Slow Dancing in the Darkness

17: Get Him Under Control

Sipping on his drink, Lionel watched Gabriela, a sad smile on his face as she admired her with her son. She was a wonderful mother, Noah clearly adored her, and he hated that there wasn’t anything he could do for them. They didn’t deserve it, Gabriela and Noah didn’t deserve to be kept under Elliot’s control, but with little he could do besides marry her, Lionel doubted things would change. It was merely a matter of time before Elliot announced that his company needed him to leave Barcelona, something which would inevitably spell the end of Gabriela’s relationship with Lionel. They’d talked about it, what would happen when Elliot inevitably demanded that she and Noah follow him away from Barcelona, and they’d both agreed that it would be the end. Neither of them wanted to find themselves in a long distance relationship.

“He’s going to Elliot’s?” Lionel posed, setting his coffee down onto the counter.

Gabriela nodded. “Elliot wanted to come and get him a little early this week. He’s away on business trip Sunday night so he wants him Friday to Sunday as opposed to Saturday to Monday” she explained, carefully running a brush through Noah’s hair, noting that he would probably need a haircut soon.

“You’re Ok with that?” Lionel posed.

Gabriela shrugged. “I don’t get much of a choice” she murmured “Besides, Noah loves seeing his papi, he’s excited, aren’t you baby?” she smiled, peeking down at Noah who offered her a wide grin. Lionel watched the small interaction and shook his head, hating that such a sweet boy was caught between his mother and a man whose only ambition seemed to be making his ex-wife miserable.

“Why don’t you go and pack you shirt, Noah?” Gabriela suggested softly “I am sure your nana would love to let you watch Barcelona’s game at the weekend” she added, gently ushering the little boy out of the room. Noah grinned, babbling excitedly about the match, before he padded into his bedroom, leaving his mother and her boyfriend alone. “I hate that I have to let him go” she murmured as she padded over to Lionel who wrapped his arms happily around her.

“Elliot’s his papi” Lionel reminded her softly.

“Not much of one” Gabriela muttered.

Lionel shook his head and placed a kiss on her cheek, hugging her close. He didn’t know quite what to say to her, things weren’t going to be alright and he didn’t want to lie to her. Chances were that as soon as he could manufacture it, Elliot would have Noah and Gabriela out of Barcelona and Lionel knew that Gabriela knew it too. “You could give consideration to my offer again” he mumbled, kissing the top of her head affectionately.

Gabriela shook her head. “You don’t even know me, Leo, not really” she protested “How could you want to marry me?” she added.

Lionel opened his mouth to reply, but was stopped by the sharp knock at the door, something which caused Gabriela to pull away from him. Taking a little breath, she wrapped her dressing gown around her a little more before she pulled the door open, her eyes widening at the sight of Elliot’s mother and father. “Rodrigo, Elise” she squeaked.

“Gabby” Elise greeted gently.

“I was expecting Eli” Gabriela replied.

“He wanted to come, but he was called into the work at the last minute and seeing as we were around, I volunteered. You don’t mind, do you?” Elise posed softly. She had always liked Gabriela, the brunette was sweet and had seemed like a perfect match for her son, and Elise hated how things had ended. Gabriela had deserved a lot better of Elliot and of Elena.

“Oh” Gabriela squeaked “He’s just in his room. Leo…”

“So Elliot was right” Rodrigo interrupted, his eyes flicking towards the argentine who stood in Gabriela’s kitchen in nothing by his t-shirt and boxer shorts “You’re dating a footballer” he added.

“Rodrigo, I hardly think who I date is of concern to you” Gabriela mused.

“He’s around my grandson” Rodrigo noted.

“More than your son” Lionel countered, earning a slightly warning look from Gabriela.

Rodrigo let a bitter smile spread across his face. “And what do you know about it?” he posed, taking a step towards the argentine.

“I know how badly your son has treated Gabriela” Lionel quipped, not backing down from the challenge “I know that he cheated on her and made a fool out of her for years and now that she’s finally rid of him, your son is intent on doing everything he can in order to make her miserable, something I assume you’re more than happy to help in, Senor Dominguez” he added.

Rodrigo shook his head. “You’ve only heard her side” he countered.

“I don’t care” Lionel replied, shrugging “I hardly doubt anything you say is going to make me any less convinced that your son only wants Gabriela because he can’t have her. Your son lost the best thing he ever had because of his own stupidity and you’re not going to convince me that she is in any way to blame” he explained.

“Leo” Gabriela interrupted. She could see that Rodrigo was only getting more and more irate and she didn’t want him antagonized further. Like his son, Rodrigo seemed to hold a lot of cards.

Lionel offered her a look before he nodded, excusing himself to collect Noah from his room.

Rodrigo watched him walk away before he turned to his former daughter-in-law. “You’re seriously dating that?” he muttered.

“I really don’t it ought to matter to you, Rodrigo” Gabriela noted.

Rodrigo shook his head. “You’d better get him under control before he says something he regrets” he muttered before Lionel appeared again, Noah trailing along at his side. Gabriela offered Rodrigo a look before she stepped towards her son, gently wrapping him in a hug.

“I’m going to miss you so much, Noah” she murmured gently, kissing his temple.

Lionel watched them and placed his arm around Gabriela’s waist, offering Noah an affectionate smile. “See you soon, little guy” he smiled, ruffling Noah’s hair gently. Noah grinned and wrapped his arms around Lionel, hugging him tightly before Gabriela set him back on his feet, allowing him to walk over to his grandparents.

“Elliot will bring him home on Sunday, Gabby” Elise smiled pleasantly as she lifted Noah onto her hip, handing his bag to Rodrigo who shot daggers at the argentine who stood beside Gabriela, his arm around her waist.

Gabriela nodded. “I love you, Noah” she insisted, offering the toddler a small wave.

Noah grinned and returned it before his grandmother carried him out of the room, allowing Gabriela to cuddle into Lionel’s arms who kissed her head gently, wordlessly vowing to do whatever it took to make sure that she and Noah were OK.