That night Finn didn’t let her go home.
She didn’t want to.
They left the party after a while, got into his car and left the place, Finn making up an excuse about not feeling too good.
The ride was silent.
Finn held her hand, his thumb stroking her fingers continuously.
Zara felt nerves take hold of her even through the numbness. Would they sleep together tonight?
She glanced at Finn’s rigid profile beside her.
He hadn’t let her go at all, holding her to him throughout the rest of the evening. Zara felt infinitely close to him and yet unhappy.
Her chest hurt even more now, at the thought of not seeing him again in another week.
During their time together she had gotten so comfortable with him, as if she’d known him for more than just a few days.
Lifting his hand in hers, she entwined their fingers, brought them to her lips and kissed the back of his hand.
She heard the sharp intake of his breath.
“We’re almost there.“, he said gruffly.
Zara looked out of the window.
His place was away from her campus, in a beautiful neighborhood.
Then she remembered.
“Is Danielle going to be there?”
Finn shook his head.
“This is my personal apartment. It’s something that I purchased a year ago. I haven’t used it in a while so it might be a bit musty.“, he apologized, looking at her, his gaze lingering on her face.
She breathed a sigh of relief.
His sister was the last person she wanted to see.
He parked the car in the underground garage and then they were making their way through the lobby.
As they stood waiting for the elevator, Finn wrapped his arm around her shoulder.
“Is Susan okay with this?”
Zara snuggled against him.
Finn kissed her hair.
The elevator doors opened and they got in.
It was a highrise building. Around twenty floors from what she had seen.
It looked sophisticated and was pristine in its appearance.
Finn pressed the button for the tenth floor.
“Do you come here sometimes then?“, she asked.
“Not a lot. You’re the only person I’ve brought here. Not even Danielle’s seen the inside of this place.”
Zara looked up at him in surprise.
He gave her a forlorn smile.
Zara stared at him in wonder.
The doors pinged open and they stepped out.
Finn reached into his pocket and took out a key. They turned to the left and walked down the silent hallway, their footsteps echoing on the marble floor. They passed four apartments.
Finn stopped at the next.
“This is it.”
He unlocked the door and they stepped in.
The room was dark and when her eyes adjusted, she saw the pale moonlight entering through the glass windows that covered one wall entirely, from floor to ceiling.
Zara walked ahead of him, his hand on the small of her back.
Then Finn flicked the switch on and the room was flooded with light.
Zara paused at the sight.
A landscape of warm colors greeted her eyes.
There were two bean bags right in the centre, surrounded by a couch and two armchairs. A minibar stood at the end of the room.
On the opposite wall, there was a huge LCD TV with speakers and electronic gadgets on the cabinet below it.
“Do you like it?”
Zara turned around.
Finn stood against the wall, his hands in his pockets, an expectant look on his face.
She looked at the single framed picture that adorned the side table.
It was a shot of Finn and Danielle along with their parents on his graduation day. He looked happy, a wide smile on his face as he hugged Danielle with one arm and his parents with the other.
She looked back at him.
“It feels like a home.”
Finn’s eyes lit up before he lost his smile.
“Come here.“, he said.
His arms were open.
She placed her purse on the table and then went straight to him.
Finn hugged her tight, his face buried in her hair.
Zara tried to push down the lump forming in her throat.
“I’m sorry too.“, she said into his shirt.
When he lifted his head, she stiffened, not wanting to end the moment.
“Spend the night with me.“, he ran his hands over her back, making her tremble.
Zara moved back and looked up at him.
He looked earnest, a silent plea in his eyes.
She stepped out of the bedroom, the warm weather making her feel grateful for the loose shirt.
They had ordered a pizza for dinner.
Finn had given her a pair of shorts and a Batman tshirt that wasn’t too big on her.
Since she was spending the night with him, he said he wanted her to be comfortable while sleeping.
Zara tried not to think about anything further than dinner.
She had scrubbed off the makeup from her face, using the lotion and facewash that Finn had kept stocked in the apartment.
He had let her use the single bedroom, while he placed the order for the pizza.
Zara had taken off her earrings too. The shorts came below her knees and the tshirt reached past the middle of her thighs. She had tied her hair up in a loose bun.
When she emerged into the living room, Finn wasn’t there.
She followed the sounds of plastic being torn to the kitchen.
She saw him there, opening a packet of tissues, a cabinet door hanging open.
“Hey.“, she said a bit self-consciously, standing at the entrance.
