“Want to know how I got these scars?” Eric asked Amy who was nestled against him, her long fingers tracing the lines of the raised, rough tissue on his chest.
Looking up from where her head was resting against his shoulder she smiled a languid, post sex smile and blinked slowly at him, “Sure.”
“Well, I was backpacking through Europe and when I was in Venice I had stopped in a café for some lunch. Now mind you, I was traveling on a shoestring so lunch was nothing more than a bottle of water and a cheap sandwich from a corner mart, but I chose to eat it in San Marco Square just to make it feel fancier.”
Amy shifted her weight, propping her head up in her hand and leaning onto her elbow, her eyes losing some of their sleepiness as Eric spoke of faraway places she longed to visit.
“I was sitting on the ground against one of the pillars of the Doge’s palace, content to just watch the colorful collection of people passing by, most of who acted like they were the only people there. They were so unaware of things going on around them and were accidentally rude to others they hadn’t bothered to notice were sharing the city with them. It was both comical and annoying.”
It was Eric’s turn to shift, turning onto his side to face Amy, mimicking her head-propped-in-hand pose.
“But it was the three men in long black coats that caught and kept my attention.”
“Why?” Amy asked, her voice curious.
“Well, it was July in Venice, much too hot for the coats they were wearing. Plus, they were walking really slowly and their heads were swiveling around in slow motion like they were looking for someone. As it turned out they were looking for someone, a girl who didn’t look much older than 16, and when they saw her they made a synchronized beeline for her.”
Amy sat up, pulling a pillow into her lap and wrapping her arms around it, her posture tense. “What did they do to her?” she asked, her eyes wide.
“I don’t know what they would have done, but their intent seemed sinister to I jumped up and made my way to the girl. Fortunately I was closer so I was able to intercept her.”
“What did you do?”
Eric flipped back onto his back, lacing his fingers behind his head and crossing his feet at the ankle. “I took her by the arm and started walking her out of the square. I told her there were three men after her, but she said she knew that. She told me they were sent by the mob, she had information they wanted and she was trying to stay in hiding.”
“What was the information?” Amy asked, leaning forward.
“I don’t know; we never got that far. We heard the three men’s shoes on the stone sidewalk as they started running after us so we ran too.”
Eric sat up and crossed his legs, mimicking Amy by clutching a pillow in his lap, leaning in as he continued, “Venice is a twisty, labyrinthine city. We tried to lose them in the alleyways and by hopping across rows of tethered gondolas, but we couldn’t shake them. They finally caught up to us and tacked us both to the ground. I couldn’t even see what was happening with the girl, I was too busy getting my ass kicked. The guy who was pummeling me actually tried to end me, stabbing me three times and leaving me for dead.”
Amy pressed one hand over her mouth, stifling a gasp.
“When I woke up in the hospital I didn’t really have any information to give to the police since I never got the girl’s name. I never knew what happened to her.”
“Oh God, Eric. Really!?”
Eric smirked, “Nah, I got these when I fell into a barbed wire fence on my Uncle’s farm.”