Chapter 1 Humdrum Blues
A long sigh leaves your lips as you get up from your office chair and stretch your arms above you and then behind you. You cock your head to each side to relive the tension in your body from the long never ending hours of sitting in front of a computer screen all day. You grab your purse digging for your car keys as you walk towards the elevator and push the button that'll lead you to the buildings parking structure. Your phone rings as the door to the elevator opens. You look at the caller ID and smile as you see Eren's name on the front screen and slide it to answer. "Hey Hun, what's up?" You hold your phone to your ear with your shoulder as you walk towards your car and unlock it.
"Hey (FN) umm are you out of work already?" Eren's voice cuts through. "Yeah I'm heading towards the apartment right now, why ya need something?" Eren sighs hastily over the phone and you furrow your eyebrows "Is everythin o-" "Hey ..you think you can umm.. can you come meet me at the bar.. downtown on 2nd and main?" He cuts you off.
"Uhh..yeah ok.. I'll be there in 10" you say confused as to his sudden and unexpected invitation to go for drinks at 11 almost 12 at night. Being that you and Eren only ever went for drinks for special occasions like each other's birthdays or anniversaries, or when your group would invite both of you, usually having a reason to celebrate. Hmm.
Naturally you begin contemplating the many things Eren could tell you at said bar as you start your car and drive towards it. He sounded a bit nervous over the phone you conclude. Taking pauses in between his words. Did something bad happened at work? Could he have gotten fired? You pursed you lips and furrow your eyebrows debating.
Nah knowing Eren he'd probably quit before he ever got fired being that he's quick enough to see it coming and dumb enough to have an outburst with his hot tempered and impulsive attitude to get him fired in the first place. The fact that you've seen him at his worst you could understand and accept this part of his personality, being that as much as you argued and were really pissed off at each other he knew where to stop himself and not lose his temper enough to get violent at least towards you. He always brought himself back from his fiery nature when he was with you. And of course you guys would make up and the little spats would be long forgotten. Passionate that he was. In more ways than one. You smile biting the inside of your lip as your mind dwells on the thought.
You turn left and pull into the small parking lot behind the bar. You subconsciously bring your thumb nail to your teeth and begin biting it as your mind keeps reeling though different possibilities. You see Eren's car and pull up next to his and park. Suddenly a thought that you'd considered so many times before comes out from the hidden part of your subconscious.
You tuck a loose strand of your hair behind your ear as you realize that a marriage proposal may be possibly on the table and you almost giggle but bite your lips not wanting to excite yourself over something that may not even happen. But if it may wow your eyes light up.
Eren and you have been together since your first year of university. He happened to be in your favorite class and as fate would have it, the assigned seating your professor had established in his class had you sitting next to him. From then on study groups and hang out sessions with buddies turned to casual lunch, dinner and breakfast dates between you two, which he would go on establishing as real dates and then later a relationship blossomed between you both. You had graduated this year after 4 long years of school with Eren making you and him boyfriend and girlfriend for that same amount of time. You both have been living together for 1 year and half of those 4 years and were still very much madly in love. Finally, you take your keys out of the ignition grab your purse and make your way around towards the front of the bar.
The windows from the outside were polarized so you couldn't see from the outside in. With no light illuminating the outside it almost looked hidden like a deserted building with lettering stenciled in white on the front of the door. You had been here once before a few months back with Eren and your group when Armin had graduated early and gotten his bachelors from Cambridge. That Armin was really someone to be in awe of. That night had been a great night.
You feel butterflies in your stomach as you walk inside and as you look around for Eren. You spot his chocolate tousled hair at the far end of the bar a nervous expression on his face as he see's you approaching. His nervousness makes your heart beat faster and you try your hardest not grin like a Cheshire cat. You swallow a lump forming in your throat and smile as you are now facing him. You wrap your arms around his neck and give him a quick peck on the lips as you sit on the stool next to him. "Hey babe, what's the occasion?" You ask as you take your jacket off.
He lets out a nervous chuckle and puts the beer bottle in his hand on the table. He's about to answer when the bartender approaches you. "What would you like to drink miss?"
