Author's Note: This is just some little fluff story that I wanted to write after spending a week in Amsterdam. It's really a beautiful city, and I wish I could live there. Anyway, now that this is out of my system I will turn my attentions back to Magic Hour. Thank you to all who read this story, and please review!
Oh and the Dutch that is spoken in this story, I don't know if it's actually grammatically corrrect, and I don't claim that it is. If you want to know the English translation, just copy and paste it into Google Translator, because that's what I used.
Hopefully you like my story! :)
I met Levi on a rainy Sunday morning in Amsterdam, when I fell into a canal. He saved my life. Of course, he's also the one who made me fall in the first place, so really when you think about it, if he hadn't been there, then I wouldn't have fallen and he wouldn't have had to save me, and we both could have gone on our merry ways without ever meeting each other. However, what happened happened, and at least now I have a funny story to tell people as an icebreaker. A weird icebreaker, but an icebreaker nonetheless.
And this story? It's a doozy.
My name is Samantha Orwell. I know what you're thinking: oh haha, is your dad's name George?
Yes, actually, yes it is.
I am the daughter of George Orwell. Not the famous author of 1984, though. No, I'm the daughter of George Orwell the small business owner from good ole' Tacoma, Washington. What is this small business?
My father, George freaking Orwell, is a stamps salesman. Rubber stamps, animal stamps, seal stamps, wax stamps (I don't even know what those are), "Congrats!" stamps, rainbow stamps, smiley stamps, letter stamps…you name it, he has it. In fact, he has even been named as the person having "The Greatest Stamp Collection in all of Washington" by the Washington Post. There's a framed certificate saying exactly that hanging on the wall behind the cash register.
But I digress.
As I was saying, my name is Samantha Orwell, and I was twenty-one years old when I ran into (or when he ran into me) Levi. It happened in the beginning of April last year. I had just finished my junior year at the University of Washington, and I had only been at home for a week when I found myself starting to go stir crazy. I just needed out.
So, being the completely rational person that I am, I made an impulsive decision to drive to the airport, exchange all of the U.S. dollars in my bank account for Euros, and hop onto the first flight headed to Amsterdam.
For those who haven't been to Amsterdam, it's the capital of the Netherlands. It's a beautiful city with cobblestoned streets, very old buildings, and canals traversing through it. There's fine dining and a flower market, and many friendly Dutch people. They may just be the kindest, most helpful people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting (except for stupid Levi). But there's a downside to Amsterdam: actually getting places.
There are several ways of moving about the city. These include: walking, biking, driving, or riding a tram. Any of these ways you choose is dangerous, unless you're in the tram, which is pretty much indestructible. But there are no rules in Amsterdam, as I soon found out. Cars and bikes come and go as they please, whether it's on a road or a sidewalk. Half of the time I didn't even know if I was on the sidewalk or not, because cars would randomly come up behind me and almost run me over. I soon realized the basic rules of surviving in Amsterdam:
There's a difference between a café and a coffee shop. Those containers of green leaves lining the walls of the coffee shop? Yeah, those aren't tea leaves. Don't get confused, because boy will you regret it.
Don't take pictures of the working prostitutes unless you want to get your ass kicked. It happened to a tourist in front of me, and it was not pleasant.
Anything goes in this city; don't expect people to stop for you, and don't expect there to be road signs. Look in seven different directions when crossing a street, because if you don't you will most certainly be hit. The survival chain is as follows: Trams do whatever the hell they please. Cars watch out for trams. Bicyclists avoid cars and trams. Pedestrians…well, pedestrians are lucky to cross a street with all of their toes still intact.
It wasn't actually too difficult for me to get used to. When I first arrived, I found my way to a small, inexpensive hotel in the middle of the city, where I dropped a few Euros a night for the privilege of sleeping in a bed that was not totally unhygienic. I survived off of Dutch hot chocolate and sandwiches that I bought from cafés that I found as I walked the streets.
