It’s the last day of a policing conference in the Netherlands and all participants are being given a tour of the Dutch countryside for some unknown reason. The storm which strikes in the late afternoon takes everyone by surprise. The weather forecast had been optimistic and on the basis of that, they had left their umbrellas back at the hotel. Worse still, Liz and Finn find themselves alone in the middle of an open field, having been separated from the others because they had been too engrossed in arguing…whatever the hell they were arguing about. It doesn’t seem to matter much now because it’s currently pouring by the bucketload and Liz swears that she’s seen a flash of lightning in the distance.
‘I think we passed a windmill a mile or so back.’
Finn rolls his eyes, which is pretty impressive seeing that water is dripping into them from his soaked hair.
‘It’s raining, we’re in the middle of a tulip field, and now we’re searching for a fucking windmill. Welcome to Holland.’
‘Stop complaining and start moving.’ Finn grumbles but falls into step beside her. The great thing about windmills is that they’re excellent landmarks and they locate it without difficulty.
‘Don’t tell me it’s locked,’ says Liz, when they get to the door.
‘How’s your Dutch?’ asks Finn as he lays his hand upon the handle. ‘I’m asking because we may have to explain why we’re launching an Anglo-American invasion of somebody’s windmill.’
‘At least 90 per cent of the population are able to speak English.’ Finn stares at her. ‘Or so I’ve read.’
‘So your unilingual brain shouldn’t have to worry too much about it.’
Finn swears at her in Gaelic and she grins. Fortunately, the door isn’t locked and he holds it open, letting her go first.
It isn’t much warmer inside, but at least it’s dry. Apart from the odd grain sack or crate here and there, they’re completely alone. Finn takes out his phone and tries dialling one of their colleagues but isn’t able to get a signal. When he turns around, Liz is taking off her shirt.
‘What the fuck are you doing?’ he splutters, too shocked to even be remotely turned on at the sight of her stripping down to her underwear. She tosses something large and woolly in his direction; it’s an old blanket which she’s presumably found lying around.
She looks at him pointedly. ‘Much as I appreciate the unusual sight of you in jeans, Finn, I think you’ll be better off without them. And I mean that in a totally non-sexual way. Blanket, please.’
He passes it back to her and quickly undresses. He sits beside her on the floor and Liz throws his side of the blanket over his shoulders. They don’t touch.
‘This is…weird,’ admits Finn.
‘I know, we’re both on the floor and we’re not fucking each other into it for once.’
Finn swallows nervously. ‘Would shagging you make things less weird?’
Liz fixes him with a long, contemplative look which is quite a feat because his face is only inches away from hers. She takes in his wet hair, slivers of grey made more noticeable because the rain has made his dark locks even darker. A five o’clock shadow is making its appearance and the scar upon his left eyebrow is more apparent than usual (she guesses she’ll end up asking him about it at some point). She can always expect Finn to draw out the most primordial instincts in her, whether it be lust or rage, but at this moment, sex is the furthest thing from her mind. Instead, the mere sight of him is making her feel things she can’t explain…which is, being the PR director she is, slightly terrifying.
He’s right. This is so fucking weird.
So she goes ‘fuck it’ in her brain and sidles up close to him, loops her arm through his and rests her head upon his shoulder. Finn doesn’t protest and pulls the blanket even tighter around them.
‘Welcome to Holland,’ murmurs Liz against his neck. Finn bites back a small smile, without success.