Lessons in Gravity (Study Abroad #2)

Lessons in Gravity (Study Abroad #2) by Jessica Peterson

Book: Lessons in Gravity (Study Abroad #2) by Jessica Peterson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jessica Peterson
city—well, the monastery, at least—makes me smile.

    ***
    Maddie

    The second Javier puts his hands on the acoustic guitar, I can tell he knows what he’s doing.
    His fingers move effortlessly, knowledgeably, along the neck of the guitar, the veins in his forearms and biceps bulging against his skin as he smiles and the band begins to play.
    I snap a few pictures of Ricky B. singing; of Leo crooning as he plucks a beat on his guitar. They sound great, if a little rough around the edges, their music a mishmash of rock and pop and more than a little of flamenco. It’s impossible not to bob your head to the beat; their enthusiasm is nothing short of joyous.
    Leo was spot on about the acoustics. There may be just four guys and their instruments on stage, but the church makes it sound like there’s twice as many guys up there, playing twice as many instruments. It’s mind-blowing, listening to a local flamenco-rock-pop band in a five hundred year old venue. Definitely one of those “I’m so glad I studied abroad this would never happen in America” moments.
    I aim my phone at Javier last. He comes into focus on the screen, the blurry outline of his shape sharpening, suddenly, into a whole that makes my entire being pulse with awareness. His body sways ever so slightly to the beat while he plucks a complex, flamenco-esque tune. Between notes, his fingers slide up and down the strings, making them gasp.
    For several heartbeats I don’t take a picture; I just watch him on the screen, my heart working double time, my blood dancing. The features of his face tighten, unfurl, tighten again. It’s like he feels every note, feels the song in a way the other guys on stage don’t. I’ve never seen someone look so passionate or absorbed in what they’re doing.
    And he’s good. Like, really good.
    During the chorus, Leo sings along with Javier. Their voices intertwine, rising and falling as they sing about a girl who left, or maybe it’s about them leaving a girl? I’m too distracted to translate the Spanish.
    The guys play a slow song, a fun song. A song about the moon and a song about being on the road. I dance, I clap, I take pictures and videos. Beside me, Carmen stands but doesn’t dance. Maybe the heels of her boots are too high, and she’s worried she’ll break her ankle if she tries. Whatever. She’s missing out—I don’t understand how you could not dance to this music. It’s sexy and fun, just like the guy who wrote it.
    Javier leads the band into a pretty song about a pretty girl (I think). I lower my phone to get a look at the picture I just snapped, lit up on my screen. It’s actually all right. Grinning, I look up.
    Javier is looking at me. He’s grinning, too.
    The moment our eyes meet, something inside my chest twists.
    His gaze is tinged with teasing heat. Desire warms between my legs; it squeezes my heart.
    I clear my throat, shake my hair from my shoulders. Stop stop stop. This is ridiculous. I came to the monastery to work on my thesis, not to ogle cute Spaniards I’ve already slept with.
    I don’t want Javier. And even if I did, he isn’t mine to have. It’s obvious he wants María Carmen.
    He wants a gorgeous girl who is stable and Spanish. A girl who is capable of giving him el amor—the love—he’s looking for.
    I am most definitely not that girl. Nor do I want to be.
    I refocus my gaze on the screen on my phone. Javier is standing now. He rolls his hips, a sassy little smirk on his lips as he works this stripper move. The guy can dance, I’ll give him that.
    The band plays for a solid hour, but I’m having so much fun it goes by in the blink of an eye. As they step down from the stage, I give them a round of applause so rousing I should be embarrassed—I mean, I’m this close to shedding a tear like a pageant mom whose toddler just won her first crown—but I don’t care. Javier and his fellow “Gods of Whatever” were awesome.
    María Carmen crosses her arms. No clapping for

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