By the time I met Levi, I had already been in Amsterdam for five days. The day I met him was a Sunday morning, and it was overcast. A wind was blowing straight through my jacket, chilling me to the bone. A light but consistent rain was falling, turning my blond hair into a frizzy mess. I was famished and tired and hopelessly lost. I had no map and no idea where I was. I had spent the last of the Euros in my pocket on a Dutch waffle (a mistake, though certainly a necessity at the time that I bought it), so I didn't have any money to pay a taxi. What made it worse was that I was covered with feathers.
Why was I covered with feathers?
Well, Amsterdam being the unique city that it is, there was a massive pillow fight in Dam Square, right around the National Monument. And I, being the unique-yet-totally-unobservant-of-everything-around-me person that I am, walked right smack-dab into the middle of it.
I was just heading down one of the city's many streets leading towards the square, because I needed to cross through there to get to my hotel. I noticed a few feathers floating down from the sky, but I just thought that a pigeon had flown into a building and died or something.
Well, I was wrong.
I was looking down at my map as I walked, making sure that I was going in the right direction, so I didn't even notice when I walked right into the midst of the crazy pillow-wielding crowd.
I did, however, notice when some middle-aged man swung a pillow at my face with all of the force he could muster. The whole pillow-to-the-face thing caught me completely by surprise and I fell backward as feathers flew all around me.
My brief moment of "WTF?" was ruined by the realization that I was laying on a city street. It was covered by a foot or so of feathers, but it was a city street nonetheless.
"Eww!" I screeched, scrambling to my feet.
I was still appalled by what had just happened when I saw the man coming back at me for a second swing.
I ducked the pillow and shouted at him, "What the hell is your problem, man?"
He just laughed at me and attempted to hit me for a third time. Giving up all attempts at reasoning with the psychopath, I turned tail and sprinted out of the square, going down the first street I saw. I kept on running until I was sure that the weird man and his lethal pillow were not following me.
Maybe I was acting a little overdramatic, yes, but I was a little bit off my rocker after that incident.
I finally stopped on a street corner, clutching my side and trying to catch my breath. Okay, so I learned that I was not built for running, but at least I got away from the square. And I avoided potential death; after all, I could have choked on a stray feather and died.
After I was breathing normally again, I looked around at my surroundings. And that's when I realized that I had absolutely no idea where I was. I was standing on a street corner by a bridge, but that's not saying much; there are tons of bridges in this city. I looked for a street name, but there weren't any…
I thought that I could see the tower of the Old Church in the distance, which would mean that I was somewhere near the Red Light District, but I couldn't be sure. I sighed and reached into my back pocket for my map.
There was nothing there.
"Crap!" I muttered. I must have dropped it when that man whacked me with his pillow.
I thought back to the path I took while I was running, trying to figure out which direction I had gone in, but it was no use; I couldn't remember anything. There weren't many people out on the street at this time of day, so there was nobody for me to ask for help. Although I wasn't about to hurt my pride by asking someone for directions. After all, I was an intelligent, strong, independent young woman, and I could handle this.
I was distracted from trying to figure out where I was when I saw an old man ride past on his bicycle. He was kind of skeevy looking with his stringy white hair. As I watched him bike by, I saw him spit onto the street, the little glob of saliva landing with a plop in a puddle of rain water.
Okay, ew! Major grossness.
He lazily glanced at me as he passed. I'm sure he saw the disgust on my face.
Yeah, creepy old man, I totally just saw you spit into that puddle. I don't care if there's already liquid on the street, it's still gross. And now you have the satisfaction of knowing that a total stranger was a witness to your disgustingness.
So I stood there on a street corner, becoming wetter and wetter, frozen from the wind and covered in feathers, and feeling like crying.
And that was the precise moment that a pigeon decided to go ahead and crap on my shoe.
"Ah!" I shouted, leaping backwards and trying to shake the poo off my shoe. The next few seconds were a blur.
I crashed into a bike rack.
A bike fell into the bike lane.
A ring-ring sounded from my left.
I looked to my left.
I saw a man on a bike a foot away from me, with an umbrella and a cell phone in his hands, trying to steer around the fallen bike.
By riding onto the sidewalk.
Where I was standing.
"Look out!" I shouted.
"Wa—?" said the guy.
His front wheel hit my foot.
I was knocked off balance.
I grabbed the first thing within my reach: the man's jacket.
Then we fell.
