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Coming home for Christmas - Part 2

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Roibeard followed Anne's gaze, as he did he heard the bells again as the familar face from the church caught his gaze. He found himself smiling back and heading over.

'Hey, excuse me, do you mind if I sit here? You got the window with the best view,' his voice was warm, relaxed, certain. The predicament he found himself in surprised yet excited him.

The woman moved her notebook to the side to make a space for him, as though she had been waiting hours sipping tea, until the moment her new companion would join her.

'I would be happy to share the pretty view. It's a view that needs sharing.’
Her accent took him by surprise and his unstirring heart began to beat a little faster. It was a feeling he was not sure he’d felt for a while. 

She remembered his face from the church. She had been embarrassed that her festive earrings had disturbed the people who had gone to the church for some reflection. The slower she had tried to walk, the louder the noise had become.

Her hair was long and she had a wind swept look about her. Her boots were muddy and she was wearing a dress covered in ginger bread men, like the one in shrek. He would learn one day that Shrek was one of her favourite films and would even enjoy watching her watch it. For now he was left confused when he asked her what had brought her to Rome and she replied with a weird comment about being like an onion. Something about layers. She obviously read his bemused, or was it confused look and offered a more sensible response.

‘Oh, I’m researching a book. I need to go to proper New York and Long Island but I wanted to take in some quiter parts too. Oh and this place is called Rome. I thought it might be romantic, or full of Italians.’ She blushed realising that the red headed man before her was clearly not of Italian descent, ‘... or maybe even highly intelligent and witty gents of, er Irish descent?’ She smiled.

‘Roibeard, nice to meet you. Don’t believe all you hear about the Irish. They aren’t all witty,’ he winked.

She couldn’t believe he had winked at her.
He couldn’t believe he had winked at her.

They laughed suddenly. Together.

‘What’s your name? Are you an author? Should I know your name?’ 

‘Oh no. I’m no author, just a dreamer.’ She shrugged, looking at her scribbles and back to her new companion. ‘The name I feel is the closest to my actual self is Maya.’

Roibeard thought it was a weird answer that maybe he would understand sometime. ‘Nice to meet you Maya,’ his voice was warm, genuine and she believed he meant it.

‘Nice to meet you too Roibeard, you know I’m actually at least an eighth Irish too. See I have green eyes.’ She pulled her eyes wide inviting him to examine the evidence she was presenting before him. He obliged, moving in so he could look into her eyes, his hand reached over and took her hand from her eyes, ‘maybe I could just look at them like this?’ She noticed he did not let go of her hand and she felt her heart begin to race as he looked into her eyes.

As he looked he got the strangest sense that he had looked into those eyes before

‘Very green indeed! But I spy a hint of hazel too.’

‘Oh that’s the Greek!’ She smiled’ 

He raised his eyebrows awaiting her explanation.

‘My mum is Greek.’
‘Ayebose’ she mouthed the words that were melting in her mind.

‘Bless you!’ He smiled without a clue what the sound that had come from her mouth meant. Perhaps that was how the English sneezed?

No other customers entered the coffee shop as the previously unacquainted pair laughed and listened, both seeming equally fascinated in the other. From the outside anyone would have thought they had known each other for a very long time. They looked relaxed, comfortable, he touched her hand, she let him, he touched her cheek, she lifted her neck, like a cat leaning in for a tickle. 

Anne did not like to disturb the pair. They had both seemed so lonely when they arrived. Yet now they looked like long lost friends, or maybe even more. Despite her kindness and Christmas spirit, Anne had a husband to go home to and it was nearly 8pm. She cleared their cups but they did not notice. So she had to go and gently tap Roibeard’s shoulder.

‘I’m closing now,’ her voice was apologetic. 

He had an urgent look in his eyes.

Anne saw this. ‘I’m closing in five minutes.’

She left the pair enough time for Roubeard to follow his urgency and enquire how Maya was spending the evening, and Christmas Day. He could not believe his boldness but had a feeling that he could not let her disappear forever into the night.

She told him she was staying in a local hotel. She was the only guest. She planned to spend Christmas writing.

‘You could come and share the last of my whiskey if you want some company for a little while longer?’ It was out there. The urge in his head. To keep her with him.

She tried to stop her mouth from forming a broad smile, as she nodded and said ‘whiskey sounds good,’ and then remembered that it was important to say what she actually meant. ‘The company, your company, sounds good too’

‘Well then m’lady,’ Roibeard rose and offered his arm in a fun chivalrous gesture.

Maya stood and linked her arm in his. ‘Lead the way kind sir.’

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