We Took the Fall

33: Give Her A Break

“Do we really have to do this?” Catalina posed as she watched Fernando fix his hair. It had been a few days since Alicia’s story had been released and even though she was intent on ignoring it, Catalina didn’t see the need to go overboard. She didn’t see the issue with spending another night in the safe confines on her home.

“We’ve not been out for anything other than work in days and I am starting to go a little stir-crazy, Lina” Fernando replied, smoothing out the gingery-blonde hair on his head “Besides, Sergio’s been on at me to introduce you to him since he found out that you were my ex” he added, offering her a small smile. He knew that she was still a little wary, even despite her decision to ignore what was going on, she still seemed a little cagey and he hoped a dinner date with the Real Madrid defender and his girlfriend would put her at ease, even if it was just for a little while. He missed her smile and her laugh.

“Why would Sergio want to meet me?” Catalina posed.

“Why wouldn’t he?” Fernando countered, moving to pull her up onto her feet.

“I assume he has seen the story?” Catalina posed as she followed his movements unwillingly, allowing him to hold her merely millimeters away from his chest.

“Yes, but I have ensured that he and Pilar know that it is all made up” he mused softly, dropping light kisses over her cheeks “Do you honestly think I would take you to a dinner where all people were going to do was bad mouth you?” he muttered.

Catalina shook her head gently. “Of course I don’t. I guess I am just a little nervous” she mused.

“And that is OK” Fernando smiled, his hand lightly squeezing hers in assurance “But I have spoken to my agent and they are working on a plan to stop your sister before things get even worse. Like you have told me time and time again for now, Catalina, we need to just grin and bear it, not matter how hard that seems, we just need to muddle through OK?” he mused, offering her another reassuring look.

Catalina studied the look on his face for a second before she nodded, offering him a slight smile in return. “Alright” she murmured, causing Fernando to place a light kiss on her forehead, mumbling that everything would be alright. Catalina held onto him for a moment. She knew that he was right, grinning and bearing it was the best option for them, but she couldn’t help but worry. She had a bad feeling about that night, even if Fernando did insist that they would be perfectly fine, and she couldn’t shake it, even despite his reassuring hugs or kisses. She knew that something was coming.

“You must be Catalina” Sergio mused as he eyed the blonde who stood at Fernando’s side, her blue eyes peeking anxiously around the restaurant. He wasn’t surprised that she was timid, after the article that had been written about her, she had every right to be a little skittish, but just one look at her told him that there was no truth to what had been written about her. She was as shy and as timid as Fernando had depicted her.

Catalina jumped a little at the sound of the defender’s voice and smiled, her small hand jutted out ahead of her. “That would be me” she mused gently.

“I’m Sergio” the defender replied, shaking her hand gently “And this is my girlfriend, Pilar” he added.

“It’s nice to meet you both” Catalina replied, shaking Pilar’s hand politely “Fernando talks about you, Sergio, almost non-stop” she added, a nervous laugh tumbling out of her mouth.

Sergio smiled. “Catalina, you’re perfectly alright with us” he mused.

Catalina blushed a little. She had hoped he wouldn’t catch on to just how shaky she was.

“Fernando was very quick to insist that your sister was lying and we’re inclined to believe him” Pilar added, offering the blonde a smile “We’ve never seen him so loved-up before” she added, her head gesturing towards the striker who held onto his girlfriend’s hand affectionately, occasionally squeezing it to offer her some kind of reassurance. Catalina turned and offered him a light smile before Sergio moved to lead them to a table, chattering about just how hungry he was.

“So, you two dated before?” Pilar posed as she lightly sipped on her glass of wine. It had been a pleasant night, both Pilar and Sergio had enjoyed getting to know Catalina and were more and more confident that she was the right girl for Fernando who hadn’t been able to keep his eyes off of her. He looked happy, more so than he ever had with Alicia, and it made it ever clearer that he had made the right call in leaving the older sister.