It was a short fall, really, no bigger than a few feet. But when I hit the water, boy was it cold! I let go of the man's jacket as I tried to get my bearings. The canal water was dense and dark, enough so that I couldn't tell which way was up. Not to mention that the water was pretty scummy; I didn't even want to think about what was touching me.
That was when I felt something brush against my leg.
Oh my god, what was that?
I screamed (underwater, so all I really succeeded in doing was getting the air out of my lungs) and kicked out blindly, attempting to get the shark/whale/sea cow away from me. Then my head collided hard against the rocky canal wall, and I blacked out.
I woke up on an old, saggy couch and when I opened my eyes I was met with the sight of two guys staring intently down at me.
I did what any sane, rational person would do: I screamed at the top of my lungs (causing both guys to recoil back and hold their hands over their ears) and launched myself over the back of the couch, hitting the carpet with a painful thud. Then I screamed again as my head was cleaved in two (at least, that's what it felt like) and black spots clouded my vision.
"Maken haar stoppen met schreeuwen!" one of the guys snapped.
Of course, at this point, my thinking was along these lines: Oh god, I've been kidnapped in a foreign city and my kidnappers don't even speak English!
I opened my mouth to scream again, but the other man (the one who hadn't spoken) moved impossibly fast and crouched in front of me, covering my mouth with one of his hands.
"Hey, shh, it's okay," he said. It took me a few seconds to realize that I could understand him, because, although he spoke with a heavy Dutch accent, he was definitely speaking English.
It surprised me enough that my mouth snapped shut beneath his hand, and I stared up at him in wonderment. I looked him in the eyes, and I realized dimly:
Oh, he's got really pretty eyes, all nice and greenish-blue…
And his hair looked so soft, all light brown and curly. I reached up and ran a hand through his hair, apparently taking him completely by surprise, because his eyes widened.
Yes, it was very soft.
And anyone with pretty eyes, soft hair, and an amazing accent isn't someone I should be scared of (or at least, that's what I thought at the time).
"Are you feeling alright?" he asked me, removing his hand from my mouth and cupping my face gently with both of his hands as he tried to look into my eyes to make sure I was lucid.
"Misschien is ze vertraagd," remarked the other guy, who hadn't come anywhere near me.
Gorgeous Guy looked at his friend long enough to say, "Stilte, Ralph! Ze kan je horen!"
Ralph scoffed and muttered, "Ik betwijfel of ze begrijpt wat ik bedoel."
Gorgeous Guy rolled his eyes and looked back at me with a concerned expression. He gently began to probe at the base of my skull with his fingers, and I just grinned stupidly at him.
"You have a pretty face," I told him.
Then he found the lump on the back of my head and I passed out again from the pain.
When I came to again, I was still on the floor behind the couch. I sat up and gingerly poked my head lump, which brought on a wave of nausea, but luckily not a loss of consciousness. Good, I was getting better.
I heard the sounds of a soccer – I mean football (I'm in Europe now, I have to remember that) – game coming from the TV on the other side of the room. I reached my hands up and grabbed the back of the couch, groggily hoisting myself to my feet.
Ralph and Gorgeous Guy were sitting there, and they both looked up at me. I stared down at them, my mouth open; I had really hoped that everything that I thought had happened was just a dream.
I think they both could see the panic growing in my eyes, and Ralph evidently was expecting me to scream again, because he sighed and said, "Daar gaan we weer."
Now, I didn't have any clue as to what that meant, but I could assume that it wasn't "Look at this beautiful girl who was stranded on a road and just got run over by a bicycle; let's go buy her a ton of Dutch chocolate and give her a ride to her hotel."
"Do not scream again, alright?" Gorgeous Guy told me, eying me warily.
I nodded and immediately wished I hadn't, because I almost blacked out again. Then it crossed my mind:
Why the hell am I being agreeable with this dude? I don't care if he is pretty, he totally kidnapped me!
"Why did you kidnap me?" I asked, crossing my arms and glaring at him.
His eyes widened at me and he said, "What? I did not kidnap you!"
