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For a moment, I'm frozen in shock

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For a moment, I'm frozen in shock. My breaths come fast and I choke on cold air. The impenetrable sheet of rain has soaked through to my skin already, washing away any numbness.

I look down the empty road, black without the taillights of Finch's truck. It leads away from Hopton Hills, the quicker route being across the fields. The full weight of my stupidity beats down on me with each drop of icy rain. I'm alone, in the dark, on an unlit road, and at least a mile from home. What have I done? Biting my lip, I pluck up my shaky courage and take my first step towards the hazy lights on the horizon.

Tears run down my cheeks as I trudge forward. It's completely over. I've known that deep down of course, but Finch's words are the final nail in the coffin. The proof that he no longer cares.

I've only taken a handful of steps when headlights appear from the direction of home. The watery lights wash over me, and I raise my hand to shield myself from the glare. As the vehicle comes to a stop, I grip my bag and wish I'd packed the mace that Anna-Beth gave me.

'Say it ain't true.'

I wipe away the strands of hair that plaster over my eyes. 'Pardon?'

'Say it ain't true,' the figure repeats. This time, I recognise his voice.

'Leave me alone, Finch.'

'Get back in the car. Let me apologise.'

'I can't imagine anything worse.'

Turning my face away, I start towards the flickering lights of Hopton Hills, weighed down by a coat and jeans that are sodden with rainwater.

'Martha, it's freezing cold and you're miles from home. Just get in the car. You don't need to talk or even look at me. Just let me get you home safely. Please.'

Ignoring him, I keep up my slow trudge.

He slams his door shut and makes his way around the truck. 'You're so damn stubborn, girl. Well, if you ain't getting in the car, then I suppose I'm walking home with you.'

'Just go home, Finch.'

'I'm not leaving you on the side of the road in the dark.'

I take a wide arc around him, but he's quicker. As he steps closer, we come face to face for the first time. In an instant, his body language changes, his shoulder slumping. He reaches out and wipes away my tears. His hand is warm against my cheek.

'These are because of me.'

I push past him. I don't need to lessen his guilt. He grabs my arm to stop me.

'You aren't pathetic.' The words tumble out. 'At least, I don't think you are. I was angry and I shouldn't've said it. As for virgin, I only said it because I knew it would hurt. I think it's amazing that you want to wait.'

My breath hitches in my throat and I yank my arm out of his grip. 'I don't want to hear what you think.'

'Martha, Please. Just let me take you home. Let me explain.'

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