"Can I get a Jack and coke please? Thank you." You answer and smile at him. He nods and returns the smile as he goes and fixes your drink. Eren cocks his eyebrow and looks at you "Jack and coke? Isn't that a little heavy for you to start with?" He asks. You shoot him an amused expression and smile. You shrug your shoulders. "I start heavy and work my way down like I always have." He scoffs "And how well has that worked out for you huh?" he quips instantly.
Several times Eren has hauled you out of bars and parties, heavily intoxicated whilst singing loudly and off key with your trusty alcohol companion Sasha in tow. That's usually how it went. You chuckle and roll your eyes at his very valid point. "What are you the beverage police? Had a long ass day I think I can treat myself." You say lightheartedly. The bartender sets your drink in front of you and you thank him and take in a large sip of your drink gulping it down while looking at Eren. "Ahh." You exaggerate that sound after feeling refreshed.
You smile at him playfully and he looks down at his hands on his lap instead. His leg is bouncing up and down the nervous atmosphere back around him causing you to be anxious as well. You put your drink on the table and turn to him concern all over your face. "What's wrong Eren?" Your voice softens.
He sighs again and rubs the back of his neck his bright green eyes now looking into yours, but darting away occasionally. "Look (FN) I uhh….we've…we've been dating a really long time and uhh.."
Your breath hitches in your throat and you feel your heart beat even faster. That right there, the use of those words could go one of two ways. And from what you concluded since before you entered the bar as more probable, you feel your face turn red and your stomach flip flop as you imagine him about to cause a scene that would have the people in the bar cheering and congratulating the both of you.
"I think that …" His pauses again making you on edge to the point of wanting to grab him the collar and yell at him to hurry. "Look I'm just gonna say it" You nod holding onto the bar stool underneath you for dear life.
"I've.. I've been seeing someone else." Your face contorts immediately. Your mind goes blank. Had you heard correctly? "What?"
Eren sighs and reaches out for your hands. You pull them away hastily as if his touch was poisonous. He gives you the most pathetic face, attempting to be apologetic. "(FN) I'm so sorry I didn't mean for this to go on for so long. I swear to you I-" You grimace. You scoff completely taken aback at that ridiculous comment. "What? Didn't mean for this to go on- then what did you have in mind? Just a couple times of fucking behind my back and you'd be good? " You hiss tears brimming around your eyes.
"That's not what I meant." He answers desperately. "Look I didn't wanna hurt you. I'm still in love with you.…its just I thought I was in love with another person too and I'm just... I fucked up-" "You love her?" You say eyes wide and blurry. That alone made you wanna jump into a hole and never see daylight again.
"I-" "How long have you been seeing her?" You mumble cutting him off. You see his adams apple rise and fall. "(FN)-" "How long?!" You interrupt again, your tone demanding. He sighs. "....5 months but-" Your chest tightens. "Fucking shit." You shake your head in disbelief. "You.. You are a fucking poor excuse for a human being you know that." The tears you hold back now run down your cheeks leaving salty trails.
"(FN)-" Eren reaches out for you again and you flinch. You shake your head, not wanting to hear another word. "No you know what Eren just leave." He has the audacity to look at you with such pity you seriously wanna spit in his face right now. "(FN) listen-" He pleads. "No please please just leave..don't touch me.. don't fucking touch me… " "I'm sorry. I'm so fucking sorry." His voice wavers. He stands finally grabbing his jacket and walking out of the bar, running his hand through his hair stressfully. You let out a shaky breath rubbing your tears away from your face with both your hands desperately.
You reach for your drink and down it in seconds. You motion towards the bartender. "Excuse me, I'll have another. Make it a double." The bartender shows you a knowing look and nods, he takes your glass to make another one. How fucking humiliating you think. You look around you and are thankful that nobody seemed to be shooting you awkward glances. Everyone was preoccupied with their drinks and own sorrows.
You sigh again and turn back towards the bartender as he sets your drink in front of you and smiles warmly. His brown eyes soften as you shoot him a weak smile. "Thank you." You state meekly. Sure of the fact that he witnessed the whole ordeal. He shakes his head and approaches you "I'm sorry for speaking outside my place but " he leans towards you and you notice his nose and cheekbones are sprinkled with freckles. He whispers not in a creepy way but a comforting way really. "You deserve better. Guys like him…nothing ever goes right for them after they hurt somebody like that." He smiles at you and you nod at his words not really sure what to say but returning a small smile.