"Um, yeah, you did. Because I was on my way to my hotel, and then I was standing on a corner, trying to figure out which way I was supposed to go, when you came along, knocked me out, and kidnapped me! I'll have you know that my parents have disowned me and you won't get any money from them because they hate me!"
That was a total lie; my parents loved me, even if they were a little peeved that I ran away to Amsterdam.
Gorgeous Guy was staring at me, his eyebrows rising higher and higher with every word I spoke, the look of disbelief on his face becoming even more disbelieving.
"Also, I have AIDS! And herpes, and Chlamydia, and gonorrhea, and every single STD imaginable, so you shouldn't rape me or else your thing will fall off and then you'll have to pee through a tube!"
Okay, so that definitely wasn't true, and I didn't know how much Gorgeous Guy really understood, but it seemed to make him angry.
He stood up from the couch then, and I realized that it was probably a bad idea for me to have said what I did…he looked to be a year or two older than me, and he stood a full foot taller than my admittedly short 5'2. And while he was slim he wasn't exactly scrawny; his toned arms, visible through the thin fabric of his t-shirt, attested to that.
"I did not kidnap you!" he said angrily, walking around the couch to stand a foot away from me. "I saved your life!"
"Ik heb je gezegd dat je moet haar daar heb achtergelaten," Ralph said nonchalantly from his place on the couch.
"Stil!" Gorgeous Guy snapped at his friend. "Wat als ze spreekt Nederlands?"
Ralph sighed and turned his head to look at me.
"Spreek je Nederlands?" he asked.
"What did he say?" I asked Gorgeous Guy, who was staring at me.
"Zien?" Ralph said pointedly to Gorgeous Guy.
"Why isn't he speaking English?" I asked. All of the Dutch people I've encountered have been able to converse in my language.
"He does not know how," Gorgeous Guy explained. "He never wanted to learn it."
"Haal haar hier weg, Levi! Ik wil voetbal kijken!" Ralph said.
There was no way to misinterpret the tone of his voice, even if I didn't know what he was saying.
"God, you're kind of whiny, aren't you?" I directed at Ralph.
"Wat zei ze?" Ralph asked Gorgeous Guy, who just replied with a "Niets!"
Then something occurred to me. Ralph had said "Levi," so I could assume that was Gorgeous Guy's name. For some reason that made me crack up, hysterically. The laughing hurt my head, but I couldn't hold it in.
Levi was staring at me with a this-girl-may-be-criminally-insane-and-why-did-I-ever-show-her-where-I-live expression on his face, and finally I caught enough breath to speak.
"Levi? Your name is Levi? Like the jeans?" I started cracking up again.
Levi's eyebrows furrowed above his beautiful eyes.
"What is so funny?" he asked.
"Nothing, nothing. I just didn't expect to encounter something so American in a place that's so Dutch."
"I am Dutch!"
"Oh, I know," I said. After all, he's too good looking not to be Dutch. I'm sorry, but America just doesn't make them like this. "But I expected your name to be Hans or Bram or something."
He raised one eyebrow at me.
"Bram is my grandfather," he said.
"Ok, whatever you say, Levi."
Then I remembered that I was mad at him. I suppose it's a sign of just how badly I hit my head that I completely forgot about that little fact.
"You kidnapped me!" I accused him again and stepped closer to give him a more efficient glare.
"I did not!"
"Ik zei toch dat ze gek was, maar heb je luisteren? Nee! Je zag een meisje in de problemen en je wilde held te spleen! Nu is ze waarschijnlijk de politie bellen op je!" Ralph ranted from the couch.
I yelled, "Shut up, Ralph!" at the exact same time that Levi said, "Opsluiten, Ralph!"
Ralph stood up from the couch, glared at us both, and slinked off through an open door off of the living room. He slammed the door shut behind him.
"I did not kidnap you," Levi turned back to me. "You are free to leave right now, if you choose."
And I dramatically stormed across the flat and threw open a door, only to find the bathroom.
I turned back around, only to see Levi smirking at me with one eyebrow raised.
"I knew that was the bathroom," I told him. "I was just checking to make sure that you were actually hygienic!"
His smirk just grew wider, and I stalked across to the other side of the flat, where there was another door. I pulled it open, and looked triumphantly back at Levi as I took a step through the doorway.
