She sounded as if she was disappointed that it wasn’t her sitting here naked. I guess I was the one getting the attention from the waiter.
“Well, if you feel like joining me…” I said. And it might make me feel better if she did.
Elisa laughed. “No, there’s only a place for one naked woman in this restaurant.” I laughed. “Come. You’ve finished your limencello. Let’s go.”
Elisa took some notes from a large bunch of euros in her wallet and left them with the bill. “My car is outside.”
With that, she stood up. I realised that I still had the hardest part of the deal to come and I was about to give up the cover of the table. I could still hear a couple of voices across the other side of the restaurant. I was hoping we’d be alone by the time I had to leave. My heart beat harder in my chest.
Elisa picked up on my nervousness. “Come. Once you start it will be fine,” she told me as she picked up her bag and started walking towards the exit.
I stood quickly, not wanting to be abandoned. The chair squeaked loudly on the tiled floor and four pairs of eyes at a table across the room turned in my direction. I stepped away from the table and heard the intake of breath and muttering as I came into their eye line. I could feel the attention of the two young men and women as I forced my legs to propel me forwards.
I tried to imagine I was on a catwalk as I made my way towards the door, and by focusing on where I put my feet I was able to partially shut out the feeling of exposure. The waiter was behind the bar, his eyes unable to take in as much of my body as he wanted in one glance. As I passed I thanked him in Italian but I heard no reply. I looked forward and saw Elisa holding the door for me.