He leaves you as another customer approaches the bar. Although strange with him not really knowing anything about you, you found his advice comforting and at this point you would take whatever comfort you could get. Why you were still even there you didn't know. Yet you didn't really have it in you to leave the bar.
That fucking dick you think as you connect Eren's choice of location for your breakup to be one that countless others, equally broken hearted and equally dumped, find refuge in. What a sick sadistic dick. You think realizing what a fucking coincidence it was he'd break up with you here and then leave like he maybe planned it all out. Drink yourself to the brink of blacking out (FN), you're already here, might as well. Fuck you Eren.
You sure as hell didn't want to go back to the apartment and although you'd probably stay with Sasha, or any of your other friends you really didn't feel like being interrogated at the moment. You run your hand up your face then towards your hair and grab your drink and knock it back. The ice in it had melted by this point making the cold honey colored liquid smoothly but bitterly run down your tongue to your throat. "Fuck." You mutter and gavel your glass into the bar table. "Another." You say to particularly no one, staring down at your lap. "Hold the coke please." You didn't even bother and see if he'd even heard you but you lay your head down into your arms feeling tears well up in your eyes again your chest tightening.
Minutes pass and you feel a presence next to you and you turn your head slightly not lifting it from your arms and look up at a man with dark onyx hair styled in a slightly disheveled undercut and a well fitted grey button up with the first few buttons undone. He's pale, almost sickly pale, as the lighting in the place really does nothing for anyone's complexion. He's staring ahead, towards the bartender you assume, as he unbuttons one of his arms sleeves and rolls it up to his elbows and then does the same to the other.
From your angle you can't really see his eyes only his dark lashes, as you only see his profile. But even at this angle you find his features alluring and beautiful. "Hey Levi, the usual?" you hear the bartender's voice break your observation of the stranger next to you. "Yup and Marco, keep em coming." He responds monotonously. The bartender, now Marco, chuckles. "Will do." He replies.
You honestly hadn't realize you had been staring at the man, Levi, this whole time, that is until he furrows his eyebrows and directs his gaze down to you. Your eyes widen embarrassed and your face feels hot. "If you're gonna stare at me the whole night could you at least not do it so obviously." He speaks to you and you really wanna fall into a hole and never see daylight again this time. You lift your body up and sit up reaching for your drink with slightly shaky fingers. "I wasn't staring." You argue weakly. "Tch. I beg to differ."
You put your glass back down and scoff "You can move you know . There are other open seats available." You motion at the bar stools to your left all empty besides this one guy with a beer in his hand who looks like he's about to knock out.
His expression remains unchanged and stoic. "This is where I always sit. Had I known I would be sitting next to a woman who was fixated on staring at strangers I would've moved but I'm already here." He shrugs. And takes a chug of his beer. You take offense but are mostly embarrassed. You resist cursing at him fearing he'd call you crazy or deranged too. "Hmpf." You conclude you'd just ignore him and continue with your drink.
You knock it all the way back not remembering that Marco had given you a glass filled with whisky ,no coke, and resist the urge to hack and cough as your eyes water and your throat burns. You cough anyways, choking in the process. "Woah, slow down there tough guy." Levi turns towards you, eyebrow cocked, as he watches you cough and hack in front of him. "Fuck you." You reply hoarsely in between coughing.
Marco had come over to you at this point handing you a water bottle and reaching towards you to pat you back. You open the water and take small sips. "Thanks Marco." You smile at him your voice hoarse from your coughing. "You ok?" he asks. You nod and smile at him grateful at how kind he's been towards you all night. "Thanks so much Marco. You're sooo nice." You slur. Shit. You're sluring. But I only drank like two drinks. Or was it three? You contemplate. Marco chuckles and he smiles at you. "No worries uhh-" He stops mid sentence inquiring for your name discreetly. "(FN) call me (FN)." You smile and he nods at you.
Slowly more people start coming in and settling at the tables. There was an old song playing through the speakers that you recognized and you tap you fingers on the bar table, thinking about how you were getting to Sasha's if you got wasted. You would probably call Jean, he has no social life so he could come and get you. You laugh out loud by accident remembering a funny drunk Jean story and forget that Levi was next to you. He furrows his brows, pausing as he brings his beer up to his lips to look at you like you were strange.