"Ha, in your—" My words were cut off as I tumbled down a staircase.
I finally came to a rest at the bottom, letting out a groan as I did so. As if my head didn't hurt enough as it was.
I looked up and saw Levi standing in his doorway, looking down at me.
"Are you alright?" he asked.
"Oh, yeah, I'm fine! I fall down stairs on a daily basis; let's just ignore the fact that you have a freaking staircase as your front door!"
I clumsily got to my feet, muttering swears under my breath. I clutched my head as I staggered against the wall, heading towards the only door, which must lead to the outside world. I managed to throw open the door and step outside. The light, although still dim from the rain, was enough to blind me for a moment, but once I recovered my eyesight, I realized where I was.
There was a full length window to the left of me, and in it stood an attractive brunette clad in lingerie, who barely glanced in my direction. She was too interested in the other people walking by on the street, and she was posing to try and get their attention.
Suddenly I felt a person behind me and I turned to see Levi.
"You live in the Red Light District? Are you kidding me? She's a prostitute!" I said, pointing at the brunette in the window.
Levi grinned and looked over my head, shouting out, "Hallo, Rosalie!"
She gave him a flirty wave and a wink in response.
"Well, loverboy, I'll just be off now," I said, stepping into the street.
I heard a horn and suddenly I was pulled back onto the sidewalk by my jacket, just in time for a motorcycle to fly by.
"Man, that's the second time I was almost run over today!"
"Okay, you are coming back inside with me," Levi said.
"No, I'm not!"
"Yes, you are! If I let you go now, you will get yourself killed!"
"Yeah? Well, I'm leaving, so deal with it!"
I turned away from him, but I only took one step when his arms wrapped around my waist and he picked me up bridal-style. I started to scream bloody murder and hit his chest, which was annoyingly hard.
"Put me down!" I screamed, attempting to kick him and failing miserably.
Levi ignored me and just carried me back inside, shutting the front door after us. I continued to scream, even as Levi looked down at me, obviously annoyed.
"Be quiet, for once!" he said, starting to climb up the stairs.
"Oh, I'm sorry for not being quiet when I'm being kidnapped!" I snapped at him, punching his chest as hard as I could.
"For the last time, I am not kidnapping you!"
"Then what, exactly, do you call this?"
He opened his mouth to answer then shut it again, his brows knitting together as he frowned.
"Exactly!" I said. "Ha! Win for Sam!"
"Ah, so that is your name!" Levi smirked as I glared at him. "And you made fun of my name…"
"It's short for Samantha, dumbass."
"Dumbass?" he said experimentally, eyes narrowing thoughtfully. "I do not believe that translates into Dutch."
Yeah, well, right then I could have said a lot of things that probably wouldn't have translated into Dutch, but I didn't.
Because I am a lady.
And so I continued screaming again in a very ladylike fashion, until Levi forced open the door to his apartment and walked in, dropping me on the couch. Though he dropped me so that I landed sitting on my butt, the jarring motion sent a fresh wave of nausea through my head and I bit my tongue to keep from crying out. This effectively ended my screaming, and I glared at Levi as the stupid jerk laughed.
Ralph came out of his room then, frowning as he saw me.
He turned to where Levi was standing and said, "Je bracht het terug? Waarom?"
Levi glanced at me before answering, "Omdat ze bijna werd overreden door een motor, en als ik haar laten gaan in haar eentje zal ze waarschijnlijk gedood! En ze heft een naam, Ralph! Het is Sam."
"Nu heeft zee en naam? Voor je het weet zal ze worden met behulp van onze douche en het eten van ons voedsel!" Ralph said.
I sighed pointedly. If I couldn't understand what they were saying about me, I definitely didn't want them talking about me.
Levi looked at me, then at Ralph. His handsome face broke out in a wicked grin and he turned back to me.
"Sam, would you care for a shower?"
"No, you pervert!" I said, eying him up and down, desperately hoping he wasn't going to attack me; he was strong enough that I didn't think I'd be able to get away from him.
I actually really did want a shower because my hair was feeling disgusting and my clothes were stiff and I was pretty sure I smelled bad, but I was not going to put myself in that position around some guy who was holding me against my will.
