Coffee, Tea? Or me?

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Part III

III

The kiss was gentle at first, almost tentative as if James was gauging her reaction. But Lucy hadn’t pulled away, she had received the kiss and leaned into it. Her lips parted and welcomed his and then the kiss became deeper and passionate.

James pulled back with his eyes still locked on hers and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. To his surprise, Lucy leaned forward and gave him another gentle kiss.
They both smiled at each other and went back to the movie.

“I had a great time,” said James as they walked towards the exit of the movie theatre.
“I bet you did,” replied Lucy with a chuckle.
They stopped right before the entrance door and looked at each other in silence for a moment.
James shoved his hands in his pocket searching for the right words.
“So, you think there is going to be a third date?”
Lucy nodded “Don’t see why not...”
“I’ll be in New York for three days from tomorrow. When’s your next trip?”
Lucy laughed dryly “On Saturday. I’ll be in Dubai for four days...”
“So not a chance before next week.”
Observed James with disappointment.
Lucy thought for a second the tentatively said
“What time is your flight tomorrow?”
“Ten thirty tomorrow morning”.
“Well, it’s only six. Maybe we could spend some more time together now?”
“I like the sound of it. What do you want to do?”
Lucy looked around the now busier street, she seemed to ponder a few ideas and dismiss some others.
“Don’t take this the wrong way but, I live ten minutes from here, maybe you can come up for a drink? I could really use someone drinking those beers!“.
James smiled and licked his lower lip, a gesture she had noticed him doing a lot and she had to admit she loved.
“I could never take that the wrong way...I’d be honoured to drink your beers”.
Lucy called an Uber and they were on their way.

