Home > life, writing > A Time To Fly (23)

A Time To Fly (23)

At seven o’clock exactly, Belinda stepped off the elevator and strode into the hotel lobby.  Geoffrey Sarron was already there, sitting in an easy chair, watching the elevator.  The instant Belinda stepped out through the door, Geoffrey jumped to his feet and hurried to greet her.  He took her hand and led her through the lobby and out the front door.  A Mercedes Benz limousine was waiting, the liveried driver at its side.  The driver doffed his hat and opened the back door of the long, black car.  Belinda slid across the rear seat and Geoffrey joined her.

Without a word spoken to the driver, he pulled the large car away from the curb and down the long alley.  In the back seat, Geoffrey opened a mahogany compartment that revealed a bottle of Crystal Champagne and two champagne flutes.  He poured a glassful and handed it to Belinda.  He poured his own glassful and lifted his glass to Belinda.

          “To a most beautiful, most exciting, most intelligent woman,” he said.

          “Thank you,” Belinda smiled and clinked her glass on his before they both sipped their drink.

          “And here’s to a great evening, a safe night, and a safe flight home tomorrow,” she said, holding her glass aloft again.

          “For both of us,” Geoffrey said, and clinked her glass.  “If you’ll tell me your flight, I’d like to book the same one.  We might as well return together, if you don’t mind.”

          “I don’t mind,” she said.  She sipped her champagne and smiled at Geoffrey with her eyes over the rim of the glass.  The Mercedes drove down a narrow alley until they emerged into an ancient square enclosed by ancient stucco buildings.  The driver stopped in front of a small restaurant called ‘La Picolino’.  Belinda and Geoffrey went into the restaurant.  They walked into a candle-lit room with small tables around the perimeter.  Every table had two people, speaking quietly and intimately together over a typical red-and-white chequered tablecloth, a candle, a wine bottle, and two glasses.

An elderly waiter in a long white apron showed them to the only empty table, at the back.  They walked across the open area in the middle of the small room, and Belinda realised it was a dance floor.  They chatted amiably while they waited for Belinda’s veal Marsala and Geoffrey’s Fettuccini Alfredo.  The white Italian wine that Geoffrey ordered was perfect with the delicious food.  They enjoyed the meal immensely, and they both had lemon ice cream for dessert.

A trio entered, set up, and began to play gentle dance music.  Geoffrey stood and offered his hand to Belinda.  In one smooth motion, he drew Belinda into his arms and danced her onto the floor.  They moved slowly around the dance floor to the gentle sound of the music and clung to each other in the soft, shadowy light cast by the surrounding candles.

Belinda and Geoffrey arrived back at their hotel as the sun was rising.  Tired and happy, they agreed to go to their own rooms to pack and rest for their departure.  There was no rush to intimacy.  The extended anticipation was deliciously titillating.  Geoffrey arranged for them to fly together in first class. They would be together for many hours… and for many years to follow.


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