"Well, now that worked up quite an appetite," I said, panting next to him, letting the cool breeze from the window wash over my mostly naked body. Somehow my shirt was still on, the sleeves were off and it was resting down around my waist. The breeze gave me goosebumps as it danced along my burning hot, sweaty skin.
"Right?" Cayden laughed, rubbing his warm hand up and down my bare arm to combat the goosebumps. "How about we shower and then head to a pub down by the river for a few pints, and then later..." He looked at me, excitedly.
"Later what?" I asked. "Later what?"
I didn't like guessing games. He knew it.
"Later I'll take you to... Nandos!"
I fucking loved Nandos. He'd taken me there on my first trip to London and I couldn't stop talking about it. I remembered I had some kind of chicken pita (which they call pitta, pronounced pitt-uh) with pineapples and something spicy as hell in it. My mouth watered and burned at the thought of it.
My stomach growled a mean, disgruntled growl. I tried to remember the last time I ate. I remembered some kind of cold, sticky apple strudel type thing on the plane.
Even more pressing than my need to eat was my need to shower. I was pretty sure I smelled like stale airplane air and fresh sex. Unfortunately when Cayden said "Let's shower," he didn't mean both of us together. His shower was the size of a stand-up coffin, and I had yet to figure out how to shave my legs in there without opening the shower door. There was physically no way to fit both of us in there.
"After you," he said, gesturing toward the door. It was common knowledge that it took me longer to get ready than it took him. Men have it so lucky. They just shampoo, lather, and play with themselves, dry off, throw on a pair of jeans and a shirt and they're good to go.
He helped me roll off the bed and into a standing position. My legs shook from hips to toes as he steadied me. That's what I got for trying to stay on top.
Fully enclosed in his stand-up coffin/shower, I let the barely-there water-pressure slowly rinse away the past 14 hours. I closed my eyes and tilted my head back, letting the water sprinkle over my face. Behind my eyelids I saw flashbacks of naked skin, tongues, lips, white-knuckled hands encircling wrists, one image after the next like a sex montage on the big screen.
I smiled and shook my head, turning the water knob toward cold.
I banged my elbow on the wall as I washed my hair. I tried to picture Cayden's tall, muscular, frame trying to maneuver himself in the small space. Then I thought of him naked, with water dripping down his chest, his arms.
I turned the water colder and finished my shower as fast as possible.
I was nearly finished getting ready by the time Cayden came into his room, dripping wet from his shower, a white towel around his narrow waist. I looked away from him and back to my reflection in the mirror. I knew if I let my eyes linger any longer we'd have to take another shower.
"So, you're sure this converter adapter thingy won't fry my straightener, right?" I asked. I'd already lost one Chi Iron to the wrong adapter, and I wasn't about to lose another. Besides, half of the outfits I brought would look much better with straight hair.
"I promise," he said.
I took a deep breath and shoved my straightener plug into the boxy outlet adaptor.
"Promise promise?" I asked before hitting the On switch.
"Promise promise," he said.
I flipped the On switch and watched the LED display screen flash blue and then fade to black. I looked over at Cayden in a panic.
"Try again," he said, cautiously.
I turned it off and then back on. This time, no light. No power at all. I was fucked.
I didn't want Cayden to feel bad for the death of my second overly expensive straightener, so I brushed it off.
"No worries. God blessed me with naturally curly hair, so I'll embrace it," I said, trying to sound positive and confident. Mostly, I was concerned about the straightener's $130 price tag.
"I'm so sorry, baby! I swear I thought it would work!" I could tell he felt bad. Really bad.
"Dude, can it. Let's eat!" I said, hanging my head upside down and giving my hair a few scrunches. I slid one bobby pin in to keep the curly mess out of my eyes.
Our first stop of the night was Prospect of Whitby, which I promptly renamed the Prospect of Whitney. It was exactly what I imagined every English pub to be like: dim lights, dark hardwood floors and tables, more than a handful of beers on tap. Cayden wanted to take me there because it was one of the oldest pubs in London, dating back to the 1500s.
We snagged a wooden table near the window overlooking the water and ordered two pints, and an order of chips and onion rings. I held Cayden's hand across the table and gazed out the window, across the water, out into the grey, cloudy sky. And then something caught my eye. Something swaying in the wind in my peripheral.
"Ummm, is that a..." I started to ask.
"A noose," Cayden finished my sentence. "Yeah, they used to hang people here."
"Oh," I said, trying to sound causal. History was everywhere in London. Definitely something Texas lacked. No, not nooses, just history in general. I was sure Texas had nooses.
"You think this place has history?" Cayden asked. "Just wait until we get to Rome."