Chapter 2, February 1994

While the thoughts had been flowing around Mary’s head she realised that the silence had continued for the duration of their first drinks and that they had been sitting and enjoying the moment, gazing into each other’s eyes like a love scene from a film. Quickly snapping back into reality, Mary went to the toilet to check her makeup situation and to slightly lower her top to entice James to some drunken action later, or perhaps just a kiss. James went to the bar for another round.

‘She really likes you,’ uttered the barman with more experience in years than James had. ‘You can tell from the way she holds herself around you. I’ve been watching the pair of you, not to sound creepy like, but it’s cute.’

The barman was Geordie and had the strongest accent that James had heard since moving up north to university. He was short and bald so James wrongly judged and thought what does he know, but he remained polite despite his inner judgement.

‘I’m glad it looks that way,’ he replied and swiftly moved on to the ordering of more drinks. There was an offer on spirits and mixers meaning Mary had been getting two drinks each time, so James made sure that he had two as well so not to feel left out. He remained on pints and didn’t feel overly drunk yet, so he knew he couldn’t get the blame for taking advantage of her or not acting in a gentlemanly manner and forgetting to walk her home, thoughts coming from experience.

He sat back at the table feeling smug with their beverage layout as well as hearing the comments from the barman proving that he was doing a good job. He’d never been so nervous on a date before but so far he felt that his nerves were well hidden and the attraction between the two of them was there.

After chatting a while more and opening up with the alcohol kicking in, they realised that they had more in common than they had initially thought. Even though Mary was the least sporty person and James had no interest for English Literature and writing, they found lots of topics which meant something to them both and spent a good while comparing travel notes which was full of laughter.

Once they’d finished the round and stood up ready to move on, Mary built up the courage to lean in for a kiss. She had never thought that she would let her guard down enough to do that on a first date before, but her feelings and mild intoxication made it happen. It was a comfortable moment as she leant into James’ strong body. He held her hair back with one hand and grabbed her waist with the other, pinching it gently and affectionately tickling her on the ribs. She giggled and after that moment they decided against the pub crawl and bought beverages to consume back at his flat.

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