Although my feet were throbbing from the lengthy walk from the Marconi subway stop, Hotel Area was worth it. We stepped inside the hotel's lobby and the plush gray carpet felt like clouds through my triple-layered socks and deteriorating shoe soles. I felt like I was walking into a 5-star day spa. I was half tempted to strip off all my clothes and ask where the steamroom was.
Cayden got us checked in while I sprawled out on the couch with a pair of scissors to custom-cut the foam shoe inserts I'd bought at Stansted airport along with herbal sleeping pills and dissolvable pain relievers. I was determined to finish out my trip pain-free and well-rested.
We took the elevator up to the third floor and walked toward room 307. The second we walked in the door I let Cayden's backpack drop to the ground and I flopped down on the queen-size bed. My whole body tingled as it started to relax one muscle at a time. The room was spacious and elegant. Not at all what I was expecting for the low-price Cayden's had found online. Full-sized closets were disguised as walls and the headboard stretched from floor to ceiling.
"So, how do you feel about a quick nap before we go exploring?" I asked, hoping Cayden was feeling the same tug at his eyelids I was trying to fight off.
"You're not going to believe this," I heard Cayden answer from the bathroom. That's not usually something you want to hear from your boyfriend when he's behind the bathroom doors. "But this shower is smaller than mine."
I sat up with a look of disbelief. I pulled off my constricting boots and limped to the bathroom. He was right. It was at least one-third smaller than Cayden's stand-up coffin shower. So much for shaving my legs ever.
"It's not about the size..." I said, letting the suggestive words dance around Cayden's head. "It's about the temperature. Is there hot water?"
There was. Praise the Roman Gods, we had hot water.
"So, how about that nap?" I said, pulling Cayden toward the bed. He followed without hesitation.
We pulled off our clothes and slipped under the covers. Cayden opened his left arm and I crawled into my usual spot, resting my cheek against his chest.
"Just a quick nap," I said, my words heavy with sleep. "And then a shower. A hot shower."
I dozed off quickly to the sound of Cayden's heartbeat.
I woke up about an hour later, fully refreshed and every ounce of my body was screaming for sex. It was like all of a sudden I snapped out of my sleep deprivation and realized it was Valentines Day and I was in Rome with the love of my life. The whole idea of it turned me on. By the sound of his shallow breathing I could tell he was awake. I licked my lips to gauge whether or not I'd drooled on him.
Then I licked his chest and ran my fingernails up his side, making him squirm. He grabbed my wrists, trying to keep me from tickling him. The strength of his grasp around my wrist turned me on even more. I wanted him to pin me down and straddle me.
"Well, it looks like someone is awake," he said, looking down at me.
"Who?" I asked, tickling his thigh with my awkward arm that was trapped between us.
He squirmed again and tried to free his other arm from underneath my neck. Within seconds I had him right where I wanted him: on top.
He had me pinned. My thighs shook underneath him with excitement and anticipation. I tried to fight him off to humor him, but I knew he could pin me with one hand. Which meant he could pleasure me with the other.
After not one, not two, but three umm, what should I call them? Precious moments. Yes, after three "precious moments" and a hot shower, Cayden and I were back on the subway headed north.
"Baby," he said, his lips millimeters from my ear. "We're in Rome." Goosebumps spread across my neck and down my back and arms. I tried to brush it off. I would not let him get me all riled up on a train full of Romans. Although, that would be a fun answer to "Where's the craziest place you've ever had sex." "Oh, a packed train in Rome. No big deal."
I playfully punched him in the stomach to scoot him away. It was the third time we'd said, "We're in Rome," and it still hadn't sunken in. That is, until I stepped out of the subway station and saw this:
And it really sunk in when we walked through those arches and saw this:
I was in awe. We were in the Piazza del Popolo, a large urban square which used play host to public executions. The tall Egyptian Obelisk was the centerpoint of the square. The twin churches behind it are Santa Maria in Montesanto and Santa Maria dei Miracoli.
"It's beautiful," I whispered, not even sure if Cayden could hear me considering the number of people milling about around us.
I looked over at him and watched him as he took it all in. His eyes studied the Obelisk, the church domes, the detailed stone fountain to our left. I knew only one question was front and center in his mind. "How the hell did they build that back then?"
I squeezed his hand and he looked over at me. "It really is beautiful."
"THIS is what I thought Rome would look like," I said, gesturing all around me with the swoop of my free arm.
"And look," Cayden said, pointing down toward our feet. "Cobblestone."
I smiled up at him. We definitely were in Rome.