I woke up slowly, relishing in my dream of Italian coffee and singing. And then I remembered how last night ended...
"Urgh," I said as I sat up in bed.
"Morning!" Blake said cheerfully, from the balcony door.
"What?" I jumped. "Did you sleep there last night?"
"No," she said as she frowned.
"How are you awake before me?"
"Shut up. I can wake up early if I want to."
"And that wouldn't have anything to do with the fact we're in Italy, would it?"
A smile spread across her face, as if I had figured out her secret. "Get up, we're going for breakfast."
"Italian breakfast?" I smiled.
"Oh yes." She winked before she walked into the bathroom.
"I feel bad," I admitted as I sipped my fresh orange juice.
"Daniel." My stomach dipped against my breakfast. I think I really like him and I probably just blew it completely. He probably thinks I'm a big mess, which I am. It's his fault for being all Italian and bewitching.
"Oh. Rachel, you shouldn't, you're not ready. That's not your fault."
"It's not his either."
"I know," she looked sad. "I should probably apologise to him."
"How? It's not like we can contact them." A sudden dread spread over me. Would I see him again?
"Didn't get any digits, did you?" I winked.
"It's your fault, I was all ready for some steamy kissing, but no," she teased. "Aren't they staying at the same hotel, though? There's a good chance we can bump into them."
"I think there's something about those brothers."
"I know what you mean," she said as she seemed to think back into a private memory. "But tell me, what are you feeling, really?" she asked.
"I don't know, Blake. I like him."
"Is that a bad thing?"
"I'm scared I'll want more."
"Look what happened last time I wanted more."
"He's Italian, he lives in Italy. We live in Britain. Nothing serious can ever happen. You've just got to think of it like that. If we meet some other guys that you're interested in, just go with it. You're allowed to be interested, you shouldn't feel bad about it. And you don't have to worry too much, because it's never going to be something serious. It can be friends with benefits, without actually being friends..."
"And I can give or take the benefits," I laughed.
"Speak for yourself."
"And proud," she winked. "Come on, lets go back, get changed and figure out what we're going to do for the rest of the day. And if we happen to bump into some attractive Italian men, then that can just be a bonus."
"I don't think there are any unattractive Italian men..." I wondered out loud.
"I'm being serious though, Rach." Blake held a serious tone. "No boys, not unless you want to, OK?"
"Thanks." I smiled and she gave me a quick hug.
We walked back to the hotel, stopping a few times to look at the beautiful buildings.
"So you never told me what happened with you and Carlos?" I began.
"Just a bit of dancing, a bit of drinking. Innuendo's, you know..."
Somehow, I could tell she was playing it down.
"So, he isn't amazing, sexy and funny all rolled up in one?" I tested.
"Oh my God, Rach. He so is," she began to gush. "He's challenging, which is what I like."
"He wasn't winning from what I saw last night."
"True. I just let him believe the ball was in his court for a while. I was so looking forward to his face, when all he got was a chaste kiss at the end of the night."
"Chaste?" I asked. "Really?"
"Pfft. What do you think of me?" She gasped, dramatically and then threw me a wink. "But don't worry about all that. We are in Italy, plenty more where that came from."
Once we got inside a staff member behind the reception desk must have recognised us, because he called us over. "Miss Rachel Jones and Blake McAllister?"
"That's us," Blake sauntered up to the desk. "Oh, a package... It's for you."
"Who-" I began to ask, but who else had I met in Italy?
"Do you want me to open it?" Blake had put on her protective persona.
"No, it's cool." I took the package from her and opened it carefully. Inside there were two espresso cups wrapped delicately. On top lay a piece of paper that said 'To knowing more... I hope I didn't ruin my chance. -D' I couldn't help but smile.
Blake had just finished reading the note and then looked at me. "Why are you smiling? What does this even mean? What did you two do last night?"
I answered by hugging the package and raising my eyebrows.
"You are so confusing! Does this mean boys are good? Rachel..."
I walked towards the stairs, avoiding her questions. I didn't know the answers - I was confused myself. The truth was, I was scared about letting someone in, but why couldn't I take Blake's advice and live every day as it comes. I liked him, he could like me and that was the end of the story so far. There was no point in worrying about the future, or the past, not when it was thousands of miles away in a country that wasn't Italy.