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Finch pushes aside a mop and kicks a bucket from under his feet

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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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