24 | Pride and Prejudice

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Dharsheni and Isabella's engagement party arrived like an explosion

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Dharsheni and Isabella's engagement party arrived like an explosion. It felt like Belle and I had only recently floated the idea to Dharsheni, but before I knew it, I was shimmying into the tight red dress I'd picked out for the event. I hated heels with a passion and refused to wear them under any circumstance. However, another one of mine and Dharsheni's golden rules was that if one of us had a special event, the other had to adhere to their every command. Unfortunately for me, said rule translated into a pair of slinky black heels.

The party started at six, but a select few of us were arriving early to get things in order. The bar had arranged the decorations on our behalf, which was a huge help, and they'd set out three tables covered in silky, black tablecloths ready for me to display the food I'd made for the buffet.

As I was unwrapping a plate crammed full of savoury pastries, a long whistle snapped my head towards the black door situated behind the bar.

'Looking hot, Roswell. Red is your colour.'

Finn had a lopsided grin on his face as he ambled towards me, his hands resting in the pockets of his lightly checked trousers. As part of my recent mission to cool things down between us, I hadn't seen him since the day Millie visited my apartment, although he'd continued to send me daily analyses of Victoria line morning commuters via WhatsApp. The key flaw to my zero physical interaction approach was that his sudden appearance made my stomach somersault. It was as if my body had resigned itself to a belief that I'd never see him again, only to be stunned into resurrection by his presence.

He stopped beside me, and his eyes analysed the food displayed across the tables before landing on the plate I was in the midst of unwrapping. My shoulders stiffened under his gaze, and God, why had I gotten so hot all of a sudden?

'New Mexico. Lots of UFO shite there, in case you didn't know. Food looks ace, by the way. What are those things you've got there? They look like—' His mouth clamped shut as the fear of God flashed through his grey eyes. 'Shite, Casper's not here yet, is he? If he asks, there's a security guard called Roswell.'

'I—Hi, yeah, mini quiches. Casper's later—As in, coming later.'

Oh, God. It was like I'd forgotten how to speak to the man.

Finn had offered to bow out of this party upon the revelation that Casper would be attending because he didn't want to make things awkward for me. He'd then had the audacity to comment on how I shouldn't have worried about the promise he'd made to style Dharsheni and Isabella's hair for it because he'd still do that, only leave straight after. I could've sworn the man would've removed his eyeballs and slowly eaten them if I asked him nicely enough, sometimes.

I glanced up at him and my stomach flipped as if it didn't get the message across the first time, so I quickly shifted my eyes back towards the food in front of us. I cleared my throat as I gestured towards the table to our left.

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