6 | What's the Craic?

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I hated myself

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I hated myself.

In fact, hate was nowhere near a strong enough word for the way I was feeling towards my existence throughout my Monday morning commute. I was picking at the cracked, red varnish on my nails as I burned a hole into the side of Finn's stupid, handsome face on the tube, willing him to meet my eyes while simultaneously dreading the possibility of him doing so.

The moment the tube slowed as it approached King's Cross, I jumped to my feet because I only had a brief window to do what I'd been dreading since Harriet sent me the cursed message. I'd stooped low before—drunk emailed my uni professor to ask him if I could adopt his dog low—but at least I could play that off as a cute adoration for something fluffy. This was plain embarrassing.

'Hey,' I said to Finn within moments of stepping off the train.

I failed miserably at disguising the discomfort in my voice, but he made no visible acknowledgement of it as we walked side-by-side down the platform. Instead, he slowed his pace slightly, and turned his head to glance at me.

'Hey, Ronnie, what's the craic?'

'I—What?' I questioned. 'Whatever. Look, I—Ugh, God, I hate this. I need to ask you a favour.'

Finn stepped onto the escalator and came to a halt as I finished speaking, then spun around to face me. He raised his dark eyebrows with a smirk as dimples appeared in his cheeks, and I was momentarily distracted by a strand of hair which had been brushed out of place on his forehead. He had a five o'clock shadow, which I'd never seen—or maybe never noticed—on him before, and I was in the midst of contemplating whether I preferred him with or without it when he pulled me out of my trance.

'I'm listening,' he said.

I sighed, and being conscious of the fact we were nearly at the top of the escalator, decided to cut to the chase.

'Will you be my fake date—boyfriend, whatever, for a dinner I'm cooking for my sister? Your decision to roll with her assumption that you were the guy I'm dating has royally screwed me over.'

'I think you'll find,' Finn replied before he turned back around to step off the escalator.

I waited for him to continue with raised eyebrows as we headed towards the next set of escalators, but his mouth remained shut. I thought he'd malfunctioned or something.

However, when we planted our feet onto the next escalator, he turned around to face me once more, and said, 'it was you who screwed yourself over.'

I bit my tongue in an attempt to avoid arguing with him because I didn't have the time or patience to deal with this, and instead, forced a tight smile.

'Whatever the case,' I said through gritted teeth. 'Yes or no? Date and time is up to you.'

He started doing that bloody thing he did when he was reading where he softly bit down onto his plump bottom lip, and it can't have been an accident—he must have somehow hacked into my psyche to uncover my soft spot for it.

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