Having put thoughts of reconciliation behind her, Saige had decided to move on. She was tired of Ben’s immaturity, his inability to cope and blatant disbelief in her. He wasn’t worth the time and trouble it would take to get him back and she wasn’t sure she wanted him anymore. Brodie and Stan were out of reach, but not Romy. With his boyish good looks and killer body, she found resistance was futile.
“What are you thinking?”
He frowned slightly, focusing on her eyes. Did he dare to hope? He saw a decision there that hadn’t been there thirty minutes ago. If he was right, it involved him.
“I’ll tell you later,” she promised with a secretive half-smile.
“I’m holding you to that.”
He grinned as he turned down what looked like a narrow alley between hulking skyscrapers. Instead, it turned out to be a dead end street with a restaurant snuggled between the two buildings. Unprepossessing, it had an old world charm about it. It didn’t look like much on the outside, but the interior looked like an English pub. They were seated in a cozy booth near the bar. Romy ordered two pints of cider, setting one in front of her with a flourish.
“Cider. Try it. It’s not beer, I know you can’t stand that. I’m probably the only Englishman in the world who doesn’t like a pint of bitters. I prefer this. Take a sip.”
She held the mug dubiously, sniffing delicately before she took a tentative sip. The cold liquid stung the back of her throat, but felt so cool and comforting going down, she took a bigger sip. Her eyes registered her enthusiasm.
“This has become my favorite beverage! It’s incredible.”
“See? I knew you’d like it. I can drink my way through a keg of this and let the beer go. Careful how fast you drink it. You don’t feel the kick until you stand up.”
Their waitress was a petite Irish woman in her fifties. She took their orders and brought them each another pint of cider.
“Good stuff, that is,” she smiled. “Your first time here, is it? I know this young reprobate all too well. Lining up another bird for plucking, Rom?”
Romy looked somewhat embarrassed. “Viv, I promise that this lady is different from the other chippies I’ve had in the past.”
“Oh, so you want me to conceal the fact that you’re a naughty boy, eh?”
Romy chuckled, kissing her slightly wrinkled cheek. “You can tell her I’m naughty all you want. Just dress it up, make me sound mysterious and sexy.”
“Oh, I’m to lie to her then?” She giggled, pinching his cheek. “He’s a good lad. Takes care of his old gran, he does.”
“There’s a recommendation that makes me sound mysterious and sexy, right?”
“You don’t need to make me think you’re mysterious to be sexy,” Saige said without meaning to. The cider had relaxed her, making her defensive walls drop. “You do that just fine on your own without saying a word.”
Romy’s eyes widened. “Is that so? Fancy that. And here I thought I was some scrawny Englishman with an unnatural affinity for rugby.”
“What exactly is rugby? I’ve heard of it, but don’t understand the game at all.”
He spent the next few minutes trying to explain about rugby league vs. rugby union, several sets of rules and what a scrum was. She had no clear idea what he was describing. He was still trying to clarify when their food arrived.
“He’ll talk about that ruddy sport til hell freezes,” Vivian warned her. “At least he’s not going on about Cricket.”
“I don’t know jack about Cricket,” he told Saige. “Dumbest game on the face of the earth. The most pointless is golf. Only rugby is real sport, toss in the odd hockey game and it comes close to being a perfect world.”
“Add a pint or two of cider.”
“Closer. Make it a keg of cider and a beautiful woman, and the world is, without doubt, perfect.”
“Only if the beautiful woman is interested in you.”
Romy laughed suddenly, blushing slightly. “That goes without saying, right? Why would I want some other man’s woman?”
“So you can watch the game without distraction?”
“Fook the game. Better yet, fook the girl and let the game play on.”
“Watch your mouth, young man,” Vivian smacked him on the back of the head as she set their bill down. “His gran would have his hide hearing him talk like that.” She walked away, clearing dishes from another table.
“And where would I fit in this scenario?” Saige asked quietly.
“Where would you like to fit in?” He took her hands, gazing into her eyes.
“I think you’ve figured that out already.” She smiled, letting her feelings show.
“Oh, yes.” He gazed deeply in her eyes, liking what he saw. “Hold that thought, love. I’ve got to make a phone call. I promise I’ll be right back.”
“I’ll be here.”
He trotted out the front door, whipping out his phone. She heard a few words before the door closed behind him. “Oi, Chas. You lot clear out ….” The door swung shut, cutting off the rest of his words.
© 2012 Dellani Oakes