Slow Dancing in the Darkness

08: I Guess That I’m Just That Good

“Mama, why am I wearing my best shirt?” Noah posed as he looked up at his mother, his little hand tugging as the neatly pressed check shirt. It was odd, unless they were having dinner with his grandparents, Gabriela never normally dressed him, and it had left Noah a little confused. As far as he knew, his grandparents were back home in Seville.

Gabriela, who had been brushing her hair, smiled. “Because we’re meeting some people and I want you to look nice” she smiled, crouching down ahead of him “There’s going to be another little boy here and I want you to make an effort to be nice OK, Noah? I know new people aren’t exactly your strong point, but I need you to make an effort OK, baby?” she posed, her fingers lightly brushing through his hair. She was a little nervous, Noah tended to struggle when it came to meeting new people or making new friends, but she wanted him to make the effort with Lionel’s son. If things worked out, the chances were that the two boys would spend a lot of time together and she wanted him to be comfortable with it.

“Another boy?” Noah posed.

Gabriela nodded. “He’s a little younger than you are, so I need you to be really nice to him OK?” she encouraged.

Noah thought for a second before he nodded, offering his mother a little grin. “I will be nice, mama” he mused.

Gabriela grinned and pressed a kiss to his head. “That’s my boy” she cooed before she stood up, gently taking his hand before she led his across the hall, lightly tapping on Lionel’s door. It was slightly nerve-wracking, the thought of going out on another date with him, but she was sure that the feeling of nervousness would fade. She had been nervous before their first date and it had turned out to be a comfortable experience that she had been itching to replicate since it had ended.

“Look at you” Lionel grinned “You’re perfectly on time” he mused.

“We live across the hall, Lionel” Gabriela returned, offering him a smile.

Lionel chuckled gently. “I guess you’re right” he mused “Would you like to come in? Thiago’s just waiting on me to put his shoes on and then we’ll be good to go” he explained, gesturing into the apartment. Gabriela nodded her head before she felt Noah squeeze her hand, a tell that he had developed to announce his nervousness to his mother.

“Mama, who is this?” the little boy whispered, shying behind her a little.

Gabriela smiled and gently placed her hand against his shoulder, ushering him away from her legs. “Noah, this is Lionel. He’s a friend of mine” she noted.

“Like Elena was a friend of papa?” Noah quipped, tilting his head.

Gabriela swallowed. “Not quite, sweetheart” she murmured through gritted teeth, a sound that made Lionel quirk an eyebrow. He had a feeling that ‘Elena’ was a subject he would have to broach when Noah and Thiago were nowhere to be seen. “Lionel, this is my son, Noah” Gabriela added, her voice softening a little.

Lionel smiled and crouched down, reaching the eyelevel of the toddler. “So, you’re Noah” he mused, earning a timid nod from the little boy “Your mama says you like zoo animals” he mused, earning another nod. Lionel smiled briefly before he took a step away, returning quickly with a newly bought koala toy. “I have a friend who loves the zoo too. He bought me this, but I think it might be better off with you, what do you say?” he posed, offering the toy out to Noah. The little boy eyed it for a second before he peeked up at Gabriela, wordlessly asking if it was alright to take it.

Gabriela smiled. “Go on” she encouraged.

Noah grinned and took the toy, offering the argentine a small ‘thank you’ before he turned back to Gabriela, showing it off. The brunette smiled gently and moved to lead him into the living room, her blue eyes landing on the small boy who already sat inside, playing happily with his toys. “Thiago?” Lionel mused “Come on, buddy, we need to get your shoes on. Can you go and get them for me?” he noted. The toddler turned his head, offering his father a look, before he padded out of sight.

“He’s adorable” Gabriela cooed.

Lionel nodded. “He has his madre to thank for that” the footballer mused.

“I think he’s the spitting image of you, which would, in turn, make you adorable” she enthused, offering him a cute smile.

“Well, I am not going to fight with such a wonderful compliment” he smiled, pecking her lips gently.

Gabriela giggled and took a step back as Thiago stepped back into the room, his little shoes clutched in his hand. “Vamos” Lionel grinned, helping the toddler onto his couch “Let’s get these on so that we can head to the park. Do you want to go on the slide?” he posed, marveling at Thiago who giggled, nodding his head. Lionel offered him a cheeky grin and moved to place the shoes on his feet, tying them up with a flourish.

Noah, who stood at his mother’s feet, squeezed her hand once more, causing her to look down at him. “What’s wrong, baby?” she posed.

“My shoe” he whispered “It’s not tied up” he added.

Gabriela sighed and leant down, only for Lionel to stop her, offering another soft grin. “Let me show you how to do it, Noah” he mused, taking the two shoelaces in his hands “Watch me, Noah” he added, making sure that the 4 year old was watching before he tied the lace. Noah furrowed his brow slightly before he crouched down, undoing his other shoe before he took the two laces in his little hands, following the actions that Lionel had made before he stood up again, grinning at his mother.

“Look, mama” he grinned.

“That’s wonderful, Noah” she grinned “It was easy right?” she added.

Noah nodded his head, looking very proud of himself.

“What do you say to Lionel?” Gabriela encouraged.

Noah smiled. “Thank you, Lionel” he quipped before he noticed Thiago and his toys, toddling away.

“You know, his papa couldn’t even manage that” Gabriela noted, watching the two boys.

“He couldn’t?” Lionel posed.

Gabriela shook her head. “I’ve been trying to get it done for months. You managed it 5 minutes after meeting him” she quipped, smiling gently.

Lionel shrugged nonchalantly. “I guess I am just that good” he teased, stealing another brief kiss.

Gabriela smiled. She couldn’t help but think he was probably right.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 & FootieJo for the comments :)