Slow Dancing in the Darkness

64: As Long As She’s Happy, We’re Happy

“Whose wedding is it that we’re going to?” Lionel posed as he carefully adjusted the tie around his neck, his eyes glancing over at Gabriela who was finishing up her hair. It had been a few weeks since he had come home, and with training ahead of the new season due to start up the following week, he was intent on spending as much time with Gabriela and the children as he could, even if it did mean going to the wedding of one of her relatives, he didn’t quite want to let her out of his sight.

“She’s my cousin” Gabriela commented as she moved to place her feet into her heels.

“A close cousin?” Lionel posed.

“We kind of grew up together” Gabriela replied “My papa wasn’t great with the three of us, so we spent a lot of time with my grandmother. Me and Penelope are quite close in age so when she was there, we spent a lot of time together” she explained.

Lionel nodded along with her words, but couldn’t stop the smile that spread across his face as he looked at her. He couldn’t quite remember a time when he had seen her all dressed up. “You look spectacular” he murmured gently as he took a couple of steps towards her.

Gabriela shook her head. “I am not so sure about that” she mused “This dress still feels a little snug since Amelia” she added, her fingers attempting to stretch the material out a little.

“It looks perfect” Lionel mused, his hands slipping around her waist “It’d look better elsewhere, but I can settle for it on you right now” he teased.

Gabriela rolled her eyes and gently pecked his lips before she stepped away, collecting her cardigan and bag from the bed. “Are you ready?” she posed.

Lionel nodded his head and offered his hand out to her, something she was more than happy to accept, offering his hand a light squeeze. “You know that this is going to be the first time you meet most of my family” she noted softly.

“I know” Lionel smiled “But at the end of the day, after your papa who still isn’t exactly a huge fan of me, they can’t be that bad and besides, I know I am going to get to come home with you” he smiled, gently kissing her cheek.

Gabriela rolled her eyes, quipping a comment about him being cheesy, before she ducked into Amelia’s nursery to collect the little girl. Carefully settling her into her car seat, Gabriela spared a little sigh, her stomach flipping slightly. She knew that there was nothing to really be concerned about, after her father, David and Evan were going to be remarkably easy for Lionel to please, but that didn’t stop her worrying. There had been a wedge before, like Luca, David and Evan had been reluctant to get to know Elliot and had consequently missed out on spending time with Noah who, in almost 6 years, had spent very little time with his uncles or grandfather, something she didn’t want for Amelia.

“Ela?” Lionel noted from the hall, Noah stood ahead of him.

Gabriela swallowed, but quickly forced a smile. “Coming” she noted.

“Penny” Gabriela grinned as she pulled her cousin into a tight hug. It had been a wonderful ceremony, beautiful, and it had made Gabriela slightly envious. Both of her weddings had been quiet affairs, both conducted under the radar, and she was a little jealous that her cousin had gotten such a beautiful day. “Congratulations” she gushed.

Penelope grinned. “Gracias, Lala” she smiled “But I think I owe you double congratulations” she teased.

Gabriela shook her head, her cheeks a little pink.

“Oh come on, Lala” Penelope grinned “I have been dying to meet the new man in your life and your new baby. If Noah is anything to go by, then I am sure your daughter is just stunning” she enthused.

Gabriela smiled. “Come, I will introduce you” she grinned, linking their arms and carefully pulling her over towards the table where Lionel sat, feeding Amelia which Noah played on his phone.

“Leo?” Gabriela noted.

Lionel lifted his head, offering a polite smile. “You must be Penelope” he smiled.

“That’s me and you must be the lucky man who stumbled across my little cousin” Penelope noted.

“That would be me” Lionel smiled as he carefully moved to hand Amelia over to Gabriela, allowing him the chance to shake Penelope’s hand. “I’m Lionel, but I prefer Leo” he smiled.

Penelope nodded her head. “It’s nice to meet you, Leo” she smiled “I have to move on quite quickly, but I would love to catch up with the pair of you. We could do lunch next week” she mused.

“It’s sound great, Penny” Gabriela noted, peeking away from Amelia.

Penelope flashed the couple a bright smile before she moved away, greeting a few more guests. “She seemed nice” Lionel noted.

Gabriela nodded. “She’s lovely. Very bright and cheerful. It’s been a while since I spent time with her” she mused as she sat down, taking a small sip of water.

Lionel smiled. “It was a nice ceremony, don’t you think?” he commented.

Gabriela nodded her head. “Beautiful” she returned, a slight smile on her face “I almost wish I’d had something like it” she added.

Lionel frowned. “You didn’t do the whole big thing with Elliot?” he posed, his voice evidently surprised. Having met Elliot, he had figured he’d be the type to spend a lot of on a lavish wedding day in an attempt to show off, and it surprised him to hear that he hadn’t. It seemed like a very Elliot thing to do.

“We talked about it” Gabriela shrugged “But by that point, he’d pissed off most of my family and friends. Like we did, we got dressed up and went to the registry office. It was me, him, Elena, and his parents” she explained.

“So you never really got to be a bride?” Lionel posed.

“I was a bride twice” Gabriela smiled “But I never did the whole party thing. You and me were rushed and Elliot was that big an ass that my family could barely be in the same room as him” she shrugged.

Lionel opened his mouth to speak again, but was cut off as he spotted three men making a beeline towards them. “Ela” he murmured.

Gabriela lifted her head and smiled, beckoning her brothers and father towards them. “Papa, you remember Leo” she mused as she carefully moved back to her feet, placing Amelia into her car seat.

Luca nodded his head. “Of course. It’s good to see you again, Leo” he noted.

“Leo” Gabriela smiled as she carefully reached out for his hand “These are my two brothers, David and Evan” she introduced carefully.

Lionel stuck a hand out and greeted the two men with a polite smile before Amelia let out a small cry, causing Gabriela to excuse herself to change the little girl.

“So, you’re the new one?” David posed.

Lionel shook his head. “Not so new anymore” he noted softly “It’s been a year now” he added.

Evan nodded. “We know. Gabby called us after the first time you’d met” he noted.

Lionel furrowed his brow. “She did?” he posed.

David nodded. “She called my wife actually. She was very excited” he noted, a small smile playing on his face.

Lionel smiled gently. He kind of liked the idea that Gabriela had wanted to tell people about him so quickly.

“I can see you love her” Evan contributed.

“Her, Amelia and Noah” Lionel quipped with a smile.

“Then we only have one thing to say. As long as Lala is happy, we’re happy and as long as you’re the one who makes her happy, we’ll keep out of your way, but you know…”

“I know” Lionel interrupted “But you can rest assured, I have little intention of doing anything to jeopardize what we have here. I love your sister and intend to keep things very much the same” he grinned.

David and Evan exchanged a small look before David jutted a thumb over his shoulder. “Can we get you a drink?” he posed with a grin.
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