It took some convincing on her part, but she finally cajoled Finn into dropping her by her own apartment before heading to his. "I need my car," she explained. "And my toothbrush."
As she exited the Jeep she tried to ignore the smoldering look in his eyes, knowing that her resolve was weak and that if she didn't leave then, she might not leave the car for a while.
It took her all of ten minutes to pack. Toothbrush, deodorant, a t-shirt: she threw it all haphazardly into a Nike gym bag. "Ugh, Margaret," she said to herself aloud as she threw a pair of underwear decorated with ladybugs and butterflies across the room. "Why you no have any sexy panties?!" Finally, after ten more minutes of labored searching, she found a plain pink cotton pair. Not the best, but not the worst either. She threw them in the bag.
The entire drive to Finn's apartment had Margaret practically buzzing with excitement. For the past few weeks their relationship had stayed strictly outside of the bedroom. For Pete's sake, they hadn't even slept together in a literal sense yet. Actually, all they'd really done so far was kiss, and while every kiss was amazing, it really did nothing but leave her wanting more.
Twenty minutes later, just as Margaret was pulling into Finn's apartment complex, she heard her phone ding as a text message came through. It lay on the dashboard and she glanced at it as it lit up.
Wanna grab dinner at Jubilee?
Margaret read the message three times before she actually processed what it said.
Matthews was asking her to dinner. And at a nice restaurant to boot. How strange.
Sorry, Matthews, she typed back quickly. Love to. But on a date of sorts.
Of what kind of "sorts" he definitely didn't need to know.
A date?! With who??
With none of your business!
His response was a single emoji with its tongue sticking out. Despite herself, Margaret chuckled.
She lingered in the car for a moment, replaying the conversation in her head. Jake Matthews asking her to a Saturday night dinner at a nice restaurant. Very odd. What's worse - it had a distinctive date-y feeling about it. Groaning inwardly, she tried to think of anything she'd ever done or said that might have given him the wrong idea. But the best she could come up with was that she occasionally cracked a smile at his dumb jokes. I'm moody and sarcastic 90% of the time, she mused. Then she chuckled. But maybe that's what gets him going?
She must have sat there thinking about it longer than she realized, because at that moment Finn poked his head out of the house. He had a peculiar expression on his face. "Are you coming in?"
"Oh, hell yes. Am I coming in?!" Margaret mumbled to herself as she grabbed her bag and pushed Jake's strange behavior to the far recesses of her mind.
Finn had been watching Margaret for almost five minutes. He'd heard her pull into the driveway ten minutes ago, but for the last five she'd been sitting in the car and staring down at her lap. And the only reason he could think of for why she might be lingering in the driveway was that she might be having second thoughts.
That's fine, he told himself, hardening up and bracing for the text he was surely to receive soon. He hoped she'd at least be creative with her excuse.
Right then she caught him staring. After that she had leaped out of the car as if it were on fire and ran up to his front door. "Here I am!" she said brightly in greeting.
"Here you are." He bent slightly to meet her halfway as she stood on her tiptoes to kiss him. Her lips were soft; her kiss, eager. As they pulled apart, he felt silly for having doubted her, but still unsettled by her hesitation. He needed a distraction from the myriad of feelings. He spotted her bag then. Her giant bag. Giving her a pointed look, he reached for it. "Toothbrush my ass."
Margaret shrugged and grinned.
As they walked into his apartment, Finn took a left towards head towards his bedroom. "There's fresh coffee in there," he told Margaret and pointed in the direction of the kitchen. "Help yourself."
She hesitated, and for a second Finn was afraid that she would insist on following him to his bedroom then. But then she shrugged and turned on her heel, leaving him alone to his own devices.
Finn rushed into his bedroom, sensing that although she'd played along for now, her nosy nature would prevail and soon she'd be back there with him. It was hard to begrudge that part of her; after all, he knew it was part of what made her such a good journalist--and she was a good journalist. He'd done some research of his own in past couple of months. Plus there was the fact that they were dating. It was natural for her to be curious about some things. But...he wasn't sure if he was ready to answer all the questions she was sure to have just yet.
So to avoid the questions, he'd have to hide the prompts.
He opened the door and gently sat her bag beside the bed. Then he surveyed the room, his gaze lingering on the right hand corner beside his bed. That was where his running prosthetic and forearm crutch were. The items were as necessary to him as food or air -- they literally were his legs -- but his relationship with them was as complicated as ever. Or, at least it was whenever a woman entered the picture.
Thinking back to a time almost a year ago, the last time he'd brought a girl home and they'd made it this far, he remembered how the prosthetic in the corner had made her turn white. She'd known he was an amputee from the beginning (it was pretty obvious, after all), but it must have not really sunk in until she'd seen the gear. It was probably a good thing she left before their clothes came off, he thought to himself as he bent down and quickly shoved them under the bed.
When he stood back up, Margaret was watching him from the doorway.
She watched as Finn shuffled from foot to foot, like a nervous little boy. She peered at him and watched in surprise as he quickly grabbed the forearm crutch and running prosthetic and shoved both of them under the bed.
His eyes widened in surprise as he spotted her in the doorway. Then they narrowed. A dark expression flashed across his face and darkened his handsome features, and just like had happened at the farmer's market earlier, she could see the shield going up. Shutting her out. Protecting himself from being hurt again.
"Out of sight, out of mind, right?"
The words sounded strained and falsely cheery; his smile looked forced. So, Margaret waited for a moment before answering, weighing her response carefully. She could think of a million and one things to say to assuage his fears -- you know, like the fact that she'd already told him that she thought the disability was sexy -- but instead of rehashing that long conversation, she tried a different tactic. "I don't mind it, Finn," she said simple.
"Pfft," he rolled his eyes. "Everybody minds it."
Everybody? She wondered who exactly "everybody" was. Finn seemed so cautious about everything that she had assumed she had been the first girl to make it this far since his injuries. But maybe that wasn't the case after all...Obviously he had some sort of hangup. They had to have come from somewhere. From someone.
Margaret tried to push the idea of other women out of her head, and gave him a pointed look. "But I don't mind," she gently reminded him.
Finn didn't say anything, but he still looked doubtful.
She thought back to the night that they'd first talked about the attraction, the part of herself that she found so unseemly, and she almost laughed. He had hangups? Like she was one to talk.
Margaret sighed. So far this night wasn't going at all like she'd hoped it would. Maybe there was still time to salvage it though. She walked over to him and wrapped her arms around his waist. He was tense, tightly coiled like a spring about to pop. She tilted her head back to look up at him and was surprised that his eyes looked sad. A thought occurred to her then. "Are you trying to push me away, Finn?"
Finn's eyebrows shot up in surprise. Margaret knew she'd hit the nail on the head and mentally fist pumped the air. After a moment, he gave her a dry smile. "You're just too good to be true."
He whispered the words softly, in a low husky voice that, for some reason, made her face flush, and the space between her legs suddenly grow warm. One look at Finn's face told her that he was feeling the same. With a small smile, she stood on her tiptoes and closed the short distance between them with a long, slow kiss. "I'm true. Or real. Or whatever," she told him, laughing as she jumbled the words.
Finn returned her smile and looked at her with an intense desire. Without saying another word, he slowly pushed her down onto the bed, kissing her as he followed.