|26| - "I missed my old life." - 

When I woke up to an empty bed, I was almost convinced that I'd dreamt Nathan's surprise arrival the day before. It wasn't until my eyes adjusted to the light streaming in through the windows that I noticed the mug of tea and plate of pastries on my bedside table.

Shuffling to sit up against the headboard, I spotted Nathan on my desk chair, flicking through his phone. Fully dressed with damp hair, it appeared his morning had started long before mine.

"Morning," I croaked out.

He twisted to look across at me and smiled. "Good morning, sleepy head. Nice rest?"

"Yeah, think I needed it. Is this for me?" I nodded towards the breakfast.

"Yes. I was hoping to cook you something more impressive but that's all I could get hold of so early in the morning."

I smiled and broke off the end of a croissant. "It's perfect. Thank you."

Nathan helped himself to a pain au chocolat as he dropped his eyes back down to his phone, continuing to scroll as he munched away.

"What do you want to do today?" I asked.

He swallowed his mouthful before replying. "I'm just looking at train times. I thought we could go to a place that meant a lot to me when I lived out here."

"Rome?" I asked, unable to hide the excitement in my voice.

Nathan chuckled. "You'd have had to wake up earlier than this to spend just one day in Rome."

Rather than disappointing me, though, that piqued my interest further. Most of Nathan's stories about Italy had centred on Rome. Could he be taking me somewhere that we'd not spoken of before? After three years together, there wasn't much left that we didn't know about one another, and each opportunity to learn something new was met with excitement.


Nathan didn't talk much during the ninety-minute train journey. His mind seemed to be elsewhere, and I couldn't help worrying that our argument from the previous night still nagged at him.

"You okay?" I asked after twenty minutes had passed without a single word being exchanged between us.

He switched his gaze from the window to me and smiled. "Yep. Are you?"

I nodded. "Just wondered if you were still upset about last night."

He leaned forwards and took my hands in his, squeezing gently. "Everything's great, Bella. I'm just nervous, that's all."

Nervous? What did he have to be nervous about? Before I could ask, he ploughed on.

"This place meant a lot to me a few years ago. I've never shared it with anyone before, and I'm worried it won't be how I remembered it."

"Well, whether it's how you remembered it or not, it's still the same place. That shouldn't take away what it meant to you."

Nathan smiled and squeezed my hands again before releasing them and leaning back in his seat, casting his eyes out of the window. From my chair opposite, I also turned my attention to the scenery flying past, until my thoughts wandered down a dangerous path.

Surprising me, taking me to somewhere special to him, nerves...

"Ours is the next stop," Nathan then said, interrupting my fantasies of him dropping to one knee. "We'll grab a taxi at the station to try to keep the walking to a minimum. As much as you say you won't moan, I don't want you bottling it up instead and secretly hating every second."

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