Her Irksome Admirer (Love and Lust #2)

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Chapter 20

The need to hurt can be vicious. For some of us it’s like a dormant super-sensitive monster. A single word, a single action, that goes against the rules set by our mind to deem what can or cannot be judged as correct behavior towards us, can set it off. And then sometimes, the damage we wish to wreck on the doer can be unforgivable and there’s nothing we can do about it. There’s nothing you want to do about it.

Unless you calm down and let karma fuck them up.

Zara had never known heartbreak. Though she had watched her mom go through it. The only thing that she did know was that it hurt.

But she now knew that it hurt and angered.

And the anger was worse.

As she sat down there with Susan and Matt on either side of her, a plate of fried noodles in her lap, she hated the fact that she hadn’t punched Nathaniel in the face. That she hadn’t grabbed him by the collar and kneed him in the balls. Twice.

Fucker.

“Zara you haven’t touched your food.”

Susan’s worried voice drew her out of her fantasies of exactly how she could get back at Nathaniel.

She looked up at her best friend.

“Sorry.“, she said absently, reaching for a piece of the utterly delicious spring roll.

“Do you want me to punch him?“, Matt asked, looking at her hopefully, as he shoved a spoonful of rice in his mouth.

Zara laughed inspite of herself.

“That won’t be necessary Matt.”

His eyes softened and he took her plate from her and placed it on the table.

Then he threw a glance at Susan and motioned with his head.

Taking Zara’s hands in his, he looked at her solemnly.

She didn’t realize her eyes had welled up till her vision blurred.

The next thing she knew was Matt had pulled her to him, her face buried in his tshirt. Zara felt Susan’s hand on her back as she took a shaky breath.

“I feel so fucking stupid.“, her voice cracked as she stubbornly wiped her eyes, leaning against Matt’s shoulder.

“It’s alright, Z. It wasn’t your fault.“, Susan said as she pressed her cheek to Zara’s back, wrapping her arm around her waist.

“Sorry for all these tears and shit.“, Zara sniffled softly, trying to make light of the situation.

Matt chuckled and kissed the top of her head.

“I don’t know about that. I kinda like it when you two are relying on me.“, he teased as he ruffled her hair earning a slap on the arm from Susan.

Zara grinned and closed her eyes.

This was what she had always envisioned as family.

********

The next day, Zara sat in the living room as she finished with her papers. She didn’t have classes that day and had spent almost six hours in the library working on her research.

Last night after she had gotten home, she had been surprised and secretly triumphant when she saw the numerous calls and the messages she had received from Nathaniel.

A part of her had wanted to read them. Atleast to know why he had done what he did. But she knew better than that. Susan hadn’t said anything other than just hug her.
Zara had scrolled through the calls.

Seven missed calls.

Asshole.

She had deleted all of his messages without reading them. She was not going to give him any sort of chance to clear himself from the blame. It would be better to just nip the damn thing in the bud. Nothing good could happen now. He had hurt her too much.

She piled up her papers and books at one end and cleaned up the space. Dumping the crumpled papers into the waste basket, she straightened out the pillows on the couch. After a long hot shower, she felt infinitely better and she settled down with her latest novel.
The Cuckoo’s Calling was a mystery novel, the relationship between Robin and Strike was interesting and she couldn’t get enough of the book. J.K. Rowling was truly an amazing author.

Leaning into her pillow, she pulled the comforter closer around her. Susan was out with a group of classmates, working on a project for class. She had told her that she’d be late and would buy dinner as compensation.

When the doorbell rang, Zara was startled. She glanced at the bedside clock with a frown.
Susan couldn’t be back this early.

Without making a sound, she slowly got off the bed and walked outside toward the door.

Please don’t be Nathaniel.

She put her eye to the peephole.

And almost choked in surprise.

It was Finn!

Curious, she slowly opened the door.

“Hey.“, he gave her a grin, his eyes running over her.

Zara opened the door more fully, surprise obvious on her face.

“Finn. What are you doing here?“, she greeted him with a small laugh, pausing at the threshold, unsure whether she should invite him in.

He lifted his hands up showing her the cartons of Thai food.

Zara couldn’t stop her eyes from widening.

Was she missing something?

Dressed in a loose grey tshirt and black jeans, he looked down at her with a twinkle in his blue eyes that shone through his black framed geeky glasses.

He looked kinda cute, she had to admit.

Explaining himself, he said, “I bumped into Susan a while ago, she was with a few friends. She told me you were a bit unwell, I thought I’d keep you company.“, he said with an almost shy smile, shrugging his shoulders.

Zara was too stunned for a few moments.

His expression turned into uncertainty and he backtracked.

“Is this a bad time? I should have called before-”

Zara let out a short laugh and held her hand up.

“No, no. I was just-“, she paused and really looked at him.

His eyes were slightly wide and at that moment he looked like his age. Why did she find that attractive?

“I was just surprised, that’s all.“, she smiled as she took the paper bags from his hand and ushered him in.

“Make yourself comfortable.“, she said over her shoulder as she went into the kitchen and placed the food on the counter.

He followed her inside.

“Nice place.“, he said, giving her another grin that made him look almost boyish.

“Thanks.“, she smiled, taking out two bottles of lemonade from the refrigerator and handing him one.

“You know-“, she turned to him, unconcerned about the fact that she was wearing shorts and an oversized shirt. Not very classy. Strangely, she found that she didn’t care.

“You don’t look that old.“, she said, turning her head to the side, giving him a thoughtful look.

Finn seemed to choke on his drink.

Eyes widening in concern, Zara stared at him.

“Are you alright?“, she asked, surprised when he began coughing.

“Sorry, I was- shit, sorry about that.“, he said as he turned away and brushed at his mouth.

“Why are you apologizing?“, she asked puzzled and worried at the same time.

“I was thinking about something else.“, he muttered as he turned around and took a long drink from the bottle.

“You were saying?“, he asked, his eyes studying her intently.

Zara shrugged as she made her way back to the couch. She wasn’t really sure how she was supposed to be a host to someone she hardly knew but had been kind enough to bring her dinner and keep her company.

The cynical thought hit her before she could stop it and she froze in her steps, whirling around and fixing him with a stare.

Finn’s eyes widened at her sudden glare and he slowly lowered the bottle.

“Is.. something wrong?”

The words were out of her mouth before she could stop them

“Why are you doing this?”

Did Danielle put him up to this?

Finn didn’t seem taken aback at her question. He just looked at her and then took a deep breath. Zara almost expected him to shrug off the question and tease her or something.

“Do you really want to know?“, he asked softly, his blue eyes penetrating her with an intense look that suddenly felt almost intimate.

Zara cursed herself for voicing the question.

“Yes.“, she said evenly.

Finn took two steps forward and then looked her in the eye. His hand reached out and he gently touched with his fingers, the lock of hair that she didn’t know had slipped out of the messy bun at the base of her neck.

“Because I’m drawn to you and I want to get to know you better.”

Zara felt the blood rush to her face when he leaned in and lightly kissed the corner of her mouth.


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