You Loved Me Once

101: Like The First Time

Wrinkling her nose a little, Alba peeked open one of her eyes, looking over at the alarm clock which sat on the end table. It had been a quiet night, with Isabella having settled down again after teething, she had returned to her usual sleeping pattern and it relieved Alba who, for the previous few weeks, had struggled to get a decent night’s sleep. Pushing a hand through her hair, she sat up slightly before checked the time again, letting out a small squeak when she saw that it read almost half past nine. Frowning a little, she kicked the duvet off before she collected a sweater from the side, quickly making her way towards Isabella’s nursery.

“You’re OK”

Alba, who’d reached the nursery door, startled a little at the sound of the voice before she turned, her eyes glancing over her shoulder at Lionel who stood a little away from her, Isabella rested on his hip. “I’ve got her” he added with a smile.

Alba blinked a little before she shook her head, a small smile playing at the corner of her mouth. “I thought you’d not be back until later” she noted, tugging her sweater a little more around her.

“I got going as soon as you hung up the phone last night” Lionel smiled “I’ve been here a couple of hours, but I didn’t want to wake you. You looked so content” he enthused.

Alba nodded her head gently before she stepped a little closer to him, something which afforded Lionel the change to place his spare hand onto her cheek, pulling her into a soft kiss that brought a grin up on Alba’s face. It had only been a few days, almost 8 had passed since they’d last been face to face, but still Alba couldn’t resist smiling into the kiss. As silly as it was, she had missed him. “Hola” Lionel mused gently as he pulled away from her.

Alba’s cheeks warmed a little before she ducked into him one more, stealing another soft kiss. “Hola” she smiled warmly.

Lionel chuckled. “Someone has missed me, hasn’t she, Bella?” he teased as he shifted the little girl slightly.

Alba rolled her eyes slightly, something which made her boyfriend smile. “You know you’ve missed me” he teased as he offered her his spare hand, leading her through to the kitchen.

“Of course I have” Alba quipped, her tone caught somewhere between sincere and sarcastic.

Lionel smiled and set Isabella in her chair before he stepped towards Alba, wrapping her in a soft hug. “I’ve missed you” he murmured gently.

Alba smiled. “I missed you too” she murmured softly.

Lionel held onto her for a moment before he ducked back, offering her a small smile. “Do you have plans for today?” he posed softly.

Alba nodded. “My mother invited me and Bella to lunch with her and my papa. You could join us?” she suggested gently. She knew he wasn’t going to be the most welcome guest, even if her mother and father were trying to get their heads around the idea that she wanted to marry him, but still Alba wanted him to accompany her. Whether they liked him or not, they needed to get used to the idea that he was going to be around.

Lionel, who’d moved to pour himself a cup of juice, tilted his head. “You want me to go to lunch with your parents?” he posed.

“I would like that” Alba mused softly.

Lionel offered her a slightly dubious look before he nodded, conceding that he would go with her.

“I didn’t expect to see you, Leo” Annabella smiled gently “I thought you’d still be out of town with the team” she added.

Lionel, who was stood beside Alba, smiled gently. “I left pretty much as soon as the match ended last night to get back. I hope you don’t mind me intruding” he noted politely. He didn’t want to be there, with only a few hours before they were due to fly back to Barcelona, Lionel had hoped that he would have a little time alone with Alba and Isabella, but he knew that he couldn’t have turned Alba down when she asked. It was still a problem, his relationship with her parents, and he didn’t want to be accused of not trying to get along with them.

“Not at all” Annabella smiled “I made plenty of food. Why don’t you go through and I will serve up in a second” she enthused brightly before she headed back towards the kitchen.

Lionel watched after the older woman for a moment before Alba squeezed his hand, offering him a soft smile. “You’re going to be fine” she mused softly.

Lionel nodded. “I know” he mumbled “But I still feel awkward about being here. It feels like it did the first time you bought me home as your boyfriend” he quipped.

Alba smiled. “Try and make it go better than that did. If I remember rightly, you barely said a word and my papa did nothing but glare at you” she quipped as she padded into the living room, Isabella in her arms.

Lionel watched after her before he let out a slightly nervous sigh, hoping that that lunch went better than the first one he’d shared with Alba’s parents after they’d started to date.

“How are the wedding plans coming, you two?” Annabella posed as she placed food onto Lionel’s plate, offering him a small smile.

“They coming along nicely” Alba smiled “We’ve got a venue now and when we get home, we’ll have to send out invites, but all of the other little details are being handled by Eva and Leo’s madre” she explained softly.

“You’re not far out now” David commented from his spot at the end of the table, his eyes glancing at Lionel who sat quietly beside Alba, pushing the food that Annabella had placed ahead of him around the plate.

“We’re not” Alba confirmed “But we’re still taking each day at a time, aren’t we, Leo?” she posed, not missing the look on her father’s face.

“We are” Lionel confirmed gently, offering her a brief smile.

David tilted his head a little, something which didn’t go unnoticed by Alba who shook her head gently. “Papa” she warned softly.

“I am just checking, Alba” David murmured softly.

“I appreciate that you are checking up on me, Senor Nunez” Lionel murmured, cutting Alba off before she had the chance to retort “But I am OK. I don’t feel even slightly nervous” he enthused, offering the older man his most confident smile.

David nodded. “I am glad” he noted softly “As hard as I am on you, I do want things to work out for you two. I doubt I have seen my daughter as happy as she had been for the last few months” he mused with a soft look towards Alba whose cheeks tinged a little pink.

Lionel smiled softly at the older man’s words and offered him an appreciative nod, one that David was quick to return. He doubt that he would warm to Lionel quickly, it had already been over a year and still he was entirely comfortable with him being around Alba, but he knew that couldn’t interfere anymore. He doubted that he had seen his daughter as happy as she had been since she had gotten back with Lionel for a long time and he didn’t want to be the reason that it fell apart.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 for the comment :)