A drizzle started up, the kind that’s naked to the human eye, but that you feel on your bare skin. Gradually it soaks you until you’re sopping wet and you wonder what the strange sensation is that’s making your feet squelch in your shoes.
Just perfect, your day couldn’t get any better. Hopefully it’ll clear up soon, you thought to yourself as you shielded your head with your bag. Seeking refuge, you scanned the plaza. Most of the shops were already filled to the brink with people looking for lunch and there was no way you were going to wait half an hour for a sandwich.
Seems like I’ll have to skip lunch... you mused, water droplets dripping from your hair. Just as you were about to turn something caught your eye. A small restaurant with twinkling lights in the front window seemed to beckon you closer. It was to the side of the plaza, just into a narrow street that was cobbled with desolated little shops and vendors selling hot waffles.
You made your way to it and after a quick glance through the glass door, you saw that the place was bustling but not packed with people. Smiling gratefully for the warmth that spread throughout your body, you stepped inside, an alerting tingle coming from the bell hanging above your head.
After closing the door and making the bell chime once more, a man stood next to you, bowed and offered to take your coat. “A table for one please.” You asked, following the man like a lost puppy to a table to the side.
Your table was decked out in white, a candle stump protruding from a wine bottle you presumed was empty. The man who took you to your table had darkish hair, a single curl coming from it. He handed you a menu with a flourish, leaving you with the promise to come back.
As you let your eyes dwindle across the italics on the cream-coloured pages, you also peeked around the rest of the restaurant. Your table was the closest to the kitchen you realised so you watched as the two waiters came in and out with plates brimming with food or empty ones that were waiting to be cleaned.
The two waiters seemed very much alike being both of the same height and mostly the appearance. The one with the darker hair seemed to find the other one annoying though, growling at him when the lighter haired one nearly dropped his plates.
The lighter haired one smiled every time he served someone and he caught you watching his actions. Winking cheekily, he waggled his eyebrows at you, going back to the kitchen to get the next order. You blushed, your eyes wide.
Did he just....? Wait, seriously?! The flirtatious waiter gave you another look when he passed, his arms raised high to stop his colleague from crashing into the dishes. Your cheeks red, you focused your attention back on the list of food, folding it up when you’d decided.
“So what’ll it be?” The dark-haired waiter reappeared at your side, a notebook flipped open in his hands. “Some pasta putanesca please.” You said, ordering a drink as well. He nodded and returned to place your order with the chef.
Actually you’d been hearing the chef quite a lot as he’d been singing along to the radio loudly in Italian ever since you’d set foot in the place. And you had to admit he wasn’t half bad even though the sound of his voice was obscured by the sizzling of pans and bubbling of water.
You sipped your drink slowly, picking some papers from your bag and flicking through them with minor interest. Sighing, you gave up, you really couldn’t be bothered at the moment. Instead you carried on watching the other people in the restaurant, making up stories that seem to fit them.
Two businessmen, a couple of tourists speaking in a difficult language and in broken English, students, the amount of types went on and on.
The place seemed to have filled up a bit more as you were waiting and you were happy you’d come when you did, otherwise you might not have been able to snag a table.
“Here you go bella.” You heard as a steaming plate of pasta was set in front of you. Glancing up you saw the lighter haired waiter smile at you, handing you your cutlery and some parmesan cheese. “Enjoy!” He told you, returning to his other customers but keeping an eye on you. He loved watching how people reacted to the dishes he gave them.
You tentatively took a bite, covering your mouth due to how hot the pasta was. The sauce was absolutely exquisite though and after that first bite you found yourself craving more of it. The waiter smiled as you dug into your food, feeling satisfied once again.
It took you a while to eat your way through it, but somehow you managed to finish your plate, leaving only remnants of the tomato sauce. Unfortunately, you came back to your reality after that burst of flavour and you sighed again, checking your phone to see what time it was.
Well, it was time to go, but you wanted to stay a bit longer. The soft humming of the waiters and the singing of the chef made you want to burst out in song as well and the murmur of the conversations around you was nearly lulling you into sleep.
“Was it good?” You nodded at the waiter, handing him the money for the food. Wobbling to your feet, you grimaced at the prospect of having to go back to work. The light haired waiter noticed it and grabbed your elbow.
“Hey, are you okay?” he asked, concern tinting his accent. “I hope so...” you muttered back, blinking when he started pulling you up the rickety stairs. You followed him cautiously , having no clue where or why he was taking you with him.
You reached a sort of platform, a bar to one side and a large window stretching over the complete side of the wall. The glass provided you with an excellent view of the square and he pulled you a chair over to sit in front of it.
“Here,” he said, handing you an ice-cream. Huh, it was your favourite, how did he-
“I thought you seemed like a person who’d like that flavour.” He admitted sheepishly, putting the stuff back behind the bar where he evidently kept a freezer as well.
He came to sit beside you on the wooden floorboards, gazing happily outside. “Why are you doing this for me? I mean we don’t even know each other’s names.” You said, gently licking your ice-cream in the spots it was starting to melt.
“You seemed a bit down. Is it wrong of me to want to cheer a pretty girl like you up?” He parried your question back at you, glancing at you from the corner of his eye.
“I suppose not... My name is (y/n).” Holding out your hand for a handshake, you smiled at him. He did take your hand, but pressed a kiss on it instead of shaking it. “Ciao! My name is Feliciano.” He grinned at you, then settled his amber gaze back on the square outside.
You watched with him, hearing his gentle hum start up again. Carrying on eating your dessert, you giggled when you saw the people on the road below you waddle along. They looked so strange from up there, so uptight.
No one made eye contact with each other, narrowly moving out of other’s ways to avoid being bumped. The whole thing just made you want to laugh.
“What’s up bella?” Feliciano asked, leaning back on his hands. Stifling your laugh, you snorted slightly. “Just thinking about how cold everyone is to each other and well, you know how life sucks at times.”
He frowned, sitting crosslegged and leaning forward to you. “I’m not cold to you, am I?” He asked, his eyes tearing up. Shaking your head, you patted his shoulder. “Not at all.”
He took your hand in his. “Then, does your life suck?” You sighed and looked at the floor. “Yeah, I don’t know why exactly, but I just feel sluggish recently. Thing is though, when I ate that pasta I felt more alive than I have for a while. Isn’t that pathetic?”
He grinned, shaking his head. “Nope! Grandpa is a really good cook and eating good food always makes you feel better.”
He shifted closer to you. “If you want, you can eat his food more often you know. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind cooking for someone as nice as you.”
A small smile graced your lips. “That would be wonderful.” Tilting his head from side to side, he grinned even wider. “That’s settled then,” he said, giving you a hug,” I’m definitely going to see you again.”
He pecked your cheek gently and got to his feet, hearing an angry yell coming from the stairwell. It was in Italian so you couldn’t understand it, but Feliciano paled and rubbed his neck sheepishly.
“I’m sorry bella, I’ve got to go.” Before he could disappear downstairs though, you grabbed his arm as he had yours.
“I still need to pay you for the ice-cream-“
“No you don’t! It was on the house. Besides I couldn’t make you pay for something like that, it was meant to cheer you up! If I did charge you, that would be like asking to pay for smiles.”
You smiled at his logic and hugged him. “Thanks Feliciano, I’ll be back soon.”