A player or a romantic? – Part 1: Rome (2011)

I fell for this guy because I thought he was bad. A player. Instead, what I found out is that looks can truly be deceiving.

He was beautiful. I noticed him our first night in the restaurant while my American friend Pamela and I were eating dinner. I was travelling through Europe for two months and Italy was our third country. After Rome, we would take an overnight ferry that would bring us to Croatia.

Though the main reason for my trip was of course my love for travelling and adventure, I also wanted to take this time to figure out if I really wanted to stay with Dominick. Yes, the guy I already cheated on at the beginning of our relationship (see Non Parle Americano). It has been eight months since we’ve been together and even though he looked perfect on paper, not to mention, loved by my whole family, I didn’t love him. The first time he told me he loved me, I remember I said something along the lines of ‘wow. How incredible’ and the next time I randomly blurted out me too. Not ‘I love you too’. No, me too. I said it out of nowhere. I just couldn’t bring myself to say the word love to him, because these words were a blatant lie.

At the bottom of my heart, leaving for Europe signified the end of us. I selfishly made him wait for me as I went to explore what I really wanted. And I knew that what I wanted was someone else.

However, all I really met were a lot of players, shallow guys and men that were really not worth it. Should I stay with Dominick by default? Just because I couldn’t find any better?

We arrived at the campsite late at night. Looking around the beautiful grounds I felt uplifted: there was a giant pool, beautiful flowers, palm trees and an open air restaurant with live music. It was an incredibly romantic place, however, it seemed that the only people vacationing there were families. Now, eating dinner, I turned my head to the right only to see the most beautiful profile of a guy. He was tanned, with gorgeous almond shaped chocolate eyes and full sensual lips. He was sitting at the table with two dark guys and a blonde girl, serious and oblivious to my stares.

The most remembered meal from the trip. The beef carpaccio was amazing

The most remembered meal from the trip. The beef carpaccio was amazing

He disappeared after dinner and I figured I wouldn’t see him again. Pamela, who was very outgoing and a little bit intimidating for some guys because she was quite masculine and dominating, somehow managed to meet a cute Colombian called Jose. While Jose and her were hitting it off, I sat near his unibrowed friend Antony and sulked.

“Can we maybe look for something in the city tomorrow?” I asked selfishly. She was in seventh heaven after meeting Jose, but I only cared about myself. I knew I would have to spend my evenings watching their romance, while nothing would happen for me unless I wanted to give it a go with his unibrow friend.

The next day we spent exploring the extremely hot and tiring city of Rome, which is made especially annoying in August as it is swamped by tourists. I swear you cannot even see the Trevi Fountain behind all the Asians with their huge, expensive cameras. As soon as we got back we headed to the pool to wash off the sticky sweat from the city. I was sitting on the lounge chair when I saw him enter. He looked just as beautiful as I remembered: tall, bronze, his face now unshaven. I watched him swim laps in the pool all the while sighing like a fifteen year old.

Our pool

“He’s so my type! What do I do?”

Pame shrugged. “Just wait until the evening, when everyone starts drinking. It will be easier than in the daylight.”

She was right. I had to talk to him. I just didn’t know if I had enough guts to make the first move.

He got out of the water and sat on the chair, smoking with a vacant look in his liquid brown eyes. He didn’t even notice me as I stuck out my butt and strutted in front of him.

I saw him again in the evening. He was standing near the piano, listening to one of the musicians play and singing along in Portuguese. He looked like a Brazilian model: broad-shouldered, gorgeous and tanned in his white shirt and faded jeans. I breathed a sigh of nervousness. Oh my God. He is the man of my dreams. 

Colombian Jose and Unibrow Antony suggested getting some drinks at the Beer Garden where the Brazillian band was playing. I happily agreed. Can we sit on the benches here? Near him?

I stared at his broad back, until I must have shot holes through him with my deadly stare, because he turned around and gave me a glance. The glance, however, was completely neutral. That didn’t mean I was giving up. Any time I want to draw a guy’s attention, I always go to my Plan B: dancing. Practically forcing Jose and Pame on the dance floor, I danced nervously right in front of his eyes. When I got enough courage, I finally looked at his expression. Once again, he looked blank and serious. Seriously, what is up with this guy? I thought. Cursing everything under my breath and feeling completely invisible, I left the dance floor and went to go check the internet. Clearly, he’s seen his share of beautiful women. Why would he go for some girl in a yellow dress?

the Beer Garden

When I came back I noticed that the boy and one of his friends stayed alone and have now moved to a table far across from us. In the middle there was another table with a few people playing cards. I threw awkward gazes at him, until Jose looked  at me.

“You like the guy in the white?” He asked with a wide grin.

“No. Yes.” I mumbled.

“Then you should do something.” He offered.