A woman approaches the bar and sits right down next to Levi on the other side of him. She's wearing an ensemble of a dress that had all eyes on her. Its a really short, figure hugging black leather dress, low cut in the chest area. And boy did she have the figure to fill it out. She was all dolled up, probably coming from a club with the people waiting for her at a table, you assumed were her friends. You furrow your eyebrows slightly self conscious at your boring work attire, a cotton baby blue button up and a grey pencil skirt with brown Mary Jane heels. You felt very plain and small in her presence.
She has platinum blonde hair and red lipstick. You wipe your mouth with the back of your hand and turn your attention back to your drink. "So you gonna buy a girl a drink?" She whispers seductively, her voice breathy, in Levi's ear. Well that was really straight forward of her. I mean with her looks I'm sure she's never had a problem getting drinks from guys, you think.
You have to resist the urge to turn towards them feeling slightly awkward just sitting there while she makes a move. Levi turns to her unfazed "Do I know you?" You snort into your drink muffling a chuckle and a bit of your beverage goes up your nose. You cough quietly and reach for a napkin to wipe your nose. She's taken aback at Levi's response and so are you to be honest. Any straight guy that looked at her and said she wasn't their type was a liar. Maybe he wasn't straight.
She regains her sultry composure. "Well I'm not one to start with introductions but" she runs her slender red finger nails up Levi's bicep. He looks down at her hand with narrowed eyes. She doesn't notice however. She introduces herself and flirts shamlessly. "And if we get to that drink I'll make sure meeting me is worth your while." Whoa from any other person that would just sound corny but she sounded so smooth. You envied that ability of hers.
Levi sighs and runs a hand through his hair leaving it more disheveled in the process. "Look I'm with someone right now. " He turns away from her and grabs his now 2nd beer from the table looking straight ahead. You're totally taken aback. You actually turn your face towards him this time totally and completely confused. You even look around you and you're the only "someone" at the actual bar table. Besides the voluptuous woman and the passed out drunk guy at the end of the table. He remains staring ahead drinking his beer nonchalantly.
The woman scoffs "You two? As if. I may not be book smart but I can read body language like the back of my hand. You two couldn't be more disconnected and distant if you tried." You look at her unsure what to say or feel. Levi turns back to her his expression annoyed.
"Look I'm not interested ok. I was doing you a favor sparing you your feelings or whatever, but since you want to analyze the situation so much I'll assume your book smarts are as bad as picking up on fucking social cues. So I'll say this as straightforwardly as you did when you came asking for a fucking drink, get lost." You flinch at that last part even though it wasn't directed at you. Damn that was harsh you think.
You look over at Levi disbelief on your face. "Well I can pick up on the fact that you're a cheap bastard." She grabs her clutch obviously pissed off. "Go to hell." She flips her blonde locks over her shoulder and walks away her hips swaying with each step. She walks out of the bar and the group she came with, gets up and follow after her. He remains emotionless and goes back to drinking his beer as if all that hadn't just happened.
You're still looking at him your face contorted. "What?" He asks and finally looks at you. "You're a dick." You say bluntly. He actually raises an eyebrow his expression changing slighty. "How so?" he asks not in the slightest bit interested in what you're gonna say. You scoff amazed at how clueless he's acting right now.
"You told that girl to fuck off. All she wanted was a drink, jeez are you as hard up as she thinks you are?" He furrows his eyebrows now. "Those weren't my words. And who are you to be saying who I should spend my money on in the first place." You feel like you're speaking out of your ass at this point, buzzed and feeling the need to be honest. Maybe you were looking for confrontation.
"You handled that very poorly. That was just plain rude." "Why the fuck do you even care?" He asked, baited by your criticism. Who the fuck do you think you are? He thinks, suprised that he was entertaining a useless conversation. "Well...no one likes to be treated like shit." Your tone changes, softening, sounding almost pitiful. "Tch. People don't like to be treated like shit yet people do shitty things all the damn time. It makes no difference to me." "Well sure but I mean she was just a stranger. Are you just good at bad first impressions. Is that your thing?"