Levi's grin slipped off his face as my train of thought dawned on him, and he visibly paled.
"No, I did not mean it in that way! I just meant that you may feel better. I promise I will not come in, and there is a lock on the door."
I eyed him suspiciously, but I saw nothing in his hazel eyes except concern and good will. I hesitated, then sighed.
"You know, you really suck at this," I told him.
Levi looked at me with a confused expression.
"At what?" he asked.
"This whole kidnapping thing. Generally there's like rats and starvation and a straw bed, or something."
I was sitting at one end of his small rectangular kitchen table, dressed in a pair of his soccer (ugh, I mean football) shorts and a plain blue t-shirt (also his), nursing a large mug of hot chocolate while my wet hair slowly dried. Levi sat across from me at the other end of the table, just watching me, which was honestly quite unnerving. Ralph was nowhere to be seen.
"For the last time, I—"
"'Did not kidnap you.' Yes, I know," I said, rolling my eyes and lifting my mug to my lips to take a sip.
Dutch hot chocolate: yuummmmmm.
Levi was still watching me, so I reluctantly set the mug back on the table and leaned back in my chair, crossing my arms across my chest. As I did so I had to refrain from taking a giant whiff of my arm, because it smelled so deliciously like guy. In fact, it smelled exactly like the guy sitting across from me, because of course I had had to use his soap and shampoo. But I didn't want to give him the satisfaction of knowing that I thought he smelled good.
"So when can I leave?" I asked him, hoping that he didn't notice just how much I wanted to inhale the scent of the t-shirt I was wearing.
"You can leave as soon as I know that you will not get yourself killed."
"Well, buckaroo, I think we've reached that point; my head is a heck of a lot better."
His lips quirked up into a smile and he asked, "Buckaroo?"
I sighed and stared down at the wood grain of the table.
"It's just another Americanism," I muttered.
"Well, I think that our time together will improve my English, at the very least," he said with a chuckle.
I didn't answer him, and we fell into silence. Levi was the one to break it.
"Your head may feel better, but I think you should wait a while longer."
"Why?" I asked angrily, standing up from the table. "I could go outside in the freezing cold and do ten jumping jacks and stand on my head, that's how freaking great I feel!"
"Really?" he said, his heavily accented voice laced with doubt.
"Yep! I've never felt this chipper!"
I gave him the biggest smile I could muster to prove my point. It was true that my head did feel better after the shower, but there was still a dull ache. He didn't need to know that, though.
"Okay," he said, pushing his chair back and standing up to his full height.
Okay? That was it? It was that easy?
He was standing in front of me in three strides so quickly that I found myself staring at his chest before I knew what had happened. I looked up to his eyes determinedly, hoping he would believe me. His hazel eyes met my blue ones and he reached up to cup my face in his hands, causing me to let out a squeak of surprise.
I had no idea what he was about to do, but I was suddenly aware of how close we were and how much smaller I was than him. This should've made me nervous, but for some reason it just made him more attractive.
Blame it on temporary insanity or Stockholm Syndrome, but I was convinced at that moment that he was about to kiss me.
And even worse? I was going to let him.
That didn't happen, of course. No, Levi just slipped one of his hands under my hair to the base of my skull and lightly pushed the sore spot there.
"Ouch!" I shouted, falling forward and crashing face first into his chest from the pain.
He put his hands on my waist, steadying me and keeping me on my feet.
"You big, stupid jerkface," I muttered into his chest, shutting my eyes tightly and willing the pain to go away.
Once it did, I opened my eyes and stepped away from him, glaring at him twice as hard as I had been before.
"Way to go, stupid! Any slightly friendly feelings that I may have had for you just went straight out the window!"
Levi shrugged and walked back to his chair, sitting down and watching me expectantly.
"Sorry, but I knew you were lying. You might as well sit down, because I am not letting you leave this flat right now."
Having decided that my name-calling and shouting weren't getting me anywhere, I settled for giving him the death stare.
He chuckled and said, "That will not work on me, either."
I sighed in defeat and plopped angrily down into my previously vacated seat, ignoring the pounding in my head.