“I am not doing anything. I don’t know if he’s interested. I mean, he is kind of looking at me. Oh my God.” I breathed, seeing him get up from his table. “Is he coming over?”

The beautiful boy and his friend took their beers and walked towards us. This is it, I thought. However, my heart literally dropped when he moved to the table in between. Namely, right near a blonde girl.

Yep, it wasn’t me he was checking out.

“So are you going to talk to him?” asked Jose.

“Just stop. Please. He’s not interested.” I muttered. He was starting to piss me off and in all honesty I just felt pathetic. I spent half my night staring at a guy who wasn’t interested in me after all. Could I be any more of a loser?

Suddenly, another thought came into my mind. I was on vacation. What did I have to lose? Sure, he looked like a player. Sure, he was beautiful. But how could I be positive about anything unless I talked to him? Otherwise, I would spend the rest of my night staring at Pamela sticking her tongue down Jose’s mouth and thinking What if.

“Give me some wine, please” I ordered Pamela. Taking the plastic cup with my shaking hands, I stood up. “I am going to talk to him.”

Thank you, wine in a paper cup

Thank you, wine in a paper cup

“Wow” grinned Pamela. “I am really proud of you. Do it.”

Nervous as hell, I walked up to their table. “Can I join the game?” I asked to no one in particular. His dark friend looked up.

“Yes, of course” He said in his bad English. I awkwardly seated myself on his right. The beautiful boy was in front of me, but I couldn’t bring myself to look at him. I did get a glance at the girl. She was not pretty. Not only that, she had a really hippy looking bearded man for a boyfriend. Wow, how deceiving it can be when you judge a situation from a distance. Namely, from someone’s back!

I continued talking to his friend(who turned out to be his cousin)for some time. Then I finally found the guts to turn my head and look at my boy. He smiled at me. I smiled back and talked very fast as I always do when I am nervous.

His name was Luiz and he was from Portugal, though as I assumed correctly, he was part Brazilian. And the strangest thing? Luiz was nice. He looked like a very successful and gorgeous player, but he wasn’t. Or at least he didn’t seem like one. His English wasn’t great, but at this point, what did I care? I was actually talking to him. And he wasn’t someone I thought he was. In a good way.

And he was twenty-three. I was officially becoming a cradle robber.

Behind him, Jose and Pamela held thumbs up. That is before, they stuck their tongues down each other’s mouths for about an hour and disappeared.

I spent some time talking to Luiz, until I figured I should try to get him away from the crowd. Subtly!

“ I should go back to bed.” I said. Luiz, not getting the hint, grew visibly disappointed.

“Would you like to walk me back?” I offered not so subtly.

He nodded happily. We started walking to the cabin, when he asked me if I wanted to take a walk around the park.

tumblr_m5y9k7oDPX1r3a6jho1_500The walking turned into sitting and sitting turned into lying as he spread out his sleeping bag on the ground. It was a freezing night, so he gave me his sweatshirt and kept on covering me up every second to make sure I was warm. We kissed and talked. Kissed and talked again. This went on for hours. He would sweep the hair from my eyes and run his hands over my face.

“I really like kissing you.” He told me. Was he just saying that to get me into bed? Looking at him and his sexy eyes, it was hard to imagine him as anything other than a player, but the gentle way he was with me proved otherwise. Granted, he did press me down and try to take it further. Even though I wanted him, I stopped it at kissing. Luiz seemed both innocent and impish at the same time. I didn’t know which side was true. But he was definitely one – a romantic.

He walked me back to the cabin, a sleeping bag on his shoulders and I kissed him goodnight, standing on my tiptoes.

“Goodnight Mia” he smiled softly. I ran into the cabin like a little girl.  I fell asleep exhilarated  No thought about Dominick even crossed my mind.

The next day was our final one in Rome and coincidentally, his final one  as well. Distracted, in the ruins of the Coliseum, all I could think about was seeing Luiz again. After all, this was it.

When we came back, I was extremely nervous.

“Don’t build yourself up” told me Pamela as we sat in the restaurant, waiting for our order. She has recounted her amazing sex with Jose, how it went on for the longest time and what a big dingaling he had. However, what threw her was that he never even asked her for her contact information. She didn’t understand it.

“I mean, he could meet another girl or maybe you won’t like him. Who knows?” she shrugged. “Just relax and see what happens.”

Thanks, I wanted to say, that is a really uplifting speech. However, I felt like I knew Luiz. He wouldn’t do this to me. He was a genuinely sweet guy.

When he entered the restaurant, my heart began palpitating again. He was just so incredibly gorgeous. I was unsure if he saw me, because he looked so serious. He didn’t smile or wave at me. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him as I ate the pasta. He was wearing a hoodie and jeans, his beautiful dark eyes concentrated on something.

