Slow Dancing in the Darkness

24: More Than Shocked

“You’re married?” Gerard Piqué quipped as he looked at his teammate, his forehead furrowed a little in confusion. It had come out of nowhere, the last that Gerard or anyone on the team had known, Lionel was single and still reeling from the end of his first marriage, and the defender couldn’t quite wrap his head around the notion that Lionel had a new wife, especially one that he had never mentioned in conversation before.

Lionel nodded his head. It had been a few days, after telling Elliot, Gabriela had wanted to take a couple of days for them to get their heads around the change to their relationship, but at last she had agreed that they needed to let people in, starting with his friends and family. He wanted to make a go of it, a real effort to show her that their hasty marriage could work out even despite the small amount of dating that had preceded it, and he didn’t want to hide it. He loved her, more than he thought he could given that he had only known her for two months, and he wanted people around him to know it. “I am” he confirmed gently.

“How?” Neymar squeaked.

“I proposed to her and then we got married” Lionel noted.

“You know what he meant” Javier Mascherano interjected “Last thing we knew, you were single, how comes you now have a new wife?” he added.

Lionel sighed and sat down on the seat ahead of his locker. “It was a whirlwind thing” he admitted.

“So a mistake?” Gerard pressed.

“No” Lionel replied “I mean that it happened quickly, but that doesn’t mean to say it can’t work out for us” he insisted.

“How much do you know about this girl?” Luis Suarez contributed.

“Gabriela” Lionel corrected gently “And I know enough to be sure about what I am doing. Guys, I get that it is a shock…”

“A shock would be that you had a girlfriend” Gerard interrupted “A wife is a little more than that, Leo” he added.

Lionel sighed. “Look, I get that you’re shocked, but I just wanted to let you in on something that I am very excited about. I know that it is fast, and that it is risky, but I love her and when I eventually bring her and her son…”

“She has a son?” Neymar posed.

“I do too” Lionel reasoned “Look, I love her, I care for her son, and I would love it if, when you meet them, you lot could try and make them feel welcome, OK? I’ve still got to tell my mother that I got married without her here and she’s going to freak. Please” he sighed.

Gerard looked at the forward for a second before he peeked around the room, sharing looks with a few of the others before he nodded. “Alright” he conceded “We’ll be nice, but if you get hurt…”

“I know” Lionel smiled “But I am pretty sure about this is. Gabby and Noah are fantastic” he grinned.

“We’ll see” Gerard noted.

“Are you sure that you want to do it like this?” Gabriela murmured as she peeked at the laptop ahead of her, her hands shifting a little nervously.

“I don’t see another way” Lionel shrugged “Besides, it’s only an introduction right now. The whole us being married thing can probably wait until I head back to Argentina for the international break” he enthused softly. He knew that she was concerned, his parents were going to be more than a little surprised that there was a new woman in his life, and Lionel wanted to take it slowly. With Elliot yet to speak to her after Noah’s birthday, Gabriela was already on edge and didn’t need his relatives calling her every name under the sun.

“I know” Gabriela murmured “But still” she added.

“They’re going to love you” Lionel insisted, moving to call his mother “It’s hard not to” he added, kissing her softly.

Gabriela pulled away and offered him a small frown. “What if they don’t love me?” she murmured.


“Leo” Gabriela mumbled “What if they don’t take to me?” she posed.

Lionel sighed. “Then we deal with it. It’s not like they’ll be the first people to not love this whole thing” he insisted, squeezing her hand gently.

Gabriela opened her mouth to reply before another voice entered the room, causing her to look at the computer. “Lionel” Celia muttered “You never call” she added.

“I call plenty” Lionel replied “Besides, if it bothered you so much, all you have to do is say. I’ll fly you and Papa over” he added, flashing her a boyish smile that made the older woman’s face lighten.

“Still as cute as ever, mi hijo” she enthused.

Lionel smiled. “Gracias, Mama” he smiled.

Celia shook her head. “Aren’t you going to introduce us, Leo?” she posed, her eyes flicking to the brunette who held her son’s hand.

“Of course” he smiled “Mama, this is Gabriela. Gabriela, this is my mother, Celia” he enthused.

“Gabriela” Celia noted.

“Hola” Gabriela smiled shyly “It’s nice to meet you” she added.

“Likewise” Celia quipped “Though, my son hasn’t mentioned much about you” she added.

“That’s probably on me” Gabriela admitted, shifting nervously in her seat “It’s taken me a little while to grow used to the idea of being with your son and I wanted to take a little time before we started to tell people. I don’t want people to get the wrong idea about me” she mused softly.

Celia nodded. “I get that” she smiled “As much as he hates it, Leo’s a big deal” she added.

Gabriela smiled. “He’s a credit to you” she commented.

“Thank you” Celia smiled.

Gabriela nodded gently before she excused herself, mumbling something about getting dinner ready for Noah.

“So?” Lionel posed once Gabriela was out of earshot.

“She seems lovely” Celia noted “I’d like to meet her in person” she added.

“You’ll have to come here” Lionel returned “Complications with her ex mean she can’t take their son abroad without him and the last thing you need is to meet Elliot” he insisted.

“We’ll come over in a few weeks then” Celia noted “Leo, sweetheart…”

“I know” Lionel interrupted “And I will be careful, mama, but I have a wonderful feeling about this” he insisted.

“You thought that last time” Celia pointed out “And it all ended in tears. I just don’t want you getting your hopes up again. One of the best things about you is how optimistic you are” she insisted.

Lionel smiled bashfully. “I have this, mama” he insisted “I’ll be careful” he noted gently. He understood her concerns, a lot of people were going to have them, but he was confident in them. What he had with Gabriela was good and he wasn’t about to let people tell him that it wasn’t.
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Thanks to FootieJo and Jayme112234 for the comments :)