"I don't understand why you're keeping me here!" I cried out in frustration. "You're the one who rode up and onto the sidewalk and you're the one who knocked me into the canal, so the least you can do is let me out of this apartment and point me in the direction of my hotel."
Levi quirked an eyebrow in disbelief.
"You think that I made us fall into the canal?" he asked.
I stared at him and said, "Um…yeah. Who else is there to blame?"
"You!" he said with a laugh.
Curse the Dutch and their forever good-naturedness.
"No way! How could that even have come close to being my fault?" I asked him in annoyance.
"Well, allow me to tell you what really happened," Levi said, leaning forward in his chair, apparently rather eager to set the story straight.
I huffed and slouched in my chair, narrowing my eyes at him, daring him to blame me for something that was so obviously his fault.
"I was riding my bicycle home from work when I saw a fallen bike in my path. I saw you and rang my bell to warn you that I was going to go on the sidewalk, because bikers must sometimes do that, Sam," he said as if he were talking to a five-year-old. "I was going to safely make it around you when you took a step back, hitting my front wheel. Then you, being oh so clever, grabbed my jacket so that I fell with you."
How dare he say that I was the one who got in his way? He lives in Amsterdam; these people deal with clueless tourists every day!
"What the hell, man? I thought Amsterdammers are supposed to be good at avoiding tourists!"
Levi just looked at me, a smirk on his lips. He laughed and looked away from my seething glare.
"Yes, we are, but not when the tourists are flailing around like—" he paused to meet my eyes, a playful glint in his own hazel gaze, "how do you say…ah yes, crazy people."
He and I both know that he didn't forget the word for crazy.
I gritted my teeth together and said, "Fine. We're both in the wrong. Happy now?"
"No," he said, standing up. He walked over to the coat rack by the door where his blue jacket was hanging, drying after its little dip in the canal.
"You ruined my jacket," he said, fingering the soggy fabric disdainfully. I looked at him apologetically (after all, it was a nice coat). "And my umbrella."
I rolled my eyes. He's sad about an umbrella? Honestly, you'd think that he just lost his puppy.
"I think you can get a new one," I told him.
"And my cell phone," he mumbled.
Okay, that's it.
I stood up angrily and strode forward to jab Levi in the chest as I glowered up at him.
"Listen here, Dutchman," I said. "I wasn't the one who was texting and biking and holding an umbrella, all at the same time!"
He looked surprised by my outburst.
"You know, you have a big temper for one so small," he said.
"Yes, I do. So I think that you had better take me back to my hotel now. Obviously I'm feeling better, and if you wait any longer, I might just beat you up."
Levi looked over me and then looked down at himself pointedly. He met my eyes with a grin.
"I do not think you would win that fight."
I gave him an "oh really?" look and said, "And I don't think you want to take that chance."
We had a staring contest until I was forced to blink at the intensity of his hazel eyes.
His lips quirked up in half a smile and he said, "Fine."
I was surprised, to say the least.
"What, really? You'll take me back to my hotel?"
"Yes, I will."
He sounded a little too agreeable, and that made me suspicious. I narrowed my eyes at him.
"How do I know that you're not just going to jab me in the head again?"
"Honestly, you are starting to scare me and, as you said, I 'do not want to take that chance.' So, take this jacket," he said, handing me a grey coat, "and we will go."
I slipped the coat on over my shoulders; it was massive, but at least it was warm. And it smelled like Levi, which didn't completely suck.
"You're huge, you know that?" I told Levi, looking up at him.
"And you are small," he said with a chuckle. He opened the door, saying, "Come on."
"Goodbye, Ralph!" I shouted cheerily in the direction of Ralph's closed door.
I only heard a grunt in reply, and I smiled, skipping along down the stairs in front of Levi. Levi shut the front door behind us and followed me out onto the street. I stopped and waited for him, shocked to see he wasn't wearing a coat.
"Aren't you cold?" I asked.
After all, he was only wearing jeans and a grey, long-sleeved t-shirt. Clothes which, by the way, he filled out quite nicely. Seriously, he could be a model for some European canal-lined photo shoot.
"A little, but we all know what happened to my coat, and you are wearing my extra one."
"Oh," I said, looking guiltily down at myself. "Sorry."
