Return to Rome

The last time he had seen her had been almost a year ago, she had been leaning against the beer pumps at the bar of “The Public House” in a back street of Rome. She had been watching him as he stepped out of the door and into the dark of a November night in the eternal city.

It had been a night to remember, for all the right reasons, good company, good drink and good music.

Gordon had found the bar, quite by chance as he ventured through the back streets of the city, trying to avoid the tourist traps and discover what really made the city tick. After his first drink that afternoon he had decided that he had to introduce Neil to the bar that evening. They were both in the city on business, Neil was still stuck in meetings but had declared his intent to make the most of their last night in the city before their flight the following day.

The counterpoint of the evening had come near the end, the crowd that had filled the rooms of the bar to enjoy to the ‘open mic’ night had thinned out, some heading home to bed, others heading for other pubs and clubs in the metropolis.

Gordon was returning from the toilets that were tucked away at the back of the bar when she stepped in front of him.

Gordon, thought she was out collecting glasses, but as her hand touched his chest to stop him he had realised that she had ulterior motives.

A few inches shorter than Gordon, she had looked up, locking his eyes to hers, so that he almost felt as if he was diving into their dark depths, time seemed to slow as the warmth of her hand on his chest spread through the material of his shirt.

“Hi” he said, a slight smile on his lips, not quite sure where the moment was leading.

“Ciao” she grinned back, sliding her hand up his chest and behind his neck, her other hand reached for his hip to support herself as she pulled his head down to hers.

Gordons hands moved to her hips to support her as she stood on tiptoes, their eyes still locked until their lips met.

The sweetness of the cocktail she had been sipping lingered on her soft lips, mixing with the woodiness of the Whisky that Gordon had been drinking.

Time now seemed to accelerate and the moment was over in a flash, she had dropped down, given him a cheeky wink and was off collecting glasses again.

“What’s wrong with you?” Neil had asked when Gordon returned to the bar.

Gordon had felt lightheaded with euphoria, had the kiss actually happened? Was his imagination and the Whisky playing tricks on him?

“Oh, umm… nothing” he lied, but his cheeks had flushed as they always did when he was was trying to keep a secret.

Neil gave him a funny look, but left it at that.

It had seemed like only minutes before Neil had nudged him and suggested that it was time they hit the road back the hotel .

The euphoria had vanished in that moment his heart sinking as he realised that he did not know when he might return to the city, and if he would ever find out if there would be a second kiss.

So they had stepped out into the night, Gordon casting a final glance back as he went down the steps to the street, framing the image of her leaning against the pumps watching him go.

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