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“So we’ve established that you’ve been stalking Finn since you were six.”
I shift in my seat and yank the sleeves of my sweater down to my fingertips. “I’m not sure anything I’ve done qualifies as stalking.”
He slides an incredulous glance my way.
“Fine.” I huff. “I’m not sure anything prior to the last year qualified as stalking.”
“Better answer,” he agrees. “So you’ve been following Finn’s life,” he says slowly, “in a friendly way, since you were a kid.”
“He’s my brother’s best friend,” I reply. “He was always just around. It’s not like I was Googling him in grade school.”
“Of course not,” he agrees. But I suspect by the tone of his voice that he does think I was Googling Finn long before I was old enough to walk home from the bus stop unattended.
“Then you enrolled at the university that Finn just happened to be teaching at.” He winks at me when he says this and it riles me up. “Thousands of higher education choices in this country, and you choose Penn.”
“It’s an Ivy League university, Sawyer,” I snap. “There are only eight of those.”
“Agreed. Well done.”
He pauses and I feel smug in my defense.
“Where else did you apply?”
“Um, who can remember?” I stall and wind a strand of hair around my fingers. “College applications were so long ago, right?”
He nods, quiet for a moment. “I applied to Brown, Cornell and Harvard. I was accepted to all three. I ended up at Harvard because they had the best rowing program.”
Damn. Of course he’s a rower. I have a bit of a thing for rowers. Sophomore year I dated two of them. Not at the same time or anything. But still, it was a good year.
“And as you pointed out, I’ve got a few years on you.”
“A decade.”
“It’s twelve years, if accuracy is important to you, Everly.”
It’s not. I’m just stalling and he knows it.
“So?” he prods.
I give up. I don’t know how, but this guy has had my number since the moment we met. “Just Penn,” I admit. Penn is the only place I applied. I drop the hair I’ve been twirling. “You wouldn’t believe what I went through to get in though. I worked my ass off.”
“I’m impressed.”
This statement surprises me. I look at his face. He’s sincere. “Why?” The question slips out of my mouth before I realize I’m speaking. Why should I care what he thinks? Yet I’m interested despite myself. And the rowing. Why did he have to mention the rowing? Now I’m checking him out. I can’t make out too much under his blazer. It’s a nice coat. A charcoal wool he’s wearing over a white button-down and dark jeans. But the blazer is well made. Fitted. Likely custom based on the quality and the small amount of information I’ve gathered on this man. But I can see enough to know he’s still in great shape under that jacket. Not that I care.
“I’m impressed at your tenacity. You set a goal and you achieved it.”
“My goal is Finn,” I remind him.
“Everly, we’ve already established that you haven’t been holding out exclusively for Professor Camden,” he says, his lip twitching. “Which tells me that while you envision him as the perfect man, you’ve kept your options open. It tells me that while you might have a vivid fantasy of the perfect happily ever after, you’re open”—he checks my response—“reluctantly, to being swept off your feet by someone other than Finn.”