He narrows his eyes at you brifely. "Is butting into other peoples fucking business your thing?" "What? I- You! You're the one who lied, saying "I'm here with someone" who dragged me into it. You should've told her from the start you weren't interested." He smirks at this and you take offence. "Hah. And you automatically assumed I was referring to you?" "Well who the fuck else?! Me and drunk guy over there are the only ones at the table!" You're irritated at this point. "Well how do you know I wasn't implying that this "someone", which I invented, was in the bathroom. Or outside smoking a cigarette. She had assumed it was you. But I never disclosed anything." He responds coolly. "But I- "
You're flustered now feeling very embarrassed your face and ears feel hot and you don't know what to say. Levi rolls his eyes and casually chugs down the remnants of his beer. The two of you become silent the atmosphere tense. You look down at your hands on your lap feeling all your bravado leave your body and a heavy tiredness overtake you.
You sigh and reach for your glass now empty. "Marco?" You call him. He nods knowing what you need already and hands you another whisky and coke. You take small sips this time. And decide to look through your phone it's already 1 am? You have missed calls from Eren. Fuck you. And texts from Sasha asking if you wanna grab lunch tomorrow with Armin, Connie, and Jean. You reply to her a quick "sure" and put your phone on airplane mode as it's running out of battery.
Well shit the bar would be closing in another hour and you didn't want to end your night yet. You look over at Levi who proved to be a much needed distraction, an unfortunate one but a distraction none the less. You sigh again and put your elbows on the table and your face in your hands as you think back at the nights events. You can't believe your life right now. You shake your head and run a hand through your messy hair.
Levi reads your body language and right away he can tell you were having a rough time. Not that he should care. You were so brazen and had some gull to press his buttons over something so stupid and petty. But as he looks at the back of your head, your shoulders hunched forward, your hands wrapped around your glass tightly, something tells him you were enabled by not only alcohol, but some previous ordeal. Whatever made someone show up alone at a bar on a weekday was usually never a good thing. He would know. He rolls his eyes, partly berating himself for being curious about why you were there.
"Rough night?" A deep and velvety voice asks next to you suddenly. You look back up at Levi, you're eyebrows furrowed trying to read his expression and coming up with nothing. "Why are you asking if you really don't give a shit." Levi's scowl deepens, his eyes burning into yours. "I wouldn't have asked if I really didn't give a shit. Damn do you have an inane need to be so hostile and fucking bitter at everything?"
You relax your face a sad look now replacing you're defensive one. "I uhh.. I'm sorry." "I didn't ask for an apology idiot." You're confused again well he's blunt as hell you conclude. However his tone told you he didn't mean to offend you. You adsume you've been butting heads because he's just bad with words. You sigh, and swallow some saliva. "Ok, well long story short, my boyfriend of 4 years broke up with me tonight. Here."
Levi cocks an eyebrow not really sure what to say. "Well that explains your runny mascara" Levi blurts out before even seeing what he was saying it. "What? Really?" You grab your purse and look for a compact mirror to examine your appearance your cheeks burning with embarrassment and the effect of the alcohol in your system. Your (ec) eyes are bloodshot probably more from your crying than the alcohol and your eye liner is smudged almost to the point of you looking like a raccoon.
You might as well be cursed you think as you try and rub all the makeup off with your hand with no success. "Look I uhh didn't mean to- " Levi could see your eyes well up with tears as you frantically tried and wiped at your make up. He'd fucked up not meaning to embarrass you but just being too awkward to have said something comforting. "Stop." he says. You ignore him feeling so vulnerable and unattractive especially when you'd realize early on you found him, rude and all, but extremely attractive. You didn't even understand how he bothered to talk to you at all and not go home with the blonde woman when he had the chance.
Levi, not knowing what to say grabs a napkin from underneath your drink which is moist from the perspiration of the melting ice in the glass. Before you could do anything he grabs your chin with one of his pale hands delicately and rubs the damp napkin along your eyelids. "Close your eyes." He orders. And you blink a couple of times before you shut them.
He rubs off the liner that was smudged on top of your eyelids and then the residue on the bottom of your eyelids tickling your lashes as he rubs off the rest of your makeup and does the same your other eye. So many thoughts run through your head right now. Why is he touching me? Why am I letting him? How did we get to this? This night just took a turn in a weird direction.