Catalina nodded her head. “We met when I was 17, but we didn’t start dating until a few weeks before my 19th birthday” she explained gently.

“And how long were you together?” Pilar queried.

“2 years” Fernando smiled, squeezing Catalina’s hand gently “They were a pretty good 2 years too” he added, placing an affectionate kiss on her temple.

“I cannot get over how cute the pair of you are” Pilar enthused, shaking her head “I can’t believe you two broke up” she added.

“That was on me” Catalina admitted gently “He wanted me to go to Liverpool with him and I, naively, turned him down” she murmured.

“You did what you thought was right at the time” Fernando reminded her gently “You were only 21 and I don’t blame you for not wanting to be settled down then. I was the first boyfriend you had” he added.

“You wanted to settle down?” Pilar posed.

“I was thinking about it” Fernando shrugged, a small tint of pink on his cheeks “There was even a moment where I thought about buying an engagement ring, but when the move to Liverpool came along, I knew I had to put the brakes on. I thought about a lot of things” he enthused with a timid look towards his girlfriend who was blushing. It was the first time he had admitted it, at the time, he’d not wanted to freak Catalina out or force her into something she didn’t know she wanted, but he couldn’t resist the opportunity to mention it. Even despite the brevity of their second relationship, it was the sort of thought that had briefly penetrated his mind and he wanted to test the water.

“You never told me that” Catalina mused, chewing on her lip slightly.

“When I found out about the Liverpool offer, I knew I couldn’t ask before I knew you wanted to come with me. I didn’t want you thinking that I was trying to force you into something you didn’t want to do” he explained earnestly.

Catalina shook her head. “For what it is worth, I might have said yes” she mused gently.

Fernando blinked. “You would have done?” he squeaked.

“I was stupidly in love with you” Catalina replied, fiddling with her hands shyly “I did want to spend my life with you, I just didn’t want to leave my home to do it” she added.

Pilar smiled. “I think we might be hearing wedding bells before too long, Sergio” she teased, nudging the defender who had been surveying the dessert menu, almost completely oblivious to the conversation flowing around him.

“Huh?” the defender poked, causing Pilar to roll her eyes.

“You’d have said yes?” Fernando squeaked, still trying to wrap his head around the notion.

Catalina shrugged. “I don’t know for sure, but I think I might have done” she murmured.

“Why didn’t you tell me that?” he poked.

“What was I supposed to say, Fernando? ‘Hey, if you proposed, I’d say yes’?” she quipped back.

“It would have been a start” Fernando replied.

Catalina shook her head. “It’s not exactly relevant right now” she murmured “It’s not like you’re going to get down on one knee any time soon” she added, sipping her drink.

Fernando sighed. “I just wish you’d told me. Perhaps then we would have been able to keep it together” he noted.

“I didn’t want to leave my life behind, Fernando” Catalina pointed out.

“Yes, because it would have been terrible to have to leave behind your witch of a mother and sister” he muttered sarcastically.

Catalina shook her head. “I am not getting into this with you right now” she murmured.

Fernando scoffed. “Just like you, Lina. Any sign of confrontation and you back down” he noted.

“Fernando” Sergio warned.

“What?” the striker quipped, the wine he had consumed making him a little obnoxious “She had the chance to come with me, to have a life with me, and she backed out, even though she wanted me” he muttered.

Catalina shook her head and quietly moved to her feet. “I am going to go and find a taxi” she murmured gently “It was nice meeting you, Sergio, Pilar” she noted kindly before she padded away, leaving her boyfriend sat at the table with his two friends who stared at him disapprovingly.

“You’re an idiot” Sergio quipped.

Fernando shook his head. “She wanted to be with me” he muttered stubbornly.

“She was 21, Fernando” Sergio muttered “And probably a little frightened that you could be the first and last boyfriend she ever had. Give her a break” he grumbled.

Fernando merely rolled his eyes. It wasn’t like he was the worst option in the world.
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Thanks to lokis210 and Jayme112234 for the comments :)