"It is fine," he said dismissively.
He walked over to a bike that was leaning against the side of the building and said, "Hop on."
"What?" I asked, not quite grasping the idea of what he wanted me to do.
"You can ride on the handlebars," Levi stated, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.
"I don't think I can get up there."
Levi grinned and before I knew it he had his hands on my waist and he was picking me up and putting me on the handlebars of his bike.
"Um, okay, I guess this works," I said, not really able to understand what exactly I was sitting on. Or what I was supposed to hold on to.
I told Levi then name of my hotel, then he got on the bike behind me and we started moving. The rain had stopped, but there was still a fair amount of wind, and it blew my hair away from my face and numbed my cheeks as we rode through the streets of Amsterdam.
It was the weirdest feeling, riding on the handlebars of a gorgeous Dutchman's bicycle as we somehow managed to avoid every single car, bike, tram, and pedestrian. I still don't understand how
"Hey!" I said, turning my head to the side so I could talk to Levi. I still had to shout so that he could hear over the wind. "I thought that your bike fell into the canal!"
"It did, but we 'Amsterdammers' each have three bikes: one to ride to work, one for on the weekends, and an old, rusty one for on the nights that we want to get drunk. That one usually gets stolen."
"Which one is this one?" I asked him, desperately hoping it wasn't the about-to-break-down "drunk" bike.
"It is my weekend bike, do not worry," Levi answered in a way that I could tell he was smiling, although I couldn't see him.
It seemed like no time at all before we pulled up in front of my hotel. Levi rode up onto the sidewalk and came to a gentle, rolling stop. He got off first, then helped me climb down from my precarious place on the handlebars.
I stood there for a moment, looking up at him.
"So…" I said. "Thanks for, you know, pulling me out of the canal and giving me hot chocolate and bringing me back here. I guess that I can forget about the kidnapping thing."
Levi smiled and asked, "How long are you in Amsterdam?"
I shrugged, slightly taken aback by the suddenness of his question.
"I don't know. I really like it here, though. Who knows? Maybe I'll get a job and apply for citizenship," I said jokingly.
"You should," he said. He reached out and playfully flipped the hood of the coat up and over my head. "In any case, I will need my clothes back."
Oh. Right. I forgot that I was standing on a busy street with a guy I had just met, wearing his clothes.
Talk about awkward.
"So we will need to see each other again," Levi said with a grin.
"Will we?" I asked with my eyebrows raised, noticing (not for the first time) how good-looking he is.
"Come on, Sam. You said that you think my face is pretty."
"I was barely conscious at the time!" I protested.
Levi's eyebrows raised.
"So it is not true?"
"Well, I never said that…" I muttered.
And just like that, Levi stepped forward and kissed me. It was soft and gentle and didn't last nearly long enough; he pulled away and grinned down at me.
"I will be here tomorrow, waiting for you. Ten o' clock. We will get breakfast and I will show you the sights. Then maybe I can convince you to stay."
"Okay," I said, dazed from his kiss.
Levi got on his bike and put the kickstand up. He paused and looked at me.
"I will see you tomorrow, Samantha," he said with a wink.
And then he rode off down the street, soon disappearing from view. I stood there watching him go, completely confused and in shock as to how my day turned out. The fact that I had a date with an attractive, gentlemanly Dutchman didn't exactly help to clear my head.
I turned and walked into the hotel, wearing a man's clothes, my hair a curly, frizzy mess, yet with this big, ridiculous grin on my face.
So that's my story about how I ran away to some random European city, fell into a canal, hit my head, and ending up somehow falling in love with the idiot (albeit a lovable, kind, quite intelligent idiot) who pulled me out. Because Levi and I did fall in love, eventually. Of course, if you ask him, he'll say that it was love at first sight.
Anyway, I am now a citizen of Amsterdam attending the University of Amsterdam (much to the shock of my parents back home in Washington) and an accomplished biker (one has to be, when living in this city). I can speak a few broken sentences of Dutch, and Levi is helping me learn more of the language. I'm even slowly becoming friends with Ralph!
So it is like they say:
You really can find love in the most unlikeliest of places.
Thakns for reading, please review!