Lucy was in turmoil. She couldn’t say she hadn’t seen the kiss coming, but when it happened it still took her by surprise. She was also shocked that he had done that in a public place. The kiss had been quite impressive nonetheless.
She now found herself looking at him with the corner of the eye. She was starting to notice smaller things about him, little gestures that she found adorable. And his smile. She remembered her colleagues talking about it on the plane and, at first, she didn’t really pay attention to it, almost dismissed it. But now it was starting to grow on her: it was the perfect balance between shy, cheeky and extremely sexy.
The car stopped in front of the same red brick building that James recognized from a few days before.
They entered a marble reception where an alert porter greeted Lucy as he recognized her, lingering his gaze on James with obvious suspicion. Lucy reciprocated his greeting with a smile.
“He’s quite protective towards the girls who live alone in the building,” she said once they were in the lift. “Don’t take it personally, he’s just never seen you before here and won’t recognize you as one of the people who usually come to my place”.
“And you have many...people- he said clearing his throat-who visit you?”
Lucy smiled an enigmatic side smile.
They got out of the lift on the seventh floor and walked to her door,
“Before we get in I need to warn you, I wasn’t expecting guests so the place it’s quite a mess. I apologize”.
“Don’t need to, I’ll pretend to ignore all items of dubious use,” he replied with a cheeky smile.
Lucy rolled her eyes and opened the door
“This is me”.
The studio was bigger than James expected and very bright, still inundated with the evening light from the big windows. A narrow foyer gave way to a short hallway with a door on the right, where a bathroom was. On the left, a modern kitchen with an island counter overlooked the living area, where a big sofa, a desk with a round mirror and a big TV occupied most of the space. In the far corner was a spiral staircase that took to a mezzanine over the kitchen where the bed and a closet were. On the walls posters of aeroplanes and city maps, framed photographs of Lucy in her uniform and boards with photos of her and her friends and family pinned with no apparent order. Next to the sofa, a bar trolley with tens of big and miniature spirits bottles and a vinyl player gave a vintage look to an otherwise modern studio.
“I’d give you a tour but you can see everything from where you’re standing,” said Lucy as James was looking around the place. “It’s probably as big as your laundry room but for me, it’s more than enough”.
“I think it’s really cute. And I hate to disappoint you but I only live in a flat. Two bedrooms to be fair, but still...none of that Hollywood hills bullshit. Maybe one day I’ll show you...”
Lucy looked at him with a mischievous smile.
“Have a seat, I’ll get you a drink” she walked to the fridge “I have Desperados or... Heineken, apparently”.
“I’ll get the Heineken. Will leave the Desperados to the ladies,” he said sitting on the sofa.
“Lucy walked to him and gave him the ice-cold can and put her bottle on the table.
“Give me a minute OK? I’m gonna tidy up very quickly”.
She removed her shoes and her hairband and pull her hair up in an attempt at a messy bun, her shorter strands falling in curly locks. She zipped a suitcase that lay open on the floor and hung her uniform bits in a hidden closet in the hallway then took a seat on the sofa next to James.
“Cheers!” he said clicking his can against her glass bottle.
Lucy cleared her throat then begun.
“I’ve been meaning to apologize for the way I came across when we met last time”.
James gave her a quizzical look.
She continued “I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable when I asked you why we were on a date, I was just...This is all very different for me. And quite surreal to be honest. There is so much going on in my life as it is and this is truly unexpected and I have no idea how to deal with it.”
James took a sip of his beer “You don’t have to apologize, I can see where you’re coming from. Celebrities- he quoted with his fingers- that think they can have whatever and whomever they want. Well with all honesty this is not it. It’s not me. In truth, I have no idea what I’m doing either”. He sighed deeply, looking for the right words, then continued. “I’m a very private person Lucy, I don’t usually go on dates with random girls I meet out and about. Unfortunately, this-he gestured between her and himself- can come with some risks, and it’s all very new to me too. When the bank called me and told me you had found my card I knew I had to thank you for saving my ass. I’m not gonna lie, I thought you were really cute and interesting when we talked on the plane so yes, I used that as an excuse to look you up, and so far I’m glad I did”.
Lucy looked at him for a while, trying to decide whether to trust him or not.
She took a deep breath “Well, I’m glad we got out the way the fact that we’re both crawling in the dark”.
They both laughed shyly.
“I don’t know about you but I’m starving, would you like to share a pizza with me?” she asked with renewed excitement.
“I don’t think anyone has ever refused pizza” he replied.
Lucy ordered the pizzas on her phone and put on some music; she sat crossed legged next to James again and before she could change her mind she kissed him. This time there was no tentative approach, but passion from the start.
James grabbed her head to hold her closer to him, her hands in his hair. She pulled back for a second biting his lip, which made him close his eyes with pleasure. He pulled her close again and deepened the kiss, his hand now moving slowly on her back and caressing her hips. She pulled herself up on her knees to get even closer, their breaths short.
Then her phone rang. She ignored it the first time, reluctant to untangle from James’ grip and his lips; when it rang for a second time she pulled back, apologized and answered the call.
James sighed deeply trying to get his breathing and blood flow back to normal.

There was something electric about that girl, about her touch and the effect she had on him. She could see her in the kitchen fiddling with some used cups around the sink. She turned to him with an apologetic look gesturing that she’d be back in a moment. He could hear her name flights numbers and talk about some kind of malfunctioning.

She came back into the living room around twenty minutes later “Sorry, work was trying to get hold of me about an issue with a passenger,” she said apologetically.
As she said that the bell rang
“Pizza!” she exclaimed with relief.
They ate watching Friends and chatting about their favourite episodes, their upcoming trips, the weather and many other light subjects. They simply enjoyed each other’s company and made each other laugh.
“Oh shit,” James said suddenly checking his watch. “It’s one already! I really have to go...”
Lucy nodded “Shoot, time flew! I’ll walk you to the door, in case you get lost,” she joked.
“Can’t wait for next week already”. Said James as they reached the door, and leaned forward to kiss her again.
Lucy smiled without taking her eyes off him as he moved back.
“Me neither...” and she kissed him again, more passionately.
“You better go now...” she said breathlessly as she pulled back for a second before kissing him once more.
“You have to stop kissing me like this” he whispered in a hoarse voice, eyes filled with passion, and leaned forward for one more kiss. He gently pushed her against the wall and grabbed her head, pulling her so tight against him that there was no distance between them.
The kiss was long, steamy and passionate until Lucy gently pushed him away.
“I’ll see you next week”. She said with a mischievous smile, biting her lip.
James moved away reluctantly and grabbed the door handle
“I’ll see you next week”.
And he was gone.

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