The evening had started so well. A bottle of red, some olives and barely any inappropriate chat or tactility in our much-frequented after-work wine bar. Then Speckled Lad and I made our way, well behaved and without arms round each other, to an equally frequently frequented trattoria for dinner. We chatted to a friendly older couple whilst we waited for a table, and took our time over food, wine and slight, but not outrageous, flirtation. All good.
We were clearly taking rather a lot of time, as merely halfway through orrechiette gamberoni, the older couple came over on their way out.
“You two are so just so lovely.” The woman patted me on the shoulder as they walked towards the door. “Do have a lovely, lovely life together.”
Knowing the extent to which the Lad and I actually talk about our relationship, I was all ready to smile and brush past the moment as if nothing had happened. And then SL did the unexpected - he acknowledged it.
“Well, we obviously look like a couple. Not the first time that’s happened.” He smiled at me.
I giggled nervously. “No, I suppose not.”
“I get it at home, too.” I looked at him. “‘Blonde rang’, ‘how’s Blonde?’ ‘so, when do we get to meet Blonde?’” He took a mouthful of pizza.
I looked at him, racking my brain and concluding that this is the closest SL and I have ever come to mutually admitting we might not be Just Good Friends.
Further into dinner, once he’d suggested we go to the coast for a weekend to meet his parents, there was a small foray into the subject of relationships, and how his next one was going to be “It.
Perhaps, then, it’s not really a surprise that when SL walked me to the tube and kissed me with such immense fervour and intensity, I could do nothing but melt into him, unable to think about anything other than the man whose hands pulled me so close to him that I could feel his heart. And perhaps not a surprise that once he’d conceded my lips, it was inevitable that we weren’t going home separately. But, for the first time, there was a brief discussion about going home together. There was no sign of the in vino veritas that’s categorised the other nights we’ve spent together as we calmly wondered aloud whether it was a good idea.
“Probably not.” I looked at him. He looked quizzically back at me. “But let’s face it - we’re going to do it anyway…”
SL smiled in that way he has that makes my world spin, and we made our way down the escalator, kissing all the while like a pair of luststruck teenagers.
The clarity leant an entirely different feel to the journey home; his caresses of my fingers more tender, the kisses more deliberate. It was also the first time that SL and I have found ourselves in the situation where ending up in bed together is a decision we’ve made, rather than a temptation we’ve failed to resist.
As I said: it started so well. And, if I'm honest, the rest of it was pretty hot, too. It's what comes next that concerns me.