They reached Zara’s apartment late the next day, both of them reluctant to say goodbye.
When Finn walked her to the door, Zara kept thinking about what she could say.
What should her last words be?
What should she tell him?
All the best with the rest of your life?
Drop me a text sometime?
They reached her door.
Zara turned to him, a sudden awkwardness evident between them.
Finn was holding her hands in either one of his.
He spoke first.
“I guess this is it then.“, he said in a low voice.
Zara nodded slowly, her eyes on the door of the apartment.
She was finding it difficult to think of something to say.
She didn’t want him to go.
Taking a steadying breath, she tried to smile through the ache in her chest.
Finn raised her hand to his lips and placed a tender kiss on her knuckles.
Zara’s smile drooped.
“I’ll miss you tremendously.“, he whispered against her skin, inhaling her scent.
Zara bit her lip to keep from crying.
“I’ll miss you too. A lot.“, she said.
Finn looked at her, his eyes seemed to be taking in all her features.
Zara stepped toward him.
He took her hands, placing them on his waist.
Then she was pressed to him, her face buried in the crook of his neck, her lips pressed to his shoulder.
Finn had his face in her hair and she felt him take a deep breath.
Zara drew her hands up his body, placing her palms flat against his back.
She tried to memorize everything.
The feel of the fabric under her fingers. Finn’s unsteady breathing. The scent of his aftershave wafting through her nose. The way he kissed her hair. The gentleness with which his hands held her now. The subtle strength she felt in the cords of his arms.
“Thank you.“, he whispered.
“For giving me this.“, he kissed her head and temple.
Zara sighed against his skin.
“Thank you for making me feel safe.“, she whispered, her lips brushing his shoulder.
“And special.“, she added more softly.
It was a while before they pulled away.
They stood still for a few moments.
Then Zara steeled herself.
Reaching up she pressed her fingers to his cheek, stood on her tiptoes and kissed the corner of his mouth.
His shoulders slumped forward and he opened his mouth to say something.
But Zara shushed him, shifting her fingers to his lips.
“Don’t.“, she pleaded softly.
He seemed to understand.
Then he leaned down, took her face in his hands and gave her one last kiss.
Then he let go, turned around and disappeared down the stairs.
And out of her life.
When Susan saw her, she dropped the basket of laundry to the floor.
“I’m so sorry, Z.”
The next thing Zara knew was that Susan was holding her, her arms tight around her as Zara let herself cry for what she had lost.
The ache was building up in her chest, snaking through her limbs.
Her heart hurt.
She desperately wanted to run after Finn. Tell him to stop. To forsake the job. To not leave her.
How could life be so cruel?
Just to dangle a marvelous chance right in her face and then snatch it away?
She wished she hadn’t known what it felt like to be so happy.
Everything felt dull now.
The rational part of her brain knew that this would pass.
That in time, the wound that now seemed so fresh, would eventually heal.
That in a few months, she’d forget the minor details about Finn that swam before her eyes now.
The unconscious way he adjusted his glasses. How he kissed her hair. How he laughed in the back of his throat. How he held her.
I like your hair this way.
You’re beautiful, inside out.
She was dimly aware of Susan whispering that everything would be okay.
No, she thought.
It wouldn’t be okay.
Atleast, not for a long while.
It was late evening the following day when Susan poked her head into the bedroom where Zara had retired.
Zara turned to her side, where she lay on the bed, the covers up to her chest.
Before she could ask Susan what was going on, the deep voice spoke.
Her body tensed when she saw Nathaniel standing behind her friend.
Without further ado, she turned her back on him, burying even deeper into the covers.
“Take him away and shut the door, Susan.”
“I lost my grandmother.”
She stopped breathing.
Then her head whipped around as she pulled herself up.
She stared at Susan’s face and then Nathaniel’s.
He looked stricken.
She felt like a heartless bitch.
“I’m so sorry.“, she said as she got out of bed, momentarily forgetting all about Finn’s departure.
Susan was beside her, pulling out clothes.
“She passed away last night.“, he said softly.
Zara paused and looked at him.
His eyes were red-rimmed. He looked like he hadn’t slept for a while and he appeared so disheveled.
“I’m sorry.“, she said again.
Nathaniel stared at her for a long moment.
“I heard about you and Finn.”
Zara shot Susan a glare.
She looked sheepish.
“I’m sorry about what happened.”
Zara shrugged it off.
“It’s fine. Let’s get going.”
She was exasperated now.
Nathaniel glanced at Susan and she immediately snapped her fingers.
“I’m going to go call Matt.“, she said hurriedly, disappearing out of the room.
Zara tensed when he took a step forward.
“I want to apologize, for my behavior. I was a dick to you and I’m really sorry.”
Zara was startled to hear the vulnerability in his voice.
The apology in his eyes looked so sincere and yet she couldn’t let it go that easily.
“It’s not important, Nathaniel. We need to get to the hospital-”
She received a shock when he walked straight to her and took her hand.
Without thinking, she flinched.
She saw the flicker of hurt in his eyes.
His adam’s apple bobbed when he gulped.
“I need you to know that I’m really sorry.“, he was pleading now.
“No, listen to me.“, he said urgently.
Zara stopped speaking.
“I’ve done a lot of shit in my life. But what happened with us, the mess I created, was the worst thing I’ve ever done.”
Zara froze when he clasped both his palms around hers.
“I came here to ask you for a second chance. To wipe the slate clean. To let me make it up to you.”
Zara shook her head.
“Nathaniel let it go-”
She was torn.
Part of her wanted to lash out at him, keep the grudge and never look at his face again.
Then she remembered Finn’s face. His blue eyes smiling down at her.
The hurt she felt for what Nathaniel had done to her paled in comparison to the pain that now lived in her heart, the emptiness she felt because of Finn’s absence.
Nathaniel had just lost his grandmother. From what he had told her, she was the most important person in his life.
If she pulled her hand away now, it would be petty.
And besides, they had to get to the hospital.
She told him what he wanted to hear.
“It’s fine. I don’t have anything against you.”
He looked surprised for a second before he seemed to see right through her facade.
His jaw hardened.
Giving her a slight nod, he let go of her hand.
His voice was rough when he spoke.
A/N:- VOTE AND COMMENT!