Slow Dancing in the Darkness

43: Then Who Is She?

“Are you sure it’s nearly done?” Lionel mused into his phone as he climbed out of his car, making his way towards his apartment. It had been a tough match, away matches in Valencia were never easy, but they’d returned with a win, something which had left him in a buoyant mood. He knew it wouldn’t be long before the season reached its conclusion and he had more time to spend with his wife and their sons. Listening the voice on the other end of the phone, he smiled, lifting his bag onto his shoulder. “Another few days?” he posed “I think I can keep it under my hat til then. Gracias” he mused as he hung up the call, making his way upstairs and into his home.

“Gabriela” he called, setting his bag down beside the door.

“Living room” Gabriela’s voice called back.

Lionel smiled a little at the sound and stepped into the living room, his eyes landing on Gabriela who was curled up at one end of the couch, a book on pregnancy balanced on her lap. “You’re back sooner than I thought you would be” she mused, her eyes not looking up from her books. She knew if she did look up, she would say something she regretted and she didn’t want to make any sort of accusation. She knew him and knew better than to think that he could have led her on for 8 months.

“We caught an earlier flight” Lionel smiled “Aren’t you excited to see me?” he enthused.

Gabriela nodded. “Of course” she commented, still not looking up.

Lionel frowned a little and moved to sit beside her, trying to attract the stare of her eyes. “Gabby, are you OK?” he posed softly.

Gabriela sighed. “I have a couple of things I need to talk to you about” she murmured, closing her book carefully.

Lionel nodded his head. “You can talk to me about anything” he assured her gently.

Gabriela sat up a little. “Elliot kissed me again” she murmured gently.

Lionel stilled.

“He came here to pick up Noah after you left and he was spouting his usual lines. He just kept talking and then he kissed me, but I swear, Leo, I pushed him back. I just didn’t want you to hear it from anywhere else” she explained softly.

Lionel nodded his head slowly. “I appreciate that” he murmured.

Gabriela smiled feebly before she slipped her hand into the pocket of her sweater, carefully pulling out the photograph that Elena had given to her. “I want you to be honest with me, Lionel” she murmured gently, her hands fiddling with the photo “I don’t want any lies” she added, peeking over at him.

“Gabby, what are you talking about?” he posed.

“This” Gabriela noted as she placed the photograph into his hands.

Lionel looked down at it before his breath hitched in his throat, his dark eyes widening in a way that made Gabriela shake her head. “I knew it” she murmured gently.


“Is there just something about me?” Gabriela murmured “Am I really that bad as a wife?” she posed.

“No” Lionel insisted “It isn’t that, Gabby, I promise. I haven’t even looked at another girl since we started seeing one another” he added.

“Then who is she?” Gabriela posed.

“I…I can’t say” Lionel murmured.

Gabriela scoffed, shaking her head gently. “You think this is the time to be coy?” she posed softly.


“I don’t care, Leo. Unless you can prove to me that she isn’t what I think she is, then I don’t want to talk” she murmured.

“Can’t you give me the benefit of the doubt?” Lionel countered “I am not him, Gabriela” he added.

Gabriela shook her head. “I want to believe you, Leo, but you’re not giving me much to dispel my fears” she murmured softly.

Lionel stared at her, noting the slight slumping of her shoulders, and sighed. “Come with me” he noted, offering out a hand to her.

“Leo” Gabriela complained.

“Come with me” he repeated “I’ll give you something which should show you that I am not what you’re thinking I am” he insisted softly. He couldn’t be upset with her, after Elliot, he didn’t blame her for being concerned, but he wanted to show her that there was nothing to be concerned about. He hadn’t done anything wrong and he knew that he had to convince her.

Gabriela eyed his hand shyly before she placed her smaller hand into it, allowing him to lead her towards the door. “I am not going to be like him, Gabby” he assured her gently as he lifted her hand, gently placing a kiss to the skin. Gabriela watched the small action and let out a small sigh. She really hoped that he was telling the truth.

“Leo, why are we here?” Gabriela posed as he pulled up outside of the house which was in the picture. It had been a quiet drive, almost an hour of silence, and it had only served to make Gabriela a little more uncomfortable.

“Because I want to show you something” Lionel replied “Come with me” he noted as he walked around to her side of the car, extending a hand to her.

“Where are we?” Gabriela murmured.

Lionel shook his head. “Stop asking questions and just follow me OK? Trust me” he noted gently as he laced their fingers together.

Gabriela offered him a slightly dubious look before he led them up the path, slipping a key out of his pocket and into the door. “It’s not quite there yet” he noted as he carefully pushed the front door open “They reckon it could be finished next week, but seeing as you’re not inclined to believe that I am not cheating, I figured I could give you a sneak peek” he noted softly.

Gabriela frowned. “What are you talking about?” she posed as she looked up at him.

Lionel sighed. “The woman in the picture is my real estate agent” he noted gently “I have been meeting with her since we found out about bump in order to find us somewhere more fitting to live. Our apartment is great, but it can’t accommodate me, you, Noah, Thiago and the new baby, so I started to look around for something else and I found this place. I was working on having it fixed up before I showed it to you” he explained.

Gabriela stared at him, her blue eyes wide.

“I shouldn’t have hidden it, I should have known that you’d get edgy if you thought I was hiding something from you, but I wanted to surprise you. You’re 27 in a couple of weeks” he added.

Gabriela blinked. “You…this…me?” she spluttered.

“Mostly” Lionel smiled “I got a few things in for the boys and the baby, but mostly, I wanted to do it for you” he added kindly.

Gabriela shook her head, wordlessly cursing Elena and her own pregnancy hormones, before she stepped towards him, her arms pulling him into a tight hug as she murmured repeated apologies into his ear. She hated that she had accused him, that she had ruined the surprise, and she knew she had to make it up to him. He’d done something wonderful for her and she had stomped all over it because of her own insecurities. “Lo siento, Leo” she murmured “Lo siento” she added.

Lionel stepped back from her slightly and placed his hands over her cheeks, brushing away the tears that had snuck out of her eyes. “I am not upset with you, Gabby” he insisted gently.


“I’m not” he insisted with a small smile.

“I accused you” she murmured.

“Because you’ve been hurt before” Lionel noted “And I don’t blame you for being suspicious, but Gabby, I mean it when I say I am not going to be like him and I’d love for you to have a little more faith in that. In me” he mused.

Gabriela nodded. “I can work on that” she murmured.

Lionel smiled and kissed her forehead. “You’re stuck with me” he noted.

Gabriela hugged him close. She didn’t want to be stuck with anyone else.
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Thanks to Luuuc_19, Jayme112234 and FootieJo for the comments :)