You Loved Me Once

31: Surely That Counts For Something

“You’re certain about doing this, aren’t you?” Lionel posed as he stared at the laptop ahead of him, his hands nervously fiddling in his lap. He knew that Alba had her mind made up, the look on her face confided it, but he wanted to buy himself a little more time. He was under no illusions, Alba’s parents weren’t going to love the idea of their relationship, and he knew that that would have an impact on them, something he was dreading. He understood what she wanted, Alba wanted to test their relationship before they got themselves in too deep, but he worried. David and Annabella were not going to take the news well and he worried that it would cause her to change her mind about them.

Alba nodded. “I’m sure” she insisted “You’re not?” she posed.

“They’re not going to love this, Alba” Lionel mused, his hand messing with hers “And they’re not going to hold back. I’ve met your papa, remember?” he posed.

Alba nodded. “I know what to expect, Leo” she mused, her blue eyes fixed on their hands “But I don’t want to wait to do this anymore. It’s already been 9 weeks and it’s only a matter of time before we get caught out” she insisted.

“I understand that” Lionel mused “But I just think…I think it will only end badly” he mumbled.

“I know that” Alba muttered “But I think it is something we need to do. I don’t want to have our relationship in the shadows, Leo” she insisted.

Lionel offered her a dubious look before he nodded, letting out a small sigh. “Alright” he conceded.

Alba offered him a small smile before she squeezed his hand, moving to start the video call. Lionel eyed their hands for a moment before he turned his attention to the screen, his stomach flipping a little as Annabella’s face appeared on the screen, a warm motherly smile on her face. “Alba!” she exclaimed “Mi princesa, it has been far too long. What has kept you so busy that you’ve not had time to call your mama?” she fussed.

“It’s not been that long, mama” Alba mused, fussing with Lionel’s hand nervously “It’s only been a couple of weeks” she added.

“That’s a long time to a mama, Alba” Annabella quipped “You’re my little baby” she added.

“I’m 28” Alba countered with a half-smile.

“You’ll always be that little baby to me, Alba” Annabella fussed “I still remember…”

“Mama” Alba interjected “Is papa around?” she posed.

Annabella tilted her head. “Your papa?” she posed.

Alba nodded, her eyes peeking at Lionel who sat just out of range of the camera. “I need to tell you something, both of you” she mused gently.

Annabella frowned for a moment. “Alba?” she pressed.

“Is papa there, mama?” Alba pressed.

“He’s in the living room. I will take the laptop to him, but I am worried, Alba. You don’t look too happy” she insisted as she moved to carry the laptop through to her living room, settling down on the coffee table ahead of her husband.

“Alba?” David pressed.

“Hola, papa” Alba mused.

“I wasn’t expecting you to call. Is something wrong?” the older man pressed.

“I need to tell you both something” Alba mumbled, her blue eyes glancing at Lionel who stared back at her, nerves etched onto his features. “Something that I know that the two of you aren’t going to like, but you need to know that I am happy and I hope that that is something…”

“Alba, sweetheart, get to the point” David mused, cutting her off.

Alba sighed, pushing the blonde hair out of her eyes. “I have a boyfriend” she admitted gently.

“A boyfriend?” David posed “You’re so nervous because you have a boyfriend? Alba, you’re 28, I am thrilled by the idea that you have found someone to replace that…”

“Papa, it’s Leo” Alba interjected, cutting off whatever insult her father had prepared for her boyfriend.

“Leo?” Annabella squeaked “As in, the little boy you used to be attached to, the man who…”

“The man who broke her heart” David snapped “Alba, princesa, tell me you’re joking” he spat.

Alba shook her head. “I am not joking, papa” she mused, tugging on Lionel’s hand gently.

David scoffed, his brown eyes glaring at the footballer who shuffled reluctantly into shot. “You” he muttered.

“Senor Nunez…”

“You couldn’t just leave her alone?” David snapped.

“Papa” Alba protested.

“How could you be so naïve, Alba?” David snapped “This man…you know what he did, and you’re going to let him do it again?” he pressed.

Alba shook her head. “It’s not like that, papa” she insisted “We’ve been seeing one another for a little while now and it is working. I know that he…”

“Alba, he broke your heart” David spat, his stare fixed on the screen “He left you, 21 days before you were supposed to marry him, and you expect me to throw a parade about the fact that you’re together again? Alba, I trusted him completely with you, and he threw that in my face, in your face, and you just expect me to smile and accept it? This is stupid, Alba” he muttered before he pushed himself out of his seat, storming out of the room.

Alba watched the laptop screen briefly before she shook her head, something which made Lionel wrap his arm around her waist.

“I will try and calm him down” Annabella noted “But I would not be holding your breath, Alba” she murmured.

“I am happy, mama” Alba protested gently “Surely that counts for something” she added.

“It does” Annabella insisted “You’re our daughter, Alba, and all we’ve ever wanted was for you to be happy, but Leo…he’s the thing that’s made you the saddest you’ve ever been and that’s not something we as your parents are just going to accept. Leo, I am sure that you understand that” she noted with a look towards the footballer.

“Of course” Lionel mused “And I know what I have to say won’t count for much, but I intend to take care of your daughter, Mrs Nunez. I know I messed up last time, I can’t ever say sorry enough for that, but I want to make Alba happy” he insisted.

Annabella nodded. “I don’t doubt that” she muttered “But you’re going to need to do a lot more than that to convince me to trust you, Lionel, let alone to convince my husband” she noted before she ended the call.

Alba sniffed a little, something which made Lionel turn to her, his hand gently cupping her cheek. “We knew that that was coming” he murmured, his fingertips brushing the blonde hair out of her face “We knew that they’d take it badly, but at least they know, Alba” he mumbled, kissing her cheek gently.

Alba nodded, trying her hardest to offer him a small smile.

“It’s OK” Lionel murmured, kissing her other cheek “Alba, this is OK” he insisted, kissing her nose.

Alba wrinkled her nose a little, something which made him smile. “They know now, Alba, and that was what you wanted right?” he posed.

“It was” Alba confirmed.

“Then don’t mope” Lionel mused, pecking her lips lightly “They’re never going to love it, Alba, but if it makes you happy, they’ll have to deal with it. It’s your life, Alba, our relationship, not theirs” he insisted strongly.

Alba nodded her head. “Our relationship” she mused.

“Me and you” Lionel encouraged “This is about us, nena” he grinned.

Alba nodded once more, a small smile pulling at the corner of her mouth. “Us” she mused “I do like the sound of that” she mumbled.

Lionel smiled and leant over, pressing a warm kiss against her lips, one that Alba didn’t hesitate to return. He knew that it had gotten to her, the look on her face when her father had spat out his words had tugged at his heart strings, but he knew that it was a big step for them. Alba’s parents knowing opened up the possibility of more people knowing or meeting Alba and that was something he’d wanted for a while.
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Thanks to FootieJo and Jayme112234 for the comments :)