Finch pushes aside a mop and kicks a bucket from under his feet.
'I get this is a secret and all, but aren't you taking this a bit far?' His head collides with a rack of hanging washcloths as we navigate the small space.
It's a valid question, even if it's one I don't want to answer. For weeks we've been sneaking around, searching out places no-one will catch us. Our laundry room, the back of Miss Constance's, Finch's pool house once the sun goes down. Even the politics section of the library has proved successful. A few months ago, I would have tutted at the thought of someone misusing a library like that. Now, with Finch's lips becoming a bad habit, my morals seem to have deserted me.
The janitor's cupboard by the girls' locker room feels like a bad choice. The floors are sticky, and the air smells of chlorine and bleach. Hardly a romantic setting. It has one undeniable benefit though: a deserted corridor and zero chance of interruption.
'I've never had a girl I'm dating force me into a cupboard during practice before,' he says, pulling me close to him.
'We are not dating. Only kissing.'
'Fine. A girl I'm kissing.' He rolls his eyes.
'Finch, I'm serious,' I say, dodging his lips so I can stare him down. 'I don't want to complicate whatever - this - is.'
No lie there. It's far easier to box up my conflicted thoughts and ignore them. As delicious as this is, adding real feelings will only complicate things. I hate lying to James. Thinking about the huge secret I'm keeping makes me feel dirty. Although he's iced me out since the auction, I still feel sick each time I meet Finch. Still punish myself for what I'm doing.
'And what is this?' Finch says. His bright eyes dance with laughter, but the question still makes my stomach lurch.
I wind my arms around his neck. 'This is a distraction. My first ever midterms are coming up, and I need something fun to break up my revision.'
'I'm fun, hey?' Heady with infatuation (or perhaps the dozen or so bottles of chemicals open beside us) I melt into him. All I can manage when he pulls away is a nod.
'So, people not knowing-'
'Helps to keep this casual, fun and non-date-like.'
He loosens his grip around me. 'What if I don't want casual? What if I want date-like'?'
My breath hitches. When my eyes meet his - those dangerous pools of emerald green - I falter. Then, I remember the pep rally. And Oxford. And James.
'If you want something more date-like, you are free to find a different girl.'
'And you'll find another boy?' His voice is light-hearted, but his eyes betray him. He throws his hands up in the air. 'Well now, that won't do, Trouble. I'll have to accept distraction. For now.'
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Under Tennessee SkiesTeen Fiction
When she moves from England to the small town of Hopton Hills, Tennessee, Martha Heysham finds both her dream of Oxford University and her heart at risk from her new neighbours, the Whittingham boys. **** Martha Heysham hates Tennessee. The sticky h...