You Loved Me Once

28: Look At You Now

“Do you need anything before I go?” Alba posed as she padded around her apartment, collecting her bag as she prepared to go to work. It was late for her, Alba had developed a habit of heading to work before she needed to, but with Lionel having taken up residence on her couch, she had held off slightly, wanting to ensure that he was comfortable. It felt a little odd to her, after he’d injured his knee, Alba had offered to help him out, but the idea of him staying in her apartment felt a little strange, even if he hadn’t moved far from her couch, the idea that he was still there like he had been the night before felt foreign to her.

“I think I can cope” Lionel mused, a small grin playing at the corner of his mouth “But I would appreciate a lift back to mine when you get home. I need to pick up a few things” he noted softly.

“I can make it back about lunch time” Alba mused as she shrugged on her coat “I’ve already arranged to work from home this afternoon so we can go then. If you need anything…”

“I will call” Lionel interjected.

Alba nodded. “You’re welcome to use whatever you want, but if you do get up, use the crutches. You heard the doctor” she insisted as she shouldered her bag.

“Yes, Alba” Lionel mocked playfully.

Alba rolled her eyes, but stepped towards him, allowing him to place his hands against her hips. He knew that it was odd for her, since they’d visited the hospital the day before, Alba had been a little quiet, but he was grateful that she had offered to help out. He needed someone and to him, it made sense that that someone was his girlfriend. “Try and be careful” she mumbled as she ducked down, kissing the top of his head.

“It’s not that big an apartment” Lionel pointed “What do you realistically think I can do?” he added.

Alba rolled her eyes. “Excuse me for looking out for you” she noted, her tone sarcastic.

Lionel laughed. “You know that I am grateful for that, nena” he enthused as he dropped his hands, taking hers “I know that you’re not entirely comfortable having me here, but I am glad you offered. It means a lot, Alba” he insisted gently.

“I couldn’t just ignore it” Alba mumbled shyly.

“I’m glad that you didn’t” Lionel smiled.

Alba offered him a small shy smile before she ducked down, stealing a quick kiss before she padded away. “I’ll see you later?” she called over her shoulder as she pulled the door open.

Lionel nodded. “I doubt that I am going anywhere” he quipped.

Alba offered him a little look before she shook her head, a slight smile on her face. It had been nice, having Lionel around, and it had soothed Alba who, after her sister’s visit, had become a little less sure that they were doing the right thing.

“What exactly are we here for?” Alba posed as she pushed the door to Lionel’s home open, allowing him to hobble inside.

Lionel, who was trying not to trip over the set of crutches he held, looked up. “What do you think we need?” he posed, an eyebrow raised amusedly.

“How long are you planning on staying with me for?” Alba posed.

“How long are you prepared to let me stay?” Lionel quipped. He knew that it was a step forwards, the idea that Alba wasn’t against him spending the night in her apartment, but he didn’t want to take advantage. She was still taking her time and Lionel didn’t want to put her under any sort of pressure. He wanted to leave all of the decisions up to her.

Alba shrugged. “Depends on how much you annoy me” she quipped, offering him a small smile.

Lionel scoffed. “You know you find me adorable” he teased “You always did” he added.

Alba rolled her eyes. “I have distinct memories of not finding you so adorable before you left for Barcelona” she posed.

Lionel tilted his head. “You remember that?” he posed.

“You ditched me to hang out with your football friends” Alba shrugged “For a 12 year old girl, that was a big blow, especially since we’d practically been attached at the hip since we could walk” she insisted.

Lionel shook his head. “I never meant to do that” he insisted “But I wanted to focus on football. It was my love, Alba” he insisted.

“I know” Alba smiled “And no one was happier for you when you got your chance here than me, even if it did mean that you left. I was proud of you” she insisted.

“I remember how you cried” Lionel commented as he hobbled a little deeper into the room, moving to find a holdall in the closet.

“You weren’t exactly emotionless” Alba countered, taking the bag out of his hand.

Lionel chuckled softly and moved to settle on the couch, resting his leg. “I missed you” he fussed softly as he watched Alba pad up the stairs, returning moments later with a selection of clothes.

“Missed me?” she posed.

“Every day” Lionel insisted gently “I missed having someone to talk to, someone to laugh with. It took me a long time to get used to being here” he added.

Alba smiled gently. “You could have called” she teased softly.

Lionel shook his head. “I don’t think that that would have helped. I missed home, I missed my family, I missed you, but I needed to get used to it. I wanted it to work” he insisted.

“And it did” Alba mused as she zipped the bag up, allowing her to sit down at his side “And now look at you. The best player there’s ever been” she grinned.

“Debateable” Lionel countered.

“The best player in this room?” Alba suggested with a grin.

Lionel chuckled gently. “The best player in this room” he enthused.

Alba offered him a small smile before she shifted, resting her head contently against his shoulder whilst his arm sat happily around her waist. “I missed you too” she admitted gently.

Lionel smiled. “Of course you did” he teased, poking her side.

Alba rolled her eyes. “And just when I thought we were having a moment” she scoffed as she sat up.

Lionel laughed gently and tugged her back, pressing a soft kiss against her lips. Alba was caught a little off guard by the sudden kiss, but quickly warmed to it, her hand finding his hair and pulling him slightly closer.

Lionel grinned and moved his hands to her hips, shifting her a little before the sound of a throat being cleared caught his attention, causing him to pull back, his dark eyes surveying Alba’s flushed face. “Alba?” he posed.

“Gerard” Alba squeaked, her blue eyes peeking at the defender who stood in the door way, his eyes on his feet.

“I didn’t know that you’d be here, Alba” Gerard defended.

Alba, who’s cheeks were bright red, shifted a little, creating distance between her and Lionel who looked up at Gerard, his expression caught somewhere between angry and surprised.
♠ ♠ ♠
Thanks to Jayme112234 for the comment :)