You Loved Me Once

10: Grow Up

Pulling the zip around on her suitcase, Alba let out a little sigh, her stomach flipping uncomfortably. It had been a couple of days, after finding Lionel in her bed, Alba had taken to avoiding Eva and Oscar before she had decided that to leave, something she knew wouldn’t sit well with her friends.

She knew that they would likely kick up fuss, Eva in particular was likely to be upset by the call, but Alba knew it was the right one. She couldn’t be near him, not after that night, and she didn’t want to pretend that she could be. She was confused, conflicted, and she wanted to get as far away from him as she could before she did something else she regretted.

Ensuring that she had left her passport and boarding pass out, she moved to lift her bag onto her shoulder before she stepped out of the room, making her down towards the living room where Eva and Oscar sat. “Guys?” she noted.

Eva, who’d been watching something on the television, lifted her head, her eyes widening a little at the sight of Alba’s bags. “Alba?” she squeaked.

“I’m sorry” Alba murmured “I’m booked on a flight back to Barcelona in a couple of hours” she admitted.

“Why?” Eva squeaked “I thought you were going to stay. You said that you would” she insisted.

“I know” Alba sighed “And I thought I could, but things…things are complicated, Eva and I think it would be best. I am sorry, Eva, I really am, but I think I need to go” she explained as best she could. She didn’t want to say it, the fact that she had slept with Lionel was one she wanted to keep to her chest, and but she didn’t want to lie to Eva. If there was one person who’d know when she was lying, it was Eva.

“You only have to wait out another 2 weeks, Alba” Eva insisted “15 days” she added.

“I know” Alba murmured “But I don’t think I have that in me, Eva. I tried to be alright with him being around, but I am just not. I know it’s stupid, but it’s hard for me and I don’t think I can sit around for 15 more days. I’m so sorry, Eva” she insisted softly.

Eva shook her head. “You have to be here, Alba” she announced softly “I’m getting married” she added.

Alba nodded. “I’m sorry, Eva” she murmured.

“Leo can step down” Eva insisted, looking at Oscar “You can ask him to step down, can’t you?” she protested softly.

“He doesn’t have to” Alba noted gently.

Eva shook her head. “I want you here, Alba” she murmured softly.

“I know” Alba sighed “And I hate that I won’t be, but it is better this way. Your wedding will be about you and Oscar, and not about me and him. I am sure the day will be lovely, Eva and when it is over with, you and Oscar, you ought to come and visit” she insisted softly.

Eva offered her a soft look before she shook her head, stepping out of the room quietly.

“You should leave her” Oscar noted gently as Alba moved to follow after Eva “You’ll only make it worse if you follow” he added.

Alba nodded.

“Something happened, didn’t it?” Oscar posed after a moment of quiet.

Alba, who’d been staring at her feet, lifted her head, wordlessly asking Oscar to elaborate.

“Leo doesn’t seem to want to come here anymore and now you’re going to go back to Barcelona. These are not just sudden actions, Alba, something happened, I know it” he noted softly.

“It doesn’t matter” Alba muttered “All that matters is that I am not going to be here to disrupt you day” she insisted.

Oscar offered her a slightly dubious look before Eva stepped back into the room, Lionel on her tail.

“Tell her that she doesn’t have to go” Eva squeaked as she pushed Lionel forwards.

Lionel frowned. “Go?” he posed.

“Alba’s going back to Barcelona” Oscar revealed softly.

Lionel frowned a little, his dark eyes flicking over to Alba who was shifting her bag shyly on her shoulder. They hadn’t spoken, since Alba had kicked him out of bed, they’d barely looked at one another, but he was surprised that she had made the decision to leave. He had thought, even despite their night together, that she would want to hang around for Eva’s sake.

“You’re going home?” he posed softly.

“I think it is best” Alba fussed, looking at her feet “I thought I could deal with this, with…us, but I can’t” she added.

Lionel shook his head. “Then you should stay and I ought to go” he offered “I know this is something you and Eva have talked about since you were children” he added, his expression soft.

Alba shook her head. “I’ve booked the flight, Leo” she reasoned “You stay, I’ll go home. It’s fine” she insisted.

Lionel shook his head. “Alba…”

“You’re both going to stay” Oscar interjected, cutting off Alba’s latest line about it being for the best “You’re adults, you’ve been broken up for 5 years, and you need to just fucking deal with it. Alba, I get that what Leo did was horrid, but he did it years ago and you need to be able to handle it” he insisted with a look towards the blonde “And Leo, you need to get used to the fact that no matter how much you try, she’s not going to just fall in love with you again. You fucked up, amigo, massively, and she’s never going to forget it, no matter how much you apologise” he added with a sharp look towards his friend.

Lionel merely sighed quietly, his brown eyes watching Alba who’d slunk back slightly, her expression equally sheepish.

“These next two weeks are about me, and my fiancée, and we want both of you here, not one or the other, so find a way to deal with it because neither of you is ducking out” he muttered before he took Eva’s hand, leading her out of the room.

Lionel watched them go before he turned back to Alba. “He’s not wrong” he mumbled.

“Maybe not” Alba muttered “But I can’t forget what we did the other night, Lionel. It was so stupid, and naïve” she insisted, shaking her head.

“It was” Lionel agreed “But it’s 2 weeks, Alba, can we really not put up with each other for that long?” he posed.

Alba shrugged. “I don’t know” she mumbled softly.

Lionel sighed softly. “Please, Alba. I am not asking you to like me, I am just asking you to put up with me” he insisted.

Alba offered him a look, something which made him flash her a small, hopeful smile, a smile that had Alba’s stomach flipping in a way that made her want to curse. She had always hated the way his smile got to her.

“Ok” she agreed gently.

Lionel nodded his head quietly, a little pleased that she was at least staying around. He knew that it wasn’t going to be easy, by sleeping together, they’d only served to make things worse, but their night together had made one thing clear to him. No matter how much he liked to pretend that he was over her, he wasn’t and it wasn’t something which was going to happen easily. He still cared for her, more than he had thought he would, and he wanted to try, no matter how ill-fated it seemed, to win her around.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 for the comment :)