Here is the next instalment of False Start. I haven’t put anything on here in the last few days as I have done a few re-writes.
Once Ben and Lucy had returned from Rome everything had changed. Over three days the spark had diminished and on the flight back they barely spoke. Neither of them could explain why but Lucy was sure it had started as soon as they walked into their hotel room.
When they arrived it didn’t exactly match the description on the website. ‘Boutique chic’ was seedy and oppressive with a prison guard on reception. Despite the high ceilings, the room gave them the feeling they were incarcerated. The pink walls were covered with handprints, the tiled floor was sticky and a strange smell occupied the bathroom. Laughing at their misfortune, they dubbed the experience as ‘something to tell the grand-kids’
On the first day he wanted to lie in, where as Lucy couldn’t stand being the room any longer than she needed to. “We can lie in at home” she would say in an attempt to rouse Ben but he rolled over, grunted and fell back to sleep. Lucy walked the streets of Rome on her own, determined to make the most her mini adventure but felt a little guilty for leaving Ben when they should have been together. When she returned to the hotel that afternoon armed with a bottle of red wine he was no longer in bed. Lucy found him in the hotel bar watching the football whilst nursing a pint and eating peanuts. Sliding up next to him he put his arm around her shoulder and asked if her day had been nice.
“I missed you today. Sorry for leaving this morning, you were asleep so I thought I’d leave you to get some rest. I hope you don’t mind.”
“I didn’t mind, footy was on.” That stung and Lucy wondered whether he was punishing her. So she remained with him in the bar for the rest of the afternoon and evening. Instead of dining in a pizzeria by candle light with a man on guitar singing ‘That’s Amore’ they ate peanuts, cheese and onion crisps and shared a bowl of fries.
Over the next two days they did leave the hotel room, dined in a pizzeria by candle light and walked hand in hand as they soaked up the culture. Although the city was trying it’s best to be seductive the colour had drained from its alluring charm. Conversation was stiff and almost forced. On the second night they didn’t make love, instead Lucy got in her pyjamas and read her book whilst Ben sat in the bar. The final night Ben slept with his back to her, snoring and breathing heavily as soon as the lights went out. Lucy couldn’t rest so she lay awake trying to figure out how it went so wrong.