You Loved Me Once

40: Under Your Nose


Alba, who was contently resting in her seat, startled a little at the sound of her name, her eyes blinking open.

“The plane has landed” Lionel mused softly “We need to get up” he added as he shuffled to his feet, offering Alba his hand. It was late, after a long flight, Lionel wanted nothing more than to collect their things and make their way back to his apartment for the night, but he knew that it wasn’t going to be so simple. It had been arranged, with Lionel needing a lift from the airport, his father had offered to collect him, but as soon as he had mentioned that Alba was coming back with him, that had grown to include his mother who was itching to see the blonde. He knew that it was big deal, for as long as he could remember, his mother in particular had been rooting for him and Alba to get things together, but a small part of him wanted to put off their meeting. A little part of him wanted Alba to himself for a little longer.

“Did you get any sort of sleep?” Alba yawned as she stood up beside him, taking her bag which he held out to her.

“Briefly” Lionel shrugged “But you were out for hours” he mused.

Alba nodded her head quietly before she reached for his hand, squeezing it slightly.

“You Ok?” Lionel posed as he led her towards the exit, offering the stewardess a polite smile.

Alba shrugged. “Nervous, I guess” she murmured “I mean, I know that it is stupid, it’s not like this is the first time I have met them, but I am worried. What if…”

“Alba” Lionel interrupted “My mother has been waiting for this day for nearly 6 years. She adores you, she always has done, and she, along with everyone else, is ecstatic about the prospect of seeing you and you need to stop worrying. They love you” he insisted with a warm smile.

“They loved me 5 years ago” Alba pointed out.

Lionel shook his head. “I broke this relationship up the first time, Alba, not you, and no one is upset or angry with you. How could they be?” he posed. It was a trait of hers, Alba had always been a worrier, even when they were children, but that night she had absolutely nothing to be concerned with. His family were excited, they had been since he had told them about Alba, and he had little doubt that they would endeavour to make her feel as comfortable as they could whilst she spent time with them. They had missed her.

Alba offered him a little look, almost like she wanted to protest, but Lionel stopped her, pressing a soft kiss against her lips. “It’s going to be fine” he assured her.

Holding tightly onto Lionel’s hand, Alba peeked across the airport terminal, her blue eyes landing on the older couple who waited across from them. She knew that Lionel was right, with the way their relationship had ended the first time, there was no reason that anyone would have been upset or angry with her, but still she worried. It had been almost 6 years since she had seen them and she was concerned that their reception to her would not be the warmest.

“You’re OK” Lionel mused quietly “Look at their faces” he added.

Alba offered him a slightly unsure look before she flicked her eyes up, not missing the warm grins that his parents sported on their faces.

“Mama, papa” Lionel greeted softly “It’s good to see you” he added.

Celia, who’d been busy looking over the airport terminal, snapped her attention to her son, greeting him with a wide smile. “Leo” she squeaked “It has been too long. Do you remember the last time you called?” she fussed as she moved to pull him into a hug.

“I called last week, mama” Lionel quipped “When I asked if it would be OK if we had one more over for Christmas” he mused as he stepped back, his hand finding Alba’s which had moved to pull at a loose thread of her sweater.

Celia eyed their hands briefly before she flicked her attention up towards Alba, a smile forming on her face. “Alba” she breathed softly.

“Hola, Mrs Messi” Alba squeaked.

Celia rolled her eyes. “It’s Celia, sweetheart, it always has been to you. It’s been a long time” she mused.

Alba nodded. “A very long time” she agreed shyly “I hope you don’t mind me imposing on you for the holidays” she babbled.

Celia laughed. “Imposing?” she quipped “If Lionel had returned here without you, I’d have been on the first flight out to Barcelona” she enthused.

Alba tilted her head, something which made the older woman smile as she wrapped her arm around Alba’s. “My son told me about your parents” she mused softly as she moved to lead Alba towards the exit “He told me that, if he didn’t invite you home, you’d spend the holidays alone and I wasn’t going to allow that. You’re more than welcome here, Alba, you always have been, and I am glad that you came. It proves that my son does have some sort of sense left” she teased with a look towards Lionel who was talking quietly with his father.

“You really don’t mind having me?” Alba posed.

“I don’t mind at all” Celia smiled “In fact, I am delighted that my son finally got it into his head that the best thing for him has always been right under his nose. You’re good for him, you always have been, and whilst I know you two are still taking things steadily, I am happy, Alba. You’re a good woman” she enthused softly.

Alba shifted a little before she offered the older woman a shy smile, something which made Celia squeeze her arm softly, trying to reassure her slightly. She could see that she was nervous, Alba would barely look up at her when she spoke, but she was sure that it would wear off after a few days. She wanted Alba to be comfortable, chances were that, second time around, she was going to be around for a while, and Celia wanted to offer her some support, something she clearly wasn’t going to get from her own parents.

“Are you feeling any better about this yet?”

Alba, who’d been preparing herself for bed, looked up, her eyes landing on Lionel who stood in the door way. It had been quiet, after a couple of hours talking with his parents, they’d retired to the master bedroom of his apartment, and Lionel merely wanted to ensure that Alba was doing alright. She had relaxed, a few minutes talking with his mother seemed to have done the trick and calmed her down slightly, but Lionel merely wanted to check up on her. He didn’t want her thinking that he was moving things along to swiftly.

“About what?” Alba posed, tucking some hair behind her ear.

“Being here” Lionel shrugged “I mean, you looked OK when you were talking with my madre, but I just want to make sure. I don’t want to make you do anything you don’t want to do” he explained.

Alba smiled. “You think I would have gotten on the plane if I didn’t want to?” she posed.

Lionel sighed.

“Leo, I was nervous because I haven’t seen your family in a long time. I was nervous because the last time I did see them, it was at an engagement party for a wedding that never happened and I worried, stupidly, that they would be upset that it never did and ask all sorts of questions that I still don’t really know how to answer. I was worried that they’d be upset with me” she explained softly.

Lionel blinked. “Alba…”

Alba shook her head. “I know it’s stupid” she admitted “But a little part of me was worried and now, after talking to your mama, it isn’t. I’m OK” she insisted with a small smile.

Lionel looked at her dubiously before he nodded, moving to take his spot beneath the duvet. “I’m still so sorry for that, you know” he murmured as he watched her curl up at his side “I’ll never be able to explain just how sorry I am for ever hurting you like that” he mumbled, kissing the top of her head.

Alba nodded. “It’s OK” she mumbled “I know that you’re sorry” she insisted.

Lionel sighed. “I wish I could undo it” he murmured, his hand skirting up and down her side.

“You can’t” Alba countered “But dwelling on it…that’s only going to ruin what we have going on right now. This is good, Leo, really good, and you ought to focus on that instead. We’re coming up on 6 months” she mused before she let out a little yawn, causing her to snuggle up against her pillow.

Lionel marvelled at her before he cuddled a little closer, a smile on his face. He knew that she was right, dwelling wasn’t going to help them, but he couldn’t help but be a little amazed that he was there with her. It hadn’t been what he was anticipating when he’d first run into her at Oscar and Eva’s home.
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Thanks to FootieJo for the comment :)