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Finn Rhodes Forever: Chapter 10

Finn

“HEARD you and Olivia got back together,” Holden said, eyes on the TV above the bar.

I ran my thumb up and down the condensation on my beer, glancing at the hallway to the apartments upstairs. A grin spread across my face.

“Yep,” I told him. “We’re soulmates.”

He raised an eyebrow at me. “That was fast.”

I shrugged, grin widening as I watched the TV. “I’m charming and irresistible.”

I replayed the other day when I had blurted my intentions to Liv. Even I could see that her flipping from hating my guts to being my girlfriend was too good to be true. She was up to something, and I was happy to sit back and watch things unfold. I thought about the way her gaze had roamed my body last night as we stood in the hallway, heat flashing behind her eyes.

She wanted me, she just wasn’t ready to give in. That was fine. I’d wait. I could be patient. I’d earn it.

Holden snorted, gaze returning to the game. On the wall below the TV hung a painting Sadie had done of him last year. She had painted him sitting in this bar, staring at the TV and crying. I think he had done something to piss her off, and she had created a collection of retaliation paintings. My parents had one in their house. Emmett’s hung in his office at town hall.

“Hey,” Emmett said, taking the seat on my other side. He glanced at the score and swore. “Jesus.”

Wyatt was right behind him. He gave me and Holden a nod hello before slipping into the seat beside Emmett.

“So what’s this about Finn and Olivia back together?” Emmett asked us with an incredulous expression. “She did that glaring thing when I asked her about it.”

I beamed at Emmett, picturing her squirming like she did last night in the hall.

“The rumors are true,” I told him. “Liv and I are an item.”

Wyatt leaned forward, looking at me with disbelief. “I don’t believe it.”

“Me neither,” Emmett added.

I shook my head at them, laughing. “Wow. What a welcome home.”

Holden paused with his beer an inch from his mouth, giving me a look. “She hates you.”

I ignored the pinch in my stomach and sipped my beer. A flash of pink caught my eye and my head whipped to where Liv strode into the bar, tying her apron, eyes on me.

I choked on the mouthful of beer, sputtering as she moved behind the bar counter.

“Hi.” A little smile played at her lips.

“Um.” I rolled my mouth to hide a laugh. “What happened to your hair?”

Behind the chunks of hair, her brows rose. She lifted a hand to brush a jagged lock aside. “I thought it was time for a new look.”

Beside me, Holden kept his gaze trained on the TV and Emmett covered his mouth with his hand. Wyatt shook his head with a lazy, amused grin.

Liv leaned in, smiling at me in challenge. Her hair looked terrible, like she had run a wig through a blender before pulling it on.

“Do you like it?” she asked, mouth still quirking.

Was she blind? I stared at her in shock, pushing down the laughter that bubbled up my throat.

And then it hit me. Ohhhhkay. That hunch I had that Liv was up to something? I was bang on.

She was trying to drive me away. Of course. Ignoring me and keeping me at a distance hadn’t worked so now she was trying a new route.

I stared at her hair. It was really, really bad. People around the bar were glancing at her, either wincing or staring with slack jaws.

I studied the grisly mess on her head. It looked like she had head butted a Weedwacker.

She totally still loved me. If she didn’t, she wouldn’t care. She’d find me annoying, but she’d never chop her gorgeous hair like this. She was hacking it to bits to protect herself because the feelings I had for her, she felt them right back, and that was terrifying to her.

Her plan wasn’t going to work, but I was still curious where this was going.

I cleared the laugh from my throat. “Yes, I do like it.”

She blinked. “You do.”

I nodded, leaning forward, holding her gaze. Her eyes widened a fraction as my hand came out and I toyed with a jagged lock, running it through my fingers. Her nostrils flared and her throat worked, and the smile on my face was all natural.

“You look really hot,” I told her in a low murmur, running my finger up her jawline.

She looked like when a kid cuts their own hair, or like one of those shelter dogs whose haircut is so sad, you pity them.

“To me, baby,” I murmured, “you’re the most gorgeous woman in the world.”

And that was the truth.

Irritation flashed in her eyes and she jerked away. “Great.” She tried to smile but it looked like she was baring her teeth. Emmett flinched.

After she had taken our drink orders and disappeared, Emmett shifted to face me.

“So…” he started, watching Liv move around the bar as people stared at her hair. “That was weird.”

I leaned back, folding my arms over my chest. “She’s trying to drive me away.”

Holden snorted. “Smart.”

“Thanks a lot.”

He stared at me. “You obviously did something to hurt her.”

A flicker of guilt pinched in my gut, and I knew that was the truth.

“What’s your plan?” Emmett asked.

“Plan?”

He nodded. “How are you going to fix things?”

“I’m hiking with her in the back country until we find the flower.”

Emmett nodded. “What else?”

“I moved in upstairs.”

Wyatt shot me an incredulous look. “No.”

“I moved in across the hall from her so we can have like, snuggle parties and stuff.” Naked stuff, hopefully. Just the memory of Liv’s smooth skin and the way she gasped when she—

Holden shook his head. “You can’t be serious.”

I glanced between the guys. “What?”

Emmett laughed. “You are so fucked. This isn’t going to work. You’re going to drive her away faster.”

Wyatt’s eyebrows bobbed in agreement as he took a drink of his beer.

“That’s because you guys are married and boring.”

I thought about Olivia’s biological father in Whistler, alone in the bar every night, and rubbed a hand down my face. I couldn’t turn into him. I had to make things right with Liv.

I also had no clue how to bring up with her that I knew what her dad was up to. Last I heard, he stopped phoning and showing up when she was fourteen, not that he was very present before that.

“I need uninterrupted alone time with her,” I said, nodding to myself. “I can blindfold her and take her to an Airbnb in the woods for a few days. Somewhere without cell service where we can disconnect—”

“That’s kidnapping,” Holden cut in.

“It’s not kidnapping, it’s hanging out.”

Emmett looked like I’d suggested Liv and I rob a bank as a fun bonding experience. “No,” he emphasized. “No kidnapping. Ever.”

I threw my hands up. “If you assholes are so smart about relationships, tell me what to do.”


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