The Cycle of Love

"Please don't ever stop loving me."

"Never, not even when I take my last breath."

Cover Photo Curtesy of: Rebecca Botin

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Clos Maggiore - 12 September 2015

I don't know if I'd categorize the dinner at Clos Maggiore as our first date or second. We spent two hours after my shift the night before just getting to know each other, everything being laid out on the table, even my name. At the end of the night, when I decided it was time for me to turn in, he asked if he could take me on a date. I was nervous to say yes, but we'd spent so much time talking that I answered with an immediate yes.

When I agreed to a date, I figured we'd have dinner at a pub, hopefully not the one where I worked, but overall I saw us going somewhere low-key. He told me he wasn't like that, that he wanted to impress me, wine and dine me if you will.

I had never been to a truly fancy restaurant. Truthfully, I didn't see myself as classy enough for a candlelit dinner, virgin white table cloths, and expensive attire. I was, and still am, more of a stay-in, watch a film, and have a nice chat over pizza kind of girl. I was a mess before the date, scrambling around my cluttered apartment, changing my clothes multiple times, and talking myself down from a possible panic attack. As soon as James showed up on the doorstep outside my flat with a bouquet of fresh roses, all the nerves just washed away.

A boy had never bought me flowers before, a boy had never offered to take me out to a fancy dinner. Everything about James was just different.

"You've never been here before?" James shuffled in his seat across from me and sent me a soft grin. With a good look around at the fake foliage and lights hanging from said foliage, I shook my head.

"Never been anywhere this nice."

When I glanced in James' direction, I for sure thought that he'd laugh at me or regret taking me out to this incredibly expensive restaurant. But instead of a look of disappointment on his features all I could make out was a look of pure admiration. Maybe it was the sparkling of the lights above us or the fact that we'd had some wine, but I liked to think it was a look of admiration.

"No one has ever taken you out to a fancy dinner?"

"Nope, can't say I usually attract the romantic types." Or any types.

"That's just sad." He muttered as he brought his glass of wine up to his lips for a delicate sip. "Every girl should be treated like royalty." Every word that left his, now red tinted, lips made me swoon. My stomach flip-flopped, my heart beat erratically, and my hands involuntarily shook.

I was never a true believer in fate, but my ideals were slowly shifting into making myself a believer. I don't think it was accidental, us meeting that night in the pub. For one, I wasn't even technically supposed to be working. I took a shift for my mate who got ill. If I hadn't then James and I probably wouldn't have met. Think about it, I had been working at the pub for more than a year and he had been in a bunch of times, yet we never crossed paths until that night. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that sounds like fate.

"I'm glad some men still think that way."

More and more of the male population was reverting to scumbag-ish ways and for romantics like myself it wasn't great for the whole dating scene.

"Just call me Prince Charming."

"Only if you call me Cinderella." At this point the flirtatious remarks were just oozing out of my mouth. I think the scenery around us had something to do with it.

Picturesque mood lighting, well-dressed waiting staff, expensive wines and dishes, a place like this must have had a air freshener full of oxytocin, either that or I was producing enough for the both of us to revel in.

"Maisie," The way my name rolled off his tongue was enough to send shivers up my spine. There's just something about the way your name sounds coming from a person with a different accent than your norm, "What would you say if I told you you're the most beautiful girl I've ever seen?" His words caught me in surprise, my eyes fitting up to meet his.

Originally I'd been too engrossed in the pasta dish the waiter placed before me. If there's one thing that could possibly live up to a romantic date with an attractive man, it's carbs. But with James' complimentary words, the carbs were soon forgotten.

"I'd like to say you're lying, but I don't see a hint of dishonesty in your eyes." James' eyes glimmer at my response, glad that I hadn't said some cliche, shy girl answer. "So, I guess I'd say thank you and bashfully eat this delicious food."

"Enjoy." And I did.

The pasta was to die for, so good that I had to suppress myself from making any noises that could be mistaken for sexual sounds of pleasure. The burst of tomato, oregano, and various other spices were like heaven on tastebuds. The food was absolutely divine, but the light conversation between us stole the show.

"You said yesterday that if it weren't for the pub you don't know where you'd be. Care to elaborate on that?" I open my mouth to answer, but am cut off before I can even start. "Unless you don't feel comfortable telling me. We haven't known each long; I don't want you to feel pressured into telling me."

The consideration that he had for my feelings was sweet. He just let me be me, at my own pace too.

"No, it's fine. Um, the pub saved my life in a way. I lost my only living relative, my mum, last year and kind of swirled into this person that I didn't recognize. Then on top of that I was going to university and I was struggling academically and financially. Classic sob story I was." I tried to lighten up the mood with a joking tone, but James only sent me a pitiful smile.

If it's one thing I hated it was pity. I was a big girl and not too sad anymore, I'd risen above the depressing state my life. I didn't need anyone to think that I was helpless or worthy of pity.

"And, uh, one late night after an atrocious exam I stumbled into Reynold's Pub and met Greg, the owner. He gave me a free drink and a shoulder to cry on and then a job. I've been happy ever since. I don't know; it's like I needed a place to live my life and get better. You know."

James started to nod his head, but hesitated.

"Actually, I don't. But, I commend you on your strength. I lost my mother in a supermarket once and I was distraught... and I was sixteen. Oh my God, was that insensitive of me to joke about? I'm so sorry, I didn't mean -"

I waved him off finding myself laughing at his flustered appearance and what I'm sure was a glimmer of guilt behind his eyes.

"Don't stress. Humor is healthy. If you can joke about it, it means you're not totally uncomfortable with the topic of death."

"I don't think anyone's completely comfortable with the topic of death." I smiled and agreed with him.

"Wow, this is totally not a date conversation topic. I must be the worst date ever, bringing up my depressing life."

"Hey, I asked." James shrugged and reached across the table, setting his hand atop of mine.

A gasp almost emitted from my lips when he touched me for the first time. Sure it wasn't anything but a delicate touch of hand to hand, but it was something special to me.

When you're so infatuated with someone you first meet, emotions run high and you tend to get overly excited about the simplest of things. A simple touch can feel like a million fireworks going off in the sky.

"I like that you're open."

"I'm an open book, ask me anything."

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