Finn looked up and saw her and for the second time that evening he seemed unable to speak.
Zara looked down at herself to ensure that she hadn’t forgotten anything vital.
Then she made her way to where he stood, taking the napkins from his hands.
Finn stood still, letting her take it.
Finally curious, Zara placed them on the counter and looked back at him.
“Do I look that bad?“, she asked slowly, wondering if the sudden change in her appearance had startled him.
She saw him visibly gulp.
Then he seemed to find his voice.
“No.“, he breathed.
“It’s just that-“, he ran a hand over his face and took a deep breath.
“You look exactly the way I’d imagined you, if this was just another day you were with me. Where there weren’t any goodbyes to be said soon.”
Zara froze in her spot, her heart stopping and then picking up pace till it hurtled against her breastbone.
The tension between them was palpable.
He was still in his evening attire with the exception of his coat. The top buttons on his shirt were opened up and Zara could see the skin underneath. He had taken off his contacts and his glasses were back, hiding the shadows beneath his eyes.
Zara tried to block out the inappropriate thoughts in her head that seemed to make her want to focus on his lips.
That made her want to reach out and eliminate the space between them. That made her want to take his clothes off and kiss his neck. Have him kiss her own.
To take away the pain that she had to face soon. To delay the thoughts of never touching him again. Of never seeing his sky blue eyes smiling down at her. To have him hold her and let them spend that one night in abandon, losing themselves in each other.
He was so sweet, so gentle, so good to her. He made her feel special in a way no one else ever had.
She wanted to kiss him till her lips were bruised.
She wanted to remember what he smelled like, how he made her feel when he touched her. To thank him for giving her the best weeks of her life so far.
It was Finn who moved first.
He took her hand that lay at her side, bringing it to his lips.
She didn’t know what came over her then.
Zara pulled away, reached up and gently took his glasses off.
Before she could place them on the kitchen counter, Finn had taken her in his arms and they were kissing.
Urgent, deep kisses.
Zara let out a soft moan involuntarily when he let go of her only to move back, pick her up and place her on the counter, her legs wrapping around his waist.
She acted on instinct.
Dropping the glasses, she heard them clatter before coming to a standstill.
Then her fingers were unbuttoning his shirt, their lips locked, his tongue swirling inside her mouth making her squirm. His hands were gripping her waist, one of them guiding her fingers to the next button. With clumsy progress, she finally managed to get them all undone.
When her hands met his warm bare skin, Zara took over, pushing her tongue into his mouth.
Finn groaned, his head tilting as he deepened the kiss, kissing her like his life depended on it.
Zara ran her hands over his chest, moving them over his shoulders.
When she was out of breath, he shifted his lips to her neck, kissing her passionately, his tongue darting out to lick her skin.
Zara felt her body heat up, her neck and ears feeling flush with warmth and Finn’s touch.
Shifting her mouth, she caught his again, kissing him as hard as she could, trying to put all her feelings into her touch, wanting him to know just how much she cared about him.
Finn’s hands were just below her breasts, his grip tight on her.
Suddenly he broke away, making her protest.
His face buried in her neck, he took a few deep breaths.
Zara tried in vain to calm her racing heart.
“I need to confess something.“, his voice was muffled, his lips brushing her shoulder as he spoke.
Zara traced the muscles in his shoulders, relaxing against him, her chest pressed to his.
Finn lifted his head and looked right at her.
Zara touched his cheek, desperate to feel more of his skin.
He caught her hand holding it against his jaw.
“I’ve wanted to make love to you since the moment I saw you on that at your apartment. The day you questioned me about my intentions.“, he cracked a raw, unconvincing smile.
Zara stared at him in stunned surprise.
He leaned forward and kissed her forehead.
“When I saw you in that dress today, I almost lost it.”
He kissed her nose.
“But if I do, it’ll make the leaving worse, Zara.”
In the silence that followed her eyes welled up and she sniffled.
Finn cupped her face, leaning in to kiss the corners of her eyes.
“Don’t cry, darling.”
The tears spilled over.
“I don’t want you to leave.“, she confessed, her lips trembling.
Finn kissed her tears away.
Zara saw his eyes turn watery.
Then he kissed her mouth sweetly.
A chaste kiss.
Zara hugged her to him.
“You’ll always be a part of me, Zara. Always.”
He crushed her to him, his breath hot on her ear.
They comforted each other in the only way they could.