Three days later, back in his base city, Philip had another operation. The doctor said it was very successful, and surprisingly the pain was a lot less than before.
A week later he was back at work, very busy having various projects to complete before going on leave, and the time off for his foot meant he worked very long hours to complete the arrangements, and hand over to David who would see them through while he was away.
He and his friend Joseph had planned a cycling tour through some of the Italian wine country. With his foot still in the protective casing Philip couldn’t cycle, so they rented a camper-van instead.
Before he left he sent Anthea a bouquet of flowers, thanking her once again for rescuing him. He tried phoning her a few times, but her answering service simply took messages.
The holiday was a great success, his foot seeming to recover more quickly when he was relaxed. At one stage they picked up two female hitch hikers during a rainstorm. The women, Julia and Theresa, were very grateful for the rescue and insisted on buying them dinner in the town where they arrived at dusk.
It was a rollicking evening, everyone in the best of spirits. The almost inevitable consequence was that they paired off for the night.
In the morning Philip was somewhat disconcerted to find he had missed a call from Anthea, and her message to him was quite formal, with apologies for not returning his calls earlier, but that she was finishing her dissertation report and scarcely had time even to eat or sleep.
Next day everyone was in good spirits and after breakfasting together Philip’s friend Joseph suggested that the women continue with them to Venice which was going to be the end of their holiday with a few days in a hotel to relax. All agreed and so they set off, a little cramped but all enjoying the easy-going friendship of the holiday mood.
The last days of the holiday were great fun, and Philip began to wonder if he had been mistaken about the attraction he felt for Anthea, as this holiday relationship was so sexy and easy.
At the Marco Polo airport, saying goodbye was hard. Everyone felt this had been a special time. Philip and Joseph were both flying to Frankfurt, then separating to go to their respective homes, the women staying on for another day before taking a train to Brindisi and then a boat to Greece.
As he was kissing Theresa goodbye he felt a shiver go down his spine, and looked up to see Anthea staring at them. He felt himself blush to the soles of his feet. Theresa, took his face in her hands and kissed him again, thanking him for such a wonderful time.
When he finally broke away, Anthea was walking out of the exit doors, a suitcase behind her.
Philip’s heart sank, he realised the attraction was still as strong as previously, maybe even more so as he felt this may prevent her from wanting to see him again.