Slow Dancing in the Darkness

26: It Happens

“Are you excited to be back here, Noah?” Gabriela posed as she folded down the chair for her son, offering him a small smile. It had been a surprise, until she had started spending time with Lionel, Noah had shown little to no interest in football, but since the argentine had invited them to the game against Roma before the season had kicked off, it was all Noah talked about. He loved watching football, he even wore his Barcelona shirt whenever they played, and Gabriela had to admit that she found it sweet. She had a feeling that Noah’s love of football had stemmed from his affection for Lionel and she found it cute.

Noah offered her a wide grin and nodded, settling into his seat. “I love it here” he enthused.

Gabriela smiled and sat at his side. “You’ll thank Leo for the tickets, won’t you?” she posed, wrapping his Barcelona scarf around his neck. She’d gone a little overboard, before kickoff, she had visited the store which was outside of the stadium to pick up a few new things for Noah as a late birthday present, but she hadn’t been able to resist. The new away shirt had been joined by a scarf and a baseball cap which sat proudly on top of Noah’s dark curls.

Noah nodded. “Is he going to play, mama? He’s a good player” he enthused.

Gabriela smiled. “I’d expect so” she mused softly “I am sure they’d like him to score goals” she added.

Noah smiled. “He scores lots of goals” he grinned.

Gabriela nodded her head and turned her eyes down to the pitch, admiring the team which had walked ahead of kick off. It had been a tough week, with a defeat against Celta Vigo riding on their shoulders, Gabriela knew that they’d want to set the record straight and she was pretty sure that they could manage it, even if they hadn’t quite reached the heights of the previous season, a match against newly promoted Las Palmas was almost exactly what they needed to get over it. “Can you see Leo, Noah?” she posed, smiling down at the 5 year old who was almost bouncing in his seat.

Noah grinned and nodded his head, something which made Gabriela smile fondly. She wasn’t stupid, Elliot’s radio silence wasn’t going to last forever and their parents were going to throw a spanner in the works, but she liked the way that Noah had grown attached to Lionel. Her son had never looked happier and she knew that that was the main thing. Smiling, she settled down into her seat and carefully watched the match unfolding ahead of her, trying to keep up with it. She wasn’t the biggest football fan, she’d never really watched a game until she had started seeing Lionel, but she was slowly growing to understand it, even if she wasn’t great with the specifics, she was getting better.

Watching the goal closest to them, Gabriela smiled as the ball was passed to Lionel’s feet, only to grimace when he fell to the ground, his hands gripping his knee. “Mama” Noah squeaked, watching as the medics sped onto the pitch.

“I am sure he’s Ok, Noah” Gabriela insisted, her hand subtly gripping onto the bag which was between her feet.

“He looks hurt” Noah murmured, shuffling a little closer to his mother.

Gabriela nodded. “I know” she insisted, watching as Lionel attempted to walk off his injury “But he’s standing up, look, Noah” she added, directing her son’s attention back to the pitch.

Noah smiled a little and relaxed back into his seat, allowing Gabriela to shoot a look towards the touchline where another player had taken off his jacket. “Sweetheart” she murmured, her blue eyes watching as Lionel made his way towards the touchline, shaking his head softly “I want to go and check on him, do you mind missing the rest of the game?” she posed gently. She didn’t quite know how she would find him, or if she would even be let near him, but she wanted to try. The idea that he was hurt didn’t sit well with her.

Noah looked up at his mother and nodded. “Ok, mama” he smiled gently.

Gabriela smiled at him softly and took his hand, wanting to find Lionel as soon as she could.

Resting back against the bed, Lionel stared up at the ceiling, his mind whirring with the news that the doctors had given to him. He hated it, missing games was easily one of his least favourite things, and the idea that he could miss two months’ worth of matches hurt him a little. “Senor Messi?” a nurse noted as he stepped back into his room “There’s a woman at reception asking after you” he added.

Lionel nodded and swung his feet out of the bed, collecting the crutches from the side before he made his way out of the room, his eyes softening a little as he spotted Gabriela at the desk, Noah clutching at her leg. “Gabby” he called gently.

“Leo” Gabriela replied as she padded over towards him.

Lionel smiled and hobbled back towards his room, not wanting to cause a scene. “You didn’t have to come here, nena” he insisted as he sat back down on the bed “I’d have been home in a little while. I was just waiting on the doctor and then Gerard to come and get me” he explained.

“I wanted to” Gabriela insisted “I was worried” she added softly.

“I’m Ok” he replied softly, smiling down at Noah who eyed his leg a little unsure.

“Are you going to play again?” the little boy posed.

Lionel chuckled. “I will do” he replied softly “But not for a couple of months. They reckon it could keep me out for 8 weeks as long as it doesn’t require surgery” he noted.

“8 weeks?” Gabriela posed.

Lionel nodded.

“I’m sorry” Gabriela murmured “I know how much you hate it” she added.

“I’ll get over it” he mused “It’s just means you’ll have to get used to me being at home for a little while” he added, smiling a little.

Gabriela smiled. “I think I can manage that” she enthused softly “You sure that you’re OK?” she added, her hand gently brushing over his knee.

Lionel caught her hand and placed a kiss on it, nodding his head slightly. “Fine” he mused “I mean, it happens” he added.

“I was worried” Gabriela murmured, her blue eyes peeking shyly up at him “I mean, I know there was no stretcher and that you walked off by yourself, but it scared me” she noted.

Lionel smiled. “I kind of like that you worried” he enthused softly “But I promise, I am OK” he added.

Gabriela offered him a soft smile before she ducked in to kiss him, causing Noah to let out a small ‘eww’ sound.

“I agree with the little boy”

Lionel chuckled and pulled away from his wife, offering a look towards the door where Gerard stood. “You’re late” he noted.

“I don’t think you missed me too much” the defender quipped “This must be the new Mrs Messi” he added with a look towards the brunette who stood beside his friend.

Lionel nodded. “This is her” he enthused, his arm wrapping around Gabriela’s waist “Gerard, this is Gabriela and Noah, my wife and her son. Gabby, this is Gerard, he plays for Barca with me” he introduced gently.

Gabriela smiled shyly. “Hola, Gerard” she mused shyly.

“Hola, Gabriela” Gerard smiled “Your husband’s very complimentary of you” he added.

“I doubt that” Gabriela mumbled, shying away into Lionel’s shoulder slightly.

Gerard smiled. One look at Lionel’s face told him that Gabriela was nothing to be concerned about. The argentine was smitten and Gerard had a sense that Gabriela was the same. “You still need that lift home, hombre?” he posed.

Lionel nodded. “That would be great. Gabby doesn’t drive” he insisted gently.

“I’ll give you a second then” Gerard excused himself gently.

Gabriela watched him go before she turned to Lionel who offered her a comforting smile, wordlessly assuring her that all was alright.
♠ ♠ ♠
Thanks to Jayme112234 and FootieJo for the comments :)