The Piazza was beautiful yet slightly eerie, almost like an abandoned amusement park. All of the attractions were there: Fontona dei Quattro, the church of Sant'Agnese in Agone, the statue of Pasquino, and various cafes with outdoor seating areas under fabric roofs; but the people weren't. Aside from a bow-tied waiter lighting a candle at one of the outdoor seating areas, it felt like Cayden and I were the only ones there.
Of course, we'd gotten such a great deal on flights and hotel because it wasn't exactly tourist season, so we shouldn't have been too surprised.
I closed my eyes and pictured what it would look like in the summer. I imagined a man sitting on the ledge of the fountain playing a saxophone, art vendors lined up selling paintings of Roman landmarks, various creepy flower vendors chasing down every man, woman, and child he passed. I pictured couples and families sitting in the outdoor patios—the couples sharing a bottle of wine and watching the flower vendors prey on tourists, the families doing the same, only sans the wine. I pictured couples posing in front of the fountain and holding a camera arm's width away to capture themselves and the scenery.
I stumbled on the cobblestone, and Cayden caught me.
"You OK?" he asked, holding in his laughter.
"I'm good," I said, feeling my heartbeat return to a normal pattern. I looked around and saw that we were all alone. The saxophonist disappeared. The posing couples disappeared. The wine-sipping diners disappeared. Even the omnipresent flower vendors disappeared, but I was OK with that.
"Ready to head back to the hotel to get ready for dinner?" Cayden asked.
I nodded my head enthusiastically. Truth was, I was ready to get back to the hotel to yank my boots off and let my feet de-wrinkle. I was ready to curl up under the covers with Cayden and let one thing lead to another. I was ready to have my mind blown and then collapse on my back, panting next to Cayden. I was ready to take turns in the stand-up coffin/shower, letting the water rinse the beaded sweat from our chests.
Was it possible that Cayden was thinking about food and I was thinking about sex? Or had he just said "dinner" to be a polite, proper little Brit?
The thought of sex added a little bounce to my step as we headed back toward the subway. I was half tempted to pull him into an alley and tell him to ravish me. We'd never tried stand-up sex before, nor had we ever had sex in an alley. Two birds, one stone, I thought to myself.
"Should we stop for a drink first?" Cayden asked, pointing toward a bar with a sign out front that said Old Bear. Apparently while I'd been scouting out sex alleys, Cayden had been plotting our next beer stop.
I was a little parched, and a good buzz would make the sex even more fun.
"Sure thing," I said, letting him lead me toward the door.
As soon as we stepped through the door it felt like we'd left Rome and teleported to a log cabin in the mountains of Colorado. Everything was dark wood. The dim lighting gave off the impression that there was an open fire in every corner, but there wasn't. The warmth hit my cheeks and sent a tingle down my neck.
We were the only ones there.
"Are you open?" I asked the brunette woman, standing on the other side of the bar.
"Yes," she said, then gestured to all of the open tables, and said, "Sit."
We chose a table off to the right, near a winding staircase.
"This place is amazing," Cayden said to me, then looked to the bartender and said, "Do you mind if we look around?"
The woman nodded her head but I could tell she wasn't quite sure what we were saying. Cayden went up the staircase to the left and I went down the hall to the right. I let my fingers trail along the stained wooden walls as I walked. I came to another staircase and made my way up.
"How cool is this place?" Cayden asked, his eyes lit up in wonder.
"Are you sure we're in Italy? I feel like I'm in an episode of the Twilight Zone." I walked toward the balcony and took out my camera. Cayden snuck up behind me and kissed my neck. Thoughts of hot, steamy sex made their way to the forefront of my mind once again.
Cayden pulled me back downstairs before I could inquire about a quicky upstairs. He ordered two beers, and the woman brought them out to us in tall, white mugs that were bigger on the bottom than they were on top. (I'm sure there's a name for those types of mugs, but I have no idea what it is).
Cayden held his mug up and said, "To a good day and an even better night."
I clinked my mug against his and thought Oh, you have no idea.