Going grocery shopping with your neighbor became the habit of your Saturday afternoons, and the highlight of your week. (ModernAU, LevixReader)
"Good afternoon, neighbor." You casually greeted one Saturday when you left your apartment to go grocery shopping. You didn't expect a reply from the short quiet man and only spoke to him out of habit fueled politeness.
When it became evident that the two of you were heading in the same direction, he replied with a simple, "afternoon."
The two of you boarded the elevator and went down. The silence felt heavier now that you knew your mysterious neighbor was actually able to speak. You looked at the grocery list on your phone, reading it to yourself quietly to occupy yourself during the awkwardly silent elevator ride from the top floor. The doors opened on the bottom floor with the chime of a bell, and you wasted no time in stepping out.
You paused, looking at the man with curiosity. You didn't expect him to know your name, but reasoned that he must have heard it from someone else who lived at the building. You had no idea what his name was. "Yes?"
"You're going grocery shopping," he observed.
"Yes," you nodded.
"So am I," he continued.
"Yes," you nodded again.
"Want to go together?" He asked.
Well, that was unexpected, but you shrugged and didn't read too deeply into it. "Sure, why not."
The grocery shopping experience went well. You got a ride and you had someone to talk to while you shopped around and waited in line. You had learned the mysterious man was called Levi and he worked at the Air Force base in the outskirts of the city. You decided he was pleasant to be around and wouldn't mind hanging out with him again.
You ran into Levi the next weekend, when you were once again on your way to buy groceries for the week and you didn't think twice before agreeing to his invitation to go to the super market with him. This happened several times until people on the building started talking, theorizing that you were dating or even engaged.
Hange, another of the building's inhabitants, went ahead and asked you directly one day when she visited your apartment to eat pizza and chat. "Don't be silly," you disregarded the thought with a light laugh. "He's how tall? Five..."
"Three," Hange supplied. She was an infamous 'information broker' which some took to mean gossip and others took to mean spy. She did seem to disappear sometimes for long periods of time and when she returned she usually had some little souvenir from an exotic location to give you. More often than not it was an exotic location with a certain amount of political tension in the air, but you didn't read too deeply into it. Maybe the only correlation was cheaper plane tickets.
"Right," you nodded and took another bite of your slice of pizza. However, it seemed that the statement was not enough to convince Hange of your argument. "People would think it's weird," you elaborated. She continued looking at you, as if encouraging you to say more. "I mean, not that I'm vain or anything," you paused, "am I?"
"That'd be convenient, but I don't think you are," Hange finally replied, as if baiting you to inquire about her comment.
You didn't resist the urge and immediately asked, "why would it be convenient?"
"Did you know they have a gym at the base?" Hange slipped an envelope to you across the table and smiled sweetly.
You felt very apprehensive about opening that envelope, but you did anyway. The envelope contained several pictures that had the distinct feeling of having been taken in secret. They were all on the same subject, Levi. You shoved the pictures back into the enveloped and stuffed it in your pocket without even asking if they were yours to keep. "So he's ripped, so what? I'm still too tall."
"Jean's one inch taller than you," Hange reminded.
"You never accept his invitations, but you always go out with Levi."
"I'm busy, but I have to make time to go to the super market because you know, food is kind of a primary necessity for survival."
"I bet you'd go to other places that are not the super market if Levi invited you." Hange teased with a mischievous expression that made you certain you did not want to ask what she meant by other places.
"Not that he would, because I'm sure he knows how unusual we'd look," you countered, partially dodging the question.
"You really think Levi gives a damn about what people say?" Hange laughed, as if the concept of it was too ridiculous.
"No, but... Oh, forget it. I'm sure he doesn't like me, or else he would have already invited me to go somewhere other than the super market. He's just happy to have someone who will lend an ear when he goes on and on about cleaning products like a fanboy."
"So you wish he'd invite you somewhere else? Why don't you invite him? I'm sure he won't mind if you're the one to bring it up," Hange insisted.
You pouted and concluded with exasperation, "you're impossible." Not that it was anything new, but at least this time you got a pretty good reward for putting up with Hange's antics. You'd have to examine those pictures in detail later, just for the sake of idle curiosity and nothing more.
"I can't help it but to notice that your arguments are 'people would talk' and 'he doesn't like me' but you have not mentioned anything about you not liking him."
You glared at Hange, refusing to dignify her statement with a response, but the conversation stayed in your head, simmering in your subconscious.
The next Saturday you met up with Levi as usual and walked towards the elevator. You found that it was under maintenance and you were forced to take the stairs. During the long trip down, Levi talked about the sale on cleaning products that was going on. It was a spring cleaning themed promotion, though he insisted that cleaning was a year round activity that should always be done properly. He was such a cleaning geek, but it was kind of cute how he got all excited about it.
You went to the super market as usual and Levi eagerly gave you advise about what sales were worth it and which products you shouldn't buy, even if they were economical, as they were simply not good enough. The super market was packed, and as the two of you waited in line, in close proximity to allow the crowd to navigate around you, you found that your curiosity was about to explode.
Maybe Hange really was a spy, maybe she had brainwashed you into inevitably asking this question. "Levi..." He looked at you with curiosity, your tone hinted that there was an important question on the way that demanded absolute honesty. "Why did you first decide to invite me to go grocery shopping with you?"
"You're tall, you can reach the products on the top of the shelf easily, I thought it would be convenient." Levi replied simply, taking your question very literally.
You stared at him for a long moment before letting out a quiet, "I see." Just as you thought, he was indeed aware of your height difference and likely thought it was ridiculous. Convenience, that was all this was. You didn't understand your disappointment. His reply was completely logical and expected. Besides, the arrangement was convenient to you too. You saved on gas by getting a ride from Levi, you had someone to talk to while you shopped and he even helped you carry your groceries home. You should be happy that things were as convenient as they were.
You finished your business at the super market and went home. The elevator was still out of order, so you had a long trek up the stairs ahead of you, which you were not looking forward to. It wasn't the walk itself that you dreaded, that was only a minor inconvenience, it was the inexplicable cloud of gloom that had settled over you which bothered you the most.
The walk up the stairs began in silence, but it didn't stay that way for long.
"(Name), give me the bags."
"It's ok, I got them, besides, you're already carrying most of them..."
"Are you tired?"
"No, I'm fine."
Levi paused for a moment in thought, then seemed to come up with an idea. "You were expecting better savings from the sale."
You shrugged. "I thought it was ok, ads usually make the savings sound bigger than they are, I know not to expect too much."
After another short pause, Levi's questions continued. "Hungry?"
"Any other ache?"
"No," what was with all those random questions? "I'm ok, really."
There was another moment of silence as you drew close to your floor. Levi went on ahead and stepped directly in front of you. He was on a different step, matching your height, which made it too obvious that you were avoiding eye contact if you tried to look over his head, so you were kind of stuck looking into his eyes. Before you could inquire why he had randomly decided to block your path, he kissed you, full on the lips.
You stood there, stunned, your face was crimson and your thoughts were a tangled, yet oddly pleasant, mess. "What...?" You reached out for an explanation in a quiet whisper under your breath.
"You said you're ok, but you looked sad. I couldn't figure out why, so I thought a kiss from your boyfriend might cheer you up."
Your mind and heart were racing, though you seemed incapable of holding on to any coherent thoughts. Your ability to speak eluded you, but you were vaguely aware of the fact that you were smiling.
"Feeling better?" You nodded in reply, still not entirely sure you could trust yourself to speak in your current euphoric state. "Good, now show me that pizza stain you said Hange left on your carpet."
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