21 | Just Smile and Wave

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'Why are you here?'

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'Why are you here?'

It took me a split second to realise I'd spoken my thoughts aloud, but it took me a whole second to realise what it was I'd actually said, and how aggressive it must have sounded. Finn's reaction, as I should've predicted, was the rumbling of a laugh. However, he caught it before it escaped his throat by sucking in his cheeks, so it instead became a very cheekbone-heavy smile.

'Sorry, it's—No, I mean, hi.'

Honest to God, what is wrong with me?

I flicked my eyes back to Casper, who was now looking at Finn in the armchair beside him with raised eyebrows, and God, this could not have been happening. He was wearing a hat. Since when did Finn wear hats? It was a small, burnt orange beanie hat, and the ends of his dark hair were messily poking out of it. Why was he wearing it? More importantly, why was I focusing so much on that detail?

I quickly caught myself and screamed, be normal! inside my head.

'Casper, this is Finn,' I said to Casper as I gestured towards Finn.

Finn smiled, his dimples making an appearance as Casper reached out to shake his hand, and my heart skipped a beat because if Finn so much as thought about saying, short for Dolphin, I would've crumpled into an ugly, traumatised heap on the wooden floor.

I had to admit, I did like his hat.

Thankfully, and to my great surprise, Finn just said a pleasant, 'hey, man, nice to meet you,' when Casper introduced himself.

The past few minutes must have caused some major malfunction within me because as the men shook hands, the first thought that entered my head was how both men had fondled my breasts with those very hands. Despite my awareness of Casper and Finn's inability to hear my thoughts, I nearly died right there and then at the observation's intrusion into my head.

'My sister has dance class here every Sunday,' Finn commented as his grey eyes returned to me, and it took me a moment to realise he was answering my initial question. 'Here as in Victoria, by the way, not in this literal Starbucks.'

He gestured opposite him, and given I'd been so distracted by my life's idea of a sick joke, I'd failed to notice the small, blonde girl bunched up in the armchair to my right. Her hazel eyes widened as I smiled at her, but she quickly shot them down to the chocolate muffin in her hands.

'How do you know each other?' Casper asked perfectly innocently.

My mouth fell open, and I scrambled for the right words. Oh, nothing crazy, he's just been my fake lover for the past few months to convince my sister that I'm not going to die a lonely, old woman.

'I'm friends with Dharsheni,' Finn replied, saving me. 'We go to a London Asian community meetup together.'

Casper nodded, and if he wasn't sitting diagonally to me, I would've mouthed a thank you to Finn at the very least. Instead, I flashed him a subtle smile. As Casper turned back to me, Finn shot me a wink which had no right being as attractive as it was, especially not when I was trying to distance myself from him. He must have noticed I'd been doing that, right? Was he going to say something? Would he acknowledge that I'd subtly been avoiding him for the previous week or so?

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