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"Not For Public Circulation"

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Unruly dark curls cascade down the girl’s forehead, the latter creased with concentration as she peers at the text in front of her. Eventually, she looks up and expresses her dissatisfaction by sucking intently on her lollipop.

‘This is shit,’ she declares, through a mouthful of artificially flavoured cherry.

Sighing, her mother takes up the sheets of paper, all criss-crossed by a myriad of amendments and fluorescent yellow highlights.

Her father crows, dislodging his glasses in excitement: ‘See? I told you, Liz.’

‘No, the press release is good,’ says Sinead, with a smile at her mother. The blue eyes which settle on Finn are far more critical. ‘This lollipop, not so much. I can’t believe you actually like these.’

Her father looks distinctly crestfallen. Their doorbell rings.

‘Cheer up, Finn. You can’t win at everything,’ says Liz, giving him a nudge as their ten-year-old daughter goes to answer the door.

‘At least Sunny likes Star Wars,’ he mutters.

‘That’s like saying everyone drinks water. We all do.’

Finn begins to slide on his glasses, behind which are suspiciously damp eyes. Liz grasps his wrist, delighting at how his breath catches in his throat. It might be years since their first electric touch, but it never gets old. She hopes it never does.

She studies his face, her own blue gaze contemplative. ‘I like them, though.’

‘Lollipops?’

‘Well, yeah, them and your greying temples, whatever I might have said the other day.’ Knowing how touchy he can get when reminded of their age gap, especially with every passing year, Liz can see this cheers him up considerably. He leans over.

‘Glasses off,’ she commands, placing a hand against his chest.

‘Don’t tell me you hate them, too,’ he groans, breath warm against her lips. She shakes her head and ruffles his hair.

‘No, they’ll only get in the way,’ she says, whipping them off, and closing the yawning few inches between them.