Slow Dancing in the Darkness

62: I Never Meant To Make You Feel That Way

“Leo!” Noah’s loud voice echoed through the house as the argentine stepped through the door, setting his jacket down beside it. It had been a week, a long week if he was honest, but he had enjoyed it, even if it did feel slightly weird not to be at home. He’d taken Gabriela out a couple of times, short and sweet dates that enabled him to get to know her better than he had before, and he had to admit he felt better for it. He knew it wasn’t what she wanted, on nearly all of their dates, she had asked him whether or not he was ready to return home, but he wanted to be a little careful. They’d run into things before and he didn’t want to make the same mistake again.

“Noah” Lionel replied, crouching down to the little boy’s height “What are you doing?” he posed, noting the traces of flour on his face.

“Mama’s helping me make cookies” Noah grinned “You can help too” he grinned, grabbing onto his step-father’s hand and pulling him into the kitchen. “Mama, Leo’s going to help too” he noted as he stepped into the room.

Gabriela, who had been stirring cookie dough, looked up, a small smile appearing at the sight of her husband. It still felt weird, the idea that he wasn’t next to her when she fell asleep, but she didn’t want to push him to hard. She’d clearly hurt him with the entire Elliot situation and she wanted him to come back on his own terms. “He’s roped you in too, has he?” she teased.

Lionel nodded. “It would appear so” he smiled “Why is he covered in flour?” he posed.

“It’s his way of helping” Gabriela noted “He tossed almost half a bag over himself and the floor before I got it off of him” she smiled.

Noah grinned impishly and tugged on Lionel’s hand, pulling him closer to Gabriela. “You can put them in the oven, Leo” Noah grinned.

Lionel peeked down at the little boy and smiled. “Alright” he noted “Can you give me a hand?” he added, gesturing to the oven. Noah nodded his head enthusiastically and bounced towards the oven, carefully opening it with Gabriela’s help before Lionel placed the tray inside, closing the door behind him.

“Noah, sweetheart, why don’t you go and play in the living room until the cookies are ready?” Gabriela posed.

Noah nodded his head and tossed his arms around Lionel, offering him a tight hug. “I missed you” he mumbled gently before he stepped out of the room, leaving his mother alone with her husband.

“Did you hear that?” Lionel posed.

Gabriela nodded. “He’s not the only one” she replied with a little shrug “I know I miss you and Amelia does too. A couple of hours a day aren’t enough for her, Leo, and they’re not enough for me either” she explained carefully.

Lionel sighed.

“I get that you’re hesitant” Gabriela noted “But I am starting to get the sense that you don’t want to come back” she added gently, her blue eyes looking up at him shyly.

Lionel’s expression softened.

“I just want things to be normal again, Leo” Gabriela continued “I want you to come home and for us to go back to what we were before this things with Elliot cropped up again. I miss my husband” she rambled.

Lionel listened to her for a moment before he took a couple of paces towards her, his hands capturing hers which fiddled with the bottom of the shorts she wore. “Ela” he murmured.

“We’ll have been together a year in two days” Gabriela murmured, not looking up at him “If you’re done with it, you might as well just say it” she added, her voice growing a little heavy.

“Ela” he repeated gently “Mi amor, look at me” he noted.

“Why?” Gabriela countered “I’d rather I wasn’t looking at you when you told me that you wanted to end this” she muttered.

“But I don’t want to” Lionel countered, one his hands moving onto her cheek “Ela, the last thing I want is to lose you” he added.

“Then why are you still staying in a hotel, Leo?” she countered “I’ve got people asking me over and over again why you’re not here with me and I am sick of explaining it. You either want this to work or you don’t and the longer you stay away, the more convinced I get that you’re just trying to let me down easy” she noted, for the first time showing a hint of frustration. She knew why he was doing it, after all that had happened with her former husband, he had every right to want to be a little more cautious than they had been before, she was slowly getting irked. She liked that he wanted to date her, to get to know her better, but she didn’t see why he couldn’t do it from their home. She was even willing to accept him staying in the spare room if it was what it took.

Lionel shook his head. “That’s not it at all” he murmured “Ela, I want us to be together” he insisted.

“Then come home” Gabriela murmured.

Lionel mulled her words over for a second before he nodded. “Ok” he agreed.

Gabriela blinked. “You…”

“Ela, I don’t want to lose you” he interrupted, a small smile appearing on his face “And I never intended to make you think that I didn’t want to be with you. I just needed some time to reevaluate and I am done with it. I never meant to make you think that we were slipping away” he insisted, his thumb carefully brushing over her cheekbone, wiping away tears she didn’t even seem to be aware of.

“I just don’t want to keep playing games, Leo” she murmured “We’ve got Amelia to think of” she added.

“Then I will go back to that hotel and pack my stuff and come home” he smiled gently.

“You mean that?” Gabriela squeaked, her expression hopeful.

Lionel smiled. “I don’t want to drag this out anymore, Ela” he insisted “This is where I want to be, where I need to be, and I am sorry that I made you doubt that. I just wanted to take some time” he explained carefully.

Gabriela shook her head and hooked her arms around his neck. “Don’t apologize” she noted, her nose bumping his “Just… come home” she added, her lips curving into a gentle smile. Lionel admired it for a second before he ducked his head, kissing her gently for a few moments before the timer on the oven sounded, causing them to jump apart.

“You’re going to come home?” Gabriela posed as she moved to the oven, carefully pulling out the tray of cookies out of the oven.

Lionel nodded. “I am” he confirmed.

Gabriela smiled and stepped back towards him, kissing him gently once more.

She just wanted things to get back on track.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 and Luuuc_19 for the comments :)