"I take her hand and lead her upstairs."
For my second date with the Italian I invite her round to mine.
“I’ll get dinner!” I say, still reeling from my nocturnal encounter in her bathroom.
As I peruse the ‘Dine in for £10’ deal at Waitrose I feel paralysed by indecision. The pie looks delicious but it’s heavy and I don’t want her to feel bloated; mussels are sloppy fish bits masquerading as edible food; meatballs feel about as sexy and romantic as a colonic irrigation. Here! Have these balls of minced meat in brown slop! In the end I plump for ricotta and mushroom cannelloni even though I hate mushrooms but I’ve been sweating in the chilled foods aisle for half an hour and I still need to shave my legs.
Back at mine I flit jumpily back and forth, lighting candles, plumping cushions and bundling all my old newspapers, receipts and unpaid bills into drawers. I adjust the lights multiple times, checking my teeth for lipstick and chain smoking Marlboroughs. When the doorbell rings my palms are sweaty.
She looks beautiful but relaxed in her suede mini and boots and we chatter easily as I pour us a stiff gin and tonic. After dinner she curls up in the crook of the sofa and regales me with funny stories of her childhood.
The second bottle of wine loosens tongues and hands and soon we’re kissing, eager fingers finding soft skin and warm, yielding curves. I take her hand and lead her upstairs, shedding her clothing piece by piece and laying her down.
She comes but frustratingly my own orgasm still eludes me.
“I want to feel you come,” she whispers, and so I oblige, feeling guilty and utterly deflated as I fake for her pleasure.
Afterwards I sneak outside for a ciggie in the chilly night air. When I come back in, despite a liberal dousing of mouthwash and perfume, she sniffs suspiciously:
“Erm, did you just have cigarette?”
“Yeah, sorry I should have told you but…I didn’t,” I finish lamely.
“That’s okay,” she says crisply. “You’ll give up.”
I kiss her goodbye knowing I won’t. I don’t realise it then but it’s the last time I’ll see her, our messages dwindling and eventually fizzling out like a doused match: an anti-climax in more ways than one.
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