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Finn Rhodes Forever: Chapter 8

Olivia

“WE DON’T KNOW why we hate him,” Avery said with eyes narrowed at me as we moved into the living room, “but we do.”

My mouth twisted as I held back a smile. These women, they were so fucking cool. They always had my back. I hoped they knew that.

Hannah shot me a tentative look. “You don’t have to explain anything to us, Olivia.”

“Yes, I do,” I said.

“Yes, she does.” Sadie poked my foot with hers. “What’s going on?”

I dragged in another breath. “I need Finn Rhodes to dump me.”

The women were silent.

“He thinks we’re soulmates,” I continued, rolling my eyes. Soulmates. Like that was even real. There was no chance in hell that Finn was my soulmate. “And he’ll never stop thinking that unless it’s his idea, so I agreed to get back together with him, and now I’m going to make him regret that.”

Sadie’s eyes lit up with excitement. “Oh my god. Olivia. You’re a genius.”

I shot her a wry smile.

Avery grinned. “This is going to be fun.”

“I don’t know.” Hannah wrinkled her nose.

I stared at her. “You blackmailed Wyatt with a European music video where he was dressed as a merman. He wore silver body paint.”

“I wasn’t going to do anything with the video.” She winced. “Okay, I see your point. And Finn is really stubborn.”

Avery nodded with a small smile. “Yeah, we can help with that.”

Sadie jumped up and returned moments later with a pen and notepad, and the four of us came up with ideas to get Finn to lose interest in me.

“You should hit on other guys,” Hannah added half-way through the list, smiling shyly as we all gawked at her. Her smile turned cat-like. “Wyatt got really jealous when I went out with Beck.”

“Oh, yeah,” Avery said, narrowing her eyes as she remembered. “I forgot about that. Beck is so sweet, you should ask him out.”

“That guy’s like my brother.” I thought about what Finn’s face would look like watching me flirt with another guy, and a thrill ran through me. “And that wouldn’t work on Finn.”

Hannah nodded. “Probably not. It would make him super possessive.”

Sadie tilted her head, watching me. “Which we… don’t want?”

“Right,” I emphasized. “We want to gross Finn out. We want him to look at me and lose his lunch. We want him to get bored and lose interest. We want him to walk away and say, phewbullet dodged.”

“Are you ever going to tell us what happened?” Sadie asked, tucking her feet under her legs on the floor.

Their gazes swung to me while I sat there, squirming. The words locked up in my throat, and tension twisted through my entire body as my mind flashed back to graduation night. In my lap, my hands made fists.

“Did he cheat on you?” Avery asked quietly.

“No,” I said quickly, frowning at my hands. “Nothing like that. He, um.”

The room was quiet as they waited. I took a deep breath.

“We went to grad together,” I started, swallowing past the knots in my throat. “We were still just friends but we obviously liked each other.”

An image of my notebook from high school appeared in my mind. He’d draw a bird cartoon for me, little scenarios with the bird eating ice cream or flying around in the sky or reading a book. Sometimes he’d leave little sticky notes of the bird in my bedroom or locker.

“But I knew something was going to happen that night. All year, we’d been circling it. I knew he liked me. You know when you have that feeling about someone?”

They all nodded.

“And there were a few times that year, when we were saying goodbye or something to each other, I knew he wanted to kiss me.”

A memory struck me—me leaning on my bedroom windowsill, window up while Finn sat at his own bedroom window, whispering goodnight to each other across the distance between our houses. We used to do that almost every night.

“We were dancing at grad, and he got this look on his face.” In my mind, I was back there—the low lighting, the music, my hands around the back of Finn’s neck while he gazed down at me. Our high school had held a grad event similar to prom after classes and exams were over. “He pulled me out into the lobby and told me everything.”

I paused. “This is weird. I don’t talk about this stuff.” I took another deep breath. “He said he loved me, that I was his best friend, and he wanted to be with me.” Finn had always been so cocky, so sure of himself, but in that moment, my heart had melted at the vulnerable look on his face.

I lifted a shoulder. “And then I kissed him.”

Sadie made a strangled, gurgling noise. “And then?”

“And then we left.” I shrugged again.

Avery sighed. “And then?”

My face burned harder. “And then he snuck into my bedroom and we had sex.”

Hannah’s eyes were saucers as she did an excited little wiggle.

“This was twelve years ago,” I told her. “Don’t get too excited.” My stomach dipped. I didn’t like thinking about the next part. “A bunch of guys from school were going cliff jumping that night out at the canyon.”

Hannah winced. She was a few years ahead of Finn and me in high school, but she knew the story.

“A guy in my grad class died there,” she explained to the others. “I think he jumped too close to the rocks?” she asked me, and I nodded.

“He was drunk and he wasn’t running fast enough before he jumped. It’s this shitty tradition where a bunch of dumb kids get wasted and go swimming, and it’s really fucking dangerous.” My hands twisted in my lap. “I didn’t want Finn to go. He said he wouldn’t. He wanted to, I knew he fucking wanted to. He loves that stuff, you know?” I frowned. “Finn loves all the dangerous stuff. He’s made a career out of it. But he promised he wouldn’t go.”

My stomach churned at the memory. “We had this amazing night and we finally told each other the truth. It turned out he had wanted to say those things for so long. Like, years.” I tucked my hands in the sleeves of my shirt. “He snuck back out to go home, and as I was falling asleep, I heard a car pull up outside.” In the dim street lighting, I had watched him get into a guy from school’s car and drive off. I felt sick, remembering it. “He went cliff jumping, and when he got home, he was drunk.”

Sadie’s mouth fell open.

“Yikes,” Avery muttered.

Even Hannah frowned.

I clenched my hands and shook my head. “I couldn’t sleep because I was freaking out, but finally, I heard him get home.” The car door slamming replayed in my head, and I remembered how he staggered up the front steps.

“Did he see you?” Hannah breathed.

I nodded, rolling my eyes. “I was fucking furious, so I went outside while he fumbled with his keys.” He’d seen me marching across the front lawns and his face fell, but there had been something else in his expression.

Acceptance, like he had been waiting for this moment.

“He was super weird and defensive.” I shrugged. “Kind of brushed me off, said it wasn’t a big deal and asked me what I expected.”

“Asshole.” Sadie glared at me. “What a fucking asshole.”

“Yeah. I thought we’d talk about it the next morning but he was already gone.” I hadn’t seen him again until Sadie’s wedding. The backs of my eyes burned but I blinked furiously, clearing it away. I would not cry over that guy. “Finn thinks about himself. The guy is chaos. He goes looking for trouble and finds it.” I folded my arms over my chest. “I’m done with him. He just needs to be done with me.”

“He was just a kid, though,” Sadie said with doubt. “That was a long time ago.”

I shook my head adamantly. “No. He knew better, and I know better. Finn will get bored the way he did before.” The way Cole did. My heart twisted at the lingering rejection.

This was safer. Falling for Finn again… When he inevitably left again, I’d be right where I started. Devastated.

On the table, Sadie smoothed out the list we had brainstormed, ways to turn Finn off and bore him to death.

“Okay,” Sadie said, a coy smile curving onto her mouth. “Let’s convince Finn to dump you.”

“Let’s do a cheers.” Avery lifted her glass and we followed.

I sat up straight, strength coursing through my veins with the power of my friends behind me. For the first time in a long time, I had a plan.

“Fuck you, Finn Rhodes,” I said.

“Fuck you, Finn Rhodes,” they chorused and we clinked glasses.


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