Later on, when I was almost close to freaking out, we finally saw each other in the lobby. He smiled to me and kissed me on the cheek.

“Do you girls want to join us for drink?” He asked.

We sat with his cousins as Pamela told one story after another. To me, it felt like I was in English for Beginner’s Class. Pamela, who is a teacher like me, knew how to tell a story not only well but clearly. The Portuguese found everything hilarious and laughed in unison.

Pamela fell in love with Luiz. “If you don’t sleep with him, I swear I will” she told me in the bathroom. “He’s just adorable.”

“Ok, Pame.. Just so you don’t get him first!” I laughed.

Luiz held my hand under the table as everyone talked in their broken English and shared stories about America and Portugal. I felt like I was in high school. Soon, everyone left and so did Pame. She looked upset because Jose was gone and she would have to spend the night by herself. It didn’t help that I was with Luiz now.

Our first sex wasn’t incredible. To tell the truth, it wasn’t even good. He was nervous. We were both awkward. It was in an empty room in the cabin, but instead of regular beds, there were bunk beds.. so at one point I hit my head on the bottom of the other bed. And he came too early. As he lay near me I could feel his dissapointment.

“You hated that, yes?” he finally said, his voice like a little boy’s.

“I didn’t hate that!” I said, half lying. I didn’t hate it, because it was with him. I liked him. The sex? I wasn’t so certain.

“You are lying” he concluded and crossed his arms like a stubborn child. I found this ridiculously endearing and kissed him.

“You know” He added.  “I would like to take you out. We could listen to some piano or go to a restaurant. I wish we don’t go tomorrow.”

“I wish we didn’t go tomorrow as well” I sighed.

“I really like you, you know?” He turned to me. “I am not saying it because I had sex. It’s more for me. I do not want us to forget each, Mia”

“We won’t forget each other. I like you too” I said.

“Good. Because I really like spending, time with you. I never pay attention to girls, unless they have something special. When you started to talk I didn’t.. could not stop listening to you.”

“You mean when I babbled on and on?”

“When you what?” he turned to me, his big eyes confused.

“Nevermind. When I talked a lot, I mean”

“Yes, you talked a lot. But I liked” he smiled. “Can I ask you one question?”

I nodded.

“Can I spend night with you? It’s cold in tent and I like having you near.”

Not us, but how it felt

Not us, but how it felt

“Of course!” I exclaimed. The bed was narrow and I was stuck to the wall. We would have to sleep in an embrace the whole night, but I wanted to sleep close to him. He felt so dear to me in such a quick time. A boy who was beautiful and who looked like a player, but who had such a great and pure heart. I didn’t want to leave him. I breathed in his scent and felt his warm breath against me as I dozed off.

I dreamed of him that night. I would wake up and look at his perfect face and feel both happy and sad. Happy because he was just so damn beautiful and I had him near me. Sad because, well, I wouldn’t have him near me for much longer. He lay there, dark against the white of the pillow. I wanted to take a picture of him. Not to be creepy, or anything. I felt pretty proud of myself as well, I must say. Inwardly, I gave myself a round of applause.

The next morning was difficult and awkward. We kissed each other goodbye and he left. He came in again when I was talking to Pamela. I felt his scent even before seeing him.

“I wanted to say bye to both of you again” he awkwardly shuffled in the doorway.

I was awkward also, mostly because I looked ghastly without any makeup, my hair all disheveled and I didn’t want him to remember me like that. I kissed him goodbye and that was that.

Pame and I took a ferry to Croatia, where we stayed on the coast. It was an incredible place only made miserable by the fact that I missed him so much. I added him to Facebook, but he never wrote me an email. Instead I would skim through Dominick’s letters, annoyed that it was him and not Luiz who emailed me. There was an island we went to, called Hvar, full of beautiful tanned people. I kissed a Spanish guy, rather got licked by him, to better describe it. Apart from that, I once again missed my Luiz. He wasn’t just beautiful, he had a good heart. Most of these guys were arrogant, shallow assholes. And they weren’t anywhere as gorgeous as him.

Hvar Island

Finally, Luiz began writing to me and we established contact. I laughed and made annoying ‘aww’  noises as I read his hilarious emails. He was just so adorable! I was probably the most irritating person to be around made only tolerable by the fact that Pamela really liked Luiz.

When I was in Budapest, I was on the computer one day and started to talk to him. Our conversation centered on how much we wanted to see each other until I suggested he visit me at my last stop – Berlin. He invited me to Portugal first, however, as much as I wanted to I coudn’t risk being exposed and hurting Dominick.

Please, please come to Berlin! I really want to see you! I begged, thinking he was going to say no. He had to start work after all.

He got back to me that night. Yes, he would come.

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