a man in her life.”

Digging my heels in, I wrenched my arm away. “Actually, what this woman wants is another drink. Excuse me.” I spun away from her and slammed immediately into a big, solid wall. Wait, no—it wasn’t a wall. Walls don’t have strong hands that reach out to steady you, huge dark eyes full of concern, and a thick, brown beard you’re pretty sure would feel like velvet against your cheek. And your thighs.

They don’t know your name, either.

“Jillian?”

For a second, I couldn’t place him. Then my jaw dropped. Oh my God. “Levi?”

“You two know each other?” Irene, still right behind me, sounded pleased.

“Uh…yeah.” Levi and I looked at each other, half stunned, half embarrassed. He took his hands from my upper arms, and I immediately felt unbalanced.

“We’ve, um…” Our eyes locked, exchanging a silent word. Fucked.

“Met.” Levi finished my sentence, his lips tipping up.

I smiled too. What we’d done was have fumbling, frantic sex in a dorm utility closet the way only two desperately hormonal (and drunk) college students can do. To this day, every time I think about that encounter, I go a little weak in the knees.

Was it horrible that I didn’t know his last name?

“Isn’t this wonderful?” Irene looked back and forth between Levi and me, smiling approvingly. “And just look how nice and tall he is, Jillian. My word, he must be over six feet. You should ask her to dance,” she ordered him.

Levi’s eyes widened in alarm, and I smiled at him reassuringly. “Don’t worry about it. I’m not much of a dancer.” But Irene was right about one thing—he was nice and tall. He had a few solid inches on me, and at five foot eight plus my four-inch heels, that was pretty impressive. He wore a black suit with a white dress shirt, and the knot in his tie was loose and a little haphazard, as if he’d been in a rush to get dressed. His dark hair was parted on the side, longer on top and neatly combed back. Something stirred inside me—something I hadn’t felt in a long time.

At least not without charging up Magik Mike first. And Mike had three speeds, seven functions, and rotating ball bearings, so this was pretty impressive.

“How about a drink instead?” I asked.

He smiled, looking relieved. “I’d like that.”

“Perfect.” Taking his elbow, I steered him toward the patio bar, tossing a placating smile at Irene over my shoulder. “Nice chatting with you, Aunt Irene. Enjoy the music.”

When we were a safe distance away from her, I let go of Levi’s arm, although I really wished I had a reason to keep holding on to it. What was he doing here? “Sorry about crashing into you like that. I’m a little clumsy. Plus…” I held up my empty champagne glass. “This doesn’t help.”

He laughed a little. “I didn’t mind.”

“So.” I tried to think of where to begin, since hey, remember that time we banged in a closet? seemed a little too off-color for this occasion. “It’s been a while. I almost didn’t recognize you.”

Grinning, he ran a hand over his chin. “Didn’t have the beard back in college.”

“I like it.” I liked it a lot, actually. He’d been tall, skinny and cute at twenty-one, all arms and legs, floppy hair and cocky smile, but he was tall, broad, and gorgeous at thirty-two. I glanced at the darkening sky. Please, God—please let him be single.

“Thanks. My son likes it too.”

I gave God the stinkeye. “Wow. You have a son?”

“Yes.” We reached the bar and stood in the short line. “Scotty.”

“How old is he?”

“He’s eight.”

“Got a picture?”

He pulled out his phone and scrolled through a couple photos before handing it to me. On the screen was an adorable young boy sitting on a swing. He had messy dark hair, his father’s huge brown eyes and long limbs, a smattering of freckles across his nose, and ears that stuck out a little. His expression was thoughtful and serious, and he wore a shirt with a drawing of a T. Rex on it that said Scottasaurus.

“He’s beautiful,” I said, handing the phone back.

“Thank you.”

Some quick math told me he must have gotten married fairly soon after college. I’d met him my sophomore year at U of M, but he’d only been visiting friends there. I hadn’t even planned to go out that night—I’d had on a Harry Potter t-shirt, for heaven’s sake, and I think it had a hole in it—but my friends had dragged me to the bar, insisting I needed a study break. I’d noticed Levi right away, and we’d eyed each other across the room for a good portion of the night before he finally came over to me and said, “Harry Potter fan, huh? So what are the chances I can Slytherin to your chamber of secrets tonight?”