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"Not For Public Circulation"

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‘Don’t you have anything to eat here?’ asks Finn, peering into her mostly empty fridge. It isn’t the first time he’s been in her flat, but it is the first time he’s staying over.

Liz, perched upon the couch, looks up from her laptop screen.

‘I could order some pizza,’ she offers, already reaching for her phone.

He whips around and she half-expects him to be scowling at her, possibly throwing a snide remark about a lack of hospitality. Instead, he seems to be…frowning.

‘You’ve got this kitchen and you don’t use it apart from treating it like an extension of your office?’ he asks. ‘Jesus, are those notes on Metwork?’ She sees him grimacing at the pieces of notepaper taped above the sink and if she did have any regrets putting them there, she certainly doesn’t have any now.

‘If you don’t like them, the door’s that way,’ says Liz, looking back down. It’s meant to be a joke. Or at least she thinks it is until she hears the sound of her front door being opened and slammed shut.

‘Finn?’ she calls, confused, and feeling vaguely (very vaguely, mind) upset. Putting her laptop aside, she goes to the door and opens it, wondering if he’s still in the corridor. He isn’t.

A quarter of an hour goes by and she’s on the verge of calling him (she doesn’t know why but feels like she should) when the doorbell rings. It’s Finn with two bags of groceries. The scene is revoltingly domestic.

Too surprised to say anything, she lets him back in without a word. Dumping the bags on the dining table, Finn catches her staring at him.


‘Nothing.’ She pauses. ‘For a moment there, I thought you’d gone. You know, back home.’ Damn it, did she hear a faintly accusatory tone in her voice just now? Shit.

‘I actually might, if you keep staring at me like that.’

Their eyes fall upon the bags sitting between them. Feeling that they’ve reached the heights of awkwardness, Finn starts unpacking one bag while Liz unpacks the other. She’s not sure what she was expecting…maybe some microwavable lasagne or a deep-frozen Shepherd’s Pie. What she didn’t expect was a whole load of fish, meat, fruit and veg, along with rice and pasta.

‘Didn’t know whether you had any allergies so…’ begins Finn.

‘So you emptied the entire supermarket.’

‘If you want to look at it that way. Any preferences?’

‘Wait, are you cooking me something?’ she asks, narrowing her eyes. ‘Is this a date?’

He bristles instantly. ‘Don’t flatter yourself, Liz. FYI, I’m fucking starving and couldn’t give a shit about your preferences. You could eat gravel for all I care.’

She smirks. ‘You would’ve sounded convincing if you didn’t just ask me about them. Tough luck, Finn.’

He half-heartedly flips her the bird, half-heartedly because he’s already turned his attention to her stove and figuring out the controls. Initially tempted to just watch him, Liz gives up once she sees him measuring liquids at eye level. She doesn’t let him get near the chopping board lest he attempts to chop vegetables into identical shapes and sizes.

In the end, Finn descales and grills the salmon he’s bought while she prepares a salad to go with it. Curious, she has a taste. It’s better than expected. Finn moves behind her, pepper mill in hand, and subconsciously she shoves the salad-laden fork in front of his mouth. They’re both startled when he accepts it without question, Finn only freezing mid-chew when he realises what he’s just done.

Hastily gulping it down, he makes a sound of indistinct approval and returns to seasoning the fish. Neither of them notice that he’s already done so.