You Loved Me Once

19: Tell Me You Don’t Feel The Same

Checking her reflection in the mirror of her office bathroom, Alba sighed, trying her hardest to ignore the slight hit of butterflies which fluttered around in her stomach. It had been building all day, with her date with Lionel set for that night, she hadn’t quite been able to shift it from her mind, and with the work day having finished, she felt as though she might be sick, something she already hated. She knew that she had promised to try, if she wanted to get him off of her back, she needed to give it her all, but the notion of a date with him was one which unsettled her slightly. She hadn’t been on date in years, let alone one with him, and she didn’t want him to accuse her of not giving their date her best effort.


Alba, who’d been messing with the bottom of her skirt, looked up, her blue eyes landing on Jess who stood in the doorway.

“I assume the driver in the lobby is for you” Jess commented gently “He keeps asking after a Miss Nunez” she added.

“That’s me” Alba breathed “What do you think of this dress?” she posed, turning to show off the dress she wore.

“It’s beautiful” Jess smiled “But I am curious, as of yesterday, you were single. What’s with the pretty dress?” she posed.

Alba shook her head. “It’s…”

“Complicated” Jess finished for her.

Alba nodded, something which made Jess shake her head. “He’s a lucky guy” she mused softly.

Alba’s cheeks warmed a little. “You’re sure that I look OK?” she posed.

Jess rolled her eyes and tossed an arm around Alba’s shoulder, collecting her bag which stood on the side beside the sink. “Alba, this guy, whoever he is, is going to be blown away. You look spectacular” she enthused.

“You’re not lying?” Alba fussed.

“No” Jess confirmed before they reached the foyer “Now, you go and get him” she added, pushing her towards the driver who turned at the sound of voices.

“You’re Alba Nunez?” he posed.

Alba nodded. “That’s me. Lionel sent you?” she pressed.

The driver nodded his head. “He asked me to collect you from here and take you back to his home. Do we need to make any stops beforehand?” he posed.

Alba offered her outfit another look before she shook head. “No, I think I should be OK” she enthused.

The driver nodded his head stoically before he showed her towards the door, something which made Alba look over her shoulder, smiling half-heartedly at the thumbs up that Jess offered her. She knew that there was no real need to be nervous, she had been on dates before, even dates with Lionel, but the idea of it made her uncomfortable, something she doubted that she would swallow easily.

“This is the place?” Alba squeaked, her blue eyes staring up at the house ahead of her.

“It is” the driver confirmed “He told me to tell you to ring the bell” he added before he stepped away, leaving the blonde staring up at the house. She wasn’t surprised, the house ahead of her was lavish and private, but it left her feeling a little daunted. It had never been her style, even though she knew that he made a lot of money, she had never been the type to enjoy large houses or expensive cars, and the large house ahead of her unsettled her slightly. Offering it another look, she took in a deep breath before she carefully padded towards the gate, pressing the doorbell.

“Alba?” Lionel’s voice peeped.

“Yes” Alba mused.

“I’ll let you in” Lionel replied curtly before the gate ahead of her opened. Alba eyed the metal for a moment before she shook her head, quickly making her way towards the front door which Lionel held open, a warm smile on his face. “You made it” he enthused.

“You had a driver pick me up from work” Alba pointed out “I couldn’t duck out even if I had wanted to” she added.

Lionel nodded his head. “I’m sorry I didn’t come and get you myself” he noted as he allowed her to step inside, his hand taking the bag from hers and settling it beside the door “I was finishing setting up and I didn’t want to make you wait” he added softly.

“It’s fine” Alba mused “My receptionist would have freaked if she had seen you anyway. You were lucky you were able to sneak out yesterday” she added.

Lionel watched her talk, admiring her quietly before he shook his head. “You look amazing” he fawned.


“Leo” he corrected “I’ve never liked it when you call me Lionel” he insisted.

“Leo” Alba sighed “I hope you’ve not done anything too drastic” she noted gently. She knew what she had agreed to, but she didn’t want him to have gone overboard. It would have only made her feel worse about the prospect of spending time with him.

“I don’t think so” Lionel noted gently “But you should come and see” he added, offering his hand to her.

Alba eyed his hand for a moment, something which made Lionel roll his eyes. “It’s a hand, Alba” he noted, reaching down to collect hers “You’ve held it before” he added.

“I know” Alba mumbled “It’s just…”

“You promised to give me a shot” Lionel interjected, not missing the nervous expression on her face.

Alba nodded. “I know I did” she murmured.

“Then stop worrying” Lionel insisted “Alba, it’s one night, one little night, I am sure that you can get through it. It’s not like we’ve never done this before” he added, his expression soft.

Alba nodded. “I know” she murmured “It’s just a little strange. This is the first date I have been on in a long time” she fussed softly.

