I scanned the faces in the crowd over and over. The man two seats to my right was talking loudly on his cell phone. I wanted to tell him to shut up so I could think. I needed a back-up plan. Couples in front of me were hugging, one person asking the other, "How was your flight? It's so good to see you!" I wanted to break through them Red Rover style.
I pulled my laptop out again and decided paying for Wi Fi was worth my sanity. As my MacBook Air was booting up, I scanned the crowd one more time.
My heart skipped a beat. I saw him.
I recognized the navy blue sweater jacket first. Then his big, brown eyes, searching the faces while he weaved through the crowd.
I let out a sigh of relief and tried to erase the images of train wrecks and terrorists attacks. He was here. He was safe.
He caught my eyes. My world started to make sense again. My stomach flip flopped the second our eyes made contact. Would it always be like that? In case it wouldn't, I savored the feeling. Savored the rush of goosebumps that spread across my arms, the shiver that went down my spine.
I closed my laptop and tucked it back into my carry on bag. And I waited for him to make his way to me.
I stood as he approached.
"Your airport still sucks," I said, echoing the first words I said to him last time he picked me up from Heathrow.
"Hey, at least I recognized you this time," he said, grabbing my face and planting a big kiss on my lips. I grabbed his hips, feeling the top of his V-lines with my thumbs. Anytime I touched those I wanted him naked. My heart beat faster when he kissed me, but the rest of the world slowed down.
If we were in a movie, it would have been one of those kisses where the camera would do a 360-degree close up and our outline would have been backlit. One swirling silhouette of hands and hips and lips and tongues. Passersby would still move in real-time motion while we spun slowly, some of them glancing our way.
Our lips pulled away from each other and the real world swirled back in. The man to my right was still talking loudly on his phone. I smiled, guessing he was talking excitedly to his loving wife on the other end. People in the crowd were still meeting and greeting the weary travelers making their debut on the "red carpet."
"Your flight came in 45 minutes early! And the trains aren't running, so I had to transfer at Paddington."
My flight came in early? I had no idea what time it was or what time I was supposed to land. I was off in La La Land where time stood still. And Paddington? Wasn't that a bear?"
"No worries. I was just chillin," I lied. No need to admit that I'd been four seconds away from calling 9-1-1 only to find out that wasn't the emergency phone number in London. It was probably 0-1-1-4-something-something-something. I made a mental note to look that up later.
He grabbed my rolling bag, I shouldered my carry on, and we walked hand in hand to the train. Once on the train, I looked at our reflection again. Just like I had 8 months ago. His arm pulled me in close. I drew figure 8s on his thigh with my pointer finger. His hair was shorter than the first time I met him here, and my hair was less tame. But we were still just right, each other's match.
"This time tomorrow, we'll be in Rome," he said, twirling a lock of my hair between two fingers. "Can you believe that?"
"I can't even believe I'm in London, so let me get used to that first."
He kissed my forehead and I leaned against his chest, listening to his heart beat. He smelled like Abercrombie Fierce and I wanted to climb inside.
I fought the urge to fall asleep. He caught me in the reflection.
"Did you get much sleep on the plane?" he asked, already knowing the answer.
"Not a wink. but I did read that book Phil told me to read, Four Seasons in Rome."
"Oh, yeah? What did you think?"
"Well, we have to find this hill. We have to climb to the top of this hill. It starts with a J. We have to find a palace. You can see all of Rome from the top of the hill."
He rubbed the back of my neck with his thumb. It had the same effect as the sleeper hold.
"We'll find the hill. But for now, let's just get you in bed."
I wasn't sure if he meant that in a sexual way or a napping way, but it didn't matter.
Two train transfers and a short walk later, we were sprawled out on his bed on our backs, looking up at the ceiling. His window was open and a cool breeze blew across us. Sounds of nearby construction and people talking different languages filtered in. I dozed off to sleep cradled in his arms.
I woke up to the sound of my own snoring and Cayden laughing at me.
I buried my face in his shirt to hide my blushing cheeks and laughed along with him.
"That didn't even sound real!" he laughed. "It sounded like a soundtrack or something! Something from the movies."
I pressed my lips against his to shut him up. I ran my hands under his shirt and found those V lines with my thumbs again. Within seconds I was straddling him. I yanked his shirt over his head and held his arms down while I kissed him.
I'd teach him to laugh at me again.