You're like this for a few minutes until you feel him remove his hand. Assuming he'd finish you slowly open your eyes. And you blush and your stomach does a flip as his eyes lock into yours intensely. Gray eyes like steel looking back at you, unflinching. You try to read what he's thinking or feeling but you can't. His face is stoic but his eyes are soft. "Done." He says after a while of silence. "Thanks." You answer softly. A feeling of "what just happened?" surrounding you, you look away and turn back towards your drink and gulp it down. He runs his hand through his hair again and turns his attention to his drink as well chugging down his beer.
"Did he say why?" he asks looking down at his beer you turn to him. "Hmm?What?" "Your ex-boyfriend? Did he say why he broke up with you?" he asks you. Ex boyfriend. That made it all too real for you and your eyes well up with tears again. Your eyes are downcast but Levi could still tell and he felt like he'd fucked up again. "You don't have to talk about it- " "No.. it's ok. Umm it's not good to keep shit bottled up right?" You ask and look at him. He doesn't say anything instead brings his beer to his lips and sips waiting for you to continue.
You sigh and do so. "Well he'd been cheating on me for 5 months. He told me he loved her. And said he was still in love with me too." You look up at Levi surprised he's looking at you listening so intently. "Isn't that a load of horse shit." You express. Levi smirks slightly. "I guess it is." "Is that even possible? Loving two people at once? That's like some soap opera bullshit. That's not love. I don't even know what to call that. Having sex with two people ugh! I mean how selfish can you get." You sip your drink, and chew the remnants of ice angrily.
"Thats called a threesome." He deadpans. You furrow your brows, he was joking. You weren't amused. Levi coughs to clear his voice. "Well ok, I'm really not one to be giving advice on love or any of that bullshit but trust me love and sex are two completely different things." You cock your head to the side. "Well sure but I mean love comes with it, sex I mean. When you love someone and you have sex you're sort of saying I want to share my body with you in my most vulnerable state I'll share myself with you because I love you enough and trust you enough to not do it with another person."
Levi cocks an eyebrow and makes a noise that sounds like a stiffled chuckle. "Tch. Well it seems like you've been living in a fucking fantasy far too long brat." Levi states, shaking his head. He sips his beer. You went from "idiot" to "brat" you brushed off the comment and continue. "What is that suppose to mean?" You inquire, frowining. "I'm in no way condoning cheating but have you never heard of the notion of "casual sex?" He asks bluntly.
All this talk about sex but you haven't been addressed with it directly and the idea of talking about it with a stranger still makes you blush like a school girl. "I..of course I have.. but I don't believe in it?" You state, but it leaves your lips in the form of a question. Levi now holds an expression full of rare amusement. "Are you serious? You mean you've never fucked for the sake of fucking?" he asks the corners of his lips twitching at the revelation. His tone steady and monotone."You're so fucking naive." He says,smirking as he holds his head in his hand, his elbow on the table focused on you. You felt mortified. You were two grown adults talking so openly about sex yet for some reason talking about it with him made you feel uneasy. But at the same time you couldn't deny you were intrigued.
"Why because I don't go around fucking random people?" You ask. Levi looks at you straight faced. "And what's wrong with that?" Levi challenges. "Hah well everything! Sex without love is just meaningless and pointless its-"
"Well that's just bullshit." Levi cuts you off. "Sex with love is just a fucking shit storm ready to happen when someone fucks up. And trust me someone always fucks up. Love only complicates shit. Feelings complicate shit." A sudden seriousness is present in his tone and you try to analyze his face before he looks away to grab his beer and drink from it. You catch a glimpse of sudden sadness that you'd never imagined you'd see on Levi. "Levi-" "Plus" he cuts you off a smirk now replacing his serious features. He leans into your ear and whispers. Heat rushes to your face and ears and you gulp a nervous lump. "Fucking feels so much better when you have free will like that. No inhibitions. " You feel goosebumps form on your body as he says this.
He leans back again to look at your face and he's amused at how embarrassed you looked. You cough to clear your throat and look away promptly at anything other than Levi. "Well we all have our own opinions." You take a sip of your drink. Your buzz making you feel all tingly.
"Wow I didn't take you for a prude." He says unimpressed. "I'm not a prude." You reply defensively. "Prove it." He actually grins crookedly this time and if he didn't look so damn handsome with a smile on his seemingly always bored face, you'd think he was acting like a hormonal teenager. You bite your bottom lip and furrow your eyebrows determination on your face and challenge in his. You scoff. "Fine."