You Loved Me Once

38: You’ve Got Me

“Do you think you’ll be able to cover for me?” Lionel mumbled into the phone, his hand pushing through his hair. It was early, after the visit of Alba’s parents, he had failed to get back to sleep, but with Alba still curled up against him, he knew that he couldn’t go anywhere that morning, even if he did have training ahead of the team’s match with Real Sociedad, he wanted to be there for her. It had hurt, watching her cry over her father’s words, and he wanted to ensure that she was OK, even if it did land him in trouble with Luis Enrique. He didn’t want to leave her alone that day.

“I’ll tell him you’ve got flu or something” Gerard replied “Is Alba OK?” he pressed gently.

“She’s asleep right now” Lionel mused, his fingertips gently moving through Alba’s knotted blonde hair “And I am sure that she will be fine when she wakes up, but I just want to be here for her, Gerard. He said a lot of things last night that I know got to her and I just want her to know that I am right here” he insisted softly.

He knew that she was hurting, the way she had fallen asleep sniffling in his arms confided it, but he wanted to show her that she still had him. He wanted to assure her that their relationship was good. He knew that she would be worried, with her father having seemingly turned his back on her, it put a lot of pressure on their relationship to succeed, and Lionel wanted to show her that it could, that it would if he had his way.

“Enrique’s likely to be pissed” Gerard noted “But I’ll do my best for you. Keep an eye on her, will you?” he posed.

Lionel smiled. “I will do. Gracias, Gerard” he enthused before he set his phone down on the end table, affording him the chance to curl up beside Alba who shifted against him, a sleepy sound falling out of her mouth. “It’s OK” he murmured as he looped his arm around her waist, his hand ducking beneath the hem of her shirt to rub against her stomach.

“What time is it?” Alba mumbled, nestling her head a little deeper into her pillow.

“Just after 8” Lionel noted “But you don’t have to be anywhere. I’ve already called Jess and she said that she would email anything to you that you needed. You can afford to stay” he explained softly.

“You called Jess?” Alba yawned, her blue eyes peeking over her shoulder at him.

“I did” Lionel confirmed “And I called Gerard to get him to cover for me at training. I figured we could use a lazy day after last night” he noted softly.

Alba shook her head. “You don’t have to do that” she murmured softly as she turned over, her blue eyes looking up at him “Leo, last night was…it was awful, but you don’t need to go out of your way to fix it. It’s not your problem” she explained gently. She was touched, the idea that he wanted to take care of her was one that she found incredibly sweet, but she didn’t want to be made a fuss of. If anything, she merely wanted to stop thinking about it.

Lionel shook his head. “It’s my problem if it is your problem, Alba” he noted gently “Last night with your papa hurt you and I just want to ensure that you don’t dwell on it. I don’t want his words getting into your head” he mused as he stretched a hand out, finding hers in amongst the sheets before he pulled it to his lips, kissing the warm skin gently.

Alba smiled. “You’re very sweet” she enthused “But you really don’t have to go out of your way like this. If you wanted to get to training…”

“I’d rather stay here” Lionel interjected, kissing her hand once more “One day?” he posed with an impish grin.

Alba offered him a look before she shook her head, a small smile playing at the corner of her mouth. “One day” she agreed “But I don’t want to mope. We should do something fun” she enthused.

Lionel nodded. “Fun?” he commented “I am sure that we can think of something” he added with a coy grin.

“Isn’t your coach going to be pissed if he sees pictures of this?” Alba commented as she followed along behind Lionel, her hand clutching at his. It had been a relaxed morning, once Lionel had finally allowed her out of bed, they’d spent time baking and watching Alba’s favourite television show before he’d insisted on packing a picnic for them, and Alba had to admit that she was a little impressed.

She was worried, her father’s words, as exaggerated as they had been, did ring in her ears and they did concern her, but Lionel hadn’t allowed her time to worry, something she was grateful for. She didn’t want to let her father’s negativity spoil something which, until he had shown up, had been going along particularly well.

“He’s not going to be thrilled about me missing training anyway” Lionel commented, settling the blanket he’d bought with them on the ground “But I don’t mind him yelling. I wanted to do something for you today” he insisted.

Alba shook her head. “You were really worried that I would freak out, weren’t you?” she posed as she sat down, pulling out a few of the pots of food they’d packed.

Lionel sighed. “Your papa said some horrid things last night, Alba. He told you that he thought I was going to hurt you all over again or that I wasn’t good enough for you, and I didn’t want to let those words get in your head. Until last night, the past week or so has been wonderful and I didn’t want to afford you the opportunity to obsess over the words of a man who merely wants to get you as far away from me as he can” he explained softly, his hand gently messing with hers.

Alba shook her head. “You didn’t have to do that” she murmured softly “Leo, what my papa said, it was harsh, but not unexpected. He’s never going to like you, not now, but I don’t want him to be the reason we mess this up. For the first time in a while, things feel good, and I’d like to keep it that way, even if it is a risk. You’re my decision and I made that last night” she mused.

“Your decision?” Lionel posed.

Alba shrugged. “I doubt my papa is going to want to see a lot of me now that I am with you” she mused, her face softening a little.


“He made that call, not me” Alba insisted, shaking her head a little.

Lionel quirked a half-hearted smile before he shuffled a little closer to her, levering her into his lap before he ducked his head, pulling her into a warm kiss that Alba didn’t hesitate to melt into. “You’ve got me” he murmured as he pulled away a little, his forehead resting on hers.

Alba smiled. “I do have you” she commented “And that’s how I want to keep it. I don’t want this to fall apart, Leo” she mused.

Lionel nodded. “You have my word that I will try my hardest not to let that happen, Alba. I am going to do my best for this relationship” he insisted.

Alba nodded, offering him another quick smile before she kissed him, something which made him smile gently. He knew that it was under pressure, with Alba’s father, and perhaps her mother, gearing up for an ‘I told you so’ moment, it was going to be all the more important that they kept things together, but as Alba sat in his lap, he felt confident. They worked, when they were together, it seemed good, and he was sure that he could keep it going. He was sure that he could make her happy.
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Thanks to FootieJo and Jayme112234 for the comments :)