The next week was one of the best times of her life.
Zara attended classes, enjoyed dinners with Susan and Matt and spent every evening with Finn.
He was great company.
They had many things in common. She now knew that he too was an avid reader, just like her. Zara had not been able to contain the happiness at that discovery.
They had spent hours just talking. He told her about his work, vivid childhood memories, hobbies, his bucket list and asked her everything about herself.
He was humorous, sweet and smart. Zara could tell that he loved his job and he had told her about the project that his team was currently working on.
Sometimes, she caught him staring at her.
He would look away instantly but it made her blush.
Susan had been overjoyed when she heard about Finn.
She would purposefully leave them alone, whenever he came by, making up some excuse or the other.
Matt was less enthusiastic about him but was being cordial whenever the four of them were together.
Zara couldn’t ask for anything better.
She hadn’t seen Nathaniel all week and it was nothing short of relief.
She had overheard Matt telling Susan that he had gone back home to visit his grandmother who wasn’t physically a very good condition.
Zara had almost felt like she should ask him how she was doing. After all he had told her about the woman who had played a very important role in his life.
But then she had remembered Danielle.
The fucking bitch was probably playing nurse and lover to him for all she knew.
Dismissing all thoughts about Nathaniel, she had concentrated on herself and those that were important to her.
That evening, the four of them were going out for a movie.
Zara had put on her favorite pair of jeans and had decided to go with a sleeveless red top that hugged her torso. Keeping her makeup minimal, she had stuck with just mascara and red lipstick that accentuated her full lips. She had picked out a pair of comfortable black flats that complemented her outfit and had left her hair down.
She had just put on her shoes when she heard Susan calling out for her.
When Zara entered the living room, she saw Finn standing there, talking to Susan.
The conversation came to a halt when they spotted her.
Susan gave her a full blown smile that conveyed her appraisal. Zara managed to smile back before she turned to Finn. He hadn’t said a word to her.
Feeling slightly self-conscious and elated at the same time, Zara walked up to him, tucking her hair away from her face.
Whenever he had come around during the week, she had been in shorts and tshirts. He hadn’t seen her all dressed up since that day at the club.
He was wearing dark jeans and a short sleeved blue shirt that seemes to highlight his eyes. His hair was spiked up in the front and Zara thought he looked adorable.
“Hi.“, she said softly, coming to stand before him.
Finn stared down at her, unblinking.
Zara had to force herself not to look away from him, at Susan who she knew was smiling like a Cheshire cat.
After a long moment of silence, Finn cleared his throat.
“H-hi. You look great.“, he surprised her when he leaned forward and kissed her cheek.
She smiled at him.
“Thank you. You look great too, by the way.“, she said hurriedly, her cheeks feeling flushed.
Finn continued staring at her, as if seeing her for the first time.
“Oh for Christ’s sake, you need to fucking kiss already!”
Susan’s voice made her jump and turn a bright shade of red.
Finn didn’t seem to be affected. He merely gave her a crooked grin and lightly took her hand in his own.
Zara looked down at where he held her palm.
“May I?“, he asked softly, bringing her hand to his lips.
Oh fucking Cupid.
She couldn’t even nod her head.
Taking it as her assent, Finn placed a soft kiss on the back of her hand.
Zara felt goosebumps rise all over her skin.
She saw Susan roll her eyes as she made her way out of the apartment. Matt was meeting them at the theatre directly.
“You are beautiful. You know that, right?“, Finn said again as he grasped her palm firmly, drawing her closer to him.
Zara felt her heart leap in her chest.
“Not really.. no.“, she said with a laugh, her eyes going to his lips that had felt incredibly soft on her skin.
Finn shook his head, leaning down and pressing his cheek to the top of her head.
“You are the most beautiful girl I’ve ever met, inside out.”
Zara swallowed when she heard the sincerity in his voice.
“You too.“, she replied in a whisper, closing her eyes and inhaling his scent.
He pulled back and looked down at her.
“I have a work thing tomorrow at around eight in the evening. If you’re not busy, would you mind being my date?”
Zara went still.
If she said yes, it would signify a change in their relationship.
If she said no, she’d hurt him.
She looked at the clock on the wall behind Finn.
The one week she had spent with him was something she’d never regret. Even if things ended badly between them.
And if they didn’t?
Well, she had to know.
She tried to remember what her mom had always taught her.
Listen to your heart, Zara. It knows what you want and it shows you what you need to do. It’s your own personal compass. Never shut it out.
She looked at Finn’s blue eyes.
This was the guy who cared about her. Who had spent time getting to know her for her. Who thought she was beautiful inside out.
She knew what her answer was going to be before he touched her chin, tipping her head back.
Finn’s eyes widened slightly and then he smiled.
A brilliant, joyous, crooked smile.
Without warning, he pulled her in a hug, holding her like she was precious to him.
“Thank you.“, he said in a fervent murmur.
Zara closed her eyes and let her shoulders relax.
Her heart approved.
But not completely.