Lionel nodded and offered her a hand a slight squeeze. “It’s going to be fine” he assured her gently before he tugged on her hand, leading her through the house and out into the garden, something which made Alba squeak a little.

“Leo” she squeaked softly.

“I figure you see enough fancy restaurants” Lionel noted “And I also thought it must have been a long time since you had a decent home cooked meal. Now, I don’t pretend that I am any kind of chef, but I think I did a pretty decent job” he babbled.

Alba merely shook her head, her blue eyes peeking around the setting that he had created for them. It was subtle, the table for two was sat on the deck just outside of the house, overlooking the vast garden he had had, and whilst it wasn’t the most extravagant setting, Alba couldn’t help but admire it. It was just the sort of thing she had always liked.

“Alba?” Lionel posed.

“It’s beautiful” she mumbled.

Lionel startled a little at the compliment, a little surprised that it had come out of her mouth, before he nodded. “You should sit down” he noted “I’ve cooked and everything and I’d love the opinion of one of Barcelona’s best food critics on it” he fussed with a grin.

Alba chewed the side of her lip nervously before she stood a couple of steps forwards, taking the seat that he had pulled out for her.

“You can look less nervous” Lionel mused as he followed after her, settling a plate of food ahead of her “I promise, you’re OK” he added.

Alba nodded quietly, wordlessly reminding herself that she had agreed to give him a shot.

“You did that?” Alba squeaked, trying to stifle the laugh that wanted to fall out of her mouth.

“I did” Lionel confirmed “But Gerard had it coming. When we were on a pre-season tour, he stole my shoes and hid them for a week, meaning I had to wander around in these awful flip-flops when we weren’t training” he noted.

Alba shook her head. “He’s still an idiot then” she mused.

“It’s been 5 years, Alba, it was always going to take a lot more time for him to grow up” Lionel quipped, sipping on his drink. It had been a good night, if a little awkward, and Lionel was pleased to see Alba relaxed. It was something he had missed seeing for a while.

“He’s a papa now, no?” she posed.

“Twice” Lionel confirmed “But he’s still him. I am sure he’d love to see you” he insisted.

Alba shook her head. “I don’t know about that, Leo” she murmured.


“This has been nice” Alba interjected “I’ve enjoyed myself, but one dinner is never going to be enough for you to fix what you broke, Lionel, and I know you know that too” she insisted softly.

“I don’t want to let you go, Alba” he murmured, leaning forwards a little in his seat “I still care for you” he added.

Alba shook her head, carefully placing her napkin down on the table. “I’m sorry” she mumbled before she padded to his side, moving to press a kiss against his cheek.

Lionel, however, was quicker, turning his head so that her kiss met his lips.

Alba startled, but the hand that Lionel had placed on her neck prevented her from moving away, allowing him to control the kiss. “Say you don’t love me” he muttered as he pulled away.


“Look at me and say it and I will leave you be” he insisted.

Alba shook her head.

“I know you can’t say it” he murmured, brushing the loose blonde hair away from her eyes “I know it” he insisted.

“So what if I do still care?” Alba muttered, turning away from him slightly.

“We can fix this” Lionel mused “What’s the alternative? You never date again?” he pressed.

Alba let out a small sigh.

“Tonight was proof that there is still something here, Alba” Lionel mused, dropping one of his hands to take hers “I just don’t want to let it slip past again” he insisted.

“You really hurt me” Alba insisted “Am I supposed to pretend that that didn’t happen?” she added.

Lionel shook his head. “I want to fix it” he insisted “I want to fix us” he added.

Alba offered him a slightly dubious look, something which made him duck down, kissing her softly once more. “Alba” he murmured “I know that you still want me and I know I still want you. Can’t you just give me a shot?” he pressed, his tone a little desperate.

Alba chewed on her lip. “You put one foot out of line…”

“You have my word that I won’t” Lionel interjected.

Alba offered him another uncertain look before she sighed. “You’ve got one more chance” she murmured “But the next time you mess up, I am done with you, OK? I am not going through this again” she insisted.

Lionel nodded. “You have my word” he insisted, a grin pulling at the corner of his mouth.

“Don’t grin at me” Alba protested.

Lionel chuckled. “I’m not allowed to be happy about us getting back together?” he posed.

“We’re not back together” Alba pointed out.

Lionel tilted his head.

“I am not just going to take you back” Alba noted “But I am prepared to go out with you again and take things step by step. I am not nosediving into a relationship with you” she explained.

Lionel mulled her words over before he nodded, offering her a small smile. “It’s better than nothing, Alba” he mused “And considering where we were before, I’ll take it” he added.

Alba offered him a little look before she quirked a small smile, something which made him grin back at her. He knew that it was no guarantee, Alba was notoriously stubborn when she wanted to be, but it was a start, one that he didn’t think she would have let him make.
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Thanks to FootieJo and Jayme112234 for the comments :)